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2385 Park Avenue Bridgeport, CT 06604-1499

Past Events

Welcome to our Past Events section, where you can find links, photos and stories about recent events that took place at Rodeph Sholom:

Rodeph Sholom Celebrates Our Newly-Ordained Rabbi: Niema Hirsch!

On Sunday, June 4, Congregation Rodeph Sholom hosted a program and reception to celebrate Cantor Niema Hirsch becoming a newly-ordained Rabbi! The event had performances from Mia Scarpa , a professional actress and member of Actors’ Equity Association, and Brett Boles, an award-winning musical theatre composer, lyricist, bookwriter and music director.

To view the photos from this event, click here!

“Jews in Comedy” Zoom Series a Huge Success!

Rabbi Eisenberg teamed up with Paul Friend for another two-part Zoom series, this time called “Jews in Comedy.”


To view Part I, click below!

To watch Part II, click below!

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of ADL, Speaks at Rodeph Sholom!

On October 30th, Rodeph Sholom was proud to welcome Chief Executive Officer at the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, back to the synagogue where he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah.

Jonathan focused on his book, “It Could Happen Here: Why America is Tipping from Hate to the Unthinkable – And How We Can Stop It.”

Jonathan’s first book is a bracing primer on how we—as individuals, and organizations, and as a society—can strike back against antisemitism and hate.

Information on sponsorships will be forthcoming. This in-person only event will be free and on a first-come, first-served basis with Rodeph Sholom congregants getting priority.

Jonathan joined ADL, the world’s leading anti-hate organization with a distinguished record of fighting antisemitism and advocating for just and fair treatment to all, in 2015 after serving in the White House as special assistant to President Obama and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

He joined the government after a distinguished career in business as a successful social entrepreneur and corporate executive: he co-founded Ethos Brands, the company that launched Ethos Water (acquired by Starbucks, 2005), founded All for Good (acquired by Points of Light, 2011), and served as a senior executive at (acquired by News Corp, 2014).

Click on the video below to watch the video of Jonathan’s gripping appearance at Rodeph Sholom (Please note: The video takes around 20 seconds before the presentation to begin).

2022 Hanukkah Around the World!

For the third consecutive year, Congregation Rodeph Sholom celebrated Hanukkah Around the World with information prepared by Carol Weinshel and presented by both Carol Weinshel and Sharon Sax. Candle lighting was led by Rabbi Richard Eisenberg and/or Cantor Niema Hirsch, with singing by both.

Our congregants continued to learn the history of a variety of countries and/or states that had a connection to World War II. Some information was from first person resources. It was amazing to learn how locations so far away from Park and Capitol Avenues in Bridgeport, Connecticut could actually have a connection and to see how the variety of cultures and peoples worked together for the good of all people. We thank those who joined us on Zoom and if anyone is wondering what happened to Night 4 – we had a Hanukkah Party with one of our tenants, The Church of the Apostles…in person!

1st Night of Hanukkah: Paris With the Greenstein Family (Video)
2nd Night of Hanukkah: Guam (Video)
3rd Night of Hanukkah: Guadalcanal (Video)
5th Night of Hanukkah: Hawaii (Video)
6th Night of Hanukkah: Philippines with Sharon Sax (Video)
7th Night of Hanukkah: Tunisia With Cantor Niema (Video)
8th Night of Hanukkah: Alaska Frozen Chosen with Sharon Sax (Video)

Rabbi Leon Speaks During Esther Kelman Memorial Lecture

At this year’s Member/Alumni Shabbat Celebration on April 30, Rabbi Stephen Leon spoke during the Esther Kelman Memorial Lecture. Rabbi Leon talked about his book, “The Third Commandment and the Return of the Anusim: A Rabbi’s Memoir of an Incredible People” and his journey meeting and working with Crypto-Jews in Texas. To listen to the lecture, click below.

Yom Hashoah Conversation on: My Mother’s Secret

During a special Yom Hashoah Coffee & Conversation on April 27,  Carol Weinshel was joined by members of both Rodeph Sholom and Church of the Apostles to discuss the book “My Mother’s Secret” authored by J.L. Witterick. The book, inspired by a true story, is a captivating and ultimately uplifting tale intertwining the lives of two Jewish families in hiding from the Nazis, a fleeing German soldier, and the mother and daughter who save them all. To view the discussion, click below.

