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The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County
Platform Programs 2010-2011

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


Sept 12-- Anja Moen, our new president, will lead a season-opener colloquy on innovative thinking, and new ways to strengthen our fellowship and our community.

As nature winds down and the days shorten, we humans rebound from our summer lethargy and come together again to explore fresh possibilities, drawing creative energy with the cooler air. With Peace as the common thread linking our platforms this year, what can we do to make this a mellow and fruitful Fall season? Anja will be inviting everyone to write what they’d like to see accomplished on paper “leaves” to adorn a (non-shedding) idea tree, to keep that inspiration in view.






Sept. 19 -- M. Sue Willis, Zia Durani, and Mira Stillman: Nine Lives, by William Dalrymple
Mira, Zia and Sue will outline the rich content of this book, subtitled “In Search of the Sacred in Modern India.” Dalrymple is basically a travel writer, but of a very different kind. He writes about places interwoven with the history of the place. In this book there are nine chapters about individuals or groups of people who in their lives on earth are trying to achieve nirvana and connect with their particular deity. There are dancers, singers, idol makers, even a nun. Dalrymple covers a vast canvas of Indian communities, and their religious practices. What makes it interesting is that he lets the people talk and present their viewpoint rather than describe them.
Zia Durani 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.
Mira Stillman was born in Poland in the small Jewish town of Belkhatow. She survived World War II in the USSR and subsequently came to the U.S. in 1945. An M.A. in Russian literature from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in English literature from Drew University prepared her for the teaching she did at Rutgers and Drew University. She taught writing, and courses in English and World literature. In the nineties, she organized a tutoring program for local schools and an early environmental group. She has recently finished a book about the first thirteen years of her life. She lives with her husband in Maplewood.
Meredith Sue Willis, novelist, teacher, and native of West Virginia, is a past president of the Essex Ethical Culture Society. Her new books are Ten Strategies to Write A Novel, from Montemayor Press, and Out of the Mountains, a collection of Appalachian short stories, from Ohio University Press.
Sept. 26 · Martha Gallahue: “Essex Society: A Peacebuilding Peacelearning Community”.
Celebrating International Peace Day on September 21st, we will explore why IDP matters both within ourselves and in our Maplewood community.
Martha Gallahue is an Ethical Culture Leader who has worked at the United Nations as the Main Representative for The National Service Conference of the American Ethical Union and for the global United Religions’ Initiative. She has given Platform talks at fifteen ethical culture societies throughout the country. She now resides in New Jersey with her spouse Elizabeth Alexander.
Before Platform, Martha will be at Essex 9:30 a.m. to begin a series of training sessions for whomever is interested — the first topic: Becoming a Welcoming Community.




Oct. 3 · William Lannigan, “Ethical Perspectives in Addiction Recovery and Treatment”
Bill Lannigan, an alcohol and substance abuse counselor, will discuss addiction and the struggle to achieve that illusive form of peace resolving the war with oneself. He will explore various definitions of addiction, and then look into the “first-person perspective” used by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and professional perspectives on treatment, as well as faith and the addict, and “Redemption Tales.”
Bill Lannigan has an MA in Social Work and is a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. He worked professionally in human service organizations from 1968 and since 1982 has been in the field of addiction treatment. He served as a counselor, unit supervisor and as Assistant Director of Alcoholism and Addiction Services for St. Vincent Medical Center of Richmond on Staten Island from 1982 to 2001 and maintained a small private practice. From 2001 until 2009 he was the Assistant Director  of the  New York State-operated Manhattan Addiction Treatment Center, and currently holds that position in the Kingsboro Addiction Treatment Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He has resided in South Orange and Maplewood since 1991, and has been a student of poetry under the tutelage of Michael Lally for several years. He is the proud father of Katie and Colm.




Oct. 10 · Hilding Gus Lindquist, “Social Activism as a Creative Activity: My engagement with Valley Settlement House.”

Marcina “Jackie” Fox, Executive Director at VHS, will also participate in the platform and the following discussion.
For the past four years, Gus has been a volunteer coordinator of a summer science program at the Settlement House in West Orange under the leadership of Dr. Knut Stamnes, Anja Moen’s husband, Physics professor and Director of the Light and Life Laboratory and Department of Physics and Engineering Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology, involving college students, faculty and postgraduates. The Settlement House programs in various places have provided educational and cultural development for generations of people, including a number of ECS members, and those who run them continue to seek volunteers to work on those programs.

