Jack Arfa 1950-2013

Vol. XXV No. 1 - SPRING 2014

By: Art Arfa

Jack Arfa, a volunteer for the Edgewater Historical Society, died on November 21, 2013, at the age of 63. He had battled heart problems for many years. Despite his health issues, he maintained an active legal practice until he was forced to retire for health reasons. After his retirement, Jack acted as a volunteer docent at the museum. Jack had always had a keen interest in history. He was the expert on the Arfa family tree. He knew who was a cousin, who was a cousin twice removed, or who was the maternal grandmother on the Brown side of the family. Jack was first and foremost pragmatic. He was the one in the family who nagged his nieces and nephews when they were in college by asking, “So what are you going to do after you graduate? You have to make money somehow.” Although at the time they did not like it when Jack nagged them this way it did help them to focus and consider how to make a living. He was also quietly very generous. He used his legal expertise in pursuit of social justice – although, he would not necessarily see it in those terms. He just saw his being a child advocate in divorce cases or defending the rights of women in abusive marriages as the right thing – as something any conscientious person must do. Not a part of a grand cause, simply a duty. He did pro-bono legal work for SHALVA an organization that helps Orthodox Jewish women in abusive marriages. Jack was a quintessential uncle. Reliable, practical, a little bit of a nag, openly opinionated, witty, and possessed an admirable sense of service and justice.