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The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County


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Platform Programs 2005-2005

Platform Programs each Sunday at 11:00 AM
Ethical Culture Society of Essex County
516 Parker Ave., Maplewood, New Jersey
(Corner of Parker and Prospect-- Call 973-763-1905)



September 11 -- Boe Meyerson: 9/11/05 Are We Safer, Stronger, Smarter?
The 2005-2006 season begins with an address by our own leader, Boe Meyerson. Boe is not only the leader of our Essex Ethical Culture Society, but also the Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University in New York City.
September 18– Madelyn Hoffman: Holding the Unites States Accountable for its Actions in Afghanistan
     Executive Director of New Jersey Peace Action, was Director of the Grass Roots Environmental Organization from1983 to 1998. She is also Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Brookdale Community College and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Science at Berkeley College. In 1997 she was Green Party Candidate for Governor of New Jersey, and in 1996 Ralph Nader's Vice Presidential Running Mate in New Jersey.
September 25-- Paul Scully Regional Equity in New Jersey
Paul Scully is a community organizer and dynamic speaker who is presently the Director of the New Jersey Regional Coalition (http://www.njregionalequity.org/). This organization aims to develop and advance a meaningful regional reform agenda in the state of New Jersey that addresses fiscal and social disparities, racial and economic segregation, concentrated poverty, neighborhood decline and urban sprawl by doing grass roots organizing and political action to advance and defend that agenda through education, organizing and mobilization.
October 2 -- Boe Meyerson: Extremism on the American Right
This platform will address a dangerous coalition regarding certain extremist approaches in the areas of religion, environmental /economic policy, and world governance.
October 9-- Frida Berrigan: The Weaponization of Space
     Frida Berrigan is a Senior Research Associate with the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute. A graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, Frida worked with a Central America solidarity organization for two years before coming to the World Policy Institute. Maintaining an interest in U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America, she also focuses on nuclear weapons policy, weapons sales to areas of conflict particularly in SE Asia, and military training programs. Most recently she has published articles in the Providence Journal, the Nonviolent Activist and the Hartford Courant.
October 16--Win Thies: Freedom of Religion and the Right to Die.
     It is perhaps surprising that for a quarter century no court has dealt with, and no legal commentator made the claim that, for many persons how and when they decide to die is a part of their "free exercise" of religion, a right protected by the First Amendment. What does the First Amendment say as to physician-assisted suicide?
     Win Thies founded and for ten years was the presiident of the Hemlock Society of New Jersey, Inc., now End of Life Choices of NJ, Inc.
October 23 -- Terri Suess: Global Warming and Your CO2 Footprint
and what you can do to reduce it. Where does the energy that powers our homes, schools and businesses, as well as our modes of transportation, come from and what “hidden” costs are associated with it? An overview of electricity and oil production will be provided, then, learn how to calculate your own C02 footprint. People will leave realizing what role we each play, personally, in creating global warming, and understanding what we, each, can do to reduce the pollution that is rapidly warming our planet.
     Terri Suess holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs from Hunter College, City University of New York. She has earned her living as a daily newspaper reporter, community organizer, technical editor and as an adjunct English Professor of Writing at Essex County College, Montclair State University and at Empire State College Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies. Terri has attended conferences, researched and published articles about micropower/distributed energy and about installing solar rooftops, and she has chaired the NJ Peace Action Peace Energy Committee. She currently serves on the Board of New Jersey Peace Action and is the President of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County. She lives with her partner, Jeanne Fortin, in Newark, New Jersey.
October 30 -- Ahmondylla and Bahati Adrian Best interviewed by Joe Gluck
    Ahmondylla Best composes, sings, plays : the flute; several African percussion and woodwind instruments including hand drums (conga, djembe etc.); umuduli (berimbao); mbira; steel pan; balafon; hindewhu and didjiridu. Her specialty is the Shekere, a beaded gourd rattle, as played in Nigeria. She has taught workshops in: percussion and alternative vocal techniques; Shekere design and construction at: Williams College; The University of Pittsburgh; Bates College; the Artists Collective in Hartford Conn. and The New Jersey Performing Arts Center's Arts in Education Program.
