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Volume XX, Issue XXVII  | Serving Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts

12 Adar II 5774 | March 14, 2014



Jewish Ukrainian citizens do not know what the future holds BY KARA MARZIALI Ukraine, Europe’s second largest country, is in crisis and the Jewish population has been affected by the turmoil. The complicated relationship between Ukraine and Russia is not new. Ousted President V i k t o r Ya nu kov ych claimed his intentions were to balance U k r a i n e ’s relationship between Russia and Europe, but his actions have suggested otherwise. During his

first two years in office, he was faulted for making extensive concessions to Russia and refusing to sign an agreement that would strengthen ties with the European Union. As thousands of people swarmed the streets of Kiev UKRAINE | 35


faces of ukraine’s activists


Ukrainian men help pull one another out of a stampede during clashes at rallies in Ukraine on Feb. 26.


A beloved spring ritual Avid gardeners share their experience BY IRINA MISSIURO

folks who enjoy gardening and asked them about their experience.

Despite the fact that you might still be wearing your parka and snow boots, spring is on its way. That means that gardening isn’t far off either. Ah, the meditative pleasure of digging in the soil and the gourmand’s joy in biting into that ripe tomato! If growing food sounds delightful to you, you might be one of the many avid gardeners of Rhode Island. Did you know that Greater Providence has more than 30 inner-city community gardens? Southside Community Land Trust supports families in their efforts to transform underused land into space that builds community and enhances the quality of life. The Voice reached out to some

Layne Mayer gardens at 160 Sessions Street in Providence

Mayer sees the hobby as “a nice escape.” She particularly enjoys the camaraderie the community provides, “There is a connection between everyone in the garden, whether you are friends or not. It is like a micro-neighborhood and everyone gives a friendly wave and shares their [sic] harvest.” Vouching for other gardeners’ friendliness and willingness to offer advice to novices, she says, “We are all in it together.” While she likes the community aspect, Mayer also enjoys the opportunity for some peace, “It is RITUAL | 22


The JCDSRI garden in full bloom. The pergola (sukkah) provides a shady place to rest.

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INSIDE Business 38-39 Calendar 8-9 Community 2-8, 14-17, 36 D’var Torah 13 Food 18-21 Obituaries 40-41 Opinion 10-12 Seniors 42-43 Simchas 47 Spring Home & Garden 22-34 Technology 44 We Are Read 46 World News 4-5, 35-37, 39

THIS ISSUE’S QUOTABLE QUOTE “It’s critical that we maintain our commitment to provide assistance to the most vulnerable in our community….”

COMMUNITY BY ROBERTA SEGAL When Temple Habonim moved to its current site on New Meadow Road in Barrington, we had the challenge of designing a temple in what had been a schoolhouse as well as the town’s school administration building. We wanted to maintain the classic simplicity of the structure and its symmetry, yet create a place that evoked spirituality. We were pleased with the results, and then it was time to choose an appropriate ner tamid (“Eternal Lamp”). I found myself appointed Chair of the selection committee. We wanted to retain the feeling of our Sanctuary, yet find something that would represent Exodus 27:20-21, a light symbolizing God’s eternal presence and never to be extinguished. We recognized that we would not use “pure olive oil beaten for the light” and agreed that electricity would be acceptable. The committee visited Congregation B’nai Israel in Woonsocket, a wonderfully designed synagogue. As we viewed their Eternal Lamp, we collectively saw a solution. Their lamp is “eternally” lit by external spotlights. The result was subtle, yet imparted the feeling that we wanted to achieve. I was given the task of finding artists, locally we hoped, to submit designs. One cold and windy day, I was walking by the RISD Auditori-

Habonim’s Ner Tamid


um when a solution presented itself. T h e r e was a st udent show, but not all of the exhibits could fit into the auditorium. On the sidewalk outside was a display of unusual amorphous glass objects with their creator Neal Drobnis (then a graduate student). Neal’s technique is a combination of sand-casting and blown

glass. His work is organic and conveys the mystery we were trying to express. The form is fluid and flowing and would complement the vertical wood on our bimah. He presented to the committee; we loved his work, and we became his first commission. We selected well; right out of graduate school, he had held two other commissions and sold out all of his work at his Thesis Show. Many know Neal Drobnis as

The Jewish Voice the Coordinator of Kosher Nutrition at Jewish Family Service. In his other capacity, however, he is an internationally acclaimed glass artist with work in museums (including The Rhode Island School of Design Museum) and corporate and private collections (Coca-Cola, Bank RI, Pilchuck Glass Center). He is currently exhibiting in galleries in Paris, Germany, Japan, Hawaii, Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles – just to name a few. In his own words, he is “inspired by nature and ancient artifacts. Sculpture is a combination of the cast and blown glass techniques reinterpreting a tradition of glass forming used by Romans over 3000 years ago.” Neal’s contrasting textures, rough and smooth, incorporate the mystery of our Eternal Lamp. ROBERTA SEGAL (rseg@ is a past president of Temple Habonim and chaired the committee that selected the eternal light. She is an artist, primarily in glass, and many years ago was the editor of the then “Federation Voice.” EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of a series about Hiddur Mitzvah (enhancement or beautification of the divine commandment). In appreciation of Hiddur Mitzvah, The Jewish Voice will highlight Judaica collections and treasures in our synagogues and museums throughout the state.


Mardi Gras and Purim BY JUDITH ROMNEY WEGNER In the United States, Mardi Gras is primarily associated with New Orleans. In French (once the predominant language in Louisiana), Mardi Gras means literally “Fat Tuesday.” It is so called because of the custom of eating rich foods, such as pancakes fried in oil for dietary indulgence, on the last day before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. In England and in British Commonwealth countries, it is called “Pancake Day” and is celebrated by pancake races–especially in New Zealand, where some years ago my husband and I watched a pancake race outside Christchurch Cathedral. Participants run while holding a frying pan containing a pancake. Incidentally, our visit to New Zealand was prompted by the fact that my maternal grandfather was born in Auckland in 1864. Americans are often astonished to learn that there was a flourishing Jewish community in Australia and New Zealand already in the mid-19th century. (It comprised mainly Anglo-Jews who were lured Down Under by the Australian and New Zealand gold rushes.) Mardi Gras has both a religious and a secular dimension. Even a Jew can acknowledge

the day from a secular perspective by wearing a New Orleans T-shirt and green, gold and purple beads. Mardi Gras is the epitome of carnivals in the U.S. and in West European countries. And it is no accident that Mardi Gras occurs calendrically close to Purim–the Jewish version of carnival. (In fact, carnivals are a universal phenomenon.) Purim falls exactly one month before Pesach, which coincides with Easter because the Last Supper was a Seder meal right before Good Friday and Easter Sunday. So in most secular-calendar years, the 40 days of Lent begin roughly 10 days before Purim. From a religious point of view, Mardi Gras is actually Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday (which is the fi rst day of Lent in the Christian calendar). On Shrove Tuesday, Christians are invited to “shrive” (confess) their sins and receive absolution in anticipation of Lent and Easter. Many Americans (Jew and Gentiles alike) are unaware of the religious significance of Mardi Gras–just as they often fail to realize that Halloween likewise originated as a religious holiday. Why the emphasis on rich foods on Shrove Tuesday? Because it immedi-

ately precedes the austere Lenten period during which Christians are required to abstain from eating meat. In fact, the very word “carnival” comes from the Latin phrase carne vale–meaning literally “meat, farewell!” The carnival as a socio-cultural phenomenon is found in most world cultures. The word itself emphasizes the sociological aspect. To forgo meat is to make a one-day exception to western cultural norms, thereby reinforcing them. In the same way, carnivals often select the humblest individuals on the socio-political totem pole–the lowest-ranking boy and girl in the community–to turn society on its head by being treated as King and Queen for a day! The carnival thus psychologically reinforces social norms; on all other days of the year, people in class-stratified societies would subordinate themselves to overlords by giving allegiance to a King and Queen or whoever was at the top of the social heap! So what has all this to do with Purim? Purim is a perfect example of the same phenomenon. According to the Megillah (the biblical Book of Esther), the native Persians of Shushan were ordered to shower honors on Esther and Mordechai

(who as aliens – which means “outsiders” or “others” – constituted the lowest social class in any culture), while Haman and his wife Zeresh, who were right at the top of Persian society, were brought low. Psychologically, the ultimate aim of carnival celebrations is to reinforce the actual sociopolitical norms of the culture in question. In particular, the purpose is to persuade people to accept the stratification of society and the obligation of kowtowing to whoever is “above” you. T h rou g hout most of history, this entailed ultimate subordination to the rule of a King/Queen at the “top.” In modern t imes, the A me r ic a n , French and Ru s s i a n revolut ions have changed all that.

March 14, 2014 |


But Mardi Gras and Purim still remind us of the course of human history. JUDITH ROMNEY WEGNER (,an editorial consultant to the RI Jewish Voice, is a retired professor of Judaic Studies with law degrees from Cambridge and Harvard Universities and a PhD in Judaic Studies from Brown University.

“Even a Jew can acknowledge the day from a secular perspective by wearing … purple, green and gold beads.”

Program Spotlight: where you can learn more about exciting programs the Jewish Alliance offers the Greater Rhode Island community.

Pursuing a just society and secure Jewish future.

The Community Relations Council (CRC) promotes a society that reflects the best of American and Jewish values - in greater Rhode Island, Israel and around the world - by convening and mobilizing the Jewish community. The CRC works towards social justice by advocating public policies that promote fairness and equality. We engage Jewish individuals and groups in meaningful and effective social action projects throughout greater Rhode Island including fighting poverty, hunger, homelessness, and improving education. For more information visit, or contact Marty Cooper at or 401.421.4111 ext. 171. 401 Elmgrove Avenue, Providence RI 02906

4 | March 14, 2014

The Jewish Voice


THE HIT NEW YORK COMEDY COMES TO PROVIDENCE! Dana Matthow and Philip Roger Roy present


Israeli Arab children at a school in Baqa al-Gharbiyye reading books from the Lantern Library, a spinoff of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s PJ Library.


APRIL 23 - MAY 18, 2014 “Amazing! Hysterical! A Wonderful Show! I Still Hurt From Laughing!” -

“Hysterically Funny! Non-Stop Laughs All The Way! I Can’t Recommend This Show Enough, It’s Just Great!” - Regis Philbin, Live With Regis & Kelly

“As Heartwarming As Comfort Food! Everyone Can Relate To This!”

PJ Library launching program for Israeli-Arab children

JTA – A foundation that distributes free Jewish books to Jewish children in North America and Israel is launching an initiative to deliver Arabic books to Israeli-Arab preschoolers. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s PJ Library and Sifriyat Pajama, PJ’s sister program in Israel, have collectively given away more than 10 million books in nine years. The new initiative for Israeli Arabs is called Maktabat al-Fanoos, Arabic for “Lantern Library,” and will distribute Arabic children’s books to 45,000 preschoolers living in Israeli-Arab communities. Some 215,000 Jewish preschoolers in Israel receive Sifriyat Pajama books. “We hope the Lantern Library will be a long-term partnership that will eventually serve Arab preschoolers in all state preschools throughout the country,” said Galina Vromen, who directs Grinspoon Foundation operations in Israel. “We are delighted that the Ministry of Education recognizes the importance of providing good books to young chil-

dren in Israel. Studies show that reading books to children from an early age is vital to emotional and intellectual development.” A recent Grinspoon Foundation-commissioned survey of more than 20,000 American Jewish parents participating in the PJ Library program found that 58 percent said the program has moderately to greatly influenced their decisions “to build upon or add a Jewish tradition to their home life” and that 62 percent said it “increased their families’ positive feelings about being Jewish.” “PJ Library meets families where they are – in the comfort of their own homes,” said Marcie Greenfield Simons, PJ Library director. “People are turning to ‘do-it-yourself’ everything, including religion, and Judaism is no different.” FOR MORE INFORMATION about PJ Library, contact Michelle Cicchitelli, Director of Jewish Life at 401-421-4111, ext. 178 or mcicchitelli@jewishallianceri. org.

- Martha Stewart Living Radio SHOW SCHEDULE/REGULAR TICKET PRICING Wed 2 & 7:30; Thur 7:30; Fri 7:30; Sat 2 & 7:30; Sun 2 Tickets: Wed & Thu: $44.00-$49.00; Fri-Sun: $49.00-$54.00 (additional theater fees may apply)

TRINITY REP - CHACE THEATER 201 Washington Street, Providence, RI 02903

Box Office: 401-351-4242

Groups (10+): 888-264-1788 Toll Free

Project snow fort


Using basic Design Thinking concepts, Jewish Community Day School students collaborated, designed, and built their own dazzling snow forts without adult involvement. Visit our Facebook page for a video of the students explaining their project.


March 14, 2014 |



An adventure with cannons and Crusaders URI returns to Israel BY ELIZABETH RAU University of Rhode Island students will have a chance to learn more about the Crusades in a new field program in Israel this summer. History professors Bridget Buxton and Joëlle Rollo Koster will lead the sixcredit undergraduate course in the history and archaeology of Akko, Israel, one of the bestpreserved medieval towns in the world. Buxton has been bringing students to the ancient city in northern Israel for several years to conduct underwater excavations with the Israel Antiquities Authority. Her underwater discoveries have made her a sought-after public speaker, and her work on the Archaeological Institute of America lecture circuit earned her an AIA “Lifesaver Award” in January. “Excavating in the ancient port with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the students and I work on everything from 19th century shipwrecks and slipways for ancient galleys to the relics of ancient tsunamis,’’ said Buxton. “Last year we even helped raise a 16th centu-

ry Venetian cannon. But Akko is also the best-preserved and most important Crusader port in the Holy Land, so logically the next thing was to try to do something on the Crusader period itself. Fortunately, my office is opposite Professor Rollo Koster’s, so I did not have to go far to fi nd an expert.” Koster specializes in the Middle Ages and has written several books and many articles on the papacy and medieval Avignon. She has taught a popular course on the Crusades at URI for many years. Local scholars and experts in Israel will also help teach the course. “We will all be together for the Crusades course in the Old City in the evenings because the days will be busy,’’ said Buxton. “Our land students will participate in a training program in Medieval archaeology, architecture, and conservation at Akko’s International Conservation Center, and the underwater team will dive. On weekends, the students will tour archaeological and cultural sites such as Belvoir, Caesarea and Jerusalem.” While the land students will

learn how to restore medieval masonry and explore the labyrinth of halls and tunnels under Akko’s stone streets, the underwater team will excavate the ruins of the ancient Hellenistic port. A massive fi rstcentury B.C. earthquake and tsunami may have destroyed Akko’s port and later, in the 6th century A.D., another earthquake seems to have destroyed it again. Some scientists have suggested that the devastating 6th century earthquake may have been partly responsible for the region falling to the armies of Islam. Buxton’s work at Akko has been supported by the Honor Frost Foundation and, as well as URI alumni and private donors. This year, the project includes collaborations with several European marine robotics teams. Buxton said that fi nding shipwrecks is much easier than securing funding for projects. “Going out looking for extremely rare and valuable things that may or may not be there – that’s the riskiest thing you can do in archaeology, too risky for most grant-giving agencies,’’

Sponsored in Providence by Dunkin’ Donuts

URI | 6

DESIGN & LAYOUT Leah M. Camara

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Kara Marziali, Alliance Director of Communications Brian Sullivan, Alliance Director of Marketing ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT Tricia Stearly 401-421-4111, ext. 160 Karen Borger • 401-529-2538

COLUMNISTS Dr. Stanley Aronson, Michael Fink, Rabbi James Rosenberg and Daniel Stieglitz CONTRIBUTING WRITER Irina Missiuro EDITORIAL CONSULTANTS Irina Missiuro | Judith Romney Wegner CALENDAR COORDINATOR Toby London MEMBER of the Rhode Island Press Association

COPY DEADLINES All news releases, THE JEWISH VOICE (ISSN number 1539- photographs, etc., must be received 2104, USPS #465-710) is published bi-week- on the Wednesday two weeks prior to ly, except in July, when it does not publish. publication. Submissions may be sent to: PERIODICALS Postage paid at Providence, R.I. ADVERTISING We do not accept advertisements for pork or shellfish. We do POSTMASTER Send address changes to: not attest to the kashrut of any product The Jewish Voice, 401 Elmgrove Ave., or the legitimacy of our advertisers’ Providence, RI 02906. claims. All submitted content becomes the PUBLISHER The Jewish Alliance of property of The Voice. Announcements Greater Rhode Island, Chair Sharon and opinions contained in these pages Gaines, President/CEO Jeffrey K. Savit, are published as a service to the com401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence, RI 02906. munity and do not necessarily reprePhone: 401-421-4111 • Fax 401-331-7961 sent the views of The Voice or its publisher, the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.

6 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

Walter Feldman Gallery to showcase emerging artists’ works On Friday, March 21, the new Walter Feldman Gallery at the Arts & Business Council (A&BC) of Greater Boston will be inaugurated with a mini retrospective of Feldman’s work. The show will celebrate his work and legacy, as well as the beginning of an exciting partnership that fulfills a goal Feldman has long held over the course of his artistic career – to support emerging artists. When Feldman was about 26, he had his first exhibition in New York City at The Artists’ Gallery, whose sole purpose was to promote young artists who had never had a professional exhibition. Walter received exemplary reviews in the New York Times and one of his paintings was bought by a person who was on the board of Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Thus his professional life began. Ever since that day, he has wanted to “give back” by providing solo exhibition opportunities to young artists who have not had prior professional recognition. Fast forward to 2010 when Feldman met James Grace, a lawyer and the executive director of the A&BC of Greater Boston. After the introduction was made, Grace visited Feldman’s studio and encouraged


him to make an appraised inventory of his work of more than 1,000 paintings, sculptures, books, and drawings. Since the A&BC of Greater Boston helps to provide pro bono assistance to aspiring artists who have deep artistic talent but may lack knowledge of the business aspects of art, the idea was born. Grace proposed a partnership to Feldman to create a program to empower artists with a first solo exhibition combined with the business and legal support they need to best take advantage of that opportunity to grow their career. Feldman shared with Grace his life’s ambition to be able to support younger artists just as he had been helped by his first solo show at age 26. Artists will be selected for the program based on a strong body of existing work by a jury consisting of art professionals. Exhibitions will be held for six weeks – one in the spring and one in the fall. To be eligible, artists must be based in New England, under 40 years old, have not had a previous solo show at a commercial gallery nor professional representation and may work in any two-dimensional media except photography. This partnership extends

outside of these two annual shows. The story of this partnership between Feldman and A&BC will be published on the website of the organization. Selected works chosen by Feldman and his advisors will be added to the A&BC’s Corporate Art Lending Program, creating additional opportunities to show and locate collectors of his work. Four of Feldman’s larger paintings have already been loaned to MIT for this purpose and are currently on display in their offices. The A&BC’s new Center for Creative Entrepreneurship is located in a renovated light industrial space in the Midway Studios building in Boston’s Innovation District, near the waterfront in Fort Point Channel. The Center shares the first floor with other businesses, including a photography studio and an architectural firm. The Walter Feldman Gallery is an exhibition space within the Center’s multi-use environment.

Akko students were on their way to Quebec to present posters on their research at the Society for Historical Archaeology’s annual meeting. Abigail Casavant, of Coventry, and Emma Heidtman, of Cranston, are pursuing master’s degrees through the URI History Department’s Anthropology Option. Both students have won prestigious Women Divers Hall of Fame Cecelia Connolly Memorial Graduate Scholarships in Underwater Archaeology to continue their research at Akko in 2014. Morgan Breene, of West Greenwich, will graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree

in history and anthropology and will continue her studies in the United Kingdom. Morgan’s honors research at Akko indentified two lost shipwrecks from Napoleon’s famous campaign to capture the city in 1799.

THE GALLERY OPENING event will be held from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 21. Feldman’s work will be on display until April 18. To learn more, go to


she said. “So we’re dependent on donors with a similar longterm vision and entrepreneurial mindset. ‘One thing is certain, however: the URI students we are able to share this experience with are transformed by it. Some of them have already used their projects in Israel to compete successfully for national scholarships and take the first big steps in their academic careers. I hope to find a way to bring all of them back to continue their research with our Crusades field school students this year.” While Buxton was receiving her AIA award, three of her

FOR MORE INFORMATION about the program, please visit html. ELIZABETH RAU (elizabeth_ is part of the Marketing and Communications staff at URI.



From left to right: Jonathan Friesem, Jack Wilson, Sabrina Brotons, Lily Nieto, Shir Mnuchin, Elanah Chassen, Matan Graff

“Shadow in Baghdad” at URI Hillel BY JONATHAN FRIESEM On Wednesday, February 19, students, faculty and community members came to URI Hillel to hear Shir Mnuchin, an Israeli, tell her mother’s story and see an excerpt from the documentary “Shadow in Baghdad.” The film details Linda Abdul-Aziz’s escape from Iraq to Israel in 1970 while her father, Mnuchin’s grandfather, stayed behind and was subsequently kidnapped, jailed and likely murdered. Mnuchin, a colleague and friend of Rhode Island Community Shaliach (Emissary) Matan Graff, is herself a former Israeli Emissary to Mobile, Ala., and is touring the country promoting the film. Her visit to URI Hillel was organized by Graff and the Jewish Alliance of Greater RI. Mnuchin opened with a statement about the importance of

to Morocco. She then transitioned into the tale of her own family and the Jewish community of Iraq. The Jewish community in Iraq dated back 2,600 years but was pressured to leave the country after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. However, Mnuchin’s grandfather, a successful attorney, decided to stay, and AbdulAziz, born in 1950, led a relatively integrated life as a Jew in a Muslim land until the Six Day War in 1967. At that time, things got progressively worse for the Jewish community in Iraq and

acknowledging family roots and how knowing family stories impacts one’s identity. She involved the audience by asking each person to share where his or her grandparents were born. The diverse nature of the crowd was demonstrated as the answers ranged from Rhode Island to Russia to South Africa

in 1970, at age 20, Abdul-Aziz, who saw no future in Iraq, decided to flee to Israel. Her siblings and mother came quickly after her while her father stayed behind. He was soon arrested and disappeared. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when channels of information began to open, Abdul-


Aziz started investigating what happened to her father. An Iraqi journalist read an article she

Shir Mnuchin


wrote and got in contact with her, offering to help her. Her online relationship with the journalist and the uncovering of the mystery of what happened to her father is the subject of the documentary “Shadow in Baghdad.” Mnuchin showed an extended clip of the film and shared how the production of the documentary helped her mother to reconcile the guilt she felt about leaving her father behind. “The screening was eye-opening to watch. It really made me realize how the Middle East has evolved,” said Sabrina Brotons, URI Hillel Student Co-President. “It was inspiring to hear Shir’s family history and learn about their success and resilience.” JONATHAN FRIESEM is a Ph.D. student in Education and URI Hillel Board member.

Elsie credits her beauty and votes from her adoring public to her fabulous stylist Wes at Classic Clips!

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The Jewish Voice

CALENDAR Ongoing Alliance Kosher Senior Café. Kosher lunch and program every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dwares JCC, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence. 12:00 p.m. lunch; 12:45 p.m. program. $3 lunch donation from individuals 60+ or under 60 with disabilities. Neal or Elaine, 401-421-4111, ext. 107. Am David Kosher Senior Café. Kosher lunch and program every weekday. Temple Am David, 40 Gardiner St., Warwick. 11:15 a.m. program; 12:00 p.m. lunch. $3 lunch donation from individuals 60+ or under 60 with disabilities. Elaine or Steve 401-732-0047.

