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The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County


Platform Programs 2006-2007

Platform Programs each Sunday at 11:00 AM
Ethical Culture Society of Essex County
516 Prospect Street, Maplewood, New Jersey 07040
Corner of Parker and Prospect
Phone 973-763-1905


September 10 --   Boe Meyerson  What Is Freedom?

Leader Boe Meyerson will discuss the nature of freedom and its various dimensions. She will explore such questions as: are there different types of freedom such as internal vs. external freedom? Intellectual vs. emotional freedom? freedom from vs. freedom for? Is freedom always desirable? What are the relationships between freedom and creativity, between freedom and the growth of knowledge, between freedom and discipline, between freedom and ethical responsibility? Those attending will have the opportunity to contribute to this exploration. Boe is Leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County and Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University.



September 17 --  Katherine Joyce, Jay Kappraff, & Anne Barron: The fight for a fair voting system in New Jersey
Also Note: There will be a teach-in on Fair Voting in the Afternoon, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
As a founding member of the Essex County Task Force on Voting, Katherine Joyce worked with approximately two dozen other core volunteers and hundreds of Essex County citizens to obstruct the passage of funding for the purchase of the Sequoia Advantage DRE voting system by county officials. The task force’s six- month effort delayed the purchase helped raise public awareness of issues and concerns about voting systems, and better informed elected officials and members of the media about the complex issues related to voting machines and systems. She will be talking about “New Jersey — an all-but Sequoia state, so where do we go from here?” and discussing what it will take to make the elections in this state fair and accurate. Katherine Joyce is a Montclair resident who made her career in organizational communication, producing strategies and materials for Fortune 100 companies, as well as educational institutions, municipalities, and nonprofit clients. A social activist, her resume includes volunteer leadership and organizing in numerous areas, including antiwar and pro-peace efforts, race relations and equality, environmentalism and the organic food movement. Through leadership in the New Jersey affiliate of Democracy for America, the Essex County chapter of which is largest in the state, Katherine also leads and organizes volunteers in direct political action for progressive candidates and causes.
Jay Kappraff, who holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from New York University, is an associate professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has has publsihed widely in his field. He has also organized major public forums on Nuclear War at NJIT, and he is an organizer of an Essex County Chamber Music Workshop and member of the Village Baroque Ensemble.
Anne Barron is project director of ACLU-NJ’s Voting Rights for All Project. [ed. note:] Watch for further information on a possible teach-in after the platform on resisting these machines on the Ethical Culture website
September 24 --  Jim Quigley: Energy & Climate Crises: On a Collision Course at a Fork in the Road

Will the world run out of oil? Will the largest industrial countries turn to coal, load the atmosphere with more carbon and accelerate climate change? Should we embrace nuclear power? Does solar energy hold out any hope? In the midst of increasingly aberrant weather patterns, rising sea level, and internationally explosive conflicts in oil-rich lands, how can we make sense of the social, political, economic and ethical challenges of these crises? Hear one perspective on this and share yours, too, in the Q&A/ Comment period to follow.

Jim Quigley, PhD is operations director of the Center for Sustainable Energy. Jim has worked for 25 years in the environmental field. He installed a windmill on a Pacific atoll as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the late ‘70s and later joined the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu in 1985 where he authored a report on energy consumption by Pacific Island nations. His masters thesis (Ohio U.) covered renewable energy applications in developing countries. Jim’s dissertation (U. of Penn) addressed the trash crisis of the 1980s and analyzed the burn, bury or recycle options for waste management. He worked for seven years as a researcher at the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems headed by Barry Commoner at Queens College. Jim has also been on the environmental sciences faculty at several colleges, most recently Ramapo College of New Jersey and worked as executive director of the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability during its first three years. Jim has a 15-year-old son David, resides in East Orange, NJ, and is the son of a former Ethical Culture Society Leader, the late Harold J. Quigley.



Oct. 1-- Boe Meyerson: A Humanist Spirituality
Leader Boe Meyerson will describe the special contributions that Ethical Humanist religion is able to bring to both the philosophical concept of spirituality as well as the scope of its practices.  She will explore how Ethical Humanist thought and practice regarding spirituality significantly expand the conventional understanding of these subjects. Boe is Leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County and Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University.
Oct. 8 -- Jeffrey Rubin, Ph.D.: How to Flourish in a Time of Peril, Part 2

Dr. Rubin practices psychoanalysis and psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy in NYC and Northern Westchester. He has taught at various psychoanalytic 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.

