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Paulette's Column in the World Jewish News Agency Reproduced from http://www.worldjewishnewsagency.org/column_of_paulette_attie.htm

 

COLUMN OF PAULETTE ATTIE

FRANK SINATRA AT NINETY

Photo: FRANK SINATRA being interviewed on Midday Live with BILL BOGGS. 

Photo: Friars John Marshall, Paulette Attie, Frank Santopadre, and Jim Murtaugh rehearse their Séance sketch on the Players .Club stage

The man, whose voice was the soundtrack for many of our lives, was affectionately remembered on what would have been his ninetieth birthday. Bill Boggs, talk show host and showman extraordinaire, put together an SRO afternoon at the Friars Club celebrating this Sinatra milestone. Boggs showed some of his TV interviews with Sinatra, from Midday Live with Bill Boggs. In one segment, Sinatra described a trick he’d learned from Tommy Dorsey about how to sustain a long musical line. Sinatra also did a lot of underwater swimming, to expand his lung capacity; fascinating for all, and especially educational for musicians.  Friars Club Dean Freddie Roman opened the event by saying, “The Friars is an amazing Club.

Photo: The cast of Paulette Attie's play: : Music Director David Andrews Rogers, Barry Dougherty, Patrick Tull, Dean Freddie Roman, Sandy Marshall, Friar Susan Lucci, Michael Allinson, Friar Paulette Attie, Sydney Zion, Friar Jim Murtaugh, Friar Stewie Stone, Friar Frank Santopadre, Friar John Marshall, Friar Len Cariou, Friar Tom Cotter, Friar Dick Capri, Friar Sal Viviano.
 

Look at the turnout we have. You knew Sinatra wasn’t going to show up, but you came anyway.” Participating in the event was LeRoy Neiman, Frank Sinatra’s official painter. Neiman created over a dozen paintings of Sinatra and another hundred or more sketches. Later, he shared with me what it was like to capture the essence of Sinatra: “It was hared to pin him down and convey the Sinatra power, which made him a tough subject.” On one occasion, after Sinatra was gone, Neiman was commissioned to do the cover of an album. Everyone seemed happy with it, but then, Neiman received a call from Nancy, one of Sinatra’s daughters who politely said, “You missed the expression in my father’s eyes when he’s listening.” They agreed that she would send him a photo.  Neiman had never worked from a photograph before, but he did that time. He created a new painting, and that painting became a Sinatra family favorite.

 

 

Photo: Frank Sinatra and Leroy Neiman on the set, during the filming of "Tony Rome.

Mark Simone, an encyclopedia of information about the great American songbook in general and Sinatra in particular related how Sinatra was put aside at birth and thought to be dead. He had an Aunt who looked at him and thought otherwise.  She smacked him many times and brought him to life. 

Boggs claimed that he had seen at least one hundred twenty live performances of Frank Sinatra. When we spoke later, he said, “It was more like one hundred fifty times.” That’s what you call a dedicated fan. It started with Boggs crashing a sold out performance at the Five Hundred Club in Atlantic City, disguised as a waiter. His audience presence at Sinatra performances spanned more than forty years. Boggs reminisced about how Sinatra’s interpretation of “You Make Me Feel So Young,” took on a whole different meaning when he sang it in his later years. In his early recording, it was a swinging, finger snapping rendition. When he was in his seventies, Sinatra sang it to the audience as if their presence made him feel young. Then we got to see, on video, Sinatra’s mature rendition of “You Make Me Feel So Young.” It was an up close, personal, multi-layered interpretation. Boggs pointed out that Sinatra was a singer who appealed both to men and women. He was the first singer who combined a tough guy persona, and also revealed a vulnerable side. He respected both the words and the music. In the 1941 Billboard survey, Sinatra went from being number 22 to the number one most popular male vocalist.  He didn’t like being bested by anyone or anything and once said, “I cannot bear to let anything lick me. If it’s hard, if I dread it, I can’t rest until I’ve made myself go through with it.” For good reason he was called “The Chairman of the Board.” His film roles were also standouts, earning him an Oscar for the part of Maggio in From Here to Eternity. As Neiman said, “He was the top man at whatever he did.” 

Photo: Painting of Frank Sinatra by Leroy Neiman.

Eric Comstock, Producer and performer of Our Sinatra, treated all present to a medley of Sinatra songs. Ervin Drake, writer of numerous hit songs, was introduced to great applause. He segued to the piano and sang one of his all time greats, “It Was a Very Good Year,” which later became one of Sinatra’s signature songs. Drake accompanied himself splendidly on the piano.  I asked Ervin Drake if he would write me a female version to his song. He kindly did so, coming up with a delicious set of lyrics. I premiered it in my off-Broadway one woman show, About Time, happily receiving excellent reviews for it. I was pleased to sing it again for the Friars Club. Sinatra’s over one thousand recordings set a high mark of excellence to inspire generations to come.