Continuing through April 11 Everyone Has a Story to Tell. Exhibit of six-word memoirs, a profound and creative way to think about our lives, our surroundings, our reality, and ultimately ourselves. gallery (401), Dwares JCC, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence. Erin Moseley at emoseley@jewishallianceri. org or 401-421-4111, ext. 108.

Friday | March 14 Beth-Elders Shabbat Dinner. Shabbat dinner for seniors, Shabbat service followed by guest speaker Marion Gold, Commissioner of the RI Office of Energy Resource. Temple Beth-El, 70 Orchard Ave., Providence. 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. $18.

Saturday | March 15 K’Tantan Purim Party. Temple Beth-El, 70 Orchard Ave., Providence. 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Judy Moseley at 401-3316070 or Purim at Temple Habonim. Celebrate Purim with shpiel and Megillah reading. Temple Habonim, 165 New Meadow Road, Barrington. 6:00 p.m. Jodi Sullivan at 401-245-6536 or office@ Megillah Reading and Israeli Wine Tasting. Havdalah, reading of the Megillah, wine tasting and chocolate tasting. Temple Sinai, 30 Hagen Ave., Cranston. 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Rabbi Peter Stein at 401-942-8350 or stein@templesinairi. org. Megillah Reading, Spiel, and Purim Celebration. Celebration for the entire family. Temple Beth-El, 70 Orchard Ave., Providence. 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Judith Gilson at 401-621-6070 or The Beatles Megillah. Temple Habonim, 165 New Meadow Road, Barrington. 6:00 p.m. – dinner and kids’ art activities; 6:45 p.m. – Megillah adventures. 401-245-6536 or Temple Emanu-El Celebrates Purim. Purim program geared for families with young children. Temple Emanu-El, 99 Taft Ave., Providence. 7:30 p.m. - Megillah reading. Gershon Levine at 401331-1616 or

Purim Megillat Esther Reading, Carnival and Festivities. Megillah reading followed by food, fun, games, prizes, face painting, and bouncy house. Costume contest for adults, teens, and children. Congregation Beth Sholom, 275 Camp St., Providence. 7:30 p.m. 401-621-9393. Purim Rock-N-Roll Dance Party. Dance and sing with Led Shleppelin band. Alperin Meeting House, Temple EmanuEl, 99 Taft Ave., Providence. 9:00 p.m. Gershon Levine at 401-331-1616 or

Sunday | March 16 Purim Megillat Esther (Purim Scroll). Morning prayer service and second reading of Megillat Esther. Congregation Beth Sholom, 275 Camp Street, Providence. 8:00 a.m. 401-621-9393. Temple Am David Purim Carnival. Games, prizes, face painting, food, and fun. 40 Gardiner St., Warwick. 10:00 a.m. – noon. Jeanine Silversmith at or Meredith Daniels at Purim Carnival at Agudas Achim. Games, food and fun. Bring monetary or food donation for the Matanot L’evyonim (gifts for the poor). Congregation Agudas Achim, 901 North Main St., Attleboro, Mass. 10:00 a.m. – noon. 508-2222243 or Shireinu at Greenwich Farms. Community chorus of Temple Sinai performs Purim songs. Greenwich Farms, 75 Minnesota Ave., Warwick. 10:00 am. Dottie at 401-942-8350. USY Purim Carnival. Fun, games, prizes and barbecue lunch. Temple EmanuEl, 99 Taft Ave., Providence. 10:15 - 11:15 a.m. - Games for preschool and kindergartners; 11:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. - All ages. Jacob Sydney at jsydney@ Megillah Reading. Family friendly Megillah-reading and costume parade. Temple Torat Yisrael, 1251 Middle Road, East Greenwich. 11:00 a.m. 401885-6600 or Religious School Purim Carnival. Temple Habonim, 165 New Meadow Road, Barrington. 11:00 a.m. Jodi Sullivan at 401-245-6536 or office@ Purim Carnival. Games, prizes, crafts, costume parade, face painting, balloons, food, hamantaschen, raffles. Temple Torat Yisrael, 1251 Middle Road, East Greenwich. Noon – 2:00 p.m. $5. 401885-6600 or Purim Spiel - “A Nightmare on Chelm Street.” Musical-comedy rendition of the Purim story skewers monster/ horror movies. Temple Emanu-El, 99 Taft Ave., Providence. 1:15 p.m. 401331-1616.


Calendar Submissions March 28 issue, PASSOVER PLANNING – must be received by March 12 April 11 issue, PASSOVER GREETINGS – must be received by March 19 April 25 issue, MOTHER’S DAY | WOMAN OF THE YEAR – must be received by April 9

Send all calendar items to: with the subject line “CALENDAR.”

Qes Efraim Zion-Lawi with his wife Fasika and their daughter


First Israeli-born qes to visit Rhode Island Ethiopian Jewish religious leader excited to learn and teach BY SHAI AFSAI T went y- seven-yea r- old  Q e s Efraim Zion-Lawi, the first Israeli-born qes (traditional Ethiopian Jewish religious leader), will visit the Jewish community of R.I. during the last week of March. Before heading to R.I., Qes Efraim will attend the Ethiopian Jewish Experience Shabbaton, taking place at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut from March 21 to 23. Here, Qes Efraim will be participating in activities connected with the Providence Community Kollel (Center for Jewish Studies), Congregation Beth Sholom, Touro Synagogue and the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island (JCDSRI). Dr. Michael Felder and Elissa Felder of Providence will be hosting him at their home. All of the traditional religious leaders of Ethiopian Jewry, called kohanim or qessotch (priests), now reside in Israel. They currently number only several dozen men and it is rather rare for a qes to travel abroad. This will be Qes Efraim’s first time traveling outside of Israel. According to Congregation Beth Sholom’s Rabbi Barry Dolinger, the qes’s visit to learn about the Jewish community of R.I. and to teach about Ethiopian Judaism is “an incredible and rare educational opportunity.” Israeli shaliach (emissary) to R.I. Matan Graff expressed similar sentiments, “I think this is a very important trip…. Having someone of Qes Efraim’s stature come to see our community and also help us learn more about his community should strengthen the ties between us. We can learn

firsthand about this unique Jewish community in Israel and its traditions while he will see our American Jewish community in R.I.” Qes Efraim is the son of Qes Zion Lawi and grandson of High Qes Lawi Zeno. He was born in 1987 in the northern Israeli city of Karmiel. His parents made aliyah to Israel as part of 1984’s Operation Moses, after a long and arduous journey from Ethiopia through the Sudanese desert. In Israel, Qes Efraim’s father served as the religious leader of the Ethiopian Jewish community (the Beta Israel) of Karmiel and encouraged his son to follow in his footsteps. Accordingly, at age nine, Qes Efraim began the studies necessary to be ordained a qes (kohen or priest). When he turned thirteen, his father officially designated him as his future successor. Qes Zion Lawi passed away three years later, but Qes Efraim’s mother, Ahuva, urged him to carry on with his religious training, sending him to study with two prominent qessotch in southern Israel, Qes Malke Azaria and High Qes Govesa Tesfahun, who continued to teach him the longstanding prayers, benedictions, laws and customs of Ethiopian Judaism. After completing his military service, Qes Efraim married his wife Fasika and was ordained as a qes. He now serves the Ethiopian Jewish community of Karmiel and its environs by teaching and facilitating the community’s traditional observances, including weddings, funerals and memorials, as well as the ritual slaughter of animals.

I first met Qes Efraim this past October while I attended the celebration of the Sigd holiday of Ethiopian Jewry in Jerusalem. After learning that I had traveled from the United States to Israel for the purpose of celebrating the holiday, Qes Efraim told me, “Just as you have traveled here to celebrate the Sigd with us, I will travel to the United States to celebrate with you.” The qes also invited my brother Amir Afsai and me to Karmiel, where he hosted us at his apartment and introduced us to his family. As we left his home late that night, Qes Efraim repeated that he would strive to visit R.I. The organizers of the Ethiopian Jewish Experience Shabbaton have extended Qes Efraim’s stay in the United States so that he might come to R.I. and interact with the Jewish community following his weekend in Conn. Speaking from Israel in anticipation of his New England visit, Qes Efraim said, “After the Shabbaton, I will visit the Jewish community of R.I. I will be pleased to meet there with whomever it is possible to meet. This entire visit, in my view, is one of getting acquainted and becoming familiar with another Jewish community. I hope that in R.I. I will be able to tell my story and expose its Jews to the Beta Israel community from a traditional religious perspective. I hope, with God’s help, to learn and to teach.” SHAI AFSAI (ggbi@juno. com) lives in Providence. For more information about Qes Efraim’s upcoming weeklong visit to RI, contact Rabbi Dolinger at




Annual Purim Seudah (Dinner). Purim raffle. Meat meal with vegetarian option and BYOB wine. Congregation Beth Sholom, 275 Camp St., Providence. 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. or

Orthodox rabbinic supervision by Rabbi Barry Dolinger. Congregation Beth Sholom. 275 Camp St., Providence. 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sandy at 401524-5928 or

Splash Purim Feast. Splash Experience at Jordan’s Furniture, Warwick Mall, 400 Bald Hill Rd., Warwick. 5:15 p.m. - Megillah reading next to Zale’s; 6:00 p.m. - Buffet dinner and desserts; Bubble Mania Show, live music, dancing, prizes. $20 adult, $10 child. Chabad of West Bay at 401-884-7888 or rabbi@

Shireinu at Tamarisk. Community chorus of Temple Sinai performs Purim songs. Tamarisk, 3 Shalom Drive, Warwick. 2:00 p.m. Dottie at 401-942-8350.

Tuesday | March 18

Temple Torat Yisrael’s Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Levin. Topic: Annual Purim Jewish Joke Fest. Participants order from the menu and study Jewish sources addressing current issues. T’s Restaurant, 5600 Post Road, East Greenwich. Noon. 401-885-6600. Alzheimer’s Education Series - Part 2. Understanding Challenging Behaviors and Communication Skills. Tamarisk Assisted Living, 3 Shalom Dr., Warwick. 6:30 p.m. Donna Gilroy at 800-2723900.

Wednesday | March 19 PJ Library Storytime. Early Childhood Center @ Temple Habonim, 165 New Meadow Rd., Barrington. 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Sara Foster at An Update on Human Trafficking in Rhode Island. Speaker Dr. Donna M. Hughes, URI Carlson Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies. Dwares JCC, 401 Elmgrove Avenue, Providence. 7:00 p.m.

Thursday | March 20

Adoption Options Informational Meeting. For anyone interested in exploring adoption choices. Providence Adoption Options, 959 North Main St., Providence. 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Peg Boyle at 401-331-5437 ext. 331 or peg@jfsri. org.

Friday | March 21

Shabbat Hallelu Service. Service in song featuring Temple Beth-El musicians. Light refreshments. Temple Beth-El, 70 Orchard Ave., Providence. 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Early Shabbat for the Little Ones. Special story, candles, challah, songs and light supper. Congregation Beth David, 102 Kingstown Rd, Narragansett. 5:45 - 7:00 p.m. Stephanie at sjmalinow@ Family First Friday Night. Early Kabbalat Shabbat Service. Temple Emanu-El, 99 Taft Ave., Providence. 5:45 p.m.

Saturday | March 22

United Brothers Synagogue Wine Tasting. Instructor Steve Krohn. United Brothers Synagogue, 205 High St., Bristol. 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. UBS members $15/person; non-members $20/ person.

Sunday | March 23 Catering to Tradition Food Tasting. Enjoy food, friends, DJ and photo booth. Lisa Davis of Community Bread and Eric Taylor of Bottles provide samples.

Unlearning Authoritarianism in the Middle East. Speaker Heidi Lane, Assoc. Prof. of Strategy and Policy, US Naval War College. Temple Habonim, 165 New Meadow Road, Barrington. 7:00 p.m. Jodi Sullivan at 401-2456536 or Israeli Flag Dedication. Tamarisk Assisted Living, 3 Shalom Dr., Warwick. 3:30 p.m. Singing and special presentation to honor Perlman family. Contact Rabbi Richard Perlman at

Monday | March 24

Jewish Alliance Ice Cream Social Phone-a-thon. Dwares JCC, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence. 6:30– 8:30 p.m. Michele Gallagher at mgallagher@

Tuesday | March 25 Alzheimer’s Education Series - Part 3. Caregiver Wellness Program. Tamarisk Assisted Living, 3 Shalom Dr., Warwick. 6:30 p.m. Donna Gilroy at 800-2723900. Arts Emanu-El Multimedia and Book Signing. Professor Bill Miles presents his latest book “Afro - Jewish Encounters: From Timbuktu to the Indian Ocean and Beyond,” with music, video and slides. Temple Emanu–El Vestry, 99 Taft Ave., Providence. 7:30 p.m. $5. teprov. org/arts_emanu-el

Thursday | March 27 Film Screening at Leisure Club. “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness.” Temple Emanu-El, 99 Taft Ave., Providence. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. 401-3311616

Friday | March 28 Joint Reform Service. Guest speaker Jeffrey K. Savit, President and CEO of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. Temple Beth-El, 70 Orchard Avenue, Providence. 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Tikvah Family Shabbaton. Camp Ramah in New England hosts three-day Tikvah Family Shabbaton for families of kids with disabilities. Tali Cohen at talic@ or 781-702-5290, ext. 108.

Sunday | March 30 Exhibit Opening at Habonim Gallery. Artwork by religious school students. Temple Habonim, 165 New Meadow Road, Barrington. 11:00 a.m. Jodi Sullivan at 401-245.6536 or office@ Honoring Jewish Identity. Joanne Forman Film Festival. “The Other Son” (with subtitles)is the story of an Israeli youth about to enter the military who discovers that he was accidentally switched at birth with the son of a Palestinian family. Details in March 28 issue calendar.

March 14, 2014 |


The silver screen and the Old Testament


If you liked the parsha, you’ll love the movie. That’s what Paramount studios is betting on with “Noah,” their upcoming $130 million biblical epic  directed and cowritten by Darren Aronofsky. The lead is played by Russell Crowe, supported by an A-list cast that includes Sir Anthony Hopkins  as Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather. Paramount is expecting a big audience, having already run a trailer during the Superbowl. It’s been some time since we’ve had an Old Testament drama on the big screen, at least one that’s actually conceived and produced by a Jewish team. “Noah” is a passion project that Aronofsky has wanted to make since he was in high school  in Brooklyn, where, according to The Hollywood Reporter, he had one of those unforgettable teachers – a Mrs. Fried who dressed in pink and drove a pink Mustang. When she assigned his English class to write about peace, Aronofsky produced a poem about the dove that was released by Noah and flew back to the ark with an olive branch. The poem won a United Nations contest and sparked Aronofsky’s creative self-belief that has driven his career to this day. “Noah” will be released in theaters on March 28, 2014, with an R-rating (just like the parsha!), which may make it off-limits for kids. But it could

be a popular draw for an AdultEd event, such as a movie outing with follow-up discussion and re-reading of the original text. And now’s the time to plan it.

Joel Edgerton as Ramses. Between “Noah” and “Exodus,” 2014 may well turn out to be a blockbuster year for the Torah. Pop culture will be abuzz about these movies, so

If you can’t squeeze that into your calendar, there’s yet another biblical epic coming later this year from 20th Century Fox. It’s “Exodus,” directed by Ridley Scott (of “Gladiator” fame), which will be released in 3D on December 12, starring Christian Bale as Moses and

why not take this great opportunity to engage with our own JCC communities on the topicality of it all. MICHAEL ROWLAND provides support and consultation to JCCs in all areas of marketing.

10 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

Outreach to interfaith families strengthens the Jewish future




“Hello, Plant! Nice to meet you, Plant.” BY KARA MARZIALI I’ve come to learn that there is a direct correlation between Judaism and agriculture. There is a link between the spiritual and the natural. The synchronization of the seasons and farming with the Jewish calendar cannot be denied. Finding botanical themes throughout the Torah is not difficult. But what about the idea that plants are anthropomorphized – given human qualities? In 1986, The Prince of Wales was ridiculed after telling a reporter, “I just come and talk to the plants, really. Very important to talk to them; they respond.” The heir to the British throne has always been a champion of organic and sustainable farming, so one might presume that he converses with the land. Last year when he was asked if this were still part of his gardening routine, Prince Charles countered, “No, now I instruct them instead.” Both times, his statements were met with cynicism; however, recent research seems to support the talk-growth theories. In 2004, Discovery Channel’s popular television series “Mythbusters” performed an experiment to verify or debunk the old wives’ tales about talking to plants. According to the team, talking to plants to help them grow is “plausible.” In 2007, Mi-Jeong Jeong, a South Korean scientist, asserted that playing classical music – in particular, Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” – helped speed the growth of his rice plants. He and his colleagues claimed they identified the plant gene that can “hear” or respond to sound. Foliage reacts to a variety of stimuli, including wind or

vibration, and its ability to respond to changing environments is critical to its survival. So maybe plants are more sensitive to our words than we suspect. “Hello, Plant!” These were the words that my then fouryear-old uttered to the philodendron sitting on our counter more than a decade ago. “Nice to meet you, Plant,” he said as he shook a leaf or two off the neglected houseplant. “Keep talking to it, E.J.,” I instructed. “Maybe that will help bring it back to life.” I had learned in the third grade that talking to plants was, in fact, beneficial because, in order to grow, they need the carbon dioxide we release into the air, and that process affects the rate of plant photosynthesis. Rich Marini, head of Penn State’s horticulture department, disputes this philosophy. “People would have to speak to their plants for at least several hours a day to enhance photosynthesis enough to influence plant growth.” The notion that plants benefit from human conversation has its roots (no pun intended) in the work of Gustav Fechner, a German psychologist, who published the book “Nanna” (Soul-life of Plants) in the mid1800s.  Fechner believed that every living thing has a soul and that “natural laws are just the modes of the unfolding of God’s perfection.”  To go even further, a number of studies suggest that plants, like many other living things, feel pain, and there is a whole movement against vegetable cruelty. (I’m not kidding. Check out vegetablecruelty. com.) Some people, of course, take things to extremes. “Not only does talking to plants help them, plants are excellent therapists,” says PLANT |12

JTA – All in favor of a strong Jewish future, say “aye.” On that core question, there is resounding unanimity, but there have been some unnecessarily polarizing articles in the Jewish press suggesting that we have to select either endogamy or outreach. Nonsense! Such binary thinking reduces a multi-dimensional and complex reality to a false choice. At the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial in San Diego a few weeks back, I challenged Jewish leaders to stop speaking “about intermarriage as if it were a disease. It is not.” I do not know how any serious observer of American Jewish life can believe that in the aftermath of the Pew Research Center’s study of Jewish Americans and other surveys, intermarriage is anything but a reality of Jewish life. Many characterize intermarriage as the result of assimilation. There is some obvious truth in this view, but I believe that higher intermarriage rates are largely the result of the open society in which we are privileged to live. The sociology is clear enough. Anti-Semitism is down. Jews feel welcome. We mix easily with others. So, of course, there are high intermarriage rates. The pressing question is, how do we respond? High intermarriage rates require a thoughtful response. Delivering endless sermons about the importance of endogamy – or making apocalyptic arguments – is not going to dissuade young people from falling in love with someone who is not Jewish. If that were the case, we would not be where we are today. Intensifying and deepening Jewish engagement for the next generation is an essential undertaking that forms the cornerstone of “Inspired Engagement,” our large-scale, new URJ response. Our new youth engagement strategies reflect our broadly inclusive definition of Jewish community that seeks to include, educate and embrace, among others, children of interfaith

families. Many in the “endogamy camp” argue that outreach to interfaith families is not an effective communal investment. At the heart of this debate is the allocation of communal resources. But the impact of outreach to interfaith families – when thoughtfully and effectively deployed – matters. Consider Boston, where Barry Shrage, president of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, has made outreach to in-

“High intermarriage rates require a thoughtful response.” terfaith families a communal norm across all Jewish institutions, including synagogues. The number of interfaith families raising Jewish children has doubled. Jews marrying Jews is a blessing; the long-term demographic projections are clearly more encouraging when Jews marry other Jews. Creating pathways for Jews and nonJewish partners to create active Jewish homes also is a blessing, the sacred challenge of our time. However, talk of endogamy will not change outcomes. Only our actions can create change. Going forward, the Reform movement’s singular focus is to make sure that a widening, not shrinking, circle of young people in our community experiences a Judaism that is deep, compelling and inclusive. Simultaneously, they must hear from their Jewish leaders that interfaith couples can be and are supported in their effort to raise deeply committed Jewish families, especially when they do so in an inclusive Jewish community that is offered uniquely by the Reform movement. While other voices will surely proclaim that endogamy is the only effective way to have a committed Jewish family, the Reform movement has something altogether different to say: Jewish commitment can be established in a variety of settings, especially

with support and increased opportunity for learning and engaging. Falling in love with someone who is not Jewish is not a failure of Jewish commitment at a time when young adult lives are just beginning. How congregations and rabbis do this holy work varies, but today it is an axiom of Reform Judaism that we take on the work of inclusion every day. Some rabbis officiate at interfaith weddings; others do not. But either way, thoughtful, content-rich outreach must become the gold standard of our Jewish communities. I hope that all of our federations, inspired by Boston’s strategic shift decades ago, will soon come to that same conclusion. Little is gained by circling the wagons only around those who are involved intensely in Jewish life and writing off the others as a bad investment. What a difference inclusion of interfaith families has made, bringing the creativity, leadership and service of hundreds of thousands to enrich our congregational lives, while countless thousands of children are being raised with meaningful Jewish experiences and commitments. Let’s be clear: Those of us who champion outreach know, of course, that creating opportunities for young Jews to meet and form close bonds with other Jews while living Jewishly makes perfect sense. But such obvious strategies must only be one part of our ongoing work. The goal, one we all share even if we disagree on tactics, is to secure a robust Jewish future. We can only reach that goal with a real commitment to outreach. Day schools, Jewish camps, intensive adult learning opportunities, soulful spiritual practice, acts of social justice and yes, inclusion of interfaith families in all of the above are the most effective ways for us to strengthen the Jewish future. All opposed? RABBI RICK JACOBS is the president of the Union for Reform Judaism. This article first appeared in JTA and is reprinted with permission.

