August 4, 2020



As a current or future member of our great BNC chapter, you should know all that is available to you. We know that you have met many of our wonderful members who are so very dedicated to the work we are doing to support research and scholarship at Brandeis University. But have you found out all that we can offer YOU…even in these unusual times? Did you know that many of our study groups are meeting virtually?

This online event will take place via ZOOM*on
Tuesday, August 18th at 2PM.
If you prefer, you can simply call in and still be a part of the conversation.

Please RSVP to Elaine Leff
(click on the email to send directly)
Elaine will send you further instructions once you register.
P.S. BYOC (Bring your own coffee!)

*If this technology has been challenging for you, overcoming your issues with Zoom can open up a whole new world. Our webmaster extraordinaire and zoom expert, Alvira Klain, is offering ZOOM COACHING. Contact Alvira by email:

A Welcome Message from your new Presidents:

A Welcome Message from your new Presidents:

Dear Members,

Jessie and I are honored to be in the forefront of such an esteemed and progressive chapter. Our able Board is the backbone of this chapter. The cooperation we anticipate from them will guide us during this tenure.We appreciate the confidence you have demonstrated in selecting us for this prestigious position of president and we will strive to live up to your expectations.

What we are experiencing now is uncharted territory for all charitable organizations. But with the superb guidance from Judy Perlman and Elaine Bercy, Brandeis Conejo is up for the challenge. We are indeed blessed to be part of an organization that offers unique opportunities to grow emotionally, socially, and intellectually through our almost ninety-five study groups, in itself a unique feature of Brandeis.

Therefore our main goals for 2020-2021 term, under these circumstances, are to retain and increase membership. Keeping members connected, providing creative alternatives, and supporting the objectives of BNC, can accomplish this. We will continue to work closely with National to incorporate webinars and speakers to add a wealth of material to many of our existing study groups and, hopefully, to foster the creation of new groups.

We are a major fund raising organization. Our contribution during this time comes mainly from our study groups. We are continuing to do our part with our future programs:the Rabbi’s Panel, Books without Brunch, a panel discussion with people in the political realm, and hopefully, The League of Women Voters. Brandeis depends on YOU. Because not only are we a local organization we are part of a National committee hence, BNC. We are in this together! And together we will get through this! WE ARE COMMITTED!

Frona DeCovnick co-president (click here to send email directly to Frona)
Jessica Pearlman co-president (click here to send email directly to Jessie)

Study group updates – Check whats happening with our Study Groups!

Study Group monthly news & updates

Consider joining in the fun!



Dear Members:

Thank you for your continued participation in our chapter’s Study Groups! Doing so allows us to support our larger Brandeis Community! Our financial support not only extends towards renowned Scientific Research & World Class Libraries, but to the commitment of promoting an equitable and just society.

Stay Connected and Happier Through
Brandeis Study Groups and Programs

The Brandeis Men’s Participation Committee, whose mission it is to increase men’s activities through the development of new study groups and special events of particular interest to men, wants you to know that socialization and mental stimulation is available to you now.

Cassie Mogilner Holmes, associate professor of behavioral decision making in the UCLA Anderson School of Management, says “It’s not only possible, but it is essential to stay connected. Social connection – feeling connected to people in our life and having a sense of belonging – is the most important ingredient to being happy now”. The structure already exists: Brandeis study groups and upcoming programs.

More than 45 Conejo Valley Brandeis study groups have remained connected via ZOOM, Google Duo and Microsoft. Meeting this way has proven to be an excellent medium for staying connected. These study groups have incorporated pre-meeting “schmoozing” sessions as a means of maintaining relationships and have structured their Zoom sessions to simulate the study group’s format. For example, current events discussions, guest lectures, and members hosting stimulating topics of great interest.

If your study group isn’t currently having online meetings, contact your study group leader and encourage him/her to develop a format for reactivating the group via ZOOM, Google Duo and Microsoft GoToMeeting.