    She is a jewelry designer/ manufacturer; visual artist and craftswoman. A graduate of SUNY's Fashion Institute of Technology, she earned her degree in Jewelry Design. Ahmondylla is the founder of the performance group AHMONDYLLA BEST & WOGBLEDOE and the presenting organization GLOBAL HERITAGE THEATER ARTS PROJECT. She is currently a teaching artist with the Wolf Trap Program sponsored by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
      She has performed in: Africa; Europe; South America and across the USA. A featured percussionist in: US poet laureate Rita Dove's The Darker Face of the Earth ; performed at NJ's Crossroads Theater and The Kennedy Center;The Warrior Ant by Lee Breur and Bob Telson; The Spirit Moves by Trazana Beverley; solo musician for Harriet's Return by Karen Jones Meadows; NoWhere Now Here by choreographer Beverley Prentice. Conceived and co-produced : Kinswoman and Wogbledoe performed at Dance Theater Workshop, which were collaborations with choreographer Sandra Burton and Tony award winning actress/director Trazana Beverley, with the support of Meet The Composer and Lila B. Wallace grants. She has performed with: jazz violinist John Blake; drummer Horacee Arnold; vocalist Rachelle Farrell and the a capella singing group Sepia.
      Composed for choreographers Sandra Burton and Chuck Davis' African American Dance Ensemble. A former member of Women of the Calabash for five years her composition helped them receive The Monarch Merit Award. Co-starred in an award winning video by Skip Blumberg for PBS's Alive from Off center. Co-founder of world renowned LadyGourd Sangoma
    Interviewer Joe Gluck recently retired from his long tenure as a member of the First Violin Section of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. He served as Concertmaster and member of many other area orchestras. He and his wife Mary Babiarz, as the Stirling Duo, give about sixty performances a year at various venues. They also run an ongoing amateur chamber music workshop. He is a coach with the NJ Youth Symphony and the Essex Youth Orchestra. Mr. Gluck teaches privately at his home in Maplewood, and he is a member of the Essex Ethical Culture Society.
November 6- Boe Meyerson Humanist Reverence
Boe will explore the topic from a profoundly humanist perspectice. Boe is the leader of our Essex Ethical Culture Society as well as the Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University in New York City.  She also represents the National Leadership Council on the Board of Directors of the American Ethical Union and serves on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Division of the United Nations Association.
November 13 - Al Levin: Tiger Woman
Award winning journalist and documentary film maker, Al Levin will present a talk titled "Tiger Woman" at the regular Sunday morning Platform of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County. All are welcome. The Society is located at 516 Prospect St. (at Parker) in Maplewood.

Quoting Levin: "I am originally a print journalist. I covered the New Jersey statehouse for the associated press (AP). Then I wrote for the New York Post when it was a liberal newspaper and when a big newspaper strike came along, I moved into WABC-TV News and from there into making TV documentaries.

"Most of my documentaries were on public television, and some have won major awards, like the Cable Ace Award in 1994 for "Gang War: Bangin' in Little Rock", a look at the Crips and the Bloods and how these gang kids were slaughtering each other. I also did a documentary 'Inside The Jury Room', now used in many law schools.
November 20 - Meredith Sue Willis and Alice Robinson-Gilman: How Race Is Lived in America. This book started as a series of articles in the NYTimes. You can read the book, or read the articles at http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/raceOne of the articles, "Growing Together, Growing Apart" is about locak Maplewood-South Orange students
November 27 - Thanksgiving week-end Member Discussion Circle
December 4-- Boe Meyerson Colloquy on "Acceptance." A different kind of Sunday morning platform with leader Boe Meyerson.
December 11-- Anne Stires Bioneers
Anne Stires is working to advance the mission of the Montclair Backyard Habitat Project, the Hilltop Conservancy, and her own backyard habitat, which is certified by the National Wildlife Federation. "Bioneer" is a workd that joins "bio" meaning life with "pioneer," meaning a person who prepares the way for others.
December 18-- Lousia Lubiak: Winter Solstice Celebration
Louisa Lubiak, an environmentalist and naturalist, draws her lessons from the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle lessons of Mother Nature. She celebrates the Celtic wheel of the year with the Earth-Based Spirituality Circle of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship. A long-time resident of South Orange and Maplewood, she is a graduate of Columbia High School and Kean University. She currently works for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in Trenton.