Ethics, which might be thought of as accountability to other people and ourselves, or balancing altruism and self-care, is an essential part of the glue that binds families and communities together. As a culture we are morally sprinting toward Gomorrah. Immorality is the order of the day. We ordinarily think of ethics in terms of the other person rather than ourselves. “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them,” writes Alexander Solzhenitsyn in Gulag Archipelago. “But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”

This talk explores the psychology of immorality — and how we might cultivate greater moral imagination and deepen moral accountability. Immorality has several aspects — including objectifying ourselves and other people, treating both as means rather than ends, misrepresenting our own needs, and allowing group pressure to subvert our own empathy, moral imagination and ethical values.

The way morality is often conceived of in our time — being more “spiritual” and “selfless” — can temper the ruthless narcissism that threatens to drown us. But it also has a hidden cost few consider: it causes many people with problems in self-care to be too self-denying. In this talk I recommend a different path; a morality of mortality that integrates altruism and self-care and is focused on this world rather than the next.

“True friends are a sure refuge,” wrote Aristotle. Because no person is an island we cannot thrive alone. We need to, in both senses of the word, dream together. Diverse coalitions of people with different talents and interests with a shared allegiance to life need to band together and share their dreams of a better world.

But most communities and organizations have great difficulty sustaining their initial flourishing. In the second part of my talk we will explore what interferes with and what facilitates thriving communities — places where like-spirited people can dream together about a better world.

When we dream together — when groups of people share their dreams and work together on them in a space of curiosity with an absence of judgment — a remarkable connection and synergy magically arises that has the potential to spark new forms of connectedness and even collective action. When dreamers of the world unite —
dreaming together into the future-- creative responses to old problems and intimations of new directions may burst forth unbidden. And then we can create a more humane universe and a better future, amidst the fraught world we uneasily inhabit.


Oct. 15-- Rev. Charles W. Rawlings: Negotiation as an Alternative to War

“Negotiation as an Alternative to War,” will examine the role of power, identity and ideas — concepts, theologies, ideologies — in shaping how we view others and the problem these pose to an ethic of justice for all.  We will think together about both political and economic conflicts.

The Rev. Charles Rawlings is past-president of the New Jersey Division of the United Nations Association. He serves the Presbytery of Newark as convener of its Work Group on the Middle East Crisis and has traveled to Israel and the Palestinian territories several times in recent years.

Rev. Rawlings’ work on the Middle East crisis has included organizing educational programs and interfaith dialogues.

He is a life-long ecumenist and is the retired Director of Urban Programs at the National Council of Churches and a former Executive Director of the New Jersey Council of Churches. Living in Cleveland during the 1960’s and 70’s, he worked on issues of race, poverty and economic justice — including a national interfaith effort to create worker and community ownership of steel mills in Youngstown, Ohio.

Rev. Rawlings is currently working on a joint project with Rutgers University examining the impact of globalization on human rights and labor rights with a focus on Port Newark. He has designed and administered programs dealing with Civil Rights,  health care, and AIDS education. He has taught courses on social policy at Cleveland State University and coordinated continuing education Programs for inner city communities.

His wife Joan worked for many years in career counseling with a
focus during the 1990’s on refugee resettlement programs. They have three grown children: Annie is Interim Associate Presbytery Executive for Social Justice with the Presbytery of New York City. Carol teaches English at St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn and Edward is a technical writer with BEA Systems in San Francisco.

Oct. 22 -- Social Action Committee Interactive session: Resolving conflict the Department of Peace way

Members of the Social Action Committee will explore what it might be like if we had a Cabinet Level Department of Peace. This will be an interactive platform in which the Social Action Committee leads the group in thinking about a national or international problem using the tools that would be in place if a Department of Peace were established — education tools, diplomatic tools, etc. For more information on the proposed Department of Peace, see Participating in this will be Social Action Committee members including Boe Meyerson, Sue Willis, Win Thies, and Anja Moen.


 Oct. 29-- Robert Greenwell : The Ethics-Driven Life

 The Ethics-Driven Life knows the value of virtues and virtuous character for human fulfillment. It knows the value of conservative virtues and liberal virtues, and the call to develop toward the other from wherever one starts. It knows the difference between actual lived virtue and stories (dogmas) about virtue. And it knows how all virtues point to one overriding virtue or attitude or behavioral characteristic, a virtue with two faces:  worth and love. Reflections on all of these, with emphasis on the core of Worth and Love, will be presented, along with a few readings from and about Adler.