Coffee & Conversation: The Forgotten Refugees

In this Coffee & Conversation that took place on March 20, Rabbi Shaul Praver and Carol Weinshel discuss the documentary The Forgotten Refugees. The documentary explores the history, culture, and forced exodus of Middle Eastern and North African Jewish communities in the second half of the 20th Century. Using extensive testimony of refugees from Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, and Morocco, the film weaves personal stories with dramatic archival footage of rescue missions, historic images of exodus and resettlement, and analyses by contemporary scholars to tell the story of how and why the Jewish population in the Middle East and North Africa declined from one million in 1945 to several thousand today. To view the discussion, click below.

Coffee & Conversation: David Goldstein

In this Coffee & Conversation, David Goldstein tells us stories from his 17 years of running a residential summer program for blind teens preparing to study music in college. Started in Bridgeport, it became a national model, serving a total of 90 young people from 32 states and four countries. To watch the conversation with David, check out the video below:

Rodeph Sholom Blood Drive a Huge Success

Congregation Rodeph Sholom’s Friend Hall was the site for the American Red Cross blood drive on February 22. In the photo to the right, synagogue member Barbara Landau was one of the many who stopped by to roll up their sleeves and donate blood. In total, the five-hour event achieved 144.4% of its goal!

Jews, Rock & Roll: Parts I & II

On Feb. 8, Rabbi Eisenberg and Paul Friend hosted the fist of a two-part Zoom music series called “Jews, Rock & Roll. To watch the musical event, check out the YouTube clip below. The second part of the “Jews, Rock & Roll Zoom event is going to take place on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. To find out more and to attend, email

On Feb. 22, Paul Friend joined Rabbi Eisenberg in the second installment of a two-part Zoom music series called “Jews, Rock & Roll. To watch the fun and exciting musical event, check out the YouTube video below.

My Grandmother’s Synagogue With Rabbi Shaul Praver

On Jan. 30, Rabbi Shaul Praver hosted a Zoom event, titled “My Grandmother’s Synagogue
on the Lower East Side: A Discussion of the History and Culture Around the Turn of the 20th Century. Check out the YouTube video below to view the discussion.

Coffee & Conversation Series: Edith Winick

Recently the synagogue hosted its Coffee & Conversation Zoom series and interviewed Edith Winick about her experiences with Jewish camps. Check out the Coffee & Conversation below!

Jewish Life in Sudan With Gracey Oksenberg

During our Jan. 26 Coffee and Conversation Zoom series, Gracey Oksenberg joined us to chat about A Journey Though Sudan. We were so fortunate to learn firsthand about a country little known to us. Gracey’s insight, personal reflections, and pleasant manner captivated the audience. Take a listen below.

Rodeph Sholom’s Show & Tell


Cantor Hirsch Celebrates Hanukkah at Watermark

Congregation Rodeph Sholom Cantor Niema Hirsch, with a guitar in hand, traveled to The Watermark at 3030 Park Ave. to share the celebration of Hanukkah with its residents.

A Trip Down Memory Lane With Rabbi Stein and Cantor Grama

For your listening enjoyment, below are links to a two Shabbat services that Rabbi Stein and Cantor Grama recorded. Congregation Rodeph Sholom invites you to give the Songs of Shabbat a listen:

Songs of Shabbat – Sabbath Eve Worship:

Songs of Shabbat – Sabbath Morning Worship:

Hanukkah…Around the World

Rodeph Sholom celebrated the eight nights of Hanukkah in style, as the synagogue hopped on Zoom to see some of our congregants and friends present Hanukkah Around the World! Each of the nights were a different theme and featured a different presenter who has visited or even lives in the place being presented. Check out the descriptions below and click on each night to enjoy our Hanukkah Around the World!