     For the natural world, the onset of winter is a signal to slow down, draw in, and rest from the fervent growth of the summer. In the human world, the shift into the darkest time of the year triggers an urge to festoon our houses and streets with the comforting glow of holiday lights. As the ancients implored the waning sun to return to their darkening world through the magic of bonfires and candles, we moderns seek to brighten the world and lighten our lives iwth the magic of incandescent bulbs. Join us as we honor the wisdom of nature in winter, taking the time to acknowledge our need for rest and recuperaton, and to celebrate the bright flame of the human spirit through music, mirth, and myth.
December 25 -- Leader Boe Meyerson Colloquy on the Theme of Gifts. Holiday Member discussion circle with
January 1-- Boe Meyerson Our Communal Future
  On this first day of the new year, we will have the opportunity to share our visions, hopes, wishes and aspiration for our community: family, congregational, civic, national, global. All particiaptin in voluntary and all are welcome.
   Boe Meyerson is the Leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County. She also serves as the Ethical Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University. Boe represents the National Leader’s Council on the Board of Directors of the American Ethical Union and serves on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Division of the United Nations Association.
January 8-- Maryellen Kluxen   After the Tsunami: Aceh, Indonesia — Then and Now     
     Maryellen Kluxen, volunteer with Project Hope, is a registered nurse and has been active in multicultural community organizing and progressive healthcare policy (for consumers and workers) for many years. This was her first volunteer assignment in disaster relief; she is currently a nurse at Rutgers University, Newark. After the tsunami hit Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004, thousands of international relief workers came to the area to give material aid. Ms. Kluxen will give a slide presentation that will cover part of a medical relief mission sponsored by Project Hope from late January to April 2005. Over two hundred American medical volunteers served aboard a US hospital ship in Aceh, Indonesia, the area worst hit by the wave, caring for the survivors and their families. It will cover the nature of the project, the Indonesian people that were served, the local response to the tsunami and the earthquake in March 2005, and a brief discussion of how the area is healing nearly one year later.
January 15-- Panel with Matthew Johnson and others -- Martin Luther King Day Observance: Race and Justice in Maplewood/South Orange.
      Matthew B. Johnson, PhD, is the co-chair of the South Orange/Maplewood Martin Luther King Holiday Committee and a resident of South Orange. He is a practicing clinical and forensic psychologist and also teaches in the department of psychology at John Jay College in New York City. He is one of the leaders of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress.
January 22 -- Jim White     Make the Global Local: Learning about the Millenium Development Goals
Jim White is Leader Emeritus of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County. By profession he is the principal attorney for Mental Hygiene Legal Services representing psychiatric patients in New York State and a community activist in Harlem and with the Coalition Against the Violence Initiative.
     All of our immediate social-political concerns in some way mirror conditions and traumas many of our sisters and brothers constantly cope with worldwide. And, in a shrinking world, issues of war and eco-catastrophe will impact more and more directly on us. Learning about the Millennium Development Goals can help us to connect the global to the local on a weekly basis for more effective and far-reaching activism.
January 29-- Joe Chuman The Realm of Politics and the Realm of Faith
     This talk focuses on the increasing theocraticization of American society by examining the proper domains of government and religion. To what extent should they be kept separate? To what extent can they be?
     Dr. Joseph Chuman has been the Leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, New Jersey, for the past 32 years, and before that he was leader of the Essex Ethical Culture Society. He is a visiting professor of religion and human rights at Columbia University where he teaches in the Masters of Liberal Studies Program at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He is the founding member of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, and has taught contemporary civilization at Columbia College, religion at Barnard College and Hunter College, as well as at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has written for secular Jewish publications and has been published in numerous periodicals and magazines of opinion. He is co-founder of the American Ethical Union’s online journal, Ethics Matters, and the online Ethical Culture Review of Books, and he is past president of the National Leaders Council of the American Ethical Union. Dr. Chuman also teaches at the United Nations University for Peace at San Jose, Costa Rica. 
      If you have Real Player, you can hear a lecture by Dr. Joseph Chuman here.