Photo: Frank D'Amore, one of Sinatra's favorites.

Sinatra the philanthropist was also an important part of the man. Some of his generosity was well known, as in establishing the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center. Some were less noticed, like giving the New York University Dental School a piano for their auditorium, and some were known by maybe only one or two. Frank D’Amore, mentioned in my “Making Matters Better” column, Filling Bob Hope’s Sizeable Shoes, shared a story with me about a little known example of Sinatra’s generosity. D’Amore was the opening act comic for Sinatra’s shows at the Fountainbleau Hotel in Florida, a tour in the U.S., in Australia, and what was supposed to be a series of concert dates in New Zealand. Sinatra cancelled the New Zealand dates for personal reasons, namely because he wanted to be with Ava Gardner. When D’Amore was called to pick up his check for the New Zealand dates, he said, “I can’t do that. We didn’t do the job.” A few minutes later, he got a call from Sinatra saying something to the effect that, “You’d better pick up that check, or I’ll break your arm.” Sinatra made sure that those he cared about benefited from knowing him, whether they agreed with him or not.

Sidney Zion, feisty and highly respected columnist currently writing for the New York Daily News, told me how much he appreciated Sinatra’s contribution to his charity which provides scholarships for students: The Zion Fund for the Performing Arts. In 1985, Zion did an hour and ten minute interview with Sinatra at Yale University. Zion also produced a Celebration on Sinatra’s birthday that was held at the Players Club in New York. Knowing Zion’s passion for the great American songbook, and also for the man whom he calls “the best,” it had to be outstanding. Zion said that the centerpiece of the event was showing twenty minutes of his Sinatra interview. Zion’s show ended with film clips of Sinatra singing with Ella Fitzgerald. For music lovers, it doesn’t get any better than that. I hope many places around the world celebrated the birthday of the man whom many believe was the greatest entertainer of all time.  For the Friars Club, their event had special significance. Sinatra was Abbott of the Friars Club from 1975 to 1996. The Club’s main eating room was officially named the Frank Sinatra Dining Room at their Sinatra Birthday Celebration. When the big ball fell on Times Square in New York, ushering in 2006, the song that was played was “New York, New York,” sung by Frank Sinatra. The sound track continues. 

 

 

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 Reproduced from http://www.worldjewishnewsagency.com/paulette_attie.htm

Making Matters Better (THE GOOD NEWS)  PART 1             

Paulette Attie

By Paulette Attie

We are constantly bombarded by news that, at best is discouraging, at worst, frightening.  We often sum up these exposures with words like,“ going from bad to worse,” “to add insult to injury,” “no good deed goes unpunished,” and “making matters worst.” When was the last time you heard someone say, “making matters better?”  You’ll start seeing that expression regularly, right here at The World Jewish News Agency. Paulette Attie (Award winning writer, singer, and actress), will write a column called “Making Matters Better.”  Should anyone wish to recommend an organization, person, writer, book, that makes a positive impact on people’s lives, send your suggestion to paulette@worldjewishnewsagency.com  If it’s an organization, include their mission and what they're doing to fulfill their goal.  If it’s a book, what is the book’s theme and why does it make a difference. 

PREVIOUS ARTICLES BY PAULETTE ATTIE Part 1

CENTER FOR PEACE THROUGH CULTURE

CENTER FOR PEACE THROUGH CULTURE seemed an excellent organization to include in this inaugural column. Their purpose is very much in alignment with what World Jewish News Agency is about. There is more first rate coverage of music, art, theatre, and book reviews on these pages than you’ll find in most major newspapers worldwide. We know a people by their art. I have said that art is the signature of a culture. Few people could name who was King of Austria in 1790, yet in his brief 35 years (1756-1791), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart left a legacy that defined the exquisite beauty and elegance of his era.  Sometimes art must find a way to survive in spite of obstacles and resistance. CPC is sponsoring an endeavor that had to overcome numerous obstacles in order to exist. On Tuesday, November 29th, at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York, the Exile Theatre from Afghanistan and New York’s Bond Street Theatre will present their combined project, Theatre of Hope: Fostering Healing in War Ravaged Lands. The video/lecture with live performance shows the extraordinary results of the two companies’ work together. Theatre, film and TV artists were forced to leave Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. While in exile, they created plays that reflected the social, political and cultural conditions of the Afghan people, despite interference by Pakistan police on many occasions. Since their return to Afghanistan, they’ve become leaders in revitalizing their country’s theatre, film and experimental media. The two theatre groups first met in the refugee areas of northern Pakistan shortly after 9/11 and have been collaborating on projects for adults and children in Afghanistan ever since. “Through our theatre, we hope to bridge the chasm of misinformation that separates our two countries and cultures,” Joanna Sherman, Bond Street Theatre’s Director said “to help transform beliefs that separate people, and turn them into attitudes of inclusion and acceptance.” Bond Street Theatre, founded in 1978, has received the prestigious Mac Arthur Award. They’ve performed in major theatres and festivals worldwide. The company is dedicated to creating theatre that crosses cultural borders and brings their theatre work to refugee camps and areas of conflict. The video/lecture, with live performance and music, tracks the journey these two companies have taken together. They have brought theatre to schools, hospitals, and amidst the debris of bombed out areas in the remotest regions of Afghanistan. 

