Faith In Brooklyn for October 16

Dr. Ahmed Jaber (holding edge of banner) and Rabbi Ellen Lippmann (in blue suit) are pictured with other participants in last year’s Children of Abraham Walk. Photo by Francesca Norsen Tate

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Pathmakers to Peace Reception Honors Brooklyn Faith and Justice Leaders

Leaders in Brooklyn’s interfaith and social justice community will join Pulitzer-winning playwright Lynn Nottage in being honored this coming Sunday at the Pathmakers to Peace Awards Reception at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

The Pathmakers to Peace Awards honor individuals and groups who have repeatedly shown a commitment to working on different paths to peace.

This year’s honorees are Brooklynite Lynn Nottage, whose play, Ruined won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2009; Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, spiritual leader of Congregation Kolot Chayeinu and co-organizer of the annual Children of Abraham Peace Walk; Dr. Ahmad Jaber, for his work through the Arab American Association of NY; Nancy Romer of the Brooklyn Food Coalition; Brooklyn College Community Partnership and FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality).

According to various websites about the play, and a January 2009 New York Times review, Nottage drew her inspiration from Berthold Brecht’s Mother Courage & Her Children, about the struggles of a caustic army provisioner during the Thirty Year’s War in the early 17th century. However, rather than re-cast that drama in a new setting, Nottage created her own concept on the struggles of women in the war-torn Congo in a production that weds history, politics and warfare.

Lippmann is founder and rabbi of Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, a 21-year-old progressive Jewish community in Brooklyn. She is also the former east coast director of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and former director of the Jewish women's program at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan.

A Bay Ridge community member for over 30 years, Jaber currently sits on the board of Beit Al Maqdis Islamic Center, the Arab Muslim American Federation and the Islamic Mission of America. A retired obstetrician/gynecologist, he is a past president of the National Arab American Medical Association-New York Chapter. He is also president of the Brooklyn Heights Clergy Association, and a board member of Brooklyn Congregations United and St. Nicholas Home.

Brooklynite Romer is chair of the governance board of the Brooklyn Food Coalition, a grassroots food justice organization working for healthy food access for all, sustainable food systems and justice for food workers. An organizer and activist for over 40 years, Romer is a co-founder of Brooklyn Food Coalition in 2009 and has served for four years as its general coordinator, helping to launch the organization into its present form. She is professor of psychology at Brooklyn College and executive director of its community partnership, serving over 1,500 Brooklyn teens each year. She holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology and has written extensively on issues of political participation and human development, including covering social movements in NYC, Mexico and Bolivia.

According to an event page on the Brooklyn for Peace website, “Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) is a Brooklyn-based, multi-generational, member-led organization, made up mostly of women of color. We organize low-income communities to build power to change the system. We fight for a world without poverty, where everyone’s work is valued and all of us have the right to self-determination.”

As of press time, tickets to this awards reception were almost sold out.
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Park Slope Church Offers More Chances For Dialogue on Israel and Palestine

Last week’s Faith in Brooklyn section ran a story on the newly-released study, Reluctant or Repressed? Aversion to Expressing Views on Israel Among American Rabbis. Brooklyn co-authors Rabbi Jason Gitlin and Steven Cohen reported on the willingness of rabbinical leaders to discuss the complex situation in the Holy Land, particularly their views on the civil rights and land ownership rights of Palestinians.

Brooklyn for Peace will also tackle this issue with Part II of a program titled, “Film nights at PSUMC: Focus on Palestine,” on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Park Slope United Methodist Church.

This event will feature a film screening of “Roadmap to Apartheid,” by Eron Davidson and Ana Nogueira, and a post-viewing discussion. Organizers hope to provide a candid, safe environment for a talk on “exploring peaceful alternatives to the present day polarization of Israel-Palestine. Our goal is to provide an opportunity for local residents to learn about and openly discuss the Palestinian and Israeli relationships and conflicts.” Local faith and community leaders participating in the post-film discussion will be, as of press time, Rebecca Arian of Jewish Voice for Peace; Father Khader El-Yateem of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church and Wael Mousfar, of the Arab Muslim American Federation and Arab American Association of New York.

