Information for Members of the The Ethical Culture
Society of Essex County
Jerry Kaplan passed away May 8, 2013.
Click here for a video tribute from his family.
Members: Your 2012- 2013
Letter & Instructions
From Bob Bender, 2-6-13
I've been running on all pistons -until this past Sunday- with four at least somewhat overlapping groups. WAR VS HUMAN NEEDS- Continues steadily along. We haven't been able to emulate the pace from our start as Rethink Afghanistan - showing the film with a speaker 28 times in 18 months from 2009-10, contributing to the delegitimization of the War policy. We've continued our education programs and lobbying. Last year we became an Organizational Member of Peace Action; last month we hosted Peace Action Field Coordinator Judith Le Blanc for 5 days, centered around the Sunday, January 13 "What Would MLK Do - and What Will YOU do - in 2013?" at UUCFL where she delivered the sermon , "MLK on Peace, Militarism,
Internationalism" and made another presentation at the afternoon segment led by Occupy Ft Lauderdale Labor Outreach. . Was good to sponsor her at a Friday program with Citizens for Social Responsibility and was honored to have a financial contribution and to inherit collection baskets from the group. She also spoke at a film on Liberian women's peace movement on Saturday night and at a double program at FAU on Monday afternoon, as well as a Thursday evening session with WvHN. OCCUPY FT LAUDERDALE LABOR OUTREACH- Likewise. In addition to support for OUR WALMART and other related efforts, , we're proud to have contributed toward the enactment of a Broward Wage Theft/Recovery ordinance in November and are working with a group organizing low-income employees at Fort Lauderdale Airport -trying to bring them into the existing Broward Living Wage ordinance.
Will see soon if we have the energy for a May Day program; last year's was inspiring. UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH OF FT LAUDERDALE (UUCFL): Patty and I sing in the choir and are active in social justice work, which overlaps with the three other groups mentioned here. UUCFL is blessed with a socially conscious, activist-appreciating minister who paves the way for social justice works, sometimes initiating, and has welcomed OCCUPY groups to meet there. NEW JIM CROW: MASS INCARCERATION IN THE AGE OF COLOR BLINDNESS: With UUCFL as the base for meeting and the minister and a few other congregants participating among the twenty at the initial of the 6 sessions, we have a promising Read/Discuss/Act group. I strongly recommend reading the dynamite book by Michelle Alexander. Wish all this personal activity reflected a Mass Movement!!!
Patty and I went Northeast on January 25 -spent a good weekend in Springfield, MA at the Peoples Music Network/Songs for Freedom and Struggle, then a week with NJ family and friends. Then I traveled to DC for 3 days with Peace Action. But Reversal struck. Upon my arrival in DC,the bitter Northeast cold provoked a sinus attack - from which I'd been free since avoiding frigid temperatures. Never know how long these and their aftermath last. So I immediately returned to warm Florida.
While in NJ I re-read Margaret Nowak's book on her and Stanley's history and reached out by email to Linda Marinowitz, since her parents and grandfather's lives were so enveloped with the Novaks. Got the usual warm response. In addition to being involved with me on all of the above, Patty is also the president of the CVE Camera Club, is a board member of the Deerfield Progressive Forum and our Condo Association and keeps busy as well with her good pottery.
She'll be spending a month back in NJ grandmothering from mid-March to mid-April while our daughter in law is off on a Fulbright-supported visit to Viet Nam. Our grandsons are thriving in all ways, including musically. Nat 's employer the American Federation of Teachers of NJ sent him to Ohio and he saved the election there for Obama. Dan and Kelly are also dong well.
In December, 2011, Joel Weinberger and his wife Sarah visited Mike and Marie Siegel in Santa Rosa, California. He says, "They seem to be doing very well, and it was wonderful to see them....They've converted their entire backyard into a large garden, including 75 strawberry plants, around 8 fruit tress, and 2 chickens." They spent most of Friday night and Saturday afternoon just chatting with them and catching up, although Saturday morning they visited the Charles Schulz museum
Cardsare appreciated for Seymour Armstrong:
Seymour & Freda Armstrong
37 Annette Drive
Edison, NJ 08820
Bob and Patty Bender
159 Keswick C
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
908-477-7811 for Patty
908-477-7812 for Bob
Long time friend Gerald Stillman, husband of member Mira Stillman passed away on October 28, 2011. Mira's address is 53 Durand Road, Maplewood, NJ 07040.
