Faces In The Crowd

Celebrating The Visible Black Women in Aviation

Black women, like Bessie Coleman, have taken to the skies since the era of aviation broke dawn. The history of Black women in aviation is an important one, especially as part of a robust Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) movement to secure the sacred spaces Black women hold in industry and society. Black women have since time in memorial carried the heavy burden of discrimination, racism, inequality and outright mistreatment and misogamy that has historically blocked their access and participation at every level of man’s social construct.

With a feverish resistance to the DEI movement across the country, it is imperative that Black women are supported and protected. And in that spirit, it is fitting to recognize an important face in the aviation crowd: Chrystal Dunbar, OBAP Northeast Assistant Regional Director United Airlines – First Officer.

Dunbar is a first officer at United Airlines who got her start in aviation at Eagle Flight Pilot Training Academy in East Orange, NJ at the age of 13. According to her profile, “after receiving her pilot’s license, she went on to study at Daniel Webster College in New Hampshire. Chrystal graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management/Flight Operations. After flying for Chautauqua Airlines for 5 years, Chrystal was hired by Continental Airlines (now United Airlines) in 2005. She is currently based in Newark, NJ and flying the Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft.”

The aviation industry has historically been dominated by men, and African American women have faced significant barriers to entry and advancement. However, in recent years, there has been a growing movement to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in aviation.

Challenges faced by African American Women Pilots

African American women pilots face a number of challenges, including:

  • Stereotypes and biases: African American women are often stereotyped as being less capable pilots than men. This can lead to discrimination in hiring, promotion, and other areas.
  • Lack of role models: There are relatively few African American women pilots, which can make it difficult for young women to find role models and mentors.
  • Financial barriers: Aviation is a male-dominated industry. This can make it difficult for African American women to access the financial resources they need to pursue a career in aviation.

Efforts to promote DEI in aviation

There are a number of efforts underway to promote DEI in aviation. These include:

  • Mentorship programs: Mentorship programs can help young African American women connect with experienced pilots and mentors who can provide guidance and support.
  • Scholarships and grants: Scholarships and grants can help African American women overcome financial barriers to pursuing a career in aviation.
  • Outreach programs: Outreach programs can help to increase awareness of aviation careers among African American women.
  • Industry initiatives: The aviation industry is also working to promote DEI through initiatives such as the FAA’s NextGen Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.

African American Women Pilots in Aviation

Despite the challenges they face, there are a number of African American women who have made significant contributions to aviation. These include:

  • Bessie Coleman: Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license. She went on to become a barnstorming stunt pilot and airshow performer.
  • Harriet Quimby: Harriet Quimby was the first American woman to earn a pilot’s license. She went on to become a famous air racer and set several world records.
  • Mae Jemison: Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to travel to space. She was a crew member on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992.
  • Kimberly Bryant: Kimberly Bryant is the founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization that provides technology education to young African American girls.

The Future of DEI in Aviation

Chrystal Dunbar with her mom Joanne and daughter Isabella.

The future of DEI in aviation is bright. Dunbar who was supported by her mother Joanne to pursue a career in aviation is now supporting her own daughter, Isabella, who is also embarking on a successful career in aviation at Eagle Flight Squadron, Inc. There is a growing movement to promote DEI in the industry, and there are a number of African American women who are making significant contributions to aviation, including United Airlines First Officer, Chrystal Dunbar. With continued efforts, the aviation industry can become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

For those interested in pursuing a career in aviation can seek support and additional resources by clicking on the following links below:

Open letter to President Biden: we call for a ceasefire now

, Ben Lerner,  and others

We are a group of Jewish American writers, artists and academics. We oppose what the Israeli government is doing with US assistance

President Joe Biden:

We are a group of Jewish American writers, artists and academics. Being Jewish means different things to all of us, but we all have at least one Jewish parent, which means we could move to Israel and qualify for Israeli citizenship.

We condemn attacks on Israeli and Palestinian civilians. We believe it is possible and in fact necessary to condemn Hamas’ actions and acknowledge the historical and ongoing oppression of the Palestinians. We believe it is possible and necessary to condemn Hamas’ attack and take a stand against the collective punishment of Gazans that is unfolding and accelerating as we write.

Cutting off resources to more than 2 million people, demanding families flee their homes in the north, indiscriminately bombing a trapped population – these are war crimes and indefensible actions. And yet the United States government is offering “moral” and material support for the dehumanization and murder of innocent Gazans. We write to publicly declare our opposition to what the Israeli government is doing with American assistance. We call on the US government to seek an immediate ceasefire and to use our resources towards providing aid ensuring the safe return of hostages and building a diplomatic path towards peace.

As Jews, as Americans, we will be made to feel a sense of safety in our communities, and in the world, not by unequivocal US support for Israel, but by our government’s insistence on the universal human rights that so many of us take for granted.