CPC’s mission further states: “As these walls that separate us come down, we are able to see each other with new eyes. We learn to transcend the boundaries of nationality, race, religion, and gender, meeting each other as fellow humans in a world enriched rather than divided by our cultural diversity.”

Theatre of Hope: Fostering Healing in War Ravaged Lands is being presented at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street on Tuesday, November 29 at 6:30 PM. It is free and open to the public. The Graduate Center CUNY is sponsoring a reception and refreshments after the presentation, where patrons can mingle and talk with the performers. Limited seating is available and on a first come, first served basis. Early arrival is recommended. Another piece of good news is that the Graduate Center CUNY presents some of the most innovative programs to be found in or outside of New York City. The ticket price is further good news: Admission for single events is free, with a suggested donation sometimes suggested. This season, their theatre presentations include Japanese Theatre, the Carte Blanche French-American Dialogue Series, The Arab Oedipus, and Goldfaden’s Yiddish Theatre. Dr. Frank Hentshker, Director of theatre programming for Graduate Center CUNY, has attracted outstanding international theatre companies to perform at this unique venue. 

Photo: Mount of Five Treasures (Two Worlds) by Nicholas Roerich, courtesy of the Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York.

Photo: Portrait of Prof Nicholas Roerich in the garden of his home in Kulu, India, stood beside a statue of Guga Chohan. Painted by his son Svetoslav Roerich. Nicholas Roerich was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 9th October 1874 and died at his home in Naggar in the Himalayas on 13th December 1947. It has been stated that his paintings number around 7,000. These exist in numerous Museums worldwide and in several private collections. Roerich was devoted to Peace through Beauty or what he called Pax Cultura. His wife Helena Ivanova Roerich (12/2/1879 - 1955 published many books on the Agni Yoga Teachings to which spiritual Path the couple were devoted for their lifetime. The spiritual and mythological often provided Roerich with themes for his paintings. His output is generally divided into three periods: the Stone Age, the Theatre, and the Himalayan periods. The score for Stravinsky's notorious Rite of Spring is dedicated to Roerich, whilst many researchers go further in stating Roerich's degree of influence upon that project. 

 

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Photo: Painting of Path to Shambhala by Nicholas Roerich.

 

Photo: Roerich's Logo of Peace.

CPC sponsored an art exhibit of Nicholas Roerich paintings entitled Messenger of Beauty. The opening reception, which included a video of the life and art of Nicholas Roerich, took place on September 17 in the studio at Barbara Boughton Designs in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The exhibit remained open to the public for five weeks.  In addition to producing over 7,000 paintings, a staggering accomplishment by any measure, Nicholas Roerich was also a highly regarded archeologist, writer, lawyer, scenic and costume designer, and teacher.

Portret Nicholas Roerich 1929/1930, New York © Roerich MuseumPhoto: Nicholas Konstantinovitsch Roerich in  oktober 1874 in Saint-Petersburg.

Among Roerich's major achievements were his peace efforts. He created the Roerich Peace Pact, the Banner of Peace, and was nominated for the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize.  There are three circles in the CPC logo, which are a replica of the three circles in Roerich’s Banner of Peace. In the CPC logo the three circles represent art, science, and religion of all cultures, co-existing in beauty, truth, and harmony.  Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947), lived a life that exemplified the highest ideals he taught and expressed through his art. In the last years of his life, Roerich lived in Kulu Valley, in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains. He created some of his most uplifting paintings at that time.   Often called the Messenger of Beauty, he was also realistic. Roerich wrote: “In Beauty, we are united…not on the snowy heights, but amidst the turmoil of the city.” 

