The Recorder – Regional Notebook: March 2, 2022


Published: 03/03/2022 15:54:09

Local federation joins $16 million nationwide campaign to support Ukrainian Jews

SPRINGFIELD — In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts has joined the Jewish Federations of North America’s $16 million emergency campaign to provide relief humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Jewish populations living in Ukraine.

The money will be channeled through the Jewish Federations of North America’s main partners – the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Joint Distribution Committee and World ORT – and others who are on the ground in Ukraine, according to a press release from the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. The funding will support the urgent needs of vulnerable Jewish populations, community safety, temporary housing for displaced people, emergency needs in Jewish schools, and aliyah-related assistance.

“We were built for times like this, for the daily needs of our community and for the support of Jews in need wherever they live,” said Nora Gorenstein, acting executive director of the Jewish Federation of western Massachusetts, in the release. “When a Jewish community is attacked, it is our responsibility and our honor to be able to stand up and support each other. We urge all members of our community to contribute to the efforts of our partners abroad.

Donations can be made online at

The Midwest Justice Center has a new director

WORCESTER — Community Legal Aid, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income and elderly residents of central and western Massachusetts, has appointed Kristen Williams as director of its affiliate organization, the Central West Justice Center.

According to a press release from Community Legal Aid, Williams replaces Leticia Medina-Richman, who has been named the nonprofit’s chief operating officer.

As director, Williams will oversee a team of attorneys, paralegals and staff who help low-income and senior clients obtain immigration, housing and employment benefits in the five central and eastern counties. western Massachusetts, the statement said. The Central West Justice Center has offices in Worcester, Northampton, Springfield and Pittsfield.

Williams, a Philadelphia native who now lives in Connecticut, joined Community Legal Aid in 2014 as an attorney for AmeriCorps representing tenants in eviction cases. According to the release, she later became an attorney representing clients in public benefits cases, including Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and unemployment.

The Dakin Humane Society helps Vermont shelter a large rescue dog

SPRINGFIELD — The Dakin Humane Society was one of many animal welfare organizations that responded to help a humane society in Vermont that had received 21 dogs that had been abused.

The dogs – 16 of whom are Treeing Walker Coonhounds, the other five being mixed breeds – were tied up outside with inadequate shelter, their water bowls had frozen and there was no food in sight, according to the Windham County Humane Society, the organization that took in the animals. According to a press release from the Dakin Humane Society, most dogs are in very poor condition, malnourished and have medical issues.

Dakin staff last week returned four of the dogs to their Springfield facility to ease the burden facing the Windham County Humane Society. Maya Richmond, executive director of the Windham County Humane Society, noted that it typically costs around $500 to bring a dog into the shelter, which can include an assessment, food, medication, neutering surgery, transport and cleaning. Dogs in poor condition can cost double that amount, prompting the humane society to ask for help.

“Dakin is here for tough cases like this,” Stacey Price, director of development and marketing, said in the release. “These dogs will need medical attention, rehabilitation and recovery time, and we can provide that for them. The collective effort of several animal welfare groups coming together saves lives and we are happy to be able to provide that by helping our partners at the Windham County Humane Society.

The four dogs in Dakin’s care are being assessed and receiving medical attention. They are not yet available for adoption.

NAMI Hosts 11th Annual Art and Poetry Exhibition

AGAWAM – The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Western Massachusetts will hold a kick-off reception for its 11th annual art and poetry show, showcasing the work of artists and poets living with mental health issues on Tuesday, April 5, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chicopee Public Library, located at 449 Front Street.

The reception and parking adjacent to the library are free. According to a press release from NAMI, the show will sell artwork and poetry, with proceeds going to the artists. Complimentary refreshments will be served.

The exhibition runs until the end of April.


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