From the Settlement House website (www.valleysettlementhouse.org): The Valley Settlement House is a non-profit social service agency serving West Orange, Orange, South Orange, and East Orange. Our service population has also extended into the neighboring cities of Newark, Maplewood and Irvington, New Jersey. It is the oldest “Settlement” in New Jersey and the third oldest in the United States. Programs are housed in five picturesque buildings surrounded by three large play areas. Facilities include a gym and auditorium with a stage. Valley Settlement House is concerned with the family and each of its members. It aims to afford opportunities for each to find and develop his/her potentialities for a positive life in the home, neighborhood and community.

Gus, a longtime friend of ECS, worked most recently as a research data administrator for the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program of the Department of Energy, and before that for over twenty years developing administrative computer programs for the banking industry’s graduate-level program at the University of Washington in Seattle. 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.


Oct. 17 · Nancy Gagnier, “Integration and Strong Schools: Facing the Achievement Gap”

Nancy Gagnier, Executive Director of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, says we are fortunate in Maplewood and South Orange to have a level of integration in our neighborhoods not seen in most communities in the nation. A positive outcome of that integration is that our elementary schools are diverse and classrooms are integrated.  There is a growing body of evidence that shows that children who attend racially integrated schools are better equipped to succeed in college and the workplace than their peers who attend racially skewed schools. This is true for whites as well as students of color.

Yet, we find that our students of color are disproportionately represented in lower academic levels in the middle and high schools and that our students of color remain vulnerable to the minority academic achievement gap. One of the Coalition’s goals is to build solutions to academic racial disparities to achieve success for all. This is why we try to keep the conversation going when it comes to finding ways to help all children excel and keep our schools strong.

Nancy Gagnier has been the Executive Director of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race since August, 2008. She brings non-profit development, conference planning, public relations and teaching experience to her role.  Ms. Gagnier is a long-time resident of the two towns and has served on many volunteer boards and strategic planning initiatives. In 2001, she was elected to the South Orange/Maplewood School Board where she focused on policy development.  She has three children currently attending schools in the district and has an on-going interest in public education.




Oct. 24 · Martha Gallahue: How the UN Continues to Make a Positive Impact

On the 65th birthday of the UN, we will explore how the UN continues to make a positive impact upon the perilous human journey to peace, both in the global and local community.

Martha Gallahue is an Ethical Culture Leader who has worked at the United Nations as the main representative for The National Service Conference of the American Ethical Union and for the global United Religions’ Initiative. She has given platform talks at fifteen ethical culture societies throughout the country. She now resides in New Jersey with her spouse Elizabeth Alexander.





Oct. 31 · ECS and guests: “Scary Stories Sunday”

Members and guests of all ages are invited to share their Halloween horror stories — true, or as fantastical as you wish.We’ll delve out the dark, delicious memories of Halloweens you might have wanted to forget, and poke into what makes this the one date on the American calendar when we (or some of us) find the creepy, the ghoulish, and the downright disgusting so much fun!

To keep things Ethical, participants are invited to bring donations of candyor other sealed treats, which will be donated, along with our food contributions, to the Food Bank, or to needy local families.








Nov. 7 Rebecca Doggett “We Can't Stop Now”

Becky Doggett, long time community activist and innovator of community development programs, will engage us in a conversation about what she sees as our future in social justice activism
Rebecca (Becky) Doggett recently retired as Senior Fellow with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a nonprofit that does statewide research and advocacy work in economic justice and prisoner re-entry. She helped to develop programs and policies related to economic development. Most notable is her work in establishing the Newark/Essex Construction Careers Consortium, a pre-apprenticeship program that has succeeded in qualifying African –American and Latino men and women from the greater Newark area. Over 300 graduates are now working in union construction apprenticeships or have achieved journey worker status. Her other work includes:

• Establishment of the Office of Community Development for the Newark Public Schools. The Office helped to increase parental involvement and also brought private resources into the schools. She served as Auditor General of the Newark Public Schools for the NJ Department of Education prior to that.
• First African American female executive appointed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey where she established the Office of Business and Job Opportunity and the Regional Alliance for Small Contractors.
* First Director of the Essex County Department of Citizens Services and led welfare reform efforts in county government.
• First Adult Basic Education Director of the Careers Extension Program at the University of Puerto Rico in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.
• Co-founder and later Executive Director of Tri-City Citizens Union for Progress, an organization known for housing and social services in the West Side Park area of Newark.
• Founder and later Executive Director of the Newark Pre-School Council, one of the largest and most successful community controlled Head Start programs in the country.
Becky holds a BA from Upsala College and MA from New York University.
She resides in East Orange with her husband Joseph Thomasberger, has 1 daughter, 3 stepchildren and 3 grandchildren.








