Class Correspondent

I am pleased once again to see so many Class Notes. You are all out there leading truly interesting and inspired lives, and we love hearing from you. In June, my family celebrated my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary; their two daughters, two sons-in-law, and five granddaughters shared a house for a week in Kiawah Island, S.C. It was a special time none of us will ever forget.

Don Friedman, P’13, and Ilene Miller, P’13, write, “We’re finally able to add a ‘P’ after our alumni status. Our daughter, Emily, was a midyear transfer to Brandeis (from Oberlin College) in the spring semester.”

Marian Bass writes, “As usual, in August, my family spent two weeks on Cape Cod. We then immediately flew out to Portland, Ore., for a family wedding. It was terrific to have an excuse to see a part of the country we had never visited before. On the Brandeis front, I enjoyed a summertime visit with Dale Morse and Jane Kaufman.” Robert Epstein reports that his 15th book, “Teen 2.0: Saving Our Children and Families from the Torment of Adolescence,” was released in April. Robert writes, “It’s got to be the first book anywhere that has front-cover endorsements from both Deepak Chopra and Newt Gingrich. The turmoil we see among our teens comes from treating them like children and isolating them from responsible adults.” Robert recently remarried and has four children and two stepchildren.

Steve Goldberg has a new job as director of strategic growth for Breakthrough New York.

Michael B. Goldenkranz,
who lives in Seattle, writes that he attended our 35th Reunion without “trying to reproduce our infamous yearbook photo (which, off the record, we did try to do at a prior Reunion).” During a recent Thanksgiving week, he helped build 10 houses in New Orleans for Habitat for Humanity, notwithstanding truly still professing to be “Mr. (Un)Handy.” He reports that he has been taking ballroom dance lessons, learning to play African hand drums, and — on a dare from his son — doing stand-up comedy. Michael guest teaches at a high school and does volunteer pro bono legal clinics at night. He writes, “I am grateful that my children had grandparents to attend their college graduations. I am blessed to have my family and my core close Brandeis friends.”

Leslie Grayburn Charbonnel has been living in Paris for the past 23 years with her husband, Roland, and their two children, Elisa and Benjamin. Elisa is a junior at Cornell and Benjamin is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. With half of her family on the East Coast, Leslie hopes to get to the United States more often to see family and friends. Since leaving Yves Saint Laurent perfumes, she has been involved in volunteer work for Make a Wish and other organizations.

After stepping down following 20 years as chair and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Christie Hefner has joined the board of the Center for American Progress, a leading progressive think tank. She is consulting for the Columbia Journalism Review and appears regularly on cable news to talk about business and public policy. In collaboration with The Women’s Conference, hosted by California First Lady Maria Shriver, Christie was involved in A Woman’s Nation, a study that discusses the dramatic shift of women in the workforce. In October, she delivered the Flanders District of Creativity speech in Belgium.

Kathryn Hellerstein is an associate professor of Yiddish at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has taught since 1993. She and her family visited China and Hong Kong in June 2009. The trip started her on her next project, “China Through Yiddish Eyes,” which follows up on her forthcoming books on Yiddish women poets. Her husband, David Stern, is a professor of classical Hebrew literature at Penn; their daughter, Rebecca, is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh; and their son, Jonah, is a sophomore at Penn.

Bob Jaffe works as an actor and director based in New York (although still rooted in Rhode Island). He is one of the artistic directors of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab (now in its third season), which presents staged readings of new plays during the summer. In addition, Bob recently toured with a solo play, “But for the Grace,” which is based upon the stories of people who live with hunger. His marriage to wife Jill is approaching 32 years, and their two children, Erica and Max, live and work in New York.

Hal Karas writes, “In June, we welcomed our second grandchild, Maya Rose Karas, joining her older brother Michael and parents, Jon and Kori, in Cleveland. Our son Steve is studying in Israel after serving several years in the army. I am still practicing law in Milwaukee and enjoying life. I think of Brandeis and Rabbi Al Axelrad frequently and fondly.”

Susan Landau writes that Thompson Street Entertainment, her production/management company, represents writers and directors, including Simon Beaufoy, who wrote “Slumdog Millionaire.” Her latest film, “Road, Movie” (shot in India), was screened this year at the Toronto, Berlin and Tribeca film festivals.

Donna Lubin Goldman writes, “I married a Canadian from Toronto, so we have been living in Toronto since 1974. We have three grown children — two married daughters and a son — and now two grandchildren. I have had an editing and publishing business for a number of years and recently co-wrote and published an art/music book about W.S. Gilbert’s (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame) drawings. I am also a docent at the Art Gallery of Ontario and give talks and tours every week. There’s a lot of tennis, golf and travel in my life right now, too, so fitting it all in is a project! We recently built a property up in Muskoka and have made sure there’s plenty of room for the entire gang. The old adage, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ certainly applies!” 