Timo Andres

Annie Baker

Timo Andres

Annie Baker

Susan Bernofsky

Judith Butler

Michael Chabon

Deborah Eisenberg

Madeleine George

Masha Gessen

Francisco Goldman

Andre Gregory

Nan Goldin

Alena Graedon

Amy Herzog

Marianne Hirsch

Gabriel Kahane

Cindy Klein

David Klion

Lisa Kron

Rachel Kushner

Tony Kushner

Ben Lerner

Jonathan Lethem

Sam Lipsyte

Zachary Lockman

Kenneth Lonergan

Andrew Marantz

Ben Marcus

David Naimon

Benjamin Nugent

Howard Rodman

Dana Sachs

Ira Sachs

Lynne Sachs

James Schamus

Adam Shatz

Wallace Shawn

Leo Spitzer

V (formerly known as Eve Ensler)

Paula Vogel

Ayelet Waldman

Laura Wexler

Hannah Zeavin


how old am i in dog years

Susan Goldfein On Aging Successfully With Candor And Wit


James A. Garfield once said, “If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon our heart. The spirit should never grow old.” That’s how the witty and inspiring Susan Goldfein lives her life bicoastally in Florida and Connecticut. After being forced into retirement thanks to the damage caused by Bernie Madoff, Goldfein embarked on a writing career she calls her second wind. Today, she’s an award-winning author of two books offering wisdom flavored with humor through enjoyable essays on life and its circumstances.

susan goldfein on aging

Her first book, How Old Am I In Dog Years, was inspired by her two dogs she noticed were aging right alongside her and her husband Larry. Her second book, How To Complain When There’s Nothing To Complain About, is a collection of short essays about life as a retiree and other topics that touch on different issues people in her age group face.

Her books won the 2016 Delray Beach Library’s Authors’ Showcase, a Silver Medalist in the 2016 Independent Publishers (IPPY) Book Awards in the humor category, the prize for humor in the 2017 NYC Big Book Awards, the Gold for Humor in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award as well as the 2019 International Book Award for Humor.

In addition to writing books, Goldfein runs her own website, susansunfilteredwit, where she publishes monthly articles  on topics ranging from reincarnation, becoming her mother, zoom etiquette during COVID to her thoughts on television shows, entertainment and much more. Her website is full of amusing essays that will make you happy you stopped by for a read. Goldfein’s views on aging and life in general is wisdom we can all use, especially now when the rhythm of our planet is moving to an unfamiliar beat. Her books can be purchased on her website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. There, you will also find links to all her social media platforms.

My conversation with Goldfein:

jA.AM Is Stepping Up To The Hip-Hop Scene Like Whoa


Sounding like one of the greatest in the game, Kendrick Lamar, the DMV artist known as jA.AM is still able to maintain a sense of self and originality in his music. Represented by a label he created in 2014, Forever Apex Entertainment, this headlining DC artist is stepping onto the hip-hop scene with righteous blunt rhymes and a strong disposition that screams: I’m not here to play. I’m here to deliver. And he does, beautifully.

His rhymes are infectious, thought provoking and deep. And yet, jA.AM can keep your head bobbing and body jiggling to the awesome groove of his music. He’s a bona fide talent.

Take a listen:

jA.AM, aka Joe Lyric, sounds like he’s been spitting rhymes since birth. The man is clearly a natural and easy on the ears and eyes while touching your heart, even poking at your mind. Together with his team of collaborators, jA.AM is steadily creating his generation’s music that pays homage to the forefathers of hip-hop with songs like Gotta Get It. And, keeping in line with the evolution of being unapologetically sexual in modern day society he delivers a song that can make a THOT blush. BiG Cap is not only raw and explicit, it’s creatively sexy.

NO NO is another juicy and unequivocal song that’s easy to dance to while connecting to the rhymes. We all know someone who oversteps every boundary you set, never pays you back and is a shameless leech. His song 2AM delivers another one-two punch to your endorphins while paying homage to U Street, a once culturally significant neighborhood for African Americans that is steadily being reshaped to fit perfectly into the hands of gentrification. A stark reality in a city that was once affectionately known as Chocolate City. These days, black people are barely able to maintain a piece of the DMV that’s not overrun by poverty, crime and urban decay. And, it’s all by design and systematic, making jA.AM’s place and success in his hometown a significant achievement.

Get You Some explodes like fireworks in your ears with jA.AM spitting fast rhymes that’s beautifully yoked to an equally impressive beat. This artist is definitely one to watch on his come up. Wanna get you some? Here’s how: Forever Apex. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and subscribe to his YouTube Channel to stay updated with new music releases and to listen to the full track of all their published songs. Enjoy and always support your local artists. They keep the culture alive and us moving to the ever changing beat of life.