Nov. 14 Dennis Percher · "The Mission and Programs of the South Mountain Conservancy: The Challenges and Rewards of Stewardship for Essex County's Largest Park"


The Conservancy is a volunteer organization dedicated to preserve, protect and enhance the now 2110-acre South Mountain Reservation and promote its sustainable use through education and public service.  Founded in March 2000, it works in concert with the Essex County Department of Parks.  Dennis has been instrumental in getting the County to undertake a 2003 ecological and infrastructure study and long-term management plan.  He also wrote Green Acres and Recreational Trails grants, many matched by County Open Space Trust Funds, that provided more than $1 million for trail and infrastructure restoration, and additional acreage.
Dennis Percher joined the South Mountain Conservancy in 2003 and became Chair of its Board of Trustees in January 2007. He is involved in the Conservancy’s efforts to reconstruct and build new trails and forest regeneration, being one of the champions of the unprecedented 20-year forest regeneration program which began in 2009 to reseed the understory and restore the aging forest canopy.
Dennis Percher has lived in Maplewood for 25 years and has seen the Reservation as an extraordinary resource. He often does trail running and has had an abiding interest in the out of doors all his life. In 2002 he ran across two people (one, Vic Benes, is still on the Board) who were digging trenches to divert water off a trail and asked what they were doing and who they were affiliated with. They were the Erosion Volunteers and with the SMC. He got involved in publicity and grant writing probably that fall for the next few years.
His background is in industrial psychology, organizational effectiveness, training and business process improvement. He now works as a management consultant in these areas as well as Web-based technology used for sales and marketing (Salesforce).




Nov. 21 Martha Gallahue · "Democracy and Trust: The Way to Peace." PLATFORM WILL START AT 10:30 AM FOLLOWED AT 11:45 BY MEMORIAL FOR JACK TINER


A thanksgiving reflection. When the native Americans encountered the first white settlers in American, their first instinct among most tribes was to co-exist. The indigenous groups lent skills about planting and hunting that saved many lives. What might have happened in this country had these early encounters led to the development of mutual
trust and a truly democratic process among these groups? Is it too late for modern Americans to rediscover those seeds of peace?

platform with Martha Gallahue will start earlier, at 10:30.






Nov. 28 Boe Meyerson leads a Thanksgiving Colloquy
The platform will take the form of a discussion on what "thanksgiving" means in our humanist community. As ever, there is no knowing where that could take us, but we can explore topics like expectation and gratitude, and how we strike a balance between appreciation and creative discontentment.











Dec. 5 Sam Krause “Hey Waiter — There’s God in My Soup!”  An exploration of Kabbalah through humor. 
Although Kabbalah has made a dramatic entrance into pop culture over the past decade, authentic Kabbalah is an ancient discipline dating back over 3,300 years. This esoteric, mystical branch of Judaism has been handed down by word of mouth through generations and came to written form in the second century by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Learning Kabbalah will give profound inner meaning to written Scripture and attempt to describe the transcendent nature of a formless, infinite God as He relates to His finite creations. 
According to Kabbalah, the entire world as we know it comes from a Divine Source called “The Never-ending Light,” and everything we experience through our five senses is God-given so we can appreciate creation.
If everything has a Divine Source, so too does humor. I have chosen humor as the medium through which to deliver the Divine messages emanating from the teachings of Kabbalah.
Sam lives in New Jersey with his wife and the youngest four of his six irrepressible children.

See an Article about Sam Krause by Elaine Durbach!

(Note: The article has the wrong date for this platform)
Dec. 12 George Brandon “Where Does Music Come From?” · Concerning the sources of musical creativity, the roles music has played in world culture that include but also transcend entertainment — from the point of view of a composer and anthropologist.
George Brandon, PhD, is a musician and anthropologist whose musical roots began with lessons from his father. By high school he was playing professionally in local swing bands, rhythm and blues, gospel and classical ensembles. Brandon has studied with great teachers and has performed with a wide array of ensembles.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in literature and anthropology from Reed College; a master’s degree and a doctorate in anthropology from Rutgers University; and a certificate of African Studies from the University of Ghana at Legon. In 1977, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study theory and composition with George Russell in the Afro-American music department of the New England Conservatory.
Brandon is currently director of sociomedical sciences at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City University of New York.


Dec. 19 Martha Gallahue “Connecting Ethics and the Solstice” ·
Martha Gallahue will connect some solstice traditions with traditional ethical culture thought.    She will link the season of “long nights”  with  the present  and how we might access ethical culture wisdom  to avoid sinking into  a  “winter of  our discontent.”





Dec. 26 “Festive Season Colloquy” ·
Boe Meyerson will lead our post-Christmas/pre-New Year exploration of the year drawing to an end, and our hopes and plans for the year ahead.