If your leader needs technical assistance, he/she can contact Alvira Klain, 818-884-8569,


“Zooming” STUDY GROUPS The Study Groups that have immediate available space are listed in red. We are happy to add you to the waiting list for all other groups. Simply contact the VP responsible for the particular Study Groups you are interested in.


 Janet Brasler (click here to send email directly to Janet)

Pro Fressers 2nd Thursday 11:30am A men’s discussion group – guest speakers
Out of the Box 3rd Friday 10:30 Critical Thinking discussion group for Men/Women
Hot Mama Mahjers
Mahj Men
Mahj Babes Wednesdays 10:00
Advances In Science – 2nd Wed. 1:00 Men’s discussion group
Sunday Funday – 3rd Sunday Couples On the Town
Monday Morning Quarterbacks – 1st Monday 10:00 am – Men’s discussion group

 Elaine Leff (click here to send email directly to Elaine)

News Junkies 4th Friday 10:00 am Men’s current event discussion
Legal Divas 2nd Monday 10:30 Women’s Legal Puzzlers
Women in the Know 2nd Tuesday 1:00 pm Ladies’ Current Events
Current Chicks 4th Wed. 10:30 Women’s Movie Group
Current Affairs Discussion 3rd Monday Women’s Current Events
Chick Flick 1st Thursday Ladies’ Movie Group
Films R Us 3rd Sunday Couples Movie Group
Legal Eagles 3rd Tuesday 10:30 Women’s Puzzler Group
Current Event Mavens 2nd Tuesday 9:30 Men’s Current Events
Legal Eyes 3rd Tuesday 10:30 Ladies’ Legal Puzzler Group
Breaking News 2nd Friday 10:30 Women’s Current Events
Drama Queens 2nd Sunday Ladies Theater Group
Current Events Newsroom 3rd Monday 9:30 Women’s Current Events
Sat. Night Movie Critics 4th Saturday 5:45 Couples Movie Group
Hot Topics 3rd Wednesday 9:30 Men’s Current Events
12 Angry Women 4th Tuesday 10:00 Women’s Legal Puzzlers
Movie Buffs 4th Sunday 4:00 Couples Movie Group
Cinemaddicts 2nd Wednesday 1:00 Women’s Movie Group
Critics Choice 4th Sunday 5:00 Couples Movie Group
Movies & Shakers 2nd Sunday 3:00 Couples Movie Group
Hang Em All 4th Thursday 4:00 Couples Legal Puzzlers
Headliners 2nd Wednesday 7:00 pm Men’s Current Events
Reel Men 1st Wednesday 4:30 Men’s Movie Group

 Florence Prushan: (click here to send email directly to Florence)

Book Brothers 2nd Thursday 11:00 Men’s Book Group
Book Ends 3rd Monday 1:00 Women’s Book Group
Book Markers 2nd Tuesday 11:00 Women’s Books Group
Book Thieves 2nd Tuesday 10:00 Women’s Book Group
Keep It Short 2nd Wednesday 1:00 Men & Women’s Short Story Group
Monday Book Tribe 1st Monday Noon Women’s Book Group
Mystery Mavens 3rd Friday Women’s Book Club
Tuesday Afternoon Readers 2nd Tuesday 1:00 Women’s Book Group
Anything Goes 2nd Thursday 10:00 Women’s Discussion
Let’s Talk 2nd Wednesday 10:30 Women’s Discussion
Life & Times 3rd Tuesday 10:00 Women’s Discussion
Notable Women 2nd Monday 10:30 Women’s Discussion
The Women Behind the Presidents 2nd Thursday 1:00 Women’s Discussion
Thursday Life Issues 4th Thursday 9:30 Women’s Discussion
Jewish Explorers 1st Friday 10:30 Men’s/ Women’s Discussion
Ivit 4th Tuesday 9:30 Men & Women
Jewish Women of Substance 1st Thursday 1:30 Women’s Discussion
Shabbatniks 4th Friday Couples
Bits n Pieces 3rd Thursday 10:00 Women’s Potpourri
Crafty Needles 3rd Thursday 2:30
Sat. Night Live 1st Saturday Couples
Good Bad Ugly 2nd Thursday 10:30 Women’s Discussion
Mystic Mavens 3rd Wednesday 1:00 Kabbalah
Our Views 1st Tuesday 10:30 Women’s Discussion Group
Talmud and Current Events 1st Wednesday 1:00 (will begin July 1st)
Weekenders Potpourri group of single men and women – weekends

