Shining light on aging communities

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To build a strong future, you have to have a connection to the past.

And Rabbi Raphie Schochet is hoping to inspire Rhode Islanders in the Jewish community to learn more about the history of the community in a series of short talks he’s calling “Communities of Rhode Island.”

“It’s important to know where you come from,” he said. “Rhode Island has been around a long time. My hope is to draw a little more attention to some of these communities.”

Schochet, rosh kollel of Kollel/Shoresh, said he plans to focus on some of the remaining historical communities in the state: Congregation B’nai Israel in Woonsocket, Congregation Sons of Jacob in Providence, Touro Synagogue in Newport and Congregation Beth David in Narragansett.

“I want to draw attention to these little pearls,” he said. 

There are so many unsung heroes in Rhode Island, he said.  He’s hoping to bring attention to them and draw community interest to these historic Jewish communities, some that may be aging and losing members.

The talks will last 45-60 minutes with question-and-answer sessions to follow. Schochet said he hopes those who attend will share reflections and memories of these synagogues. 

The free programs will start on June 5 at Congregation Sons of Jacob, 24 Douglas Ave., Providence, and continue on June 19 at Touro Synagogue. The other two dates will be scheduled on Tuesdays in June and July. All the programs will start at 6 p.m.

The project is a collaboration of Kollel/Shoresh, Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association and the synagogues where the programs are being held. 

For more information, contact rabbiraphie@gmail.com.

FRAN OSTENDORF is the editor of The Jewish Voice.