On September 20, CPC sponsored the Los Angeles premiere of Jeremy Gilley’s film Peace One Day. The event was the brainchild of Los Angeles film maker and CPC member, Mark Solomon. The showing took place at the Harmony Gold Theatre in L.A. Solomon was thrilled with the response from the highly diverse LA audience, including religious leaders and school children. Gilley, who flew in from London for the opening, said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for Peace One Day. Gilley’s purpose was to create a film addressing the possibility of having one day of peace in the world. He had spent 6 years making the film and traveled around the world, interviewing numerous leaders, about establishing one day of peace.Gilley answered questions during a lively exchange following the films presentation: "What happens next?" "What can we do for 2006?" "Is there a specific place in the world where a ceasefire can be attempted on the International Day of Peace?" Peace One Day has successfully driven the initiative for the United Nations to set an International Day of Peace as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence. That day was established in 2002 as September 21st. CPC member Brian Powell-Clendenning who flew in from Vancouver, BC for the L.A. showing said, “The event itself was particularly moving, quite beyond the scope of the gripping film itself.” Gilley’s simple message remains consistent: “We can do it. All it takes is the willingness to see even briefly past the immediate struggle and create peace one day.” CPC also co-sponsored a showing of Peace One Day at the Triplex in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, on September 20th. An exciting new and relevant activity for CPC is an interactive workshop that will soon be posted on the Center for Peace Through Culture web site.

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This workshop offers a series of exercises regarding beliefs we have which connect or separate us. CPC members are also offering workshops throughout the country, based on their research on core beliefs. The workshops, called “Believe it or Not: a Workshop on Beliefs that Unify and Separate Us,” are ideal for organizations, schools, etc. The areas of core beliefs covered in these workshops are: race, religion, gender, and nationality. More information will be available on the CPC web site.

MAKING MATTERS BETTER QUOTE OF THE MONTH is included in the Center for Peace Through Culture brochure, and it informs their numerous activities: "Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process-a way of solving problems.

 

Herb and Evelyn Strauss Gala Benefit Concert

 

For the past fourteen years, Evelyn and Herb Strauss have presented a gala benefit concert at Carnegie Hall to raise funds for leukemia in honor of their daughter, Lauri Strauss.  This year’s line up of stars offers "something for everyone," including Metropolitan and City Center Opera star - Mark Rucker, TV actor and talk show host - Tony Danza, Award winning actor - Len Cariou, and Catskill comic - Freddy Roman.   

LSLF GALA BENEFIT  CONCERT: “THE SUN’LL COME OUT TOMORROW!”.                                                                     

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 7:30 PM  Carnegie Hall
 

New York- "“Tomorrow is only a day away,” sings the heroine of Charles Strouse’s beloved musical, Annie. So, too, is the “tomorrow” when, thanks to ongoing medical research, leukemia and allied cancers will be defeated.  You can help bring that day even closer: join us at the Lauri Strauss Leukemia Foundation’s 2005 Gala Benefit Concert, on Monday evening, November 21, at Carnegie Hall.  We’ll be presenting a great lineup of great stars and great friends, including: Skitch Henderson, co-hosting the evening and conducting The New York Pops    for the 14th consecutive year. Charles Strouse himself, composer of such Broadway hit musicals as Annie, Applause, Bye Bye Birdie, and Rags — honored this evening with the LSLF Lifetime Achievement Award.

Photo: Herb Strauss, Vickie Smith and Evelyn Strauss.

 

 

Songs by Strouse, a special segment of Charles Strouse’s show-stopping songs, directed by Barry Levitt and featuring the voices of Eric Michael Gillett, Jason Graae, Hilary KoleTerri Klausner,  Connie Kunkle. Deborah Tranelli and Sal Viviano.  EXTRA! - Dick Van Dyke, who starred in Bye Bye Birdie, will appear via video. Tony Danza, popular television actor, host of his own daily talk show, and master of Doo-Wop.  Len Cariou, star of Applause, award winning Broadway star of both dramas and musicals. Mark Rucker, Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera star, hailed for his exceptional baritonesinging in memory of LSLF’s good friend, Robert Merrill.  Kenny White, international singer/songwriter/pianist/guitarist, introduced by LSLF’s own Judy Collins.  Jon Weber, jazz and stride pianist, a favorite at Birdland and The 92nd Street Y’s Jazz Festival, whose playing stopped the show at the 2005 MAC Awards.   Di Wu, acclaimed classical pianist — introduced by Gary Graffman, celebrated pianist and director of the Curtis Institute of Music.  Freddy Roman, comic star of Broadway, Las Vegas, Atlantic City and the Catskills, a laugh favorite at LSLF Galas.  Midge Woolsey, co-host, a New York favorite heard on WQXR and over PBS’s Channel 13. Don Abbott, once again keeping the evening rolling with his golden announcing tones from backstage.  Save the date now! Better yet, to make sure that you’ll be part of this festive evening. Lauri  Strauss Leukemia Foundation, 30 Park Avenue- Suite 11F, New York, NY 10016

SEEDS OF PEACE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Janet Wallach, soul, mind and heart of "SEEDS OF PEACE".

