Anti-Semitism and seltzer among topics at ‘An Evening of Jewish Renaissance’


Journalists, authors and a fashion blogger will be among the speakers at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island’s “Evening of Jewish Renaissance,” which returns on Nov. 17 after a three-year hiatus.

Larry Katz, director of Jewish Life and Learning for the Alliance, said this year’s Jewish Renaissance will feature up to 18 classes and workshops in each of two sessions

Presenters include:

            Martin Fletcher, a journalist and author who spent years as NBC’s bureau chief in Tel Aviv, Israel. In “From Fact to Fiction,” Fletcher will recount how he went from being a foreign correspondent to the author of a novel about a love triangle set against the tumultuous founding of Israel.

            Udi Goren, a travel photographer, speaker, educator and artist whose work has been featured in exhibits in Israel and worldwide, as well as in media outlets, including the National Geographic Channel and Yediot Achronot, Israel’s largest circulation newspaper. His presentation, “A Walk of the Land: A Photographic Journey of the Israel National Trail,” is a visual look at Israel’s diverse people, sites and landscapes.

            Sarit Shani Hay, who will discuss “Innovative Kids Spaces.” Hay, a pioneer in the field of children’s environments and a designer, combines art and design to create whimsical objects and spaces. Hay operates Israel’s leading interior and furniture design studio.

            Barry Joseph, director of digital learning for the Girl Scouts and the author of “Seltzertopic,” who will speak about “Seltzer: A Recipe for Delight.” Based on more than a decade of seltzer research, Joseph’s presentation will include seltzer nostalgia, history, stories, poems and health recommendations.

            Liraz “Liri” Cohen Mordechai, a fashion lecturer and New York City fashion blogger, who will speak about “The History of Israeli Fashion – From the Kibbutz to the City.” Mordechai’s  company, Fashionating by Liri Inc., has a two-part mission: To bring Israeli fashion to the first tier by empowering Israeli fashion designers, brands and companies, and to tell Israel’s story through fashion. She was formerly with Duke University and ZARA Israel, for whom she was Israel’s training and development department manager. 

            Catherine Price, an author and award-winning science journalist who has been featured in many publications, including The Washington Post Magazine, Time, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Her presentation, “How to Break Up with Your Phone: The Secrets to a Healthy Relationship,” will delve into the consequences of being constantly connected, and what we can do to take back control.

            Jonathan Weisman, a journalist for 30 years, a two-time author and the current deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, will discuss his latest book, “(((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump.” Weisman is also the author of the novel “No. 4 Imperial Lane,” a Chautauqua Prize finalist, Amazon Best Book of the Month and Great Group Reads pick at the Women’s National Book Association.

Katz describes “An Evening of Jewish Renaissance” as “a couple of hours of adult learning, and some socializing,” and notes that it typically attracts a crowd of 400 to 500 people.

“We have been holding the “Evening of Jewish Renaissance” off and on since the year 2000, when it was a 50th-anniversary event for the Bureau of Jewish Education,” he said. “Judge Marjorie Yashar and Dr. James Yashar endowed the program beginning in 2003.”

“An Evening of Jewish Renaissance” will be held on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence.

LARRY KESSLER is a freelance writer based in North Attleboro who can be reached at