The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County
Platform Programs 2013-2014
Platform Programs each Sunday at 11:00 AM
516 Prospect Street, Maplewood, New Jersey 07040
Corner of Parker and Prospect
This opening platform of the season will be a welcome to all those interested in the ethical culture locus in our community. We will host an interactive guided discussion and share on our collective experience in the movement and our dreams and aspirations for the coming season.
Martha Gallahue, Leader in ESEC, has spent an active summer participating in The US Army War College Seminar Series at Carlisle, Pa, (by invitation): at the 98th Annual American Ethical Union's National Assembly in Fairfax, Va. whose focus was on criminal justice; as Workshop Facilitator in Brooklyn Society on the "culture of ethical culture"; as key planner for a United Nations High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace, September 6th in collaboration with the President of the General Assembly.
She is an interactive psychoanalyst in private practice in NYC and in active conversation with three grown children all in public service. Her lead edu-learners (mutual educators) are her two grandchildren Teagan and
Neve, seven and four years old. She also guided our ESEC youth member Lucy Schmitz through a min-internship at the UN. [see photo] Caption: Lucy Schmitz, our new youth member, and Martha after a meeting at the UN on planning for a High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace to take place, Sept. 6th, in General Assembly Hall at the UN.
Sept. 15 Chef Jesse Jones, "Being One of My Kind - A Look at Race in the Kitchen"
In a Q&A exchange with Elaine Durbach, Chef Jesse will explore his path, as an African American, to becoming a chef in "an aggressively white collar industry." Reflecting on issues raised by the Trayvon Martin case, he will discuss discrimination in the kitchen, and what he calls "life as a chameleon," at times being called an Uncle Tom while learning how to retain his integrity and will to be the best, and his faith; his work with urban kids, and serving as a mentor to young would-be cooks.
He will also give a brief cooking demo for a small group in the ECS kitchen after the platform, showing participants how to make one of his signature dishes, shrimp and grits. For details and the cost, call Elaine at 973-275-1633.
Chef Jesse Jones' Southern cooking with a country French twist has earned him a loyal following who love his style as much as his dishes, and his victories at cooking competitions. He has also gained a reputation as a celebrity chef, between catering for Tyler Perry at 98.7 Kiss FM, posting recipes on The Alternative Press, hosting Chef Jesse Live cooking demos, and opening a pop-up restaurant serving prix-fixe Sunday dinners in South Orange in 2012.
Jesse attended Hudson Community Culinary Arts Program in Jersey City, but he inherited his passion for cooking from his mother, Mildred Jones, and his grandmother, Hannah Jones. Under their tutelage, following them around in their home kitchen in Snow Hill, North Carolina, he honed his culinary vision and developed his flair for New Carolina Cuisine.
After several years of working in top kitchens, Chef Jesse opened his own, ultimately deciding in June 2006 to focus on his own catering business, Chef Jesse Concepts, which has grown to include many high profile clients. He has won many cooking competitions including in 2010 the coveted title Ultimate Chef of Bergen County.
Chef Jesse lives in Irvington, NJ with his wife, 2 boys and Zeus, his Italian Mastif. You can find more information about Chef Jesse at http://chefjessejones.wordpress.com/; contact Chef Jesse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sept. 22 Terri Suess, "The Right to Privacy — Whose Right and When?"
We will hold an open forum on the topic of government accountability with regard to transparency and adherence to international law. We invite discussion on what makes a whistle blower? Are there ethical boundaries for whistle blowers? Terri Suess, former President of ESEC, will discuss the special instance of the military case against Bradley Manning. Martha Gallahue will preside.
Bradley Manning Trial – A Charade:
Under the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles, a soldier's responsibility is to do exactly what Bradley Manning did — expose any and all war crimes.
Nuremberg Principle VII states, "Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law."
Watch the video online of “Collateral Murder”— the army’s own videotape of soldiers shooting unarmed reporters, civilians — and laughing about it … Then tell me if Bradley Manning — who released this information to the public — is the war criminal.
Bradley Manning was held for three years without being charged, and 10 months in Solitrary Confinement. That alone should secure his freedom, and he should sue the United States for violation of basic protections to be accorded any prisoner.
This whole charade of a military trial should be an embarrassment to any American who believes in our constitution, our role in the global community, and as signatory to international treaties.
The conviction of Bradley Manning for releasing information about War Crimes and abysmal war planning and engagement — not to the enemy, but to the American Public! — is a travesty of the highest order. He has provided the truth; precisely the information needed in a democracy to direct policy.
Sept. 29 Liberato "Levi" C. Bautista, "World Peace in a Conflicted World"
Levi Bautista, the Assistant General Secretary for United Nations Ministry of the General Board of Church and Society, will explore his proposal that another globalization is possible — where there is “food and freedom, jobs and justice, land and liberation.”
The GBCS is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. It has headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the UN in New York City. In addition to UN Ministry, the General Board is defined by four other areas of ministry: Public Witness and Advocacy, Administration, Ministry of Resourcing Congregational Life, and Communications.
Levi graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in history and political science. He is now a doctoral candidate in Christian social and political ethics at Drew University. He represents the board as a non-governmental organization (NGO) as the Main Representative to the United Nations at the UN headquarters in New York, Geneva, and Vienna.
