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Community News For The West Hartford Edition

St. Brigid-St. Augustine Students Win Holiday Art Szopka Krakowska Contest

WEST HARTFORD - Under the direction of Art Teacher, Emilia Zagula, St. Brigid-St. Augustine's seventh-grade students won first-place for artistic excellence in the 2016 Polish Cultural Club Society's creative expression of a Polish Catholic Church nativity scene. In Poland, these nativity scenes are often referred to as: Szopka Krakowska.

During the holiday season, traditional nativity scenes like this can be seen throughout Poland and are symbolic of the birth of Christ on Christmas Day. Typically, these ornate nativity architectural displays were inspired by existing architectural buildings around the time of Patron Saint of the environment, St. Francis Assisi's reign during the 13th century.

Pajama Day Held

WEST HARTFORD - The Bugbee Elementary School, 1943 Asylum Ave., proudly worked together with the school community to raise funds in honor of the countless kids at Connecticut Children's Medical Center who wear their pajamas while fighting cancer and illnesses.

Animal Embassy Is Dec. 29 At Elmwood Community Center

WEST HARTFORD — The Elmwood Community Center, 1106 New Britain Ave., will hold an Animal Embassy on Thursday, Dec. 29 from 1-2- p.m. Tickets cost $5 per child. Recommended age is 5 -12 and children must be accompanied by an adult. Register at elmwoodcommunitycenter.com or by calling 860-561-8160.

Pajamas In Support Of Patients

WEST HARTFORD - Children and teachers of the Mandell JCC Beatrice Fox Auerbach Early Childhood Center wore pajamas to participate in PJ Day for the Kids, which supports and raises money for patients of the Cancer Care Center at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. The day was filled with activities that included a special storybook reading from Mandell JCC Executive Director, David Jacobs, PJ Library stories, art, food and fun. At the end of the day for Shabbat, the children learned a lesson about Tzedakah: the joy that comes from giving.

PJ Day for the Kids was started in 2011 by a 7 year-old boy, eager to give back for lifesaving cancer care his sister received at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. Each year, students and businesses across Connecticut come together to show support and raise funds for patients at Connecticut Children's Medical Center who wear their PJs while fighting cancer and other serious illnesses. To date, over $84,000 has been raised for the medical center.

Get Into The Holiday Spirit

WEST HARTFORD — Mandell JCC is ready to celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, with a Chanukah Fair: Eight Days of Fun Rolled into One, on Sunday, Dec. 18, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Ave. Families will celebrate Chanukah by creating their own Chanukah crafts and enjoying special Chanukah snacks and spin dreidels. Also in observance of Chanukah, daily candle lightings will take place in the Chase Family Gallery beginning Monday, Dec. 26 through Friday, Dec. 30, at 4:30 p.m. The Chanukah Fair is free with a suggested donation of unwrapped children's pajamas for Jewish Family Services. Registration is requested by contacting the Member Services Center, 860-236-4571.

Israeli Chanukah Party

WEST HARTFORD — Beit Modechai, 1137 Trout Brook Drive, will be holding its annual Israeli Chanukah Party on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 6 p.m. The party will include prizes, music and food. Cost is $10 per person with a maximum $30 per family.

Celebrating The Season With The Children's Museum

WEST HARTFORD –The Children's Museum, 950 Trout Brook Dr., is getting into the holiday spirit with, "Let it Snow!" the popular planetarium show, which plays daily through December. Families can receive one free ticket to see "Let it Snow" for their donation to the Mitten Tree which helps those less fortunate. New hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and socks are accepted. The museum also sponsors:

• Countdown to Noon Years. Celebrate 2016 a little early with the Countdown to Noon on December 31. Stop by the Museum for a celebration and activities starting at 10 a.m., all free with general admission or membership.

• Winter Science Camp. With kids out of school for the holiday season, the Museum has fun and educational day camps planned that keep kids in Grades 1-6 learning and entertained.

Winter Vacation Week Activities:

o Monday, Dec. 26: Learn About Lars, make cotton ball polar bears and learn about insulation.

o Tuesday, Dec. 27: Let It Snow, make a snow globe, cut out snowflakes and participate in story time.

o Wednesday, Dec. 28: Staying Warm When It's Cold, make hand warmers and learn how animals stay warm.

o Thursday, Dec. 29: The Northern Lights, find out the about the Northern Lights and create a stained glass window craft.

o Friday, Dec. 30: Fireworks, learn about the history of fireworks and paint some fireworks.

