Newsletter April May 2013

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April - May 2013



Ethically Speaking
Newsletter of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

April & May 2013

Leader Message
Dear Ones, This will be my final newsletter message to you. Many emotions are alive for me right now. Catherine Bordeau Appreciation for the time spent with each of you. Pride in the work we’ve accomplished together. Optimistic about your future as a community. I am also feeling sadness, as I will truly miss each of you. The sadness is a normal part of any leaving process. My sadness is comforted by knowing that you will be present for each other, that you will have a skilled interim leader, and that you will find another leader who brings his or her gifts to share with you. I look forward to hearing from afar about your successes in these next steps. This is a unique opportunity to pause, breathe, and check in with yourselves about what you as a community need and want here at BSEC. I encourage you to be open to whoever comes next. Be welcoming. Share the trust, love, kindness and appreciation that you’ve shown to me. Help them feel at home here. Integrate them into your lives and this community. Help them succeed at being your leader. Allow them to love you and care for you. By doing all of these things, you honor my time here, and all we've learned together.  With peace, Catherine  

Greetings from the Board
Greetings BSEC Members, Spring is here once more and, as always, there is much to report from the Board of Trustees. Much of our focus recently is on facilitating transition for our members in these last weeks of Catherine Bordeau's tenure with us as our Clergy Leader in Training. On Sunday, April 7th at 1pm we will hold one community circle, facilitated by a Board member and another member, in which our community, including Catherine, can meet to follow-up on the processing we already did in a January circle. Please join us if you can. Also, please mark your calendars for a goodbye party with Catherine on Sunday, April 21st at 1pm, featuring wiffleball in the yard and Catherine's favorite, red velvet cake! As I reported in my last letter in Ethically Speaking, the board has convened a Leadership Council to cultivate leadership skills among our members that will fill some of the gaps at the Society in Catherine's absence and beyond. The Council is also working on recommendations to the membership for our future clergy leadership. The group has already met four times and has identified several possible paths for our immediate future, including the possibility of a short-term Interim Leader as we search for a permanent Leader. Stay tuned for more information. Meanwhile, interested members are welcome to join the Leadership Council and can check in with Rebecca Lurie for meeting details at [email protected]. Continued on P.3

Save the Date: Upcoming Events
Sun.,April 7, 11AM - Sunday Platform:“Occupy Poetry” Join the Brooklyn SocietyWriters as they raise their voices to stand-up, sit-in and protest the tidal wave of economic forces threatening Brooklyn's long standing communities and traditions. Mon., April. 8, 7:45PM - Ethical Living: Meditation Circle - BSEC Meeting Room Come explore chakra healing. You may want to bring a Yoga mat and/or a pillow. Sun.,April 14, 11AM - Sunday Platform:“Earth Connection and Everyday Ethics” with Claudia Joseph, founder and Director of the New York Permaculture Exchange and Director of Environmental Programs at the Old Stone House. Sun., May 19, 1PM-Membership Recognition Picnic and BSEC Birthday - A special picnic to celebrate our membership and the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture’s 106th birthday! Sun., June 2, 11AM - CSA Stepping Up Ceremony - Celebrating and recognizing those children who will be moving up to another class in our CSA program.  Sun., June 9, 3:30PM - BSEC Meeting Room - A memorial service for Diane Kirschner’s mother, Ethel Bershad Kirschner, will be meeting in the BSEC meeting room.

