Phyllis Arffa at work. /Elissa ArffaPhyllis Arffa at work. /Elissa ArffaHere’s what Elissa Arffa wrote:

“My hero is my daughter Phyllis Arffa. She works very hard running and cooking at BLAZE, a Hope street restaurant on the East Side of Providence. She learned about hard work and giving to others while she spent her junior year of high school at an agricultural school in Israel.

“She gives to the community in many ways. This is the fourth year she has provided 100 Thanksgiving meals to homebound elderly through the Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association. She also donates her time and food to many other community organizations such as: AIDS Care of RI, Southside Community Land Trust and various woman’s groups such as those that help women who have been trafficked for sex or slavery.

Cranston – The Senior Real Estate Solutions Good Deeds Program is seeking applications from eligible seniors in need of home repair or maintenance. 

The Good Deeds Program was developed by Bruce Lane, a local Realtor with Williams and Stuart Real Estate in Cranston and founder of Senior Real Estate Solutions.  Noting that some seniors could not afford the services needed for proper maintenance of their homes, Lane established a grant for seniors with limited financial means through Senior Real Estate Solutions, a free referral source for seniors looking for home maintenance and repair professionals. 

Since 1953, The Gift and Coffee Shop at The Miriam Hospital, conceived and run by The Miriam Hospital Women’s Association, has been a major fundraiser for the hospital – the direct recipient of all its profits. 

Through the years the shop has undergone several  transformations, changing its appearance as the hospital has grown. Today’s gift shop carries high quality leather goods, jewelry, glass, pottery and artistic Judaica items for the discriminating buyer as well as the latest in toys, books, handmade sweaters for kids and gifts for infants.

This is the perfect place for holiday shopping as well as that special birthday or anniversary gift.  Baked goods, soups and sandwiches are available at the coffee shop.

Rita SchwernerRita SchwernerOn Nov. 24, the nation’s first African-American president awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian award, to three civil rights workers who were murdered in 1964: Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney.

Many are not aware that Rita Schwerner, wife of Mickey Schwerner, had been in Mississippi in 1964 for the six months prior to the brutal murder of the three men. Why did she go? What did she do?

Rita is one of the most visible of the Jewish women civil rights workers who went south from 1960 to 1966 as part of established civil rights organizations. Their mission was to integrate public facilities; teach in freedom schools and adult literacy classes; participate in sit-ins, in freedom rides, in voter registration drives; and, as writer Debra L. Schultz notes, “get arrested.”

Joshua Malina speaks to The Alliance crowd. /Andre blaisJoshua Malina speaks to The Alliance crowd. /Andre BlaisOn Dec. 7, approximately 250 enthusiastic community members gathered at Temple Emanu-El to celebrate the success of the Jewish Alliance’s 2015 Annual Campaign.

Susan and Ed Odessa and Judy and Mayer Levitt co-chaired the event. Judy Levitt announced she just happens to be a distant cousin of Joshua Malina, the evening’s keynote speaker.

A Hollywood actor and passionate advocate for the Jewish community, Malina shared his experiences on how to remain a mensch in Hollywood and entertained an admiring audience with stories about his Jewish upbringing, his career as an actor and the intersection of his personal and professional lives.

His stories ranged from funny (he credits performing the Heimlich maneuver on Aaron Sorkin for kick-starting his acting career) to inspirational (he begins each day reciting the Modeh Ani with his family), and he addressed everything from his education at Westchester Day School and Yale University to his career in Hollywood. He also discussed the important life lessons and Jewish values he learned from his parents that have built the foundation for his successes and have contributed to his advocacy for the Jewish community.