/Irina MissiuroIt’s that time of year. The trees are blooming and so are the teenagers. You probably have some young people in your life who are graduating this year.

To ease the usual conundrum – figuring out what to buy for a present – we have compiled a list for you of the 10 best gifts for graduates. There’s something for all the high school graduates here. Hopefully, you will see that perfect present, but even if you don’t, maybe you’ll be inspired by an idea or a great-sounding store you might want to visit now that you’ve read about it here. Whatever the case, happy graduation and happy shopping!

Gift: Enameled and Jeweled Pewter Candlesticks-Jerusalem (Blue), $119.

These gorgeous candlesticks, adorned with Old Jerusalem scenery, will allow your graduate to celebrate Shabbat in style. The pewter pair, decorated with 24K gold plating, enamel and jewels, comes in a deluxe gift box.

Buy it at: Temple Beth-El Judaica Web Store, (The online gift shop is under the “Giving” tab. Click it to go to

Gift: Chai Bracelets, $48.

These chic bracelets – as their name proclaims – celebrate life. Bring peace, prosperity and happiness to your graduate with these silk and beaded (in multiples of 18) pieces of art, each of which wraps around the wrist three times for “a triple chai.”  – Odessa Jewish community leaders said May 4 that Jews in the Western Ukrainian city are preparing to evacuate if violence there worsens.

Over the past few days in Odessa, violent clashes between pro-Russian and nationalist forces resulted in more than 40 deaths, according to reports.

About 30,000 Jews live in Odessa. Representatives of the Ukrainian Jewish community insisted that the violence is not specifically targeting Jews. But Rabbi Refael Kruskal, who heads the Odessa-based Jewish philanthropic organization Tikva, said there were several Jews wounded in the clashes.

The artistic display created by the fifth-grade during their project. /Jamie Faith WoodsIn the Pre-K classroom at JCDSRI, Andrea Katzman writes the following about her experience applying the concepts of critique and multiple drafts to 4-year-olds: “Recently, we experimented with a different mode of reflection, that of creating multiple drafts. The book ‘An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students,’ by Ron Berger, inspired us....Two students decided they wanted to experiment with this concept. Motivated by research they had done while preparing to build our space shuttle, they determined that they would draw an astronaut. After carefully studying a picture of an astronaut, the two students drew their first picture. Afterward, each student reflected on his choices and what he felt he might try to do differently for the next draft. Then his friend offered feedback, including what he liked (an important component of the critique process) and what specifically his friend might try next. ‘I like how you made the helmet a circle – it looks so round!’ shared one student. ‘I see that your astronaut doesn’t look like he has feet. Can you put them in next time?’ Each student drew four different drafts, including taking time between each draft to reflect on his own work as well as that of his peer. The next day, each child presented his work and experiences with creating multiple drafts to our kehillah during Circle Time conversations. Shared one student, ‘I like doing drafts. I get better at making an astronaut. I didn’t think I could do it. And now I can! I just had to keep practicing.’ Each time a new draft was shown, the two children heard gasps of astonishment from other children. Their audience expressed pride in each student’s progress and his dedication to the process.”


B’nai Israel’s stained-glass windows in the main sanctuary are one of the building’s  most striking features. /RIJHAAlthough Temple Beth-El is widely known as an outstanding example of modern art and architecture, a slightly younger Rhode Island synagogue merits comparable attention. Indeed, B’nai Israel, built in Woonsocket in 1962, may have the finest ensemble of stained-glass windows in any American synagogue.

Founded in 1889 as an Orthodox congregation and later affiliated with the Conservative movement, B’nai Israel had only one previous home, a former Presbyterian church at Greene and Bernon Streets, which it purchased and renovated in 1904. Planning for a new structure began in 1944, but it was deferred because of immediate Jewish needs in Europe and Israel. By the late 1950s, synagogue leaders sought a building that would not only reflect their own self-esteem but perhaps impress their gentile neighbors. Indeed, when completed, the new B’nai Israel could have distinguished almost any community.

Ruth Samdperil,  “The Reader,” oil /Temple HabonimThe May/June show in the gallery at Temple Habonim features works in three styles and media by three well-known area artists: Angel Dean, Michael Guertin and Ruth Samdperil.

Angel Dean showcases her exceptional sense of design as well as her mastery of the technique of encaustics in her work. She was recently accepted into the prestigious “New England Wax,” a selective group of artists who work in the medium. Coupled with her sense of humor and her background in such areas as theater, music and photography, her sophistication adds to her subject matter and her art.