Ethically Speaking April & May 2013


The Legacy of Mary McCleod Bethune
By Abby Scher
Too often we lose the legacy of great movement leaders who the history books neglect. The civil rights leader and educator Dr. Mary McCleod Bethune is one such woman. The daughter of former slaves, born in South Carolina, she founded a woman’s college, now Bethune-Cookman College in Florida, became an advisor to presidents, including serving as director of the Negro division of FDR’s National Youth Administration, and launched that National Council of Negro Women. At our March 10 Women’s History Month platform, Dr. Brenda Greene of Medgar Evers College shared Dr. Bethune’s legacy, a written statement she truly wrote for the ages. It is quite moving to read in full, but here is an excerpt: I leave you love. Love builds. It is positive and helpful. It is more beneficial than hate… I leave you hope. The Negro’s growth will be great in the years to come. Yesterday, our ancestors endured the degradation of slavery, yet they retained their dignity. Today, we direct our economic and political strength toward winning a more abundant and secure life. I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. As long as Negroes are hemmed into racial blocs by prejudice and pressure, it will be necessary for them to band together for economic betterment… I leave you a thirst for education. Knowledge is the prime need of the hour. More and more, Negroes are taking full advantage of hard-won opportunities for learning, and the educational level of the Negro population is at its highest point in history… I leave you a respect for the uses of power. We live in a world, which respects power above all things. Power, intelligently directed, can lead to more freedom. Unwisely directed, it can be a dreadful, destructive force. I leave you faith. Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible… I leave you racial dignity, I want Negroes to maintain their human dignity at all costs. We, as Negroes, must recognize that we are the custodians as well as the heirs of a great civilization… I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with your fellow men. The problem of color is world-wide… I leave you finally a responsibility to our young people… Our children must never lose their zeal for building a better world. They must not be discouraged from aspiring to greatness… Nor must they forget that the masses of our people are still underprivileged, ill-housed, impoverished and victimized by discrimination. The Freedom Gates are half ajar. We must pry them fully open.

By Lujira Cooper  Where can I go to get help? I stand alone Where can I go to help? I stand alone. I’m being warred, destroyed Left alone I work without love I live without hope I stand alone. I’m invisible A shadow passing darkly People pass But not see me I’m enraged but I cannot lash out Against whom I stand alone. Today I stand but not alone I come to be ONE I choose my battles I am united. I reach out a hand It’s grabbed. I offer compassion It’s accepted. I work to better myself The world benefits. No longer do I stand alone. I reach out a hand It’s grabbed. I offer compassion It’s accepted. I work to better myself The world benefits. longer do I stand alone.

The Ethical Action committee organizes the Society to discuss and act on social justice issues. It meets the 3rd Sunday of every month in the library. All are welcome. – Gregory Tewksbury, chair
Dr. Kelby Harrison at a Recent Sunday Platform
Photo Credit: Ben Halberstam

The Brooklyn Society Writers
(Writers’ Group) This group includes writers of all levels, all are welcome. The Brooklyn Society Writers, meets Sunday 1-3PM. Upcoming meetings: April 14th, April 28th, May 12th and May 26th. Interested? Contact Kim Brandon: [email protected]

Ethically Speaking April & May 2013


Community Circle: Catherine’s Departure
Sunday April 7th: 1-3PM Join us after platform for a Community Circle with Catherine Bordeau. We will share time talking about her tenure, her departure and the lessons and appreciations we have that we want to take to our search for our next leader. Please note: this is a circle for members only.

Farewell Party for Catherine’s Departure
Sunday April 21st: 1-3pm BSEC Meeting Room Join us, after Catherine's final platform, to celebrate and toast our fabulous leader-in-training as we send her off with spirit, love and appreciation. POTLUCK: Members, please help with the food by Last name: A-G= drinks or dessert . H-O= Main Dish. P-Z= Salad, Side or Snack.
Catherine Bordeau BSEC’s clergy leader in training
Photo Credit: Ben Halberstam

Continued from P.1 Members will have an opportunity to weigh in on the Leadership Council's recommendations soon. Officially, we'll make some decisions regarding our next steps and our FY 2014 budget at our June Member Meeting, Sunday, June 23rd, following platform. Please plan to come! Also at this meeting we'll be electing a new member to the Board of Trustees. We are looking for candidates! Serving on the Board is a rewarding job, an opportunity to work with a creative and skilled team of members, and a great way to learn about the Society and help shape its future during this critical time of transition. Please contact Erin Moore, chair of the Nominating Task Force, at [email protected], if you're interested in running. We'd love to have you. Best wishes for a happy and healthy spring. Yours, Jean Rohe (President) Rebecca Lurie (VP)

Let Rebecca Lurie ([email protected]) know if you can help with set up or clean up on the day of. Party will include a fabulous game of wiffle ball so bring your team game!There will also be an open mic if you want to plan a few words.