February 5-- Boe Meyerson The Heart of Ethical Culture
   Ethical Humanism all too often presents a severe, rationalistic and cold face to the larger world. This is the committed face of those who struggle for justice and fairness in a harsh uncaring world. Yet, like the other great religions of the world, Ethical Humanism also has a softer and gentler, though no less powerful, dimension which has too often been poorly understood. In her monthly address, Boe will speak about this aspect of Humanism and its rich, enveloping and deeply compelling gentleness. Boe is leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County and Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University.
February 12 -- Shagufta Hassan  Women in Islam Today: An International Perspective
     "I would like to give my insights into the lives of women I have had the privilege of meeting in the Islamic countries that I have lived in or visited. I wish to bring out that their problems and concerns are similar in many respects to the situation which women face globally."
       Hassan has traveled extensively with her husband, Pakistani Ambassador Azmat Hassan. She has studied and worked in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York; Cambridge, England; Islamabad and Lahore, Pakistan; Damascus, Syria. She served as President of the School Board of the American School Rabat, Morocco. She is currently enrolled in the Seton Hall University's Graduate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy.
February 19 - Meredith Sue Willis    The Message Is the Adventure: Thoughts on Writing for Children
Meredith Sue Willis, who writes primarily for adults, speaks about how her work with children led her to stories for children as well. She will explore the special relationship of children's writers and children and will read from and talk about her latest novel,Billie of Fish House Lane.
     Willis, who lives in South Orange, is the author of fourteen books of fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. A Distinguished Teaching Artist of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, she teaches writing workshops for children in elementary and secondary school through the New Jersey Writers Project. She also teaches novel writing at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies where she created and still teaches "Beginning Your Novel" and "Making Your Novel Happen."  
      Her work with children has led her to give workshops for teachers around the country using her books about writing and the teaching of writing, including Personal Fiction Writing, Deep Revision, and Blazing Pencils. It has also led her to write books for children. Her first novel for children was called "exciting and thoughtful" by The Hornbook, and her second novel for children was an Instructor Magazine best book. Willis is also a long time social activist, having been a VISTA volunteer and anti-war activist in her youth. She is the out-going chair of the local integration organization, The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, and a past president of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County.
February 26 -- Paul Surovell and Cheryle Gittens-Bailey
What's Right and Wrong with the Peace Movement
     Paul Surovell is a peace activist in Maplewood and South Orange. Paul is chairperson of South Mountain Peace Action (SMPA) of Maplewood and South Orange, editor of SMPA's website and is also an elected member of the WBAI Local Station Board. Paul teaches high school math in New York City. He's been active in the peace movement since his high school days in the 1960s. He served as a medic in the Army from1969 to 1971. He was active in the GI anti-war movement and in Vietnam Veterans Against the War. In recognition for his work with SMPA, Paul received the Sal Santaniello Humanitarian Award from the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County in 2004 and a Proclamation from the Maplewood Township Committee in February 2005. Paul and his wife Judi Kramer, an attorney practicing in New York, have lived in Maplewood since 1977.
      Cheryle Gittens-Bailey is the CEO of the Sentient Corporation, an international management consulting company in South Orange. Sentient administers a Leadership and Management Institute which honors the uniqueness of every individual. Cheryle and her husband George Bailey have lived in South Orange since 1997.
March 5-- Boe Meyerson: East Meets West: Enhancing Ethical Humanism with Buddhist Teachings
    This address will explore the ways in which Buddhist theories concerning human nature, human happiness and ethical conduct (as well as the methods of achieving them) can enhance Ethical Humanist thinking and practice, as derived from our founder, Felix Adler, and his inspiration, the great Enlightenment philosophers who provided a modern, intellectual foundation for the idea of human dignity. Boe is leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County and Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University.
Mar. 12-- Tom Obrzut -- Homelessness and the Right To Shelter in New York City
   Tom will talk about his work with homeless mentally ill people in midtown. Besides a discussion of the specifics of his work, he will be talking about the Callahan Decree — a lawsuit brought by the Coalition for the Homeless in 1979 that created a “Right to Shelter” in New York City, the only such “right” in the United States — and the mayor’s plan to reduce the 36,000 homeless people in the New York Shelter system by two-thirds by 2008.