Robert Greenwell is Leader of Mid Rivers Ethical Society, a new group in St. Charles County, Missouri, bordering St. Louis County on its northwest side.  Bob has a B.A. in philosophy from St. Louis University, and an M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of Missouri. He is married to Kathleen. He has two children and four grandchildren. Bob was called in September 2002 by the Ethical Society of St. Louis to start a satellite Society.  Mid Rivers began accepting members in October 2003, and currently has 41 members.


November 5   Boe Meyerson: Sacrificing Our Deer to Save Our Forest? A Painful Decision! –An Interview   Boe Meyerson, Leader of the Ethical Society and Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University, will interview Michael Novemsky, M.S. Mr. Novemsky serves on the Environmental Advisory Committee of Maplewood.He also teaches Physics at Columbia High School.


Nov 12     Barbara Lipton and Dr. Surendra Kaushik, with a photo exhibition: “Women’s Higher Education in India: The Example of the Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women’s College in a village in Rajasthan, India”

Speakers will be Barbara Lipton, Ethical Culture Society member, and Dr. Surendra (Suren) Kaushik, who in 1999 founded Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women’s College in Malsisar, Rajasthan, his birthplace. It is a tuition-free, non-profit, non-government-aided day and resident college financed by American private donations from individuals and foundations, and is fully accredited in the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, system.

Dr. Kaushik obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University and is currently a professor at Pace University, White Plains, NY, and the director of the Institute of International Banking at the Pace University Lubin Graduate School of Business. His presentation will include a general discussion of women’s education in India, and a brief history, achievements, future programs and possibilities of support for this “American college in Rajasthan.”

Barbara Lipton, a member of the Ethical Culture Society, has been on the Advisory Board of the Indian College and has lectured there several times. She is an art historian, has been a museum director and curator and has taught many university courses on Indian and Tibetan art and religion.

The photographs on exhibition of Village Life in Rajasthan were taken by students and staff of the Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women’s College and were recently displayed in India at the August graduation of the college.


Nov 19   Geri and Charlie Mulligan, on the Elizabeth Detention Center: “People on ICE” (that stands for the new title of the INS — Immigration and Customs Enforcement) — “Detention in our backyard.” We will discuss who is in the Elizabeth Detention Center (EDC), what it is like, and what the community can do about it.

Geri and Charlie Mulligan are among the founding members of the Interfaith Refugee Action Team, Elizabeth (IRATE!), an advocacy group, and First Friends, a group that promotes community visitors to asylum seekers held at EDC. They both spent many years in Latin America working in El Salvador and Chile, two countries who sent many asylum seekers to the USA.

This is from the IRATE website ( The Interfaith Refugee Action Team, Elizabeth (IRATE), is an alliance of grass-roots organizations whose members believe detaining noncriminal asylum seekers and undocumented laborers is morally wrong, legally suspect and a waste of taxpayers’ money. We believe an educated and involved community will support individuals fleeing dire conditions once their plight is understood. To bring about this understanding and end unnecessary detention we develop alternatives through the Temporary Sanctuary Community Alliance; train visitors for detainees through First Friends; and create direct action through the Interfaith Refugee Action Team-Elizabeth.

Nov. 26   Boe Meyerson will lead a discussion on gratitude and sharing, “because it was the sharing and support of the Native Americans that enabled the pilgrims to be successful.”   A community discussion/colloquy on gratitude, ingratitude and how they sometimes reverse themselves.
Dec. 3 Boe Meyerson: Marriage Equality — Complete and Undiluted
The case for full marriage equality for gays and lesbians as opposed to civil union rights is poorly understood by the general public. Boe will discuss the reasons why civil union rights, though technically offering the same privileges, in actuality are not equal and are discriminatory. Boe Meyerson is leader of our Ethical Society and humanist chaplain at Columbia University.

Dec. 10 Dr. Sylvain Ehrenfeld: Ethical Dilemmas of Globalization
Rich countries are experiencing fallout from massive economic change.Is globalization a disaster or a new hope for the future? Some think that globalization benefits the world because it greatly increases wealth and everyone’s life is improved. Critics say that the existing inequalities in the world order merely make the rich richer and the poor poorer. What are the facts? What are the ethical issues?
Dr. Sylvain Ehrenfeld is retired from his position as Professor of Statistics at City University of New York. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University and the University of California at Berkeley. He has given courses at the New School for Social Research in New York City on Population, Technology and Future Studies. He received his Ph.D. at Columbia University. He has been a visiting professor at a number of universities including the Technion where he helped to establish a Department of Industrial Engineering. He is currently involved at the United Nations as AEU Representative of the IHEU (International Humanist Ethical Union), one of numerous accredited non-governmental organizations at the UN. He is particularly interested in issues relating to population, poverty, sustainable development and health.



