Last year, when Barbara Cadranel, a Stratford resident and world-class harpsichordist, approached the Anti-Defamation League for assistance in standing up to her condominium association – which had demanded that she remove her mezuzah from the doorpost of her home – she couldn’t have known that her case would ultimately affect Connecticut legislation.
A mezuzah is a small, unobtrusive object placed on the doorpost of a Jewish family’s home in fulfillment of religious obligations. It is not a decorative choice or a choice of any kind for Jews and requiring its removal is tantamount to requiring a Jewish person to move.
After the condominium association turned down multiple respectful and private requests from Barbara, ADL and her legal counsel to leave the mezuzah in place – and threatened to fine her $50 per day if she did not acquiesce – Barbara and the ADL turned to the media. The story spread quickly across Connecticut, the United States and even the world, as Barbara received an outpouring of support from people in places as far away as Israel and Argentina. One person paying close attention was State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, who reached out to the ADL for our help in crafting legislation to ensure that others would not be subjected to the same treatment as Barbara. That legislation, which protects the rights of Connecticut residents to hang mezuzahs and other religiously prescribed objects on the door frames of condominiums, passed during the 2012 legislative sessions and was signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Standing up for her right to post a mezuzah on her home was the beginning of a spiritual journey for Barbara, which ultimately led her to become a bat mitzvah for the first time at the age of 61. Because of the worldwide outpouring of support and extensive media coverage Barbara has received along the way, she has affectionately given herself the nickname “Mezuzah Lady.”
In an effort to support the organization that fought so ardently to defend her, Barbara is hosting “Harpsichord Delight: A Benefit Concert for the Connecticut Anti-Defamation League,” 3-4:30pm on Sunday, Sept. 29, in the Vine Auditorium at the JCC Greater New Haven, 360 Amity Road, Woodbridge. The concert is sponsored by Go Baroque of CT, and a free master class for ticketholders is also offered at noon in the Vine Auditorium.
Barbara and other musicians will perform works composed by Soler and Scarlatti, and a Bach concerto for two harpsichords. Tickets are $36, $18 for students. Tickets, program information and directions are available at http://gobaroqueofct.eventbrite.com or at the door.
“I am doubly gratified by this event,” said Barbara. “Not only will this exciting program be my first formal concert in Connecticut since becoming a resident, but it is also a chance for me to give back to the Anti-Defamation League. Regional Director Gary Jones and his staff were crucial to combatting and overcoming the housing discrimination that I experienced, and I know their work goes on, on many fronts. These concert proceeds will help support their efforts into the future. I am honored to be a part of that.”
“I admire Barbara Cadranel a great deal,” said Jones. “She stood tall in the face of an unfair demand, and her perseverance and bravery served as the catalyst for ADL to work with the Legislature to ensure that no one else in Connecticut will be subject to this type of discrimination.”
“Barbara’s story demonstrates the wide range of impact ADL has in Connecticut,” Jones continued. “ADL regularly supports individuals who are the victims of all kinds of discrimination and hate, and we get results. In addition, because of the relationships we have with our elected officials and other leaders in Connecticut, we are also often in a position to help ensure that we can prevent certain problems, like the denial of the right to hang a mezuzah, from happening again.”
For more information about the concert, call 203-288-6500 x317.