Get on the band wagon! Study Groups with immediate space are underlined. We will be generating waiting lists for the other groups.




Alumni, parents, Brandeis National Committee members and friends are invited to participate in these virtual programs! All events take place online via Zoom.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing instructions on joining the event via Zoom.

We also feel that there are a few groups that really need defining:

“On the Town” groups go someplace exciting and interesting every month. That includes educational, recreational, dining, crafts, and charity excursions.

“Pot Pourri” groups are a combination of events. They include trips to places you will enjoy and discussion and demonstrations of interest.

“Life and Times” groups” discuss first a “woman of history” and then a topic of interest. These can range from what a first aid kit should include to an era in history.

“Lunch & Learn” group members enjoy a great lunch and a lecture from a person of interest arranged by the group’s members.

Remember, if you have a question about any Study Group, contact the appropriate V.P.
Just a quick reminder. All those checks you are making out for Study Groups, don’t forget to make them out to: “Brandeis University”.

And, by the way, don’t forget to renew your membership by either mailing in your check to National or online at


FRONA DeCOVNICK – (click here to send email directly to Frona)

JESSIE PEARLMAN – (click here to send email directly to Jessie)

JANET BRASLER – (click here to send email directly to Janet)

Contact for Tribute Cards:
Florence Prushan –

and order Brent’s Cards:
Jackie Kantor – the San Fernando Valley and Calabasas)
and Carol Smith – (for Westlake, Thousand Oaks and Agoura)


Just a quick reminder. All those checks you are making out for Study Groups, don’t forget to make them out to: “Brandeis University”. The bank is a bit picky and does not want the money to go to the wrong place.

And, by the way, don’t forget to renew your membership by either mailing in your check to National or online at


SUE GEIGER – (click here to send email directly to Sue)

ELLIE PULS – (click here to send email directly to Ellie)

JANET BRASLER – (click here to send email directly to Janet)



Moderated by Justin Regan – journalist, former public radio host/reporter, and podcaster of The American Rabbi Project. Joined by our panelists:

Rabbi Lisa Bock – Instructor, Officiant,Religious Leader of the Jewish community of Ojai
Rabbi Michele Paskow – Spiritual Leader of Congregation B’nai Emet, Simi Valley
Rabbi Ari Averbach – Spiritual Leader of Temple Etz Chaim,Thousand Oaks


To see the whole webinar:

Moderated by Justin Regan,
journalist, former public radio host/reporter, and podcaster
of The American Rabbi Project
Justin will be joined by our panelists:
Rabbi Lisa Bock
Instructor, Officiant,
Religious Leader of the Jewish community of Ojai
Rabbi Michele Paskow
Spiritual Leader of Congregation B’nai Emet,
Simi Valley
Rabbi Ari Averbach
Spiritual Leader of Temple Etz Chaim,
Thousand Oaks

Message from Your Co Presidents:

Message from Your Co Presidents – winter 2020:

Dear Members,

Well, winter is almost upon us and we have been busy, here in Conejo Valley. We continue to hear from our members, how much Brandeis National Committee has to offer and how much we gain; friendship, learning, support, community involvement, opportunity for self expression, and personal growth. Great news: We have again been designated as one of the 4 chapters in the country as “Chapters of the Year”. We are grateful for your participation and support over the year and to our wonderful Board, which makes things happen, we say THANK YOU to you all! And let’s remember the foundation of BNC: as we enjoy all of those things, we contribute to Brandeis University, its research in neurodegenerative disease, and to the library, the foundation of a university. Elaine and I thank you for all you have done in the past year and we look forward to continue with you the 2019-2020 year.