The program runs from 7-9 p.m. Preceding the film will be a 6 p.m. Potluck Dinner. Those wishing to join the meal should send an e-mail to with contact information and the dish they plan to bring. The Park Slope United Methodist Church is at 410 Sixth Ave (6th Ave. and 8th St). The host church’s Social Action Committee is sponsoring this event. Co-sponsors include: Brooklyn For Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace NY, Jewish Voice for Peace Westchester, Arab American Association of NY; Jews Say No!, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Al-Awda New York, NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Park Slope Food Coop Members for Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions, Riverside Church Israel-Palestine Task Force, Brooklyn Ethical Culture Society’s Ethical Action Committee, Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine and Adalah-NY.
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New Series Explores Male Identity From Jewish, Psychological Angles

The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue offers a four-part program, “To Be A Man:

Exploring Male Identity from a Jewish and Psychological Perspective.”

Open to all men, this facilitated program is geared especially to those who have recently become fathers and are actively examining or struggling with their identity as sons, marital partners and fathers. Participants will explore answers to questions such as, “How can we grow spiritually and emotionally as Jewish men? What stereotypes do we need to acknowledge and overturn? How can we improve and strengthen our familial bonds as well as our connections to friends and community? What are our empowerments and responsibilities from the perspective of Judaism?”

Facilitators are Rabbi Serge A. Lippe of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, and Dr. Warren E. Spielberg.

Spielberg, Ph.D., who has a private practice in Brooklyn Heights, is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst. His research centers on male development, African-American males and trauma. He served as a post-9/11 consultant to NY Fire Dept., for which he was awarded the American Psychological Association Practitioner of the Year in 2003; He also serves on the APA task force for treatment guidelines for boys and men. He is an Associate Teaching Professor at the New School for Public Engagement and is director of the New School’s engagement co-existence initiative.

Lippe has served as this congregation’s spiritual leader since 1997. He was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in NYC in 1991 and served as Associate Rabbi at Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, AZ for six years. He is a member of the Joint Worship Commission of the Reform Movement and editor of Birkon Artzi: Blessings and Meditations for Travelers to Israel published by the CCAR Press. Lippe has previously served as president of the Brooklyn Heights Clergy Association. He, his wife and their three school-age children are native New Yorkers and residents of Brooklyn Heights.

The four sessions convene on Tuesdays, Nov. 5, 12 and 19 and Monday, Nov. 25, from 7:30-9 p.m. (Attendance at all four sessions is strongly encouraged but not required.) The series is free for BHS members. There is a $40 suggested contribution for all others. RSVP required before November 5. For more information, contact the synagogue via phone: 718-522-2070, or email: The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue is at 131 Remsen St.
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World-Acclaimed Organist Olivier Latry Is Featured Artist at Re-dedication Concert

Our Lady Of Refuge Catholic Church in Midwood is preparing for the culmination of a major accomplishment in its 102-year history—the successful fundraising and restoration of its Kilgen Pipe Organ.

Thanks to the apt leadership of Joe Vitacco, chairman of the organ committee and Fr. Michael Perry, the parish’s pastor, the organ restoration project withstood some major challenges since it began six years ago. And this Friday, one of the world’s most acclaimed organists, Olivier Latry, will play the dedication recital this Friday, Oct. 18. Tickets for this long-anticipated concert sold out several weeks ago.

Olivier Latry, one of the world’s most celebrated organists, a titular at Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris, will play the dedication recital on the restored Kilgen Pipe Organ.

In 2006, an effort was undertaken to get the historic pipe organ at Our Lady of Refuge in Brooklyn, working after nearly a decade of silence. Inspection of the organ revealed that the first priority was to rebuild the bellows, and by January 2007 the organ was playing again for the first time in 10 years. In spite of being badly in need of a full restoration, the organ impressed both the parish and the local community, many of whom were hearing it for the first time.

Our Lady of Refuge’s web page chronicles the history of the restoration. While initial repairs were being executed in 2007, a more serious problem arose with the church’s exterior pointing, and water leaked into the organ chamber, threatening both the instrument itself and the structure of the church. Perry and Vitacco saw that the pipe organ was professionally removed from the church for safekeeping before the repairs to the interior and exterior walls were carried out.

