Elaine and Gerry Arffa loved IHC and they wanted to ensure the vibrancy of IHC by creating a lasting legacy. Read more about the Arffas and their gift, written by their daughter, Naomi Swiezy:
There is nothing that meant more to my parents, Elaine and Gerry Arffa, than their family and their Jewish heritage. Mom and dad were givers, never wanting attention nor accolades themselves, but wanting to do the right thing, particularly by their family and those around them. Their temple family was also a critical part of their identity and passion. Dad served as Temple President and Mom in many roles culminating in her position as Executive Director. With dad right by her side, the temple had a really good thing going!
All aspects of the temple and its function were important to mom and dad. Their passion and commitment to the Temple and one another came through mom’s orchestration (and often original development) of many educational opportunities (e.g., Block lectures), community supports (e.g., Caring Community, Interfaith Hospitality) and lifespan and family activities (e.g., Second Night Seders, Family Shabbats, Break Fasts). However, one thing that mom (and dad) knew was that the caring and commitment of temple staff brought these alive. Mom and dad recognized and appreciated every person in every role (e.g., housekeeping, assistants, cooks, classroom aides) and ensured that all felt cared for and respected. Everyone knew the Arffas for their humble and welcoming nature, making everyone feel special and loved.
In their passing, we have established the “Elaine and Gerry Arffa Staff Appreciation Fund” to carry on the tradition of taking care of the temple family. The fund will support a yearly event to celebrate non-clergy staff and their contributions to the temple, activities and events that bring joy and sense of family and inclusion to everyone involved. At this annual event, an Arffa Staff Appreciation Award will be provided along with statement of remembrance of Elaine and Gerry Arffa. Further, these monies will be used to support small scholarships to staff needing relief during times of need (e.g., during this COVID).
If you would like to give to the Elaine and Gerry Arffa Staff Appreciation Fund, click here and use the dropdown menu and scroll down to the General Fund category and select the fund.
Because each of us feel connected to IHC, creating your legacy is your chance to ensure the vibrancy of our synagogue through your estate planning. Because these are future dollars, becoming a Legacy Society donor will not cost you anything now. This means you do not have to be rich to leave your legacy, you just have to plan for it. To begin a conversation about creating your legacy, please contact our Executive Director, Pete Smithhisler and help us plant seeds for the future of IHC. You may also visit the GIVE section of our website.
Naomi, your mother had a big influence on me as a young mother raising Jewish children and creating a welcoming space for me at Temple and within Sisterhood. I will always remember a special conversation we had in the back seat of a car driving to Convention. She was by my side as I wrote a letter in the Women’s Torah. She resembled my own mother strongly, which probably also drew me to her, memories of her and your father fill my heart with love. They were a gift to me that I treasure.
Naomi, I cannot think of a better way to remember your parents. They both have such a special place in my heart and cared so much for the people who kept and keep IHC running. I feel so honored to have know them in my journey of life here in Indianapolis. I hope this fund will be long lasting.