Tag Archives: Brooklyn College

Location Based Emergency Notifications

The National Weather Service has pinged your phone with those “DANGER FLOOD WARNING” message one too many times. The same service that they use to let people in a specific area know when there’s an Amber Alert.

So why are colleges and universities so far behind the times?

Last month there was a drive-by shooting outside of Brooklyn College and CUNY sent out a generic text to all Brooklyn College students “stay inside, active shooter”.
But the texts were so vague that they didn’t even say they were from Brooklyn College, simply “stay inside”.
People around the world, who may be current Brooklyn College students, got generic “shelter in place” notifications.

But why should the colleges still be on the text/email alert systems?

Shouldn’t they be able to place a beacon on the campus, which sends out a notification to people within a certain radius, stating “stay in place”?

Or even better, shouldn’t that be standard across America?
When there’s a shooter in Orlando or a car into a crowd in Times Square, there should be an alert within a mile of that site to stay away. And anyone outside that radius, who enters it, maybe their phone would pick up the signal and tell them to turn away.

We know the technology is there, we’ve seen it in action, and it needs to get implemented.

Mental Health Awareness Panel

On Wednesday night the Orthodox Union/JLIC at the Tanger Hillel of Brooklyn College had a panel discussion entitled “Depression and Anxiety: Let’s Talk”, with the intent of breaking the stigma and getting the community talking.

Very often mental illness is a disease of separation where people feel different, isolated, and alone…and you really don’t have to be.
– Dr. Perlstein, Clinical Psychologist, DBT CBT Specialist

It featured a panel of six people including a Child Psychiatrist, a Clinical Psychologist, Social Workers, Organization leaders and a religious leader.

Mental illness is real. It’s something that needs to be addressed and something that we cannot shy away from anymore. Confront it. Deal with it. Get proper help.
– Zvi Gluck, Executive Director and Founder of Amudim

They spoke on a range of topics, from depression and anxiety to addictions and signs to look out for, as well as what we can do to help ourselves and those around us.

People aren’t crazy. Human behavior, every behavior that someone does, there’s a reason behind it. Let’s try to understand why before we judge it.
– Alexander Rand, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

At the end of the event, they had a resource expo handing out pamphlets and information for a lot of local organizations. They also handed out a booklet of information that people can take home and use as a guide if they ever needed a place to turn.

It’s time for us to be open with each other. It’s time for us to stop thinking and worrying about the shidduchim of our six-year-olds with ADHD. It’s time for us to stop running away from our problems. Face the problems.
– Dr. Ronen Hizami, Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist

The event was in memory of my friend Rebecca, who we lost almost one year ago, although it was the first anniversary on the Hebrew calendar on Wednesday, the day of the event.

Education ends the stigma. It’s important that we get a clear picture of what it is so that we stop stigmatizing without realizing what it’s all about.
– Rabbi Yisroel Grossberg, Principal of BCA and Rabbinic Advisor for Chazkeinu

Amudim, an organization formed to help provide assistance and guidance to those facing crisis, and whose founder was on the panel, recorded and live streamed the event via Facebook.
I turned their feed into an unlisted YouTube video, making it easier to view without a Facebook account.

We do have a choice whether we stay in denial or whether we come out of denial and take action and fight it.
– Judith Leventhal, Licensed Social Worker, Author  of National Bestselling Series, Small Miracles

I know it’s two hours long, but trust me it is worth watching and sharing along to everyone you know. You never know who needs it and who will benefit from it.
As always, if anyone ever needs it, my inbox is always open to talk.

R.I.P. Faigy Mayer

It’s been the cover story of the NY Post for the last two mornings and I figured I’d bring it up.

Faigy Mayer ventured through Brooklyn College at the same time as me, on her Graduate path while I went for Undergrad, and she went on to write apps and was working on a project in recent months.

This wasn’t an accident, but rather a means to an end after years of being troubled and tormented by her past and the way the present was playing out. She knew exactly what she was doing.

Her family is sitting shiva for her, but they wouldn’t comment on her, simply saying:

‘I don’t want to say anything. What am I supposed to say: That she’s a wonderful person? No, we don’t want to comment.’

But what exactly are they supposed to say? I’m not telling them to be okay with her decision. When they put the energy and effort into raising a child, they want them to grow up a certain way. Nothing wrong with them showing disappointment.

It’s almost a year since depression and the likes was thrust more into the spotlight with the death of Robin Williams and it is just as relevant to talk about every day.

The reality is, you can tell people to talk out their issues as much as you’d like, but it is up to each individual to figure out their life and what works best for them. It’s a real shame that she choose this path, and I hope more people don’t go down the same road.

Death To Cliques, And Changing Social Norms – Pt. 1

On March 8, 2012 I opened up my thoughts to Facebook, and called out those who stood above everyone else and thought themselves to be better.

This “Open Letter” certainly upset many people, some because it appeared like I was pushing them away, and others because it acknowledged their bad behaviors that they didn’t want to confront.

Now, three+ years later I want to revisit cliques and how they need to end and how we could approach people and welcome them in, leaving everyone feeling like a part of this world.