Levi comes from the Philippines where he served for 10 years as the human rights coordinator for the National Council of Churches in the Philippines during a period he characterizes as “the brutal Marcos dictatorship and the coup-ridden Aquino regime.” He is known in ecumenical and civil society circles in Asia and elsewhere around the world in the field of international affairs, human rights and social and political ethics. Those areas are also the focus of his academic pursuits, and he has written essays and edited books and journals on them.
"Levi" has been a good friend to the National Ethical Service and to the American Ethical Union. He attended the national AEU Assembly in l998, and several programs at the UN planned by the NES.
Sunday, Oct 6. Colloquy: Syria, and the question of international responsibility
With the U.S. role as international enforcer under debate, we will delve into members’ views on the question of intervention, peace vs. enforcement of shared norms, and autonomy vs. coalition-building. Post Iraq and Afghanistan, is this a turning point in American attitudes to war, and the value — or price — of military might?
Martha is working toward certification in PeaceLearning/Peacebuilding with National Peace Academy. She is a founding member of a civil society group at the UN, United for a Culture of Peace. Martha is Leader with National Ethical Service at the UN and Ethical Culture Society of Essex Culture. She is active on The National Leaders Council of The American Ethical Union and served on the Assembly Planning Team in 2012. She is a member of the Social Justice Caucus of the Leaders Council and member of the National Ethical Action Committee for the AEU.
Martha is an interactive psychoanalyst in private practice in NYC and in active conversation with three grown children all in public service. Her lead edu-learners (mutual educators) are her two grandchildren Teagan and Neve, seven and four years old.
Sunday, Oct. 13 Martha Gallahue: War and Peace … What is Possible in Today’s World?
“The seed of peace exists in all of us. It must be nurtured, cared for and promoted by us all to flourish. Peace cannot be imposed from outside; it must be realized from within” — Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury
October 24th will mark the 68th birthday of the United Nations. Martha will discuss its achievements and its failures from the perspective of its stated mission to achieve world peace. She will further explore why Ethical Culture as a movement stands behind the UN despite its failures. She will focus upon the struggle for human rights as expressed in the Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration and Programme of Action on the Culture of Peace, the two resolutions most hotly debated in the General Assembly in the history of the United Nations.
Martha Gallahue, ESEC Leader, also serves as Leader and Main Representative for National Ethical Service, an affiliate organization of the AEU. National Ethical Service is founding member of Global Movement for the Culture of Peace at the UN, a coalition of 16 other organizations dedicated to provoking governments to implement the goals of the UN Charter for Peace. On September 6, GMCOP brought together over 600 civil society members from 40 different countries to a day-long High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace convened by the 67th President of the General Assembly.
Sunday, Oct. 20 Zia Durrani and Betty Levin: War and Peace
Based on a review of the book, The End of War by John Horgan, Zia and Betty will discuss the ongoing violence plaguing our world and the attitudes required for future peace. These concepts, emanating from the book under review, will also reflect the idea of the two presenters. They will attempt a realistic evaluation of these conflicts, at the same time identifying areas of hope in which we can humanistically direct our efforts and commitments.
E. Betty Levin has been a member of the Ethical Culture Movement almost all her adult life and a member of the Essex Society for over 50 years. During this period, she has served as president, on the Board of Trustees and as a Sunday School teacher. Betty still works as a private practice psychotherapist, for the past 37 years.
She has been founder and past president of the N.J. Association of Women Therapists where she has been honored for her “wisdom and contributions to the creativity and development of the Association.” She has also had 3 invited articles published in professional journals. Currently, as she has been for years, Betty is active in the Peace Movement.
Zia Durrani, a former ECS Board Member, was born and raised in Kashmir, India, where she lived until 1963. Educated in India and England, she was a teacher of English in a women’s college in Srinagar, her home town, until she married and left Kashmir to live briefly in Madras, and then moved to London. Zia came to the US in 1976, and lived in various places before coming to South Orange. When she lived on Long Island, Zia was involved with the local theater group. She has taught ESL in New York, Oregon and New Jersey. Zia has three children. Her two girls live in New Jersey, and her son lives in Kansas. At present Zia is a member of the Adult School Board of Trustees and is also involved with their ESL program.
Sunday, Oct. 27 Barbara Lipton: Masks — Art and Ceremony
Barbara Lipton says, “In this country, we tend to think of masks in a somewhat limited way, especially in this season of Halloween — like masks of ghosts, Batman, Elvis or Mickey Mouse. But masks fill many functions and roles, perhaps more than we realize, and have been ubiquitous around the world for thousands of years. I will show images of masks from several different cultures, but will concentrate on masks of the Alaskan Eskimos, which I think are perhaps the most varied and imaginative ever made. I will also bring some masks with me for you to look at and handle (carefully).”
ECS Friend Barbara Lipton previously worked at the Newark Museum as Library Director and Special Projects Director: curator of Whaling Days in NJ, SURVIVAL: Life and Art of the Alaskan Eskimo; Director and Curator, Tibetan Museum, Staten Is., NY; Adjunct Professor of Art History The New School, SUNY Purchase, Drew University, Montclair University. Currently Chair, Exhibitions Committee, Atlantic Highlands Arts Council; Speakers Bureau, the Newark Museum. She has exhibited her photographs and has spoken at ECS a number of times, most recently with Zia Durrani, on the handcrafts they saw on a trip to Gujurat, India.
