Putting together the January newspaper presents a time to look back and think ahead. What a year it was. What a year we hope it will be!
In 2021, we had a roller-coaster of ups and downs. That new year brought the promise of vaccines to make COVID-19 less lethal. We were snug in our homes, still working remotely, with dreams of getting children back into classrooms and of overcoming the virus.
That January, we talked to area Jewish leaders about what they had missed during eight months of pandemic and what their hopes were for the new year. The d’var Torah included a discussion of blessings to say when getting the COVID-19 vaccine. And we reported on the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island’s fundraising efforts to help those in need during the pandemic.
As the months passed, both the Jewish community and the wider community got better at going virtual. As I looked through last year’s papers month by month, I noticed a more and more robust lineup of online programming from our synagogues and institutions.
When the virus finally started to wane, in the summer, and we could finally go back to at least some in-person programming and worship, the online component of our lives didn’t entirely disappear.
Late this fall, with a new variant sending people back to their homes, that virtual programming is ramping up again. But this time the technology is not scary or new to most of us.
Just weeks ago, Jewish Rhode Island talked to a number of leaders about their plans for fully reopening. Now, with the omicron variant exploding, some of those plans will be put on hold.
But the common sentiment is that if we have to go back online, it will be an easy pivot. Technologically, at least. Emotionally, it will be tougher. We are all sick and tired of masks, distancing and staying home.
Jewish Rhode Island never stopped publication during 2021, as you probably know. In fact, we expanded, with the debut of Jewish Rhody Media. Throughout the year, we introduced you to several of the new Alliance staffers making our online coverage possible.
First, we introduced Baking with Lisa, a cooking lesson in print and an online video featuring Alliance Adult Programming Manager Lisa Maybruch, who just happens to be a baker extraordinaire. Keep watching for her cooking lessons for new and old favorites. (If you have trouble accessing the video, contact me and I’ll help!)
And while you are looking for Lisa’s videos at www.jewishrhody.org, be sure to check out our other videos that bring stories to life. Some of our Up Front interviews include video coverage, and there will be more to come.
In the fall, the podcast series Chutzpah! debuted. Adam Greenman, president and CEO of the Alliance and the publisher of Jewish Rhode Island, sits down with local business leaders who are Jewish to discuss the personal side of leadership. In addition to listening at jewishrhody.org, you can tune in to Chutzpah! on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Other exciting podcasts will debut throughout 2022. We are also trying to make this new digital content more accessible through our expanding newsletter and website posts.
Throughout last year, we brought you stories of interesting people and programs in our Jewish community. Whether online or in person, it takes a village to keep those stories and the news coverage coming, and I’m grateful to my co-workers, as well as you in the community, who sent us photos and ideas and kept us informed about the interesting things going on around us.
We can’t be everywhere – we really realized this during closures and openings – so keep the ideas and information coming. I will read your messages whether you send them by email (firstname.lastname@example.org); post news at jewishrhody.org; call the office (401-421-4111); or use snail mail (401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence, RI 02906).
A happy, healthy 2022 to all!
Fran Ostendorf, Editor