2020

Informal Gatherings 

I am pleased and honored to announce that NYS Senator Kevin Thomas visited my home today to present this very special New York State Senate Proclamation recognizing me as one of the Outstanding Women of Senatorial District VI.
Louise DeNardo Cassano

Well, we done did it!

 

We picked up our MVH (Mobile Vacation Home) today. After a short shakedown cruise in a few weeks, we'll start taking trips in an ever-widening  radius from home base.

Perhaps we can visit some of our class of 61 mates on one of our trips.
     Vic Sassone

Dear Family and Friends,

 

It's not the best of times, that's true.  But it's not really the worst of times either.  As we write this, our family in Israel and the U.S. are confined to quarters, trying to stay sane and involved, fighting sedentariness, waiting for the plague to pass over.

 

But we are also healthy and interconnected, using modern (and not-so-modern) methods to stay in touch.  We have food, electricity, running water, essential toiletries and clean clothing.  In short, way more than most of the other people who are going through this have.

 

As the Passover holiday approaches, that ultimate family holiday, we have come to terms with the fact that we will not be together physically.  The ban on travel, combined with the fear of contagion, will keep us apart.  Our Seder meals will have no more than two generations – adults and, sometimes, children.

 

Under these conditions, life goes on with changes and adjustments.  This is the situation, this is what we are doing, as of this day:

 

Starting over the sea in Washington, DC, Ami would usually be spending this pre-holiday and holiday period traveling and visiting with friends in and around his beloved city.  Instead, he and his girlfriend May are self-isolating and spending their time mastering Thai, Israeli and Jewish dishes.  He is closely following American politics, with his strong opinions on most every subject.  He wouldn't be Ami otherwise.  His two primary ventures which deal with tourism – organizing trips to Costa Rica and other countries, and guided tours of Washington in Hebrew – have taken a nose-dive because of the coronavirus shutdown.  Fortunately, he still has a government contract from the State Department to prepare staff for their future move to Israel. 

 

Over here in Modi'in, Aharon and Melanie are busy entertaining and home-schooling their three kids 24/7, while also working regular jobs.  They don't remember their lives pre-corona.

 

Several months ago Melanie returned to work at Tel Aviv University, in charge of international social networks.  The university has downsized because of the crisis, but Melanie has been kept on at 50%.  She does most of her work via computer from home, but goes in to the office once a week.

 

Aharon is continuing to work full-time at the Albright Institute for Archeological Research, although all of it from home.  He is the Program and Office Manager, and just before the virus took hold, he organized a very successful series of weekly lectures for the general public.   

 

Amitai (11) and Yadin (7) were doing very well in the fifth and second grade, respectively.  They were active in after-school groups such as tennis, hiking, basketball and electronics.  English lessons begin in Israel in the fourth grade, and Amitai is in a special advanced class for English speakers.  Now confined to home like everybody else, the boys are continuing their education with special Zoom classes from their school as well as general lectures from the Ministry of Education.                 

 

Fifteen-month-old Maya started going to day care in September, but is now also home with the family.  She has just begun to hold herself up and walk, looking very proud with each step.  Maya's smile stops people in their tracks, but she doesn't give it often.

 

Up north in Tirat Carmel, Eitan and Dalit have anything but a normal routine these days.  The twins, Yahav and Lotan, now two-and-a-half, are home with Eitan, who has uncovered his inner self as a successful nursery school teacher.  Fortunately, Eitan has the time to be with the twins since he left his position with Haifa Chemicals and will only start his new job after the corona crisis passes.  This will be as a civilian chemical engineer with the Israel Defense Forces.

 

Dalit is Head Nurse at the nursing home on Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael.  Senior citizen facilities have become centers of concern these days, and Dalit is on the front line.  She is working 12-hour shifts, four days a week, and on those days has time only to come home and go to sleep. 

 

Yahav and Lotan are perpetual motion machines.  Finding things for them to do is a continual challenge.  They are talking (and singing) non-stop.  Eitan speaks with them in English, but they hear much more Hebrew from Dalit's family and from nursery school.  Their first words and sentences are in Hebrew, but they understand English quite well.  We were surprised to hear them singing the famous ABC song just as few days ago.                             

 

In Jerusalem, Trudy and Doug are coping with confinement as well as can be expected.