For further information on all holiday programming, visit www.TheChildrensMuseumCT.org

'American St. Nick – A True Story'

WEST HARTFORD — The American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96, 45 Raymond Road, will host a screening and book signing of "American St. Nick – A True Story," by Producer Peter Lion at the Noah Webster Library, 20 South Main St., Thursday, Dec. 15, at 6:30 pm. "American St. Nick" is the true story of American soldiers who, during the darkest days of WWII bring Christmas back to the children of a small Luxembourg town, and in doing so, unknowingly create a holiday tradition that continues to this day.

Peter Lion's book, is the story behind the Emmy winning "American St. Nick" documentary film and was awarded Luxembourg's highest military honor in July, "The Military Medal".

Chanukah Auction

WEST HARTFORD — Dozens of goods and services will be up for bid at Beth David Synagogue's Chanukah Auction on Sunday, Dec. 18. The fundraiser is intended to help reinvigorate the congregation's aging building, the first Modern Orthodox shul built at 20 Dover Road in West Hartford more than seventy years ago. The 5 p.m. event includes a kosher wine tasting, dinner and a live auction beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $36 and may be purchased at www.bethdavidwh.org/form/auction-2016-tickets.html or by calling the synagogue office at 860-236-1241.

Book Signing Is Dec. 18

WEST HARTFORD — Local author Marilyn Simon Rothstein will sign her new novel, Lift and Separate, on Sunday, Dec 18, from 11 a.m. to12:30 p.m. at the Judaica Store, 31 Crossroads Plaza. The book, issued by Lake Union Publishing, is about a Connecticut woman who is forced to restart her life after her husband, the bra king, leaves her for a perkier fit.

Fire On Ice

WEST HARTFORD — "Fire on Ice," the free community Chanukah celebration hosted by Chabad of Greater Hartford, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 25, at 4 p.m., at Blue Back Square, with a giant ice menorah, a chocolate gelt drop and a fire show. A Canorah will also be constructed with contribute cans of food, which will then be donated to local food pantries.

A Chanukah essay contest is a new initiative this year. Children, up to age 13, are encouraged to write an essay on "What Chanukah Means to Me", the winner will read their essay at the lighting ceremony. The essay has a 300 word max and should be submitted to info@ChabadHarford.com with subject line "Essay Contest" by Tuesday, Dec. 20. Prizes include a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, a Garmin Vivo fit Fitness Band and a Mini-Drone.

For more information, call 860-232-1116 or log on to www.ChabadHartford.com.

Holy Family Retreat Center

WEST HARTFORD — The Holy Family Retreat Center, 303 Tunxis Road, will hold a Sacred Sounds of Advent and Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2 and 7 p.m., and a Christmas Eve Mass on Saturday, Dec. 24, at 4 and 5:30 p.m. All are welcome. Free will offering.

Let It Snow!

WEST HARTFORD — The holiday planetarium show, "Let It Snow: A Christmas Musical Journey," will be shown in the Travelers Science Dome at the Gengras Planetarium, 950 Trout Brook Drive. Let It Snow, a limited engagement holiday show, combines animated holiday images with classic Christmas music. For a detailed list seasonal activities and a schedule of planetarium shows at The Children's Museum and at the Roaring Nature Center, please visit TheChildrensMuseumCT.org.

Let It Snow is and has a cost of $1.50 per ticket for Museum Member and $3 per ticket in addition to the cost of general admission for Non-Members. Visitors can receive a free Planetarium ticket for a same day showing when they donate an item to the Museum's Mitten Tree, through Dec. 23. All other Planetarium shows are free for Museum members and $2.50 for non-members.

Book Drive For At Risk Youth

WEST HARTFORD — Children's Reading Partners, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and the West Hartford Rotary Club are teaming up this holiday season to get books into the hands of preschool and elementary school students. The Greater Hartford Holiday Book Drive, formerly the West Hartford Book Drive, is taking place through December 19, with four drop-off locations and an online donation option:

Keller Williams Realty, 29 South Main St., Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Ave., Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Ave., Mandell JCC Early Childhood Center, 335 Bloomfield Ave. Contribute online at bit.ly/GHBookDrive2016. To learn more visit jewishhartford.org.

Operation Fuel Taking Energy Assistance Applications

HARTFORD — Operation Fuel's statewide winter energy assistance program has begun taking applications. Families and individuals who are struggling financially and need energy assistance should call 211 to find their closest fuel bank. For more information on Operation Fuel or to make a donation, go to operationfuel.org. Donations also can be sent to Operation Fuel, 75 Charter Oak Avenue, Suite 2-240, Hartford, CT 06106.

A History of Black-Jewish Relations To Be Presented Jan 16

WEST HARTFORD — The Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Dr., welcomes Cheryl Greenberg, PhD, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of History, Trinity College, on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, at 7 p.m., in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. "A History of Black-Jewish Relations and Why It Matters Today More Than Ever."Light Refreshments will be served. Open to the public. For more information call the Emanuel Synagogue office at 860-236-1275.

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