Nov. 3 Bill Graves, “Protecting Whistle Blowers in NJ”
Bill Graves will talk about the Conscientious Employee Protection Act of New Jersey (CEPA) & the various court cases dealing with its application. There is other New Jersey law based upon the N.J. Constitution & Supreme Court case law dealing with it. He will give a broad non-technical outline of the CEPA and will talk generally about how it works and what a whistle blower should do to be protected by it. I will also relate Mr. Boswell’s experiences & his feeling that it is a last resort.
Bill Graves was admitted to the N.J. Bar in 1966 and was an Assistant Deputy Public Defender in the N.J. Public Defender Office for about 17 years. During that time, he was part of a team of experienced attorneys assigned to represent defendants charged with capital murder and tried four death penalty cases. Bill later joined the N.J. Attorney General’s Office. As a Deputy Attorney General, he represented the N.J. Bureau of Securities. The Bureau’s assignment was to protect NEW Jersey residents from penny stock fraud & other predatory practices. Bill was also the City Attorney & Law Director for the City of Hoboken for several years.
Nov. 10 Rob Agree, “How my mother’s childhood in Nazi Germany taught me moral authority”
Rob Agree will speak about his mother’s youth (birth to age 19) as a Jew in Nazi Germany. She was among the very last German Jews to legally emigrate — after the War started in 1939. It is also a lesson about moral authority, and how Rob learned it from her.
Rob says: “How I learned moral authority from my mother is a long story (come hear it on November 10th), but it’s enough to say that it was her behavior in my lifetime, combined with my understanding of her early experiences with the rise of Nazism that provided the lessons. She was born in 1920 in a small farming town in central Germany. She lived there, under growing persecution, as Hitler rose to power. Her family was chased out in 1936 (the town was officially Judenrein) and they moved to Frankfurt where they lived through Kristalnacht, finally emigrating after the start of the war in September 1939. They were literally among the very last German Jews to legally do so. My mother and her brother recorded several hours of their memories in the 1980s, and my talk is based on these recordings.”
Rob Agree is Ceremonial Leader of the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Morris County, a former public school teacher and administrator, a three-year resident of Maplewood and a member of Essex Ethical. He is married to Melissa, and they have three grown sons.
Nov. 17 Martha Gallahue, “Aging and Spiritual Practice: what is the Connection?”
Martha will draw upon her personal friendships with older friends who continue to engage in larger social issues at the same time they maintain a spiritual practice. Not all her friends identify as religious or share the same ethnicity or culture. She will identify what they seem to share and how it influences their preparations for dying.
Martha Gallahue, ESEC Leader, also serves as Leader and Main Representative for National Ethical Service, an affiliate organization of the AEU. National Ethical Service is founding member of Global Movement for the Culture of Peace at the UN, a coalition of 16 other organizations dedicated to provoking governments to implement the goals of the UN Charter for Peace. On September 6, GMCOP brought together over 600 civil society members from 40 different countries to a day-long High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace convened by the 67th President of the General Assembly
Nov. 24 Hilding Gus Lindquist, “The Transformative Power of Art: Freeing the Art Spirit in each of us”
The essential existential characteristic of a human being is our mind, the brain-body continuum of acquired memory capable of applying that memory in new ways. And that, my friends, is art.
Self-directed mental and physical activity is our reason for existence, sublimely said in French, our raison d’être.
The joy brought by awakening a passion for whatever it is that engages us from within is our reward, and the motivation for pursuing our passion.
The “gift of the art spirit” is the freedom to self-direct our mental and physical activity in the creation of whatever motivates us. It pulls us into learning how to do it better. It awakens the passion that has created the world we know as ours and will create the new worlds to come.
It is why “freedom” is the fundamental principle of human society, and working out how to maximize our own freedom while minimizing its impact on the freedom of others is the fundamental purpose of our “political arrangements.”
A longtime friend of ECS, Hilding “Gus” Lindquist lives in Maplewood. Gus worked as a research data administrator and, for over twenty years, worked developing administrative computer programs. He draws on life experiences from developing administrative systems for a diverse set of organizations. He has also devoted many years to social activism. Since retiring a few years back, he has turned to creating cultural programs dealing with art, music, drama, and poetry.Dec. 1 Martha Gallahue, “On Starting a Peace Center at Ethical Society of Essex County”
December 1 Martha Gallahue: A Colloquy on the Future of a Peace Center at Ethical Culture.
While it will be interactive, she will offer some linkage between basic premises of ethical culture and modern peace centers that are proliferating throughout the world. She will focus on Adler's conviction of humanity's comprehensive interrelatedness, the attribution of worth of each person and the practice of shared leadership within our community. She will share some stories as to how other peace centers began. Martha invites all members, friends and others interested in developing this initiative to contribute their own good ideas on the subject.
Martha is ESEC leader in Maplewood, and serves as edu-learner faculty with National Peace Academy USA. As leader and main representative of National Ethical Service at the UN, she is in shared leadership with a coalition of non-governmental organizations called the Global Movement for Culture of Peace. She will illustrate the progress of Peace Centers with stories about her colleagues in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Gainesville, Florida and Portland, Oregon.