LETTER Re: Time to Reengage? (Feb. 28) Thank you [to Rabbi Rosenberg] for remembering the Ocean Hill-Brownsville conflict of 1968. I went out on strike with Al Shanker on my very first day of teaching in Queens in September 1968. It’s also good to recall that the Rev. Al Sharpton was a very divisive figure in that strike and conflict and poisoned Jewish-Negro relations for many years to come. Joel Wolarsky Delray Beach, FL


March 14, 2014 |


Shifting American Jewish Identities In his much-discussed article in the June 10, 2010, issue of The New York Review of Books, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” Peter Beinart, author of “The Crisis of Zionism” (2012), wrote: “For several decades the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are findIT SEEMS ing that many young Jews TO ME have checked their Zionism RABBI JIM instead.” ROSENBERG Bei na r t ’s words have proven to be prophetic. The recent eruption of what is now called the “Open Hillel” movement seems to suggest that a significant number of young American Jews are now checking their Zionism at liberalism’s door; at the very least, these liberal Jewish college students refuse to swallow the party line of the “American Jewish establishment” with regard to Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The back story of the “Open Hillel” movement begins in December, 2010, when Wayne Firestone, who was the president

of Hillel International at that time, promulgated Hillel Guidelines for Campus Israel Activities, which include a section called Standards of Partnership, specifying which speakers and groups local Hillels are permitted to host or co-host and with which campus organizations Hillels are permitted to sponsor events. Strictly verboten are any speakers or groups that “deny the right of Israel to exist…delegitimize, demonize, or supply a double standard to Israel…support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions

“We are now living in a time and place of shifting Jewish identities ….” against the State of Israel.” While such directives might at first glance seem reasonable, in practice they have turned out to be unreasonably restrictive. For example, some wealthy supporters of Hillel in Greater Philadelphia argued that Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika), a group of Israeli soldiers and veterans who bring to the public their criticisms of the occupation, should be considered as enemies of Israel! Similarly, some Hillel organizations felt that they could not show such

award-winning Israeli films as “The Gatekeepers” because in this documentary former members of Israel’s national security organization, the Shin-Bet, give voice to their disillusionment with their government’s policies in the territories. From my perspective, “The Gatekeepers” is by no means anti-Israel; on the contrary, the film bears witness to the openness of Israeli society to internal criticism – an openness which Hillel International should strive to encourage rather than to suppress. This past December, Swarthmore Hillel chose to defy Hillel International’s policies defining the proper manner with which to conduct on-campus discussions regarding Israel and to declare itself our country’s first “Open Hillel” – no longer bound by International Hillel’s Standards of Partnership, regardless of the consequences. A January 30 blog post on Swarthmore’s website by Isabel Knight quotes the student Hillel Communications Director, Josh Wolfson,’16: “Hillel is not a political organization. We are a cultural and political organization and one of the things that the Standards of Partnership does is to make us implicitly take a position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our mission is to serve the Swarthmore Jewish commu-

nity. Period.” Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International since August, 2013, responded by letter to Swarthmore Hillel that “This position is unacceptable.” However, now that Jewish students at Vassar have gone “Open Hillel” as of this past February 18 and now that alumni of UC Berkley are urging their Hillel to go “Open Hillel,” one would hope that Fingerhut might consider taking a more flexible position. Indeed, Knight reports in her blog post that “Fingerhut called for a review of the Hillel Standards of Partnership at a panel on January 12 at UCLA. He stated that the standards needed to be updated or modernized.” In the January 17 issue of the Forward, Fingerhut is quoted as saying, “I love the debate. I love the dialogue.” Whether Fingerhut is merely talking the talk or is actually willing to walk the walk remains to be seen. It seems to me that Hillel International made a major miscalculation when this past November it chose to join forces with AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) on America’s college campuses. AIPAC most certainly does not speak for all American Jews on the subject of Israel; indeed, it could be argued that AIPAC does not speak for the majority of American Jews. By implying

that AIPAC represents mainstream American Zionism and that the 180,000 supporters of J Street or the 50 plus campuses that host J Street U are some kind of aberration, Hillel International, albeit unintentionally, is sowing seeds of division among Jewish college students. Hillel International is, of course, a private institution, and it is entitled to make whatever rules and policies for its members that it chooses. However, if Hillel International wants to be the “Jewish address” on our college campuses, I urge their leadership to open up their Guidelines for Campus Israel Activities to “open Hillel.” We are now living in a time and place of shifting Jewish identities; this is especially true with regard to how young American Jews experience their relationship with Israel. If Hillel International wants to encourage young American Jews to enter Zionism’s door, it should make sure that our students can bring their robust liberalism with them. As Bob Dylan sang to the world back in 1965, “The times they are achangin’.” JAMES B. ROSENBERG (r abbie me r it u s @ t e mpleh a is the rabbi emeritus at Temple Habonim in Barrington.

Beating back the assault on Israel’s legitimacy BY JERRY SILVERMAN AND STEVE GUTOW JTA – Leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement say they are protesting Israel’s policies in the West Bank. They are doing far more than that. BDS advocates routinely oppose a two-state solution and seek to delegitimize the sovereign, Jewish State of Israel. In some cases, BDS becomes the latest form of anti-Semitism. The BDS movement aims to isolate and punish Israel, using the same techniques applied to apartheid South Africa. Not hesitating to misrepresent facts and ignore context, these Israel bashers take advantage of ignorance and naïveté within civil society circles, mostly in Western Europe, to advance their anti-Israel agenda. BDS advocates view the situation in the West Bank through a one-way lens, seeing only a single perspective. They cite, for example, the security checkpoints that make life difficult for Palestinians but conveniently overlook the reasons for those checkpoints. They ignore the fact that hurting Israel’s economy would also hurt Palestinians who earn their livelihoods from Israeli-owned businesses. BDS backers don’t bother to

protest the many countries that have horrific human rights records, instead singling out the world’s only Jewish state, often based on false or misrepresented information. A tipping point for the Jewish community’s response to BDS came in 2009 when a number of anti-Israel groups called for a boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival because one of its themes was Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary. The Toronto and Los Angeles Jewish federations joined forces and, with the involvement of major figures in the entertainment industry, fashioned an effective response. With calls for BDS escalating in the mainline Protestant churches, on college campuses and elsewhere, Jewish community leaders realize that the situation calls for more than an ad hoc approach: Local communities need a strategic approach with national support and coordination. In 2010, the Jewish Federations of North America, representing more than 150 local federations, allocated significant resources so that the Israel Action Network could serve this purpose. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs – with its 16 national member organizations, including all four of the religious movements, and 125

Jewish community relations councils, which work with nonJewish coalition partners on a range of international and domestic concerns – was the JFNA’s obvious partner. One principle that guides this work is that we should understand our audiences. And when we speak with others, we should do so with a respect for the sensitivities of that constituency so that our important messages are authentically heard. Whether on a campus, in a church or speaking with an LGBT group, we should always be clear that we stand as partners, sharing the goal of a future with peace and security – not one of conflict and BDS. Experience and research demonstrate that what works best with these audiences – mostly made up of political and religious progressives – is not an all-good-vs.-all-bad characterization of Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, a more nuanced narrative is the one that is likely to defeat the one-sided and hostile stance of those seeking to delegitimize Israel. This means honestly conveying the situation’s complexity, expressing empathy for suffering on both sides (without implying moral equivalency) and offering a constructive pathway to helping the parties move to-

ward peace and reconciliation based on two states for two peoples. Whether we are dealing with a boycott of Israeli academic institutions adopted by the American Studies Association or an attempt to remove Israeli products from a Brooklyn food coop, the most effective opponents of these initiatives are the people who travel in those circles. While we in the organized Jewish community should not remain silent in the face of Israel’s delegitimization, we should strongly support and accentuate the efforts of these thirdparty validators who share our values and viewpoints. The 247 (and counting) universities and colleges that have denounced academic boycotts generally – and academic boycotts of Israel specifically – are just such validators. It is not enough to only expose the true goals of the boycotters and their allies. Israel’s supporters must also go on the offensive and drain the swamps of ignorance that allow the poisonous ideas of the Jewish state’s opponents to incubate. Thus, we are taking the initiative to inoculate vulnerable politically progressive sectors, presenting a more factual perspective on Israel and taking prominent leaders to the region to see the

real situation firsthand. The Israel Action Network, of course, does not work alone in this arena. On a daily basis, numerous organizations stand up for Israel. Through the IAN, JFNA and JCPA are working together to convene around a common strategic planning table not only our affiliates but also a range of other North American, Israeli and European groups in order to share best practices and coordinate our collective resources in confronting this global danger. There is no imminent threat to the critical and broad North American support for Israel. But American support for Israel is not something to be taken for granted in light of the organized campaign we now face. While should not be panicked, we cannot be complacent either. We pledge to continue to work hard to prevent any erosion of that support. RABBI STEVE GUTOW is president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. JERRY SILVERMAN is president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America. This article was reprinted with permission. For more information on this and other Israeli related topics visit

12 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

A Jewish approach to the ‘differently abled’ BY SID SCHWARZ JTA – Increasing numbers of Jewish institutions are starting to pay attention to the disabled in our midst. The needs of this part of our community were in the communal spotlight this Feb. thanks to it being Jewish Disability Awareness Month. As with so many categories of Jewish teaching, the traditional Jewish approach to disability is a mixed bag. Several categories of the disabled, like the cheraysh (deaf-mute) and the shoteh (mentally deficient and/ or insane) are neither obligated by the body of mitzvot (Jewish commandments) nor qualified to serve as witnesses in legal proceedings, essentially being placed in the same category as minors. The blind are obligated by the mitzvot but are not allowed to offer testimony in a trial. In other places in our tradi-

“Praised are You, Creator of the Universe, who makes people different, one from the other.” tion, a disability or a disease is seen as a punishment from God for bad behavior. Leprosy is the punishment for tale-bearing. Similarly, in the Talmud (Taanit 21a) a story is told of Nahum Ish Gam Zu, who had no hands, no feet and was blind in both eyes. These disabilities were not birth defects but were rather divine punishment infl icted on Nahum at his own request


because he felt guilty for not being quick enough to feed a beggar who ended up dying. A third way that the Jewish tradition discusses disability is essentially used as a theological trump card. It is a way of saying that God’s agency in the world is far more significant than human agency. Thus despite the fact the Moses is said to be “slow of speech,” possibly a person with a speech impediment, he nonetheless offers the most important words in the

with the theology implicit in Rabbi Harold Kushner’s “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” than I am with theological assumptions of the biblical and rabbinic texts. For Kushner, God does not cause disability, orchestrate natural disasters or punish human transgression with disease. Rather, God is the source of comfort to whom we turn when trying to cope with such setbacks. God is a source of healing, not of affliction. Many parts of classical Juda-

ation ourselves one day. One might imagine that it would make us more compassionate. But denial may be an even more powerful emotion that we trigger when confronted with a circumstance that we are not prepared to confront. If we take to heart the Jewish teaching about every person made in the image of God and recall that one person is no better or worse than the other, simply “differently abled,” we might be better able to open up our hearts and our institutions to a wider swath of humanity. We’d all be better for it. RABBI SID SCHWARZ is a senior fellow at Clal and director of the Rene Cassin Fellowship Program for young adults on human rights and Judaism. He is the author of “Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Community” (Jewish Lights, 2013).

LETTERS biblical story. The rabbinic commentators use this to make the point that Moses is simply an agent for God, serving as God’s spokesperson in the earthly realm. None of the above three Judaic treatments of disability are particularly sensitive by 21st-century standards. I also fear what a disabled person who takes Judaism very seriously concludes from such treatment in our sacred texts. From a theological perspective, I am far more comfortable

ism are products of the thinking of earlier generations that may not fully reflect the most enlightened understanding of our time. Yet there is one insight on the issue of disability where Judaism was not only centuries ahead of its time but where the insight is still well beyond the way most of us behave in the realm of disabilities. The Jewish tradition prescribes a blessing upon meeting different kinds of people: a king, a wise person, a Torah scholar. The prayer prescribed


author and energy medicine practitioner Phylameana Lila Desy. “They listen without interrupting and will never divulge our secrets. Just make sure your neighbor isn’t on the other side of the fence within earshot when you are pouring your heart out to your geraniums.” Toby Buckland, lead presenter on BBC’s “Gardeners’ World,” thinks that if a gardener is relaxed, his or her plants will grow better. “Plants do pick up on your stress; that’s something that’s wellknown, and if you’re

upon meeting a person who is disabled or who suffers from a deformity is: “Praised are You, Creator of the Universe, who makes people different, one from the other.” Amazing! The insight inherent in this bracha is that no two people are alike, that each of us is “differently abled.” One person can play piano; another might be skilled at computers; another can fi x a toilet. A young man who was a member of my fi rst congregation had Down’s Syndrome. Every week when he greeted me at synagogue, he offered me the most wonderful smile and the biggest hug that any person has ever given me. I came to look forward to Ben’s expression of unqualified love that was not the least bit calculated or contrived. It was his gift. I suspect that our discomfort with people with disabilities may have something to do with our fear of being in that situ-

not confident, it’s as if it’s a self-fulfi lling prophecy for failure.” Many rational and lucid gardeners admit talking to their

OUR MISSION The mission of The Jewish Voice is to communicate Jewish news, ideas and ideals by connecting and giving voice to the diverse views of the Jewish community in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, while adhering to Jewish values and the professional standards of journalism.

plants, for no apparent reason, while watering them. Other horticulturists believe that plants will certainly notice their caretaker’s good intentions. (Heed your mom’s warning: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”) While there is no evidence to suggest that your begonias will respond to your good vibrations, noone is stopping you from whispering sweet nothings to your tomato plants. Just don’t forget to water them, too!

Re: Watercolors by Mrs. Winograd (Feb. 14)

I’m writing because I just read the lovely article about Lila Winograd and her artwork in the Jewish Voice, and I wanted to send my regards to her. I imagine you have some way of getting in touch with her.  Would you be able to pass along this note?  Thank you so much! Dear Mrs. Winograd, I hope this note fi nds you well!  I just read the article about you in the Jewish Voice, and it described you as being just as genuine and lovely as I remember!   If you recall, I was terrified of math when I fi rst joined your class in middle school at ASDS.  But you succeeded in opening up a new world to me!  Your “red dot” system demonstrated the value of compassionate teaching.  And of course, the way you incorporated art into math class made it fun and interesting in a whole new way – it showed me that creativity can open up any subject.   I am in rabbinical school now, and I think the GRE was my last encounter with formal mathematics…   But I will take your lessons with me wherever I go.  Thank you for being such a dedicated teacher and a role model of a human being. Susan Landau

Re: We are read (February 28) On page 43 there was a photo of a couple, Bruce and Marlene Wolpert, standing in front of a synagogue in Shanghai. They had been on a two-week trip to China.  I am interested in taking such a journey and wonder if you could fi nd out how they got to Shanghai.  If they used a tour service, which I imagine they did, what was the company and how do I contact it? I would appreciate any information you could give me. Evelyn Blum Barrington, R.I.

Reply from the editor:

The Wolperts used the travel company Ayelet Tours, Ltd, (ayelet. com), which specializes in Israel and Jewish Heritage tours around the world.   Bruce says, “We would highly, highly recommend Ayelet.” 

COLUMNS | LETTERS POLICY The Jewish Voice publishes thoughtful and informative contributors’ columns (op-eds of 500 – 800 words) and letters to the editor (250 words, maximum) on issues of interest to our Jewish community. At our discretion, we may edit pieces for publication or refuse publication. Letters and columns, whether from our regular contributors or from guest columnists, repre-

sent the views of the authors; they do not represent the views of The Jewish Voice or the Alliance. Send letters and op-eds to The Jewish Voice, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence, RI 02906 or editor@ Include name, city of residence and a contact phone number or email (not for publication).


March 14, 2014 |


Preparing for meaning and miracles: No mere march through the mud BY MICHELLE DARDASHTI By this time of year, it’s hard to have missed the abundant ads connected to “surviving” the upcoming holiday: Passover survival kits, Seder survival guides. For a festival celebrating  the single most formative and climactic experience in Jewish collective memory, the language is decidedly odd. Whether from the intensity of prep or a distaste for unleavened food, the Festival is experienced by many as much more burden than blessing. I’m reminded of the midrash describing just-freed Israelite slaves, muttering as they traverse the parted sea: “Mud in Egypt and mud at the sea- mud and bricks in Egypt and mud of the many waters at the sea.” (Exodus Rabbah 24:1) Amidst experiencing the greatest miracle biblically recorded, come bitter complaints about having to trudge through the mud! It’s  apparently quite easy to miss a miracle. My objective here is to help assure that this isn’t our lot on Pesach – that the apparent minutia or madness of it all  (recline here, not there, wash now without a blessing, now with, break the matzah, hide the matzah,  eat  lots of matzah)  not muddy but rather maximize the holiday’s meaning.  The Passover Seder is a rabbinic creation in which pedagogy and theatre are powerful-

ly wed. In efforts to fulfill the Haggadah’s central command (V’higgadeta l’vinkha, “and you shall tell your child”), the Seder stage is one on which anything goes…. Growing up, we draped the living room with sheets to create an exotic tent-like feel, dressed in costumes and gave out roles. We also followed the Iranian practice of whacking one another with scallions during recitation of  Dayenu. Certainly, it has something to do with scallions evoking the Egyptian task-masters’ whip, but that was never the first explanation provided by my Iranian family to bewildered Ashkenazi guests.  Rather, it connects with the Persian practice of taarof – the custom of politely but disingenuously declining an offered nicety. After each verse of this poem noting God’s bestowal of kindness after kindness upon us, we sarcastically say to God: “Dayenu: Oh, stop … really, enough, enough … it’s really too much.”  Our scallionsmacking throughout the chorus   in fact says, “oh go ooon!” as we feign satisfaction through insincere proclamations of “didi-enu”  “it would have been enough.” The message was clear: we were  taarof-ing with God – it would not have been enough. Scallions in hand, silliness prevailing, we were actually engaging with the deeper mean-

ings of an ancient narrative and, in this case, with an ironic text. But care must be taken that the drama not devolve into actual “theatre of the absurd,” a genre highlighting the existential meaninglessness of life. This is the key to understanding the theatre and pedagogy of the Seder as a whole. The most salient example of seemingly absurdist theatre within the Haggadah is found in the opening paragraph of its core section, the  Maggid  (Telling).    Generally known by its first words in Aramaic,  HaLachma Anya (“this is the bread of affliction”), it consists of four statements:  This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.  / Let all who are hungry come and eat – all who are in need, come join in this Passover gathering. /Now we are here; next year may we be in the Land of Israel!  / Now we are slaves; next year may we be free! The  absurdity of these statements is generally explained by interpreting them figuratively. There’s nothing strange, we insist, about extending a welcome to the hungry who are out of earshot  because the invitation intends those (ourselves included) yearning  spiritual  nourishment;  nothing problematic about reciting these lines even while sitting in Jerusalem be-

cause we speak here of an aspirational, end of days, “Land of Israel,” not arrival in Ben Gurion airport; nothing “off” in identifying as slaves, because we’re all enslaved to excesses and unhealthy habits from which we dream of release. Fine. The above is all true and beautiful – but only if it spurs us to act  in the  here  and  now. It’s not enough to be  only  aspirational, to only  dream, enjoying the quaint rituals and ancient texts without allowing them to pierce us with their underlying urgency. Lo dayenu. We’re not going to “get there”– a time devoid of affliction–and in spite and because of this, we must see ourselves on an everinspired journey toward those ends. Role-playing our ancestral oppression in Egypt is meant to be productive - to pry open our eyes, unblock our ears and soften our hearts to suffering within and around us. We must  literally  feed the hungry … all the while knowing we won’t end hunger. The four clauses of the HaLachma implore us to: remember where we came from, feel obligated by that narrative of affliction to support others, move ever-closer to where we are truly meant to be and, work toward liberation of ourselves and others. In preparing for your Seder this year, in between schlepping chairs and grating apples, spend time reflecting on what

these four commitments might look like in your life. The Seder is a pedagogic and theatrical masterpiece, but only if we’re paying attention. Both mud and madness, moments of boredom and the bizarre, are built into the Seder to get us to look out–at those around and beyond our table–and inward in search of meaning and miracles.  Notice those moments of comatose or confusion and let them push you to ask a question, share a thought, challenge what’s been read or said … With whip-like shallots, at the Dardashti household, we tried to beat the slave mentality out of one another and out of ourselves – the mentality seducing us to say dayenu, things are good enough without having to trudge through this mud, staying in Egypt would have been just fine.  It would not have been. And neither would merely leaving Egypt. Midrashim about Biblical ancestors crossing the sea while missing the miracle come to warn us that while it’s possible to simply “get through Pesach” wet, muddy and grumbling, this Festival, with its ironic “dayenu” theme, implores us to continuously seek a  next miracle – to see our lives as one. MICHELLE DARDASHTI is the Rabbi at Brown RISD Hillel and Associate University Chaplain for the Jewish Community at Brown University. 


Providence Hebrew Day School students travel to Montreal A group of 20 boys from the Providence Hebrew Day School in grades four through eight traveled to Montreal for a convention. The trip was arranged and

chaperoned by students of the New England Rabbinical College. The convention was to celebrate individual, extra-curricular siyyumim (completions) of portions in

Mishna and was attended by boys from across the United States and Canada.  

14 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

Jewish Unity Live BY SHANA B. NEWMAN The Providence Kollel’s seventh annual celebration of Jewish learning will take place on Sunday, March 23. Attendees can count on an evening with an inspiring speaker, good company and fantastic food. Denise Rubin, a member of Congregation Beth David in Narragansett, enjoys the Divine Providence Catering’s gourmet dessert smorgasbord. “It’s like heaven.” The event uplifts with more than a sugar high. “I’ve been inspired, and I’ve laughed and I’ve even cried. What all of them have done is opened my mind, opened my heart, opened me up to other perspectives, ideas, and knowledge that I had no access to, no reference point about…. I always leave there knowing something I didn’t know before.” Rubin says, “Being with so many Jews in one room is inspiring in itself. It feels like home.” This year’s presentation will be uniquely engaging. With more than 25 years of experience in Jewish Education, Rabbi Shlomo Horwitz is the founder of Jewish Crossroads. It’s an award-winning program, whose tagline is “reality programs for Jews who think.” By melding entertainment and stimulating mental challenge,

The Providence Kollel’s Annual Celebration of Jewish Learning

Jewish Crossroads presentations harness the entrancing quality of a dramatic performance to teach people about Torah and Judaism in a way they will never forget. For Jewish Unity Live, Rabbi Howitz will perform “Raid on the Sun,” which focuses on Isra-

el’s destruction of the Iraqi nuclear program in 1981. You will be drawn into the drama and tension preparing for the raid and learn important lessons from Menachem Begin. “Raid on the Sun” aims to present a cohesive view on Judaism’s perspective on integrating trust in

God with serious engagement in human effort. The performance is interactive and incorporates the audience’s contributions. The interactions are bolstered by Rabbi Horwitz’s painstaking research of Biblical, Talmudic and modern historical sources. Russell Raskin of Providence

considers Jewish Unity Live one of the preeminent Jewish events, designed to meet the needs of every Jewish person regardless of his or her level of observance. Raskin finds it exciting to see the Jewish community come together for an event that makes you feel proud to be Jewish. He says, “It brings Judaism alive in an approachable way that is useful in your daily life.” He notes that the speakers are riveting, the food is delicious, and you leave feeling inspired to learn more about Judaism. Come to Jewish Unity Live to enhance and transform your perception of Torah concepts and Jewish identity. This year you will also enjoy a sushi buffet and gourmet dessert reception. Additionally, your admission ticket enters you into a drawing for a laptop computer. Jewish Unity Live will take place at the Providence Renaissance Hotel, 5 Avenue of the Arts, in Providence on Sunday, March 23, at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person and $180 per couple. Student rates and scholarships are available. Please call the Kollel office for details. Make your reservation now by email to providencekollel@ or call 401-383-2786.


