Monday, July 15, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Mark Oppenheimer at Williams; BHS poetry reading; Ventfort Hall magic show; Passover at Temple Anshe Amunim; Woodland Connections for Women; Facebook class

The "Celebrating Animals in Poetry" event will feature the Church Hill Poets as they read their own work as well as poetry of others focusing on animals in their lives and beyond.

Mark Oppenheimer to speak at Williams College

Mark Oppenheimer.

Williamstown — Author and journalist Mark Oppenheimer will give a lecture titled “Why Religion No Longer Matters in American Politics” at Williams College on Tuesday, April 19, at 7 p.m. in the Paresky Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Oppenheimer writes about religion, politics, urbanism, and family. He is editor-at-large at Tablet and contributes to the New York Times Magazine, the Believer, Salon, Slate, Mother Jones, and the Nation, among other publications. He writes a monthly column on religion for the New York Times called “Beliefs.” He is the author of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture” and “Thirteen and a Day: The Bar Mitzvah Across America,” along with several other books and novellas.

Oppenheimer is the winner of the 2010 Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction by Emerging Writers and the 2008 National Book Award. He holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University, where he currently directs the Yale Journalism Initiative and is a lecturer in English, divinity, and political science.

For building locations on the Williams campus, consult the online map or call the Office of Communications at (413) 597-4277.


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BHS poetry reading

Pittsfield — As part of National Poetry Month, Berkshire Humane Society (BHS) will host its third annual “Celebrating Animals in Poetry” event on Monday, April 18, at 7 p.m. The event will feature the Church Hill Poets as they read their own work as well as poetry of others focusing on animals in their lives and beyond. The event is free and open to the public.

The Church Hill Poets is a monthly workshop of Berkshire and Hampshire County writers who have been meeting for over 10 years. The poets who will be participating in “Celebrating Animals” are Stephen Philbrick, Dennis Pollock, Patty Kimura, Antonia Lake, Colin Harrington, Wil Hastings, and Joel Arsenault.

The event will be held in the BHS lobby. Refreshments will be served and a tour of the shelter will follow the reading. Books by the presenting poets will also be available for sale. For more information, contact Mary at (413) 447-7878 x128 or


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“Tom Fooleries at Ventfort Hall” magic show

Lenox – The “Pete and Chris: Two-Man Kids’ Magic Show” will return to Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum with “Tom Fooleries at Ventfort Hall” on Tuesday, April 19, at 3:30 p.m. Brothers Pete and Chris Paliulis appear regularly at all 93 branches of the New York Public Library. Their magic shows are family-friendly and allow kids to join in the fun.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for children ages four to 12, and free for children ages three and under. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. For more information or reservations, call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206 or email


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Passover events at Temple Anshe Amunim

Pittsfield — Temple Anshe Amunim will hold its annual Second Night Passover Seder on Saturday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m. Passover celebrates the emancipation of the Jewish people from slavery in ancient Egypt and the hopes for all to be free from oppression in the present times. This joyous event will be open to all who would like to experience a Passover Seder.

The Seder will be led by Rabbi Josh Breindel. During the Seder, children will be invited to hunt for the afikomen, an exciting treasure hunt for hidden matzo, and to win prizes. Following the service, participants will be invited to share the traditional Seder meal. The meal will include chicken soup with matzo balls, gefilte fish, beef brisket, roast turkey, carrot tzimmes, plus assorted desserts. A vegetarian option will be offered.

Other upcoming Passover activities at Temple Anshe Amunim include a Pesach Study and Festival Service on Saturday, April 23, at 9:30 a.m. and a Yizkor Study and Concluding Festival Service on Friday, April 29, at 9:30 a.m.

The cost of the Seder is $36 for Anshe Amunim members, $42 for nonmembers, $10 for children ages 10 – 18, and free for children under age 10. Reservations are required and may be made through Wednesday, April 20. For more information or to make reservations, contact (413) 442-5910 or


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Woodland Connections for Women at the Bidwell House

2015 Woodland Connections for Women Plainfield
From the 2015 Woodland Connections for Women program in Plainfield.

On Thursday, April 21, from 10 a.m. – noon, the Bidwell House will offer the program Woodland Connections for Women.

From managing wildlife habitat to working with family to determining the future of the land, women face an array of weighty issues concerning land ownership. Women are invited to enjoy an easy woods walk through carefully tended trails at the Bidwell House led by a skilled naturalist followed by a light lunch and an informal exchange of questions, problems, and strategies for planning, owning, and managing land.

The event is free but space is limited. For more information or to register, call (413) 625-9151 x111 or email


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Roeliff Jansen Library to offer Facebook class

Hillsdale, N.Y. – On Wednesday, April 20, from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., the Roeliff Jansen Community Library will offer a tutorial about Facebook.

The class will cover a general introduction to Facebook, including how to create a free account, Internet privacy, Facebook terminology, the concepts of Facebook “friends” and the “like” button, and one-to-one Facebook messaging.

The class will be led by Laura Griffin, and advance sign-up is encouraged. The session will be conducted using the library’s computers, but participants are welcome to bring their own laptops. For more information, call the Library at (518) 325-4101.



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