Long-time member Fran Relkin passed away 12-25-10
Send condolences to Dennis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Honorary Lifetime member Ted Seagull's daughter
107 West 28 St. #3
New York, NY 10001
Sara's email: email@example.com
by Betty Levin
Ted was a humorous, kind, loving and very intelligent person, an accomplished wordsmith, known for his love of books and extraordinary ability to do crossword puzzles, even the Sunday NY Times!
We met right here at our own Ethical Culture Society at a party commemorating the time Joe Lebrecht established our Essex Society. It was suggested we dress up in the fashions of the period (c. 1915), which appealed to my daughter, Wendy. She encouraged me to attend, and what a beneficent happenstance! Ted was recovering from hip surgery necessitated by a serious fall from a circus bicycle. He was pale, wan and clearly in pain when I encountered him leaning on both our podium and his cane. But his depth and articulateness showed through and I was smitten, interested in getting to know him better. I obtained his phone number from Suzanne Gluck who I knew had influenced him in attending that evening (“He was depressed and needed to get out of his apartment”). He seemed delighted by my call and said he planned to do the same. We started dating regularly, spent Thanksgiving weekend in the Poconos and progressed from there, having a “weekend marriage”, getting together at my house every Wednesday and weekends, celebrating October 1 as our anniversary, the date we met at Ethical.
Ted attended Platforms and other activities at Ethical with me quite regularly. Suddenly, he announced to me one day that he wanted to join as a member. I had never inquired or discussed his relationship to the Society; certainly never pressured him. But what a member he became, thoroughly committed. Soon, he became the newsletter editor and eventually an adjunct leader for marital services, conducting numerous weddings through the years, bringing substantial funds to our treasury. One particular couple became members after their marriage, Mahasin and Jim Pomarico who attended Ted’s memorial service. Mahasin became a Sunday school teacher and Jim a board member.
Ted was a devoted participant in Dr. Calvin Chatlos’s Human Faith Group and through that learning was able to forge a warm and enduring relationship with his loving daughter, Judy. Most poignant was Ted’s officiating at Judy’s marriage to her beloved Pete.
Ted’s passion for his three daughters, Sara, Debby and Judy, was formidable. Rarely was Ted more joyful than when he had one of his delightful telephone calls with Sara, the pleasure vibrating against the walls. Sara became the most deeply devoted and involved in his care during his final illness, often calling me to report his condition after Ted and I had parted. Another of his highly joyful experiences was driving up to New Paltz to visit Debby. His frequent visits to Judy and Pete’s home sustained his loving relationship. He loved to regale me with stories of how much his daughters loved the Sunday morning pancakes he made for them, with their exuberant cries of appreciation, “Daddy, we love you so much!”
Another deep love of Ted’s was for his younger brother, Arthur, of Okemos, Michigan, who drove here with his wife Betty to conduct the traditional grave side burial service. Not only is Arthur well versed in Jewish religion but is also a practicing psychologist, a gourmet cook and an accomplished ballroom dancer. He and Betty have written and published a book on the art of ballroom dancing. I remember Ted and I traveling to Okemos for their son Jonathan’s Bar Mitzvah. Arthur made 20 elegant desserts for the occasion. Arthur is the last surviving brother in the family.
Ted’s three grandsons (Judy’s children) traveled from various parts of the country to attend the services. A warm reception was held at the Ethical Society after the grave side service, with 50 people in attendance.
Ted cherished his Jewish roots. He was one of the founders of Temple Beth Ahn, a conservative synagogue in Springfield. When they first struggled to organize and met in the basement of a local church, it was Ted who conducted the services. When the synagogue was firmly established with Rabbi Reuben Levine at the helm, we became friends with him and his wife Shirley, sharing interests in art and gardening. Reuben attended Sunday platforms at Ethical on several occasions, perhaps connecting to humanist ideas enriching his own sermons.
Ted and I enjoyed much culture, music, ballet, theater and took fine vacations together — Hawaii, the Smokies, Elderhostel trips and the pinnacle, our multitudinous trips to the Berkshires, especially Chanterwood in S. Lee, an enchanting cabin colony on a pristine lake deep in the woods where we swam in the bracing sparkling water, even before breakfast. (The photo is Ted emerging from one of those rapturous swims.) Sadly, Chanterwood no longer exists but memories linger.