    Tom Obrzut has worked with homeless people in New York and New Jersey for the last twenty years. He currently is the program director of Travelers Hotel, an SRO shelter for homeless mentally ill people in mid-town Manhattan (40th Street and Eighth Avenue, across from the Port Authority). Tom has developed clinical programming for the traumatized and mentally ill, the HIV positive, the drug-addicted and for forensic homeless populations.
Mar. 19   Sylvia Kramer: The Healing Power of Poetry
Poets analyzed man’s condition long before behavior was conceptualized as a science. The source of poetic imagination lies close to man’s innermost hopes and fears. Poems help us make order out of chaos, opening doors to a deeper understanding of self and connections to the world around us.
    A poetry therapist and writing instructor for over thirty years, Sylvia has lectured and conducted workshops throughout the state at colleges, rehab centers, senior facilities, as well as at civic and religious organizations. She is author of Velvet and Stone, a collection of poems and short stories; Our First Seventy-Five Years Caring for the Elderly, Images of MetroWest and over one hundred articles, feature stories and poems published in various newspapers, magazines and anthologies. She is on the staff of Dorot University Without Walls, a telephone outreach program for homebound seniors.
Mar. 26 Wahid Omar: The Programs of Afghans for
Tomorrow in Afghanistan

   Afghans for Tomorrow (A4T) is a humanitarian organization dedicated to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. Their motto is “The best gift removes dependency on more gifts.” Sew for Hope operates through A4T. They are committed to sustainable and community driven projects in an effort to make the Afghan people economically independent. Their website is: www.afghans4tomorrow.com. Wahid Omar is the Director of Education for A4T and will spend the weekend in Maplewood in a series of gatherings to acquaint local activists with the work of the group. Madelyn Hoffman, Director of New Jersey Peace Action, will introduce Mr. Omar at Platform. (Mr. Omar was the guide on Ms. Hoffman’s trip to Afghanistan this fall.)
April 2 --Boe Meyerson-- Interview with Shagufta Hassan: "Islam in the Modern World."
    Boe Meyerson is Leader of the Ethical Society of Essex and Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University.
      Shagufta Hassan, originally from Pakistan, has had the benefit of experiencing a variety of Eastern and Western cultures as the result of accompanying her husband, Ambassador Azmat Hassan, during his travels when he served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Morocco and elsewhere. She has both studied and worked in Damascus, Lahore, Islamabad, Cambridge, New York, and now New Jersey. She previously served on the Board of the American School in Rabat. Her varied cosmopolitan experiences have given her a special opportunity to see her own culture of origin both from within and without as well as to compare it with other cultures. Both Ms. Hassan and her husband currently reside in New Jersey where she also is presently enrolled in Seton Hall’s Graduate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy.
     There is a long tradition of learning about foreign cultures from one’s well traveled compatriots. Marco Polo is a as a great example of this. There is also a great tradition of learning about ourselves from the point of view of an observant foreigner. De Tocqueville is a great example of that. But there is yet another option and that is to learn about the way we see other cultures from those who both know their own and ours and therefore might help us see where our vision is clear and penetrating or clouded and distorted. Boe will interview Ms. Hassan in an attempt to learn just that when she questions her on a variety of topics: Jihad, Islam and the status of women, separation of church and the Islamic state, among others. Join us. (Rescheduled from Feb. 12).
April 9-- Member Panel led by Alice Robinson-Gilman and Meredith Sue Willis with Betty Levin, Elaine Durbach, and Rosalie Sussman    How We Approach Each Decade of Life
    Panel members discuss their feelings on approaching a new decade in their lives.
In recent years, Alice Robinson-Gilman has starting fulfilling her life-long dream to act, by working with the Strollers, Maplewood’s community theater group. To date, she has worked as stage manager, producer and various other backstage jobs. As an actor she has been cast in two small roles and been seen in several staged readings, among them the powerful play, The Laramie Project. She has loved every minute of it. On another note, Howard and Alice’s daughter, the amazing Molly, is about to “hit the boards” upon graduating from college this May.
     Meredith Sue Willis, fiction writer and native of West Virginia, teaches novel writing at New York University. She is a past president of the Essex Ethical Culture Society and immediate past chair of the South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. Her latest book is a novel for children, Billie of Fish House Lane, and her newsletter for readers and writers is online at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html. She lives in South Orange with her husband Andy Weinberger. Their son Joel is a junior in college.
