Berkshire Jewish Women's Federation Announces Grants

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Berkshires (JWF) has announced grant awards totaling $63,425 for 16 local organizations.

The grants range from $1,500 to $5,000 and run for one year. Funded programs fall into three of the Foundation’s priority areas:

Increasing Access to Food, Housing, and Other Essentials for Berkshire Residents: Berkshire Bounty, Berkshire Community Diaper Project, Berkshire South Community Center, Greenagers, Roots and Dreams and Mustard, Roots Rising, South Community Food Pantry, and The Guthrie Center

Promoting Self-Sufficiency: Arts in Recovery for Youth, Berkshire Center for Justice, Berkshire Immigrant Center, Community Health Programs, 18 Degrees, and Literacy Network

Empowering Youth and Young Adults: Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center/Girls Inc. of the Berkshires, Central Berkshires Habitat for Humanity, and Railroad Street Youth Project

In its 13th year, JWF, under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, has granted more than $450,000 to community organizations. JWF has over 180 members who are passionate about giving back to the Berkshire community.

For information about the grants program, please contact Esther Messing, Chair of the Grants Committee at or visit

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Pascual-Polanco Brothers Sentenced to Life for 2019 Homicide

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Chiry Omar Pascual-Polanco and Carlos Pascual-Polanco on Thursday were given life sentences without possibility for parole for the murder of 18-year-old Jaden Salois in 2019.

The brothers lured Salois, of Dalton, outside a Pittsfield home for a false drug deal and shot him in the back in the early morning hours on Jan. 20, 2019. Prosecutors say the killing was over allegations of stolen marijuana. 
During the sentencing at Berkshire Superior Court, several of Salios' family members gave impact statements that detailed his kind disposition and hopes for the future. They said it was unfair for him to be robbed of it.

"A piece of me is gone that will never be replaced," his mother Megan Bernardini wrote.

"Over the past 3 1/2 years, me and my family have experienced endless sleepless nights and have had never-ending thoughts of why this happened to Jaden and why this happened to us," his cousin Brianna Crucitti said. "We still don't know why it happened to him or why it happened to us."

Family members of Chiry Omar, 26, and Carlos, 22, called the verdict is an injustice, arguing that there was not sufficient provable evidence and that the brothers are innocent.  

They did not speak at the sentencing but offered statements to iBerkshires afterward.

Sister Marisela Pascual knew that she and her brothers had "no fighting chance" for their lives in this community and said it is clear that they didn’t commit the crime.

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