Dec. 8 Widney Brown, “How the Criminal Justice System Undermines Effective Civil Disobedience Today”
Widney Brown will speak on the undermining of effective civil disobedience through the current criminal justice system. Not only is it in conflict with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but it breeds a culture of punishment and suppression rather than the open discourse necessary for the progress of healthy legal framework in an increasing complex world. Widney will share stories as examples of this premise including the recent cases between Greenpeace and Russia, Ed Snowden and Bradley Manning in the United States.
Widney Brown is senior director of international law and policy, leading development of human rights policies and analysis for Amnesty International. She is responsible for Amnesty International's strategic litigation program and negotiations on international standards. Widney is responsible for advocacy in the UN and regional human rights bodies. She is also responsible for overseeing Amnesty International's work on global thematic issues which includes the business and human rights, refugee and migrant rights and abolition of the death penalty. Widney oversees the organization's work on all forms of discrimination. She is a key spokesperson on women’s rights.
Widney has extensive experience documenting human rights violations across the world and has contributed written work to numerous publications. Prior to joining Amnesty International, Widney worked for nine years at Human Rights Watch. She was a lecturer at the Yale University School of Epidemiology and Public Health where she taught a course in Health and Human Rights. She is a graduate of the New York University School of Law where she was a Root Tilden Scholar.
Dec. 22 Huda Shanawani, "The Drew Institute on Religion & Conflict Resolution”
Syrian-born Huda Shanawani served as a translator for the Drew University's peace seminar last summer. She will describe what transpired there and what is happening in her homeland. The Arab Spring had brought hope and dreams for a democratic freedom to this artist / teacher, yet the events that are taking place in Syria bring back the memories and fear that she grew up with. She said, "Living in the US leaves me physically distant yet mentally and emotionally connected to the Syrian people every moment they are fighting for their rights to live a free, democratic life."
Born and raised in Damascus, Syria, Huda Shanawani came to live in the United States when she was 16, with her new husband. She finished her college education while raising four children and learning everything she could from what the free culture of America offered.
She has been translating for the official courts of New Jersey for the past 32 years, which led her to be the lead translator for Drew's peace seminar this past June and July in Madison, New Jersey.
Teaching Arabic privately for many years led Huda to her starting the Arabic program at Union County College after receiving her Masters degree. She has been teaching Arabic at the college for the last four years.
While pursuing her undergraduate degree at Montclair University, she took a jewelry-making course and was immediately captivated by the act of creating art objects by hand. That experience led her to study painting, fiber art and, ultimately, ceramics, obtaining her Masters Degree in ceramics, at Montclair.
Huda frequently returns to Damascus to visit family. The culture, customs and visual images of her native land inform her work with references of the vivid landscapes and vibrant cities she grew up with.
December 29-- Colloquy: Reflecting on the Past Year and Looking Forward to the New Year
Jan. 5 Phyllis Bernstein, “Israeli Bedouin — The Changing Landscape”
As a member of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, Phyllis Bernstein has met representatives of Bedouin communities living in Israel’s Negev region. She has learned firsthand about the dilemmas facing this population, many of whom are still nomadic and many of whom live in settlements the Israeli government doesn’t recognize and therefore won’t provide with basic amenities. Some financial support is given, and there are attempts underway to improve the living conditions of the Bedouin communities, but in so many ways there are great gaps and conflicts between the treatment of them as compared to the Jewish Israelis.
Phyllis was a CPA/Personal Financial Specialist for many years and now makes art from her heart. She paints in oil, acrylic and mixed media, and makes jewelry. She serves on the board of the NJ Jewish News and the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest NJ, where she serves as co-chair of the Arab Citizens of Israel Study Group. Phyllis actively serves on the Inter-agency Task Force for Israeli Arab Issues and the Jewish Federation of North America’s Social Venture Fund for Jewish Arab Equality and Shared Society
Jan. 12 Martha Gallahue, “Kosmos and Ethics”
The term kosmos has several definitions some of which appear to be contradictory. Martha will use the term to explore how humanists might best be able to reconcile those differences. Focusing on how in periods of historical change, theological expressions can become less and less meaningful, she will discuss the impact such loss of meaning can produce and how that works in American culture. Finally, she will argue for an alternative to the argument of a patternless universe without cause or purpose.
Martha Gallahue, Clergy Leader of Ethical Society of Essex County, was a former Dominican Sister and graduate student of Thomistic theology when she left her Order. She has a Master’s Degree in comparative religion from Columbia University and has continued a life long inquiry into the meaning of religion. She pursues this inquiry through private study and public inter-cooperation with a broad sweep of faith traditions such as United Religions Initiative and Order of the Mystic Heart.
Jan. 19 William Gaines, “African American Leadership: Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois”
William E. Gaines has a long-standing interest in African-American leadership, both historical and for the future. His talk on W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington will include: background of the two leaders (early life, education and race relations); Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech and W.E.B. DuBois’s reaction to the speech; Technical Education vs. Higher Education; obstacles in achieving civil rights; lynching; Southern Democrats; and the impact of the two leaders on race relations in the 20th and 21st century.
