Gussie and Victor Baxt had always been a team. According to Gussie, they did everything together, and that includes philanthropy.

“Victor believed in philanthropy,” she said, “and so do I. I’m trying to follow through on his wishes.”

“Victor and I talked about the needs of the JCC many times in past years,” she said. “We felt that the JCC should have a more uplifted facade on the outside as well as the inside of the building … that it should be more attractive and inviting.”

So it’s only natural that Gussie continues the tradition as she makes a gift toward improvement of the Dwares JCC. Victor, who spent 65 years at Teknor Apex including as president and chairman of the board, passed away in 2012. Now, Gussie is making a $500,000 gift to “help complete the wonderful project of rejuvenation of the Dwares JCC… to make it part of the community and all that it offers,” she says.

Richard Licht, Cheryl Greenfeld Teverow and Janet Goldman after the program.Richard Licht, Cheryl Greenfeld Teverow and Janet Goldman after the program.PROVIDENCE – On June 10, the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island held its 4th annual meeting at the Dwares Jewish Community Center. Hillary Schulman, development associate and member of Pastrami on R.I., opened the event with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah.”

Jeffrey Savit, president and CEO, spoke enthusiastically and optimistically about the future of the community, saying that he has always believed in the success of the Alliance, even when all indicators predicted disappointment. “Four years ago, who would have ever dreamed that despite the very challenging economic climate in which we all live, we would have been able to sustain our $3.1 million annual campaign, launch our $1.5 million Living on the Edge Initiative to help serve and meet the needs of our community’s most vulnerable, secure funding for and build a new Holocaust Memorial, and secure upwards of $5 million (with a final $1 million plus capital campaign taking place this summer) to renovate our lovely home, the Bonnie and Donald Dwares Jewish Community Center?” 

Ronni Saltzman GuttinRonni Saltzman GuttinThe Camp JORI board of directors announced June 12 that Ronni Saltzman Guttin will be stepping down as director after 20 years of devoted service to begin a new chapter in her camping career. Board President Deborah Salinger said, “Ronni has provided summers of loving support to thousands of our children, even raising her own four children at camp. We share this news with mixed emotions – gratitude for all that Ronni has given to JORI, happiness for her as she prepares to embark on a new adventure, and with full hearts, knowing she will make the 2015 season the best summer of her career to date.” Guttin will transition from her leadership role in October 2015.


Nave GedjNave GedjThis year, Nave Gedj is the Israeli Shaliach (emissary) and a counselor for the summer J-Camp. Nave comes from a small kibbutz called Kibbutz Moran located in the northern part of Israel, near the city of Karmiel. She has two younger brothers and one older sister who is now on a trip in New Zealand. Her father is an engineer, and her mother is a family therapist.


Miriam Ladin makes a point.Miriam Ladin makes a point.A microcosm of the Jewish community came together the night of June 9 to talk about Israel. Seated at eight tables of six to eight people each, men and women with opinions on Israel that spanned the political spectrum spent two hours listening to one another. The dialogue was directed by moderators who used pre-scripted questions as prompts to get discussions going on a wide range of issues.

In the end, everyone agreed it was an eye-opening experience.

“Can we talk about Israel?” was based on the successful “Israel Talks” program developed in New York by the Jewish Community Relations Council. Here, it was sponsored by the Israel Task Force of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and The Jewish Voice. A pilot program was held here in February.