Ted had some unfortunate life experiences which sometimes marred the quality of his life. One dramatic experience occurred in kindergarten. Ted loved books and his devoted mother often read to him, sitting on the floor with Ted facing her. His astuteness enabled him to follow the words, reading them upside down. When the kindergarten teacher asked if anyone could read, Ted proudly raised his hand. He turned the book around to read as he had learned with his mother. The teacher insisted Ted was wrong, not realizing she had an extraordinary child in her class: an early reader, if a bit idiosyncratic. Ted was humiliated in a situation where he had every right to feel proud. In later life, a deeply discouraging experience impacted his professional life. Ted had served in WWII as an interpreter, fluent in French. Later, at a counseling session, Ted expressed his wish to become a doctor and it was quashed with an anti-Semitic remark. An older brother suggested Ted could become a pharmacist, also a healing profession, as he was himself. And so his chosen profession appeared. In those days, pharmacists mixed their own prescriptions rather than picking them off the shelf. I remember his sharing memories with Tony Mastrolia (husband of Hannah), also trained in that “old school.” Another memory, this one endearing: in later years, Tony developed severe dementia and Ted often took Tony to a favorite Italian restaurant for dinner and to relieve Hannah of the stress of being a caregiver and allowing her some free time to do her accomplished painting.
In a poignant moment in the early part of his illness, when he was lucid, Ted declared to me, “I have had 2 marriages.” When I telephoned Ted at his nursing home on his 87th birthday, he didn’t seem to know who I was. At my final visit to him, he was having a bad day, again not knowing me. It was very sad to see him in this condition, totally void of any quality of life, a man formerly so vital and intelligent. Only modern medicine kept him alive. I felt if I received a call that he had passed on, I would experience more relief than grief.
A warming moment was when I removed an incidental book from his well-supplied bookshelf which I could read to him. It was a journal I had given him some 30 years ago in which he had recorded details of our numerous trips together, his daughter Sara to be the eventual beneficiary of this memento.
We wish peace to Ted, in a place where all crossword puzzles are successfully completed — a place with humor and kindness abounding.
— E. Betty Levin
Maplewood, South Orange and the Iraq War
by Paul Surovell
“I’m voting yes, because if every town in America passes a resolution like this, there will be no war in Iraq.” After Maplewood Township Committee member David Huemer spoke those words, the TC passed a resolution against going to war in Iraq in a dramatic 3-2 vote. The debate had lasted more than two hours in a packed Town Hall. It was February 18, 2003, one month before the US invasion.
The antiwar resolution, initiated by South Mountain Peace Action, was introduced and managed by Mayor Vic De Luca.
I would like to take David Huemer’s words one step further: if every town in America had seen the same level of protest as Maplewood and South Orange, the war in Iraq would have ended years before its 9-year conclusion last week. Both before and during the war in Iraq, thousands of citizens of Maplewood and South Orange spoke for peace by signing petitions, attending rallies, marches, vigils and meetings, doing sidewalk tabling and lobbying their representatives.
Throughout the war years, the Maplewood and South Orange governing bodies issued proclamations supporting local efforts for peace, as well as calling for an end to the war. In October 2005, in an impressive show of unity, all members of the Maplewood TC, the South Orange BOT, the Columbia High School Student Council executive committee and 18 of 20 members of the Seton Hall Student Government Association signed a joint letter to Senators Corzine and Lautenberg, calling for a withdrawal plan from Iraq.
In July 2007, Maplewood Mayor Fred Profeta and Township Committee member Vic De Luca, took part in the Cities for Peace Day in Washington DC, as part of a local delegation that also included Iraq War veteran Dan Black of South Orange. Maplewood and South Orange were two of about 300 US cities and towns that had been designated “Cities for Peace” for passing antiwar resolutions.
Perhaps the most visible statements for peace were the thousands of “Be About Peace” signs displayed on lawns and cars in Maplewood and South Orange.
The slogan “Be About Peace” was coined by 10-year-old Tuscan student Jackson Roberts and printed on signs that his family distributed at the Maplewood Train Station on February 15, 2003, to Maplewoodians going to the massive peace demonstration in New York.