Jan. 2: Elaine Bloom, “Finding Serenity in Today’s Turbulent Times”
Elaine Bloom’s talk will focus on finding contentment in a world that for decades has focused on materialism and acquisition. The economic downturn is forcing people to reconsider what really brings them joy. This might be more challenging than ever because of the uncertainties we face on a continual basis, but (as so many teachers have insisted) what we really need is within us, if we can learn how to access it. Bloom will talk about the different paths to fulfillment: through community, ritual, intuition, being in the moment, attitude and right language.
Elaine Bloom has a B.A. in history from N.Y.U. She worked in book publishing and advertising with a break to take a kibbutz-ulpan in Israel. She was president of Bloom & Co., Inc., publisher of special interest newspapers. She says that while working as a professional organizer for some very rich people, she saw first-hand just how little wealth had to do with happiness.
Jan. 9: Arthur Strock with Ed Bokert, “Applied Dreaming”

Dreams come from your heart in spite of their strange, scary and just plain weird content. Because life issues involve health, career, relationships and the spiritual, our dreams are addressing such issues right now. Arthur Strock will discuss how we can make sense out of the mishmash of our dreams. He will provide ideas about how to change your dreams into valuable guides for living.

Ethical Culture Society member Ed Bokert, one of the pioneering dream researchers in this country, will share the platform.

Arthur Strock is a founding charter member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and writes the “Dreaming the Light of Insight” column for the “Dream Network” journal. He has introduced college and graduate students to dream work through his teaching as an assistant professor of psychology at Bloomfield College and the County College of Morris and as a presenter for the National Association of Social Workers in New Jersey.
Arthur lives in Warren County, overlooking Mountain Lake, an area, he says, that has also been a source of wonderful dreams. Some of his work can be accessed through the web site, livebyyourdreams.com.

Jan. 16: Paul and Gladys Konye, “African Americans Today: Advances and Setbacks”

As we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Paul Konye and his wife, Gladys (formerly Smith and an ECS member), will be discussing the circumstances confronting African Americans in the current era, both positive and negative. They are planning to invite a panel of young people to join the discussion, to provide a perspective from those who have grown up in the wake of the civil rights movement, and are now dealing with the education system and entering the work force.

Paul Konye is a musicologist, conductor, composer and violinist. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, he collaborated and studied with many of Nigeria’s foremost composers of African art music. His association with these composers, and with many musical organizations and institutions, granted him a first-hand insight and interest in modern African art music

Gladys Konye is a social worker, community activist and mother who visited Egypt last year in search of family roots and new insights into her African connections.


Jan. 23: Martha Gallahue, “Freedom the Ethical Culture Way”

Martha will discuss what freedom requires from us in today’s times. Her remarks will begin with a brief commentary on Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom. Her talk also alludes to the special contribution of Martin Luther King in his long walk to freedom in America. About Franzen’s book, Kwame Anthony Appiah wrote, “Homo sapiens is the only species that can regret its multiplication, and it often has cause to. Our numbers include scapegraces, scoundrels, and unhinged hostage takers. But also the odd novelist who can tell you something about what it’s like to be alive at a particular place and time, how it feels to be riven between closely argued despair and unreasonable happiness. It almost gives you hope for the ‘future fate of mankind’.”

Jan. 30: Michele Hollow, “Blogging for the Greater Good of Animals”

Journalist Michele Hollow has covered all kinds of subjects but these days is most involved with writing an increasingly popular online blog called Pet News and Views (www.petnewsandviews.com). She has written about rescue animals, therapy dogs and wild horse roundups, pet care, animal welfare and the people who work with animals. She will share stories of blogging about animal welfare and the network of people of which she now finds herself a part.

Michele, who studied zoology at the Bronx Zoo, is listed as an expert at dogtime.com. She has written for Cat Fancy, Dog Fancy, Pet Product News, Newsday, NY Times, NY Daily News, as well as many other publications.

Her latest book is The Everything Guide to Working with Animals (Adams Media, 2009), which details first person accounts of what it is like to work with animals. She interviewed animal trainers, zoologists, veterinarians, vet techs, entomologists, animal rights activists, rescue workers and many more — even a makeup artist for animal movie actors.

Michele is the author of four children’s books: two crafts books, a biography of the Grateful Dead and a book of animal jokes, riddles, and facts (coming out in 2011). She is a member of ASJA and co-founder of Professionals In Media.

Michele lives in South Orange with husband Steven, son Jordon and cat Earl Gray.



February 6 "What Future for the United Nations?" presented by Myron W. Kronisch,
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, Center for War/Peace Studies
Mr. Kronisch has been received by 39 Permanent Missions to the UN and Foreign
Ministries to discuss revitalization and reform of the General Assembly. On the
subject of a more effective UN, he has had op-ed articles published in the New York
Times, International Herald Tribune and many other papers around the world.
His Peace Studies organization is promoting reform of the UN with Universal
Regional Representation with a DVD illustrating his plan as time allows.

