By Susan Lesh
As I am writing this, the holidays are fast approaching. One of the holiday traditions at Ethical had been a New Year’s Day Brunch. This was begun by the effervescent Beth Greenblatt. I remember, when we were new members, being enthralled by the “lady in purple.” She always wore a smile, had a giggle in her voice, and moved with seemingly endless energy. Beth was an art teacher, although retired when we met her, a professional clown, a caterer, and Social Affairs Chair when we joined. Beth loved the color purple, so she completely decorated the room in different shades of it. Many people came to the Brunch decked out in purple, to her delight.
I remember Rudy Herzog selling tickets to the Brunch in the weeks leading up to it, and Beth standing at the podium describing all the deliciousness that could be had. Beth then spent all night, literally all night New Year’s Eve, cooking and preparing the food for the Brunch. She had a special salmon with mustard sauce that was greeted with great anticipation. She made homemade Lobster Bisque that was served individually by helpers . . . I remember Renee Schlesinger, a formidable woman in stature, serving the soup in a frilly apron. The room was filled with people, the champagne toast was made, Joe Ruddick played wonderful tunes on the piano, and the conver-sation swirled.
My husband David remembers coming home from our first Brunch and commenting on the older Ethical members we sat next to, i.e. “they’re not like my parent’s friends!” They have strong opinions and are unafraid of voicing them, they are part of the current world, and they talk about today’s problems and what to do about them. They are interested in our opinions and ideas. The Brunch gave us an oppor-tunity to get to know each other a little more.
While the Brunch is now a lovely purple memory, we still have opportunities to get to know each other. The newly rejuvenated Community Weekend in June will give us some down time, to relax and connect with each other. So here’s to remembered Brunches and future meals to be shared . . . and here’s to the connections made here at Ethical.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.