April 16-- Arnold Fishman-- Together We Can Make A Difference
Arnold Fishman, Esq., is the President of the American Ethical Union (AEU), the federation of Ethical Societies in America. Arnold has also served as President of the Philadelphia Ethical Society.
Mr. Fishman will describe his personal journey to the presidency of the American Ethical Union. He will answer the following four questions: what is the AEU? what does it do? why is it needed? and what is its role in humanist affairs?
April 23 -- Phyllis Ehrenfeld --  Ethical Women's UN Work -- 100 Years Plus
Beginning with wide-ranging activism by AEU women’s groups at the end of the 19th century, the Ethical Movement has been continually connected with the growing United Nations. Today’s National Service Conference at the UN reflects the charter in its sometimes controversial choices of pragmatic involvements in the search for world peace and human rights.
     Phyllis Ehrenfeld has done postgraduate work at McGill University School of Social Work, Montreal, Department of Contemporary Literature at Columbia University. She has received the Arnold Gingrich Award for The Fellowship in Prose from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Five of her plays have been presented in Bergen County. She is currently President of the Bergen County Chapter of UNA-USA which she founded.
April 30-- David Weinberger-- " Is the Internet Moral? "
Technology is, of course, neutral. Yet the architecture of the Internet has certain presuppositions about its use: it is designed to enable the movement of bits — and thus of information — without regard to their content or owners. The Web, which runs on top of the Internet, has its own architecture and its own presuppositions: it favors connections of a particular kind. While acknowledging the ability to use both the Internet and the Web malevolently, what can we say about the moral tendencies of these technologies?
      Dr. Weinberger is the coauthor of The Cluetrain Manifesto, the best seller that cut through the hype and told business what the Web was really about. His latest book, Small Pieces Loosely Joined, has been published to rave reviews. He’s been a frequent commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and has written for The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, The Miami Herald, The Boston Globe and Wired. He was a comedy writer for Woody Allen for seven years and a humor columnist for Oregon’s major daily newspaper. He is a Fellow at Harvard’s prestigious Berkman Institute for Internet & Society.
    Most prestigious of all, he is Andy Weinberger’s brother!
May 7 Bart Worden "Eliciting the Best: Partnerships that Promote Ethical Ideals."
     This address explores ways in which we can develop "ethical partnerships" with others and how such partnerships help us live in accordance with ethical ideals.
    Bart Worden is the Leader for the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester in White plains, New York. Bart is the President of the National Leaders Council of the American Ethical Union and member of the AEU planning Committee. He earned degrees in PHilosophy of Religion and Social Work. For nine years he has served as a social worker and psychotherapist for adults with -psychiatric disabilities at The Guidance Center's Rochelle House day treatment program as Director and Assistant Executive Director.
May 14 Boe Meyerson "The Problems of Monotheism"
     Traditional monotheistic faiths have been lauded for their capacity to introduce uniform ethical standards into human conduct. In this respect (at least from the western point of view), polytheistic religions were seen as incapable of providing a universal, authoritative ethical system. Yet bloody campaigns inspired by monotheistic absolutism have played a devastating role throughout human history. The relationship between theology and religious war will be explored in Boe's address.
    Boe Meyerson is Leader of the Ethical Society of Essex and Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University.
The Annual Membership Meeting will be held after Platform on May 21.
May 21 -- Dr. Jeffrey Rubin, Ph.D., "Human Flourishing in a Time of Peril"
     Dr. Rubin practices psychoanalysis and psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy in NYC and Northern Westchester. He has taught at various institutes and universities including The Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, the C. G. Jung Foundation, the Object Relations Institute, the Harlem Family Institute, Union Theological Seminary, and Yeshiva University.
     He is the author of Psychotherapy and Buddhism, A Psychoanalysis for Our Time and The Good Life: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Love, Ethics, Creativity and Spirituality. A long-term practitioner of meditation and yoga, he is interested in how they can enrich the therapeutic process.
May 28 -- Memorial Day: Honoring Those Who Have Died
With Leader Boe Meyerson
June 4-- Boe Meyerson interviewing Steve Sklar: "U.S. Immigration Policy--Just? Humane? Beneficial to Whom?