In 2005, South Mountain Peace Action organized the first annual “Be About Peace Day:” an afternoon of arts and crafts for kids with a theme of peace, followed by an evening with speakers and discussion. Both Maplewood and South Orange have officially proclaimed “Be About Peace Days” in their towns.
The war in Iraq was a great tragedy for the American people, most notably the families of tens of thousands of US soldiers killed or wounded, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, wounded and displaced. The direct cost of $807 billion and the overall cost of $4 trillion estimated by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, will deprive our nation of valuable economic resources for years to come.
South Orange lost two beloved residents in Iraq, Marine Lance Corporal Augie Schroeder on August 3, 2005, and Army Major Dwayne Kelley on June 24, 2008. Families of both men participated in ceremonies to install memorial plaques in the Peace Garden behind the Ethical Culture Society building at 516 Prospect Street. The plaques can still be viewed there.
Augie Schroeder’s parents, Rosemary Palmer and Paul Schroeder spoke at a meeting for peace at St. George’s Church in February 2006 and subsequently formed a group for military families called Families of the Fallen for Change, which co-authored a peace petition with South Mountain Peace Action in 2007.
As the Iraq war draws to an end I am moved to reflect on these and many more actions taken in our communities on behalf of peace to prevent and then to end, a tragic, unnecessary war based on falsehoods and fear.
The most important lesson, in my view, is to learn from this experience going forward. Let us hope we continue to find the courage and patriotism to speak out against fear and falsehoods and the unnecessary use of military force. The message "Be About Peace," which continues to appear in our communities, remains as valid today as it did in 2003.
For a more complete and detailed record of actions taken for peace in Maplewood and South Orange, go to South Mountain Peace Actions website, www.BeAboutPeace.com.
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Paul Surovell is chairman of South Mountain Peace Action. He has lived in Maplewood for 34 years.
Video Clip of Singing from Boe's honoring event!
Green Enterprises Web Design
We arrived here on Saturday, September 12, after 3 exhaustive weeks of packing, worrying, and ultimately a mostly pleasant 1,200 mile drive.
I'm happy to report that except for heavy gecko traffic on the series of bikeways that dot our new community, life is relatively worry-free, although not necessarily for the geckos. The house we are renting has its own pool, an idea that I originally poo-pooed when first offered the choice of with or without. It didn't take much to convince me that having this little baby only steps from our living room doesn't really suck. In fact, after an arduous session of unpacking the myriad of cartons we spent those weeks filling with years of accumulated crap, and some possessions we can actually use, there is nothing like a quick dip. And my environmental friends will be pleased to learn that the pool is heated by our good friend Sol.
I know it is too soon to make predictions, but right now, Sarasota is looking really good as a permanent location for Joanne, me, and our 3 furry charges. The 90 degree heat that still lingers from the hot summer is not much of a deterrent since the alleged Supreme Being invented air-conditioning and swimming pools.
But before I go back for my next dip, let me give you our new contact information:
5712 Ferrara Drive
Sarasota, FL 34238
Home phone: 941-552-6526 (or 941-5-jam-jam)
Barry's cell stays the same: 646-327-5566
Statement on Religious Identity
of Ethical Culture Fall 2008
(In order to read this, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which
can be downloaded for free if you click here.)
Here is a copy of the Society's Current By-Laws.
(In order to read this, you need
Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded
free if you click here.)
Notes On Members and Friends' Activities
See clip of Patty and Bob Bender on CBS T.V.
July 2008 Notes:
Intercepted emails with updates on the Benders and Mike and Marie!
Carol Varker passed away in June 2008.
Please join in condolences to her husband Dick.
You may write him a t18 Karam Circle, West Orange, NJ 07052
See Terri Suess's letter-to-the editor of the Star-Ledger
about the National Guard here or on the Social Action Page.
Molly Gilman being interveiwed on television!
Snapshots of the Appalachian Coal Miner's Dinner at Sue & Andy's. If you liked the "Songs of Coal," the book and cd
are available from a wonderful Appalachian group at this site.