March 14, 2014 |


REMEMBER THE PAST From the Archives of the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association

Speaking of immigration BY ANNE SHERMAN All the recent talk about immigration brings to mind an oral history and some records in the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association archives. Tova Reis, archivist at Temple Emanuel, brought us an interview conducted in 1977 by Helene Lewis with Lena Sugarman Wexler. Mrs. Wexler was in her eighties at the time. Mrs. Wexler began her reminiscences of her life in the North End of Providence by mentioning “a politianer” [sic] named John Nelson. Nelson was a flamboyant character and well-known in the North End of Providence. He was a successful jeweler and owner of properties along North Main St. and Constitution Hill, as well as a home on Doyle Ave., “next to the fi re station.” Mrs. Wexler recalled “… he was the fi rst, the fi rst one that got an automobile. Nobody saw an automobile yet...(H)e used to come flying up North Main St. and Constitution Hill and toot his horn that everybody should come out and see the automobile.” There is no evidence that Nelson was a politician, and it is

evident from Mrs. Wexler’s account that she meant a citizen. It was important because as a citizen and property owner, he could be one of the two witnesses required for immigrants applying to any of four courts in Rhode Island for citizenship. No matter that the applicants may not have known how to speak or write English. For 25 cents, John Nelson took care of every-

The records in the RIJHA archives end in 1906 because in that year, Congress enacted a new law. The United States Naturalization Act created the Bureau of Naturalization and Immigration and standardized the immigration laws throughout the country. It also provided for uniform questionnaires that required for the fi rst time the names of wives and children and verification of the date of arrival. The new law also required immigrants to learn

“For 25 cents, John took care of everything.” thing. There is no doubt that Mr. Nelson was very busy making newcomers citizens. His name appears 194 times as witness in the lists of Jews naturalized before 1906 in US Court for the District of Providence, Supreme Court of the State of RI, and Superior Court for Providence and Bristol Counties. (The list compiled by David Adelman appears in RIJHA Notes Vol 1, #1, 1954). Although there were many men whose names appeared with frequency, none came close to Nelson.


Samuel (Shmay) Kotler By way of full disclosure, my grandfather Samuel (Shmay) Kotler came to the U.S. from Kiev in 1886. Seven years later, he was granted citizenship with the help of John Nelson and Jacob Cohon, who was also a very frequent witness before the courts. I do not know if my grandfather had to pay a quarter to Mr. Nelson or Mr. Cohon. That was not part of the family lore.

English. With the swipe of Theodore Roosevelt’s pen, John Nelson’s avocation as witness came to an end. He still retained his jewelry business at least until 1920, when he no longer appeared in the Providence City Directory. ANNE SHERMAN is the office manager of the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association. To comment on this or any Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association article, email

‘Mein Kampf’ inscribed by Hitler fetches $64,850 JTA – A two-volume set of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” inscribed by Hitler sold at an auction in Los Angeles for $64,850. The books, from 1925 and 1926, were sold Feb. 27 to an anonymous U.S. buyer. They were inscribed to Josef Bauer, one of the fi rst members of the Nazi party. There were 11 bids for the set, which had a minimum bid

of $20,000 at Nate D. Sanders Auctions. Signed copies of the book, which details Hitler’s hatred of Jews and lays his vision for the future of Germany, reportedly are quite rare.


16 | March 14, 2014

The Jewish Voice

The New England Rabbinical College celebrates award recipients BY CHANA FAIGA TWERSKY The New England Rabbinical College (NERC) hosted its 27th Annual Dinner on Sunday, Feb. 23. The dinner was held in the Korn Auditorium of the Providence Hebrew Day School, with approximately 150 people in attendance. The local community and many outof-town visitors turned out in support of the Yeshivah and its honorees. Those attending were rewarded with an inspiring and entertaining evening. Rabbi Raphael Schachter, a teacher at the New England Hebrew Academy in Boston and an alumnus of NERC who resides on the East Side, acted as Master of Ceremonies. He began by introducing Rabbi Eliezer Gibber, dean, who gave the opening greetings and D’var Torah. The common thread among the evening’s awardees was their commitment to the active study of Torah despite hectic work schedules and community commitments. Rabbi Yosef Lipson, associate dean of the college, presented this year’s Alumni Achievement Award to Mr. and Mrs. Aron Pfeffer of Pittsburgh, Pa. Mr. Pfeffer is an alumnus who maintained strong ties with his Providence mentors. He is involved in a leadership capacity with many organizations in his community. In accepting his award, Mr. Pfeffer stressed that the fundamental message that he received from NERC is the importance of accompany-

ing Torah study by good deeds. The honor of “Parents of the Year” was bestowed upon Mr. and Mrs. Yirmiyahu Zoberman of Toronto, Ontario. Mr. Zoberman is himself an alumnus of NERC, which made the award even more meaningful. He spoke with approval of the expansion of Providnce’s Orthodox Jewish community, noting that many alumni have chosen to settle in Providence to remain in close proximity to NERC. The “Pillar of Torah Award” was presented to Mr. and Mrs. Shammai Weiner by Mrs. Weiner’s father, Dr. David Luchins. Dr. Luchins spoke of how proud he is of his children and the lifestyle that they have chosen to lead. Both Mr. and Mrs. Weiner are involved in every local organization, and loving-kindness is the central theme in their home. In accepting his award, Mr. Weiner spoke of his family’s long history in the Providence community, his father’s sacrifice for Judaism and the importance of the continuity of the Rabbinical College for the vibrancy of the community. Mr. Weiner’s father, Mr. Alfred Weiner, also received an award. The evening concluded with a special presentation to Mr. Yona Dering, who recently retired from his position as the maintenance director. He served the College for almost three decades and is beloved by past and present students alike. Scores of alumni united

(left to right) Rabbi Yosef Lipson, Mr. Aron Pfeffer, Mr. Shammai Weiner, Mr. Yirmiyahu Zoberman, Rabbi Eliezer Gibber

(left to right) Rabbi Raphael Schachter, Rabbi Yosef Lipson, Mr. Yone Dering, Rabbi Eliezer Gibber to sign the special plaque that was presented to him. CHANA FAIGA TWERSKY

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March 14, 2014 |


Girls on the Run to run on the East Side at JCDSRI

A great opportunity for girls to learn, dream, live and run!

Arts Emanu-El multimedia event BY SAM SHAMOON Special to The Jewish Voice Have you heard about the Rabbi of Timbuktu, or the celebration of Hanukkah in Hausaland, or the Israelites in Kenya, or the Jews in Mauritius and more? On Tuesday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Vestry of Temple Emanu-El, Professor William “Bill” Miles of Northeastern University will share stories, color slides, music and video about his thirty-five years of Afro-Jewish encounters in sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian Ocean, the West Indies and Israel. This lecture is open to the public. Miles’ fascinating stories include his encounter with a Muslim curator, a native of Timbuktu, who preserves the memory of its rabbi, plus encounters with an evangelical Kenyan, who is amazed to meet a living “Israelite,” and with Indian Ocean islanders who maintain the Jewish cemetery of escapees from Nazi Germany. During his lecture, Miles will draw upon more stories from his newly published book, “Afro-Jewish Encounters: From Timbuktu to the Indian Ocean and Beyond,” to illustrate how Africa, Israel and their diasporas constitute an extraordinary crucible for African Jews, wandering Jews, and for the unforgettable Afro-Jewish encounters that ensue. According to Miles, after more than thirty years of research in Africa, it came as a surprise to him to learn of a growing Jewish community in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. “The Jews of Nigeria have chosen not only to believe something that other Nigerians don’t believe but

to live their lives in a Jewish way. They want to be – and they are – as authentic as they can be. In Nigeria they try to live the entire day and the entire week by calling each other on the cell phone with “shalom”, with prayers throughout the day, with constant reminders of this special – for the Nigerian context – religion that they have chosen.” Miles is professor of political science at Northeastern University and the former Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies there. His previous book, “Jews of Nigeria: An AfroJudaic Odyssey,” was named a 2013 National Jewish Book Awards finalist. Five-time Fulbright scholar, he was also a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award for “Zion in the Desert,” a book about the Jewish-American baby boomers who founded religiously progressive kibbutzim in Israel. Miles is a frequent contributor to Rhode Island Public Radio’s “This I Believe – Rhode Island.” Miles and his wife Loïza, who also teaches at Northeastern, live in Seekonk, Mass. and are members of Temple Emanu-El. Tickets for the Tuesday, March 25 lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Vestry of Temple Emanu-El are available through or at the door on the evening of the lecture, $5 per person. This includes Prof. Miles’ talk, a book signing and an opportunity to purchase “Afro-Jewish Encounters: From Timbuktu to the Indian Ocean and Beyond” at a discount. SAM SHAMOON is a co-chair of Arts Emanu– El and can be reached at sam.shamoon@g mai

The Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island is delighted to announce that it has partnered with Girls on the Run Rhode Island for a 10-week experience-based program, which creatively integrates running for girls in 3rd to 5th grades. The Girls on the Run curriculum encourages positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. Important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences are promoted. Topics discussed include self esteem, bullying, gossiping, looking at media with a critical eye, healthy eating, being a good friend and conflict resolution. Community service is included in the program. In addition, the parents receive a Parent Guide Book that outlines the lessons so they can also talk to their girls about what they have been doing. The girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique.  At the end of the session, the girls will participate in a Girls on the Run 5K event on June 1 at Roger Wheeler Park. This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum. Completing the 5K gives the girls an understanding of the confidence which comes through accomplishment, as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.

Registration is open to all girls (girls do not need to be affiliated with JCDSRI) on a firstcome, first-served basis. The program cost is $165 per girl. The fee includes 20 sessions, materials, snacks, program TShirt, pizza party and 5K entry. Financial aid is available. The program will be held at JCDSRI, East Side, Providence, and will meet on Wednesdays

and Thursdays, 3:15 - 4:45 p.m., starting March 26. Sign up on the Girls on the Run Rhode Island website, If you have questions, concerns or difficulty registering, please contact Trish MacGillivray at 401-273-0820 or  trish.mac Girls on the Run is a national program serving 60,000 girls annually.

18 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

Gluten-Free Goes Gourmet The story behind the cookbook

Rhode Island leads the way in the local food movement The exploding focus on loBY COMMERCE RI Rhode Island is a small state cality also favors small busithat is big on local agriculture, nesses, and 96 percent of Rhode growing its farms by two per- Island’s farms have revenue uncent from 2007 to 2012 and by der $250,000, which is the small half in the last decade, accord- farm benchmark for the agriing to the U.S. Department of culture census. Rhode Island Agriculture preliminary cen- is also ranked third nationally sus –all while the number of in percentage of farms between one and nine acres. U.S. farms decreased. According to an article in The Providence Journal, Rhode Island farms are successful because the state has welcomed the local food movement by creating a marketplace in which it can thrive. Deemed the national culinary capital, Providence features several farm-to-table restaurants, and a majority of the state’s school districts have instituted a farm-toschool program. State Support local food suppliers – eat government continues fresher, locally grown food. to support the industry in the way of grants and marketing programs like the Rhode Island Seafood Collaborative.

BY KARA MARZIALI Individuals choose a glutenfree lifestyle for a variety of reasons. For some, gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and kamut) is not easily digested and can cause hundreds of ailments including celiac, Crohn’s disease, arthritic pain, joint inflammation, hormone imbalances, depression, difficulty breathing and chronic fatigue. Both anecdotally and scientifically much has been written about eliminating gluten from one’s diet. The decision to make such a shift is a “major transition,” says author and wellness consultant, Vicky Pearl. “Wanting to change and better one’s health is a huge

Chocolate Mousse

For the meal that deserves that special finale. You’ll notice that in the photo we took artistic liberty and adorned the bottom of the glasses with crushed cookie crumbs. This mousse is so rich and sublime that you won’t even be aware of the fact that the amount of sweetener was substantially reduced.


3 Rosemarie chocolate bars (nondairy praline-filled chocolate) 12 oz. trans-fat free margarine (3 sticks) 6 large eggs 1 cup agave or granulated sugar 6 cups non-dairy vanilla ice cream (1 1/2 qt.) Garnish: nut crunch, mini chocolate chips, chocolate shavings.

Two-Tone Vegetable Kugel




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Under the Strict Orthodox Rabbinic Supervision of Rabbi Barry Dolinger

Something New and Exciting in Kosher Catering DAIRY TASTING MENU Latke station |Mashed potato bar |Tomato soup shooters with mini grilled cheese | Smoked salmon & cucumber crostini |Caprese skewers Middle Eastern station (Hummus, Tabouli, eggplant carponata, homemade pita chips, spanakopita) |Tuna Basket |Dessert crepe bar |Ice cream station

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Congregation Beth Sholom 275 Camp Street Providence | 11am - 3pm

Join us for our first fabulous tasting. The entire Jewish community is invited. There will be wine & bread tasting, plus a party planner. No matter your affiliation, come and find out about us. Enjoy the afternoon with good food and good friends.

Andrew & Sandy - 401.524.5928

It’s this simple to serve a nutritious gourmet side dish. The orange of the sweet potato layer contrasts beautifully with the deep green of the broccoli layer.


2 large sweet potatoes 1 1/2 lb frozen broccoli florets 2 large eggs 2–3 heaping Tbsp. mayonnaise, divided 2 Tbsp. potato starch, divided 2 tsp kosher salt, divided 1/8 tsp garlic powder 1/8 tsp onion powder


1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease or line a 9-inch round or square baking pan or dish. 2. Peel and cut sweet potato into large chunks. Place chunks in a large pot filled with water set over high heat. Bring to boil. Add a pinch of salt. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Drain pota-

step. And I mean huge! It’s exciting, daunting, sometimes highly stressful, and perhaps a little frightening.” Throughout the book, Pearl offers encouraging, achievable suggestions to keep one on the path to wellness. “What I want more than anything is for people to embrace the change and then not give up in a couple of weeks….this journey is meant to be beautiful and exciting.” In addition to being glutenfree, the recipes in this cookbook are dairy-free, corn-free and kosher. Based on Pearl’s experience, many people who have gluten sensitivities also have difficulty tolerating food allergens such as dairy or corn.

Each recipe, accompanied by stunning color photographs, uses wholesome and natural ingredients. “The ingredients were purchased in my neighborhood, the dishes were prepared in my own kitchen and then photographed on a table in my living room.” She also assures that all the recipes in her book can be replicated in your own kitchen using skills you already possess.

GLUTEN-FREE GOES GOURMET By Vicky Pearl September 2013/ ISBN: 978-1-885220-77-6 Hardcover/$35.99


In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering– not boiling– water, melt chocolate and margarine together. Transfer to a bowl. Add eggs and agave. Using immersion blender, blend until well combined. Using a plastic cup for flexibility, fill mini trifle or martini cups halfway with chocolate mixture. Place in a deep pan and cover with aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 4 hours or until firm. Slightly thaw ice cream until malleable. Fill rest of the mini cups with slightly defrosted ice cream. Sprinkle with garnish of your choice. Freeze until served. NOTE: This is a great treat to keep on hand in the freezer for unexpected but special guests.

toes; return to pot and mash with a potato masher. Stir in 1 of the eggs, 1 Tbsp. of the mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp. of the potato starch, and half of the salt, mixing well. 3. In a separate large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt. Add broccoli and cook over high heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. 4. Drain broccoli; return to the pot and mash with a potato masher. Stir in remaining egg, 1 to 2 heaping Tbsps. of mayonnaise, remaining potato starch and salt, and garlic and onion powders, mixing well. 5. Spoon broccoli mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan, smoothing surface. Top with sweet potato mixture, spreading evenly. 6. Bake in center of preheated oven for 1 hour or until the top is golden.

Keep chocolate mousse frozen in a container. Always have some ice cream on hand. Defrost mousse and ice cream for 15 minutes and then assemble. Serve alongside baked apple, apple cherry compote or by itself in larger dessert glasses.

Freezes well for up to 3 months. Yield: 6 to 8 servings. NOTE: To create a third tier, boil 1 1/2 lb of chopped cauliflower (fresh or frozen) in lightly salted boiling water. Mash and add 1 egg, 1 heaping Tbsp mayonnaise, a pinch of salt, and onion and garlic powders. Spread on top of broccoli layer. Bake as directed.


March 14, 2014 |


The Jewish Gardening Cookbook: Growing Plants & Cooking for Holidays & Festivals BY KARA MARZIALI Michael Brown set out to write “The Jewish Gardening Cookbook” because he missed Israel after living there with his family for nearly ten years. He missed the history, the countryside, the herbs and the “bond between the land and myself as a Jew.” So he set out to recreate that connection despite the fact that he was now living in America. As an avid gardener, for Brown, the journey was both a spiritual and botanical one. Part recipe book, part gardening guide, part cultural history, the text guides the reader into a deeper understanding of how intricately Jews are tied to the land. He acknowledges the rhythm of Jewish life, punctuated by a cycle of holidays that

take us from sowing to reaping. Brown explains in detail why certain fruits and vegetables are associated with every season and holiday. Believing that one’s holiday observance can be enriched with the bounty of a garden, Brown has a section of the book dedicated to each Jewish holiday, including Tu Bi-Sh’vat, Passover, Yom Ha-Atzma’ut, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah. But he does not stop there. He adds commentary on other significant celebrations in the lives of Jews such as keeping Shabbat, or planting a tree to honor the birth of a child. Brown also dedicates several pages to pe’ah (the practice of setting aside a portion of the harvest for the poor). As one might expect, there is an entire chapter on growing and using foods that have been

harvested since ancient times – figs, grapes, wheat, barley, dates, pomegranate and olives – with flavorful vegetarian recipes that require these gardenfresh ingredients. Interspersed throughout the book are biblical references that describe the beauty of God’s provision as well as botanical illustrations by Laura C. Martin that remind the reader of the joy of living a natural life. Lastly, Brown includes a glossary, some suggested additional reading and an extensive resource guide for seeds, plants and other supplies. With all this information, this book will assist even the most novice gardener. Whether it’s indoor herb plants grown on the windowsill of a city apartment or a lush garden on a rural farm, Brown encourages the reader to con-

your senses with aromas, tastes and b e a u t y. All will help you experience a more personal attachment to God and to Judaism.”

sider raising his or her own food. Even if you’ve never had a garden before, the experience can enrich your Jewish life. “The Jewish Gardening Cookbook” will nourish both your body and your spirit. “You don’t just grow plants in a Jewish ga rden,” Brown’s introduction concludes, “you incorporate  them into your life. Some will help transport you to different times and places; others will provide

K A R A MARZIALI is the Director of Communications at the Jewish Alliance.

An organized kitchen is a magnificent kitchen If you love preparing food, but your pantry is a mess, here are 10 creative and inexpensive ways to organize your kitchen. 1. Use a decorative casserole dish, flower pot or decorative container to corral often-used kitchen items. 2. Clean As You Cook. Let’s face it, it’s just easier this way. 3. Toss anything you don’t use (Be honest…do you ever use that cookie press?) 4. Always keep a Sharpie and masking tape on hand to label things. 5. Use a Tic Tac container or weekly pill box to store small amounts of spices. A contact lens case is a perfect container for salt and pepper on-the-go. 6. Use unflavored dental floss to cut soft foods such as hardboiled eggs, cheese, cake or jello. 7. Who doesn’t love a sandwich on a bagel? Use a clean CD holder as a caddie. 8. Use empty tissue boxes to hold plastic grocery bags or–better yet–carry your own tote to the market and eliminate waste. 9. Magazine racks a great for storing plastic wrap, foil or wax paper. They can also be used to hold your pan lids or cutting boards. 10. A shoe organizer with clear plastic pockets hung on a door will store snacks, pouches, bars, and other small food packages.



Under the strict Orthodox rabbinic supervision of Rabbi Barry Dolinger

2014 Menu

Seder Choices Homemade chopped liver or chopped herring Gefilte fish with our homemade horseradish Chicken broth or vegetable broth with matzoh balls Roasted chicken, boneless breast of chicken or brisket with vegetable gravy Roasted potatoes, potato kugel or tzimmes Choice of vegetables Choice of dessert Custom y rl Order eaions last! your menizues ct le se ile wh

Shabbat Passover Choices Chicken soup with matzoh balls Mixed green salad Roasted chicken Matzoh apple kugel (sweet) or tzimmes Vegetable Assorted pick-up pastries

You may order items from the menus without ordering the complete meal.

Andrew and Sandy – 401.524.5928 RUHLMAN.COM Y

20 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice


On Tuesday, March 4, 15 Lion of Judah women gathered at the home of Tina Odessa for an interactive cooking experience with professional chef Ilan Barniv. They enjoyed tuna tartare, rainbow trout and a Mediterranean pancake dessert. They were also able to pick up many cooking tips and tricks from Barniv. The successful event left the women happy and full. Ilan Barniv will soon be opening a new restaurant called BONAPITA Bakery & Grill on 51 Franklin Street in Boston.

Heavenly hamantaschen



Bob Haiken (left), chair of Temple Sinai’s social action committee and David Rosen, a congregant and retired baker made hamantaschen to send to college students.


Purim Mitzvah Day

On March 2, young and old alike joined in the fun on Purim Mitzvah Day at the Phyllis Siperstein Tamarisk Assisted Living Residence in Warwick. Participants baked more than 700 hamentaschen, and made colorful crafts.




Sample the kosher delicacies at a free tasting

BY IRINA MISSIURO Some people just get it. They know what needs to be done, how to do it and when to start thinking about what’s next. Sandy Ross is one of them. We met to talk about her new venture, Catering to Tradition, which she started with chef Andrew Esposito. Ross has an air of confidence about her that’s somehow reassuring and calming. That poise is accompanied by a nononsense demeanor of a business owner – a go-getter who makes things happen. Yes, she’s retired, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to move to a certain warm state, famous for its long coastline, and lie on the beach all day. She’d rather keep busy and stay useful. After a career in sales, she’d had enough of traveling. Not wanting to go out on the road again, Ross found work in Smithfield as an event planner and often worked with Local Hero Deli and Catering owned by Esposito. Ross felt that his food was the best, he always did exactly what he promised (and sometimes more) and she never had to chase him to fi nish something. She raves, “He was just a pleasure to work with, and I loved his food.” When asked about her favorite dish that Esposito makes, Ross thinks for a long time, fi nally saying that she truly loves everything. “It is so yummy!” she enthuses. After a few years, the event planner job stopped being fun and Ross left. When Esposito called to ask for her help in making his dream of being a kosher caterer come true, Ross explained everything that running a kosher kitchen involved and suggested he try “kosherstyle” cooking instead. [Kosher-style refers to food that is not kosher, but is a type of food that could be produced as ko-

March 14, 2014 |

Chef Andrew Esposito and Sandy Ross sher.] The two became partners and catered many bar and bat mitzvahs. They had such an ease and rapport that when Esposito brought up his kosher cater-

signed a contract this January. Now they are working under rabbi Dolinger’s supervision. He says, “Sandy and Andrew have been enthusiastic and upbeat from the start, work-

ing goal five years later, Ross agreed. Over the years, they’ve been asked to cater kosher events so many times that Ross saw a clear need for another kosher caterer. Last year alone, they catered three kosher events – enough to acknowledge the demand and begin talking with different organizations and synagogues about the possibility of cooking in their kitchens. When it was suggested that their venture might be a great fit for Congregation Beth Sholom, Ross and Esposito met with Rabbi Barry Dolinger. After many conversations, the two

ing hard to make this dream a reality. They are attentive to all of the rules of Kashrut and conscientious, making sure they are following Jewish law in the proper way. Both are fun to work with in the kitchen, and

Andrew is an incredibly talented chef.” In addition to superb cuisine and planning flexibility, Ross’ calling card is her inventiveness. She loves parties and will do everything in her power to make them as smooth-flowing and fun as possible. Ross admits, “I’m exhausted afterwards, but it’s worth every single minute to make these people so happy.” Partly because of the attention to details, large and small, clients are highly satisfied with the service Ross and Esposito provide. The Voice heard from Anna Pavlotsky Bowden, who hired the team for her son’s bar mitzvah. She says, “The Kiddush luncheon had to be kosher

original, and the dessert station exquisite, ample and sinfully delicious! We received so many compliments from our guests, both kids and adults, on the kosher Kiddush luncheon, and would recommend Catering to Tradition without hesitation.” If you’re intrigued, you can try many of their dishes for free at a Congregation Beth Sholom tasting. On Sunday, March 23, Ross and Esposito invite the entire Jewish community to 275 Camp St., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Grab some friends and enjoy an afternoon of great food. You’ll sample delicacies such as latkes, mashed potatoes, caprese skewers, tuna, tomato soup shooters with mini grilled cheese, smoked salmon and cu-


to comply with our temple’s strict rules. Sandy guided us through it flawlessly and, in addition, the dishes were wellprepared and flavorful, their presentation thoughtful and

cumber crostini, crepes and ice cream. Need more motivation? Check out some food photos on their new site, cateringtotradition. com. Bon appétit!

save time, order onli ne: shop

22 | March 14, 2014 FROM PAGE 1


The Jewish Voice


really relaxing to go and tend the garden.” Another advantage is the chance to do something fun yet pragmatic with children. The harvest is great, too, of course. Mayer grows vegetables such as kale, beets, chard and lettuce. Stopping by the garden before dinnertime and picking fresh produce for a salad can’t be beat, “When you pick and eat something, it has such an amazing flavor. Incomparable to what you get in the market.”