Ethical Action Events
The Ethical Action Committee’s mission is to educate our members and the larger community about vital local and global ethical and social matters. The Ethical Action Committee (EAC) recruits speakers for BSEC platforms, organizes seminar and workshop programs, and sponsors book discussions and video events. Committee members network with neighborhood groups that share our concerns. All are welcome. The Ethical Action Committee meets the 3rd Sunday of every month in the Library. Check the BSEC website for upcoming Ethical Action Events.

Ethical Living Events
Ethical Living Meditation Circle Mon., April 8th: 7:45PM BSEC Meeting Room Please join us on April 8th as we continue to explore Kabbalah meditation . You are encouraged to bring a quote, thought, picture, poem, meditation to share. We meet on the second Monday of each month at 7:45, in the meeting room. All are welcome. Ethical Living Committee Meeting Mon., April 15th: 7:45PM BSEC Meeting Room Come, join the discussion bring your ideas and interests!


Ethically Speaking April & May 2013

Ethical Education

CSA Contacts Lucy: [email protected]
Alva: [email protected] Otis: [email protected] Simba: [email protected]

Otis with some Lower Assembly children
Photo Credit: Ben Halberstam

Ethical Education and the Children's Sunday Assembly thanks Lucy, the teachers, teen assistants and special guests who have made this winter a great semester. As we move into spring, we look forward to these important dates: The CSA platform celebration and graduation ceremony (stepping up) will be Sunday, June 2nd. Our family dance party will be Friday, June 7th. It will be a fundraiser. More details to come. ~Suzie Sky
Ian of the Lower Assembly
Photo Credit: Ben Halberstam

Xeta a recent CSA activity

Left to Right: A visitor at a recent CSA activity, Prajna, and CSA teacher Simba.
Photo Credit: Ben Halberstam

Photo Credit: Ben Halberstam


Ethically Speaking April & May 2013

Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture 53 Prospect Park West Brooklyn, NY, 11215 718-768-2972

Save Member Recognition Picnic and BSEC’s Birthday Party May 19th 1-3PM!
the Date:

“BSEC: Guiding free-thinkers since 1907”
Stay Informed, Connected, and Involved with BSEC
Website: Blog: Facebook: Friend “Brooklyn Ethical” and “Like” our page:

Member’s Event
Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble Presents Restoration: Vienna 1938 a Play About Memory and Art Written By Joel Shatzky What happens to a family when a painting looted by the Nazis is returned to them two generations later? Present and past merge in this memory play based on the playwright’s family history.
April 28 & April 30: 7:30PM

Ensemble Studio Theatre 549 West 52nd Street (Near 11th Ave.) For Reservations call: 212-262-4216 Admission: $10 (seniors and students: $7)

To submit an article or photography to the newsletter please send an E-mail to [email protected] and check the Newsletter section of website for dates and guidelines for submissions. Interested in BSEC membership? Contact Carolyn or Dan at [email protected]

BSEC Staff Catherine Bordeau - Leader in Training Damal Edmond -Administrative Director Ben Halberstam - Communications Manager

Newsletter Editors Ben Halberstam Joel Shatzky

Board of Trustees 2012-2013 Tom Castelnuovo" Fiona Boneham Kim Brandon" " Tom Castelnuovo Alec Gershberg" " Rebecca Lurie Lucy McNair " " Donna Minkowitz Erin Moore" " Jean Rohe

Ethically Speaking April & May 2013


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