Dec. 17 Michael Lally: Politics-- Poetry and Passion

“I’d like to discuss the connections between political activism and poetry in my life, and the influence growing up in South Orange in the 1940s and ‘50s had on that, especially the racism, anti-Semitism, and class and ethnic consciousness.”
      Born in Orange, New Jersey in 1942, youngest of seven in an Irish-American family of cops, priests, and politicians, Michael David 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. During those years he wrote the autobiographical South Orange Sonnets, which led to a New York Poetry Center Discovery Award in 1972.

Lally’s first book was published in 1970. By 1980 there were twenty, including the 1974 poetry collection Rocky Dies Yellow, and the 1978 collection of prose and poetry Catch My Breath. In 1974 he received a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Award, the same year he wrote a long autobiographical poem, My Life, which, on his receiving his second National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Award in 1981, was denounced as pornography on the floor of Congress by politicians out to discredit and dismantle the NEA.

Lally moved to L.A. in 1982 to find work acting in movies and TV, while his writing found its way into several movies.   Lally’s Can't Be Wrong, a collection of poems, won a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Excellence in Literature Award; and his It’s Not Nostalgia,  a collection of poetry and prose, won an American Book Award.

Dec. 24 Salon with Betty Levin. Betty Levin will host the first of two holiday salons focused on the spirit of the holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Betty is the President of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County.








Dec. 31 Salon with Boe Meyerson:   “Participant Discussion: Looking Backward, Looking Forward.”   During this second Salon of the season, participants will be invited to share their views of what was important to them during the past year. Topics can cover the entire range from personal, to familial, to congregational, public maters. We will then discuss what are hopes are for the coming year. All participation is voluntary and those who wish only to listen are equally welcome.




Jan. 7 Boe Meyerson: Ethics and the Arts: the Connection?

The questions to be discussed are: Is art moral? Is goodness beautiful?
Boe is the Leader of this Ethical Society and is also the Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University. She holds graduate degrees in Literature and Philosophy.



Jan 14 Lee Stuart: The Bronx Renaissance: A path to Affordable Housing


As recently as the mid 1990’s, the South Bronx was known as the epitome of urban blight, intractable poverty, and generations of failed urban renewal policies in the United States. In 2006, the Bronx is celebrating a rebirth. The seeds of the Bronx Renaissance lie in faith based community organizing efforts starting in 1985.

The talk will cover the early organizing efforts, first internally as Catholic and Protestant churches came to a common understanding of a desirable future for their community that transcended their differences of creed, race, language and ethnicity, and then externally as with a united front, and organized as South Bronx Churches, they successfully negotiated with the City of New York, banks and private developers to create the policies and to make the massive investments that would eventually result in the rebirth of the South Bronx. Two signature projects, South Bronx Churches Nehemiah Housing which involved the construction of nearly 1,000 new homes and the Bronx Leadership Academy High School which sparked the small high school reform movement in New York City will be described.

Lee Stuart was trained as an ecologist, receiving her Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis and San Diego State University in 1983. She took what she thought was a six month break between post doctoral research appointments to set up a cooperative food assistance program in the South Bronx in 1985, but stayed for over 20 years. After the cooperative was established with a membership of over 10,000 families, Lee became the lead organizer for South Bronx Churches as they began their work to transform the Bronx. Her primary focus as an organizer was on housing development and education reform. She now works in the Community Services and Adult Education programs at Bronx Community College.

“I come with a different way of looking at affordable housing than the typical developer,” explains Dr. Stuart. Nehemiah was primarily an organizing effort to reclaim a neighborhood that had been left vacant and abandoned since urban renewal efforts in the 1960’s and the City’s “planned shrinkage” policy of the 1970’s. The point was to reclaim the neighborhood by, for and with the people who had struggled through the abandonment. Quoting from the chapter she co-wrote with John Heinemeier in the book, Making Housing Happen: Faith-based Affordable Housing Models, Dr. Stuart explains her successful partnership tripod approach, “When civil society is operating properly, the public, private and social sectors are mutually connected and the social sector has sufficient power to advance and protect the interest in the public arena.”
Dr. Stuart earned her Ph.D. in Ecology from San Diego State University and the University of California at Davis and completed postdoctoral work at Virginia Tech in biology. She considers her scientific training excellent preparation for her work in the Bronx because it grounded her in a systems approach, gave her freedom and discipline to experiment and created the habit of rigorous quantitative analysis with respect to program development, management and results.



