As members of the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society joined local faith communities at the Federated Church in Brooklyn, Connecticut to celebrate our 59th Interfaith Thanksgiving together, it is fitting to reflect on the arrival of forty Jewish immigrant families, – Holocaust survivors – in this quiet corner of Connecticut some 60-65 years ago. We recall, with deep gratitude, the warm reception that those immigrants, our parents among them, received in this community.
Like the Pilgrims before them, and like countless others who have come to American shores since the Pilgrims’ arrival, those forty families came to escape persecution and hatred and to enjoy religious freedom and build new lives. They were blessed with opportunities, jobs, harvests and most important – they were blessed with friends.
The early settlers called their Plymouth Colony “Little Israel,” and they even compared Governor Bradford to Moses. They felt that they had fled lands of oppression and had found a new home, just as the ancient Israelites had once fled Egyptian slavery and settled in the Holy Land.
So it is with deep gratitude we at TBI PS join together in celebrating our long standing, local tradition of giving thanks for God’s blessings – for sustaining us with a bountiful harvest of blessings of freedom and justice and especially, for the blessings of our friendship.
-Norman Berman, TBI Preservation Society Board President