Dear Wendy,

My grandchildren are coming to visit for Hanukkah, and I would like to make our home festive for the holiday!  Where can I find Hanukkah decorations, gifts and goodies?

Sue, West Greenwich

Dear Sue,

Thanks for writing – it is much easier and more fun to shop for Hanukkah goods than when I was growing up.  Now, you can walk into CVS, Target, Crate and Barrel, and even the Christmas Tree Shops, and you can find Hanukkah decorations, candles, menorahs, books and more!  Local markets including Eastside Marketplace, Stop and Shop, Davis Dairy as well as Books on the Square and Barrington Books carry many items, too.  It is always nice to support our local agencies, synagogues, merchants and artists. Locally you can buy most anything from cards, to specialty Hanukkah chocolates to menorahs. Here are a few sales and shops that I am going to try and support this year!

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (JTA) – As Hanukkah nears, let the grousing begin.

Too much is made of a holiday that Judaism ranks as a minor festival – one whose rite takes no more than five minutes to complete each night – some American Jews will say. Some will complain about the season’s excessive commercialism or materialism.

Yet most Jews will also participate in at least one of the many customs developed by American Jews to augment the holiday’s simple rite and express the enhanced place of Hanukkah, which this year falls on Dec. 16, on the American Jewish liturgical calendar.

On Nov. 24, the nation’s first African-American president awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian award, to three civil rights workers who were murdered in 1964, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney.


Hedy LamarrHedy LamarrThe annual German Inventors’ Day is held on Nov. 9, the birthday of  Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, a.k.a. Hedy Lamarr.

Kiesler made her film debut in 1930, at age 17. Two years later she earned notoriety for her nude romp through the woods in the Czech film “Ecstasy.” Her arranged marriage to Austrian munitions dealer Fritz Mandl triggered another aspect of her right-brain personality. Sitting in on arms-design meetings at Mandl’s company, she came up with the idea of designing a radio-controlled torpedo, but the idea was rejected because the signal could be too easily jammed. 

The first snowfall of the year may have come and gone without much accumulation, but the R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding drivers that winter weather is likely not far away. To help Rhode Islanders prepare, RIDOT launched a new webpage,, offering valuable winter driving tips, statistics and links to other travel planning resources.