Rabbi Elana Zaiman speaker at Dor L’Dor Society event


The Dor L’Dor Society of the Jewish Federation Foundation of Greater Rhode Island hosted a cocktail reception on May 9 featuring Rabbi Elana Zaiman, author of “The Forever Letter” and the first female rabbi in a family of six generations of rabbis.


Zaiman is the daughter of Joel Zaiman, who was the senior rabbi for more than a decade at Providence’s Temple Emanu-El. She travels the country as a scholar-in-residence, speaker and facilitator, teaching and lecturing on a range of topics in elder advocacy, health care and estate planning. Zaiman shared with the group of Dor L’Dor and Silver Circle members the importance of being present and mindful, and saying what you mean. She said this is sometimes best accomplished in a letter. “In letters, we say what we have held on to for so long. Through writing we heal,” she said.

Zaiman is a chaplain at The Summit at First Hill and an adjunct professor for the Harborview Hospital CPE program, both in Seattle, where she lives. She is also the ethics and spirituality columnist for LivFun, a publication for Leisure Care retirement facilities in 10 states, and has most recently been published in The Gettysburg Review and American Letters Commentary, among other publications.

“I feel at home again,” Zaiman told the group gathered at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, in Providence.  “It is so nice to be back in Rhode Island. I forgot just how wonderful this area is, people included.”

She added, “Having grown up here, I recognize so many faces in this room, my childhood babysitter included.”

Prior to Zaiman’s presentation, Sandra Bornstein, a new Lion of Judah, was recognized and asked to sign the Lion of Judah scroll of honor. “I am touched and happy to support this community. It means so much to me, and it has meant so very much to my family all these years,” Bornstein said.

Fellow Lion Susan Froehlich introduced Bornstein and shared with the audience just how meaningful endowing one’s Lion of Judah is.

Outgoing JFF Board chair Sharon Gaines spoke about giving Jewishly and the Dor L’Dor Society, which recognizes and honors those who have included the Jewish Federation Foundation in their estate plans or have established a permanent endowment fund. This year, Silver Circle members, those who have given for more than 25 years, also joined in the celebration.

JENNIFER ZWIRN is director of community development for the Jewish Alliance. For information about creating a Jewish legacy, contact Sara Masri, chief development officer, at 401-421-4111, ext. 223, or smasri@jewishallianceri.org.