Shannon Boucher gardens at 160 Sessions Street in Providence

Boucher, Director of Children’s Programming at JSpace, loves teaching the kids about food’s origins and exposing them to fare they haven’t heard of. The children do mostly everything in the garden. Boucher thinks that growing and picking the vegetables encourages kids to experiment and be more willing to try the intimidating produce. To reinforce the youngsters’ love of the garden, the instructors use vegetables and herbs in cooking activities, as well as for snacks and lunches. For example, the children prepared their most memorable meal – pizza – with the garden’s tomatoes. An enthusiastic guide, Boucher says, “I love veggies and cooking and want to promote the love to kids in our programs.”

Jamie Faith Woods gardens at Jewish Community Day School

Woods, a 5th grade teacher at the JCDSRI, shares that the goal

of their school garden is to foster the love of the land and healthful eating. Children learn the Jewish midah (value) of being Shomrei Adamah (guardians of the earth). They enjoy working with their hands, watching plants grow and tasting the garden’s offerings – through their experience, their learning deepens. That’s why the school connects work in the garden to the kids’ classroom activities. For instance, those studying Native Americans plant a “three sisters” garden, while others learning about continents plant a world garden. The spoils are also used in holiday celebrations – gourds and pumpkins decorate the school’s sukkah. Children especially enjoy cooking with the produce. They have made limonana (Israeli mint lemonade), kale chips, pesto and baba ganoush. The school encourages the fun aspect of the garden, hosting harvest parties and taste tests. Faith Woods believes that involving the children “in this way helps ensure our future has stewards for the environment. Forging a Jewish connection to the earth can deepen the value and meaning of Jewish texts and experiences.”

Penney Stein and Liz Kaplan garden in Barrington

Stein and Kaplan have been gardening together for 20 years. They like their plot for its ample space and sun. The friends grow everything except corn and beans and try new vegetables and varieties each year. They

SAVE the DATE Monday, June 9, 2014 Ledgemont Country Club


Ella Johnson helping to winterize the Alliance garden plot. share the work and the harvest, although each prefers different produce. The two don’t think that gardening saves that much money, after factoring in the labor and the materials, but believe that

the taste and the freshness of the food make the effort worthwhile. The friends like knowing exactly what is in the soil and what is missing from it (pesticides). Also, they enjoy the fruits of their labor: “There’s nothing like seeing the asparagus coming in [in] the spring or the early garlic shoots, reminding us of the work we did in the fall – it’s like a sign that the garden is waking up, that after

a hard winter – like the one we had this year – there really will be a spring and summer.” That’s why, despite various hardships caused by unfortunate weather, these gardeners are optimistic about their ordeal and undeterred by setbacks such as predator damage. Instead, they choose to look ahead and feel fulfi lled by their accomplishments.

URI Feinstein Providence Campus Arts and Culture Program & Rhode Island Holocaust Education and Resource Center Present


29th Annual Alliance


to benefit the Dwares JCC

For sponsorship information contact Edward Bruckner at or 401.421.4111 ext. 174. To learn more about the event contact Carlene Barth at or 401.421.4111 ext. 210.

Portraits of Survivors…

Photographs by Jason Schwartz created and circulated by the Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersberg, Florida

April 1-30, 2014

TRUST IN THE JOURNEY: Becoming Family – Marie, Jeannette and Ruth

An Original Oral History Play by Frank V. Toti, Jr.

April 4 & 5 @ 7:30pm, April 6 @ 2:00pm (plus April 8-11 @ 9:30am for school groups)

Written from original Oral History testimony of Marie Silverman and Jeannette Bornstein, Hidden Children who became the first refugees to come to Rhode Island. Trust in the Journey is a more complete and dramatized rendering of their narrative with projected photographs, maps, music and sound effects.

URI Feinstein Providence Campus 1st and 2nd floor Lobby Gallery 80 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903. Hours: Mon. – Thurs. 9-9, Fri. & Sat. 9-4, Closed Sun. and Holidays


March 14, 2014 |


Benefits of indoor gardening Helping children gain a greater appreciation of nature and their roles as “shomrei adamah” (earthkeepers) BY DR. GABE GOLDMAN AND CAROLYN LINDER By introducing young children to the fascinating world of gardening and to the intricacies of nature, you will open their worlds to new ideas and experiences. Children are natural gardeners–they are naturally curious, they want to be involved and they like to learn by doing. Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. Children understand the rock lying on the ground saying, “Pick me up and see what is under me.” They understand the ladybug that pleads, “Let me crawl on your arm and tickle your skin.” And it will not be long before they understand the tiny seed that says, “Plant me and see what I can do” or the resulting plant that says, “Look at what you’ve done and feel proud.” Gardening offers everything an educator/parent could want when developing activities to draw children into their world. It provides opportunities for children to develop socially and emotionally, individually and as a community. The work involved in gardening supports children’s physical development, nourishes all their senses, and helps them learn to slow down and observe carefully. We encounter an appreciation for nature daily in our Jewish living as one of the themes in Jewish living is to live with a sense of wonder. Blessings and prayers are ways that traditional daily practice guides us toward wonder and the daily psalms are filled with nature and appreciation. Taking time to join children and explore the wonder with them and building from an early age, the habit of uttering words of appreciation for beauty, is a very

Jewish thing to do. It provides children with a ‘language’ to share wonder together with you. Here are the benefits of indoor gardening for your children: 1. Understanding the world – Young children have one primary goal in their young lives – to understand the world around them. For better or worse, much of this understanding comes in the form of restrictions – learning what not to do so as to avoid injury, learning how not be inconsiderate of others, and so forth. Indoor gardening provides a new type of worldly understanding that is “expansive” rather than constrictive. Indoor gardening has the potential to be an empowering experience. For this to happen, it is necessary for children to take as active and participatory a role as possible in developing and maintaining their gardens. 2. Developing self-esteem –

Young children are developing the identities they will carry with them throughout their lives. Some researchers claim that people’s entire personalities develop by the time they are five years old. Whether this is accurate or not, it is clear that children deserve to develop identities that are based on self-pride and selfesteem. Indoor gardens provide an ongoing experience of pride, mixed with awe and wonder, with children seeing the effect of their care on the growth of their plants. 3. Enjoying education – Fun and curiosity are the two primary motivators of young children’s learning. Parents and early childhood educators understand that young children learn better when they are having fun and enjoying their learning. Indoor gardens are fun, and they excite children’s natural curiosity. 4. Appreciating and loving nature – Indoor gardening, especially when supple-


mented with outdoor walks and nature experiences, leads children to develop far greater appreciation and love for the

natural world. These feelings are pre-requisite to the later development of Jewish identity that embraces the Torah’s view of people as shomrei adamah, “stewards of the earth.” 5. They can do this any place, any time – Last but not least, indoor gardening is an activity children can do regardless of their location or the time of the year. They can do it during school or at home during winter break. They can do it as a class, alone with you or as an activity with friends. GABE GOLDMAN is the Director of Experiential Education and CAROLYN LINDER is the Director of Early Childhood, Israel, and Educational Resources at the Agency for Jewish Learning in Pittsburgh, Pa. Excerpted from AJL’s “Guide for Making Indoor Gardens with Young Jewish Gardeners” and reprinted with permission. To download the complete guide, visit

Interesting facts about plants • All parts of the tomato and potato plant, except for the potato bulb and the tomato fruit, are poisonous – this includes the leaves, flowers and stems. • Day lilies grow yellow and orange flowers that are edible. One of its flower has at least as much Vitamin C as does an entire orange – without the acid. And each flower remains only for a day. • Some plants open their flowers at night. This is because they are pollinated by moths which do not fly in the day. • Certain kinds of pine trees must have their cones exposed to brushfire before their seeds will be able to germinate (like yucca). • It is thought that horseradish became popular as a condiment because

it does not need refrigeration. • “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was first used to advertise the horticulture exhibit at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Mo. • The sweet orange is now thought to be the single most commonly grown fruit tree in the world. • Agave is a cactus-like plant that is nicknamed the “Century Plant.” This is because agave produces flowers only one time in its life and it takes between 75-100 years to happen. • Jewel weed is a plant that grows in the eastern United States. When submerged in water, its leaves take on the appearance of silver – ergo its name. • One carob tree can easily produce

over 1,000 pounds of carob pods. • Cactus plants breathe twice a day. In the early morning they breathe in. After dark they breathe out. This helps lessen the amount of water that evaporates when their pores are open. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION by Agency for Jewish Learning, Pittsburgh, Pa. by Dr. Gabe Goldman, Director of Experiential Education in collaboration with Carolyn Linder, Director of Early Childhood and School Services.

Get your daily dose of Vitamin C by consuming one big gorgeous day lily.

24 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

Creative planting pots BY CAROLYN LINDER Anything that holds dirt and drains excess water can be used for a planting pot. This includes metal coffee cans (be careful when poking holes in metal cans), milk jugs, soda bottles, plastic food containers, old toys, hollow rocks, trash cans and children’s swimming pools. The key to using containers successfully is to be sure they have a way to drain excess water well. Peat pots do this automatically. With aluminum pans, plastic containers, coffee cans, etc., you have to poke holes to let water drain from them. Use a knife or screwdriver, and make a lot of small holes rather than a few large ones. (Large holes let too much soil wash out of them.) The three most common planting containers are peat pots, clay pots and plastic pots. Peat pots come only in small sizes, 2-4 inches in diameter, and are the least expensive of the three. When transplanting from peat pots to other containers, you do not have to remove the plant from the peat pot. Instead, place the entire peat pot with the plant into the hole in the soil of the new container. Clay pots have the advantages of looking better than plastic pots and absorbing more excess water, but clay pots are usually the most expensive pots. When transplanting from a clay pot, you may not be able to tap it hard enough to loosen the root ball. Instead, use a large spoon


to loosen the dirt around the side of the pot until it slides free. Plastic pots are inexpensive and come in all sizes. You must be certain to have good drainage and to line the bottom with a layer of rock before filling with dirt. Use pieces of gravel or rock approximately 1-2 inches in diameter or length. If you don’t use peat pot planters, place a 1/2-inch layer of gravel (pea to marble size) on the bottom of your planting container before adding soil. This allows water to drain better from the soil. Remember that it is very difficult to overwater plants unless they do not have good drainage. Fill your planters, whether starting with peat pots or huge trash cans, almost but not quite, to the top of the

container. If you fill to the top, soil will overflow the container when you water. Avocado, orange and grapefruit skins make cute starting containers. Cut the fruit in half (avocado should be cut lengthwise), and let dry for a few days. Be sure to scrape out the excess fruit. To use, fill nearly to the top with soil, water, pour off excess water and plant your seed. Like with the peat pot, you can plant the entire fruit skin when transplanting to a larger container. The fruit skin will decompose over time. Stockings also make very creative planting containers. Place two cups of soil (with several pinches of seeds mixed in) into an old stocking. Squeeze tightly, and tie the ball of soil in

place using the rest of the stocking or a string. Water the soil ball thoroughly. You can decorate the stocking by drawing a face on the stocking, putting on buttons for eyes and watching the grass grow in as the “hair.” Hang in a sunny window and keep thoroughly moist. CAROLYN LINDER is the Director of Early Childhood, Isra-

el, and Educational Resources at the Agency for Jewish Learning in Pittsburgh, Penn. Excerpted from AJL’s “Guide for Making Indoor Gardens with Young Jewish Gardeners” and reprinted with permission. To download the complete guide, visit


March 14, 2014 |


Biblical garden

BY JUDY MOSELEY Temple Beth-El’s Biblical Garden was initially planned by Mrs. David Adelman in the 1960s and included a weeping mulberry tree, Pyracantha bushes shaped as menorahs, a burning bush and various herbs, all chosen for their symbolism in our faith’s narrative. The garden was rededicated as the Julie Claire Gutterman Memorial Garden in 2002 when members of the Eden Garden Club updated it. In the summer of 2012, through the work of volunteers and fi nancial support of the Bernhardt Foundation, the garden was renovated and reinterpreted. Along the edge of the temple’s spacious patio, plants that had been lost were replaced and new ones added to create a colorful, educational and sometimes edible landscape. The new plants are sustainable and not invasive like some of their predecessors (bittersweet and burning bush), but they retain significant references to biblical times. The beautiful weeping mulberry that is central to the garden has been pruned to reveal the tablets (symbolizing the Ten Commandments) that were moved when the temple relocated from South Providence more than 50 years ago. On the west side of that tree, a garden focusing on the seven species was installed and includes a grapevine, fig tree, honey berry bushes, hardy pomegranate, olive tree (in summer), wheat and barley. The seven species were important historically in sustaining

Plants mentioned in sacred text create a holy space at Temple Beth-El

the Jews, and traditionally they are eaten in celebration of Tu B’Shevat, Sukkot and Shavuot. A rose, with dramatic thorns symbolic of hardship, is planted adjacent to the mulberry. To the east of the mulberry tree, a dwarf cedar, dwarf willow and laurel have been planted along with lilies. A smoke bush has taken the place of the burning bush in the patio and will provide a blaze of color in the fall. You are invited to explore the garden and encouraged to watch it grow! Along with the garden, we have installed a permanent sign that gives you the biblical references to the seven species along with a description and picture of each species in the garden. We gratefully acknowledge volunteers Lenore Piper, Deb Salinger, Jennifer Holden Sherwood, Fred Franklin and Bruce Winter, who have weeded, planted and watered the garden; Carolyn Winter, who has designed the garden; George Hetu and members of the temple’s staff who have removed old trees and shrubs and helped with ongoing maintenance; and Karen Mueller, whose consultation on the project was invaluable. Please visit the Temple BethEl website at temple-beth-el. org/about-us/biblical-garden or the temple’s library for additional information about the garden.


JUDY MOSELEY is the Executive Director at Temple Beth-El.

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26 | March 14, 2014

The Jewish Voice


Great gifts for gardening enthusiasts BY STATEPOINT Birthday shopping for a gardener? You can make his or her wishes come true by shopping with his or her favorite hobby in mind. Don’t ignore your gift recipient’s hobbies and passions. There are plenty of gifts that complement the gardening lifestyle. Here are a few ideas that will put a smile on the face of those green-thumbed family members and friends:

Make a statement

Upgrade a hobby wardrobe with gear that’s not only stylish but functional, too. If your gardener is still watering, hedging, weeding and working in the yard in an old pair of beat-up sneakers, consider a pair of garden clogs designed for the specific chores associated with working in the yard or garden. Easy-to-clean and waterproof, they make a great present. Or consider a utility apron in your gift recipient’s favorite colors or pattern.

Go bird-friendly

No garden is complete without visits from local wildlife such as songbirds. Help your gardener transform his or her garden into a wildlife refuge. A birdbath and birdfeeder will help attract birds and encourage them to linger in the garden longer.


Unfortunately billions of songbirds are killed worldwide each year due to accidental collisions with window glass, according to the Wilson Ornithological Society. Consider a unique gift that makes the area safer for flying friends. A new high-tech liquid called WindowAlert UV Liquid can be applied to windows and contains a component that brilliantly reflects ultraviolet sunlight. This ultraviolet light, invisible to humans, takes advantage of the keen eyesight of birds and creates a visual barrier on windows to help prevent fatal collisions. “Wild-

life can beautify a garden. But birds and other wildlife don’t appear by chance. They seek habitats that provide them with food, shelter, and safety,” says Spencer Schock, founder of WindowAlert.


Make watering the plants a pleasure with a vintage watering can. You can add a personal touch by painting the side of the can with a unique design or your gift recipient’s name. Or buy a set of planters and give them the same painting treatment.


G OUR 40 th Y









Think again.

Mt. Pleasant Alarms is a family owned and operated security business providing quality products and exceptional customer service since 1974. Our UL monitoring station is located in Providence and ensures that you will never talk to an automated phone system. We take the time to design security systems that fit the needs of each individual customer. Our goal is to keep you safe while home or away and also provide protection for your business. Thanks to advancements in technology, you can now control some aspects of your system from anywhere with a smartphone or computer. We strive to continue providing the same personal service for many years to come. I’d like to thank all of our loyal customers for their continued business. – Dennis R. Cicchitelli, President



Gardens and earth stewardship in Jewish tradition BY DR. GABE GOLDMAN

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There are many ways that gardens and earth stewardship play a role in Jewish life. According to Jewish tradition, the first person (Adam) was placed in the Garden of Eden to work in it and to care for it. In Hebrew, people who help to care for nature are called Shomrei (pronounced as Shom-ray) Adamah – which literally means “Guardian of the Land.” Rav Huna, a teacher quoted in Talmud, said: A scholar may not dwell in a city where there are no green vegetables. Another rabbi also tells us that if we are planting a tree and at that very moment the Messiah arrives, we should finish planting the tree before greeting him. Unlike other roles in Jewish life (e.g., b’nei mitvot, community volunteer, student), young children do not have to wait to become Shomrei Adamah. Caring for the earth is part of their birthright. It’s something they begin to understand at an early age and something they don’t have to wait to become. From the Burning Bush to the oak tree planted by

Abraham to the modern day celebration of Tu B’Shevat, Judaism recognizes nature as a source of spiritual wonderment for all ages. Two people were fighting over a piece of land. Each claimed ownership, and each had proof to support his claims. They took the matter to the rabbi of their village to resolve. After listening to each of them and examining their proof, he told them that he could not decide and would have to ask the earth. He stepped outside and put his ear to the ground. After a few moments, he rose up. “My friends,” he said, “the land says it belongs to neither of you – but that you belong to it.” (Source unknown)

“…the land says it belongs to neither of you – but you belong to it…”

GABE GOLDMAN is the Director of Experiential Education at the Agency for Jewish Learning in Pittsburgh, Pa. Excerpted from AJL’s “Guide for Making Indoor Gardens with Young Jewish Gardeners” and reprinted with permission. To download the complete guide, visit

Tips to green your home and garden this season

BY STATEPOINT Going green at home doesn’t have to turn your life upside down. There are simple measures you can take in your kitchen and garden to run a planetfriendly home.

Reduce waste

Ensure your kitchen is properly outfitted with labeled recycling bins. Keep these receptacles handy to encourage your family and guests to make use of them. Take your waste reduction a step further by setting up a bin for food scraps, which you can add to your yard trimmings. Composting creates a natural fertilizer that’s a planet-friendly alternative to the chemical variety. By recycling and composting, you can join the ranks of Americans reducing the waste they send to the landfill. In fact, recycling and composting prevent-


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You may think of your yard as “yours,” but you are actually sharing the space with furry creatures, insects and birds. Habitat destruction and loss, as well as other manmade and natural threats, put beautiful species like hummingbirds at risk. Make your garden a safe haven with birdfeeders and by planting native, sustentative shrubs, trees and flowers.

Eat local

Source your food locally to reduce your carbon footprint. If possible, buy local, in-season fruits and vegetables that didn’t have to travel the world to reach your plate. And while flowers are beautiful to look at – and the right ones can provide nectar for pollinating insects and birds – consider turning at least part of your garden into a space for herbs and vegetables to grow. When dinner comes from your own back yard, it means fresher produce that’s good for your family and good for the planet. Don’t just enjoy nature this season, take care of it. With a few small tweaks, it isn’t hard to run your home more sustainably.




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28 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

History of Dutch elm disease BY TEE JAY BOUDREAU Dutch elm disease (DED) is a vascular wilt disease caused by the fungus Ophiostoma novo-ulmi that affects American elms by killing individual branches and ultimately causing the tree’s death in one to several years. This fungus is spread by the native elm bark beetle (Hylurgopinus rufipe), which is the disease’s major vector (carrier), as it travels from elm to elm feeding on twigs or through root grafts of neighboring diseased elm trees. Symptoms of DED begin as wilting yellow and brown leaves within the elm’s crown and proceed to develop down the tree. These symptoms may also begin at the bottom of the tree or rapidly overtake the entire structure if DED is introduced through grafted roots. At one time, this urban shade tree could be found in prolific numbers alongside the streets and roadways of numerous American cities and suburbs. With large vase-like branches reaching heights of 80 feet shading both street and yard, these trees were champions of grace and beauty. The American elm, as it was known, is all but a memory in today’s landscape. Dutch elm disease gains its name from the Dutch phytopathologists Bea Schwarz  and  Christine Buisman, who first discovered the disease in the 1920s. But Dutch elm disease is not to be blamed on the Dutch for its introduction to America; rather it was

A glorious healthy American elm tree an introduced pathogen from Asia. The death of the American elm is a tragic loss for our landscape, but it is also a teaching moment that has transformed the preventative measures communities, planners and designers can take when planting landscapes. When elm trees were planted as a monoculture (singular spe-

cies planting) down city streets, the elm bark beetle had great opportunity to feed and spread disease in the process. The destruction of these trees left streets bare with treeless sidewalks and a vastly altered landscape in need of replanting. Today, we have learned from these practices, and street tree plantings have become diversified. By varying street tree



An American elm tree that has died from the ravages of Dutch elm disease plantings with an assortment of species along our streets, planners have developed a tool to try combating the spread of disease and limit the impact on a landscape if a particular species needs to be removed due to declining health or death. You see, many diseases that affect trees are species-specific; for example, certain pathogens that attack elms will not attack maples. With a diversified landscape, the removal of two or three trees along a city block may not be as severe as the removal of all the trees as was the case in many areas due to the exclusive planting of elms in some neighborhoods. On the bright side, there are still some living American elms, and these stalwarts have seemingly survived the era of mass death between the 1950s and 1980s by winning the veritable genetic lottery. Those left standing today are reminders of the past and the magnificence these trees once showcased. These remaining trees must also be coddled. Through the years, scientists have developed methods to save any remaining American elm trees unaffected by DED; one of these is through fungicidal injections into the tree’s root flare. These precautions have proven successful but are costly and may be out of the realm of most homeowners’ expertise and budgets. With only a few American elms alive in Rhode Island, it is sad when any must be removed

due to death or disease. Last month, the Rhode Island Historical Society earmarked an American elm to be removed from the grounds of the historic John Brown House Museum. (See the companion article on page 29.) This will be the second American elm in under a year that the Historical Society will have removed due to declining health. While this tree posed a safety hazard, it has tested negative for Dutch elm disease, but it will be taken down for other health issues. There has been much research done, as you can expect, on finding viable alternative elm tree cultivars that are DED-resistant. Two such cultivars are Valley Forge and New Harmony, both grown out of the U.S. National Arboretum tree genetics program, which boasts more than 60 years of research, three generations of scientists and testing on more than 60,000 elm trees. These cultivars, and others, are now available to nurseries and garden centers with the hope that one day the American elm can regain the prominent stature it once held in our landscapes. TEE JAY BOUDREAU is the Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator for the R.I. Department of Environmental Management. For urban forestry-related questions, contact him at 401-222-2445, ext. 2059.


