Rows of etrog plants in the Bycer backyard.Rows of etrog plants in the Bycer backyard.I was recently in Phoenix, Arizona, for my son Jonathan’s graduation from Arizona State University. I had read about Matt Bycer’s etrog orchard in various Jewish magazines and wanted to see it. I had some extra time, so I arranged to pay him a visit.

When I met Matt Bycer at his etrog orchard in Scottsdale, I immediately gave him a Rhode Island souvenir – a bottle of Eclipse coffee syrup. He thanked me, and, to my surprise, asked “Where is the Del’s?”

I never imagined there would be a Rhode Island connection. Matt told me he got his undergraduate degree from Brown in 2001, majoring in physics. He even taught Sunday school at Temple Emanu-El. He went on to law school at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is now a practicing patent attorney. When he moved to Tucson he became observant, being influenced by Chabad. He also studied with Rabbi Jordan Brumer, who he followed from Tucson to the Phoenix area where the rabbi does outreach to college students.

StatePoint – It’s time to start preparing your home to make sure it can efficiently handle colder weather.

“There are many small, low-hassle items you can complete to ‘winterize’ your home,” says David Andreozzi, principal of Andreozzi Architects and the American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) National Chair of CRAN, the AIA’s Custom Residential Architects Network.  “Prepping your home for the season ensures you aren’t dealing with major issues when they are harder to tackle, and can prevent costly repairs come springtime.”

To help homeowners prepare, Andreozzi offers the following advice.

Attending the Home Sweet Home event are, left to right, Susan Odessa, Cheryl Teverow, Cindy Feinstein and Susan Froehlich /Photos | Jennifer ZwirnAttending the Home Sweet Home event are, left to right, Susan Odessa, Cheryl Teverow, Cindy Feinstein and Susan Froehlich /Photos | Jennifer ZwirnWhat began as a way to connect new families in the community to all things Rhode Island has since evolved into the vital role of assisting and comforting those in need. In a very short period of time, the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island Community Concierge, Wendy Joering, has become a communal touchstone for individuals requiring immediate and special attention and services across Rhode Island.

Nearly 30 women gathered to share a compelling and heartfelt moment as Joering told her story on Sept. 18 at Susan Froehlich’s home in Pawtucket. Approximately $150,000 was raised for the 2015 Annual Campaign.

The Alliance’s Lion of Judah (for women who donate more than $5,000 annually) “Home Sweet Home” event kicked off the Women’s Alliance 2015 Annual Campaign with Joering’s poignant message delivered through her professional experience and personal anecdotes.

StatePoint – Preparing your home for colder weather can help ensure your family stays warm and safe, as well as save you money on energy-related costs and potential damage to your home’s structure.

 “I recommend homeowners do a thorough home inspection at least every five years,” says Tom Capuano of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, a home inspection franchise.

The experts at Pillar To Post recommend homeowners take the following steps to cover their bases.

Dani ShapiroDani ShapiroDani Shapiro is the author of one of my favorite memoirs of all time – “Devotion.” I recommend it often and have heard time and time again how much it has meant to readers. Dani is also the author of five novels including “Black & White” and “Family History.”

She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, New York Universty, The New School, and Wesleyan University, and she is the co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. Her most recent book, “Still Writing,” is sure to become a classic as Shapiro shares her insights in this gorgeous memoir of the writing life. Dani will be one of the guest authors at “An Evening With Authors” on Oct. 8. These are some of the questions I sent to Dani in anticipation of her Rhode Island visit.