Ethel Ennis: A Beautiful Voice And Accomplished Jazz Singer Who Kept It Real


Listening to Ethel Ennis sing songs like Have You Forgotten? and My Foolish Heart brings back nostalgia and memories of days long gone. These days one would be hard pressed to find musicians without twerking background dancers or some other gimmick. However, they do exist. And, Ennis’s life is a wonderful example of an accomplished artist who was able to share her talent with the world without the pressures of fame and “making it” in Hollywood. And, Ennis didn’t just “make it” … she made it proudly and successfully in her native home of Baltimore. Granted, the city isn’t called “Charm City” or “The Greatest City in America” for nothing. B’More is a mecca for Jazz musicians and singers like Ennis, still. Ennis passed away on February 17, 2019. She was 86.

It’s well worth it to take a stroll through YouTube and listen to her beautiful voice serenade you.  Start with Have you forgotten?

Biography from Wayback Machine:
Baltimore native Ethel Ennis is a national treasure. Critics have hailed her as “the most accomplished singer performing today.” That stature was earned by her magnificent voice, her brilliant compositions, her joyful performances and her collaboration with the finest musicians. Ethel Ennis first won national recognition for her recording “Lullaby for Losers” in 1955. In 1958, she was selected by Benny Goodman as the female vocalist for his all-star band. Later, she was chosen as a featured singer on the Arthur Godfrey Show. After performing at the 1964 Newport Jazz Festival with Billy Taylor, Cozy Cole, and Slam Stewart, she appeared with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra on television’s “Bell Telephone Hour.” She followed those amazing achievements by wowing them at the Monterey Jazz Festival in duets with Joe Williams. She returned to her hometown to perform in concerts with the Count Basie Band and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. During that same period, she shared the bill with Cab Calloway at Harlem’s Apollo Theater and played supper clubs and concert halls all over the country.

In the seventies, she founded the practice of singing the National Anthem a capella at Richard Nixon’s 1973 presidential inauguration. She performed at the White House for Jimmy Carter as well. During the period, she became Baltimore’s cultural ambassador, singing Chinese folk songs in Baltimore’s sister city of Xiamen, China as well as performing in Rotterdam, Germany. In the 1980’s, Ethel opened her own music club, Ethel’s Place with her husband, writer Earl Arnett. They presented the world’s greatest jazz musicians and broadcast live concerts to national audiences. They sold the club in 1988, each returning full-time to their artistic pursuits. Frank Sinatra once described her as, “my kind of singer.” A Downbeat reviewer once said of Ethel, “her voice runs deep, exuding the personality of a sage who has lived many lives.” She is the great sage of jazz and if you can find any one of her two dozen records and singles, you will have added a national treasure to your collection.

In her own words on her interracial marriage…

Who Is Frederick Lee Nichols?



For starters, don’t refer to him as Black or African American. Frederick Lee Nichols, a Republican running for the 119th Assembly District in NYS prefers the pronoun, American with African descent. “I’m the first American with so-called African people descent to run for the seat. I’ve never been to Africa so I never put another adjective in front of my own country,” he said during our sit down interview at Utica Roasting Co. on Genesee Street. He explains that his thinking evolved after spending some years overseas as an American Culture teacher. He says being referred to as an American is “good enough”.



His Views On Dual Identity

“Our country’s people are the only ones separating like this…I’m Irish American, I’m Italian American, I’m African American, but when I was overseas people would say to me; where are you from? America. Ok. The rest of it don’t matter because you’re an American. And I started changing. I won’t do it anymore. So, I say I’m an American with African, Irish and maybe some Hebrew descent”

And yet the irony is that Nichols being African American is exactly what makes his candidacy important. In the struggle for minority representation in governing, he breaks the mold and offers a pathway for many unhappy Democrats to consider the Republican Party. He’s the first black person to run for the 119th assembly seat. And like it or not, race in politics across America has always mattered. The split between members of the two parties isn’t just moving further apart on ideological and moral grounds, it’s creating an even deeper divide among different ethnic groups. The Republican Party is predominantly white and Democrats are largely people of color. Republicans are seen as hostile toward racial, social, immigration, economic equality and justice policies, whilst Democrats are seen as extreme on all those fronts that “threaten our democracy”. Nonetheless, the 119th Assembly seat being vacated by Anthony Brindisi (D) who’s challenging Claudia Tenney (R) for the 22nd Congressional seat, offers a rare opportunity for minorities to make some gains in governing, especially in this part of the country where communities of color continue to struggle socially and economically.  

“I stopped the victimization attitude and I stopped the blame game, and I said that even though racism is prevalent in our society, bigotry, all of it; it’s there. What does that have to do with you getting a grade; nothing.” He adds, “The book is not racist. Algebra is not racist, writing is not racist, the library is not racist, the pen and pencil is not racist…the paper. So, what’s stopping you from getting your grade? It’s not racism, that’s you.”

