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Rabbi Sommer co-teaches classes at Chapel Haven.

Rabbi Sommer co-teaches classes at Chapel Haven.

Chapel Haven’s Jewish Student Organization kicks off a new year on Wednesday, September 21 at 4 p.m. in the Chapel Haven library.

And, there is much to celebrate. Convened twice a month in the Chapel Haven library by Rabbi Hesch Sommer and social worker Rachel Scolnic-Dobin of Jewish Family Service, the group will gear up to study and celebrate some of the holiest and festive holidays on the Jewish calendar.

Organization members meet two times monthly on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the library, with Sommer leading one week and JFS social worker Rachel Scolnic Dobin another. While Sommer focuses on religious teaching, Dobin handles etiquette, daily living, holiday observances and activities through the Jewish Community Center.

Chapel Haven’s Jewish Student Organization – unique to Chapel Haven – falls under the auspices of JFS’ Shalom Group, which serves Jewish individuals in the New Haven area who have developmental needs. The Shalom Group seeks to help the individuals experience holiday observance, Torah study and shared fellowship.

“We want them to know they are part of the Jewish community,” Sommer said. “We want to find ways to help them affirm their own Jewish identities.”

Sommer, Director of Jewish Wellness and Healing Center at Jewish Family Service, said the student group at Chapel Haven was begun several years ago and is an extension of work JFS was already doing with the Chapel Haven community.

The Jewish Student Organization is an especially valuable community for Chapel Haven residential students and community members who have a strong Jewish life at home and want to carry on traditions and learning. For more information, call Rachel Scolnic-Dobin at Jewish Family Services, (203) 389-5599, ext. 109, or Sunny Richards at Chapel Haven, (203) 397-1714, Ext. 204.