A collage of Hanukkah craft projects for kids from Pinterest. /PinterestA collage of Hanukkah craft projects for kids from Pinterest. /PinterestJNS.ORG

Despite Hanukkah being one of the few Jewish holidays not mentioned in the Torah, it gets a lot of play – pun intended. Shmuel Arnold of Baltimore recalls how while growing up in a secular Jewish household, his parents made an extra effort to give Hanukkah gifts every night. Sometimes they needed to get creative, like wrapping socks or delivering a gift from an extended family member.

Without even a rendition of “Rock of Ages” around the Hanukkah menorah, Arnold says the holiday had one meaning: presents. Today, however, married with three children ranging in age from 9 to 18, Arnold – like many other parents – tries to infuse more meaning into the Festival of Lights.

The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin.

Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s “Shark Tank” program, where Mensch on a Bench founder Neal Hoffman pitched for – and secured – investors in his company. The requested change in facial expression was one that Hoffman was happy to make. 

Randy Yudenfriend Glaser, C.S.W. and Shari Ungerleider of The Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium (JGDC) will present a program on Jewish genetic diseases and the importance of carrier screening followed by a panel discussion at Temple Habonim, 165 New Meadow Road, Barrington on Dec. 13 from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

/PHOTO | SARA FOSTER/PHOTO | SARA FOSTERThe older toddlers who attend the David C. Isenberg Family Early Childhood Center at the Dwares JCC took a field trip recently to Quality Fruitland in Seekonk.


During the first round of group discussion, the spirituality/ ethics group deliberates. /Lauri LeeDuring the first round of group discussion, the spirituality/ ethics group deliberates. /Lauri LeeReaders may recall an article in a recent Jewish Voice about the colorful billboard adjacent to I-95 advertising the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island (JCDSRI). A bright eye-catcher against the sky, the billboard’s neon pink and yellow coloring is not all that makes it noticeable: the words “TOO JEWISH?” emblazoned across it prompts viewers to think about what exactly it means to be “too Jewish.” Jews have wrestled with this question for many reasons, but especially in the context of assimilating into a non-Jewish community.

Adam Tilove, who is both the head of the JCDSRI and the main driver of the “Too Jewish?” campaign, led a community conversation at the Brown RISD Hillel on Nov. 19 to discuss just that. The meeting, also called “TOO JEWISH?,” asked community members to “join your neighbors to discuss what being Jewish means in our modern, diverse world.”