The parish has raised almost all of the funds to reinstall its historic Kilgen Pipe Organ in the church. A. R. Schopp's Sons and Quimby Pipe Organs Each of the instrument’s 1,800 pipes and its mechanism have been restored to like-new condition. Quimby Pipe Organs Co. is reinstalling the pipe organ. This company gained acclaim in NYC for the highly acclaimed removal, restoration and re-installation of the smoke-damaged pipe organ at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.

After six years of fundraising and restoration the pipe organ arrived back at the church on June 17, 2013. Meticulous work and oversight meant the restoration was completed by mid-September.

Moreover, Vitacco and Perry utilized the Internet and social media such as Facebook in new and entrepreneurial ways, expanding the parish’s capital campaign into a global endeavor. More than 1,000 pipe organ enthusiasts from around the world contributed. Locally, parishioners held soup dinners, concerts and even a pig roast in addition to the capital campaign.

When the pipe organ is fully returned to service, the parish’s main goal will be to share this historic pipe organ with the Brooklyn community. Additionally, the pipe organ will be used at parish Masses and shared with the organ community as a practice and teaching instrument.

The first Mass with the Kilgen Pipe Organ will be celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 4:30 p.m., with a liturgical setting by Louis Vierne that will highlight heavy use of the instrument: the Messe Solennelle, Op. 16. Other works by Maurice Duruflé, Charles Villiers Stanford and William Walton will be performed at the liturgy. The choir for that occasion will be The Salvatones, under the baton of artistic director Daniel Brondel. Stephen Tharp will be the organist. Tharp performed a benefit recital for the Kilgen Pipe Organ that Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights hosted two years ago.

Our Lady of Refuge Church is at 2020 Foster Avenue at Ocean Ave. The nearest subway line is the B/Q line at Newkirk Plaza. As always, check MTA weekend schedules for route disruptions.

Olivier Latry, pictured here at the new organ console in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, will play the long-awaited dedication recital at Our Lady of Refuge Church in Brooklyn this Friday. Photo by Philippe Guyonnet, from the Our Lady of Refuge Church website.

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This Concert Could Send Audience to Dance Floor

Celebrate the colorful sounds that are Brooklyn with Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble at the popular annual “We’ve Got Rhythms” program at the Brooklyn Heights Library.

The Heritage Ensemble blends Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian, Jazz and Judaic musical styles in “We’ve Got Rhythms” — an audience interactive concert of their unique brand of world music and infectious danceable rhythms.

This ensemble of first-rate musicians includes: bandleader/keyboardist Eugene Marlow, multi-Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria, the expressively melodic saxophonist Michael Hashim, virtuoso percussionist Matthew Gonzalez and electrifying bassist Frank Wagner.

The free 2 p.m. concert takes place in the auditorium of the Brooklyn Public Library-Brooklyn Heights branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West. The concert is also listed on the BPL website, as of press time for this column.
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Acclaimed Harpsichordist Lucille Gruber Now Makes Brooklyn Her Home

Plymouth welcomes American harpsichordist Lucille Gruber at a special performance of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, Jacques Duphly and Domenico Scarlatti. Praised by the New York Times as “a musician who commands her instrument and its repertory,” Ms. Gruber offer her concert on Sunday, October 27 at 4 p.m. in Plymouth’s Reception Room.

Harpsichordist Lucille Gruber will perform on Oct. 27 at Plymouth Church. Photos courtesy of Koren Volk

Lucille Gruber began her music studies at the Third Street Music Settlement in New York City later attending the High School of Music and Art. A growing interest in music composition led her to Brandeis University, where she studied composition and music theory with Harold Shapero, Arthur Berger and Leonard Bernstein earning a B.A. and Master's degree in music composition.

It was Gruber's interest in improvisation that attracted her to the harpsichord and a new graduate program in baroque performance practice at Case Western Reserve University where she earned a DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) from The Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western University. Since 1968, Case Reserve and the Cleveland Institute of Music have offered a longstanding joint program in early music performance practices, according to the university’s website and brochures in this editor’s music library.