     Mr. Sklar is an Immigration Attorney who has been practicing in Maplewood for the past 12 years. Boe Meyerson will interview him regarding his challenging experiences representing immigrants and his views on U.S. Policy.
    Boe Meyerson is Leader of the Ethical Society of Essex and Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University.
June 11--Meg Noble Peterson: “Madam, have you ever been happy?” Ms. Peterson, working from the title of her book, will be discussing her adventures around the world over the past 20 years, with the intention of inspiring others to spread their wings too. “There is so much to explore beyond one’s immediate life, especially for people like us who’re so privileged,” she says.
Meg Noble Peterson, a freelance writer and world traveler, has spent most of her professional life in the field of music education. In the memoir, Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey through Africa and Asia, author Meg Noble Peterson, approaching sixty and newly divorced after 33 years of marriage, sets off alone on an eight- month odyssey that takes her from the crowded streets of Cairo and contentious apartheid South Africa to India’s magnificent Taj Mahal and the peaks of the Himalaya. As a woman traveling alone in 1987, Peterson confronts male chauvinism and harassment, which tests her ingenuity and ability to fend for herself. Meg has loved travel since her first
overseas adventure in college in 1949, as a member of the Quaker International Voluntary Service (QIVS) team sent to Denmark, France, and Germany after World War II to help rebuild bombed-out hospitals and schools. Life has always been an adventure
to Meg, whether running the international organization, Music Education for the Handicapped for seven years, organizing international symposia, or hitchhiking with her children through Europe. She traveled behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980’s and, since her divorce after 33 years of marriage, has made two around-the-world backpacking trips. She has also completed shorter trips like the Wainwright walk across England, the Inca Trail in Peru, Mt. Kailash in Tibet, and the Kangchenjunga and Annapurna circuits in Nepal. When she’s not traveling the world, Meg Noble Peterson is based in Maplewood, New Jersey.

Also-- Special Music on June 11! Chiaki Achiwa, soprano, will sing two songs. Ms. Achiwa is a candidate in the Doctor Course, Vocal music at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo, Japan. She holds a degree in Music from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and has performed numerous solo concerts including : German songs of Schubert, R. Strauss, Wolf, Mahler, and Pfitzner at at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Hall and French songs of Debussy, Faure, Gounod, and Poulenc at the Kyu-Sogakudo Hall, the Yumeria Hall. At the present time, she is living in Manhattan.

Accompanying Ms. Achiwa will be James Harrington who has been performing on the piano since age 8. He earned a BA, Magna cum laude in Music History and Theory from SUNY at Fredonia, where he met and married his wife Christie. In 1994, the Harringtons founded the Elysium Arts Ensemble, a classical chamber music group. They have regularly performed in the greater New York City area, and have traveled to Paris for concerts on three occasions. He remains very active as a vocal accompanist and at St. George's Church in Maplewood as a substitute organist and pianist for all sorts of sacred and secular music events. Only in recent years, have the Harringtons tackled their most important and rewarding roles: becoming the proud parents of Lienne Yifan (adopted 1996 in China) and Cara-An Truc (adopted 2002 in Vietnam). In his spare time, Jim is the President of Harrington Software, Inc., and Director of Technology Services for CrossPointe, LLC. Both companies deal in computer software and support services for public school districts throughout the United States

June 18-- Bennet Zurofsky: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” Mr. Zurofsky will address the arrogation of powers the Bush-Cheney Administration has made to itself in defiance of Constitutional norms and criminal law. He will also discuss the current Constitutional crisis resulting from the general unwillingness of Congress or the Courts to take action to restore the appropriate balance of powers. He will analyze the available options for the American people with
an emphasis on the importance of demanding impeachment.
Bennet D. Zurofsky is a Partner with Reitman Parsonnet, P.C. in Newark, New Jersey, where he concentrates in the representation of unions, employees and benefit funds, as well as the practice of Constitutional law. He is an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers Law School. Bennet’s activism extends far beyond the court room: he is frequently on the picket line, either defending free speech rights or raising fighting spirits as the Director of the Solidarity Singers of the New Jersey Industrial Union Council.
Have a great summer! Platforms resume after Labor Day!