Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Interesting Viewpoints

Below is an excerpt from an email that I received today from a friend about a conversation that she had with a potential donor for a school she fund raises for in Israel. I thought the content was very interesting and wanted to pass it along..

"Last week I was talking to a prospective donor about the notion of how energizing it is to give kids who have nothing, EVERYTHING. So he asks me, "Why do you think it works?" In other words, most of the time, people think that giving money to "education" in general is sort of nebulous, and therefore wasted, BUT not to these kids since they literally start out with NOTHING AT ALL on any level. We launched into this whole conversation about the notion that given the proper education at birth, there are those of us who feel that the human animal will therefore be capable of good things -- true for anybody if you shape them right. So he says to me, "That's a pretty unrealistic, idealistic and Pollyanna-ish notion, don't you think?" And I told him, "Yes I do, but what happens if you DON'T believe that, then where would we be?" Then he tells me that most school systems are still immersed in the "fighter" philosophy -- teaching kids how to be wary and get a leg up in life, which is Darwinian and contrary to the whole notion of nurturing and kindness extended. He said, it's actually COUNTER INTUITIVE in terms of our reptilian brain and the immediate "fight or flight" conclusions it tends to jump to! I said, "No wonder it's such a hard sell! But, anybody who TRIES something is going to look better than somebody who doesn't. And when you try, then the results speak for themselves. On a micro level, Leo Baeck succeeds in creating leaders and they win education prizes for their efforts; on the macro level Israel's education system used to be in the top 5 and is now barely in the top 50. So what did he want to do about it? What would he want to go out and try? Which methodology? After all, nothing can be PROVEN unless TRIED first!

He started laughing and said, are you familiar with tough cases and overcoming? And I told him that I was, in a way, since my cousin was dyslexic and I had had to think about and research all sorts of ways that she could be kept up to speed. I told him that one of the things that worked the best was putting a marker above the text being read so that the mind has only one way to go. He said what else did you do? And I said that I always mentioned Niels Bohr, who was dyslexic, and won the Nobel Prize! I said for some dyslexics (like Nelson Rockefeller) money buffers alot, but I have always wondered about Bohr's parents (who were of modest means) and what on earth they could have done to encourage him! Food for thought, right?

At any rate, that conversation lasted 90 minutes! Can you imagine? I felt like I'd been put through the wringer at the end of it, seriously! All in a day's work!" ;-)

Have fun! I always do!


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another Great Woman Passes Away....

I learned today that my friend Ellie Dubin had passed away from her valiant struggle with brain cancer. I met Ellie almost 2 years ago at a cocktail party in Bridgehampton to benefit The Diabetes Research Institute. Ellie was a beautiful intelligent women with style and lots of class. I remember admiring her beautiful jewelry and gorgeous outfit. Several months after the party I learned from a mutual friend that Ellie was diagnosed with brain cancer. In September I spent 5 hours with Ellie and another friend Sandy Cahn driving to the UJA Lion of Judah Conference in Washington D.C. Although Ellie spent much of the time resting in the backseat we all talked and stopped for a bite at Panera Bread in Maryland. Ellie and I laughed while Sandy rushed us to get moving and back on the road. Ellie who was undergoing treatment at the time wouldn't even think of missing the conference. She was a real trooper. On the drive back Ellie and I spent hours chatting and I had the most wonderful time. I dropped Ellie off at her home and we made plans to have lunch in the next few weeks. I called Ellie to confirm plans but she had to cancel because of a doctor's appt. Ellie's condition had worsened. All those hours together on the trip to and from Washington with Ellie were fantastic. A women of valor has truly been lost. Rest in peace Ellie.

xoxo, Risa

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

When you can't sleep at 2 AM

If you've read earlier posts you will know I am not the best sleeper. Falling asleep is not a problem just staying asleep. So last night was one of those nights... I woke up around 2 something and couldn't fall back asleep till 4 or so. What to do?? Surf the web.. And for what... Kosher for Passover food. So first I loaded up a shopping cart on www.ohnuts.com to only find out that the $80 worth of KP cakes, chips, candies and nuts were going to cost $55 to ship UPS Ground. I sense major shipping charge "chutzpah" here... So I bailed on that site. Then while googling Kosher for Passover food I found several others. I did lots of shopping on www.aviglatt.com filled up a huge shopping cart (LOL) with loads of Passover goodies and the mundane necessities like cooking oil, spices, matzo meal.. etc... My order totalled $150 and guess what no shipping charges!!! Granted I will be in Miami for Passover and the access to Kosher food is very good with several markets and many restaurants but I didn't want to have to deal with all the crowds on the Sunday before Passover at either Sara's Tent or Kosher Kingdom in Aventura. Of course I will go there to stock up too but amazing what you can do on the "Net".. My almost 2 hours of being awake were extremely productive!!!!

Have fun! I always do!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Fashion Industry Loses a Giant - Janet Brown has died

I have been a customer and friend of Janet Brown for quite a few years. I was very saddened this morning to receive a phone call from a friend telling me Janet was killed yesterday afternoon in a car accident on her way from her home in Oyster Bay to the store in Port Washington. I was shocked. I had just seen Janet this week at The Regency Hotel in NYC during one of her trunk shows that she hosted several times a year. I had handed her a bracelet that she needed to have repaired for me. It is so surreal. Although Janet operated her business out of a small shop in Port Washington for many years most of her clients were NYC's society set. She dressed them all! Janet had a keen eye for fit and a level of taste and style is that very rarely seen. She was known all over the world in the high fashion industry. Janet I thank you for Kiton and Taher Chemerik and all the others!! Janet, my friend you will be sorely missed.



Thursday, March 15, 2007

The New York Synagogue Benefit

I had the distinct pleasure of co-chairing the The New York Synagogue Building Campaign Benefit this evening with my friends Sandy Cahn and Jerri Kronen. The event was spectacular as about 100 of us were treated to a piano recital by Marvin Hamlisch with some surprise special musical guests. The setting was the magnificent 5th Avenue home of Dr. Mona Ackerman who so graciously underwrote the evening. This is the first event to benefit The New York Synagogue which is in contract to purchase the building that currently houses The New York Genealogical Society on 58th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. My dear friend Rabbi Marc Schneier, the spiritual leader of The New York Synagogue and The Hampton Synagogue welcomed the entire audience and spoke about all the upcoming plans for the new synagogue as well as Marvin's connection to The Hampton Synagogue back in 1992 when ground was broken in Westhampton to build the shul. What a momentous occasion that was and now it is happening again here in New York City. How fortunate I feel to be involved with The Hampton Synagogue and New York Synagogue and all of our wonderful friends who have become like an extended family.

Have fun! I always do!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Nice G's Finish First

Is being nice so hard? I wonder. I think for some people it is. Makes me sad. Don't people realize that they can accomplish far more by being nice? Whats the old saying.. "You catch more flies with honey, then with vinegar." How true!! I am amazed too often how many people fail to know proper etiquette. Are we going back to Caveman times? Where has please and thank you gone? Why do so many people walk around with such a sense of entitlement? We were all put on this earth together.. Some of us have less.. Some more.. Some are prettier.. Some are larger.. Some smaller.. No one has the right to treat anyone different because of any of these circumstances. But unfortunately they do! Be nice or leave as the sign in my house says!!

Have fun! I always do!