On March 24, National Park Service Ranger John McNiff captivated and enthralled an audience of 21, including seven from Tamarisk, at Congregation Am David. The enthusiastic and animated presentation centered on the colonial history of Rhode Island and Providence’s founder Roger Williams.  McNiff was able to weave the story of the period into a fabric, and he traced the evolution of the key American doctrines of separation of church and state and religious freedom. Both of these ideals started right here in Rhode Island, and predated our country’s Bill of Rights by 150 years.  

After his presentation, McNiff led the group in a fascinating open discussion, helping to mold the facts and interpretations into ideas we all could relate to. The program was part of Am David Chavurah’s calendar of events.

“The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman has been turned into a miniseries airing on CBS (Channel 12 in Providence) March 31 and April 1. The four-hour series, which runs from 9-11 p.m. each night, is set in Israel and based on the events at Masada in 70 C.E. The events are told from the perspective of few extraordinary women.

The show stars Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan and Kathryn Prescott in the title dovekeeper roles, Sam Neill as first-century Jewish scholar and historian Josephus, and Diego Boneta as a star warrior of the Jewish army at Masada.

NEW BEDFORD – The Holocaust Education and Memorial Committee has planned several events in April to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) on April 16, according to Cynthia Yoken, chair of the committee, part of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford.  This year is also the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps in western Europe.  Several events have been planned at different venues in the area to teach us about the Holocaust.

The group rehearses with Cantor Brian Mayer. /Jana BrenmanThe group rehearses with Cantor Brian Mayer. /Jana BrenmanOn March 22, 16 teen members of HaZamir Providence performed at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir is a network of choral chapters across the U.S. and Israel that provides Jewish teens with a high-level choral experience in a Jewish environment. HaZamir transcends boundaries, giving teenagers a valuable and transdenominational experience as an opportunity to forge close bonds and unite in a common goal: music.

There is a small sign on the bulletin board in my office that reads: Don’t let worry get you down. Remember Moses started out as a basket case.

This witticism reminds me daily to free myself from worry. All too often, we let unnecessary cares distress us. The uncertainly of life, agitation from the mundane, personal struggles or the burden of work can often trouble our souls. (Can you even imagine the anxiety Moses carried around trying to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?!)