I’m gonna start with a few quotes from that March 8th letter:

Because as some of you at Brooklyn College may have noticed, the school lives and dies on ‘cliques’, aka groups of friends, who you either belong to, or they don’t care about you.

I never actually joined a clique. So it was nice if I was there, but when I wasn’t, I wasn’t missed.

I don’t know what I hope to gain by writing all of this.
Maybe that all of you will change your ways of friendship?
Nah, that’s too much to ask.
Maybe just review who you are, and think who you may have hurt each day, by your words, or actions.

Now these are just a few select quotes from my letter, and if anyone is actually wanting to read the whole thing, I can certainly send it along.

Part 2 HERE

BC Hillel Passover Deliveries

This Sunday I went to the Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College (at which I’m a board member) to do our yearly Passover Deliveries to the Elderly.

Every year we get in different goods to deliver, thanks in part to the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, and this year we had a nice haul to spread around to those who needed it:

  • Hand Matzah
  • Machine Matzah
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Apple Juice
  • Mayonnaise
  • Tuna
  • Pickles
  • Jam
  • Applesauce
  • Macaroons

I think that covered it all.

Our deliveries ranged all over Brooklyn, using lists that are built on year after year, and went out to over 300 families.

I started off at the Hillel, helping organize the groups going out, and loading the proper packages into each volunteer vehicle.
Those that didn’t come with a vehicle were either paired up in a car (in case the driver couldn’t find parking) or remained at the Hillel to help load cars and pack more packages as needed.

As the list wound down, me and another volunteer went out in my car to tackle two routes and delivered to 16 families.

All in all a great Sunday of volunteering!

If you want to, it’s not too late to donate to the cause, and that can be done HERE.

bc hillel

In Which I speak at an Al Tanger Memorial @BCHillel

A few months ago I wrote about the death of broadcasting great Al Tanger.

And last week Thursday, the Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College (of which I’m on the Board of Directors for) honored the man who put his name on the building.

In what turned out to be a great little event, attended by many students, a few people spoke about their experiences with the late Mr. Tanger. I was also asked to speak at this event, just about my experiences at the Hillel, and I threw in a few connections that I had with him.

Of course being the third (fourth?) speaker at an event like this, means that everyone before you has already said a lot of what you will…but that’s what improvising is for! And lucky I was able to think quickly and keep it semi-coherent.

This is the script of what I wrote for the speech…of course it changed from what I actually said, but the main points toward the end all stayed. <SPEECH LINK>

It was also really nice that two of Al’s children and one grandchild came to our event (most of them live in the Boston area), the latter of which spoke briefly to the group of us there.

Al Tanger Speech Pic

A Public Relations Nightmare

Last Monday night I went to an event run by one of my former clubs at Brooklyn College…and I am saddened to say that the level of “caring for those in attendance” has gone down hill in the three years since I left.

The club running the event was one that I was involved in for my last three years at college, and which I was on the board of for two years; first as a Public Relations officer (a title that hadn’t existed for that club before that point) and the second as President.

This event had been publicized in the days leading up to the event via Emails and Facebook (although I am not on Facebook, and have not seen the event page, I was told what was on there…but as such, I will just stick to the emails, as those are what I know about), and they had sent out a full schedule for the night.

Here was the schedule sent out in an email a few days before the event and again 7-hours before:

  • 8:45 Evening Prayers
  • 9:00 Introduction and reading of Lamentations
  • 9:45 Speech by a former IDF soldier
  • 10:15 Inspirational video

A lot of people, such as myself, had come strictly for the prayers and reading of Lamentations, since we had to go home and go to sleep (either because of work early the next morning, or had been up since early Monday morning due to work; or a mixture of both).

Things started off smoothly, with prayers starting a few minutes late at 8:50 (this was expected) and the Introduction began the same, 5 minutes late…and that’s when things went off the rails.

Instead of the reading of Lamentations following the introduction, there was a 5-minute awkward silence during which a Skype call was trying to be set-up <still unsure what the call was for, and why we needed to be concerned with it>, and then the IDF soldier got up to speak.

At 9:40 they began Lamentations…at this point a few people had left (without hearing the reading, which had been the sole purpose of the event, with everything else supposed to be complimenting it) as they couldn’t hang around all night waiting for it to start, especially since the schedule was now unknown.

Just as unfairly, at 9:45 people started showing up, specifically to hear the IDF soldier speak…except that had already happened.

I spoke to a few people after the event, all of whom were upset in one way or another (either because the reading was late or because they had missed the speech), and I figured that the appropriate thing would’ve been an email sent out over the next day or two following the event saying “We are sorry for the confusion, and apologize for the inconvenience we may have caused”.

Except that never came…

There are times that as an alumni I am driven back to the college, especially for events like these, and then there are times that I am driven away…and as an alumnus, I can safely say, that once you are driven away from something, it is very hard to get them back in (BTW, most of the people who had to leave early, were alumni, as those are the ones generally with jobs to wake up to in the morning).