Ms. Wallach is currently executive vice president of Seeds of Peace, a conflict resolution program which brings together teenagers from the Middle East; India, Pakistan and Afghanistan; the Balkans; and Greece, Turkey and divided Cyprus. The organization has a year-round program that includes a summer camp in Maine, a Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, annual conferences and an educational arm that helps Seeds alumni attend college in the U.S. Over 3,000 participants have participated in a three-week session at the camp in Maine and then returned to their regions for further workshops, meetings and conflict resolution programs. Ms. Wallach is a Woodrow Wilson Institute Visiting Fellow and has taught at Earlham College; Longwood College; Ohio Wesleyan University; Stetson College; St. Olaph’s College; Bradford College; Susquehana College; and West Virginia Wesleyan College. As a frequent contributor to The Washington Post Magazine from 1982-1987, and as a contributor to Smithsonian Magazine and other periodicals, Janet Wallach has written cover story profiles of Iraqi Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon; Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan; Reza Pahlavi, heir to the throne of Iran; PLO envoy Hassan Abdul Rahman; Saudi entrepreneur Adnan Khashoggi; First Lady of Egypt Jihan Sadat; and the  British official Gertrude Bell. Janet Wallach was born in New York City and received a B.A. degree from New York University. She was married to the late John Wallach, founder and president of Seeds of Peace, and has two sons, David Allyn, and Michael Wallach.    

"Seeds of Peace epitomizes the kind of efforts so desperately needed in the Middle East to bring Arabs and Israelis in contact with one another at a personal level." Former Secretary of State Colin Powell

"The success of Seeds of Peace will mean a brighter future for the region and the world." Former United States President William Jefferson Clinton

"There can be no more important initiative that bringing together young people who have seen the ravages of war to learn the art of peace. Seeds of Peace is certainly an example of the world the United Nations is working for" United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan

"Seeds of Peace brings tomorrow's leaders together, changing minds and hearts one person at a time." United States President George W. Bush

 

"Seeds of Peace is greatly contributing to the cause of peace and is vitally important. If these young people represent the next generation, then I can only be more optimistic regarding the future. You are the true builders of peace." Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres

"The youngsters at Seeds of Peace are my symbol of coexistence and peace in the region."  Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President

 

Photo: John Wallach.

SEEDS OF PEACE began with a toast made over a glass of champagne.  John and Janet Wallach were attending a small reception in Washington D.C. honoring Israel’s then Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres.  The Wallachs had co-authored 3 books about the Middle East, and were highly respected in Washington circles.  It was at that dinner that John Wallach spontaneously proposed that he would start a camp in the United States where teenagers from conflicting areas could work and play together.  Most importantly, they could get to know each other as human beings and not “the enemy.”  Also present at the party were the Egyptian Ambassador and the PLO Envoy.  Wallach asked them, along with Peres, to go back to their governments and ask for teenagers from their communities to attend the camp. His reasoning was that the only way to effect a change is by working with young people who were not yet entrenched in hatred:  “If you can change their thinking, you can change their behavior.”  A camp setting would give them the opportunity to form friendships and develop trust and respect for one another.  The brilliant thought behind that was when these teenagers became adults, they would become leaders and effect a positive change in the world. It’s one thing to propose a toast under the heady influence of sparkling champagne.  It’s quite another to fulfill the promise.  Wallach first had to overcome a number of obstacles.  There was getting the governments to approve of sending representatives.  He then had to raise the money to run the program and find a qualified staff.  Importantly, he needed a summer camp that would donate their facilities to try this experiment.  He found it at Camp Powhatan in Otisfield, Maine, where his son had been a camper. 

Photo: Her royal Majesty, Queen Noor of Jordan.

Six months later, in August, 1993, 46 Israeli, Egyptian, and Palestinian teenage boys arrived at the newly created International Camp in Maine, ready to participate in this grand experiment.  They spent three weeks in workshops, addressing their feelings, getting to know one another, and coming away with a greater understanding of their similarities rather than their differences.  Along the way, they also picked up leadership skills.     Seeds of Peace members were present at the signing of the Oslo Accords.  Can you imagine how exciting it must have been for these teens to attend such an historic event?  (photo of U.S. President Bill Clinton with Seeds teenagers behind him)

Photo: Seeds members at Center for Coexistence.