On Nov. 28, we started Hanukkah by visiting Holland and Turkey with both David Stone and Marion Richer. Both Rabbi Eisenberg and Cantor Hirsch led the service. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

On the second night, we traveled to Israel with Cantor Hirsch, who also led the service. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Night three we took the lengthy trip to St. Petersburg, Russia and Shanghai, China with presenter Judy Zeidel leading the way. Cantor Hirsch joined to help lead the service. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

The fourth night featured Nigeria with presenter Rabbi Shaul Praver. He was joined by Cantor Hirsch to lead the service. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

On the fifth night of Hanukkah Rodeph Sholom traveled to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with Rabbi Michael Feshbach being our main presenter. Cantor Hirsch led the service. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Our sixth night of travel took us to Hungary with co-presenters Edith Winick and Larry Shire as our tour guide. Since this was Dec. 3 and on Shabbat, Cantor Hirsch was joined by Rabbi Eisenberg to lead the Shabbat candle lighting and Kabbalat Shabbat. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

The next stop on our trip around the world was in India for night seven, as Debbie Sheiman was the presenter. Leading the service was Cantor Hirsch. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

The final night of Hanukkah saw David Pettigrew, Professor at Southern Connecticut State College, talk about Sarajevo. Leading the last night of Hanukkah was Rabbi Eisenberg. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Irving Glazer Joins Us for a Coffee & Conversation

During our Dec. 8 Coffee and Conversation Zoom series, Rodeph Sholom’s very own Irving Glazer, Centenarian, continued his story about landing on Utah Beach on D-Day. Check out the extremely interesting conversation below:

Two Recent Videos from Rodeph Sholom

Congregation Rodeph Sholom has posted two videos this week. The first is the Veteran’s Shabbat that took place on Nov. 6. The other video is discusses the people behind the beautiful stained glass windows at the synagogue. Both videos are below, so enjoy the viewing:


The Connection Between Yom HaShoah, Yom Hazikaron, and Yom Ha’atzmaut

Spring time in Israel has several holidays, some religious but mostly of a national flavor. These national holidays include Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day; Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day; and Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day. These holidays are deliberately placed on our calendar at those time periods to make the connection to Pesach and the idea of freedom, redemption, and creation.

During this Coffee and Conversation, we explored these connections with Gadi Ben-Dov, licensed tour guide, who helped more fully understand the Israeli narrative and national story as it is told every year.

To listen to the Coffee and Conversation about the connection between the holidays, visit here!.

Yom HaShoah Commemoration with Agnes Vertes

Rodeph Sholom commemorated Yom HaShoah by hearing the story of Agnes Vertes, a survivor of the Holocaust whose parents gave her away at age 4 in Hungary in the hopes of saving her.

She shared her journey during a recent Coffee and Conversation to a group of spellbound participants. To listen to the conversation, click here!

What’s Jewish About The Beatles (Parts I & II)!

It’s time to Get Back into talking about The Beatles! Rabbi Eisenberg, along with alumnus and Beatles superfan Paul Friend, present the two-part event titled “What’s Jewish About the Beatles.” In this Zoom class, they talk about the Fab Four and how they relate to Judaism.

Both events, which could be found here and here, were a huge success, and you don’t have to travel Across the Universe, down The Long and Winding Road or in a Yellow Submarine to listen.

Judy Petsonk Chats with Rodeph Sholom on Her New Historical Novel

Rodeph Sholom recently hosted a Zoom conversation with Judy Petsonk, who talked about her historical novel, “JUSTICE: Maccabees and Pharisees.”

According to the Ms. Petsonk, the first century BCE was a critically important time for world religion. The new Pharisee movement emerged, igniting the transformation of Judaism from a religion of animal sacrifice to the biblically based, ethics-centered religion of contemporary Judaism and Christianity. Yet it is a time about which most of today’s Jews, Christians and Muslims (Islam followed a similar model) know almost nothing.

Her new novel, “Justice: Maccabees & Pharisees,” chronicles the historic war between the king of Judea, Alexander Janneus, and the Pharisees, led by Shimon ben Shetach.

To listen to the conversation, click here.

Rabbi Nelson, Alicia Nelson Join Us for Coffee and Conversation

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, Rodeph Sholom hosted another Coffee and Conversation Zoom event.

Rabbi David and Alicia Nelson shared Brazil’s fascinating Jewish history. Rabbi Nelson served as the Assistant Rabbi at the Israeli Religious Association of Rio de Janeiro for two years.