He makes a point. However, the context has to include data showing the correlation between access and education; access that is largely given to whites. Minorities’ straggling behind their white peers is directly tied to racial and social inequalities in schools. Poverty plays a role too. It’s no coincidence, but rather by design, Nichols is the first black Republican to run for the 119th Assembly seat.

Nikole Hannah-Jones who covers race in the U.S. for NYT Magazine said during a talk with The Green Space at WNYC and WQXR on school segregation in NYC, “Segregation and integration at their core are about power and who gets access to it.” She says blacks in particular still have a hard time being “full citizens in their own country” and that matters when it comes to education and its outcome for minorities in America, particularly in small town America and uniquely pertaining to governing.

“The systems that and the actions that created this inequality took a lot of effort and a lot of time. And we want to undo them, you know, with no pain for anyone with a snap of the fingers. On my Twitter account, I say – I cover race from 1619. And 1619 is the year the first Africans were brought to what would become America as – to be enslaved. I say that so that we understand there is a very – before we were even a country, we had created this system that was going to put black people on the bottom and we created a caste system. And to undo that, we feel like no one has to give anything up or there’s not going to be any tension or it’s going to be easy, and it simply won’t. One of the things that I really try to do with my work is show how racial segregation and racial inequality was intentionally created with a ton of resources. From the federal government, to the state, to city governments, to private citizens, we put so much effort into creating the segregation and inequality, and we’re willing to put almost no effort in fixing it. And that’s the problem,” Hannah-Jones said.

And because apathy is poverty’s cousin, those mostly impacted rarely participate in our democracy. Data shows only two-thirds of Americans vote in presidential elections. That number is even lower for state and local races. Nichols being the first person of color to run for this seat in 2018, is a stark reminder that change is overdo. Even though he has views that more liberal minded Americans might find distasteful and even off-putting, he’s the epitome of turning lemons into lemonade if you separate his rhetoric from his determination. Nonetheless, whether diversity of opinion matters as much as representation, will be determined when the people vote.

Why He’s Running As A Republican

Nicholas says the Democratic Party hasn’t lived up to the promises made to minorities in America since they shifted from being the more conservative party after the Civil War. “Most minority people in this country and in poor neighborhoods are democratic to the core. I was also as a young man because I only knew what people told me. Then when I started to educate myself and read books, I found the Democratic Party was totally contrary to what was to improve the lives of people that they say they care so much about. Their program, 90-percent of them, in the name of doing something good is just hurting the people they say they care so much about.”

With an intent look in his eyes, Nichols says he’s laser focused on changing business as usual on behalf of the people he grew up with; as a Republican. And he’s looking for a complete overhaul, starting with morality, education, land and business ownership in poor communities primarily made up of minorities. And he wants to change the lens that shows Republicans as bad for minorities. He says when it comes to understanding the history and process of politics in the region; people have to become more engaged. “I plan on, after being elected, is to always have town hall meetings; twice a month. Because people got to be able to voice what they want me to do.” He says as he explains how he plans to work for his constituents and encourage them to take a more active role in local politics.

The Lack Of Support From Local Black Leaders

Nichols says the local NAACP Chapter does not recognize him because he’s a Republican despite his good intentions. “They don’t recognize me for nothing; the NAACP. And I know who the chapter head is; he’s a very nice person. The other black organizations, they don’t recognize me. I came from the same community; I went through the same hardship and I overcame long before they knew I was a Republican. But now they see I’m a Republican, they don’t want to use me as an example for those kids.”

Nichols says him being Republican doesn’t make him naive about racism or immune to its impact. “Racism is there, I don’t deny it. I’ve been through it; I still go through it today. I went to Republican districts way out there in the woods. I knock on their door and they don’t want to talk because they think I’m a Democrat.” He says he wants to “burst the gap” between black Democrats and Republicans, “To say, hey I’m here, they supported me, I’m from your loins, I’m here now, how about we use me as an example that we can both look at each other’s platform and try and find a common solution. Because what would be one of the greatest things in this area is to have a minority—male or female—in a high position; that it can finally be, it can show that this area is trying to break some of their racial tensions in the area. Winning this position is not a small thing; it’s a big deal and I want to use this as a positive thing to say, you know what, I don’t agree with all Democratic policies but I’m willing to work with them on any policy that has proven results.”

