New England Region participants had a chance to plant at Matan Graff’s family moshav, left, and try out some fresh mint, above. Graff is the Israeli Shaliach (Emissary) for the Jewish Alliance. Below, they march from Auschwitz to Birkenau  along with all the other March of the Living participants. /MOL FacebookThe group of teens from Rhode Island who are participating in the March of the Living marched on April 28. Here is the New England blog entry from that date. It was written by Rhode Island’s Lexi Kutenplon-Rayess and Rachel Steinmetz, a participant from one of the other New England groups:

Today was Yom HaShoah, the day we all participated in “the March” from Auschwitz to Birkenau. Everyone started the day off with mixed emotions not knowing what to expect or feel, but once we got there the overwhelming amount of feeling of Jewish teens and survivors was comforting to us. We can all agree that seeing the “sea of blue jackets” marching between the two camps was a meaningful and powerful experience. Between the march and the ceremony, we all felt really proud to be there, walking in the path that our ancestors walked years before us.

Read more: March of the Living 2014

JTA – During shiva for my mother, my father gathered my brothers and me to share a letter in which she expressed some musings and last wishes. The letter also said that as the sole daughter, I had inherited her jewelry box.

In the room in which I had grown up in the 1970s, I opened the box to see the necklaces, bracelets, rings and clip-on earrings my mother had collected. She had not worn them much over the last 16 years, as she grew considerably weaker from an illness she preferred  to keep private.

Most of the jewelry was gifts from people who never knew how little my mother cared for trinkets — a sentiment I inherited — but the gold ring immediately flashed at me. Its large brown oval stone at the center of a sturdy gold cocktail-style setting seemed to oscillate between dark brown and hazel. I put the ring on my right hand.

Read more: Rings and things: Remembering loss, moving toward life

On a mission to the Israeli embassy. Front row, left to right: Cliff Guller, Steve Woolf of JFNA, Lauren Frishman of JFNA, Dr. Julie Kopp Smily, Terry Smily. Back row: David Leach, Jill Padwa, Jeffrey Padwa, Bruce MacIver of JFNA, Jeffrey Savit,  Alex Gaines, Rabbi Marc Mandel /Marty CooperThe nine participants in the recent Community Relations Council’s Washington, D.C., mission experienced meetings, briefings and even managed a museum tour in what proved to be a meaningful and productive two days.

The Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington headquarters was the site of meetings to discuss the issues facing the Rhode Island Jewish community to be raised with elected officials. Policy lobbyists and analysts of the JFNA and Jared Feldman of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs spoke to such issues as: securing additional funding from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to assist programs like the kosher food pantry and senior meals program; passage of the Behavior Health Information Technology legislation, sponsored by Sen. Whitehouse, that will provide essential funding for meaningful use of electronic records; improving access to Medicare coverage with regard to “Observation Stays” that fixes an oversight in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Read more: Mission to D.C. gives a glimpse of policymaking

Ellie and Charles Elbaum /Trine lustigThe Dor L’Dor Bequest and Planned Giving Society of the Jewish Federation Foundation of Greater Rhode Island hosted an event at the home of Cheryl Greenfeld Teverow on May 1, featuring Eric Goldman, professor of film at Yeshiva University. He spoke about the American Jewish experience in film. The crowd saw short clips from a variety of different films starting in the 1920s and illustrating the perception Americans had toward Jews as well as how Jews felt about themselves during that time.


Read more: Dor L’Dor event highlights American Jewish Film experience

JTA – Much ink has been spilled since the release of the Pew Research Center survey on Jewish identity in the United States. Many have addressed a number of the findings of the survey, with varying degrees of concern. But as we approach Yom HaShoah, I would like to address one issue that seems to unify Jews wherever they are along the affiliation spectrum, and that is the memory of the Holocaust.


Read more: Giving meaning to Holocaust remembrance