Spend some time listening to Rabbi Nelson and Alicia Nelson as they tell some of the stories they have amassed in their 50-year love affair with the only Portuguese-speaking country in a Latin continent.

To listen to the event, click here!

Tu Bishvat in a Pandemic

Back in late January, garden enthusiasts Charna Silverman and Irwin Schildkraut hosted a Zoom event talking about Tu Bishvat and how to make the best of it while in a pandemic.

To watch the video, click here.

Winter Concert Series Rolls Along as Brett Boles Stops By

Our Zoom Winter Concert Series  welcomed Brett Boles, an award-winning musical theatre composer, lyricist, author and music director.

His original musical Foreverman premiered at NYMF where it garnered awards for Outstanding Orchestrations and the New World Stages Development Prize. Brett has also collaborated with composer Natalie Tenenbaum on an adaptation of Benjamin Button, which has had showings at the York Theatre Off-Broadway and the Southwark Playhouse in London. He has also written original material for three of the four original Broadway Matildas, which they premiered at 54 Below. Brett’s work has been performed by Broadway greats including Jeremy Jordan, Josh Young, and Janine DiVita.

To listen to the Zoom concert, click here!


Rodeph Sholom members founded, owned, and operated a variety of businesses in Bridgeport.

During a recent two-part Coffee & Conversation, we learned firsthand stories from those who followed in the family footsteps.

Part I was when a trip down memory lane, back when you could get a corned beef sandwich at Tastee Delicatessen, go to Benny Levine’s and find any cut of meat, walk into Goldstein’s Butcher Market with sawdust on the floor, find all sorts of clothing at Nyden’s, and so much more. During this Zoom event, Mike Fletcher, Ron Ferrell, Rob Pomeraniec, Jordan Lustig, David Stone, Jan Bufferd, Sheila Strauss, and Meredith Dommu were our tour guides during this trip back in time.

During Part II, Renee Millstein Jacobs spoke about Baena Brothers, Meredith Baum Reuben chatted about Eastern Bag and Paper, David Hochberg reminisced about Hochberg Jewelers, Claire Weiner Herer talked about Klahr Glass, and Jacqui Lipnick Garelick mentioned memories from Lipnick Plumbing Supply.

To listen to the first part of the Coffee & Conversation, click here. For Part II, click here. In addition, the photos that were shared during the event are below.


See How We Celebrated Hanukkah 2020…Around The Globe!

Although we could not all gather together this year for Hanukkah, Rodeph Sholom stayed festive with a nightly Zoom menorah lighting during all eight nights.

In addition to having special people lighting their menorahs at home, leading the blessings and singing a Hanukkah song, we also toured the globe from the comfy confines of our homes. Each night of Hanukkah there was some interesting information about a different place on this planet!

We invite you to view our Zoom menorah lighting event by click on the links below:

On the first night, Rabbi Eisenberg starting the holiday by leading the candle lighting. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

For the second night, Cantor Hirsch led the candle lighting and the theme that evening will be how perseverance keeps Hanukkah going in India. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

The third night, Cantor Hirsch and her family led the candle lighting, with the theme of the third night coming from the land “Down Under.” (We don’t have the link for this night…technical issues)

On the fourth night, Cantor Hirsch, along with Hannah Gale, led the candle lighting. The theme for the evening was Germany…a new beginning — Frohes Chanukah! (CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

For the fifth night, the candle lighting was led by Senior Gabbai, Sy Wiesenfeld, accompanied by Lanny Boles in song. The world tour stopped in Egypt. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

Led by the candle lighting with Faith Bader, the sixth night, Hanukkah’s theme was Argentina. Feliz Hanukkah! (CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

The seventh night of Hanukkah brought us back to the United States once again, as the theme of the night was Great Alaska Hanukkah…or Alaskanukkah. The Weinstein family led the candle lighting. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

On the final night, we celebrated all the soldiers currently deployed. Leading the candle lighting for the final night of Hanukkah was Rabbi Eisenberg. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

Click HERE for High Holidays webcast

Irving Glazer Joins Us for a Coffee & Conversation

During our Dec. 8 Coffee and Conversation Zoom series, Rodeph Sholom’s very own Irving Glazer, Centenarian, continued his story about landing on Utah Beach on D-Day. Check out the extremely interesting conversation below: