Saturday, June 4, 2016

At Touro Synagogue June 4, 2016

At Touro Synagogue today a visitor asked if the fixtures (the chandeliers and candlesticks) were original.  It was sweet to be able to say yes!

The survival of our shul is a tribute to those who have kept an eye on it for 263 years... the colonial congregation, the British army during the Revolutionary War,  Abraham and Isaac Touro,  Congregation Shearith Israel, the renewed Congregation Jeshuat Israel and the Touro Foundation  and to many other groups and individuals. The building also survived because of the care by the city of Newport and its residents.  And our little corner of the world has been spared the wars and turbulence that has affected most of the world since the Synagogue was dedicated in 1763. This says something about America!

Today we finished reading the book of Leviticus. As is customary, at the end of the reading the congregation rose and we recited "Chazak, chazak, v'nischazek," “Be Strong, be strong, and let us strengthen each other.”  Rabbi Mark Mandel spoke about those three words, giving three situations where we need strength.  We need strength to believe in Judaism and in Hakadosh Baruch Hu. In our world there are many things that might lesson that faith.  We need strength to pray. There are many distractions, and we make ourselves busy virtually 24 hours a day 7 days a week-hopefully six days a week. And finally we need strength in our daily lives. Sometimes life is difficult, yet we must be strong enough to carry on and overcome the challenges. And one of those challenges was at hand.

Today at shul we learned of the death of Donna Klein Pimental.  Donna grew up in Newport and has been active at Touro for many years. In February we met many members of the Fastiff, Klein and Pimental families when they sponsored the Kiddish in honor of Donna’s mother Selma’s 90th birthday.  Please join me to comfort Donna’s husband, children, grandchildren, mother and brother and other friends and family among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. V'ischazek! Let us strengthen each other! 

Donna Pimental 

MIDDLETOWN – Donna (Klein) Pimental, 62, of Middletown, RI passed away peacefully with her family by her side and in the comfort of her home on Thursday, June 2, 2016, after a valiant and lengthy battle with ovarian cancer.  She is the wife of Francis Pimental.
She leaves a legacy of caring and compassion that will live on through those she leaves behind. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her mother, Selma Klein, her brother, Gary Klein, her son-in-law and daughter Eric and Karyn Wilson, her son and daughter–in-law, Michael and Sara Pimental, her most cherished grandchildren Ariella and Grayson Pimental, and many extended family members who meant so much to her. 
She was preceded in death by her father, Norman Klein and her father and mother-in-law Frank and Florence Pimental. 
Born in Newport and a lifelong islander she graduated from Rogers High School and the University of Hartford with an education degree. Though she intended to teach locally, life had other plans. She and her husband, Frank took over the Pimental family business, the Paradise Motel and RV Park in Middletown in 1977. The business flourished under them, and helping manage the business and caring for her guests becoming a paramount part of her life. Years later she fulfilled the dream of teaching, often substituting in the Middletown Public Schools where she enjoyed the camaraderie of the other teachers and the relationships she fostered with the students.
In addition to her professional life, she gave incalculable time and energy to Touro Synagogue and its congregation.  She was a third generation congregant, and member of the leadership team for 30+ years, directly involved in many of the synagogue’s major projects during this time. Her fellow members and leaders of Touro Synagogue became her second family, producing many of her best friends.
Most recently, all while battling cancer, she turned her attention to her beloved grandchildren.  Always sure to have plenty of snacks in “Ammie’s crunchies jar” and the kid’s favorite toys, Ariella and Grayson spent countless hours with her and were, as she often said, “her best medicine.”
Her selfless personality and endless giving to others are evident in the stories we all share and the memories of our experiences together. Her loving nature and special qualities will live on forever in those she touched.  And though her father was known as “the perfect man,” she will forever be known as the “the selfless woman.”
Services will take place on Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 10 a.m. at the Hoffman Memorial Chapel, 11 Fowler Avenue in Newport. Interment will immediately follow at Newport Memorial Park, 123 Howland Avenue in Middletown.
Following the services and interment, the family invites all guests to the Pimental home at 265 Prospect Avenue in Middletown. Shiva will be observed at the Pimental home on Sunday, June 5, 2016,from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., Monday, June 6, Tuesday, June 7 and Wednesday, June 8, 2016, from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Touro Synagogue Hebrew School Fund, 85 Touro Street Newport, RI ( or to Visiting Nurse Services of Newport and Bristol Counties, Hospice Program, 1184 East Main Road Portsmouth, RI (
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