Finding Providence

By: Rabbi Naftali Karp

My brother who happens to be married to my wife’s sister has just moved out of Providence. Obviously my wife, children, myself, and everyone else tried to barricade them from leaving but to no avail. Since I found this news out I have been struggling with how life will go on. We have been together for so long and being that my brother is much more energetic, less lazy and a bunch more other things; how will we survive.

As the deadline for my blog submission approached, I realized I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, so I figured this would be a good venue to share. After much agonizing, many coffees and energy drinks later, I have come to the conclusion that life will go on. Not only will it go on; it will be awesome!

A big reason why is because I Iove Providence! I like the look of the city and all those kinds of things, but I really love the people. I came when I was even  younger than I am now and plenty of people who remember me from then, will always think l am a little kid, no matter how gray  I get. Having a family has its challenges, life has its challenges and I can never say that we were stuck. Someone is always there to help. Apparently an endless supply of food is somewhere on the east side because food is what you need no matter what happens. If your car breaks down- you need food, if your heat isn’t working -you need food. I don’t really mind, because I have a very good relationship with food it usually “is my way or the highway”.

People are willing to share. There are so many list serves. If you are looking  for leftovers of just about anything or someone found gefilte fish for 5 cents cheaper at the place 10 blocks farther someone will make sure you know.

Another great thing is that I have had to hone my hide and go seek skills. If you want to not been seen you have to be good. I actually found a few good places but I’ m not telling unless you tell me where I can get a good kosher steak less than an hour drive from my I think I should have these places, till I get a four square, I think that’s what it’s called.

In all seriousness, there is not enough time in the week or even the year to spend with all the great friends I have had the privilege to gain. Partially because on the way to get together I’ll get stuck at a four way stop sign for 10 minutes and then because of a miracle I survive everyone finally going at the same time.

People often ask what it’s like in long island and after I finish explaining that we are 3.5 hours’ drive from new York, I then have to explain what things are like in a third world sate. Then I get to boast about the Jewish community tell them that providence is a “chulent”. For those of you who are not familiar with chulent, you kind of had to be there, but suffice it to say I think it may be Israel’s secret weapon. Chulent is the hot dish served in many homes for Shabbat lunch. You can pretty much put whatever you want in, as long as it’s unhealthy, but don’t worry; calories are half price on Shabbat. When I say chulent, I mean there are so many different types of people and like chulent somehow it blends together into a beautiful tapestry of a community. There is no very large group  of any particular type. This necessitates a lot of interaction with people whom in a larger community one may not interact. For example, I play basketball  in any given week with a group of full time rabbinical students, a group of people some of whom are collecting social security and perhaps a few my age, possibly remotely in shape (one that is isn’t in your geometry books) although I have yet to play with someone who’s beard Is similar to mine.

There is a word limit, although this has been fun, so I think I am going to sign off that Providence is a great place that I choose to continue to grow up in and raise my children because I feel it’s a place where there are many truth seeking, sincere and kind individuals.

As a rabbi, I think I have to end off with a blessing so here goes.

May we all continue, each in our own way, making providence the growing comfortable environment it is even without my “blood” brother’.


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