 

Trudy has been trying to keep up with as many activities as possible.  In November she dropped out of the choir she was in – not as satisfying as it used to be.  She completed a course in the development of modern Hebrew and started a new one on the books of Joshua and Judges before the lock-down started.  Zoom has allowed her to keep up her classes in modern Hebrew literature, and participate in an exercise class. She is working now on the Jerusalem SPCA Calendar, doing some editing work, and continuing crafts.  A new activity is reading books on Whatsapp to send to the grandchildren.

Doug is also coping by continuing to write his blog (Israel Brews and Views) and The Jerusalem Post (and more), taking naps, reading, listening to music, and exercising at home.  He leaves the house to jog in circles, since Israelis are barred from walking more than 100 meters (330 feet) from home.  Except to buy food and other essentials, of course, and he does this as well.  Israeli breweries and pubs, and a host of other retail establishments, have begun to home-deliver these days.  As expected, deliveries of beer have made their way to the Greener apartment, which will only stop for the Passover holiday.

We note that once again this year, the first Sunday after the New Moon after the March equinox (also known as Easter Sunday) falls during the Passover holiday.  A very propitious alignment of dates, and a perfect opportunity to wish all of you a very Happy Holiday Season.  Stay safe.  Take care of yourselves and your families.  

 

חג פסח כשר ושמח!

חג של שמירה ובריאות!

חג של יציאה לחרות!

 

With our love,

 

Doug, Trudy, Ami, Aharon, Melanie, Amitai, Yadin, Maya, Eitan, Dalit, Yahav, Lotan

        

Hi Marcy and Honey,

 

Attached are a couple of photos from the Levittown School District’s Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on last Thursday night. (One of the few events that was actually held despite the Corona virus!) There are two photos of Philip Margolin and me. In one, we’re posing for the elected officials’ photographers and in the other, we’re chatting while being videotaped by a Newsday photographer for a story Newsday is doing on him regarding his national tour. The photographer told me that the story is scheduled to be printed March 20th.

The third photo (DSCN3712) is a group shot with other inductees, elected officials, administrators and school board members.

 

Phil is second from the left standing and I’m seated on the right.

All of the inductees are graduates of one of Levittown’s three high schools: Levittown Memorial, Division Ave. and MacArthur.

 

In addition to Phil, (attorney , Peace Corps volunteer and author of more than 20 novels all NY Times bestsellers) and me (business owner, avid volunteer and mentor, community activist), the other inductees are:

  • Thomas Cafaro, MacArthur, 1967, lacrosse player. Not present.

  • William Griffith, MacArthur, 1962, Creator of Zippy the Pinhead cartoon

  • Gerald Claps, Mac Arthur, 1964, Educator, Driver’s Ed teacher in Levittown, District’s Career Education Center named for him. Not present – I think he’s deceased.

  • Fred Johs, MacArthur, 1972, attorney, child of original owner, Rated Top Legal Eagle by Pulse Magazine. Far right in photo.

  • Frank Russo, LMHS, 1980, entrepreneur, businessman, coach and orthopedic sports medicine sales rep, owner of Orthopedic Solutions. (Not sure he’s a Memorial grad – the photo book they gave us says he was but in the narrative it says he graduated from DAHS.) Third from left in photo.

  • Edward Scholl, LMHS, 1980, 26-year veteran of law enforcement with NYC and Nassau Police Departments. Second from right in photo.

  • Michael Verdi, MacArthur, 1992, well-respected and loved DAHS coach, passed away in 2019.

  • Eric Wedin, DAHS, 1997, VP Chubb Limited Insurance, Highly decorated athlete (football and lacrosse)Thorpe award winner. Not present.

 

This is probably more information that you need or want.

Anyway, it was a lovely evening with about 100 people in attendance.

Louise

 VISIT WITH BETTY IN JUPITER ON FRIDAY 3-6-20
 

Hi Marcy.…..attached is a photo of Betty Csontos and myself taken in Jupiter Florida....We try to see each other once yearly when possible...Betty was visiting friends in Stuart Florida and contacted me to go on a boat trip with them down the intracoastal to Jupiter for lunch......we had a great day.....Hope all is well Marcy.....Please confirm you have received this.....Marilyn