Minting another batch of Hanukkah gelt


Many readers may not be aware that when I am not working for Jewish Family Service at the Kosher Senior Café, I am an active glass artist.

Every year as part of the Café’s Hanukkah celebration, I mint a new glass coin as a gift to the seniors for Hanukkah. In 2010 I created the first coin depicting a simple Jewish star. In  2011, the coin featured a person holding a menorah with a Jewish star head; 2012 featured a smiling face with Jewish star eye glasses and menorah hair; 2014 used the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island’s new logo. In 2015, a Jewish star included a peace symbol in the middle; 2016 featured a raised Jewish star. This year,  I created a coin with “Kosher Senior Café 2017” in raised lettering around a Jewish star.

These special coins have become a tradition that many of our guests anticipate. I have tried to use the ancient custom of marking great events by minting coins. We may not have won a big battle or given birth to a future king, but another year is always a celebration for those in their 80s and 90s. So we celebrate with a new glass coin. Working as a professional glass artist since receiving an MFA in 1985 from the Rhode Island School of Design, I always try to use history as a guide. These coins have allowed me to combine my passion of caring for our senior guests at the café with my artistic endeavors.

On Dec. 15, the Kosher Senior Café’s annual Hanukkah celebration will feature the music of Stanley Freedman and Friends and a festive meal, including potato latkes. Everyone will receive a dreidel, chocolate gelt and, of course, a newly minted glass coin. Please join us from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center Social Hall to celebrate the great miracle of our ancestor’s survival, as well as our thriving for another year.

NEAL DROBNIS ( is coordinator of Kosher nutrition at Jewish Family Service. For more information, call 401-421-4111. Lunch reservations are required two days in advance.