Each successive year, the camp has expanded, including teenagers from more countries.  Girls now attend.  400 boys and girls attended the 2005 summer camp.  The End of Polarity (seeing unity, rather than separateness), is one of the Keys in my book, The Seven Keys to Live a Masterful Life.  In that chapter, I quote a Jordanian girl who attended Seeds of Peace:  “In order to understand your enemy, you have to go to war with yourself.”  Seeing how we are all one sometimes requires that kind of radical thinking.  There’s a Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem which operates year round, offering programs for continuing discussion between graduates and opportunities for community service.  The educational outreach projects allow graduates to teach what they learned at Seed of Peace to others.  (Seeds members at Center for Coexistence).

Photo: President Bill Clinton with Seeds of Peace members standing behind him.

The Seed of Peace comprehensive training program has become an international model.  They’re now working with teenagers from other areas of conflict.  2001 saw the beginning of its South Asia program with Indian and Pakistani youth.  Since 1993, over 3,000 teens from 25 nations have graduated from Seeds of Peace.  A reunion of 130 Seed graduates gathered at last summer’s camp and set up a formal Alumni Association.  When John Wallach passed away in 2002, he was replaced by Aaron Miller as President of the organization.   Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had this to say about Miller:  “Although my colleagues and I at the Department of State will miss him greatly, the work he will be involved in is vital to Arab-Israeli peacemaking."  As Executive Vice President of Seeds of Peace, Janet Wallach (photo of Janet Wallach) continues to lead the way in fulfilling her husband’s mission and dream.  She oversees the activities of the New York office and is involved in fund raising.  But what she’s most passionate about are the young people themselves.  “There has been a large investment in each Seeds participant.  They are our hope for the future,” Janet explains.  “We want to make sure they stay connected to the values they learned at Seeds of Peace.”  Their 32 member Board of Directors and 5 Advisory Board members includes George H.W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Shimon Peres and Sa'eb Erekat. (photo of Queen Noor) (photo of Israel Shimon Peres, book ended by two Seeds of Peace girls). The extensive media coverage for Seeds of Peace includes being featured on 60 Minutes, Dateline NBC, Nightline, The Today Show, and in numerous newspapers and magazines.  A new documentary film called Seeds has already garnered several prizes.

 

PREVIOUS ARTICLES BY PAULETTE ATTIE PART 1 PREVIOUS ARTICLES BY PAULETTE ATTIE PART 2  I

Reproduced from http://www.worldjewishnewsagency.com/attie_2.htm

Making Matters Better (THE GOOD NEWS) PART 2             

Paulette Attie

By Paulette Attie

We are constantly bombarded by news that, at best is discouraging, at worst, frightening.  We often sum up these exposures with words like,“ going from bad to worse,” “to add insult to injury,” “no good deed goes unpunished,” and “making matters worst.” When was the last time you heard someone say, “making matters better?”  You’ll start seeing that expression regularly, right here at The World Jewish News Agency. Paulette Attie (Award winning writer, singer, and actress), will write a column called “Making Matters Better.”  Should anyone wish to recommend an organization, person, writer, book, that makes a positive impact on people’s lives, send your suggestion to paulette@worldjewishnewsagency.com  If it’s an organization, include their mission and what they're doing to fulfill their goal.  If it’s a book, what is the book’s theme and why does it make a difference. 

 

 

 

A DIFFERENT KIND OF HERO 

Photo: Kathie with baby:  Kathie with baby Marley Elizabeth Zorn. 

We often think of heroes as those who perform spectacular fetes: leaders who have changed the destiny of their countries, athletes who break world records, defenders of the law who protect and save citizens. This month, Making Matters Better is featuring someone whose acts of kindness make a difference every day to the people who know her. Recently, she helped make matters better for many people she didn’t know and will probably never see again. Then, she was invited to speak about this experience at the annual Red Cross dinner in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. First, a brief background on Kathie Frome.

Kathie is a Certified Professional Midwife who practices in Western Massachusetts. She has dedicated her work of the past twenty-seven years to restoring beauty, continuity and harmony with Nature to the birth process. As a licensed Social Worker, she also works with people with developmental disabilities. Kathie is on the Board of Directors of Center for Peace Through Culture, the organization featured in last month’s Making Matters Better. Here’s Kathie, in her own words, describing her experiences and her feelings about working with Hurricane Katrina victims at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.

MY EXPERIENCE AS A HEALTH CARE WORKER IN THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE KATRINA

Photo: Kathie with baby Luna Thomes, mother Sarah and father Sean.

