Class Correspondent

Jonathan Spack, Heller MMHS’79, writes, “I’ve been fortunate to have a wonderful family, good health and a fulfilling career. I’ve been married twice — about to celebrate my 21st anniversary with Tracy Fitzpatrick, a life coach — and have a 35-year-old son in San Francisco and an 18-year-old daughter finishing her first year at Clark University. Both kids are doing great, and I’m proud of them. No grandchildren yet, but there’s always hope. After sampling life in North Dakota, New Mexico and Cape Cod, I’ve lived in the Boston area since 1982. I play in an all-ages slow-pitch softball league, serving up floaters to 30-somethings as my team’s primary pitcher. After Brandeis, I earned a law degree from NYU. In 1979, I received a master’s degree from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, with which I’ve maintained a relationship through my work. In 2011, I served as an executive-in-residence at Heller. I’ve been a VISTA volunteer in a remote corner of North Dakota, a legal services lawyer on Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico and a discrimination complaints examiner for the federal government. But I’ve spent most of my career — more than 30 years — as executive director of a unique Boston-based nonprofit, Third Sector New England ( It’s a kind of management resource center for social justice nonprofits locally, regionally and nationally. Last year, we worked with nearly 500 mission-driven groups in a variety of ways to help them be more effective. If you live or work in Boston, you may have passed by our building, the NonProfit Center, near South Station, a vibrant community that’s home to 43 great organizations.” Marty Davis reflects on some lessons learned: “Looking back over the path that has led me from Brandeis to today, I feel as if life has taken me through a long series of twists and turns — past scary rough spots, mistakes, miscalculations and calamities. I wonder today not only at how I survived so far, but also at how beautiful and vivid the trip has been. I have been really fortunate with career, and family, and friends, despite the lonely and sad spots along the way. I have lost a little of the arrogance and cynicism we all wore back then, wrapped in Ralph Norman’s army jackets, to become a milder version, a little more humble. Somehow, I remain the same person with some battle scars. Looking forward, I have come to believe that even if I think I see the straight path, it, too, will be filled with surprises, some deep and painful, and some beautiful and rich. It all looked so clear back then — we all had plans but not a clue.” After graduating from Brandeis, Stephen Shiffrin went to Yale Law School and then spent a number of years as an assistant district attorney in the New York City Rackets Bureau, investigating and prosecuting organized crime, official corruption and white-collar crime. He got married near the end of his time in the DA’s office and has two children — Zoe and Ari. Zoe is a theater-set painter in Chicago, and Ari is figuring out what he wants to do with his life. Stephen spent a couple of years in the private sector before returning to the public sector as a state tax executive — first with NYC, then Massachusetts and finally Arizona. He retired from his position as assistant director of revenue in 2003 and joined Ernst & Young, where he has been doing tax consulting ever since. He concludes, “In summer 2010, I went into semiretirement, so I now mix my passion for golf (passion, not skill) with tax consulting. I plan on doing both until I can’t anymore.” American University history professor Allan Lichtman co-authored “FDR and the Jews” with Richard Breitman. The book examines whether President Franklin D. Roosevelt turned his back on the Jews in Hitler’s Europe or saved millions of potential victims by defeating Nazi Germany. Drawing upon many new primary sources, Allan and his co-author argue that the president was neither savior nor bystander.

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