It is said, “Make yourself a heart of many rooms and bring into it the words of the House of Shammai and the words of the House of Hillel.” (Mishnah Sota 7:12)

Jewish identity is expressed through a wide array of beliefs and practices. Jews gain strength from one another, and the Jewish people become richer and stronger when we are able to understand and embrace Jews who believe differently than we do. We have a great opportunity to learn more about each other’s deeply held beliefs, practices and struggles in a safe and respectful environment. 

Mention aging and the conversation can veer down two distinct paths – one of losses (poor or ailing health, financial concerns, uncertainty of role after retirement, decline of a peer group, family far away, moving from a cherished home) or one of gains (growth of the extended family, grandchildren, time for relaxation and leisure, financial gains). Each of these is a valid topic but, for this month’s bulletin, I’d like to focus briefly on the idea of aging as a celebration and as a means to finding deeper and greater meaning in our lives.


Activity is key in the CATCH program.Activity is key in the CATCH program.In the past four months Discover CATCH has become deeply embedded into the curriculum and daily activities of the David C. Isenberg Early Childhood Center (ECC) as well as the growing after-school program at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. The children in both programs have grasped the concepts and seem to like it more than we could have hoped. From September to now, the ECC has created a theme for each month that teaches the children new CATCH vocabulary and focuses on different skills in their physical activity class. The youngest community members are learning the importance of healthy eating and maintaining active lifestyles and having fun while doing it!

Brown/RISD Hillel Executive Director Marshall Einhorn and Arielle Angell. /2013 Super Sunday photoBrown/RISD Hillel Executive Director Marshall Einhorn and Arielle Angell. /2013 Super Sunday photoIt’s time to get out your cellphone and take part in the age-old Jewish tradition of tzedakah. On Jan. 11, from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., volunteers from across Rhode Island will come together at the Dwares JCC in Providence to make a difference in the Jewish community by raising funds for the 2015 Annual Campaign of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. Super Sunday, the Alliance’s largest phone-a-thon of the year is an annual tradition. This family-friendly event strives raise enough money to help meet the growing needs of local and overseas communities.


JTA – What made headlines (in Israel, the U.S. and around the world) in 2014? Here’s JTA’s annual news quiz:

1. Palestinian officials apologized to Czech authorities after the Palestinian envoy to Prague, Jamal Al-Jamal, was killed in an explosion in his home because:

a) a cache of illegal weapons was discovered there.

b) the explosion damaged a historic Czech cemetery.

c) the ambassador’s residence was being used by Palestinian militants as a safe house.

d) Yasser Arafat’s widow, Suha, blamed the explosion on the Czech government.