Jan 21 Win Thies: The Twisted Ethics of Today’s ‘System’ of Organ Donation.
Every year some 10,000 Americans die for want of an organ that could be transplanted to continue their lives. At the same time we stuff several hundred thousand perfectly usable organs into the ground.
That, asserts Winthrop D. Thies, who will speak on this issue on Jan. 21, is the real ethical wrong. An ill-considered 1984 federal law criminalizes any economic incentive, however modest, that might reduce or even end the shortage of organs.
A graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Law School, with a Master of Laws in Taxation from NYU Graduate School of Law, Mr. Thies was founder and decade-long president of the Hemlock Society of New Jersey, Inc., which advocated for freedom for the dying. He claims that the present American “system” for procuring organs conflicts with all major ethical systems: whether utilitarian or rules-based.



Jan 28 Matthew and Paul La Clair: Fighting Against Religious Repression in School; or “Matthew is making this class so exciting!”

Sixteen-year-old Matthew LaClair will tell the true tale of an intrepid young lad (himself) who faces down his high school history teacher and the school administration after catching the teacher (“conservative” Baptist fundamentalist and extreme right-winger) proselytizing in class. This is a story of courage and cowardice, lies and integrity, hypocrisy and self-sacrifice, arrogance and humility; and the trusty audio recorder that exposed the whole thing. It is a story about how one who stands up for what is right can expect to be bullied, intimidated and threatened with physical violence and even death; a story of adults acting like children and one who is still officially considered a child acting like an adult. It is a story of international adulation and local contempt; and of how little the youth in Kearny, at least, know about our Constitution or about the most basic tenets of science. Return with us, then, to Dayton, Tennessee in 1925, where our story seems to take place. Keep in mind, however, that the events you will hear are real, because if you do not, you will not believe it could actually have happened like this.

Matthew LaClair, currently a junior at Kearny High School in Kearny, is a former Sunday school student at Essex Ethical. Matt has moved on in several areas since we last saw him. He began an acting career in the sixth grade, and two years later was performing Off-Broadway in “A Stoop On Orchard Street,” where he played the lead twice a week. He has performed mainly at Studio Players in Montclair, where he has played Jack in “Jack and the Beanstalk,” Huckleberry Finn in “Tom Sawyer” and many other roles. He won the New Jersey Optimists’ Club State oratorical contest in eighth grade. He has also appeared in interview on “The New Yorkers,” a talk show that broadcasts in Manhattan.

Matthew has previously won notoriety for his stance (or sits) regarding the pledge of allegiance ( He is here to speak to us regarding his recent exposure of a proselytizing history teacher at his high school, which won him worldwide recognition on the blogs and major regional media coverage. (See for example, and links.)

Matthew’s father, Paul LaClair, former president at Essex Ethical, and New York attorney, will also be on hand to lend support and pick up any crumbs Matthew leaves behind, if any.


Feb 4 Boe Meyerson: The Israeli-Palestinian Agony
There are multiple factors which historically and currently have functioned to sustain and aggravate the conflict between Israel and Palestine. There are also factors which can function to mitigate and diminish the conflict. This address will explore these factors.
Boe Meyerson is the leader of the Essex Ethical Culture Society. Boe is the Leader of this Ethical Society and is also the Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University. She holds graduate degrees in Literature and Philosophy. For more about her, click on leader.
Feb 11 Lynn Miller: Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Overview
The presentation will provide an introductory overview of this burgeoning area of medicine including a comparison of com-plementary and alternative modalities, history, utilization and related beliefs. A short video clip of the PBS special, “The New Medicine” will also be shown.
Lynn Robin Miller, J.D., C.Y.T. serves as the Director of Education for the Institute for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (ICAM) of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Ms. Miller earned a B.A. in Psychology and English, and a J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University, and was awarded the “Williams Prize” upon graduation. A certified yoga teacher since 1988, Ms. Miller completed a two-year post-graduate program in Holistic Studies and Comparative Psychology at the Himalayan International Institute. In addition to building a private law practice, Ms. Miller continued to receive training in mind/body modalities, becoming a Wellness Educator, Life Coach and Corporate Trainer. She has taught yoga, mediation, wellness, self-care and stress management in a variety of educational and corporate settings including hospitals, colleges, prisons, manufacturing plants and high-tech corporations.
Ms. Miller has also been active in her community, co-founding two community holistic organizations, Morning Star, Inc and Stonehedge Gardens, Inc.
As an attorney, Ms. Miller served as a court-appointed arbitrator, and previously as an assistant counsel to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, the Department of Economic Development, and NYC Charter Revision Commission. As a former legal advisor to the “I Love NY tourism campaign and other key economic development programs, Ms Miller is the author of several laws, including a section of the New York City Charter which was passed in voter referendum.