He has been in private law practice as a senior partner and a member of the Board
of Editors of the New Jersey Law Journal from 1976 to date. Mr. Kronisch formerly
served in the military service as an officer in a tank battalion in Korea and as a
captain in the US Army Reserves.
Mike has four children and eleven grandchildren all of whom can recite Mike's
mantra: "Peace is not merely the absence of war. Peace requires the institutions of
government which are law, order and justice. World Peace requires a UN federation
with those powers."



February 13 Greg Sullivan Program Director of IRATE & First Friends , "Immigration and detention issues in New Jersey."

Gregory Sullivan, the program director of IRATE & First Friends, will discuss
what the organization does, and current issues involving immigration and detention
in the state. IRATE & First Friends (www.irate-firstfriends.org) is a non-profit
organization that upholds the inherent humanity and dignity of all immigrants. They provide visitors and non-legal assistance for immigrants held in detention and work for improved conditions. They also advocate for the end of arbitrary, mass detention believing detention is morally wrong, legally suspect and wasteful of taxpayer funds. IRATE staff and volunteers visit non-criminal detainees at the Elizabeth Detention Center (EDC), in the Hudson County Corrections Center (HCCC) and the Bergen County jail; provide training for those willing to visit detainees; speak to groups on detention or immigration reform; collaborate with partner organizations seeking humane treatment of all detainees, and the end of detainment for asylum seekers; work nationally on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform; organize demonstrations to keep the plight of detainees in the news.

Mr. Sullivan is a resident of Wyckoff, New Jersey and a 1954 graduate of Brown University .  He retired from commercial banking in 1997 and found his way to community service through the JustFaith Program of his parish in Wyckoff.  The program teaches aspects of social justice and includes numerous “border crossings”, taking its students out of their familiar comfort zone and exposing them to the lives of those among us who are marginalized.  One of the border crossings was to hear about immigrant detention and to visit detainees at the Elizabeth Detention Center.  Greg became a regular visitor and in 2007 became the Program Director of the First Friends Visitor Project, a service which has been active since 2001.  In 2008, the organization became a 501(c) (3) corporation and adopted the name IRATE & First Friends. IRATE stands for Interfaith Refugee Action Team- Elizabeth a predecessor organization which advocated for immigrant rights. Together as one organization, advocacy and services for immigrants have been united.  Reflecting the increased number of immigrants being detained, the First Friends visiting program was expanded to service detainees at the Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearny and the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack in 2009 and 2010.  First Friends is currently seeking access to the Essex County Jail in Newark.


Feb. 20 Martha Gallahue  "Making Change the Better Way."
From the personal to the  political , many of us think change is difficult, but is it? This talk will discuss change and how to accomplish it gracefully. Ultimately, all changes boil down to behaving in a new way. Why do we sometimes resist change and sometimes welcome it. Martha will discuss the topic from 35 years experience as a psychotherapist and a recent book, Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard by Dan Heath.
Feb. 27 Gail Levinson, "Outstanding Visual Artists living with Disabilities; The story
of Arts Unbound." Gail Levinson is Executive Director of Arts Unbound, a studio
and gallery promoting emerging and established artists with mental, physical and
developmental disabilities. She will review the organization's mission, highlights of its 10 year history and some of the exciting and talented artists who are represented by the organization. Gail Levinson has worked in the human services field in NJ for over 25 years. She became executive director of Arts Unbound in 2007. Since that time the organization has increased in size and scope, serving over 200 students monthly and providing exhibitions of fine art and craft throughout NJ. Arts Unbound hosts a teaching studio and gallery in the Valley Arts District of Orange, NJ. In 2010, the agency opened a holiday gift shop in Maplewood Village that has provided additional opportunity for sales and promotion of artwork made by persons living with special needs.





March 6 Amy Blake, "Educating World Citizens at 7 and 8 Years of Age."

This conversation will introduce you to a teacher who is passionate about modeling and teaching "big ideas" through all aspects of the curriculum.

Using literature, reading, writing and the arts, Amy is hoping to model and grow "global citizens," children with an honest desire to know and think deeply. She believes the world will change if we just ask three questions as a "big umbrella" for everything: Is it safe? Is it kind? and Does it show respect? Take the personal and put it into the philosophical and we are all on a level playing field.

Amy Blake is a second grade teacher at Hartshorn Elementary School in Short Hills, New Jersey. She believes that if children (adults as well) were taught how to ask the big ethical questions and internalized the inquiry process we can change the world.

Through Philosophy for Children's inquiry circles, the curriculum and the arts, Amy creates a classroom where peace is learned, valued, and nurtured with the hope of all students taking and using this education as they walk forward in their lives.

