Class Correspondent

Here we are in 2015. Where does the time go? At Thanksgiving, we visited our daughter Tracy and her husband, Jon, in California. It was our first time seeing them since their wedding in July. Our younger daughter, Laura, lives and works in New York City, and we see her whenever she has some free time. In February, we spent a week with my parents in Florida. We also took a trip to Pennsylvania to celebrate our brother-in-law’s 60th birthday. Remember, your Class Notes provide everyone with a window into what you’ve been doing — keep them coming! If you’re not receiving email reminders from me, I don’t have your address, so please let me know.

Jane Goldman Ostrowsky, P’06, P’13, reports that she and her husband, Mark, have an adorable granddaughter, Colby Rose, who was born on Oct. 3, 2014, to oldest son David ’06 and daughter-in-law Lauren Schreider ’04. Since Colby lives nearby, Grandma babysits often. In fact, Colby had her first sleepover at Jane and Mark’s house in Newton, Mass., when she was only 5 weeks old. Their daughter, Sharon, continues to enjoy her special-education teaching position in Chelsea in NYC. Son Jonathan ’13 is totally immersed in Massachusetts politics. Mark plans to retire in July after a 35-year career in state government, and Jane is still quite active in residential and commercial real estate. In a far cry from his Near Eastern and Judaic studies classes at Brandeis, Steve “Buddy” Greene and his partners at Dalmatian Productions recently completed the script for a TV pilot for a one-hour drama about the investigative side of the fire service. Steve is a former volunteer firefighter/EMT, and his partners are also current or former emergency service personnel. The script is being shopped to various studios and production companies in Los Angeles and New York. Steve’s three years at WBRS aroused his interest in radio and television. Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill and her husband, Spencer Gill, are enjoying their move to Virginia Beach, Va., next to Norfolk, Spencer’s hometown. They’re also enjoying furnishing a new home, which has a guest bedroom for traveling Brandeisians. They are doing all the entertaining they didn’t get to do during the five years Ellen was in rabbinical school. She’s a freelance life-cycle officiant, teacher and doer of everything else a rabbi does. Cathy Morris Chernoff writes, “In October, I visited my son, Marc. He has been named the technical director at A Noise Within, a repertory theater in Pasadena, Calif. On Dec. 7, 2014, the limited run of ‘The Elephant Man,’ starring Bradley Cooper, opened on Broadway. It is one of the shows for which I am an investor.” Two documentaries scored by Tom Phillips will be broadcast on PBS. The first, on the Black Panthers, is for “Independent Lens,” and premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The second, to be shown on “American Experience,” centers on the assassination of President James Garfield. Marvin Pinkert, now director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, is having fun in Baltimore. In September, he opened a maze exhibition (“The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen”) chronicling the life of a man who was at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, and went on to become an adventurer, an Egyptologist and the first American tourist in Jerusalem. Marvin invites fellow Brandeisians to check out the exhibition before it closes in mid-June. Betsy Platkin Teutsch published a lavishly illustrated book, “100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women.” The upbeat book tells stories about effective poverty-alleviation practices and tools, many designed by women humanitarian technologists, and includes suggestions for reader engagement. The book is available at A portion of the proceeds go to causes Betsy has written about. Betsy and her husband, David, are also pleased to announce the arrival of their first grandchild, Shulamit Zissel, born to Zachary Teutsch and Rebecca Rosen on Nov. 17, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Heidi Ravven, MA’74, PhD’84, visited Brandeis to discuss her latest book, “The Self Beyond Itself: An Alternative History of Ethics, the New Brain Sciences and the Myth of Free Will,” which explores the question of how to encourage people to be more ethical more of the time. Heidi will make a trip to China to promote the book, which is scheduled to be published in Chinese later this year. She is a member of the advisory group to Jeff Sachs, director of the sustainable development project of the United Nations, and has advised Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, who was in charge of the U.S. State Department’s Rwanda desk during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, on lessons learned. Heidi’s daughter, Simha, a forensic psychiatrist, is a medical director at the Brattleboro Retreat, in Vermont. Stanley Reed chairs the litigation department at Lerch, Early & Brewer. His wife, Joyce Branda, is acting assistant attorney general for the civil division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Their sons are following in their legal footsteps: Ben is a third-year litigation associate at Hogan Lovells in New York City, and Alex is a first-year student at the University of Michigan Law School. Daughter Genna is in her second year in the Teach for America program, teaching ninth-grade algebra in Metairie, La. On Sept. 6, 2014, Betsy Sarason Pfau and her husband, Dan ’73, attended the wedding celebration of Josh Sohn, son of Francine Ladd Sohn and Roger Sohn ’73. Late September found the Pfaus cruising the Mediterranean, which meant touring for Betsy and a golf trip for Dan. They ended their trip in Lake Como, a spot they highly recommend. Both of their sons are in transition. David began a new job in London with Google DeepMind, where he is using his new doctorate in artificial intelligence. Jeffrey left Apple to get into the field of computer security. Stephen Simons, MA’76, PhD’02, is chair of the Judaica Collection Advisory Committee of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine at the University of Southern Maine’s Glickman Library. Peggy Smith was ordained as a dharma teacher within the Plum Village lineage by Thich Nhat Hanh. The ceremony was held at Plum Village, in France. Peggy was accompanied through the lamp transmission ceremony by her daughter, Gemma. She continues to share nonviolent communication with people at work, in families and in health-care settings, and with men returning from incarceration. She writes, “Life is full and rich with the tapestry of humanity.” Stanley Wakshlag attended games 6 and 7 of last year’s World Series, in Kansas City, Mo. He proudly wore a Brooklyn Dodgers No. 42 jersey to honor baseball immortal Jackie Robinson.
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