The Mosque theme plays on:
Sara Friedman Fishkin (6/60)
My all-time favorite teacher was the young, handsome Mr. Abe Kaplowitz. I was lucky to be in his 6th-grade class at Chancellor (6/56). He inspired my love of geography which fueled my unquenchable appetite for travel. He also had the class participate in an experiment to demonstrate the benefits of good nutrition. Two cages of large white mice occupied a prominent place in class. We fed one a diet of healthy mouse food while the other received a diet of sugary junk food. We watched the visible growth in size, energy and healthy appearance in Mr. (or Miss) Lucky Mouse while the other declined in every aspect.
Mr. Kaplowitz appointed a few students to talk about the results of the experiment in a TV program filmed in a Channel 13 studio at The Mosque Theater. Since I had the role of "announcer" in several programs in the Chancellor auditorium and was very enthusiastic, Mr. Kaplowitz included me among the three or four students to talk about nutrition on a TV show. All went well until I faced the TV camera; and froze. I had never had stage fright but I became that "deer in the headlights". Ugh!
I knew every facet of the experiment but the TV camera was the real taskmaster that day. Afterward, I apologized to Mr. Kaplowitz. While true to his way, he made light of my performance (or lack of it). After the TV program, my lingering memory was how much I had let down my classmates and my favorite teacher.
I sent my Mosque Theater story to some WHS friends and friend Paul Lipkin (also Chancellor 56 and WHS 60) responded with confirmation about those mice and our wonderful teacher, Mr. Abe Kaplowitz. His comment mirrors mine about inspirational teachers. Paul also shared a great memory about chewing gum being passed to our 6th grade class in honor of the birth of Mr. Kaplowitz's first baby. Better than passing out cigars which was the fashion of that era. Sara
Laurie Alterman Mayerson (59)
My sister, Cheryl Alterman Elblonk (64) was on the show when the sponsor, I believe, was Ronzoni. She was a very pretty child, so Uncle Fred Sales gave her some pastina to taste. She said it was awful on live TV and made a face! My parents were so embarrassed! Laurie
Jac Toporek (6/63)
To the Alterman sisters, Laurie and Cheryl, I similarly embarrassed myself during one visit to the Mosque for the “Zacherly” program. He asked me to do a commercial with him for the Boy Scouts during which he asked me a question I do not remember, but he was much unhappy when I answered “Girls Scouts.” I think I was trying to be a smart aleck and giving into my testosterone at the same time. Jac
Richard Siegel (62), Bill (Fruchter) Foster (6/60) and Robert Cipriano (6/62) continue the responses to Warren Bratter’s (1/60) commentaries in the “WHS Note:”
My brother, Mike Siegel (#22) was the third member of your single wing backfield at quarterback alongside you and Ed Barker and also played cornerback on defense. I remember the team broke its’ losing record by beating Linden 12-9 and the bus returning to a lot of fanfare.
Your sister Ellen (was my classmate at Chancellor and Weequahic. My brother Mike and I lived right across from the school at 281 Vassar Ave just up the block from Toby Stein (62) and Nancy Zimmerman (62), two beautiful young ladies. Richard
(From Warren in reply: How well I remember the both of you. Your brother sprung me loose on many a wide sweep. He was a true friend and brotherly teammate. Yes, the bus ride back from Linden, as long ago as that was, still resonates as one of the most heroic team efforts. Linden was always a difficult opening game for us.)
I have been reading Warren Bratter’s essays about Weequahic and Newark with great interest. I hereby nominate Warren as Weequahic’s Poet Laureate. His essays read like poetry to me.
On a personal note, in one of them he refers to Roger Flax on Baldwin Avenue in Newark. My first home was on Baldwin in a third or fourth floor walk-up apartment located at Dr. Flax’s residence and office. Roger Flax, his young son, was my first buddy. I gather Warren’s family might have lived there subsequently. Small world. Bill
I have enjoyed Warren's reflections on Newark in general and Weequahic specifically. I began thinking of the essence of what we enjoyed during our fleeting years in high school. It was a sense of community.
I have been studying "Toxic Loneliness" for the past 4 years. There is an epidemic of loneliness in the US. Loneliness is a public health concern and the root cause and contributor to many epidemics sweeping the world; alcohol and drug abuse, violence, suicide, et al. More than 55 million people in the US described themselves as lonely. Our response to COVID-19 -- staying 6 feet away called social distancing is a misnomer. Rather, a more accurate term is physically distancing in view of the fact that we have access to phone, fax, Zoom, et cetera. Loneliness is almost as prevalent as obesity, is a subjective perception to how one feels, impacts all aspects of quality of life, and is more prevalent than diabetes. Notwithstanding the deleterious impact on quality of life and life satisfaction, loneliness has an equivalent risk factor to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, shortening one's lifespan by eight years.
The community I felt during my years at Weequahic can be summed up by thinking back to the composite demographics of our baseball team, 1 Italian, 1 Hispanic, 1 German, 2 Blacks and 3 Jews. We all enjoyed each other and thought of ourselves as a community of brothers. Our collective experiences at Weequahic will be forever remembered and embraced as a wonderful time in our lives. Oh, what I would give to go back and experience those memories that are forever etched in my mind! Bob
(Editor’s Caution: If anyone chooses to respond to Bob, please feel free to comment on the subject of “Weequahic community.” Our weekly newsletter is not the format for discussion of elements of “loneliness” today or in general. It is assumed, herein, that Bob talks about “loneliness” as a non-experience at WHS where he enjoyed “community.”)
Recalling our time in the W-neighborhood:
Harvey Belfer (56)
To all Weequahic Diner lovers, especially my classmate at WHS, Mady Bauman Barna, whose father started the diner. My son and I opened a breakfast/ lunch place called the Morning Squeeze in Arizona. We now have four locations and looking to open more. I kind of did it as a joke for a place to eat, but it’s turning out to be one hell of a business.
We don’t work it; we have great managers. But I will tell you nobody worked restaurants as good as Leo and Morris Bauman. If the Weequahic Diner was here in Arizona, they would put us and every other breakfast lunch and dinner place to shame. There was only one Weequahic Diner and I’m thankful that I experienced it when I was younger. Thank you, Leo and Morris for running one of the greatest diners of all time. Harvey
Arnie Kohn (56)
I have fond memories of going to the candy store on the corner of Peshine Avenue and West Runyon Street and buying a double dipped ice cream cone for 15 Cents. The other night my girlfriend and I decided to go out for ice cream. We drove to a little ice cream outside store in Cranbury. We had to wait about a half hour in line and purchased two double dipped cups which cost nine dollars. It was delicious and well worth the wait.
The best bagels (not spreads), the do-it-yourself kind are from Golden bagels on Route 9 North in Old Bridge. The Bridge players of new Jersey will attest to this for these are the bagels served at our Sectional Tournaments. They are large, fluffy and tasty. Arnie
Judie Tiplitz Jacobs (1/63)
In response to Trudy Slater’s (64) comment about the Hortense Greenwald Dancing School located above the Mayfair theatre in Hillside, I would walk there from my house on Grumman Avenue. Grumman was the last block in Newark. Part of our backyard was in Hillside. At the time, I had a pink round ballet box to store my ballet shoes. I would carry it as if it were the most precious item I had. I was 8 years old and was also in a production with a little red sequin costume, which I loved! I did that for one recital and that was it. What a thrill at the time. Judie