His Platform

The issues Nichols says he’ll tackle if he’s chosen to go to Albany to represent his constituents are to repeal NY Safe Act, increase support for Veterans, end corruption, reduce taxes, improve education and make more jobs available for young people. Nichols pledges to support pro-life policies although when he explains his position on abortion he sounds like a pro—choice candidate. Only time will tell if Nichols is the one to break the mold, but if history means anything, his chances of winning are slim to none. History also shows Democrats; especially minorities, have nothing else to lose by supporting this “American with African descent” Republican candidate, idiosyncratic as he may be, because voting the same way season after season hasn’t changed the persistent bad weather in poor neighborhoods here or across the country. Poverty levels are still high in the district and social inequalities still keep the area lagging behind in the times, keeping people segregated in their respective corners of society; blue vs. red, whites vs. people of color, and poor vs. rich.

The other Republican in the race is Dennis Bova, Jr. Democrats Christopher Salatino and Marianne Buttenschon are also running for AD-119th.  The district includes the cities of Utica and Rome, and the towns of Floyd, Frankfort, Marcy and Whitestown. The election for the Assembly seat will take place November 6, 2018. Nichols must pull a win in the September Primary in order to appear on the November Ballot.




Hilde Reiter: An Afternoon With A Holocaust Survivor


The Holocaust remains one of the most brutal and tragic occurrence in mankind’s history. We still memorialize this tragic chapter of our past on special days, and in books, talks, plays, movies, sculptures and when possible, hearing directly from some of the remaining victims of this unbelievable tragedy.

The systemic extermination of a group of people is not uncommon in man’s long documented journey on earth. From Genghis Khan to the era of Slavery, man has behaved brutally toward one another. Still, the Holocaust is a memory its dwindling survivor’s harbor like an anchored ghost ship. One of those survivors, Hilde Frost Reiter, was a little girl when the world was a much different place. This is her story…

ePa: Hi Hilde, thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, like where you were born?

HR: I was born in Breitenau, Germany in 1920. I went to grammar school there for the first 5 years. In 1930 I went to a private school. I was there till 1935. This was a private school, my father had to pay for this. Then when times got bad for Jewish people after 1933, when Hitler came to rule Germany, he couldn’t pay anymore, and I had to stop going to school.

ePa: How was your family able to make it out of Germany when things got bad?

HR: My mother had a sister in Philadelphia, United States. She left Germany in 1913 with her future husband, and they lived in Philadelphia. They sponsored my older sister and brother in 1934. She immigrated to the United States. She saw the hand writing on the wall in Germany and she decided to leave.

I, in 1939, went to Israel. I wanted to build Jewish homeland. I thought that was more important than going to another country where Jewish people may be tolerated; that’s all. My brother and I went to Israel. I left in October 1939 and arrived in Israel in January 1940. I stood two-weeks, since it was an English colony, and they wouldn’t admit us to Israel at the time—Palestine wouldn’t—they left us standing two-weeks outside the harbor at Haifa and finally they admitted us through Palestine and they took us right to jail, which was called, Atlit [detainee camp], outside Haifa.

Since many people, Jewish people, from Europe had to come to Palestine, just to get out of Europe, there were many boats and many immigrants, and they didn’t have enough room in Atlit so they decided to let the women go and kept the men. My brother was there too, for ten months. He sat in Atlit doing nothing, until they finally released him. When I came out of Atlit, I went to Kibbutz.

 ePa: Your family was part of the influx of Jewish people fleeing Germany and other parts of Europe. Was it difficult to leave the country?

HR: If you could leave they’d let you leave. They didn’t prevent you from leaving. There was a Jewish Organization in Germany and they helped people to immigrate that already had the possibility, and there were also the Jewish agencies in Palestine. This was a coordinated effort to bring as many Jewish people to Palestine as possible. They came from Germany, they came from Holland, some came from England, a lot of them came from Poland and Russia. And, they organized these trips. They hired a boat, there’s a crew and they organized the trip on a train to the boat. We left on October 13, 1939, a Friday night.

The train entered the Vienna main train station. We were surrounded. The train was surrounded completely by SS. They took us in the train station. Separated the men from the women, and we were mostly young people. There were a few elderly people too but mostly we were 19, 20, 18… and, they checked everything out. We had to undress, and from A to Z… they checked the suit cases. We could only take 10 kilos, that was the maximum we could take and we were allowed to take 10 Marks. The money that we could take… we couldn’t take any more.

They finally released us and we went to the boat. We were three and a half months on the boat, then we changed to a little bigger boat. Then we went to the Aegean Sea… along to Lebanon and Haifa.

ePa: Your life was turned upside down from the upheaval of your family life and structure. What were you experiencing at the time as a young woman?

HR: The school I went to was a Catholic school and there were nuns that taught us. There was no anti-Semitism among the nuns but when it came to the children that went there to school, it was a different story. Plus, this was an all-girls school. Some they would talk to us but most of them when they saw us, they went to the other side of the street.