Since December 2000, Dale Morse has worked as director of operations at the Hunt-Ansbacher Family Office, a family foundation in Cambridge, Mass. Dale and her husband, John Salvati, have three children — son Joseph is a financial counselor with the Colony Group in Boston; daughter Jennifer is a teacher in Aurora, Colo.; and daughter A.J. is a translator in Madrid, Spain. John is the CFO of MAB Community Services in Brookline. Dale writes, “We’ve lived in Wellesley for more than 30 years and have no plans to move. We can’t; we have far too many books and a wonderful community of friends and family!”

Tom Phillips composes scores for films and TV programs. Last year he won an Emmy for a National Geographic Channel film, “Five Years on Mars.” Tom scored “Freedom Riders” (about the 1961 bus protest in the South), which was featured at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, for PBS’ “American Experience.” He is currently scoring another film for “American Experience.” Titled “Bone Wars,” it is about Othniel Marsh and Edward Cope, two “dueling” paleontologists in the late 19th century whose discoveries resulted in what we now call “dinomania.” Tom also has a Brandeis film connection. In 2006, he scored “Louis D. Brandeis, the People’s Attorney,” which aired on PBS and premiered at Brandeis.

Heidi M. Ravven, Ph.D.’84, reports that her book “Searching for Ethics” will be published next year. Heidi’s daughter, Simha (Simi) E. Ravven, is a second-year resident in adult psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, where she is doing both clinical work and health outcomes research.

Steven Ross is a professor of philosophy at Hunter College, CUNY, and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has been involved with the Cambodian Trust, which provides prosthetic devices for the victims of Cambodia’s civil war. He has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, and traveled and taught in Africa, Eastern Europe and Australia. Two years ago, he married a woman from Estonia, and they recently had a son.

Aaron Rubinger, senior rabbi of Congregation Ohev Shalom in Orlando, Fla., where he has been for 20 years, received an honorary doctorate of divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In the spring, he was one of 15 rabbis from across the country invited to the White House to participate in two meetings with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Ambassador Dennis Ross to discuss U.S.-Israel relations.

Steven Ruby is a clinical professor of surgery at the University of Connecticut. He is a practicing vascular and endovascular surgeon at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Conn. He serves as vice president of the New England Society for Vascular Surgery. His son,

Matthew Ruby ’08, recently received a master of health administration from Cornell University.

Shelly Stein became president and CEO of Glazer’s Distributors, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States. He was formerly a vice chair of global investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. One of the nation’s largest distributors of wine, spirits and malt products, Glazer’s was a client of Shelly’s for a number of years. Barbara ’73 and Shelly look forward to this new chapter in their lives. They will remain in Dallas, where the company is headquartered.

We tracked down Dwight Dickerson through Sally Zanger. Dwight and Sally attended the University of Michigan Law School together and both have practiced public-interest law for most of their legal careers. Dwight attributes this to Brandeis instilling in them the call for public service. After working as a legal-services attorney for 20 years and an affordable-housing developer for seven years, he is now administrator of the Paralegal Studies Program at California State University, East Bay. “Someday I may settle down and get a real job, but right now I am having way too much fun. I have a wonderful wife and two teenage daughters who are definitely keeping me on my toes.” His eldest, Faith, attends Brown University, and the youngest is a sophomore in high school.

Janice Burgess of New York is the creator and executive producer of “The Backyardigans,” an Emmy Award-winning musical adventure show that airs on Nick Jr.

Irwin Martin, who spent 25 years working in the pharmaceutical industry, has accepted a position as an associate professor in the School of Health Sciences at Eastern Michigan University. He teaches in the graduate program in clinical research administration. David Bloomfield is chair of the education department at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, on leave from Brooklyn College. He continues serving on the faculty of the urban education Ph.D. program at the CUNY Graduate Center. The author of “American Public Education Law,” he is frequently cited by local and national media on education law and policy.

Jill Stavenhagen has been teaching drawing at Blinn College since retiring from Texas A&M in 2003. She enjoys rehabilitating old structures and is working on an old building in Calvert, Texas, that she plans to use as a workshop/gallery ( She has three children — Lotte (an architect), Lucien (a computer programmer), and Julia. In the spring,

Paula Rabinowitz, a professor at the University of Minnesota, will hold the Distinguished Fulbright Professorship in American Studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai.

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