Feb 18: Jim White: Racial justice and ecological survival

 The weekend of October 21st over 70 theists and non-theists, met in Harlem in an interfaith, interracial conference to learn, to teach, and to organize each other into a higer level of consiousness and mutual support for our ongoing activism.  Professor Joel Kovel, author of "Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of The World" was our presenter-facilitator.  I will share some of the experiences and insights of the conference.  
 Jim White served as leader of the Essex Society for eight years, and is now Leader Emeritus.  He is a public interest attorney for New York City psychiatric patients and isfounder of Congregations for Justice and Peace in upper Manhattan. For fun and inspiration he grandparents Gabriel Garrett White. 
Feb 25 Integration: The Future?

Jeff Gruenwald, Robert Marchman, Natalie Thigpen, and Meredith Sue Willis, members of the Executive Committee of The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, will discuss the state of race relations in South Orange and Maplewood, and beyond, and the efforts to build a truly integrated community. The Community Coalition is a private nonprofit organization with a diverse membership of individuals who live and/or work in Maplewood/South Orange coming together to sustain our towns as communities of choice for all. Their vision is for a community that is truly inclusive and racially integrated – free of segregation in housing patterns and community involvement.
March 4 Boe Meyerson, Leader, “Iraq — the way in and the ways out: an exploration”. Boe will explore our nation’s troubled history in Iraq and explore reasonable options for closure.
Boe is the Leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County and the Ethical Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University.
March 11 Anja Moen, “Women’s achievements in Scandinavia and around the world”. In a general context of life in Norway, Anja will discuss how women’s positions are affected politically, socially, and economically in the Norwegian environment with its version of political, social and economic justice for all. She says, “Too often we only hear of the hardships women face in other countries and cultures. There are nations with positive stories to tell about their women. For example, all the Scandinavian countries do. While definitely Scandinavian, Norway is also unique. It stands outside the European Union and has major energy resources in oil from which it derives significant revenues. Norway uses these revenues to strengthen social equality for all its citizens.”   Anja Moen was born and grew up in Oslo, Norway, moving to the United States (Alaska) in 1989 and New Jersey in 1999. Throughout her life she has been interested in politics and social action issues. She will describe the positive accomplishments by and for women in Scandinavia by focusing on Norway.
March 18 Leslie Kandell, “In your face: smooth personal tactics in urban spaces”. Leslie Kandell will discuss some ingeniously diplomatic approaches to use in those petty but aggravating moments that tempt you to abandon ethical principles — for example when you see someone drop garbage on the street, or steal a parking space. Leslie Kandell is familiar to New York Times readers from her weekly features on music and dance in New Jersey from 1994 to 2002 and her articles in other sections of the Times. Her most recent talk at the Ethical Culture Society was about her work in locating and reconnecting with students she once taught on the Lower East Side. Leslie Kandell is a graduate of Ethical Culture’s Fieldston School.


March 25: Fred Profeta, “The Greening of Maplewood from Top to Bottom.”
The Mayor of Maplewood will outline the various initiatives planned or underway to protect our environment and conserve our natural resources, some technical and some social.  Fred R. Profeta is a lawyer with a practice in Manhattan, in the areas of Trial and Appellate Litigation. He is also serving his second term as Mayor of Maplewood.   Mayor Profeta was born in Flushing, New York, attended Yale University (A.B., 1961) where he was an NCAA Silver Medalist as Captain of the Fencing Team,  and Harvard University (LL.B., 1964; LL.M., 1965). He has been a member of the Planning Board since 1986, elected to the Town Council in 2003 and Mayor since 2004. Mayor Profeta received Maplewood’s Distinguished Citizen Award (1999), having served on innumerable Boards and Committees, some of which he was instrumental in establishing, including: South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, Inc. (founder, trustee and first chairman); Maplewood Village Alliance (founder and director); Springfield Avenue Partnership (founding trustee); Columbia High School Alumni Association, Inc. (founder and first president). In addition, he has served on the South Orange/Maplewood Board of School Estimate, Economic Development Advisory Committee, Historic Preservation Committee, Transportation Committee and Neighborhood Preservation Program.


