Many opportunities for civil discourse


Who would have thought? On a recent rainy Monday, four Israel-oriented programs were scheduled in our community. Whether or not you agree with the viewpoints presented in these programs, you have to marvel that a community of our size can support so many well-attended, interesting events in one day. 

Some of these groups support positions that sometimes spark protests. But three of the programs took place at the same time, making it difficult for anyone to see more than two of them. Or for anyone to launch a protest. Besides, there was a program catering to almost everyone’s viewpoint – and we all know that the Jews of Rhode Island have strong opinions on Israel.

You have to appreciate how wonderful it is that we live in a country where we can have this kind of vibrant civil discourse; opinions are not just allowed, but encouraged.

Whether we agree with the positions expressed in these programs, everyone in America has a right to promote them, hear them and make up his or her own mind. And that is a good thing. Here at Jewish Rhode Island, we try to showcase and applaud the diversity of our Jewish community.

In this newspaper, you will see some coverage of these meetings, thanks to community members who submitted reports, and our photographer, who attended one of the programs. We believe that information is the best way to understand our entire community.

Across Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts on a regular basis, our community sponsors remarkably strong speakers, events and programs. I get notices every day, and wish I could attend them all, but I cannot be everywhere! I try to get to as many as possible, and we hope that community members will submit reports of others.  This helps all members of our community learn about issues that affect Jewish Rhode Island and the wider Jewish community.

Just about a year ago, I wrote a brief history of The Jewish Voice. We were saying goodbye to the old and ushering in the new.

This is the 12th issue of  Jewish Rhode Island. The newspaper year has flown by. I think it’s safe to say that as we age the years seem to go by more and more quickly. Remember when you couldn’t wait for your birthday, and all those days leading up to the big event just seemed to crawl by? The lead-up to “first days” also just couldn’t come fast enough. First day of school. First day of summer. First day of camp. We just couldn’t wait.

Well, for those of us of a certain age, those days are gone – and now we’d like to slow down the time between birthdays and anniversaries.

And so it goes at Jewish Rhode Island. When we went from biweekly to monthly, we thought we’d have extra time, but the days quickly filled up.

We hope you’re enjoying some of our new features, like Upfront, a question-and-answer dialogue with community leaders, and The Conversation, where we choose a topic to start a community dialogue. We also hope you’re enjoying our monthly newsletters, which bring updates and news that can’t wait to get into your inbox between print editions. You can sign up for the free newsletter on our website,, where you will also find enhanced coverage of some print stories.  

As always, we welcome your feedback and your contributions as we evolve with our new format.

My thanks to all who have supported us in this transition to a true community paper. You make us look forward to the first Friday of each month, when we publish. But in January, we will make a slight change because New Year’s Day falls on the day we normally go to the printer. You’ll have to wait one more week. We will see you again on Jan. 10, 2020!