March 13 Antonia Messina and Michael Moroch, "The Origins of Flamenco"

How did the gypsy pogrom from India through Egypt to Southern Spain lead to this passionate music and dance? Flamenco is an expression of self-worth, vitality and independence. What makes flamenco "flamenco" — unique stylizations in music, singing and dance. Demonstration of guitar, singing and dance. Antonia Messina is a Maplewood resident and long-time performer and teacher. She started studying when she met a California gypsy in Rome, Italy in the 1980's and hasn't stopped since. She teaches and performs locally and in NYC.

Antonia is a mother of three and in her spare time practices law as a criminal defense attorney in NYC. She was featured in More magazine, "Firsts over 40", and the NJ Star Ledger, "I Am New Jersey." To learn more go to VivaFlamencoNJ.com

Michael Moroch (guitarist) started by playing folk guitar and banjo but quickly became a convert to flamenco after moving to Madrid in the 1960's. Ever since he's played for a variety of dancers including Jorge Narvarro and Antonia Messina. He plays regularly for Antonia's classes and performs locally in clubs and restaurants. Go to michaelmoroch.com for more info.



March 20 Bart Worden, "Contributing to Life"


Bart Worden asks, "How would one go about exerting energies in ways that would result in positive benefits for others and for oneself?" at our Sunday Platform at 11:00 AM on March 20th. In William McDonough and Michael Braungart's book, Cradle to Cradle, they propose that rather than continue to design products in a "cradle to grave" paradigm of production, usage, and disposal designers seek instead to create goods and services that generate ecological, social and economic value-that is products and processes that contribute to life rather than deplete it. Ethical Culture's maxim, "elicit the best in others and thereby elicit the best in oneself," echoes a similar sentiment We are urged to engage with others to and work to unlock hidden potential for the good and so contribute to a more ethical culture.

Bart Worden is the current Leader for the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester in White Plains, New York. He obtained his bachelor's degree from Hope College in 1978 majoring in Philosophy of Religion. In 1983, he obtained a master's degree in social work from N. Y. U. and then served as a social worker and psychotherapist for adults with psychiatric disabilities. Bart has worked with The Guidance Center-a community mental health center-since 1986 and currently serves the organization as their Associate Executive Director. His wife, Ruthanne, introduced him to the Ethical Society twenty-five years ago, and their sons, Gary and Jeff, are graduates of the Sunday School.

As part of his training for Ethical Culture Leadership, Bart attended the Humanist Institute in New York City, from which he graduated in 1997. Bart is a member of the AEU Leadership Committee and has been a
faculty member of the AEU Lay Leadership Summer School since 2007.



March 27 Bob Manley, "Global Responsibility and Human Consensus: A 10,000 Year Perspective"

That is the working title of Bob Manley's book, now in progress. He will discuss the work of the Center for Global Responsibility, of which he is the founder and president.  Its "tag line" is "Advancing thought and action for dealing with major problems and opportunities facing humankind." Its major concerns are: ending hunger and poverty; advancing respect for human rights, especially for women and girls; protecting the environment and conserving non-renewable resources; achieving peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts; and supporting more democratic, transparent, non-corrupt, efficient and effective governance at all levels from local to global. (www.globallyresponsible.com)

Robert H. Manley's studies included political theory, international relations, comparative politics, world history, political theory, the economics of international trade and international law. He has had substantial teaching and research experience in the public policy area. He taught courses in comparative and international public policy at Seton Hall University and New York University. He has been fortunate to spend considerable time in various parts of the world.

In 1975, Bob Manley founded the International Public Policy Institute, a non-profit which has had a consultative relationship with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 1984. He edited an annual journal published by the Institute, is the author of a book on Guyana's transformation to independent status and various other publications in the fields of international law, public policy and related areas.

Bob has taught political science and related subjects at colleges and universities here and abroad. He served as Director of the Ford Foundation financed Non-Western Studies Program at the Atlanta University Center, and as chairperson of the Political Science Department at Seton Hall University. He was one of the founders of the Master of Public Administration program and the Center for Public Service, as well as the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, at Seton Hall University, serving as the initial Associate Dean and then as Director of Graduate Studies at the School of Diplomacy. He is a member of the New York and New Jersey bars.

In teaching political theory, Bob has taken a comparative approach, focusing on the work of important figures from various parts of the world, focusing on both leading figures in the so-called "western" canon and important leaders who had made significant contributions in African Political Thought.

The global-level political thought approach became an important base for Bob's current work on globally responsible political thought and public policy. Bob was an early figure in helping develop the concept of International Public Policy.