April 1 Boe Meyerson.,    “The War on Drugs: Who is Winning ?” Boe will discuss the purpose , history and effects of the so-called ‘War on Drugs.’ Emphasis will be on the yawning gap between intention and accomplishment. However most of the discussion will focus on the disastrous unintended consequences of the effort. Alternatives will also be explored.
Boe Meyerson is Leader of the Ethical Culture Society in Maplewood and is the Ethical Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University. She previously worked in New Jersey’s criminal justice system supervising both juveniles and adult offenders. She holds a MA in Philosophy from Columbia University where she previously taught Humanities. She is also a Family Therapist.


April 8    Rao Kolluru, “Profit with a Purpose” Drawing on his new book, Spiritual Entrepreneuring: Pathway to Lasting Success, Kolluru will be describing a new business model with ancient roots for doing well by doing good, or making profit with a purpose. Educated in the East and the West in science, engineering, and business, Rao Kolluru has been consulting, teaching and writing for more than three decades. He has worked with American Cyanamid and other major corporations, combining technical and business initiatives. Rao obtained an MBA from New York University and a doctorate in health sciences from Columbia University. His lectures have taken him from Princeton to Peking. His handbooks, published by McGraw-Hill, serve as reference worldwide.



Special! April 15: Live musical prelude and interlude with Janet Mangano!


April 15: Member Panel with Alice Robinson-Gilman and Meredith Sue Willis

An interactive platform. Sue and Alice have been presenting this series of interactive platforms since 1995.

Alice Robinson-Gilman has gone through many transformative changes in the past 23 years since the birth of her daughter Molly. Most of these changes have been “grist for the mill” for these platforms.She is a social worker who has staffed a hotline, been a therapist, done group work with male batterers among others. She became a gardener and is now completing a Master Gardener’s course with Rutgers Cooperative Extension; she joined Maplewood’s community theatre group, The Strollers, and is fulfilling a life-long dream to act. Additionally she has worked behind stage in many positions, including Stage Manager, her favorite. The most joyous and fulfilling part of her life has been as the mother of Molly Gilman, a talented singer/actor who is now appearing in Pinkalicious, an off-Broadway show for children.

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 past chair of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. She was the featured writer in the fall 2006 issue of Appalachian Heritage and her children’s book Billie of Fish House Lane is one of the Two Towns One Book choices for 2007. She lives in South Orange with her husband Andy Weinberger, a rheumatologist in private practice and also a past president of Essex Ethical! Their son Joel is a senior at Brown University.




April 22 Sabri Taha: A Darfurian’s personal account of the anguish in his home land. Taha plans to discuss the causes of the conflict in Darfur, and his own experience with the oppressiveness of the regime. He was jailed twice, in 1994 and again in 2000. Two key issues he wants to highlight are the need for religious freedom, with a separation of church and state, and gender equality, to improve the lot of Sudanese women. Taha, 43, was a longtime member of Amnesty International in Darfur, until — as he says — “the dictator came in 1989 and stopped it.” He came to the United States two-and-a-half years ago, and has established his own medical transportation business. He is an active member of the Newark-based Darfur Rehabilitation Project.


April 29    Martha Gallahue will discuss the restoration of health to the Brooklyn Ethical Society after a long agonizing period of turmoil and bitter conflict which has lasted (in various phases and degrees of severity) over many, many years.  Martha will describe how the intervention of the Alban Institute helped  the Brooklyn Society achieve greater health and integrity. Support was also given by the American Ethical Union.
Martha Gallahue is President of The American Ethical Union’s affiliate organization, The National Service Conference of The American Ethical Union and President of The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. The National Service Conference is accredited at the United Nations and part of several coalitions and non-governmental organization committees at the United Nations.   Martha served on the Board for the American Ethical Union from 2003–2006 and is on temporary leave in the Leader-in-Training program in order to serve out her term as President of her local Society.
She is a certified psychoanalyst in private practice for 30 years and lives with her partner, Reverend Elizabeth Alexander, Pastor of a Presbyterian Church whose mission is prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families.
May 6 Boe Meyerson, “Envisioning the Future of Our Ethical Culture Society." The address will offer some initial guidelines but mostly it will seek to raise questions that we as a community will need to answer. All of us can play a role in responding to our challenges. Following the address, there will be an open discussion on the issues raised.