In the week following the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina and the timely birth of the first September-due baby, for whom I was midwife, my sketchy plans for a little vacation were transformed into a get-away of a different sort - a journey into the world of human-life devastation and volunteer disaster relief work. I had a little window of time to offer, and within 24 hours of my call to the Red Cross I was on a plane to Houston, bracing myself for the next two weeks in the middle of the unimaginable. My experience as a mental health worker at the Astrodome, Reliant Center, and Arena in Houston during those two weeks following Katrina was densely textured with a full array of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges. It was an experience of complete exhaustion from extensive walking and difficult working hours; huge frustration with organizational deficits and communication gaps; and concern about the myriad unmet needs of victims - especially the elderly, physically ill, cognitively challenged, physically disabled, emotionally unstable and mentally ill, single and pregnant mothers, and the people who were alone or who had lost family members during the disaster.

It was an experience of constant sensory assault from the environmental conditions of the shelter - from the bright lights day and night, from the loud speaker and din of thousands of voices echoing across the vast hall, from the smells of humanity - sick, stressed and soiled, from the visual chaos of people in motion, children running, rubber balls bouncing, cots piled high with blankets and newly acquired belongings, and trash strewn around overflowing containers; and from the emotional climate of collective distress, loss, frustration, anxiety, tension, uncertainty, despair and destitution. It was an experience of dramatic and disturbing contrasts revealed in shuffling back and forth from the grim realities of shelter existence, with the imminent and complete uncertainty of every person housed within, to the personal, off-duty luxury of a soft bed, clean linens, warm bath, and the secure knowledge that all was well in the life and home I would return to soon where beauty, fresh air, blessed quiet, and order preva It was also an experience of the deep satisfaction that comes with being present for another human being, in the moment, with every available faculty of compassion, understanding, wisdom and resourcefulness being drawn upon and freely given. It was an experience of extraordinary and immediate camaraderie with fellow volunteers.

It was an experience of listening to stories of unspeakable events that desperately needed to be told, holding hands and stroking shoulders, rocking babies to sleep, delivering an extra blanket here and there, cooling an argument, calming agitation, and sometimes managing to successfully obtain appropriate medical, mental health, or social services for a family or individual from the thinly stretched resources of Houston/Harris County. Above all, it was an experience of deep gratitude for every thing in life of true and lasting beauty and worth, and it was an experience of knowing how very little I, as one person, could do in the immensity of need, but also knowing that IT IS THE SUM OF THE WORK THAT COUNTLESS THOUSANDS DO THAT WILL EVENTUALLY MAKE THE DIFFERENCE. And, it was a crash course in Chaos 101. Much was learned in that course. I learned that the core characteristic and very nature of Disaster is Chaos, and the magnitude of the disaster, in large part, defines the magnitude of the chaos. I learned that our job as disaster relief workers is to collectively and individually work, to the best of our abilities, to bit-by-bit and day-by-day help create a new order out of the prevailing chaos. I learned that as disaster relief workers we voluntarily place ourselves squarely in the middle of that chaos, and we need to be well prepared to maintain personal balance and physical health within that so that we do not also become victims of chaos. Most of all I learned about THE RESILIENCE AND BEAUTY OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT that rises up through and beyond the temporary state of chaos and pain, like the lotus from the mud, to somehow meet the demands of the next day, to still smile and laugh, to touch and be touched by another human being, to be grateful for the little blessings of kindness and generosity, and to strive for a better life in a better world.

Stories abound. I am still visited daily by memories of the countless, traumatized, and benumbed people whose cots I sat upon for a few minutes, who graciously accepted the most meager offers of help, who somehow managed to maintain a level of dignity within the most demeaning of circumstances, who unhesitatingly recounted their most shattering experiences, who revealed in a flash the depth of their faith and inmost, personal integrity and beauty, and who’s lives go on, somewhere, now unknown to me. It seems that integrating an experience like this must include an effort to use the experience further to the benefit of others in the future. I’m still working on this. The questions that come to mind at this point are these: How would I, my family and close friends, and our own community cope in the face of similar circumstances? What are our resources? What is our preparedness? What is our capacity to self-organize? What is our capacity to gracefully let go of all that is in excess of necessity? What is our capacity to help each other survive and go on with life when all else seems lost?  Paulette asked me for some after thoughts or a post script to this piece. After resisting and saying that I have nothing else to say, I came up with this: We can never know the full effect of any of our actions, but we do know that even the smallest stone tossed into the water creates ripples that radiate outward beyond our field of vision.  Certainly this law of nature applies also to our human actions, and, if we are ever tempted to feel overwhelmed into inaction by the enormous challenges we face on this planet at this point in time, we can trust that even the smallest effort will have effects beyond what we can see. Not only are these effects manifested in the external world; they also ripple across our personal consciousness and events of our lives in often surprising ways.  There seems to be an almost universal feeling amongst people who have done volunteer service work that they have received far more than they could possibly have given.  I certainly know that this has been true for me.  By Kathie Frome

 

 Thank you, Kathie, for your post script, and for the beautiful recounting of your story! 

