Resources for Americans in Israel

October 13, 2023

The horrific acts of violence starting last weekend in Israel have shocked the world. As most of us struggle to process the news, many in our communities are actively looking for, or mourning loved ones. Please share the resources below to help any family or friends who are actively in Israel and trying to leave safely.

This week there has also been a sharp rise in antisemitism and threats against Jewish communities and synagogues. As you will in the NPR story below, it is important that we call out and report acts of hate or discrimination whenever they occur so we keep our neighbors safe.

Back in Connecticut, I grilled the head of the Department of Children and Families about the claims of abuse at a temporary housing facility for teenage girls.

And, the state is launching a new health and human services portal. Keep scrolling to see how can help you and your family.

Below you will find the following sections and topics in this week's email:
  • Resources for Americans in Israel
  • Demanding Answers About Abuse at Youth Home
  • State's New Health & Human Services Portal
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • CT's Transportation Bonds Upgraded
  • In The News
  • Derby Events Calendar
  • Upcoming Events in Hamden
  • Orange Events and Community Calendar
  • Woodbridge Events and Community Calendar
Resources for Americans in Israel
The events that have taken place in Israel are simply heartbreaking. Thousands of innocent people, including Americans, have lost their lives in the senseless violence. Many others have been hurt or lost family and friends. Thousands of Americans are in Isreal right now, and many are seeking to safely leave the country. 

Please share the resources below with anyone who may be in the region.

The Department of State has an around-the-clock coordinating group communicating with U.S. citizens and providing them assistance through phone calls and an online form. U.S. citizens seeking to be in touch with the U.S. Embassy in Israel can call 1-833-890-9595 or 1-606-641-0131.

For the latest updates from the Department of State, please monitor the messages to U.S. citizens from the U.S. Embassy in Israel here.

The State Department has asked that any U.S. citizens in Israel enroll their contact information in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). You can complete enrollment online here. Enrolling in STEP allows you to receive important information about safety conditions and assists the Embassy, family, and friends in contacting you during an emergency.

The State Department is continuously updating its international travel advisory for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Those updates can be found on their website here.

Demanding Answers About Abuse at Youth Home

My colleagues on the Committee on Children and I demanded answers from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) about a temporary housing facility for teenage girls in Harwinton that is involved in alleged cases of sex trafficking, abuse, and assaults.

There are also several claims of sexual contact between an employee at the home and a young person who was living there. A parent of a 14-year-old girl, who claims she was physically assaulted at the home, is suing the home.

I made it clear to DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes that we must do more work to ensure the safety of our children. Please watch my testimony below.

Committee on Children holds hearing on Bridge Family Center's Star Home in Harwinton.
State's New Health & Human Services Portal

I am so excited to announce, a new website serving as a hub for all of your health and wellness services. You'll find all sorts of great, local resources like:

  • Programs specifically tailed for your community
  • Insurance and financial resources
  • Easy directions to apply for the help you need
  • Health services for you and your loved ones
  • Healthy Living Tools

Click the image below to check out the new website!

You can also check your eligibility for assistance with health insurance, utilities, food, and other critical health needs. Spread the word and check it out today!
    Breast Cancer Awareness Month
    1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That is one person every 2 minutes in the United States. And in 2022, it is estimated that 44,000 people will die from breast cancer.
    Here are some facts about Breast Cancer
    • The chance of getting breast cancer increases as a woman gets older. Breast cancer is extremely rare in women in their teens or early 20s and uncommon in women under age 40. In fact, 94 percent of new cases of breast cancer occur in women over the age of 40.  
    • Your risk of breast cancer increases if your mother, sister, or any close relatives on your mother's or father's side of the family have or had either breast or ovarian cancer. The amount of risk depends on the closeness of the relatives, the total number of relatives, and their age when their cancers were diagnosed.
    • If you had cancer in one breast, your chance of getting cancer in the other breast is greater.
    • Breast cancer is more common in some racial and ethnic groups than in others, though medical experts do not know why. White women are more likely than Hispanic, African American, Asian, or Native American women to get breast cancer. In addition, women with Eastern European (Ashkenazi Jewish) ancestry on either side of their family are at increased risk. African American women are more likely than women of other racial and ethnic groups to die of breast cancer.
    • Your chance of getting breast cancer is increased if you never gave birth or if you had your first child later in life (in your 30s or 40s).
    • Your chance of getting breast cancer may be greater if you use certain kinds of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause.

    We are committed in the legislature to fighting for those affected by breast cancer here in Connecticut and will continue to help doctors and scientists working to find cures, address the needs of patients and their families, and make treatments affordable.
    If you are a woman over 40, please make sure you receive an annual mammogram and check yourself monthly.

    CT's Transportation Bonds Upgraded

    Kroll Bond Rating Agency has upgraded the credit rating of Connecticut’s transportation bonds from AA+ to AAA, the highest credit rating possible.

    The upgrade is for Connecticut's Special Tax Obligation (STO), Transportation Infrastructure Purposes Bonds, which are issued for the state's portion of transportation infrastructure improvements, including construction and maintenance of highways, roads, bridges, mass transit projects, waterway access, and more.

    Kroll credited the upgrade in part to the state’s strong legal framework that protects bondholders by committing revenues to cover debt service on STO bonds. Kroll also upgraded the state’s General Obligation credit rating to AA+ earlier this year. Since 2021, Moody’sFitchKroll (twice), and S&P (twice) have upgraded Connecticut’s GO credit rating.
    In The News
    NPR: "Hamden police step up patrols near synagogue after bomb threat"

    Connecticut Examiner: "Harwinton Teen Shelter Incidents Prompt Legislative Response"

    News 12 Connecticut: "Lawmakers demand answers about abuse at Harwinton youth home"

    Derby Events Calendar
    Check out the events below to see what's going on in Derby, and click the button at the bottom of this section to access the community calendar.
    Come visit the Derby Historical Society at the Ansonia Nature Center’s Autumn Festival on Saturday, October 21 from 10 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. Try your hand at spinning and weaving, test out colonial period toys, or purchase something from our “Make Your Own” Table. Toys, crafts, books and other merchandise will be available for sale.
    Derby Community Calendar
    Upcoming Events in Hamden
    Take a look at the flier below and click on the button to learn about upcoming events in Hamden:
    NYC-based alt-pop artist Rachael Sage will be performing on Saturday, October 14 from 7:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M. at Best Video Film & Cultural Center.
    More Hamden Events
    Orange Events and Community Calendar
    Check out the upcoming events in Orange, and please click the button below to access the community calendar.
    Head over to Case Memorial Library's book sale on Saturday, October 14 from
    10 A.M. – 3 P.M.
    Most books are $2 for soft cover and $3 for hard cover. Some books may be priced higher. CDs and DVDs are 25 cents each.
    Tickets are on sale now for this funny, heartwarming, poignant, romantic comedy with all the magic of the Northern lights. Tickets at the door are $25 cash or check only.
    Buy Tickets Here
    Organizers will not be accepting seat reservations for the show, however, should you require special seating arrangements, please call the box office 475-227-7547 or email
    Orange Community Calendar
    Woodbridge Events and Community Calendar
    Check out the events below and click the button under that to access the community calendar.
    Tips for Memory with Dr. Wendy Hurwitz
    Saturday, October 14 at 2 P.M. at Woodbridge Town Library
    Come learn about the tips and techniques used by memory athletes.
    ***Please note: this is fragrance-free event!***
    CLICK HERE to register and learn more about the event!
    Woodbridge Community Calendar