NOTICE TO 1961 GRADUATES: THOSE STUDENTS WHO HAVE PROVIDED US WITH CONTACT INFORMATION WILL RECEIVE AN INVITATION TO OUR 55TH REUNION. YOU MAY ENTER SUCH INFORMATION IN YOUR PROFILE OR EMAIL IT TO TJHS1961@aol.com
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PRELUDE TO AN INVITATION
Thomas Jefferson H.S. - Brooklyn, New York
55th Gala Reunion - Class of 1961
by Thea Alpert, Class Administrator/Event Coordinator
The year was 1961. We were teenagers of 16, 17 and 18 at graduation. Who could have known the future and made sense of the concept of 2016. We were young and free in the 60s, pursuing a college education; landing our first job; traveling the world; questioning, searching for inner and world peace; serving our communities; searching for reciprocal love, even starting families. Lives were interrupted and cut short as our country engaged in protested war; assassinations gripped the nation; turmoil on U.S. soil begged for social reform. Much has gone awry in our world in 54 years, but it is because of our individual strengths, humor and good fortune that we have made it to 2015 in what has been a journey of substance.
The year 2016 will be a shining one as we celebrate our 55th year of graduation from Thomas Jefferson High School, the institution that offered us a quality education, the road to maturity, and the place where many lifetime friendships blossomed. 2015 will be an exciting year as we engage in plans for our gala affair. The New York area is the chosen site of celebration in springtime of 2016. Details will follow at a future date.
Snail mail has been discontinued. Invitations and registration forms will be sent to all 1961 students who provide us with their contact details.
Join us in celebration and indulge yourself memorably at our 55th high school reunion.
With best wishes and a good year to all...
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by Prof. Asher J. Matathias
4 Sivan 5775 - May 22, 2015
Reprising Visit with Alden Terrace School's Fifth-Graders
Eleven days ago, I delivered a personalized, interactive presentation to a rapt audience composed of two Fifth Grade classes of the Alden Terrace School, Valley Stream, NY. Having been well-prepared to discuss the subject of history's greatest heinous crime, perpetrated on the Jewish People --- so horrendous in its thorough implementation, that a new entry in the lexicon, a Greek word, had to be fashioned to depict the total consumption of people via fire, shoved in ovens, after they were previously gassed in airtight chambers by Zyklon B.
\In the presence of my hostess, Karyn Faster with her class, and Mrs. Flood with her group, along with other staff, about ninety minutes passed fleetingly, replete with pathos, heroism, betrayal, even cowardice --- always having me pause to remind audience and myself, as I do my undergraduates, we cannot fully judge how we would have dealt with the existential issues surrounding World War II.
Last weekend, I was moved to tears, as a large envelope was received containing the students' and teachers' appreciation and gratitude to me in the form of personalized comments, and illustrations. Rather than retell my story of extreme survival, under most incredible conditions, one can endeavor to weave its essence through the words and sentiments of this heterogeneous representation of our society, importantly and hopefully heard by several adherents of Islam.
Two enlarged cards contained similar messages, signed by the students, and are presented as a composite: Thank you, Prof. Matathias, We enjoyed your visit and presentation! We have been studying the Holocaust. You have helped us understand your experience. We appreciate your sincere time! Sharing your life and memories with us, you have shown us that from tragedy, there is always goodness, hope, and happiness! Love, Mrs. Faster's and Mrs. Flood's 5th Graders.
*It must have been hard sharing your past with us, and telling us about the problems faced by your family. Kayla
*You stand brave and tall. Thank G-d you didn't fall. You are a good teacher, a brave, and confident person. Chinwenda
*You taught me about your story and the Holocaust; also about how you survived and escaped it; where you are from, and lived, and the condition of Jews, and everything that you shared with me. Amari
*I am grateful that you took the time to come, and explain the Holocaust, surviving this dreadful moment in American and world history. I enjoyed your jokes and humor in telling your story. You are a very wonderful gentleman, with many blessings. May G-d bless you, and your family, more every day, and with everything you do. From, Success
*You were a special guest, and really enjoyed listening to you. Also, I am sorry about your father, and others in your life your care in your life who have died. Thank you, for telling us that lovely story. Sincerely, Matthew
*Wow! What a great welcoming. I liked what you said about liking and hating Germans. Not all Germans were bad; I'm a little German myself. Sincerely, Stephen
*You are very good at jokes. I really enjoyed your lecture. Your experience with the Holocaust is very deep and great. I liked the way you described your feelings. Sincerely, Delano
*I learned that not all Germans were on the Nazis' side, and that there is such a person who is Greek-American, and Jewish. I thank you once more for your wonderful visit. Sincerely, Najla
*Thank you, for telling the Fifth Grade about your time in the Holocaust. I really liked how you didn't talk about yourself, but every one you knew. I also liked how you were so up to date. From, Ashley
*I learned so much from you, for I did not know what the Holocaust was, and that you met Malcolm X. From, Jayden
*We thank you for coming, and we liked your presentation. Yours truly, Kymani
*I thought your story about your childhood was amazing. When you kept saying you weren't a hero, it sounded like you were, and even if you weren't, you would still be a hero for going through all that as a child. Your new friend, Patrick
*Thank you, for teaching us about the great lesson you showed us. P.S. It was very interesting. From Hanz
*Thank you for sharing your feelings with us, and enjoyed listening to your experiences. Sadia
*It was very nice how the soldier was going to do something bad to your family, but when he saw you, he didn't. From Aliyah
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