With newspapers reporting an increase in religious and cultural intolerance and hate crimes, it is refreshing to see the Rhode Island General Assembly pass resolutions condemning the systematic and barbarous murder of Armenians and Jews. 

On April 24, Armenians across the nation stopped to remember the Ottoman authorities’ eight-year brutal campaign, taking place 100 years ago, to eliminate their ethnic group from its homeland in what is now Turkey. Both chambers of the Rhode Island General Assembly passed resolutions calling this day “Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day” and urging President Obama and Congress to officially recognize the genocide, which resulted in the estimated death of 1.5 million Armenians and to make restitution for the loss of lives, those who endured slavery, starvation, torture, unlawful deportations and confiscated properties.

Rabbi Barry Dolinger and Naomi Baine in Abuja, Nigeria. /COURTESY | Shai AfsaiRabbi Barry Dolinger and Naomi Baine in Abuja, Nigeria. /COURTESY | Shai AfsaiLast August, Rabbi Barry Dolinger, his wife, linguist Naomi Baine, and writer/photographer Shai Afsai visited the Igbo Jews in Abuja, Nigeria. Their story is the topic of the next program in the Adult Education series at Temple Habonim, 165 New Meadow Road in Barrington. On May 21, at 7 p.m., Dolinger, Baine and Afsai will talk about this visit as well as the special relationship between Rhode Island Jewry and the Igbo Jews. The story of this relationship is one of continuing friendship, of commonalities and differences, and of the primacy of identity.

Summer vacation will be here before we know it, so now is the time to start thinking about your plans. Summer J-Camp at the Dwares JCC offers everything you’d expect from a great summer experience – sports, music, nature exploration, swimming – all within a warm and welcoming community. J-Camp, which enrolls campers from ages 5 to 11 and Counselors-in-Training (CITs) from ages 12-15, is managed by nurturing staff that includes educators, child-care professionals, artists, coaches, an Israeli shaliach (emissary) and qualified counselors. Each week at J-Camp, there is a dedicated theme that ties in both secular and Jewish educational components. Elective activities, field trips and special guests make J-Camp a new adventure each week. One of the great benefits of J-camp is the fact that we run for 9 weeks while other camps only run for 8 weeks. In addition, as part of the USDA-funded Summer Food Service Program, J-Camp offers lunch and snacks daily at no extra charge to campers. 

The Providence Kollel wants to help the community make learning a part of daily life. The new project involves studying the book “Let There Be Rain,” written by Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein and Rabbi Shimon Finkelman.

The book focuses on gratitude with short daily lessons that can be learned individually, with a friend or with one’s family.  Each lesson should take 5-10 minutes. The project began May 1, but participants are welcome to join at any time. Each lesson can be learned separately.

Do you have a pair of party shoes? Do you find that there aren’t enough chances to wear them? Well put them on and join the Jewish Alliance for an evening with Jane Weitzman, wife of shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, on May 27. Weitzman will speak about her new book, “Art and Sole,” which demonstrates the different designs that she has discovered and incorporated over the years.

Shoes are a major aspect of Weitzman’s life; she believes that shoes connect a mother to her daughter. In a recent interview, Weitzman remarked that, “I think that little girls love to dress up in their mother’s clothes and that her shoes are a part of this. All things considered, the bedtime stories and the reading that they lead to are, of course, more important. Beautifully illustrated children’s books are so important, because they are a child’s first introduction to art. It is still important for girls to have fun dressing up, though.”