Boe Meyerson is Leader of the Ethical Culture Society in Maplewood and is the Ethical Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University. She previously worked in New Jersey’s criminal justice system supervising both juveniles and adult offenders. She holds a MA in Philosophy from Columbia University where she previously taught Humanities. She is also a Family Therapist.


Special Music and Program for May 13:
Live musical prelude with Janet Mangano and...


May 13 Louisa Lubiak “Mother’s Day Round-Robin.” Louisa Lubiak will lead a participatory colloquy on mothers and mothering. Bring a poem, reading or personal anecdote to share on what mothering means to you. “Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” — Zora Neale Hurston
Louisa is an Ethical Culture Society member, an environmentalist and a naturalist who draws her inspiration from the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, lessons of Mother Nature. She celebrates the seasonal holidays based on the Celtic wheel of the year with the Earth-Based Spirituality Circle of the Morristown Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Louisa is a long-time resident of South Orange and Maplewood, a graduate of Columbia High School, has a B.A. degree in Earth Science from Kean University in Union and currently works for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection in Trenton.

PLUS!! Musical Interlude with Chiaki Achiwa

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
May 20 Nancy and Dick Bohn “Our Antarctic Adventure.” Longtime Ethical Culture Society members Nancy and Dick Bohn will be describing the perils and pleasures of their trip this winter to the icy wastes of Antarctica.
Retired now for 15 years, the Bohns have continued to pursue their passion for travel and discovery. Nancy writes, “We have traveled extensively in our married life, beginning in 1957 when we lived in Mexico for 3 months during our student years. Other foreign residencies included Greece for four years, England for four years and Panama for six years. Beside Antarctica, two of our other most special trips were to Bhutan and Vietnam.”

May 27 Anna Kisselgoff “Dance Today in Context.” Anna Kisselgoff “Dance Today in Context.”
Ms. Kisselgoff will explore how dance developed as an art form in this country with no dance tradition, and the interaction between society and artists.
Anna Kisselgoff was chief dance critic of the New York Times from 1977 to 2005 and continues to contribute to the Times after leaving the paper last year. She has reviewed modern dance, ballet, folk dance, tap, Asian classical dance, Michael Jackson, ice dance and the rodeo at the 1988 Olympics. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she holds an MA in European History and an MS in Journalism, both from Columbia University.

June 3 Boe Meyerson, Leader, “Discovering Bangladesh — An Interview with Dr. Douglas Proops.”

Dr. Proops has just recently returned from a three year stay in Bangladesh with his wife and children. His wife, Judy Graeff, was there working for the UN. He worked as a physician. Bangladesh has been going through many struggles recently and in the past. Boe will be inquiring about his and his family’s diverse experiences and challenges.

Dr. Proops is the Director of Epidemiology at the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control in the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Boe Meyerson is Leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County and Humanist Chaplain at Columbia University.
June 10 Tony Hileman, “The Tao of Ethical Culture”. The Tao Te Ching is one of the oldest religious texts, dating back some 2,600 years. It is one of the most translated, studied, and, I believe, inspiring documents of all time. As evidenced in the opening line of the first of its 81 short chapters — “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao” — it is at the same time accessible and opaque. The same can be said of Ethical Culture, easy to understand from the inside but often perplexing from without. What can we as Ethical Humanists learn from the Tao of Lao-tzu, the way of the old master? What does this ancient text have to offer the modern world?
Tony Hileman has been the Executive Director of the American Humanist Association (AHA) since 1999. As Tony often expresses to Humanist and non-Humanist audiences alike, “the need for a strong Humanist voice in the national dialogue has never been greater than it is today.”
Tony began his first career in business, renovating large homes into multiple-unit residences in his native Indianapolis, and then developed a chain of small retail shops in central Indiana. He and his wife, Betty, spent a number of years living in Europe where Tony began his second career in wire service journalism working in Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa for United Press International and then back in the US for Agence France Presse. He then began his next career as an independent consultant, first in the field of journalism and then more broadly. He eventually specialized as an executive coach helping individuals achieve personal as well as professional success while simultaneously discovering the vast numbers of people who support a Humanist life stance similar to his own.


June 17 (Last Platform till September) Summer Brunch and Colloquy.
Boe will lead a discussion on the year we’re concluding and visions for the summer ahead for the society and ourselves.


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