Community news: Universities launch virtual lecture series and more

Greyson, 5, and Stella, 2, of Fairfield, made a snowman with the help of their dad during this week's storm.

Greyson, 5, and Stella, 2, of Fairfield, made a snowman with the help of their dad during this week’s storm.

Jennifer Grega / Contributed photo

Orders open for Valentine’s Day pasta dinner

The deacons of First Congregational Church in Fairfield are sponsoring their traditional pasta dinner in a takeout format to help raise money for those in need

The tradition dates to the founding of the town and everyone is welcome.

Participants are encouraged to make a freewill donation of any size.

All of the money collected will be put towards Deacon’s Emergency Assistance Fund of First Church to help members of the community with housing, food, utilities, medical bills, prescriptions and other necessities.

More than $25,000 has been raised for the dinner in the last 10 years from the generosity of Chip’s Family Restaurants, which also donated the pasta, meatballs and sauce. The goal for the 2021 dinner is $5,000.

Email to order meals before Feb. 7 and specify if any are vegetarian or gluten free options.

Ordered dinners can be picked up at 148 Beach Road from 4 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 14.

Open MINDS Institute announces seminars

Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts announced a new season of interactive virtual seminars through its Open MINDS Institute.

The free classes last an hour and are open to the public. They are held at 1 p.m. every Wednesday from Feb. 10 to March 3 and then again on March 24 and 31. No registration is required.

The six classes will be led by master instructors in their respective fields.

The first will be Rebekah Beaulieu’s presentation “Discovering the Home of American Impressionism: Inside the Florence Griswold Museum.” Michael Ciavaglia, will follow with a program on Russian composers: Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Prokofiev.

Meryl Moss will then focus on what it takes to promote an author’s work in today’s literary market. Rabbi Sarah Marion and Rev. Vanessa Rose’s program will discuss women who serve as religious leaders.

Megan Paqua’s program, “Mummies, Myths and Mysteries - Decoding Ancient Egyptian Art,” is next and finally Gavriel D. Rosenfeld will conclude the series by exploring the ways the internet offers new possibilities for educating people about the Nazi legacy, while simultaneously promoting its trivialization and “normalizing” the history of the Third Reich in contemporary culture.

For more information, visit, or contact the box office at 203-254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

Sacred Heart University hosting discussion about D.C. events

Sacred Heart University will present a free, online discussion, “American Democracy Under Siege: The Long Shadow of Reconstruction,” at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9.

Charlotte Gradie, the chair of the school’s history department, will host. There will also be speakers from the department taking a multidisciplinary approach to cover themes of justice, truth, politics, history, law and order, media and multiculturism for the event. They will also provide historical context for the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Questions can be submitted through the university’s website.

The event can be viewed on YouTube.

Program look at politics and identities among Jews

Fairfield University is hosting a webinar by Joshua Shanes, an associate professor of Jewish studies, and the Director of the Center for Israel Studies at the College of Charleston, on Zoom at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 9.

Shanes’ lecture, “A Growing Schism: Politics and Identity Among Orthodox and Non-Orthodox Jews,” will explore the political identity divergence between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews in the context of American trends and the role of Jewish politics as a debate about the meaning of Jewishness itself.

The lecture is free, and open to the public. Visit: to register.