Mr. Gaines did his undergraduate work at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and later earned Masters degrees in History and in Education Administration. He has taught at Union County College and Essex County College as well as for 26 years at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, where he teaches World History and African History. In 1989, as a German Marshall Fund Exchange Recipient, he traveled to Germany where he lectured on W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington. A resident of Maplewood-South Orange communities for 30 years, he was a South Orange Villager of the Month in 1996. In 2002, he was honored with a NAACP Community Award and was profiled in the “Neat Things Done By Teachers” column in the New Jersey Education Association Review. He was chair of the Discipline Review Committee at Columbia High School that wrote the report resulting in a successful alterative high school program in South Orange-Maplewood, and he is the Coordinator for the Columbia High School African-American History Challenge Bowl team that has won 4 of 5 competitions at the state level.
Jan. 26 Iokepa Hanalei ‘¯Imaikalani and Inette Miller ‘¯Imaikalani, “The Return Voyage — Rediscovering the Ancient Wisdom of Hawaii”
Inette and Iokepa are on a mission to bring the teaching of the indigenous people of Hawaii to the world, and to revive respect for other age-old cultures of peace.
“For 12,300 years, the indigenous people of our Islands embraced a culture that refused the possibility of war. Return Voyage awakens that ancient wisdom — ritual and practices that dissipate anger, prevent violence, foster harmony — and shares its profound implications for the 21st century.
Our ancestors were intrepid voyagers building remarkably sophisticated canoes and travelling throughout the Pacific and to coastal America for thousands of years. On every voyage,then and now, there came a turning point: that moment was Huliau — The Return Voyage. These spiritual gatherings are the celebration of that moment — the dawn of our native claim, our aboriginal voice. These gatherings are our map for the Return Voyage to:
• Knowledge of what our ancestors represented (our unadulterated history).
• Confidence in who we genuinely are.
• Personal freedom from the tyranny of others’ explanation of us.
Together we will light the fire of authentic cultural identity and unity. The time is now.
We carry in our DNA all that our ancestors lived. We underestimate our own importance. We see how huge the universe is, and we fail to appreciate the part we play. But when we strike the match…”
In 1997, at the age of 46, Iokepa Imaikalani gave up his successful life as a contractor in Washington State, left his family, friends and hobbies and went to live in his native Hawaii, to study, and to work for the revival of Hawaiian culture, inspired by the words of his deceased grandmothers: “My Grandmothers said: ‘In every culture on Earth, God gave keys to survival. Hawaiians will return to theirs. It is about reminding every soul what they were given at the beginning of time.’” He returned home to Hawaii with one small duffel, $100 in his pocket, “and the light of my Grandmothers’ love inside me.”
Iokepa met his wife, Inette Miller, ten years later. Inette had been a high-powered international journalist and author and was a single mother of teenage sons living in Portland, when on vacation in Hawaii she met Iokepa — and changed her entire life.
She writes: “When I left Portland, I left a trail of friends and family who feared I’d stepped off the deep edge of Middle Earth. I spent the next year fulfilling their worst fears. I went on vacation for a week and I stayed for a lifetime.” She wrote the story of her overwhelming immersion into the authentic kanaka maoli culture in the book: Grandmothers Whisper: Ancient Wisdom — Timeless Wisdom — A Modern Love Story. The book won Book of the Year, Visionary Award 2011. Her new book, The Return Voyage: 95,000 Miles on the Paths of Our Ancestors, continues the journey where the early book left off. You can learn more about them at www.ReturnVoyage.com.
Feb. 2 Audrey Kindred, "What It Takes to Start an Ethics for Children Program in an Ethical Culture Society"
Audrey Kindred, long-time participant in Ethical Culture, has been embedded in ethical culture's religious education for children on both national and societal levels for over 15 years. Former director of religious education at Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, she now leads the Ethics for Children team at New York Society for Ethical Culture. She is a "teaching artist" in the New York City system. Her approach is holistic and integral with children's emotional development. She has organized events with children in the ommunity such as the neighborhood March for children on International Peace Day in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY; Happy Bones Festival; and The Nurture Festival, to name a few.
Audrey Kindred explores and teaches PEACE: Practices in Ethics, Arts, Creativity, Energy. Her own studies in Non-Violent Communication and Yoga have grounded her creative teaching practices in a deep sense of wellbeing and nurture. Studies of dance and early childhood studies at Bennington College laid primary ground work, leading to many years of choreography, performance, community organizing and program development, through Movement Research. Now, a long-time Bent on Learning teacher, she has taught yoga to children of diverse ages and needs.
Through her own "Peaceful Yoga" programming she has also taught adults in many venues. Through working deeply with the kinship between yoga, ethics and creativity, she has been creating a curriculum titled "The Ethical Body." Kindred's blogs can be linked to from: akindred.blogspot.com. She can be reached at: email@example.com.
Feb. 9 Lisel Burns, "'Bystanding' vs. Acting as Principled Partners, to Help Those in Need"
See vimeo at http://vimeo.com/30546451 !
Lisel Burns is Clergy Leader Emeritus of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture (www.bsec.org). She links Leadership and Legacy Projects of the National Congress of Neighborhood Women USA to the global efforts of Groots International (www.groots.org) and other networks in Huairou Commission grassroots campaigns (www.huairou.org).