A year abroad with her family made it possible for Gruber to study with the renowned harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt in the Netherlands and to perform throughout France. On her return to the US, she made her New York debut at Alice Tully Hall and subsequently performed at Carnegie Recital Hall (Weill) where she was acknowledged by the New York Times as “A musician who commands both her instrument and its repertory.” The Times’ review of a second recital at Weill Recital Hall two years later praised her “fire, spontaneity and ebullient wit.”

An active performer of solo and chamber music in Cleveland, Ohio, Gruber performed at the Cleveland Institute of Music, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Playhouse Square, Case Western Reserve University, Severance Hall and other major venues in the area.

Gruber has led a multi-faceted career as teacher, composer, performer and arts presenter. As the director of cultural arts for Cuyahoga Community College for 25 years, she initiated a broad range of multi-cultural arts programs including a highly praised noontime series which attracted thousands of people to the theaters in downtown Cleveland on weekdays at noon. In that capacity, she worked with an array of cultural organizations leading the way for a Cleveland Festival Hispano and Indiafest and numerous other major cultural events in that city.

Ohio Presenter Network, Ohio Dance, Northern Ohio Live and many local cultural organizations honored her for her work in the arts.

Since returning to New York in 2004, Gruber has worked with Chelsea Opera, a small but vibrant opera company in the city, as a volunteer grants writer and arts consultant. She is a longstanding volunteer for the Brooklyn Promenade Conservancy and with her baking skills helped to launch an annual bake sale to benefit the Conservancy.

Gruber and her husband spend four months a year in the Haute Savoie where she performs in area churches every summer.

Tickets, available at the door, are $15 general admission, $10 for students and seniors.

Gruber has long been a volunteer for the Brooklyn Promenade Garden Conservancy, and with her baking skills helped to launch an annual bake sale to benefit the Conservancy.
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Trends in Church Life

New Ministries Revitalize Brooklyn’s Episcopal Parishes

Several Episcopal parishes around the Archdeaconry of Brooklyn have been celebrating the institutions of new rectors this fall, thanks to the work of these clergy with the diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Lawrence Provenzano.

Earlier this month, Provenzano presided at the Institution of the Rev. John E. Denaro as rector of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church. In December, Provenzano will preside at the Institution of the Rev. Steven Paulikas as rector of All Saints Church. And the Church of the Nativity on Ocean Avenue (on the same block as the Our Lady of Refuge Roman Catholic Church, mentioned elsewhere in this column) got a new vicar when the Rev. Kimberlee Auletta was ordained to the priesthood in September.

This weekend, the Rev. Sully Guillaume-Sam will be instituted as the 9th Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Bushwick. Bishop Provenzano will preside at this liturgy on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m.

Guillaume-Sam is a native of Haiti where he was educated and ordained. He holds a Certificate in Philosophy and a B.A. in Theology from the Grand Seminaire Notre Dame, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a B.A. in Sociology, University D’Etat D’Haiti in Port-au-Prince, an M.A. in Religious Education (spiritual direction and pastoral counseling), Fordham University (Bronx campus) and a diploma in Anglican studies, General Theological Seminary, New York. Guillaume-Sam was received from the Roman Catholic Church into the Episcopal Church in 2010, after having already begun serving the Diocese of Long Island since 2006 while employed at Family Consultation Service. The Wardens, vestry and members of St. Thomas joyfully welcome Father Sully, together with his wife, Jirlande Guillaume-Sam, and their three sons, Johnathan Fulcher (16), Jeffrey Fulcher (12) and Carly Pierre (6) to their parish family.
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Plymouth Church Hosts Welcome Dinner For Those Exploring Membership

Plymouth Church offers newcomers a way to learn more about this faith community that is rich in history.

Those who are new to Plymouth, or to the neighborhood and seeking a new church home, are invited to an “Exploring Plymouth” dinner on Thursday, Oct. 24. Rev. Al Bunis, Interim Senior Minister and members of Plymouth will host this informal dinner/discussion, starting at 6:30 p.m. with discussion. Reservations are needed and childcare is provided. Contact Amy Talcott at the church office: 718-624-4743.



October 16, 2013 - 12:00pm


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