The National Council of Jewish Women, a nationwide organization with a proud history of social action, advocacy, volunteerism and philanthropy, is at a crossroads in Rhode Island.

On Dec. 11, the leadership of the Rhode Island Section mailed a letter to the membership asking them to vote on whether or not to end the group’s 106 years of advocacy for women, children and families in Rhode Island.

The letter reads, in part, “…we are saddened to inform you that at this time we do not have members who are willing to assume the responsibility of leading this Rhode Island Section. Therefore, with deep regret, the board has voted to disband the Rhode Island Section.”

Nan Levine and Ellie Elbaum, co-presidents since 2008, say they can no longer lead the group.

Elbaum and Levine say they want the community to know they are not happy about this outcome. Both women have been active members of NCJW for many, many years, serving in numerous capacities. “It was a tough call,” says Levine. “I’m very sad. I love this organization.”

Filming the video at Brown. /Brown RISD HillelFilming the video at Brown. /Brown RISD HillelMarli Scharlin, Brown ’16, had an idea. Actually, she had a lot of ideas. When we first met on the steps by the Main Green in early September, she shared all of her creative, out-of-the-box, innovative ideas. As a new Engagement Intern through Brown RISD Hillel, she partnered with Hillel to make her ideas a reality.

The Engagement Internship through Brown RISD Hillel offers students the opportunity to create a project with a Jewish connection that will engage their greater networks on campus. Throughout the year, the 10 Engagement Interns meet weekly with staff and students to participate in project management, group support and Jewish learning.

A model twirls in a Catrina Nebo “Catrina Village” design. /LINDSAY CHANCELLORA model twirls in a Catrina Nebo “Catrina Village” design. /LINDSAY CHANCELLOROn Dec. 7, the women of Temple Beth-El’s Sisterhood, along with members of the Providence community, gathered to enjoy an afternoon of fashion, food and philanthropy at the first ever Right Off the Runway event.

Co-chaired by Cheryl Greenfield and Joie Magnone, the donor event aimed to raise funds for congregational and community programs including the Religious School, the Ronald McDonald “make a meal” event and scholarships for youth leadership and outreach.  Additionally, a portion of the funds will be put toward a special project at the temple. Magnone says: “First and foremost we hoped that people would come and have a really great time, but we’re also looking to raise as much money as possible so we can put it all back into the community.”

Greenfield, who also acts as the Sisterhood’s co-president, felt compelled to coordinate the unique fundraising event after a chance meeting in March with Yemi Sekoni, artistic director of Lights Fashion Philanthropy. Headquartered in Cranston, Lights Fashion Philanthropy is a fashion-driven event and entertainment company that helps charitable organizations increase fundraising efforts while promoting local boutiques and up-and-coming designers. 

Jed Brandes, Stevan Labush of Touro Fraternal and Fran Ostendorf of The Voice join the winners.Jed Brandes, Stevan Labush of Touro Fraternal and Fran Ostendorf of The Voice join the winners.Students in grades 1-8 stepped up to the challenge this year: Let us know what Hanukkah means to you and your family.

A panel of judges examined each of the 90 entries we received in the 2014 Hanukkah Art and Writing Contest, sponsored by The Jewish Voice and Touro Fraternal Association. They chose what they thought best represented Hanukkah this year. Art was judged on creativity. Writing – on what got the message of Hanukkah across. Judges were Fran Ostendorf, editor of The Voice, Tricia Stearly, advertising sales manager of the Voice, Irina Missiuro, writer and editorial consultant for The Voice and Steve White from Touro Fraternal.

Julia Keizler, Amy Vogel and Roxane Robin enjoy themselves at the Hanukkah party.  At right are photos from the photo booth.Julia Keizler, Amy Vogel and Roxane Robin enjoy themselves at the Hanukkah party. At right are photos from the photo booth.The dream of a communitywide Jewish teen event came true Dec. 14 when more than 30 teens gathered at the Dwares JCC to enjoy fun and food.

They spent a few hours with activities such as a gaga pit, games with prizes and a photo booth. The $10 admission included food from the Chubby Chickpea food truck. Fun and friendship was the name of the game, all in a relaxed atmosphere. Everything was designed to help all the groups get to know one another. “It was a great event. Teens were tweeting from the event,” said Jana Brenman, director of teen engagement at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.