Submission #374 by Beth El Temple Men's Club - West Hartford (217)

Submission information
Submitted by DavidDiamondMC
Sun, 2013-05-05 07:20
I have read the General Guidelines, "Nuts and Bolts" and Program Advanced Planning (Excel Spreadsheet) Documents
Club Name
Beth El Temple Men's Club - West Hartford (217)
Faith and Destiny with Rabbi Philip Lazowski
Club Representative
Person completing form
Club President at time of Convention
Club President Now
Yom HaShoah / Yellow Candle

Page 1

Rabbi Philip Lazowski, a holocaust survivor and well-known rabbi in the Greater Hartford, CT area for over 50 years, discussed his latest book “FAITH and DESTINY” which is the miraculous true story of two children whose religious beliefs and sheer will to survive carried them through four years of fear and tragedy in Nazi-occupied Poland. Program included a movie documentary based on the book, a personal recap by the Rabbi, as well as a book-signing by Rabbi Lazowski.
In August 2011, Beth El Temple member Annette Gavins decided that she wanted to bring the "One Book" concept to the temple, culminating with a program which includes a book discussion with the author. She reached out to the Men's Club who decided that a breakfast program would work best and that a collaboration with Sisterhood and Chai Society (for age 55+ members) would provide maximum exposure.

The book "Faith and Destiny" with local Rabbi Philip Lazowski was chosen. We agreed on a program date which worked for Rabbi Lazowski. A documentary based on the book would be shown as part of the program.

About a year earlier this documentary premiered locally as described in this article:

Given Rabbi Lazowski's prominence in the Jewish Community in the Greater Hartford, CT area, we knew this program would attract interest beyond our own shul.

Rabbi Lazowksi's experience is an amazing and inspiring story. Through sheer determination as well as luck along the way, he survived harrowing experiences during the holocaust, eventually making his way to freedom in New York. An example of his luck was when a woman pretended that he was her son in order for him to survive with her family rather than be alone and executed. In New York, he was able to complete his education and ultimately studied to become a rabbi. By chance, he met someone who knew the woman that saved Rabbi Lazowski's life. He met this woman, who now lived in Hartford, and eventually married her daughter.

Annette took the lead in promoting the book and breakfast program with monthly articles in our temple's newsletter. As we got closer to the program date, representatives from each of the 3 sponsoring temple arms discussed logistics and roles and responsibilities. External publicity included announcements in the event calendars of local papers, just as the CT Jewish Ledger. Internal publicity included posting the publicity flyer around the shul, temple-wide e-blasts, and inclusion in weekly event announcements and weekly Shabbat bulletins. In addition, the Chai Society sent a temple-wide mailing card about the program. The program was attended by our 7th grade students and many attendees from other local synagogues.

On the program date, a full breakfast buffet was served. Several items were donated for door prizes to help raise money from tickets purchased by attendees. After Rabbi Lazowski was introduced and spoke about his experience, the documentary based on his book was shown. It included incredible footage from the holocaust. There was a book-signing which included not only "Faith and Destiny", but two other books that Rabbi Lazowski had written. The nearly 100 attendees left in awe and very inspired by this program.

Page 2

Self Assessment
The program succeeded in providing a forum for bringing temple members together, not just on the program date, but in the months preceding with the experience of reading the same book. Rabbi Lazowski is still very active in the Jewish Community, and this program further helped to connect the entire community. This program also did a great job in connecting the past with the present, with Rabbi Lazowski providing first-hand accounts of what he experienced more than 70 years earlier. By collaborating with the other temple arms, this program provided Men's Club with yet another opportunity to strengthen our relationships with others. A successful program such as this enhances the image of the Men's Club within our temple, religious school and community
The program brought Jewish men together - both those actively involved in planning the program as well as those who read the book and/or attended the program. The program provided an opportunity for all 3 elements to be demonstrated: (1) Leadership in initiating a program of such great interest and people actively working together to make it success, (2) Innovation in developing a program to bring a well-known Rabbi to our temple to share his incredible story and connect the past with the present, and (3) Community in providing something of interest to not just our temple members, students but others as well.
Video DVD sent to Torch Chair
Original Program
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