March 14, 2014 |


Nipping a problem in the bud BY KARA MARZIALI The Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS), founded in 1822, is the fourth-oldest historical society in the United States and Rhode Island’s largest and oldest historical organization. Its mission is to collect, preserve and share “materials from Rhode Island’s past, so that present and future generations can comprehend more fully their predecessors, their communities, and themselves.” Last month, RIHS announced that it will lose a second elm tree from the grounds of the John Brown House Museum (52 Power Street, Providence), a designated National Historic Landmark, built in 1788. What makes this significant is that the 18th century house is on a plot of land that boasts a grove of historic elm trees. Symbolizing strength of will and intuition, elms were popular trees to plant due to their rapid growth, variety of foliage and seasonal shade. In fact, each summer RIHS offers Concerts under the Elms, an outdoor concert series held under the canopy of elms at the John Brown House Museum. The Jewish Voice contacted RIHS to find out more details. Below is an interview with RIHS Executive Director C. Morgan Grefe, Ph.D. Tell me about the situation with the trees at the John Brown House Museum. We are deeply saddened at the loss of another elm tree at the John Brown House Museum. These trees are invaluable parts of Providence’s landscape and its history, and we hope to honor them by replanting complementary trees that will continue to provide beauty, shade, and clean air for decades to come. I understand that the elm tree that needs to be removed

A nightmare for elms in Providence yields artful results


does not have Dutch elm disease. The tree has been tested for numerous diseases, including Dutch elm and the canker Sphaeropsis Ulmicola, which killed an elm on the grounds in 2013. Right now, we know that the tree is not infected with Dutch elm; in fact, the disease that killed it has yet to be identified by any of the specialists working on our trees. All tests have been negative, but the tree is dead and has since lost much of its bark and several major branches. City Forrester Doug Still and experts from Brown University agree that the tree presents a safety risk in its present condition and must be removed. We continue to work on strengthening the trees and their environment so they can continue to not only live, but thrive in the Sharpe Elm Grove, named for noted tree enthusiasts Mary Elizabeth and Henry D. Sharpe. When will the diseased elm come down?

We don’t know. Our challenging weather this winter makes planning very difficult. What are the ramifications of losing this second tree? We are very sorry for the loss of this tree and are working on a replanting plan for the grounds. We want to act soon to ensure that this wonderful grove remains the urban oasis that it has been for generations. Do you have a strategy on raising funds to replace the tree? The RIHS is actively seeking funds for a replanting plan for

the grounds of the John Brown House Museum. In our communication with members and in all publicity about the loss of these elms, we have highlighted our need for assistance. We do have a fund for the maintenance of our trees, but replacement is extremely costly, and additional donations will make an enormous difference in our ability to address this issue in a timely fashion. When you lost the last elm, some amazing artwork was created from the wood. The RIHS recently received

the gift of two pieces made of wood salvaged from the 2013 elm. An elegant bowl and vase turned by Michael Grady of Forestdale, Mass., have become a part of the permanent collection of the Society. How did Michael Grady get the wood from that tree to fashion a bowl and vase? Mr. Grady is a member of a group of wood turners from Cape Cod who attended the tree cutting and took wood with which they are making beautiful things for us. He is the first of the group to return finished pieces to us. Professor Dale Broholm of the RISD Furniture Department also took several large planks, but those pieces must season for two to three more years before they can become the table he has planned for us. Are there creative plans for the currently diseased tree? All the artisans who were involved last year have been contacted about this tree as well, and we are open to other creative ideas for the use of this beautiful, historic wood. The RIHS hopes that beautiful things will come from this elm as well. Anyone interested may contact me directly at 401-3318575. KARA MARZIALI is the Director of Communications at the Jewish Alliance.

30 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

Thinking about renovating? The advantages of consulting a professional BY CHARLES M. NAVRATIL AND ADRIEN J. MERCURE

As the calendar turns to spring, many families begin to think of sprucing up the house or maybe creating more useable space. This may entail claiming space in the basement or attic or possibly putting an addition on the house. For those who are contemplating this endeavor, the first thought is usually, “Where can we find a builder?” But, more pointedly, “Should we be finding an architect first?” While there are several answers to this question, the first is problemsolving. All building projects are three-dimensional puzzles striving for solutions. Issues needing to be solved can vary depending on the complexity of the site, zoning, historical commission, building code and interior spatial concerns. An architect is trained for critical thinking, identifying potential issues and solving problems. By listening and asking questions, an architect builds a strong understanding of your situation and then tailors solutions to your specific needs. Often, an architect offers multiple solutions beyond those a homeowner may surmise. Working with a design professional can help you identify the solution that best fits your lifestyle and your house. We had a recent client say, “I wish I had hired you when we

had built the house.” This was in reference to their working directly with a builder instead of a design professional on the blueprint of the house. The owner made the changes without understanding the repercussions of those decisions. This example is not indicative

your architect early in the discussion makes it easier to arrive at a solution that works realistically. If your project goals are too ambitious for your budget, an architect can inform you of such. An architect will provide a thorough set of plans that will allow builders to price a project

as well as design features, can help save you money in maintenance and operating costs in the future. A well-organized plan enhances your lifestyle and adds future value to your house. You can ask your circle of contacts if they know of any architects and what their experience with them was like. One of the biggest compliments an architect can receive is a referral

current space, lifestyle, goals, etc. This is your opportunity to ask about his or her design philosophy, process, experience, approach to problem solving and handling your particular issues. You need to be comfortable with your choice of a professional as you will be working closely with him or her for the next few months. Architects are a great resource for builders and

to another client. Y ou can also check your local phonebook or search the internet for local architects. A final option is to check with your local chapter of the American Institute of Architects to see if they have a list of architects who might be suitable for your project. Once you have a list of three or four potential architects, you will want to interview each. This is a crucial step since you will likely be working with your architect for up to a year between the design and construction process. During the interview, the architect will be asking questions about you, your project, use of

can recommend those who are most appropriate for your project size and scope. Satisfied clients are those who view their architect as a trusted advisor and guide for their project. The most successful projects are the ones that result from a collaboration between the homeowner and architect.


of all builders, but it does illuminate why one should work with an architect to orchestrate a design and resolve all possible issues prior to construction. Sharing your budget with

precisely and eliminate potential extra costs down the road. Solutions worked out on paper are cheaper than building and rebuilding in the field. Products and materials specified,

CHARLES M. NAVRATIL and ADRIEN J. MERCURE ( are partners at Architects 2, which serves southeastern New England and has been providing clients quality solutions for their building projects since 1999.


March 14, 2014 |


Protect yourself and your home Mt. Pleasant Alarms provides peace of mind

BY IRINA MISSIURO Mt. Pleasant Alarms is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. To commemorate the occasion, Dennis Cicchitelli, the president and the man who started the company with his wife back in 1974, spoke to the Jewish Voice about the importance of residential and commercial security systems, as well as what it takes to stay on top. Cicchitelli says, “I tell my employees we need to give the customers a reason to choose us. That’s why we have to be the best.” Considering the fact that business has been especially great lately for Mt. Pleasant Alarms, it’s safe to say that the strategy is working for the family, which encompasses not only Cicchitelli’s three children, but also a loyal crew of long-time employees devoted to providing personal customer care around the clock. Cicchitelli shares that home security is more important than ever now because of the number of burglaries that occur every day. He speaks highly of such devices as panic buttons (many of which have saved his customers from trouble) and duress codes (a way to send a silent alarm to alert the company that someone is following you into the house). He thinks that security systems ease customers’ minds by reassuring them

that they have no surprises awaiting them upon return. Also, when relaxing at home, it helps to be confident that you are protected and not worry about a break-in.

BUSINESS PROFILE Cicchitelli explains that the technology has recently improved, and his company now offers a way for customers to control their systems remotely. If they forgot to turn their lights or heat off, they can do so at their convenience. He emphasizes that, during installation, his employees take the time to train the customers how to use their system. Cicchitelli says that the reason his company is thriving and receiving multiple customer referrals is Mt. Pleasant Alarms’ insistence on providing the type of personal touch that large corporations cannot offer. When his crew visits a house to perform an installation, they are unobtrusive and diligent. Cicchitelli believes that it’s important to leave the customers comfortable so that they’re not wondering what they’re getting and why they’re getting it. His employees are not in a hurry to leave once they finish installing; they “take all the time you need.” Because the company uses the same crew, they are

very well trusted. Cicchitelli sums up, “That’s why we are where we are.” Asked to share interesting stories, he tells of burglars entering houses through the roof and being unsuccessful in their attempts to steal because of the protection his company provided. Helping his customers always makes Cicchitelli feel good about what they do. “I developed it into the business where we earn our customers’ trust and confidence. We make sure the customers understand what their options are.” For instance, his company offers a way for vacationers to know that their pipes will not burst in Rhode Island while they’re catching a tan on a beach in Florida. Heat loss detectors inform Mt. Pleasant Alarms if the temperature in your house is too cold; they, in turn, notify the designated party so that the heat could be raised and disaster prevented. Cicchitelli feels that many of his customers know that it’s a minimal amount to spend for peace of mind. If you would like to learn more about video surveillance and burglary detection systems, as well as lifesaving and environmental devices, contact Mt. Pleasant Alarms at 401-2747676 or

Library hosts propagation demonstration Meet author and gardener Kristin Green On Thursday, April 17, at 6:30 p.m., the Rochambeau Library will host an author event and plant propagation demonstration with Kristin Green, Blithewold horticulturist and author of “Plantiful: Start Small, Grow Big with 150 Plants that Spread, Self-Sow, and Overwinter.” Her talk is titled “Making the most of your garden: Plantiful propagation.” Learn how to stretch your garden budget by taking advantage of nature’s generosity with this gardener’s guide to opportunism followed by a demonstration on how to root tip cuttings using a Forsythe pot – a propagation tool that is simpler than an expensive greenhouse mist system, is more reliable than glasses of water on the windowsill and can be easily made from stuff stashed in the potting shed. “Plantiful” shows you how to have an easy, gorgeous garden

packed with plants by simply making the right choices. Kristin Green highlights plants that help a garden quickly grow through self-sowing and spreading, teaches you how to

expand the garden and explains how to extend the life of a plant by overwintering. The book features plant profiles for 50 self-sowers (including colum-

bine, milkweed and foxglove), 50 spreaders (e.g., clematis, snow poppy and spearmint) and 50 plants that overwinter (e.g., lemon verbena, begonia and Chinese hibiscus). Gardeners of all levels are welcome. Kristin Green is a full-time, year-round gardener serving as interpretive horticulturist, garden blogger and photographer at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, a 33acre non-profit public garden in Bristol, Rhode Island. She writes a regular column called “Down to Earth” for local newspapers and blogs at trenchmanicure.wordpress. com. Her writing and photographs have been published in “Fine Gardening” and other magazines. Rochambeau Library is located at 708 Hope Street and online at Events are free and open to the public in an accessible facility.

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32 | March 14, 2014

The Jewish Voice

How to keep up with residential property maintenance BY WAYNE ROSENBERG For most of us, buying a residential property is the single most expensive purchase in our lifetime. More than just a place to call home, a property is an investment that requires additional expense over time in order to maintain its future value. Deferring maintenance and cleaning may save money in the short term, but many troubles left unattended will soon become problematic and can cost much more to fix in the long run. “Regular home maintenance can benefit your family’s health, safety and pocketbook,” says Elizabeth Dodson, CoFounder of HomeZada, a home management software company. Keeping this in mind, here are several examples of how to maintain your home and why it’s important. Most damage to a structure is caused by moisture. The addition of a chimney cap will help to keep rain moisture from entering fireplaces and heating flues. Houses need to breathe to stay dry. With regards to fireplaces, keep the damper closed when not in use to maximize indoor climate control and save on energy costs. While a good roof may be the single most important part of a home that requires maintenance, a dry basement requires that you properly clean gutters and downspouts to help shed water away from the foundation. Some especially damp cellars may also need a dehumidifier to remove moisture. It’s best to prevent mold and mildew issues, since they can infect your entire home and lead to major respiratory illnesses. It is necessary to keep up with landscaping around your property. Cutting back vegetation and trees will allow proper air flow and also help prevent animals and insects from making your home their home. Well-maintained siding and a good paint job are essential. Chipped and peeling paint hold

Don’t let key tasks fall by the wayside

moisture. Add in a cycle of freezing and thawing and this will accelerate the failure of the housing envelope. Any cracks in macadam driveways, stone patios or concrete walks will be subject to further deterioration from this freeze-thaw cycle. Windows and doors should be kept clean and in working order. Replace weather-stripping to close gaps. Lubricate your doors, including your garage door, for smooth operation and to delay the need for parts replacement. Older windows are balanced with lead weights, which have ropes that often split; this can be dangerous, especially around children or pets. Window casings need to be carefully opened to repair or service or they may need to be

“All mechanical and electricial systems need to be monitored and continually upgraded to provide maximum efficiency.” replaced entirely. Many quality window options are available at your local home improvement store; upgrading will allow for better heating efficiency. Outside water spigots, sprinkler heads and water lines must be properly drained and protected to prevent damage or bursting pipes. Inside the home, water faucets in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry rooms need to be occasionally honed, and washers need to be replaced to prevent leaking and failure. Faucet filters collect debris and need to be removed and cleaned to ensure proper flow. Sinks, tubs and toilets need to be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent buildup of “gunk” and to ensure proper drainage. Water heaters should be monitored and swapped out before they fail, not after. Most of the


pipes from a forced hot water system are iron or steel. These systems need to be flushed on a periodic basis to prevent the buildup of rust, which could damage water circulation pumps and prevent the proper transfer of heat. On an annual basis, inspect heating and cooling equipment to ensure they are functioning optimally. Every hot water or steam boiler should be cleaned and serviced once a year. Radiator and pressure release valves should be monitored for leaks, cleaned and flushed every year. All mechanical and electrical systems need to be monitored and continually upgraded to provide maximum efficiency. Fixtures, light bulbs, batteries, etc., have limited working lives and need to be occasionally replaced and/or upgraded. A regular schedule of battery replacement in your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors could be life-saving. Experts recommend that

batteries be replaced twice a year. You can do this when you are setting your clocks during Daylight Savings. (Have you replaced your batteries recently?) The temperature may still feel chilly, but spring and summer will be here before you know it. Your window-placed air conditioning units should have been cleaned and properly stored for the winter months. Outside central air conditioning units should also be cleaned of debris and covered for the winter. Outdoor barbecues need their burners and grease traps cleaned to assure proper function and prevent fires. Building code requirements change regularly, so it’s important to be informed of current laws. Building and maintenance professionals, as well your local fire department, can keep you abreast new regulations, should you require new or additional fire, smoke, or CO detectors. Railings are required for stoops with three steps or

more. Disturbing or removing lead paint now requires a license. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines or even in fatality. While some people may enjoy renting, for most, nothing beats owning their home. You don’t have to invest a ton of time or money to improve your home’s value. Plenty of projects offer great returns on investment. This becomes especially important if your home is on the market. When the time to sell comes, a well-maintained property will sell quicker and result in a better price than a property that has had its maintenance deferred. From replacing elements of your home’s exterior to updating your kitchen, your realtor can offer suggestions for updates that can help you sell. As such, a proactive maintenance plan will not only increase the present enjoyment of your home but will also pay dividends in the long run. According to the National Association of Realtors, preemptive maintenance can increase the appraised value of your home each year by one percent, whereas a house in disrepair can lose 10% of its previous appraised value. Last, consider creating a home maintenance schedule to stay organized and motivated. Make one using a three-ring binder with dividers, pockets and clear plastic sleeves in order to consolidate all your household information. This should include warranties, service contracts, receipts, maintenance schedule and records of repairs and improvement. This way, you’ll know at a glance the last time you pruned your hedges, replaced your weather-stripping or had your boiler repaired. WAY N E  “ R E N T-A MENSCH” ROSENBERG is a licensed and insured realtor, construction supervisor, seasoned property and maintenance manager and a licensed lead paint remover.

A fresh start in springtime Painting advice from someone who knows

BY TOM LOPATOSKY As spring is welcomed into our lives this year (as much as or perhaps more than at any point in recent memory), so too comes the annual evaluation of what needs to be done around the exterior and interior of one’s home. Often at the top of the list of spring “to do” projects is painting. Whether outside or inside, painting is one of those items that can make a huge difference for the home both from a

protection and a beautification standpoint. When undertaking any painting project there are a number of things that one should keep in mind during the planning process. Should you hire a painter or do it yourself? This is a great question. The answer will obviously lie in your comfort level in embarking on things. If you ultimately decide on hiring a contractor, due diligence is necessary to make sure you end up working with some-

one whom you are as comfortable with as possible and who has a program in place that will viably guarantee the work that is done for as long as possible. If you decide this is a project that you can certainly handle, it is best to do as much research as possible – via the internet, library or your local paint or hardware store – to ensure that you approach things correctly in order to generate the desired results. How should you approach

things if you believe there to be lead paint on your home? If there is even a chance of lead paint being on your home (any painted structure associated with your home in place prior to 1978), it is best to approach things as if lead were present when you are proceeding with the painting process. You can always get the surface that is being painted tested by a professional lead testing company if you would like to know for sure, but if you approach the project

as if there were lead paint on the surface, you will certainly be doing a prudent thing. If you find yourself in this situation and decide to hire a contractor to help you navigate things as safely as possible, it is important that the contractor is properly licensed and follows federal and/or local “Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP)” regulations. If you would like to take care PAINT | 33


March 14, 2014 |


Fun ways to improve your home theater experience BY STATEPOINT We are living in the midst of one of the most exciting eras of television and technology – from edge-of-your-seat action series to big-game sports. And with more great films becoming available at home sooner, and gaming becoming increasingly realistic, the need for superior home entertainment systems is growing. In fact, U.S. consumers spent $18 billion on home entertainment in 2013, according to recent statistics from The Digital Entertainment Group. So if you’re thinking about giving your home any upgrades this season, one change that will increase the enjoyment of your family room or living room is improving your home entertainment system. There are a number of fun ways to update your home entertainment system to ensure family movie and gaming nights are extra exciting:


To get the real movie theater experience, set up your home theater system in a room without windows, such as a basement or interior rec room. If that’s not possible, consider a thick set of curtains to completely block out natural light. This will give your room the right look and feel while enhancing the picture quality of your movies, shows and games.


PAINT of this type of project on your own, it is significant that you do it as properly as possible, following appropriate research to make sure that you approach the project in a way that is the safest and most suitable for all involved. What is the advantage of us-

after 3000 hours of use. For example, Casio’s SLIM series of projectors, have a light source that can last up to 20,000 hours, which means less maintenance than lamp-based projectors which require frequent lamp replacements, making operation more eco-friendly and affordable.

Delight the Senses


When it comes to curtains, framing the screen with a velvet red, gold or purple curtain adds a touch of old-time theater elegance. Consider setting up an automated system that simultaneously dims the lights and draws back a curtain in front of your screen. If you want to go all out, paint the walls black, maroon or another dark color and install theater-style seating and red carpeting.

Show Time!

Whether playing the newest

ing “Green” or “Low/No VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)” paint products for your project? There has been a trend in recent years by many paint manufacturers to develop products that are more environmentally friendly. These products are often referred to as “Green” or “Low/No VOC”. Although much more available with regard to interior projects than exterior ones, “Green” or “Low/No VOC” products al-

video game or enjoying a movie in your home theater, remember that bigger is better. Luckily, innovations in projectors are making them a great bet for home use. A slim design that’s portable and starts up quickly is a great versatile choice that can be used at home, or on-thego. Look for options that are low-maintenance and energyefficient. By opting for a hybrid laser and LED light source for your projector, you won’t have to worry about brightness deg-

low the painting environment to have a much lower odor and less impact on air quality than traditional paint products. The “Green” or “Low/No VOC” products have advanced to the point where they are just as durable, if not more so, than many other options that may be on the market. The costs of “Green” or “Low/No VOC” lines are similar to what one might expect to pay for products that are not as ecologically conscious. Painting can be a fun and gratifying event that is capable of really making a huge difference in both shielding one’s home from the elements and, at the same time, restoring painted surfaces to more attractive appearances. Spring is a tremendous time of the year to paint the outside or inside of your home. Proper planning when painting is necessary to make sure the end result and the process itself come out as close as possible to what one initially envisioned and enjoys. TOM LOPATOSKY has run his own painting and contracting business in Providence, R.I. for 20 years and is president of LOPCO Contracting, the “Professional, Personable, Particular Painters,” a company that specializes in exterior painting, interior painting and carpentry.

radation over time as you do with mercury lamp projectors, which lose half their brightness

Now that you have your eyes and ears covered, consider the rest of your senses. Offer family and friends traditional theater snacks. To invoke the movie-going experience, consider an oldfashioned popcorn maker. You may also want to stock your rec room with a mini fridge so you never need hit pause on your game or movie for your next beverage. With a few tweaks to your space, you can turn your hohum family room into a superior home theater.