She has been part of the Brooklyn Society's longtime work in Haiti, and she will speak on partnership as ethical action. Using decades of working with community development and grassroots community leaders — local to global — and three years of post-quake collaborations in Leogane, Haiti, four times annually with former BSEC partner Brooklyn/Haiti NegesFoundation.org, Leader Emerita of the Brooklyn Ethical Society Lisel Burns will speak on partnership as ethical action. When/How do people resist the temptation to rationalize the role of "bystander" and act as principled partners with people targeted by disaster or social ills of human making. Participants are encouraged to reflect upon their own efforts to be reliable partners and the forces internal and external which can make this role a challenging ethical situation.
See her wonderful website at http://www.communitybegood.com/.
Feb. 16 Ian Grodman, "Current Goals for Immigration Reform in Washington"
Immigration reform has been on the agenda of many in Washington for years. While the U.S. Senate passed some reform measures some time ago, there have been roadblocks in the House of Representatives. Speaker Boehner has said it is time for the Congress to move forward with reform and so there is hope that reforms will take place this year. This will have tremendous implications for those who have been in the United States without status (many people would call these individuals "illegal," a term which I despise), but would also create significant opportunities for those who are highly educated and skilled, to live and work in the United States.
Ian Grodman has been an attorney for over twenty years, initially representing insurance companies and risk managers in litigation, currently assisting clients with the challenges of immigration law. Ian specializes in the legal issues faced by foreign nationals wishing to participate in work, business or academics within the United States. He has represented foreign investors as well as professionals seeking appropriate visas to allow them to work in the United States. He is very familiar with the roadblocks normally encountered within each of these categories, as well as with the issues faced by undocumented workers.
Feb. 23 Martha Gallahue, "The Power of Collective Ceremony"
Martha Gallahue will share her experience upon her return from the Dharmasuya Mahayaga in Palakkad, India, (February 3–18). The objective of this ritual of many days is to "stabilize the mind of human beings," to bring peace on the individual and social levels, and to make a universal level of consciousness available to everybody. It will be attended by spiritual leaders from East and West.
Mar. 2 Sid Frank, “What you might not have know about our Presidents”
Sid Frank, author of “The Presidents: Tidbits & Trivia,” will chat about the fascinating and little-known tales of our nation’s leaders. Learn the interesting facts NOT found in our history books, and discover insights that help make sense of the men this nation has chosen to lead it through peace and war.
Springfield resident Sid Frank, in addition to being a docent and educator at Liberty Hall Museum in Union, is an author, playwright and lyricist. He has written 33 one-act plays, including “Life & Tragic Death of Union County’s Fighting Parson, James Caldwell, and The Trial of his Killer,” which is performed at the museum. Sid has written several musical reviews, including one about New Jersey called “Jerz” that traveled throughout the state. He wrote the lyrics for the Gold Record “Please, Mr. Sun,” that was featured in the movie “The Last Picture Show.” Sid has also written songs that were recorded by Frank Sinatra, Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan. His speech, “The Presidents, Tidbits and Trivia,” is excerpted from his book by the same name. He lives in Springfield with his wife, artist Helen Frank (who is temporarily using studio space on the second floor of ECS). His daughter, Holly Scalera, a poet and organic gardener, has spoken at Ethical about the environment and about poetry.
Mar. 9 Michael Lally, “Our roots — a source of strength or conflict?”
Poet/actor/author Michael Lally writes Lally’s Alley, a much-visited blog (See http://lallysalley.blogspot.com/) in addition to working on several books. He will discuss with the audience the benefits and drawbacks of identifying with one’s roots and/or those of other groups — and, as he has in his past appearances at Ethical, read some of his poems.
Born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1942, youngest of seven in an Irish-American family of cops, priests and politicians, Lally started out playing piano and reading his poetry in coffeehouses and bars in 1959. In 1962 he joined the Air Force. After more than four years as an enlisted man, he later used the G.I. Bill to attend the University of Iowa Writers Workshop.
Lally’s ﬁrst book was published in 1970. There have been twenty-six more since, including “The South Orange Sonnets,” which garnered him the 92nd St. Y Poetry Center’s 1972 “Discovery Award,” and “It’s Not Nostalgia,” a 2000 American Book Award winner. Other awards include two National Endowment for the Arts in 1974 and ’81, the latter causing two Republican Representatives to denounce the NEA on the floor of Congress for promoting “pornography.”
In 1982, to ﬁnd work, Lally moved to L.A. where, as Michael David Lally, he acted in movies and on TV and wrote and “doctored” screenplays for a living. He returned to New Jersey in 1999, retired from acting and screenwriting in 2009, but has continued writing, reading and publishing his poetry.
Mar. 16 Martha Gallahue, “The American Ethical Union and What it Means to Us”
With the upcoming Assembly, Summer School, and recent appointment of National Director of Ethical Education, Dale McGowan, Martha will review the history, development and purpose of The American Ethical Union, the name of the Federation within which all ethical culture members belong.
She will highlight what a Federation is and why it came into being. She will use both her experience and Howard Radest’s excellent book “Toward Common Ground.”
Martha, Leader of ESEC, has served on the national AEU Board and chaired the Board Development Committee during her tenure. She has visited 15 Societies throughout the country and noticed some of the gaps along with the benefits of member awareness about the AEU’s importance to the growth and inspiration of the ethical culture movement.
