Author and mah jongg historian Gregg Swain will present an interesting and informative program on Dec. 14 at 3 p.m. at Temple Habonim, 165 New Meadow Road, Barrington, as part of its Adult Education series. Swain is the co-author, along with Ann Israel, of the recently published book, “Mah Jongg: The Art and History of the Game.”  The book chronicles the early beginnings of the game and documents mah jongg sets from the most basic to the most outrageous and opulent.  The authors’ research includes vintage collections not only in the United States, but in places as far away as Africa and New Zealand. Swain, an art historian, will discuss mah jongg’s art and its symbolism as well as the tradition of mah jongg in the Jewish community.  Her presentation will include historical photographs.


Food, fun and festivities are on tap Dec. 14 for Jewish teens at #HanukkahBashRI.

The celebration for those in grades 8-12 is a project of all the youth groups in greater Rhode Island, including USY, BBYO, NCSY, NFTY, PROFTY, CRAFTY, Camp JORI, Maccabi and Midrasha.

BOSTON (JTA) – Back in 1984, when Eric Kimmel was an up-and-coming children’s book author, he tried his hand at a Hanukkah story, one featuring goblins. Overly cautious Jewish editors rejected the manuscript, not knowing what to make of it, Kimmel recalled.

“It was strange. It didn’t look like any other Hanukkah books and didn’t fit into any neat category. It wasn’t a folk tale and it was kind of creepy,” he told JTA with his signature sense of humor and tell-it-like-it-is manner.

Kimmel tucked the story away in a drawer for a while.

JTA – A federal judge in Connecticut rejected motions by a death row inmate who is suing the state for not providing him with kosher prison food.

U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Thompson in his ruling issued last week said Steven Hayes, who was convicted in the 2007 murder of a woman and her two daughters, receives meals that are certified by two rabbis who monitor the preparation of kosher food in the state’s prison system, The Associated Press reported.

In his lawsuit filed in August, Hayes said that the state’s Department of Corrections was not serving him kosher food.

When you think back on your childhood, one of the first memories that likely pops into your head is cuddling in bed with mom and dad while they read bedtime stories to you until you doze off. It’s the moment that little ones wait for the entire day – the parent’s attention is focused on them, undivided and whole. Most of the time, it’s the parent who selects the books, subtly influencing the child’s tastes, steering him toward particular topics, authors and genres.