34 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

Bathroom renovations: comfort and convenience on a budget BY AMY BEDARD Transforming the bathroom into a place of luxury and convenience has become increasingly popular in home renovations. The once utilitarian space is now a “spa-like” retreat full of high-tech goodies; it invigorates the senses and provides a moment of reprieve in today’s busy world. No matter the size of the space or budget, there are a variety of products available to turn your outdated room into a fresh, modern sanctuary. Today’s trends are centered on low maintenance, clean lines and efficiency. Many products display the EPA’s WaterSense label, which identifies products that use less water while performing as well as or better than conventional models. These products are 20% more efficient and offer measurable savings to homeowners. Lowmaintenance products, such as Century’s DiamonFusion coating on glass shower doors and Toto’s anti-bacterial Sanagloss glaze on toilets, reduce the need for harsh chemicals, leaving more time to enjoy the space and allowing you to spend less time cleaning. Bathrooms are also being remodeled with the future in mind. Aging in place [the ability to live in one’s own home

to create a customized luxury shower within a reasonable price range. With proper planning and WaterSense products, a custom shower with multiple functions can provide a very affordable and conscientious showering experience. Adding steam to the shower or a therapeutic air-jet tub will further add to a “spa-like” feel. Steam can be added to any shower with minimal cost; it provides many health benefits, including improved circula-

“Today’s trends are centered on low maintenane, clean lines and efficiency.”


and community safely, independently and comfortably] and universal design options are available for homeowners who are looking ahead. Walkin showers, universal-height toilets and decorative grab bars are all options that provide a beautiful updated space that is equally practical. High-tech options and fan-

cy showers are plastered all over design magazines and on popular do-it-yourself television shows. How attainable are these features? The answer is – very. Industry leaders, including Grohe and California Faucets, are continually designing new shower products that allow for thermostatic temperature control and other features

tion, increased metabolism and relief of seasonal allergy symptoms. Air jet tubs offer an extraordinary deep massage using the force of warm air to surround the entire body for overall relaxation. The addition of aromatherapy, mood-enhancing colored lights (chromatherapy) and audio options stimulates the senses, turning a visit to the space into an experience rather than just a task of necessity. The most common ques-

tion people ask is, “Where do I start?” A good place to begin is your local bath showroom, where you can get an up-close look at different fixtures and speak to knowledgeable sales personnel who can answer your questions. Once you determine the extent of the remodel and narrow down your style, talk to some contractors to obtain an estimate on labor so you can develop a budget. Remember, just because it looks expensive, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Many manufacturers offer similar designs at several different price points so don’t be afraid to speak up if something you love is outside of your budget. Also, make sure to allow room in your budget for at least one luxury item that completes your peaceful retreat. Whether you splurge on steam for the shower, an air-jet tub, radiant heat for the floor or just a simple towel warmer; this is your space so make it comfortable and convenient for you to enjoy every day. AMY BEDARD is a showroom sales associate at Robinson Supply Co. She has worked in the kitchen and bath industry for the past decade, spending the last five years assisting customers in the Bath Splash Showroom in Cranston, RI.

Welcome to our home! New color trends in home exteriors make your house more inviting BY KARA MARZIALI Your front door is not just the entrance to your house; it’s an exterior fashion statement. One of the simplest ways to say “welcome” to a guest is with an alluring splash of color on your front entry. That rectangle portal humbly beckons for some pizzazz, and some color will give a lasting impression on your house’s façade. The color you choose will likely reflect the “mood” of your home, so don’t settle for an outdated door color. Color experts have created new color palettes for 2014, so get inspired. “Exuberant hues will be popular this year as a way for homeowners to show the world their energy,” says Kate Smith, a color trend forecaster and president of Sensational Color. “For those going for a classic feel, colors that are vibrant, yet at the same time, offer comfort, warmth and reliability will reign.” The early American tradition of painting one’s door red alerted tired travelers that this was a welcoming place to rest. In Scotland, a red door indicated that the homeowners had paid off their mortgage. Of course, the significance of red on a door is not lost on Jews, when in biblical times Hebrew slaves were instructed to smear the blood


of a lamb to protect their first born. But red isn’t the only zippy color to decorate doors this year. If you’re looking to express your colorful self, consider selecting one of these bright new hues: Azure: A tropical blue says, “It’s soothing, cool and tranquil

inside. C’mon in!” Tangerine: This daring and energetic color demands attention. It alerts guests that this is a “fun” place to visit. Plum: Since purple is the color of royalty and magic, this color screams I am the king (or queen) of my castle. Sunshine: Yellow is such a

happy color and a door painted the color of sunbeams evokes confidence, curiosity and merriment. (Wouldn’t you like to come home to some of that at the end of your day?) Jade: Almost any shade of green reminds one of verdant pastures and nature. No wonder it’s one of the most popular

decorating colors. Paint your door green if you want to invite guests into sanctuary from the chaos of the outside world. Whether you choose goldenrod, emerald, cerulean, ginger, crimson or violet, you’re sure to make an unforgettable, congenial first impression!




last month, failure on Yanukovych’s part to reach a compromise or disband the protestors led to a week of deadly violence. On Feb 22, he fled the capital and compared the situation to what happened in Germany in the 1930s when Hitler came to power. “I did everything to avoid the violence on the streets of Ukraine,” he said. “We took all possible steps to stabilize the political situation in the country. But what happened, happened.” Ukraine’s interim government has now issued a warrant for Yanukovych’s arrest and blames him for the murder of more than 80 protesters who died in street disturbances. Tensions have escalated further since March 1. Russian security services seized control of Crimea, the southern peninsula of  Ukraine  located on the northern bank of the Black Sea. This territory has been captured and subjugated throughout history. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied Russia’s involvement, but the U.S. State Department says Russia’s actions against Ukraine are in violation of the 1997 Friendship Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Although only a small population of Ukrainians are Jewish (The Jewish Agency estimates the number to be 200,000), many believe the revolution is also being fueled by antiSemites. “Jews make up just 0.2% of Ukraine’s 44.5 million population,” said Paul Berger, a reporter for the Jewish Daily Forward. “But to hear activists, analysts and commentators discussing the Ukrainian crisis, a listener could be forgiven for thinking that the fate of Ukrainian Jews is one of the central issues at stake.” While widespread anti-Semitism has not been reported, there have been several serious incidents in which the Jewish community was targeted. According to the U.S. Department of State, “Jewish groups in southern and eastern Ukraine report that they have not seen an increase in anti-Semitic incidents.” But evidence suggests the contrary. In November 2013, a pig’s head was tossed on the building site of a Chabad synagogue in Sevastopol, a major port on the Black Sea. In January, two men were assaulted in separate attacks after leaving a synagogue in Kiev. One man, a kollel student, was stabbed, and the other, a Hebrew teacher, was beaten. On Feb. 23, firebombs hit the Giymat Rosa Synagogue in Zaporizhia (south of Kiev). The synagogue sustained only minor damage, and fortunately, no one was injured. Five days later, graffiti calling for “Death to the Jews” was found scrawled on the exterior of the

March 14, 2014 |



Protesters prepare food in a tented camp at Central Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine. Reform Ner Timid Synagogue in Simferopol, the administrative center of Crimea. Rabbi Michael Kapustin continues to light candles at the aforementioned synagogue, even though services have been suspended. “The city is occupied by Russians. Apparently Russians intend to take over the Crimea and make it a part of Russia,” Rabbi Kapustin said. ”If this were the case, I would … leave this country since I want to live in democratic Ukraine.” Other area synagogues have not canceled events or services. Preparations for Purim and Passover are “continuing as usual,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association. Understandably, Ukraine’s unrest during the last several weeks and months has increased global uncertainty. In a March 5 interview, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We agreed to continue intense discussions in the coming days with Russia, with the Ukrainians, in order to see how we can help normalize the situation, stabilize it, and overcome the crisis.” However, the crisis in Ukraine is not limited to rival political factions or hate crimes. It has also sparked concern on the Jewish humanitarian front. According to the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, Crimea is home to approximately 17,000 Jews – some of the world’s most poverty-stricken Jews. The JDC and other humanitarian agencies have responded by providing immediate assistance to elderly Jews and families in need. Mobile units



U.S. President Barack Obama, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Nations Yuriy Sergeyev, and Russian president Vladimir Putin have very different stories regarding what's happening in Ukraine. have addressed urgent needs within the capital city, and food packages and medical supplies have been provided to homebound individuals. “Even as we mourn the loss of life in Ukraine and track ongoing changes throughout the country, we are ensuring emergency services for those in our care and the uninterrupted flow of critical supplies at this challenging time,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill. On March 6, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) announced the establishment of the Ukraine Assistance Fund. “As the situation escalates, needs in the Ukrainian Jewish community become even more acute,” said Michael Siegal, Chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees. “It’s

critical that we maintain our commitment to provide assistance to the most vulnerable in our community and ensure our Jewish institutions are secure.” Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, said in a statement, “We have a moral responsibility to ensure the safety and security of Ukraine’s Jews.” Moreover, Alex Selsky, CEO of the World Forum of Russian Speaking Jews, told the Jerusalem Post that the Jews of Crimea should emigrate to Israel, “which was created for Jews who are in danger in the Diaspora…. If the Jews feel insecure, they definitely can make aliyha to Israel.” As of the printing of this article, Putin won’t back down and

asserts that Ukraine’s government was outcome of an “unconstitutional coup.” Notwithstanding, the crisis continues. Although Ukrainian citizens do not know what the future holds, the Jewish community advocates for peace and hopes the turbulence will end soon. “With the rest of the world, we have looked with deep concern on the recent events in Ukraine,” said Rabbi Steve Gutow and Larry Gold, President and Chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, in a recent joint statement. “Our hope is that further violence can be averted, and the people of that nation will be free to continue forging a path of independence based on the principle of self-determination.”

36 | March 14, 2014


Documentary on oldest Shoah survivor wins Oscar


Alice Herz-Sommer, who recently died, is the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary.

JTA – A documentary about the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor won an Oscar one week after she died. Alice Herz-Sommer, who died in London on Feb. 23 at the age of 110, was the subject of “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life,” which won the Academy Award for documentary short on March 2. The Prague-born Herz-Sommer, a concert pianist, was a prisoner in Theresienstadt. In accepting the Oscar, the fi lm’s director, Malcolm Clarke, said that he was struck by HerzSommer’s “extraordinary capacity for joy” and “amazing capacity for forgiveness.”

The Jewish Voice


March is Jewish Women’s History Month BY TOBY ROSSNER In 2002, the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Mass., opened a new exhibit, Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Business, that celebrated the accomplishments of female entrepreneurs.

“I don’t have to have no husband. I have got good children and I have got good property.” Inspired by this exhibit, Gail Reimer, Director of the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA), invited me to write a series of articles on Jewish women entrepreneurs. The mission of the JWA is to uncover, chronicle and transmit to a broad public the rich history of American Jewish women; therefore, Gail is pleased to share these articles with the readers of The Jewish Voice in celebration of Jewish Women’s H i s t o r y Month.

Background: 1880-1950

It was not until the vast wave of Eastern European immigration (1880-1920) that Jewish women established major businesses. Nevertheless, it was rare, even in the first half of the twentieth century, for those women who were clearly the “movers and shakers” of their companies to assume the CEO position, which was usually gifted to their husbands, fathers or brothers.

Bessie Zaltman, Central Appalachian Coal Fields: 1890-1960

Between the 1890s and the 1930s, Jews from Eastern Europe moved to the Central Appalachian coal fields in search of economic opportunity. To cope with the harsh economic conditions they encountered, everyone in the family worked. Young women not only worked for

their parents, but also took jobs as sales clerks at other stores. “Helping out” was the phrase used to describe the wide range of women’s economic activities – a term that greatly understates the contributions to the household economy made by many coal-field women. For Bessie Zaltman of Keystone West Virginia, the entire responsibility of supporting herself and her three children fell upon her shoulders when she divorced her shiftless husband in 1905. Bessie managed to acquire a cow and scraped together a living selling butter and milk. Later, she purchased some real estate and became a landlady, overcoming numerous crises that included floods, fires and lawsuits. E v e n t hou g h w o m e n were accepted as breadwinners, the local Jewish businessmen often considered B e s sie’s aggressive business style inappropriate. She was embroiled in a number of legal battles with these men. Before her divorce, one of them spread rumors that she was having an affair; once she divorced, he attempted to take advantage of her weakened position by suing her for repayment of a loan made to her ex-husband. Some years later, Bessie sued a Jewish businessman who had sold her a sick cow. His advice to Bessie was, “Get yourself a husband.” Her retort: “I don’t have to have no husband. I have got good children and I have got good property.” When Bessie died in 1949, she left an estate of $84,000. T O B Y R O S S N E R ( was the Director of Media Services at the Bureau of Jewish Education from 1978 to 2002. EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second article in a series on the history of Jewish women entrepreneurs.


March 14, 2014 |


The intricacies of the Hebrew calendar leap year BY ALINA DAIN SHARON/ JNS.ORG No, it isn’t nearly as rare as “Thanksgivukkah,” the oncein-75,000-years overlap of the fi rst day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Day that took the Jewish world by storm in 2013. But this year’s 13-month Hebrew calendar isn’t an annual occurrence either. As February turned to March on the Gregorian calendar this year, the Hebrew month of Adar Aleph transitioned into Adar Bet. The incidence of a second Adar comes up seven times every 19 years on the Hebrew calendar. Traditional lore attributes the standardization of the Hebrew calendar–in which the months represent the course of the moon but must be aligned with the seasons of the year–to Hillel II, the leader of the Jewish Sanhedrin in the 4th century, but experts believe the evolution of the calendar was much more gradual. “The Bible contains some basic references to solar and lunar elements, but it does not lay out clear rules…. By the rabbinic period the calendar looked similar to the one we use today, although there were sectarian groups who did not accept it,” Elisheva Carlebach, professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society at Columbia University in New York City, told Sasha Stern, head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London and author of “Time and Process in Ancient Judaism,” told that “a lot of people use the word ‘lunisolar’ to indicate that the calendar is regulated by the moon (which defi nes the beginning of the month) as well as by the sun (which demands the addition of 13th lunar month every two or three years).” A core aspect of the original establishment of a Hebrew calendar was the need to determine the timing of biblical and religious holidays, such as Passover, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah. Later, nonbiblical holidays such as Purim and Hannukah, and even Israeli Independence Day, were added to the calendar. “In the Jewish calendar, the addition of a 13th month is required for keeping up with the seasons (e.g. spring for Passover), not with the sun,” said Sasha Stern, head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London. In meteorology, the schedule of the seasons does not correspond with the movement of the sun. The lunar year is 12 lunar months of an average of 29 and a half days each, with a total of approximately 354 days in a year, Stern explained. “This falls short of the seasons by about 11 days,” and thus “an ex-

tra month needs to be added every two or three years in order to make up for this and keep up with the seasons,” he said. The ancient Israelite calendar was most likely lunar, with 12 months in the year, each of which begins with a new moon. Stern said all lunar calendars in the world “have always added a 13th (leap) month,” with the exception of the Islamic calendar.  A fi xed calculation of the Hebrew calendar was fi nalized in the 10th century. Some diversity in how the calendar was applied persisted well into the

medieval period, but the fi xed Hebrew calendar became largely universal over time. In her book “Palaces of Time: Jewish Calendar and Culture in Early Modern Europe,” Carlebach describes that following the 15th century in Europe, Jews began to treat calendars not only as conceptual measurements of time, but as material things. Manuscripts of the Hebrew calendar began to circulate in various forms. The printing revolution allowed for the reprinting of the calendar not only by Jews but also by Christians.

The Jews took note of Christian holy days in their calendars, both to avoid potential acts of persecution, which tended to occur more often on holy days, but also to trade with Christians, whose market fairs often took place on holy days. Today there are calendars on our phones and on the Internet. The medium is less important than its durability for the time it is needed and its portability,” Carlebach said. While the age-old intricacies of the Hebrew calendar aren’t novel, the calendar is gaining newfound relevance in Israel

today. A recent Knesset bill stipulates that official identification issued to Jewish citizens by a public authority should use Hebrew calendar dates, instead of the Gregorian dates commonly used worldwide. “This bill, which would increase the use of the Hebrew date, is another step in strengthening the Jewish democratic character of the state of Israel,” Stern said. ALINA DAIN SHARON ( is the managing editor at JNS. This article was excerpted and reprinted with permission.


38 | March 14, 2014

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House votes to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship On March 5, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded House passage of H.R. 938, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014. The legislation, authored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), reaffirms the U.S. commitment to enhancing security cooperation with Israel.  In January, the bipartisan legislation passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  On the House floor Chairman Royce said:  “From a regime in Tehran that is seeking to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and the missiles to deliver nuclear weapons; to Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, which is greatly expanding its size and influence in Israel’s neighbor Syria, pointing tens of thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli population centers; to the proliferation of al-Qaeda affiliated organizations throughout the region; to the ongoing threat from Hamas and the Pal-

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estinian Islamic Jihad – Israel now faces grave threats. “But Israel has also never been as strong as it is now. Think of Israel’s economic dynamism, its entrepreneurial spirit, innovative culture, and you get a better sense of why there is so strong a bond between the United States and Israel.  “It’s this dynamic economy

decision from the court said, Reuters reported. “It bases this judgment on its own personal impression and the opinion of a psychiatrist.” Lipschis is living in a nursing home, The Associated Press reported. He has said he was a cook at Auschwitz; prosecutors believe he was a guard. The Lithuanian native, who reportedly moved to Chicago in 1956, was stripped of his American citizenship and deported in 1982 after U.S. immigration


JT Sydney TuToring

and society that are building blocks for Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge and its relationship with the U.S. The U.S. benefits when Israel is strong. “This legislation stands by our values; stands by our interests; and stands by Israel.” The bill named Israel a 'major strategic ally' of the United States and was approved unanimously.

Accused Nazi war criminal ruled unfit for trial JTA – An accused Nazi war criminal is unfit to stand trial, a German court ruled. Hans Lipschis, 94, who allegedly was an SS guard at Auschwitz, suffers from dementia and will not understand what transpires at his trial, the court in Ellwangen in southwest Germany ruled last Friday, according to reports. The court has refused to open the trial. “The chamber is of the opinion that the 94-year-old is incapable of standing trial,” the

March 14, 2014 |

authorities determined that he had lied about his Nazi past in order to gain entry into the country. His arrest in Germany last May followed the release of information to German courts on about 50 former Auschwitz guards. Lipschis had been No. 4 on the Simon Wiesenthal Center list of most wanted Nazi criminals and was charged with being an accessory to 10,510 counts of murder.

40 | March 14, 2014 Marvin Dronzek, 82 EAST GREENWICH, R.I. – Marvin Dronzek died Sunday, February 23 at Miriam Hospital. He was the husband of Marcia (Wintner) Dronzek for 49 years. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, a son of the late Joseph and Esther (Lansky) Dronzek, he had lived in East Greenwich for 35 years. He spent his career as a tax attorney. He was also a Navy veteran. He was a member of Temple Sinai. Father of Ellen Orkin and her husband Jonathan of Canton, Mass. and Jeff Dronzek and his wife Jennifer

OBITUARIES of East Greenwich, R.I. Brother of Donald Dronzek of Calif. and Eileen Turoff of Ohio. Grandfather of Emily, Abigail, Amanda and Danielle. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Temple Sinai or Miriam Hospital Oncology Unit.

Norma (Sands) Baker, 87

SUN CITY WEST, ARIZ. – Norma (Sands) Baker 87 of Sun City West, Ariz. passed away on Feb 27. Born in London, England May 13, 1926 to the late Yetta and Samuel Sands, she is survived by her husband Robert of 68 years, daughters Yvette (Harvey) Kaplan of Ariz., Su-

The Jewish Voice san (Michael) Markus of Ariz., grandson David Markus of Gainesville, Fla., Step granddaughters Sherie Kaplan of St Louis, Mo., Kim Kaplan of St Louis, Mo. and Christa Markus of Columbus, Ohio. She is also survived by her sister Marion Kenrick of Boynton Beach, Fla. She met her husband as a teenager while he was serving in the military in London during WW II. After the war, they settled in his native RI and raised their daughters in Cranston. Norma was involved in the Cranston Jewish Center, serving as President of the Sisterhood for many years. She

retired to Boynton Beach, Fla. In recent years, they moved to Ariz.

Harold L. Cohen, 97

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Harold L. Cohen died February 28. Born in Providence, he was the son of the late Samuel and Ida (Tabor) Cohen and the husband of the late Elaine (Levine) Cohen for 50 years. A Classical High School graduate, he established and ran United Paper Stock Company for decades spanning World War II with a childhood friend. He was discharged as an Army Staff Sergeant after serving in the South

Pacific Theater for the war’s duration. Just shy of his 85th birthday, he achieved his lifelong goal of earning a Brown University Bachelor’s degree, thereby becoming Brown’s oldest graduate. He furthered his quest for learning through more than a decade of active participation in the Brown Community Learning in Retirement program. Twice a Director of Temple Beth-El, of which he was a 60year member, he supported myriad Jewish and broader community causes. He served as Chairman of the Service Corps of Retired Executives and thereafter as a SCORE counselor. A Jewish Community Center board member, he later became a JCC Honorary Director. He was a member of the Jewish War Veterans, the To Kalon Club, and Ledgemont Country Club. He became a Roosevelt Lodge mason in 1949 and achieved 32nd degree Scottish Rite masonry in 1962. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Hilary and Neal Zwicker, as well as three nephews and their families. He was the brother of the late Ruth L. Cohen, Annette Blumberg, Sumner A. Cohen, and Eleanor R. Weinberg. Donations in his memory may be directed to the Harold L. Cohen ’01 Scholarship, c/o Rick Marshall, Brown University, P.O. Box 1893, Providence, RI 02912.

Alexander H. Hanna

CUMBERLAND, R.I. – Alexander H. Hanna of Cumberland died February 16 at The Miriam Hospital in Providence. He was the husband of the late Irene J. Hanna. Born in the Bronx, N.Y., he was the son of the late Jack and Pauline (Cazes) Hanna. He resided in Cumberland for 41 years. He was a 1948 graduate of the Bronx High School of Science and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from City College of New York in 1952. He was employed as an image and camera tube engineer with Amperex Electronic Corp., North Smithfield, RI for 22 years before retiring in 1993. A longtime member of Congregation B’nai Israel in Woonsocket, he served on its Board of Directors and was a regular at the Saturday morning minyan for many years. He was also a past-president of the Woonsocket Lodge of B’nai Brith. He enjoyed grilling, gardening and photography. He leaves his daughters, Pauline Finkelstein and her husband Stuart of Waltham, Mass., Caroline Matera and her husband Richard of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Cynthia Goldman and her husband Glenn of Bellingham, Mass., Heather Hanna of Cumberland and two grandchildren, Jenna and Meilin Goldman.

Beatrice Hohenemser, 89

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Beatrice K. Hohenemser of Providence died March 5 at the Greenville

OBITUARIES Nursing Center. She was the wife of the late Manfred Hohenemser and the daughter of the late Benjamin and Eva (Knopow) Pickar. She was a resident of the East Side of Providence for 68 years, as well as a resident of the City of Warwick, living at Wethersfield Commons for 20 years. She was the owner of Southern Textile located on South Main St., Providence; she was a bookkeeper for the Department of the Navy, Quonset Naval Base, North Kingstown, R.I., as well as the co-owner of Twin Vending Service Co., with her husband for 33 years. She was a graduate of Hope High School, Class of 1942. She was a former member of Temple Emanu-el and its sisterhood. She was a member of B’Nai Brith, Hadassah, and the Cranston Senior Guild. She was a Weight Watchers lecturer in R.I. in the 1970s, known for classes with no less than 100 people in each class. She also volunteered at the Miriam Hospital Emergency Room, working with stroke victims. Mother of Robyn Hohenemser-Golden and husband Jeffrey of Cranston, Brina Herskovits and husband Zvi of East Brunswick, N.J., and Marsha Addessi and husband Frank of Cranston. She was the sister of the late Ruth Rosen and Roselyn Hope Knopow. She was the grandmother of Chava, Julia, Erica, Mya, Michelle, Eli and Ashely and was a great-grandmother of seven. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s CURE Foundation, Inc. P.O. Box 2543, Providence, RI or www.alzcure. org.

