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Ann Marie Somma

Ann Marie Somma serves as the editor and community manager of HartfordFAVS.

All Stories by Ann Marie Somma

Gay Jews celebrate their faith and sexuality at Conn. retreat

By Ann Marie Somma — March 7, 2014
FALLS VILLAGE, Conn. (RNS) Nehirim, which develops programs, campus events, and advocacy work for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Jewish community, began hosting retreats at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center as a way for gay Jews to celebrate their dual identities.

ShivaConnect helps Jews navigate the mourning period

By Ann Marie Somma — October 24, 2013
(RNS) The aim of the website is to avoid duplication and consolidate the many facets of Jewish mourning.

Connecticut slave to get a long overdue church funeral

By Ann Marie Somma — August 27, 2013
(RNS) The slave's master, a Waterbury bone doctor by the name of Preserved Porter, stripped his skin, boiled his bones and used the skeleton as a medical specimen.

Once widely spoken, now mostly studied, Yiddish sees revival

By Ann Marie Somma — August 9, 2013
(RNS) While many older Americans gather to reminisce about parents and grandparents who spoke the Germanic-Hebrew language of Eastern and Central European Jews, a renewed interest in Yiddish is blooming among a younger generation of people who have no such memories.

Hartford Faith & Values Video: Keeping Yiddish alive

By Ann Marie Somma — July 24, 2013
Members of a Bloomfield, Conn., synagogue work to keep the Yiddish language alive.

Deal promises new life for abandoned Catholic shrine

By Ann Marie Somma — July 3, 2013
(RNS) John Baptist Greco built the once vibrant miniature replica of Bethlehem and Jerusalem out of plywood, scrap metal and discarded objects. His years of toil turned a craggy mountaintop into an attraction that drew thousands of Christian pilgrims in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Barber wins right to continue haircuts for the homeless

By Ann Marie Somma — June 20, 2013
HARTFORD, Conn. (RNS) An 82-year-old barber can continue providing free haircuts and shaves to the homeless after city officials tried to shut him down for lack of permits.

Lifetree Cafes offer space for tough topics

By Ann Marie Somma — June 7, 2013
(RNS) Lifetree Cafes are a fairly recent venture by Group Publishing, a Colorado-based Christian publishing company that is tapping into people's yearning for community and face-to face connection.

An old-school confessional revives saying ‘I’m sorry’

By Ann Marie Somma — April 29, 2013
DERBY, Conn. (RNS) The Rev. Janusz Kukulka can't say his parishioners are sinning more -- but they sure are lining up at the new confessional booth that's decidedly old-school.

Newtown library flooded with grief books after school shooting

By Ann Marie Somma — January 10, 2013
NEWTOWN, Conn. (RNS) In the weeks since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults, thousands of books have arrived at the town's public library from all over the country -- from authors, publishers, and ordinary people buying multiple copies of books on that they had found helpful in their grief. By Ann Marie Somma.

Retiree devoted to mission: repairing damaged rosaries

By Ann Marie Somma — December 3, 2012

SIMSBURY, Conn. (RNS) At age 75, Betty Holden in on a crusade to repair broken rosaries. She's been at it for almost 20 years, spending several hours a day behind a pair of needle-nose pliers. By Ann Marie Somma.

Descendants want justice for Connecticut witches

By Ann Marie Somma — October 1, 2012

HARTFORD, Conn. (RNS) Connecticut was executing suspected witches some 40 years before Salem, Mass. Scores of others were put on trial until witchcraft was no longer listed as a capital crime in 1715. But unlike other states, Connecticut has yet to acknowledge those sent to the gallows. And descendants are trying to change that. By Ann Marie Somma.

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