I think most of the young girls that went to school, they joined the Hitler Youths, that’s what they were called, and there, they were taught and told what Jews are and so on, and so on… The propaganda was atrocious, atrocious… you heard it on the radio, you saw it on every street corner. There was the newspaper, Der Stürmer, that was an anti-Jewish newspaper. I mean there were stars in there, I don’t know where they got them, or even when they were invented…and, horror stories… And, it was on every corner in our town, or in the big city.

So, if people today, or even after the Holocaust say they didn’t know anything about it, this is nonsense. Every person in Germany knew what was going on with Jewish people.

In 1934 they burned the books from all Jewish authors. But, there weren’t only Jewish ones. There were also from Communists, left leaning organizations, people that were more open and had more open opinions of certain things… People had to bind the books in the middle of the town and they burned them all down. This was all over Germany.

In 1934, there was a boycott. SS stood in front of every Jewish business and urged people not to buy from Jews anymore. In our store too. My family had a butcher store and there were two SS standing, but the people said, ‘We know these people all our lives, we never had a problem before and we’re going to buy’…”

My uncle saw the hand-writing on the wall. He, in 1934, took a trip to Israel. He bought a house there and he came back and saw this side of the business. Since everything was owned together, my father and him separated, they made an agreement and he left with his wife and younger daughter to Israel.

In 1936 after I couldn’t go to school anymore, I went to Berlin. I went there to school. We lived in Bonn with an elderly couple and they looked after us. During the day we went to school. It was a Hebrew school. It was attached to a beautiful Synagogue. There was also a little museum. Since the wars the museum and the Synagogue remains standing.

From there, I prepared for going to Israel. I went to another cultural school; we worked there and we learned, and that was part of the preparation to go to Israel. In 1938 they closed it. Because they could no longer financially make payments and we went outside of Berlin to further our agricultural training. And from there, I left in 1939 to Israel.

A project installing commemorative brass plaques in the pavement in front of the last known address of Holocaust victims by the artist, Gunter Demnig, started in Germany in 1997. Officials with the project reached out to Reiter for help uncovering some of the names of the victims. Many of them Reiter remembers fondly as a little Jewish girl growing up in Nazi era Germany. Thanks in part to her contribution to the project, there are over 610 places in Germany as well as in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Norway and Ukraine that bear the names of Holocaust victims. The Stumbling Stone project’s aim is to keep the memory of the victims alive and to ensure this page of man’s history is not forgotten or repeated.

Reiter got involved in the project in 2002 after a friend send her information about it.

HR: …They wanted some information. They sent me a letter, sent me a lot of information, they wanted me to verify that these are the people they thought they were. And, they asked me about other families, and about my family…this is how I got involved.

I answered other questions. I gave them information about my family. There was a husband and my favorite Aunt Loidh, wife and daughter I’ve been looking for, for about 35 years and couldn’t get any information about what happened to them. I send them the papers that I got from Red Cross, which were full of life and asked them if they could find out what happened to them. They lived in my parents’ house. And they were picked up from there.

They found what happened to them. When they were picked up, and where they went from there. They don’t know what concentration camp they got killed at but at least I know what happened.

I asked them, as a favor to me, if they would put three stones for each one of them in front of the house where we lived, and where they were picked up. And, they finally decided to do this. And it was my decision to go to Germany to be present when this happened.

There was another sister of my father…she perished with her husband, her son and daughter in Izbica. They picked them up and took them to Izbica [Izbica Ghetto]. According to German records, they kept them there on a train overnight and from there they took them to different concentration camps. But, they were all four killed in Izbica.

They lived in my grandparents’ house. She was the youngest sister and she took care of her parents, she lived with them in the house. Three other cousins of my father perished too.

Reiter can name several other families off the top of her head, including her own, that perished in the Holocaust and who are also commemorated in the Stumble Upon project.

HR: I gave them all the information about the family Wolf because the father died in the early 1930s and the mother since she was from Holland, took the two sons and was heading back to Holland. The older son, which was a good friend of mine, perished in Mauthausen, [Mauthausen-Gusen] and the mother and the younger son Gurd, they were on the train that the Germans just left…it was from Bergen Belsen, they left it on the track, and the wagons were all locked without water or food, they just left it there.

When the Americans came and found the train and opened the wagons…there were many dead, sick and dying… There were about 2,500 or 3,000 people, and they took them to the next town and made the towns people take care of them. The dead were buried there in mass graves. They took care of the sick, many had typhus, even 23 people from the town died from the illness…but the mother and the son also died there and were buried in a mass grave.

In 1938, Kristallnacht, they burned the synagogue down. They deliberately burned it. Someone came to tell my father that the synagogue was burning. He and another Jewish man ran and tried to save the Torah scrolls but there wasn’t too much to do…

“Kristallnacht (“night of broken glass”):  Nazis burn synagogues, destroy Jewish property, and beat and arrest thousands of Jews. This is the start of the harsher phase of persecution,” states Wesleyan University Prof. D. Morgan in a chronology of historical events.