Harold H. Homonoff, 91

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Harold H. Homonoff of Providence died March 2 at Hallworth House on Benefit St. He was the son of the late Sonia and Morris Homonoff. He is

survived by his wife Phyllis of 65 years, their son Marvin and his wife Linda, daughter Susan Florence and her husband Mark and son Burt and his wife Robin. He is also survived by six grandchildren, three greatgrandchildren and a grand-dog. A 1940 graduate of Hope High School, he served three years in the US Navy during WW II. In 1950, he founded Harold’s Furniture, a R.I. fixture for 48 years, which he co-owned with wife Phyllis until 1998, the year they retired to Boca Raton, Fla. Throughout his professional and personal life, he was involved in giving his time and resources to a number of community initiatives including: Boy Scouts of America, Rotary Club of Providence, Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, The 100 Club of Rhode Island, and the Catholic Diocese of Providence. Due to his deep commitment to these and other organizations, he received numerous acknowledgements over the years: Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow Award, a Commendation from Governor Bruce Sundlun, an appointment to the Bishop’s Council, and a longtime board membership of the Leukemia Society of Rhode Island. Contributions in his memory may be made to The Boy Scouts of America, The Rotary Club of Providence or the charity of your choice.

Frances Priest, 92

WARWICK, R.I. – Frances Priest died Friday, March 7 at Philip Hulitar Inpatient Center. She was the wife of the late Joseph Priest. Born in Providence, a daughter of the late Samuel and Sadie (Goldstein) Bander, she had lived most of her life in Cranston, the last 5 years at Tamarisk in Warwick. Mother of Sandra Maldavir, and Henry Priest and his wife, Kathleen, all of Cranston. Sister of Sydney Bander of Boyn-

ton Beach, Fla. Grandmother of Mindy Halpern and her husband, Gary, Jeffrey Maldavir and his wife, Lori, Zachary Priest, and Alexander Priest. Great-grandmother of Jamie and Emily Halpern and Shelby and Jack Maldavir. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Temple Sinai.

Ira Rakatansky, 94

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Ira Rakatansky, R.I.’s pioneering modern architect, passed away on March 4. Born in 1919, the son of Benjamin and Martha (Bornstein) Rakatansky, Ira received his undergraduate Diploma in Architecture from RISD in 1942, and his B. Arch and M. Arch from Harvard University in 1945-6. Opening his own practice in 1949, Ira was a primary leader in bringing contemporary life to the local built environment, developing some of the most innovative modern residences and institutions in R.I. and greater New England. His achievements were celebrated in “Ira Rakatansky: As Modern as Tomorrow,” published in 2010 in the Rhode Island School of Design Architecture Series by William Stout Publishers and by the acquisition of his archive into the Special Collections Library of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design the following year. His drive to champion new forms of creative engagement in the space and life of buildings extended to his deep belief in liberal and humanitarian engagement throughout contemporary society. He is survived by his wife Lenore Gray Rakatansky, daughter Lynn Rakatansky and son Mark Rakatansky and his wife Catherine Ingraham, grandson Max Ingraham-Rakatansky, and sister Charlotte Primack. He was the brother of the late Shirley Halsband and Eleanor O’Brien.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in his memory to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Paula Rice, 84 WARWICK, R.I. – Paula Rice died March 9 at Rhode Island Hospital. She was the wife of Lewis Rice for 63 years. Born in the Bronx, N.Y., the daughter of the late Louis and Blanche (Jagolinzer) Backerman, she had lived in Warwick for 54 years, previously residing in Cranston. She worked for Ross-Simons for many years until her retirement. Paula was a member of Hadassah and a past member of Temple Sinai. Mother of Susan Rice of Warwick and Beth Rice of Boston, Mass. Sister of Carolyn Marks of Warwick. Aunt of three nephews. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to your favorite charity.

Carole Ann (Levine) Rogers, 72 PALM BEACH, FLA. – Carole Ann (Levine)  Rogers died March 3. She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y to Samuel and Dorothy (Goldring) Levine, and was raised in Wantagh, N.Y.  She was a 1963 graduate of the University of Rhode Island and obtained her master’s degree in education from Queens College. She succeeded in careers in education and computer sales.  She was an avid tennis player, a recreational golfer and a Scrabble enthusiast. Her contagious laugh and engaging personality brought smiles and joy to all who knew her. She is survived by her husband, Joe Rogers, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla; her son Douglas Emanuel, his wife Stacy and their children Zachary and Justin of Providence, R.I.; her son Ron Emanuel, his wife

March 14, 2014 |


Alisa and their children Spencer, Jacob and Charlie of Chappaqua, N.Y.; and her brother Alan Levine and his wife Joan (Kramer) Levine  and their three children. Contributions in her memory may be made to New Day Adult Care Center, 301 Ebbtide Drive, North Palm Beach, FL 33408,  the Dwares JCC at the Alliance, 401 Elmgrove Avenue, Providence, RI 02906,  or to the charity of one’s choice.

Madeline Ross Schwechter, 91 WILMETTE, ILL. – Madeline Ross Schwechter was born in Providence, R.I. to Gertrude and Emil Ross. Married almost 40 years to her husband, the late Samuel Schwechter; sister to the late Evelyn (Ben) Swerling, Ruth (Wolf) Myrow and Harold (Gladys) Ross; mother to Marlene (Sherwood) Zellermayer and Mark (Cynthia); grandmother to Jessica, Brandon (Diana) and Justin; aunt to Carol (Larry) and many nieces and nephews; special companion to Max Kopka. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Madeline’s name may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

Obituaries are a community service and are published at no charge. Send obituaries to editor@


42 | March 14, 2014

The Jewish Voice

Repentance, abstention and redemption There are no outward differences between starving and fasting; both seem contrary to elemental human nature and both, eventually, become lifethreatening. The dissimilarities, then, are largely OF SCIENCE within the & SOCIETY p e r s o n a l mot iv at ion of each and STANLEY M. the degree ARONSON, M.D. to which the abstention is either voluntary or impelled by BMW AUDI MERCEDES BENZ VOLKSWAGEN MINI MINI COOPER MERCEDES BENZ PORSCHE VOLKSWAGEN

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outward circumstance. Despite man’s agronomic ingenuity, no interval of recorded human history has been free of starvation somewhere on the globe. Consciously chosen fasting, on the other hand, has probably preoccupied humans only as long as people believed in the redemptive capacities of self-denial. Voluntary fasting was certainly not a sane choice in those primitive hunter-gatherer societies where hunger loomed as a periodic threat. Aboriginal societies on the margins of survival showed little tolerance for fasting since the full energies of each adult were needed for group survival. As a voluntary act, then, fasting assumes ritual importance only when there is a reasonable abundance of food and when credible choices may then be made. A chronically hungry man will rarely think of fasting voluntarily. When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting. It was Moses huddled on Mount Sinai’s summit who fi rst abstained from eating. Only later does Leviticus [16: 29] speak of an enduring obligation for all Israelites. “And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you.” The Bible mentions the act

of fasting 74 times – often as an act of repentance but also as a means by which secular attractions are purged; other times, it becomes an ascetic act of humility, a renunciation of immediate pleasures so that ultimate enlightenment may be achieved. In the postBiblical era, fasting, as hunger strikes, has also become a vehicle for social protest. Voluntary starvation, then, serves many purposes. There are fundamental differences, however, distinguishing a hunger strike [undertaken to change something outside of oneself] and

“A chronically hungry man will rarely think of fasting voluntarily.” a penitential fast [undertaken to change something within oneself]. Over the millennia, fasting has been employed for diverse purposes – some base or frivolous, some banal or profane, some thoughtful and lofty. In recent times, even weight loss for cosmetic purposes has prompted fasting. Philosophers have recognized the following categories of voluntary fasting: Purificatory Fasting: Since eating, for most humans, may be considered to be a pleasurable act of self-indulgence,

fasting may then be a way of tempering base spirits, of suppressing dissolute thoughts, thus allowing loftier perceptions and spiritual impressions, sometimes called visions. Penitential Fasting: As an act of remorse for specific sins, David acknowledged his evil ways before Nathan, and then fasted when the health of his newborn son, by the wife of Uriah, was in great jeopardy (2 Samuel: 12:23). Meritorious Fasting: Fasting may be employed as a means of achieving a higher rank in life (i.e., the ritual fast preceding knighthood or priesthood). Amongst the Crow Indians, each male youth must undergo a total fasting in the wilderness before his entrance into manhood is validated. Disciplinary Fasting: This differs from penitential fasting by two characteristics: First, it presumes that all humans are fallible; and secondly, it sets aside a specific time of year, each year, as an interval for atonement through self-denial. By defi nition, then, it is an annual act in response to an unerringly corrupt, voluptuary world. Moslems are enjoined by the Koran to accept neither food nor fluid from sunrise to sundown on each of the thirty days of the month of Ramadan. Early Christians were instructed to fast each Friday but this obligation has been gradually modified over the centuries. In

1917, the Codex Juris Canonici required only abstention from animal flesh leading to the current custom of eating fish on Fridays. When did fasting, as a pathway to some higher goal, arise? When did a human decide that abstaining from food might gratify, or at least appease, his Creator? Did fasting come about, perhaps, in conjunction with or an offshoot of the primitive ritual of sacrificing living creatures or prepared food upon an altar? Was it a way of reinforcing the altar sacrifice by saying, “The food that I now sacrifice in Your honor was taken – not from some plentiful source – but from my mouth, my daily meal. And as I sacrifice this lamb upon Your altar, so do I now sacrifice a part of myself by fasting”? And yet, not all Scriptural commentaries viewed fasting to be invariably commendable. In a voice that is both prophetic and curiously modern, Isaiah asks, “Wherefore have we fasted?” A true fasting, says Isaiah, “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out, to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” [Isaiah 58:3 – 7] STANLEY M. ARONSON, M.D., , is dean of medicine emeritus, Brown University.

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March 14, 2014 |


The blurred souvenirs of memory BY MIKE FINK He sat by the burning logs in the open hearth of our parlor, in a wing chair. I think it was upholstered in patterned peach silk. This is the only memory I have of my maternal grand-


father. He had paid this brief visit from Montreal when I was ... what? Maybe three years old. It was shortly after the death of his wife, the grandmother I never knew at all, except by her name, Charna.  My aunt Lillian had a daughter who died in infancy, named Charna in honor of this lost forebear. The surnames of Charna’s mother and father were likewise omitted from my childhood  album, or scrapbook, in any form, word, image or mention.  Until ... Lillian passed  away, her  husband, my uncle Leonard, remarried and  ultimately suffered from Parkinson’s disease and a kind of dementia.  I visited him, a last time, and he  greeted me at the door in a wheelchair and confided a secret, hallucinatory, haunting tale.  “I have been getting telephone calls from somebody named “Lily Eisner” and from a  “Lily Abron” from Toronto ... what do you think this means?” I knew exactly what it meant. Lillian must on some occasion have told him  her family history,  the roots and branches of the tree, like one of those  strange, enchanting, mystical mangroves that somehow get up on the tiptoes of their tendrils and “walk” from place to place. (I visited one of those sacred wonders, guarded by an iron gate or fence in Hong Kong.) In his guilt for outliving his wife and finding another lady, he somehow summoned up her phantom. Charna had moved from Rumania to  Quebec, Canada, and the only visual evidence of her wandering soul known to me was the cameo which Lillian wore and stored in a safe deposit vault. From which it disappeared, vanished into the void! Perhaps fancifully, or merely metaphorically, I confused my memory of the profile on that pin with a single sepia photograph of Charna in a portrait for which she stood with her husband and son in a stately studio setup.    I could narrate the autobiographical chapters of my life with such blurred souvenirs, especially from the very early years, even before kindergarten. Snippets from the visits with my mother to the new parlors of her friends, serving tea. Drives in my father’s grey Dodge sedan to watch our house on the


East Side going up, the tapestry brick chimney rising, with its gable curves and its tall straight smokestack, an abstract design at its center. My father had determined to establish his independence from the wider dimensions of family and clan through  creating a “store,” a small business dealing in household furnishings and the basic bedroom and parlor sets required by homemakers under private roofs. Whew! To be safe from troubles in Europe, to be able to pay one’s modest bills, close your doors, turn the flue and keep the warmth. He brought home the necessary items for his business venture – leather-bound ledgers, the typewriter and mimeograph machine, staplers and fountain pens – and rented a showroom with large windows on a major town street.  On the day of the  grand opening, I was invited, as a small boy, to crawl underneath the mahogany legs of chests of drawers in order to drag out the rats in the traps! I remember – vaguely – my pride at accomplishing this icky task successfully!  From the years of the Great Depression I guard and hoard such minor anecdotal scenes. The front window of our new house, broken by the violent winds of the Hurricane of 1938, and the lamp that fell from the table. Whenever I suffered from a boyhood fever, I would relive the panic that the nearby bedroom floor lamp was collapsing

onto the floor. Fact and fantasy, dream and anecdote, hope and fear – they mix and fade and blur before grammar school gets to

you. Could I really fly uphill or was it only the invention of insomnia? My father’s former life before my birth was summed up for me by the quick visit of his friend from the time of my father’s sojourn in New York City. He was an adventurous person who brought, to that brick fireplace, a jeweled Arabic dagger, curving and sheathed in an embossed goatskin case, a gift from the Holy Land and a symbol of the great, exotic, wild and dangerous world beyond the little street to which we had come as a nuclear family. This treasured object was stolen from my house during a break-in, but when you lose the thing, its ghost haunts you and belongs to the inner life you possess in perpetuity. Brothers, cousins, neighbors, classmates – they remember other events of your past. Some

things you might rather forget altogether. Others you prefer to design according to your version, to yourself or over candlelight and a glass of wine. Like some of the art styles of the experimental 20th century, the blur is as much a gain in poetry as a loss in accuracy. The embarrassments, the humiliations and disappointments, the thoughtless, heedless words and gestures, yours or theirs, those we sweep up and dump into the dustbins as best we can. Phrases from the lyrics of old songs may bring back the lost names and faces, the magic moments of memory: “These foolish things remind me,” and “The angels ask me to recall...” and “I’ll remember her that way.” MIKE FINK (mfink33@aol. com) teaches at RISD.

44 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice

With Israeli tech, Amiran Kenya looks to boost East Africa’s farmers BY BEN SALES JTA – Bags of seeds from the Israeli seed company Hazera Genetics line the shelves of one warehouse. Another houses rolls of plastic from StePac, an Israeli fi rm whose bags can keep vegetables fresher for longer. In a third warehouse are rows of coiled hoses, each pricked with holes engineered by Netafi m, the Israeli company that pioneered drip irrigation. The warehouses containing the latest in Israeli agricultural technology are located not on

a farm in the Jewish state but 3,500 miles away on an expansive campus outside Nairobi, the booming capital of Kenya. From there they will be shipped to farmers across East Africa. The conduit between Israeli labs and African fields is Amiran Kenya, an Israeli-founded company (now a subsidiary of the British multinational Balton CP) that brings Israeli agricultural know-how to East African farms. Established in 1963, the year Kenya gained independence,

Amiran provides supplies to farmers from planting to harvest with an eye toward supporting small growers across the region. “We linked the farms with Israeli experts to build the industry,” said Yariv Kedar, the head of Amiran’s agriculture division. “If you have the irrigation but not the seeds, you haven’t solved the problem. If you haven’t sprayed, you haven’t solved the problem. It’s a holistic approach.” Much of East Africa is a lush

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green landscape traversed by hills, forests and water sources like the Nile River and Lake Victoria. Unlike Israel, whose extensive deserts make it less than ideal for farming, the problem facing African farmers isn’t a shortage of water, according to Kedar, but the continued reliance on traditional, inefficient farming methods. Israeli technologies such as drip irrigation – a system in which water is emitted slowly from tiny holes in hoses, thereby avoiding water loss to evaporation – provide substantial benefits even in water-rich East Africa, enabling farmers to use less water by hydrating the soil more efficiently. The African sales of Netafim’s hoses amount to $100 million of the company’s $800 million in total sales, according to Yigal Mazor, the firm’s managing director for Africa. Amiran’s signature offering is its Farmer’s Kit, which provides small growers with everything they need, from seeds to greenhouses to fertilizer. The kits, which cost $3,300, are suitable for an eighth of an acre. For an additional fee, Amiran offers farmers monthly checkups from a trained agronomist. The company has sold 7,500 kits since 2009 and, according to Kedar, about 75 percent of the buyers are successful, making back their investment or achieving the crop yields they want. Kedar stresses that Amiran’s main purpose is to make a profit, not to do charitable work. As a result, the company’s focus has remained on conventional farming methods, including the use of non-organic fertilizer and chemical pesticides. Amiran offers its Organic Farmer’s Kit at a slightly higher cost, but Kedar says organic is a tiny part of the company’s overall sales. De-emphasizing organic farming could hurt farmers in the long term, according to John Cheburet, who hosts radio programs produced by The Organic Farmer, a Kenyan organization promoting organic practices. Though he praised Amiran for bringing advanced technology to Africa, Cheburet worries

that marketing campaigns from large agribusinesses create the impression that conventional methods are the only way to farm. Long-term use of the chemical inputs has had an impact on the soil structure,” Cheburet said. “The marketing is done in such a way that it’s either this or you are doomed. If you have salespeople, their interest is to make sales, not to teach farmers the bigger picture of what farming is.”

“We linked the farms with Israeli experts to build the industry.” Amiran’s organic farming representative, Ami Ben-Israel, says the division is growing, but farmers lack knowledge about organic practices and there is a limited market outside Nairobi. Of the 1,000 Farmer’s Kits sold by Amiran last year, only 40 were organic, though Ben-Israel expects an increase this year. “In the West, people are very savvy to organic produce,” said Ben-Israel, a Black Hebrew who has taught organic farming practices in Antigua and Ghana. “Here in Kenya it’s relatively new. The consumers in the rural areas are not yet completely educated as far as the value of the organic produce, so they have been challenged selling within their region to get top dollar.” Even with his eye on the bottom line, Kedar says Amiran is helping Kenyan farmers attain a better life. In 2010, the United Nations awarded Amiran a prize for helping eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, one of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals for Africa. “We’re developing and training the small farmers to do an upgrade,” Kedar said. “We want them to see that from a small area, they can produce a lot.” BEN SALES is JTA’s Israel correspondent.

March 14, 2014 |

Woman Year of the

Who inspires you?

What do you admire?

Our community is filled with remarkable women! Nominate a special woman in your life —your wife, mother, daughter, sister, partner, colleague or friend— for The Jewish Voice Woman of the Year. In 300 words or less tell us why your nominee is deserving of the recognition. The lucky winner will win a myriad of prizes.

Deadline for submissions is April 10, 2014. The Jewish Voice Woman of the Year will be announced in the April 25, Mother’s Day issue. Mail nominations to: Woman of the Year The Jewish Voice 401 Elmgrove Avenue Providence, RI 02906 Or email; subject line should read: Woman of the Year Look for The Jewish Voice Man of the Year call for nominees in a future issue.


46 | March 14, 2014


The Jewish Voice


Sondra (Soni) Smith Meyer MOROCCO – Sondra (Soni) Smith Meyer grew up in R.I. and has been a subscriber to The Jewish Voice [Herald] for many decades. She currenly resides in Sacramento, Calif. and

looks forward to receiving the paper biweekly. In early February, Soni went on a Jewish Historical Seminar tour (from Zion Tours in Jerusalem) to Morocco, which

concentrated on Jewish Life in Morocco over the centuries. The ten-day tour included Jews from countries all over the world learning about Jewish Moroccan history.

Summer J-Camp

ANTARCTICA – Rachel Wasser while kayaking in Antarctica. She was recently on a trip there with G Adventures, the travel company where she is employed.

Cutest Pet Contest Winner Lily, in her coat Mazel Tov to contest winner Lily and her proud owner Brian Nihill of Bristol, R.I. Thank you to everyone who voted and congratulations to all the proud and loving pet owners for their adorable photos.

CC! J s e r a w D at the June 23 - August 22

Sports, art, acting, animals, cooking, science, travel and so many more ways for your child to create an exciting summer full of memories! For children ages 2 - 15.

Check out the 2014 Summer J-Camp Guide at today!

All are welcome! 401 Elmgrove Avenue Providence, RI 02906 401.421.4111 The Alliance JCC is a division of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.

245 East Ave Pawtucket 02860 - 5 Minutes to Miriam Hospital 401. 724.4474 owned & operated by Sue Price & Bob Leavitt


Samuel Ackerman

RECOGNITION – Samuel Ackerman, of Cumberland, is one of two Rhode Island students who have been selected as delegates to the 52nd annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) held this month in Washington, D.C. Each year this competitive merit-based program brings 104 of the most outstanding high school students to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each of the 104 student delegates with a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. Ackerman, son of Rep. Mia Ackerman (D), attends Cumberland High School and currently serves as a Rhode Island State Senate page. During his tenure as a page, Sam wrote legislation that would have Rhode Island formally ratify the seventeenth amendment. He is the founder and president of the Rhode Island High School Democrats. He has participated in the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, and spends time tutoring fellow students in biology and U.S. History. He volunteers for his town’s Youth Commission and the Rhode Island Democratic Party. Sam participates in parliamentary debate and the Future Business Leaders of America, and holds titles of state champion in both.

March 14, 2014 |

Samuel James Nicastro and Rachael Amanda Bloom WEDDING – Rachael Amanda Bloom, daughter of Richard and Linda Bloom of East Greenwich, R.I. and North Woodstock, N.H. married Samuel James Nicastro on September 21, 2013 at Lake of Isles in North Stonington, Conn. After their honeymoon in Nigril, Jamaica, the couple returned to their home in Warwick.

Send us your simchas Share your joyful events and happenings by submitting them for publication in The Jewish Voice Email to: or mail to: The Jewish Voice, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence, R.I. 02906

BIRTH – Deborah Levine and Christopher Timmerman of Providence announce the birth of their son, Samuel Nathan Timmerman, who joined big brother Ezra on February 24. Grandparents are Max Levine and Hilary Spatz and the late Sandra Beck Levine, all from Pittsburgh, Pa. and Barbara and Douglas Timmerman of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Great-Grandmothers are Mildred Levine and Phyllis Spatz of Pittsburgh. Samuel is named in memory of his grandmother Sandra Beck Levine and his great grandmother, Nelle Alta Timmerman.

Welcome back Snowbirds Let us know when you have returned from your winter respite and that you would like The Jewish Voice delivered to a different address. Email address change to:


48 | March 14, 2014

The Jewish Voice

Caring and Social Responsibility: Helping our Local Community in Need

with your help, we can do more. People of all ages need help these days – including seniors, many of whom are living alone and struggling quietly to manage life’s logistics and make ends meet. Our Caring and Social Responsibility initiative is there for home-bound seniors – making it possible for volunteers to deliver more than 10,000 kosher Meals on Wheels, and some very welcome conversation and critical social support, to people who may not have other visitors or social support. We also partner with the Jewish Seniors Agency to send volunteers to nursing homes, assisted living residences, hospitals, and private homes – making 4,000 visits annually to keep elders company and help them celebrate Shabbat and continue other Jewish traditions.

Please support our 2014 Annual Campaign.

THE STRENGTH OF A PEOPLE. THE POWER OF COMMUNITY. 401 Elmgrove Avenue Providence, RI 02906 401.421.4111

Senior Café, a program of Jewish Family Service

Last year’s Annual Campaign $408,000 donor dollars helped support our local community including 10,000 Kosher Meals 4,000 Annual Visits

offering critical social support to those that need it most

more than 160 people received food and a sense of community from Kosher Nutrition/ Meals-on-Wheels

with your help, we can do more.

March 14, 2014  

The Jewish Voice

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