April 3 — CW2 Adam Sternglass "Memories of a Jewish serviceman in Afghanistan"

CW2 (Chief Warrant Officer Second Class) Adam Sternglass, who lives in Elizabeth, came back from Afghanistan on medical leave. He will discuss his decision to enlist at 18, inspired by stories from vets from WW I to Vietnam, over the objections of his parents. He will describe his interactions as a Jewish soldier with Christian fellow servicemen, and with Moslems, and with a German contingent in Kabul, as well as various experiences as an American serving in Kuwait and Afghanistan and — back home — doing outreach in Elizabeth, as a soldier on a bicycle.

"After graduating from Great Neck South Senior High School in 1978, I joined the Navy for four years. I was in the engine room. As a young sailor, I was in the South Pacific and Japan. My favorite sea story was in the Philippines when I was 20. The locals stood around me and thought I looked like Jesus — I had a beard then. In college, I stayed in the Navy Reserve for two years. I did a weekend a month while at SUNY Buffalo. The VA paid most of my tuition.

"I came back into military service in 2000 while I was earning good money as a computer tech. I worked on Wall Street and assorted consulting firms. I returned for extra money and retirement; I had already done six years, I told my wife. I did a weekend a month. After September 11, I have had three Mobilizations as well as little call-ups in the States. I did port security in NYC. I was in Alabama for two months. Since 2002, I have spent a total of 3 ½ years away from home. I have a wife and three children. In my three MOBs, I've been to the Mediterranean, Germany, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan."



April 10 —Nancy Zak and Arnold Cohen, "The State of Affordable Housing in NJ and the nation"


With Governor Christie saying he will kill the Council on Affordable Housing and the federal government proposing major cuts to HUD programs, what is happening to affordable housing? Arnold Cohen and Nancy Zak, who have worked on housing issues in New Jersey for over 20 years, will discuss the impact of the latest state and federal actions and what we can do about them.

Nancy Zak is a Newark resident who has been working for Ironbound Community Corporation doing community organizing for over 30 years. She has been involved as an organizer with a variety of citywide issues, including affordable housing, tenant rights, city budget issues, planning, zoning and environmental concerns. On the neighborhood level, she has been active in environmental clean up, neighborhood planning and quality of life issues for the Ironbound community. She published a tri-lingual neighborhood newspaper, "Ironbound Voices," for over twenty years. One proud accomplishment was coordinating a successful park preservation effort for Riverbank Park, a 100-year-old Olmsted park which was threatened with demolition, through a volunteer community group called SPARK (Save the Park at Riverbank). Nancy lives in Newark with her husband, Newark native Arnold Cohen, and her daughter Beth.

Arnold Cohen is Policy Coordinator of the Housing & Community Development Network of NJ, responsible for coordinating the Network's public policy advocacy and education activities. Mr. Cohen joined the Network in 1994, prior to which he worked in organizing grassroots and statewide public policy campaigns in the areas of affordable housing, early childhood education, health care and environmental justice. In addition to his work at the Network, Mr. Cohen sits on the boards of the Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Environment and the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness and is a member of the Anti-Poverty Network Steering Committee.


April 17 — Martha Gallahue, "Will the Nations Face Up To Climate Change?"


Martha Gallahue will share her reflections from her participation in the last Climate Change Conference in Cancun as to the state of the nations in addressing this critical topic. She will offer several "open doors" that some countries are pursuing and recommend a couple of steps that civil society can take to help them become more decisive.










April 24 — "The Religious Celebrations of Spring"


A panel with Lisa Novemsky, Elaine Durbach, Meredith Sue Willis, and others leading a discussion on our personal responses to the spring religious celebrations, Passover and Easter, with all their traditions and associations — of belief, moral teachings, and gustatory delights (e.g. chocolate eggs and crunchy matzoh). Members are invited to bring their favorite seasonal snacks and some of the symbols cherished by their families.


May 1— Panel on "An Ethical Sunday School"
 Wendy and Janet Levin-- 1960's                      Anne Francois & Nora Proops 2000's

           Joel Weinberger, Andrew Graves, Molly Gilman Teen Groups

Betty Levin has invited parents and students who have experiences from our past Sunday Schools
to participate in a panel discussion of those experiences. The panel members from past Sunday
Schools are Jill Fox, parent and teacher; Andy Weinberger, parent; and Alice Robinson-Gilman and
Howard Gilman, parents.   We are also looking forward. Anja Moen and Lisa Novemsky will present a suggested plan for starting a Sunday School here this fall.







May 8— Sapna Desai, "Dream Big — An Evoken-ing"

Sapna Desai's will speak abou elementary and middle school education in the public schools, comparing the current system with systems around the world; dentifying the need to rethink middle school education, highlighting major loopholes; exploring an opportunity to improve middle school education in under-served communities by providing free reading material and instruction; and concluding with a proposal to design a thoroughly researched curriculum. The mission is to inspire and encourage the youth of today to "dream big" and equip them with quality basic education as a
tool to see their dreams fulfilled.