COMING IN JANUARY:  The dilemma for a writer who focuses on people, organizations, books, and events that improve the lives of others is that this information is thought of as incidental, even irrelevant, and gets buried in the back pages. It is to the credit of the far sighted Publisher of World Jewish News Agency that Making Matters Better has its own listing under NEWS. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work, politics, and business knowledge to effect a positive change. You’ll see how very true this is when you read about the high powered business magnates who are highlighted in next month’s Making Matters Better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR LAUGHS AND FOR SERIOUS

 

 

A special table was reserved at the Friars Club for comic Henny Youngman. It was located front and center, so we could pay respects to Henny upon entering and exiting the dining room. When Henny invited you to be his guest, it meant you paid for your own meal and for the privilege of being the butt of his jokes. Everyone jumped at the opportunity.

Henny Youngman, comic famous for his one liners. 

 

Photo: Rod Gilbert.

One afternoon, I was chosen. Henny asked me if I’d like a diamond pin. “Of course,” I answered, whereupon Henny presented me with a dime attached to a safety pin. This is one of the many experiences that make me laugh and keep me returning to the Friars Club. But the Friars Club event that I enjoy the most is our annual Chanukah and Christmas Party for children. “Our,” some may ask? “Isn’t the Friars Club for men only?” It was until 1988, at which time I became the first woman performer elected into the Club. It’s one of those firsts for which I am most proud. The New York Friars Club now boasts a membership which includes about 10% women.  Back to that party for children. For thirty years, the Friars Club has given a party for the less privileged children in the community. This involves inviting them to a movie, this year it will be “Chicken Little,” at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan, and giving each child a large shopping bag full of gifts. The goodies include wearing apparel, toys, educational books, etc. Giving out these presents is as big a treat for those who hand them out as it is for the children who receive them. Their eyes bulge with pleasure and curiosity as to what is contained therein. Some are little tots, and their accompanying parents have to carry the bags for them. Other children are big enough to carry their own. A few ask for a second bag to bring home to their brother or sister who couldn’t make it to the party. 

Photo: Fabulous Friar Liza Minelli, performing at the 1995 Friars Foundation Applause Dinner for Frank Military, music publisher legend and Friars Club Scribe for 4 years.

Another part of the party that delights the children and grown ups alike are the celebrity sports figures who attend, talk to and take pictures with the children. Michael Spinks, Rod Gilbert, Rusty Staub, and Cal Ramsey attend regularly, as well as newscasters Marvin Scott and John Roland, and TV and radio icon Sally Jesse Raphael. Each of them has made a jolly Santa Claus. One year, we ran out of gift bags and boxing champion Michael Spinks gave ten dollars of his own to each child who would otherwise have gone home empty handed. Then there’s the balloons given out and face painting that puts more smiles on everyone’s face. This annual event is an activity of the Friars Club Sunshine Committee, chaired by Friars Joe Gelber and Thomas J. DeBow Jr., and Phil Baird. Jean Pierre Trebot, Executive Director of the Friars Club, is actively involved each year, to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Photo: The 1976 Testimonial Dinner for Frank Sinatra, from L to R:  (Milton Berle, Mr. TV and Friars Club Abbott for fourteen years, William B. Williams, renowned radio broadcaster and Friars Club Dean 1982-1985, Frank Sinatra, The Chairman of the Board and Friars Club Abbott 1975-1996, Buddy Howe, former head of ICM Talent Agency and Friars Club Dean 1970-1981, David Tebet, former head of NBC and producer of Friars Club Testimonial Dinners.

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Photo: Friars G.M. Jean Pierre Trebot and New York TV news legend Marvin Scott.

There’s also the Friars Foundation, chaired by Leo Greenland, with Cy Leslie serving as President, whose purpose is the betterment of our society through grant giving, particularly in the area of the performing arts. Four books about the Friars Club, authored by Barry Dougherty, have been published in the past few years. Yes, the Friars Club has provided laughs and songs for themselves and others for over 100 years. That, along with the charitable arm of giving back to the community makes this a very special Club for its members and for nonmembers who enjoy and benefit from their songs, jokes, and good deeds.