Mar. 23 Russell Pinzino, “The less discussed problems that the LGBT community faces”
The recent legalization of same-sex marriage in New Jersey was a big success for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community in the state. Gay marriage has been one of the most discussed social justice issues in the 21st century, and has almost become the poster image for the gay rights movement. This talk will go over some of the less discussed problems that members of the LGBT community face, in the SOMA community, New Jersey and around the world, such as bullying, suicide, discriminatory laws and more.
Russell Pinzino, who lives in Maplewood, is a gay student at Columbia High School and is Co-President of Spectrum, the school’s gay-straight alliance. He is passionate about issues in the LGBT community, but is also very interested in the arts. At CHS, he is a member of the A Cappella group, co-leader of the Improv Club, a member of the Excelsior Choir and a member of the Wind Ensemble. He also participated in the North Jersey Regional Chorus and the New Jersey All-State Chorus.
Mar. 30 Deborah Prinz, “Religion beyond stained glass windows — An insider’s view of Rabbi Joachim Prinz”
Deborah Prinz, the daughter of the legendary Rabbi Joachim Prinz, will talk about her father — as a family man, religious leader and outspoken political commentator, and the new documentary about him, “Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent,” made by Maplewood filmmakers Rachel Fisher and Rachel Pasternak, which opens at the JCC in West Orange in early April. See:
Deborah Prinz, the youngest of the rabbi’s five children, is the executive director of the Achieve Foundation of South Orange and Maplewood, and before that was a psychotherapist for 25 years. She lives in South Orange and is the mother of three grown children.
April 6 Heath Brown, “Immigrants, Democracy and Elections”
Over the 20th century, immigrants arrived in the US in large numbers, but faced large formal and informal barriers to full integration. This has been particularly the case for political integration: immigrants — even today — vote at much lower levels than other citizen groups. The talk places the recent struggles for immigrants to gain political representation into a century-long struggle for rights and recognition. Drawing on historic and quantitative research, the talk argues that civic and advocacy groups that represent immigrants have a major role to play during elections, but they too face new barriers in the form of voter suppression policies.
Dr. Heath Brown is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Seton Hall University where he studies American politics, public administration, and interest group politics. Brown’s first book, Lobbying the New President: Interests in Transition, a study of how interest groups influence an incoming Presidential administration, was published in May, 2012 by Routledge. His current agenda focuses on the intersection of immigration, advocacy, and the Presidency, and a new social media project called New Books in Political Science, www.newbooksinpoliticalscience.com, and ways to integrate research into the undergraduate political science curriculum.
Apr 13 Collin Minert, “Conscientious Objection: Acting on Beliefs and Values … in the Vietnam Era”
Just why and how does a quiet, fairly traditional, not particularly high achieving, non-trouble-causing, rule- and behavior-conforming fellow decide to step outside the box and to take an action which is way outside his comfort zone. Collin will share his journey into the world of self discovery and examination of his beliefs – all resulting from his decision to seek legal status as a conscientious objector. Frankly, I had more questions than answers. On what basis could I, as one without a traditional religious background, expect his views to be validated? Did my beliefs flow from God or some other ultimate truth? Exactly how did my experiences shape what I came to believe? Was it ever justifiable to take another life? What about in self-defense? What about serving in a “good” war — like World War II? Bottom line, was this quest a self-serving whim, was it simply a way to avoid a particular war, or was it something deeply rooted in a personal code or belief? What were the pros and cons of commencing this process and of staying the course? If denied, was I willing to face the consequences of the course of action likely to follow – leaving the country or going to prison?
Montclair resident Collin Minert, who grew up in Milwaukee, WI, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, majoring in political science and landscape architecture. Subsequently, he received a masters degree in city and regional planning from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. During one college summer he worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in its Freedom Summer Project in Arkansas. In 1968, he began his alternative to military service as a caseworker for the NYC Department of Social Services. Subsequently, he worked for government in city planning, and eventually spent over twenty five years as a consultant helping for not-for-profit organizations generate charitable financial resources.
April 20 Martha Gallahue
Peacemaking challenges every fundamental idea that we hold. Why should we talk to the enemy? What happens if people are nasty and brutish and we want to retaliate? How do we find the capacity not to hit back, trapping ourselves in endless cycles of violence. Gabrielle Rifkind and Gianni Picco reveal how the negotiator can succeed where institutions will often fail and how getting into the mind of the enemy can be far more persuasive than the most fearsome weapons.
Giandomenico Picco led the task force which secured the end of war between Iran and Iraq in August 1988. From 1988 to 1992, he conducted the operation which led to the release of 11 western hostages from Lebanon. Gabrielle Rifkind is a group analyst, psychotherapist and specialist in conflict resolution, concerned with developing links between the psychological and the political worlds as a means of resolving conflict.
Martha will offer remarks based upon the new book, The Fog of Peace, written by Giandomenico Picco and Gabrielle Rifkind (published 2014, IBTauris, UK). She will draw parallels between the social structures of family, organizations and nations.
April 27 Sylvia Kramer, “The Power, Purpose, and Pleasure of Poetry”
Poetry carves a direct path from mind to heart to form. Sylvia will read original poems on a variety of themes and share her experiences as a teacher and lecturer with groups from age 3 to l03.
A published author, poet and lecturer, Sylvia is also a poetry therapist. For over 40 years she has conducted workshops and given lectures at colleges, high schools, nursery schools, nursing homes, retirement and rehab centers throughout the State and has been frequent guest lecturer for the Poetry Therapy Association in New York City.
