Shabbat Shalom From the President 01.10.14

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A happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014 to one and all!

Have each of you kept or broken your respective New Year’s resolutions? I am unsure how I have already gained two pounds in the last nine days–when I was supposed to be beginning to lose ten instead. Sound familiar? So how can we all adopt or maintain a healthy diet that is soulfully satisfying, enriching, and non-caloric? Where can we look to find someone who can teach and motivate us?

Let’s start immediately with our dedicated greater Rhode Island rabbis who can provide us with emotional sustenance and spiritual guidance. The word rabbi, as many of you know, literally means “my teacher,” which comes from the root word rav meaning “large,” “great” or “much.” Amid Rhode Island’s rich history and traditions we have benefited from the greatness of their spiritual leadership and teachings.

The Rhode Island Rabbinic community, representing a myriad of denominations across the spectrum, are here to guide us, whether at our homes or businesses, or at their synagogues, agencies, or schools. We are blessed with rabbinical leadership that is willing to invest in creative energy and effectiveness. Our rabbis take active roles in the community, act with purpose, and partner to strengthen greater Rhode Island. In addition to upholding and teaching Jewish law, rabbis serve on boards, fight against poverty, support humanitarian efforts, minister to congregants, partner with local agencies, work collaboratively with each other, and advocate for the best interests of our entire Jewish community.

Our recently released poverty study, Living On The Edge, would not have been possible were it not for the selfless buy-in and partnership of our rabbis, and I am particularly grateful to the Rhode Island Board of Rabbis who took an immediate interest in the mark of economic vulnerability on our community. Indeed, the findings from the study indicate that our most vulnerable not only seek out but also require both the emotional and financial assistance of our local rabbis, whether or not they are affiliated with a particular synagogue. Many of our rabbis with our agency heads will be participating with us at our Alliance Town Hall Meeting to address the poverty issue. I encourage each of you to attend this assembly on Thursday, January 16 at 7pm.

Our rabbinical leaders respond with caring, foster Jewish pursuits, and ensure that we maintain lives laden with learning, community, and social justice. So please check out the websites of our synagogues and our rabbis; attend Shabbat services; and participate in their superb classes, workshops and events held across greater Rhode Island. Doing so (and having a few Oneg Shabbat goodies) is the best diet I could recommend during these blustery, cold winter months.

Shabbat Shalom, stay warm, and my best always,

Shabbat Shalom From the President 01.10.14

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