E-mail, Address & Phone updates
Obrzut, Tom & Rebekah Novemsky
Bob and Patty Bender
159 Keswick C
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
908-477-7811 for Patty
908-477-7812 for Bob
1106 EVERGREEN ROAD
YARDLEY, PA 19067
Marie Weber and Mike Siegel
Bob Bender reports: Larry Lorre, of South Orange, who in the 1960s was active with the Ethical Youth/Young Adult group and in the chorus in the 90s, died October 17, 2006. Larry retired from the NJ/Essex County Probation Dept several years ago. He had been active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He had lived with former ECS member Carrie Schwimmer. There's a gathering for Larry on Thursday, October 19, 7 - 9 p.m. at the Preston Funeral Home on South Orange Avenue at Prospect Street, South Orange.
Janet Mangano has been coming to the Essex Ethical Society for more than thirteen years to grace us with pre-platform music. She has participated in the Chamber Music Study Program at the Society directed by Joseph Gluck and Mary Babiarz and in the Diller-Quaile Amateur Chamber Music Program in New York City.
In the past, she has performed as a soloist, accompanist, and ensemble member in Philadelphia, New York City, Krakow (Poland), and Vienna (Waehring District).
Janet studied at Philadelphia Musical Academy (now The University of the Arts) with Clement Petrillo, teacher of Andre Watts, and at Settlement Music School with Hal Friedman. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. Always interested in ethnic musical roots and derivatives, she played prima balalaika with the Penn Balalaika Orchestra, and studied sitar with Dr. Lalmani Mishra at the University of Pennsylvania.
Currently residing in Short Hills with her husband Charlie and twin sons Andrew and Mark, she specializes in the music of Albeniz, Bach, Bartok, Mozart, and Schubert.
The Society is most grateful for Janet's contribution with her fine technique and musicianship, she enhances and elevates our Sundays together.
Whereas extensive irregularities concerning the November 2, 2004 elections have been widely reported around the country; and whereas, these irregularities severely shake our faith in the fairness of our voting processes while undermining the legitimacy of our entire democracy; and whereas, the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County that has made Maplewood, New Jersey, its home for more than 50 years, holds the principles of a free and open democratic society among its highest values; therefore be it resolved, that we urge our elected representatives at the state and federal levels to conduct public hearings to examine the practices of recording, tabulating and reporting election results so as to assure as best as is humanly possible that those who represent us are doing so under the fairest practices.
As we move into 2008, I send you wishes for a wonderful and peace-filled year. I also want to tell you about, or remind you about the Ethical Culture Society I am a part of.
The Ethical Society Without Walls is a place where people can connect to explore living more ethical lives. We'd like to connect with more people who want to be part of an Ethical Culture community where they can connect with others who have similar lifestances. Please visit the Ethical Society Without Walls and invite others to visit also.
I believe so strongly that Ethical Culture offers a path and a place to strengthen our abilities to live more ethically, to have more satisfying relationships as we strive for right relationships, and to encourage us to make the world a better place for everyone. We support each other through difficult times and celebrate life's joys together. We learn and explore together.
Even if you know that an Ethical Culture society isn't right for you, would you take a moment to ask yourself "Who do I know that might be interested in knowing about the Ethical Society Without Walls?" I would so appreciate your forwarding this email to anyone you know who might want to explore our society and see if it is right for them.
Some of what they'll be able to do at ESWoW:
participate in the ESWoW Community
learn about Ethical Culture
read and listen to Platforms and blogs about ethical living
share and explore ideas on our forums
take action on important ethical issues
As of January 1, 2008, I'll be the sole Leader of ESWoW. As the founding Co-Leaders of ESWoW Randy Best and I share a vision of creating a place where people could learn about Ethical Culture and explore putting it into practice in their lives. Randy is moving to a new position as Leader of the North Carolina Society for Ethical Culture and I'll be continuing to work with ESWoW.
I'm committed to maintaining, and even increasing the vision and the vitality we've developed. I want to welcome more and more people to ESWoW. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to participate with others in learning, discussing and acting to have more ethical lives.
So, who do you know who might be interested in knowing about our Ethical Society? Do you know someone interested in exploring ideas about how to live their lives well, and might like to connect with others in that exploration?
I appreciate your taking a moment to visit ESWoW, and/or forward this email to others who might be interested in knowing about ESWoW, perhaps with a note to them telling them why you think they may be interested.
As we travel on our various paths to creating a more just and ethical world,
I wish you joy, peace and connection,
Leader, Ethical Society Without Walls
Connecting to Live More Ethical Lives
For more informaton, call 973-7631905
The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County
516 Prospect Street, Maplewood, NJ 07040
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