Several years ago Minna Ellison, Senior Vice President for Community Planning and Programming for the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, was in California staying at the Renaissance Hotel at LAX.  She asked the hotel concierge if the hotel restaurant served fresh fish, and for directions to an art gallery she was interested in visiting. He directed her and she was on her way.  The next morning when Minna arrived in the lobby, the hotel concierge handed her a list of restaurants that specialized in fresh, delicious fish dishes and museums and art galleries that might interest her. She was floored. What started out as a good customer service experience became a fabulous customer service experience.   Minna thought how wonderful would it be to have this level of service in our Jewish community—to have a concierge that could connect and direct people to programs and services that best meets their needs.

Over the past four years, the Alliance Concierge position has evolved into something larger then could have been anticipated. As the Community Concierge for the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, I have connected people to kosher caterers, synagogues and day schools; introduced them to programs at the Alliance JCC, the Barrington ECC site, and PJ Library and Shalom Family; as well as connected them to much needed resources that they were able to obtain through JFS, JSA and 211. I have met people for coffee early Sunday mornings when they are in the house hunting phase visiting RI, so when they do make the move I can help them make it as seamless as possible. I have had long conversations with individuals to really get to know them in order to help them make meaningful connections to resources that will help them in daily life.

It must be close to wedding season because recently I have received several calls regarding wedding planning. I was able to provide to an out-of-state mother whose daughter is getting married in RI, a list of local rabbis, kosher caterers in New England and local florists. To a couple who called doing all of the wedding planning themselves and want to make their own mark, I suggested visiting the library at the Alliance for resources that can help personalize their special day and create new traditions. Whether you live out of state and are not familiar with the territory, or you live locally and just need a little hand, I am able to help you navigate. Whether you need to find the Synagogue that meets your needs, or you need to find that caterer for your “big day,” I make the connections – you make the choice!!

Wendy Joering can be reached at 401-421-4111 x 169 or

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