Sapna currently works as a risk controller and she is a strong advocate of corporate social responsibility and participates in diverse volunteering projects with the help of her employer, Deutsche Bank. She is also an active tutor at Two Together, a not-for-profit agency committed to providing one-on-one mentoring to students as a part of their education program.







May 15— Annual Meeting-- Note 10:00 A.M. Start Time!
Introduction by Martha Gallahue, "From Our Starting Point"

Martha Gallahue will highlight three major issues that prompted the founding of Ethical Culture and
illustrate how they are relevant in Essex Society today. Adler believed that ethics was the universal
core of all the religions, that we worked out our lives in community and that our way to promoting
our humanity was to make the world better for all. Our guiding principles are: comprehensive
interconnection and interrelationship, ethical practice as foundational to social organization and
commitment to the good as an ideal.





May 22 Solidarity Singers Annual ECS Concert

The return of an Ethical Culture Society favorite — The Solidarity Singers, led by Bennet Zurofksy, will offer a program of songs. "We 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 fifteen 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, including the annual May Day celebrations at the Botto House/American Labor Museum. They sings songs in English, Spanish and Yiddish dealing with labor issues affecting public and private sector employees, union organizing, civil rights and current issues such as globalization, child labor and the exploitation of workers everywhere.





May 29 Tyrone Steed, Voluntary Service Program Manager, Voluntary Service, Department of Veterans Affairs of New Jersey Health Care System

Tyrone Steed has worked for the Federal Government for 31 years and at the VA New Jersey Health Care System for 29 years. As Voluntary Service Program Manager of the East Orange he has worked for the Federal Government for 31 years and at the VA New Jersey Health Care System for 29 years. As Voluntary Service Program Manager of the Eastrange campus he works with programs and services. They are supported by donations of material and financial resources. Tyrone communicates with volunteers and leaders of Veteran's Service Organizations (VSO's), and community organizations thru established ceremonies, activities, meetings and visits to various posts and chapters, and conventions throughout New Jersey. Voluntary Service works to enhance: Recruitment of volunteers; Fundraising; Managing and distributing material donations; and Coordinating special events and programs.




June 5 Naheed Bahram, “Situation of Women in Afghanistan — 10 years on the Front Lines”
Ms. Bahram will begin with an introduction and a WAW (Women for Afghan Women) video. Her presentation will cover WAW’s work, opportunities and challenges in Afghanistan and New York and current challenges facing women in Afghanistan including women’s rights and the international presence in Afghanistan.
Naheed Bahram is Program Manager of WAW Queens Community Center. She was born to a working-class, conservative family in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her family migrated to Peshawar, Pakistan after the loss of her mother in a bomb explosion in Kabul. After attending school in Pakistan, Ms. Bahram served as the Program Manager for the Kahkashan Training Center, which offered ESL and computer classes to Afghan women and girls in Peshawar, Pakistan. She moved to the United States in 2004 as an international student, and she will graduate from Queens College in June 2011 with a dual BA in Finance and Economics. Ms. Bahram has been working with WAW since 2007 and has served in every capacity from volunteer to caseworker. She now runs the Queens Community Center and manages programs that reach more than one hundred local Afghan women and girls each month. Visit the website: www.womenforafghanwomen.org


June 12 Dr. Jeffrey B. Rubin, “The Art of Flourishing”

In more than thirty years of studying, practicing and teaching Eastern meditative and Western psychotherapeutic disciplines,  Dr. Jeffrey B. Rubin has discovered that combining both paths is profoundly more effective than following one alone. In The Art of Flourishing, Dr. Rubin integrates meditative, psychotherapeutic and yogic practices to show readers how to live well and thrive, even in times of challenge. The two main aspects to flourishing he’ll discuss in his talk are genuine self-care – building into our lives what helps us thrive — and achieving enduring fulfillment within our relationships.

Dr. Jeffrey B. Rubin is in private psychotherapy in New York City and Bedford Hills, NY. He is considered one of the leading integrators of the Eastern meditative and Western psychotherapy traditions, the creator of meditative psychotherapy, and the author of the forthcoming book The Art of Flourishing (Crown, 2012). He has taught at various universities, psychoanalytic institutes, and Buddhist and yoga centers and is the author of three previous books include the groundbreaking Psychotherapy and Buddhism and The Good Life. You can see more about Dr. Rubin and his work at www.drjeffreyrubin.com. Also, you can read about his work in the New York Times Magazine at www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/magazine/26zen-t.html.



Platforms resume Sunday, September 11, 2011










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