Why do many students think that 49 x 5 = 405 rather than 245? That was the opening question for teachers who attended the Sanford z”l and Elaine Kroll Educators Conference on Oct. 26 at the Dwares JCC. You may wonder what it has to do with teaching Judaism, but it is an easy example of the type of specialized subject knowledge that a teacher must acquire.

Everyone agrees that a great teacher can have an enormous impact, yet what, precisely, makes a teacher great? Is it a matter of natural-born charisma? Or does great teaching require something more?  Elizabeth Green, co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of, presented her observations on what makes great teachers. Some of these observations appeared in Parade Magazine last August, and in other publications, but her original reporting on teacher quality was for the New York Times Magazine, an assignment that changed her views.

People have many different ways of celebrating Shabbat. Some attend synagogue with their families, and some attend services alone. Some people have a festive family meal together, and others make ha-motzi as a group, but then eat at their leisure. Some choose to make Shabbat all about family, which could include something as simple as watching a movie together. There are some people who will argue that there are right and wrong ways to celebrate Shabbat, but many would agree that the important thing about observing Shabbat is that you are doing something different from all the other days in the week, making it a little extra special and recognizing it as a sacred time. 

Maayan HarelMaayan HarelArts Emanu-El, at Temple Emanu-El Providence, presents Maayan Harel: In Concert. Harel, a Boston-based, up-and-coming soprano, is Arts Emanu-El’s 2014 guest soloist.  During her concert on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m., Harel, who was raised in Rhode Island, will sing in seven different languages. 

The public is invited to hear this exciting young soprano, whose voice has been described as full, lyrical and wonderfully expressive, as she sings in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, German, Italian, English and Czech, and performs a variety of classical, Yiddish and Jewish solo pieces.

Dear Wendy,

Will there be any Hanukkah activities at the Hope Street Winter Stroll?

Yes, there will be! On Dec. 4 from 4-8 p.m., part of Hope Street closes to celebrate the holiday season! The Dwares JCC will have a table set up so you can not only “Ask Wendy” questions but learn about our fabulous programs from other staff members as well. Come have your kids take a picture with the human dreidel, get holiday recipe ideas and learn about how to stay fit and have fun through the holiday season and the whole winter. Here are just some of the highlights of the evening:

Allan Fung – (R) Governor

Forty-five years ago, my parents set out to begin a new life in search of the American dream. They traveled halfway around the world and settled in Rhode Island. Our state offered opportunity for them and for my sisters and me. I am running for governor because that dream of a better life is missing for too many of our young people who leave the state to find that opportunity. This state welcomed my parents and gave them a chance for a good life. That is the Rhode Island I want for every resident.