Class Correspondent

65th Reunion
June 9-11, 2017

Using what I learned from Max Lerner, I came within a few votes of being elected a Democratic National Committee delegate, a better result than I ever expected. Another piece of news: “John Brown: The Legend Revisited,” written by our former history professor Merrill Peterson, is one of the four books required for the Kansas Humanities Council’s course “Before the Civil War.” Blame me for not including all the news sent in about grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Everyone understandably expresses much pleasure and pride in their children’s children’s activities and accomplishments, but there’s just not enough room to list everything. I hope to see you all at our 65th Reunion.

Penny Peirez Abrams writes that she and Julie Koss are surviving the Florida heat and rain better than are the flowers and tomatoes, which are within Julie’s purview. During the summer’s political conventions, Julie’s commentaries weren’t fit to print, and Penny’s consisted mainly of sighs and head shaking. Penny spends Tuesdays with her daughter; plays mah-jongg twice a week; and is still writing, now about her fairie garden. Julie enjoys bowling. Anita Hershman Avital lives part of each year in Israel, where the whole family gathered recently for a grandson’s wedding. Husband Moshe is a Holocaust survivor whose Jewish Broadcasting Service interviews can be seen on YouTube. A list of his books and his inspiring biography are available at Anita and Moshe call their grandchildren “miracle children.” Anita writes, “I retired from teaching in a Jewish day school seven years ago and still miss it. We are in good health and hope to continue to enjoy our three daughters and our miracles. I still recall the wonderful years I spent in the first class of Brandeis. Unforgettable!” Tamar Soloff Brower and her husband, Martin, are still traveling. For their next adventure, they are deciding whether to take a cruise to Hawaii or one between New York and Montreal. Emmanuel Tseklenis Denis and his wife,Lorraine, send their greetings. Manny is retired from his dental practice. The couple sold their homes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and moved to a condo in Honolulu that has beautiful views of the ocean and Diamond Head. One daughter is a philosophy professor in Atlanta, and the other is an acupuncturist and yoga teacher in San Diego. Paul Levenson, H’87, still practices health law on a full-time basis. Wife Sheryl, who is retired from her position as purchasing agent for Swampscott, Massachusetts, does local charity work. They have four dogs, including a golden retriever rescued from Turkey. Paul is still involved with Brandeis as a trustee emeritus. His children and grandchildren are spread out across the country, from Boston to Berkeley, California. Lenny Van Gaasbeek is a director and finance committee member at ecomaine, a Maine waste-to-energy and recycling facility owned by 20 cities and under contract with 57 other towns. Lenny is also on the budget and long-range planning committees in Hollis. His partner, Norma Meras Swenson, is on the board of Our Bodies, Ourselves. Caroline Shaffer Westerhof presented a paper titled “The Human Connection: Conscience Within Distance Learning — the Uneven Mix of Principles and Principals” at the spring conference of the Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education. The paper will be published in the next edition of The Nontrad Journal.

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