supreme-court-buildingColumbia Law School’s Legacy Project is a way for people to give back to the educational system – a matter very close to David Bershad’s heart. In addition, it seeks to: “honor, commemorate, and preserve the institutional memory of individuals who have made named funds possible by telling the story of their impact on the community.”

There are many of these alumni individuals who personify what it means to make justice out of law. One prime example is the foundation of the Edward F. Stancik Memorial Scholarship. Edward F. Stancik – from the graduating class of 1979 – made it his mission to fight corruption and misconduct in New York City public schools. Thus in 2003, as a way to honor Stancik, the Scholarship was established by his friends, family and alumni from his class.

Each year therefore – thanks to Stancik himself and of course those who made the effort to honor him in this way – outstanding Columbia Law School students who “have expressed an interest in public service or public interest law,” are awarded the scholarship.

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg,  “We are all much better off because of his [Stancik]’s work.”

exhibitionTo get a taste of the true gems of America, take a stroll along Nostrand Avenue, a boulevard in Crown Heights. Although it is rich in other cultures (primarily Judaic and West Indian), this represents the truly American melting pot.

As such Repair the World – a Brooklyn-based social justice advocacy group – has put on a new exhibition. Entitled ‘Brooklyn: Juxtaposition,’ the exhibition seeks to challenge the entire premise of the meaning of the word juxtaposition, becoming “an incubator for a community-driven artist collective.” According to Aimee Rubensteen, the exhibition’s curator, it is “simultaneously obvious and yet not spoken about enough.”

The exhibition uses a variety of different mediums to discuss cultural, racial and religious tension and its impact. This includes video, photography, paintings and more. given that there are so many potential tensions in Crown Heights, the exhibition is an attempt to use these divergences to create something new, creative and sustainable for the community.

military-jet-fighterLast month Fort Gordon hosted a National Transition Summit at the Gordon Catering and Conference Center over three days.  The event was designed to help those who have worked in the military and are within 12 months of separating or retiring in obtaining employment post-military.  In fact, all those who are within this time frame of separation or retirement were required to go.  Attendance was “highly recommended” for those in the 13 to 18 month bracket.

The main goal of the event was to help those connected to the military transition into the next phase of their lives and also their family members.  National and local business leaders assembled together and workforce recruiters were told about the importance of hiring military workers.

tigerAlthough we are well into the 21st century, we still have some quite illogical laws.  At least in New York.  Remember when you’re going out for example, not to take a selfie with a tiger.  Yes, along with not selling dog or cat hair, that is actually a law that exists in New York, today, in 2016.

It seems ironic that in a time that restaurants in the region are now legally permitted to sell alcoholic beverages before 12 on Sundays, New Yorkers still have to deal with illogical laws like walking around on a Sunday with an ice-cream cone in your pocket. Seriously?  Who even thinks up these things. And of course, make sure you get a license before you hang out your laundry.

True, many years ago, some laws were enacted due to religion, back in the 1700s. but we’re not there anymore and pushing church attendance and forbidding sports and sex is a far cry from what New York is about today.

Maybe someone will get their acts together soon and bring the New York legislature up to date with 2016 modernity.


Every year the graduation is exciting and meaningful for the graduates and their parents. But this year it was perhaps even a bit more special for one particular graduate – Qingmei Wu – who, when she first came to the States from China eight years ago couldn’t even speak English.

In fact, Wu – whose next step is the prestigious MIT – was known as the “ABC girl,” since it was only the ABC that she knew of the English language.  As her former guidance counselor Jessica Forman said:

“Just to see that someone who’s new to the country, who came not knowing much English, can go from being ELL to honors to valedictorian. And then to go on to be the valedictorian of their high school and get into a prestigious college. It makes current students see, ‘That’s an M.S. 88 kid like me.’”

As Valedictorian for Brooklyn Technical High School 2016, Wu has certainly made an impressive start to her life in America.

CornellIf anyone understands how helpful an Ivy League scholarship can be it is David Bershad.  Not only was he the beneficiary of the New York Regents Scholarship which enabled him to study at Cornell, he then endowed a scholarship there.  In between him being the recipient and giver, he got his law degree at Columbia.

Talking of Columbia, thanks to a scholarship from the Law School there Monica Ratliff was able to get her degree.  Following her graduation, she worked with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Neighborhood Legal Services.  She also had an actin role in the Lionsgate movie, ‘Battle Force,’ and then went on to UCLA to get her Masters in Education.

For over a decade-and-a-half now, Ratliff has been teaching at San Pedro Elementary. In addition, she just started teaching at La Cañada Unified in their English Language Development.  And now, she is the force behind the Los Angeles City Council campaign and has become known her being a “stickler for transparency,” with Former Superintendent Ramon Cortines humorously ridiculing her for her habit of “asking just one more question after we tirelessly answered 20 before.” Well, if a lesson in the importance in thoroughness in these academic institutes is what one gets at places like Columbia and Cornell, then people needing lawyers later on in life should be grateful for the kindness of these scholarships.

fatigueIt seems that chronic fatigue system might be caused by guttural issues.  So say researchers at Cornell University. According to an article in Science Daily based on a study by the academic institute published at the end of last month, “Now, for the first time, researchers report they have identified biological markers of the disease in gut bacteria and inflammatory microbial agents in the blood.”

Other recent studies on the issue have shown that those with the syndrome tend to report greater levels of anxiety and     distress and are less likely to deal with their emotions than their healthier counterparts.  So a natural conclusion could be drawn – from these two theses – that chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by unsolved emotional stress that causes problems in the gut.  In addition, new research is now indicating that there no connection between chronic fatigue syndrome and the XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) and pMLV (polytropic murine leukemia) viruses.

Take a look at the Montclair Public Library in New Jersey, built in 1914 with assistance from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. Enjoy this short tour given by the library’s director, David Hinkley.

galleryTwo weeks ago, children and teenagers with special needs kids were given the chance to showcase the art they had done at Crown Heights’ Jewish Children’s Museum.  With this, these individuals were encouraged to show all of their different types of paintings to a special exhibition that was put on by the museum.

The display came after the special needs teens and children worked side-by-side with local artists who donated their time to help prepare the exhibition organized by the not-for-profit Friendship Circle.  This organization works with special needs kids and volunteers to fulfill its mission of “envisioning a world in which children with special needs and their families will experience acceptance, inclusion and friendship.”

According to Berel Majesky, Director of the Friendship Circle’s Brooklyn branch, this is good for everyone, the visitors who come see it and the artists who “get a chance to look around the world and see their smiles. That’s what we here for.”

Plus, all of the works of art were up for sale, the proceeds of which were given to the Friendship circle to help them create similar such opportunities in the future.

soldierPlans are underway for the establishment of a one-year pilot affiliate Senior Army ROTC. This is being launched by the Bossier Parish Community College in conjunction with Northwestern State University.  The agreement was signed by both the academic institutions last Thursday at Bossier City’s BPCC campus.

As Dr. Rick Bateman Jr., Chancellor for BPCC noted:

“This collaboration with NSU will provide BPCC ROTC students a wonderful opportunity to serve our country and get valuable leadership experience that can enhance their military careers.”

What it will ultimately entail is that for BPCC students wishing to pursue military science and leadership courses, they will be able to as they will be cross-enrolled at Northwestern State.