Reiter goes on to say that the fire marshal lived right across the street from the burning synagogue and when the two men tried to get him to call for help he told them that the fire was deliberately set and that he was under strict orders not to do anything about it. Reiter’s father and the other Jewish man were arrested that night by the police for trying to put out the fire. Reiter’s father was released two weeks after being detained.  

HR: When he came home he said, ‘It’s time to leave’…”

My father would have never ever left Germany and leave one of his children behind. I got out in 1939 right after the war broke out, my brother left a few months later, probably about 8, 9 months later and then they sent my younger sister by herself to Spain and from there she went on a boat to America.

Then after everybody was out, my father tried to get out too. They got to the United States December 5, 1941. December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and that was the end of coming out of Germany because America declared war on Germany.

They were lucky that they got here when they got here… it was the last boat. The absolute last boat.

Reiter still recounts the good times she shared with some of the victims she helped to uncover for the Stumble Stones project, especially her family members.

HR: For me it was a very important day [The official commemoration] because I finally felt that my favorite Aunt, her husband and daughter, found a resting place. Nobody knew what happened to them but now we know. Now, they’re permanently remembered in front of our [family] house. From where they were taken and later perished… She was an exceptional person. She was my favorite aunt. They always invited me to spend time with them. And, I loved to go there. I only have wonderful memories of the family, and to me this was a very important day that I finally found out what happened to them and that they were memorialized.

ePa: Not everyone is happy with the Stumble Upon project. Some have taken issue with the placement of the plaques, essentially saying that the plaques being on the ground is offensive to the memory of the victims. Others are saying that the plaques negatively impact property values. What are your thoughts on this issue?

HR: I think it’s a wonderful project. It’s a worthwhile project. The reason they do this is for the younger generation that don’t know anything about the Holocaust, and should know about it, so this should never ever happen again. It’s true, there’s still anti-Semitism in Germany and I’m sure the people that didn’t like Jewish people then and don’t like them today, probably object to this. What can I tell you… apparently the majority agrees with it because this project has been going on since 1997.

ePa: Are there still lessons to be learn from the Holocaust?

HR: Absolutely. The artist of the project puts the commemorative stone markers on the ground to force people to bow down to read the names of the Holocaust victims. When you bow down to read, it’s like bowing down to the victims, to pay your respect, and that’s how I feel about it. We must remember the Holocaust, and be mindful of the lessons from it, to avoid repeating the mistakes that led to it.

Hilde Reiter left the Kibbutz life in Israel for the United States, a widow with two children, following the death of her husband who died from injuries sustained during the Independence War, (1947-1949).

HR: So much Jewish culture got destroyed, things got stolen that belonged to people, art, and all kinds of things… I think it’s important that we remember. And, this project [Stumble Upon] helped memorialize the victims. To me, it was closure for my family that passed. The two sisters of my father with their husband and children… I grew up with them. They meant something to me, and all of a sudden, you don’t know what happened to them…They were very important to me.

Reiter, now in her 90s, still lives independently in Westchester County, NY and is an active member of her community, especially at her local Library. She still travels to Israel, still speaks fluent German and gives talks on surviving the Holocaust whenever possible.

The Kneady Baker Bakes His Bread As Fast As He Can




Once upon a time, not too long ago, there were bread makers hard at work in the wee hours of the morning mixing, pounding, then shaping and waiting for the right moment to send their perfectly raised dough to the oven for their turn to transform into an important food staple; fresh baked bread using four simple ingredients; flour, water, salt and yeast.

“It’s about 18-hours worth of work. From the time that I start to mix the sour dough starter, mix the dough, let the dough ferment to rise, shape the dough and then bake it. The baking part is the fastest and the easiest; it’s in and out of the oven in about 30-minutes… It’s the 16, 17 hours ahead of that time when it’s fermenting. That’s where the flavor comes from and that’s where most of the work is,” said The Kneady Baker, (Joe Silberlicht) one of the last remaining American bread makers still true to using simple wholesome ingredients with roots firmly planted in the food culture of farm to table eating. For many, that starts with fresh baked bread, which is increasingly becoming harder and harder to come by. It’s no secret that mass-produced foods, especially breads, in the age of profit over people is pushing us further and further away from healthier options.

Even so, if you’re lucky enough to live near the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate, New York you can get your hands on this backsliding food choice. In addition to his 30 delivery customers, Silberlicht sells his fresh baked breads every other Saturday in Utica. The pop-up shop where you can also get your hands on imported cheeses from Italy and humanely raised meats from Bach Farms in Mohawk is held at a unique gathering spot called, The Other Side; a small trendy place on Genesee Street where many events ranging from Jazz performances, speaking engagements, community group meetings to little pop-up shops take place.