The “Story of Ruth,” the true account of a Holocaust victim, is not only in her book, Velvet & Stone, but is also included in When Biology Was Destiny. She led poetry workshops at Daughters of Israel Geriatric Center for l5 years and wrote The First 75 Years, a history of the nursing home. She presently tutors private clients.
May 4: Solidarity Singers Annual May Day Concert
Join the Solidarity Singers in an American Labor Celebration. In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.” On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history.
The Solidarity Singers of the New Jersey State Industrial Union Council are “a street chorus, not a concert choir. Our preferred venue is a picket line. We try to lift the spirits of people engaged in struggle and help them to carry on. Only a few of us know how to read music, but we all know which side we’re on.”
Over the past seventeen years, the Solidarity Singers have appeared hundreds of times on picket lines, at rallies for labor and other progressive causes, and in occasional concert settings. Its director, Bennet D. Zurofsky, can be reached at (973) 642-0885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information, call (973) 763-1905 or e-mail email@example.com
May 11, Mother’s Day: Martha Gallahue, “Mothering Ethical Culture in its Maturity”
“According to a Chinese proverb, ‘women hold up half the sky.’ Unfortunately, this fact is not reflected in the experience of many women. As volunteers for Ethical Culture’s voice at the United Nations, National Ethical Service, we offer you insight into the status of women worldwide.”
“Over the years some women have made much progress. However, for many women inequalities still persist regarding access to education, health care, and political and economic opportunities. A number of current evaluations demonstrate the situation. Nearly 70% of the 1.2 billion people living in poverty are women. Nearly 70% of the world’s illiterates are women. Women contribute about two-thirds of the hours worked, but earn only one-tenth of the world’s income. Women own only 1% of the world’s property. Women are paid an average of 30% less than men for comparable work.”
—[from Sylvain Ehrenfeld, IHEU Representative at the UN, Bergen Society Member]
Martha Gallahue will offer her perspective on the impact of women's leadership in the ethical culture movement over the last 25 years. She will highlight their contributions through the lens of their traditional roles in society as well as their emergent roles in politics and the world.
Martha's Platforms represent an integration of her dual professions of psychoanalyst and ethical culture leader at the United Nations. And as a grandmother, she will discuss how that role differs from the caretaking mandate of mother.
May 18: Annual General Meeting
May 25: Ed Bokert, “Stories of a Psychical Researcher”
Psychologist Ed Bokert worked part time for four years at the American Society for Psychical Research. He will share with the group several of his unusual experiences there. An expert in dream therapy, he plans to lead a discussion on those experiences — waking and otherwise — that we’ve all had that defy our usual rational analyses. As has been said, “The pointing finger points — but at what?” Some welcome evidence that for all our knowledge and sophistication, there is much we still don’t understand about ourselves and our world. Some dismiss all such talk as wishful thinking or delusion. What has your experience led you to believe?
Ed graduated in l958 from New York University with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. His was an award-winning thesis on the subject of influencing dreams. He worked briefly at NYU in their sleep lab and then at the American Society of Psychical Research. Following that position, Ed worked at the Family Service and Child Guidance Center in Orange for the next 35 years, having held the positions first of dream researcher, then director of their drug and alcohol program and later as psychotherapist. Upon his retirement, Ed has continued his private therapy practice but also focused his attention on writing poetry. His first book of poems, entitled “Healing Hullabaloo,” will be published this fall.
Ed and his wife Karen are members of the society, and live in Maplewood.
June 1 Colloquy on Human Trafficking, and what we and the international community can do about cases like the abductin of the Nigerian School Girls.
June 8 Dale McGowan, “Launching a Relevant Ethical Education Program in Maplewood”
Dale McGowan, author, former university educator and parent, and now National Director of Ethical Education for the American Ethical Union, will speak on the core elements of an effective, relevant and fun ethical education program. Having visited several societies throughout the movement, he can share his findings on what success looks like in this area.
In addition to his current work at the AEU, Dale McGowan is founding Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief, an organization that facilitates charitable giving and volunteering in the humanist and atheist community. He edited and co-authored Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers, the first comprehensive resources for nonreligious parents, as well as Voices of Unbelief (2012), Atheism For Dummies (2013), and the forthcoming In Faith and in Doubt: How Religious Believers and Nonbelievers Can Create Strong Marriages and Loving Families (2014). His fiction includes the satirical novels Calling Bernadette’s Bluff and its sequel, Good Thunder.
Dale teaches nonreligious parenting seminars across the United States and serves as executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist charitable foundation based in Atlanta. In 2008, Dale was named Harvard Humanist of the Year for his work in nonreligious parenting education.
Dale holds degrees in physical anthropology and music theory from UC Berkeley as well as a Ph.D. in music composition and theory from the University of Minnesota. He and his wife Becca, a second grade teacher, live near Atlanta with their three children.
June 15 Martha Gallahue Colloquy
Martha will facilitate a colloquy for our last official Platform. She hopes to cover the joys and sorrows of the season, welcome a new member, review the 99th American Ethical Union Assembly in May, and schedule a summer retreat. One thing on her mind is to reflect upon humanist spirituality and identify which practices are most helpful to our members. Martha seeks to discover whether anyone is interested in a small group practice at the Society. All members and friends are invited to participate.