Most people in America have become accustomed to commercial bread void of the simplicity of days long gone and packed with a long list of complex preservatives for a longer shelf life. Even the simple taste of bread has changed drastically along the way. Bread may have lost some appreciation and value in our modern-day society but luckily there’s still a man hard at work keeping the fairy tale of the community bread maker alive. “The dough is always talking to you, the trick is learning to understand what the dough is saying,” Silberlicht says explaining the importance of bread. “I think bread is very important and you can certainly find that in great literature, that bread being the staff of life and all of that, but I think that the bread you buy in the supermarkets today has enormous number of ingredients in it that don’t need to be in bread.”

Other than the four core ingredients, Silberlicht only uses simple flavorings like ground coffee for color and flavor for his European black bread or sesame seeds to create his signature sourdough master pieces. He says his bread is simply better for you. “The bread that I bake is going to be wonderful for four days to about a week. But it’s not going to be in a bag on the counter still soft for 3 or 4 weeks like a lot of commercial bread might be. And, it’s all those additives that they put in there that I just don’t think are necessary. It’s much better to have a good loaf of bread, eat it while it’s fresh and get another good loaf of bread.”

In the era of heightened food sensitivities especially to gluten, Silberlicht says choosing fresh baked bread with simple ingredients is the way to go. “As long as they’re not diagnosed with Celiac disease, I like to ask my customers to try the sourdough bread because a lot of people who feel bloated from having a lot of the supermarket bread, when they eat my sourdough bread they find that it’s much easier for them to digest and they can enjoy bread again.”

Silberlicht says although his freshly baked breads may not hold a long shelf life like store bought breads do, the benefits of eating healthier breads are positively impactful. “You can even make other recipes like bread pudding or Fattoush,” a Middle Eastern salad calling for toasted bread.

A trip to the bi-weekly fresh food pop-up shop invokes impressions of a very different time. Imagine turning the pages to sections of American history and immersing your senses in a simpler life when food wasn’t too complicated, or over processed and cheapened with additives like pink slime, lye, sodium nitrite and nitrate, or other hard to pronounce synthetically created additives like butylated hydroxyanisole and hydroxytoluene. With this in mind, it isn’t hard to imagine the nostalgia the fresh bread, cheeses and meats inspire. This pop-up shop is undoubtedly special.

Add to that experience the imported cheeses and other Italian delicacies from Mike Formaggio who operates “The Cheese Island” or Isle De Formaggio. His import business brings him back to his roots in Utica every two weeks from his Westchester home. Formaggio started the pop-up shop two years ago selling his cheeses and Italian delicacies like olives, sardines, olive oils and pastas. Soon after, he was joined by The Kneady Baker and later Judy Bach with Bach Farms, offering pasture raised pork, grass fed beef and lamb. Bach says she’s proud of her farming methods. “The way we raise our animals…we’re bringing something fresh to your table that was humanely raised.”

Making bread and other healthier food options a good staple of the diet again may be a far reaching goal for many but not an impossible one if good fortune provides you access to a dedicated bread baker like The Kneady Baker, and his fellow shop keepers Mike and Judy, still upholding this aspect of our healthy food culture.


Hip-Hop Artist iFreshH Is Cultivating Creative Growth In The Music World

iFreshH performing at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ

iFreshH performing at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ


The Northeast may be digging itself out from under Winter Storm Stella but that’s not putting a freeze on artists flocking to the South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX. That roster includes up and coming Hip-Hop artist iFreshH who is starting to make waves in the New Jersey music scene.

SXSW, a global music industry event happens every year during the month of March. It’s an opportunity for new, well-established and up and coming musicians to perform and for some, hopefully walk away with contracts from record labels and other industry folks that attend these events like scouts looking for their next big stars.

The new comer at the global music festival, iFreshH, is a solid and talented performer to look out for this year. The tall, quiet and unassuming figure spitting hip-hop rhymes hails from Trinidad and Tobago but calls Newark, NJ home. iFreshH performs locally, has released several music videos, and is steadily gaining traction, as he debuts his talents for a larger and more influential crowd at SXSW.

iFreshH’s music has a solid foundation in the Hip-Hop genre but his style also includes a hint of versatile soul rhythm, especially with No Love For Me, a song that carries a catchy tune even your mom can appreciate and swing to.

His recent performance opening up for Rich The Kid in Teaneck, NJ at Mexicali Live, as part of a collaboration with other talented and eager performers like Murdah Baby, one would be inclined to think he also represents part of the world of underground music and gangster rap. Nonetheless, iFreshH maintains a humble outlook on life outside of his beats and rhymes. And although he dropped out of a promising college career majoring in Criminal Justice with a 4.0 GPA, his views and perspectives on life comes across as solid and goal oriented. He’s definitely a rising star and promising artist to keep an eye on.