We have begun a terrific Community Outreach project and so many of you participated in October, in bringing food for and feeding the homeless and needy people. In August we prepared Braille books for blind children.

Our Fall luncheon and boutique was a hoot and many of us shopped til we dropped.

In December we will have Klezmer music and we dare you to sit still while they play. Come join us. And in January we have our University on Wheels at Braemar Country Club. Lets all have a great showing along with the SFV and Los Angeles Chapters.

Browse our website to find pictures of your friends, and maybe YOU, learning and having fun.

So lets join in and continue to excel, learn, enjoy and reach out.

Happy Holiday Season, Judy and Elaine


Your presidents,

Judy Perlman
Elaine Bercy,




Summer 2019:
Your assistance is requested as we continue to actively be invoived in the SOCIAL JUSTICE/COMMUNITY SERVICE component of our chapter. Kindly consider lending your support to our efforts. For more information on how you can be participate contact:

Elaine Leff – Janet Brasler – 

  • Dots for Tots – On August 28th and 29th, we will be working with the Braille Institute to prepare board books for children (for more informations CLICK HERE!).
  • Community Dinner – Wednesday, October 23rd, in conjunction with TAE – we will be feeding 50 food insecure people in our community.
  • Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Saturday, October 26th

~~ Non-perishable food for the Manna Food Pantry will be collected at our Special Events through-out the year.

~~ We conduct an ongoing collection of Sunday Comics & Parade Magazines for the Troops & aluminum can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House.

~~ In December, Toys will be collected for Jewish Family Service’s SOVA Community Resource Service.

Do you have a personal connection to a local charitable organization? We are always looking for ways that our members can be of service. Do check our website frequently for other Social Justice opportunities!

Committee members Elaine Leff, Jessie Pearlman, Sharon Billone, Margie Bauer and Elisa Lazarus put together 100 gift bags for parents staying at Ronald Mc Donald House while their children are being treated at Children’s Hospital.

We are collecting toiletries and gift items for Ronal McDonald House and SOVA.

3 Study Groups: “The Happy Wanderers”; “Lunch/Salon” and “Day Time Trotters” donated lovely gift items brought during their annual planning meetings. Those gift items were donated to Conejo Valley Charities.

We delivered toys, food and gift bags to Ronald Mc Donald House during this holiday season. House staff, volunteers and parents of children were welcoming and very appreciative. We enjoyed a heartfelt-delightful and fun afternoon with lots of hugs and kisses.


We are a group of gals pleased to be of service to preform the MITZVAH of being at a home while mourners are attending a funeral. We will let in the delivery of the food so it will be set-up for the return of the mourners.

If you are interested and would enjoy doing this Mitzvah {we welcome you} or if you need this MITZVAH call Gertie Sanders 805-230-1252 or Judy Perlman 818 878 0483.
Gertie will then contact one of the MAVENS.
(There is a Bereavement Support Group that meets at Temple Etz Chaim, Thousand Oaks the 2nd. and 4th. Wednesday From 9:30am. to 10:30am. Call for more information to: 805-497-6891. NO CHARGE. )

The Mavens are: Jessie Pearlman. Bev Sklar. Elaine Blonder. Elaine Leff Frona DeCovnick.



Many of our members want to do even more to contribute to others in need. So we have begun an OUTREACH COMMITTEE where we engage in a helping project. Our first project will be DOTS FOR TOTS, pasting dots into children’s books to be used for blind children. STAY TUNED for dates , probably in February for our first project. We will ask for volunteers.



Louis Brandeis Award

We are very excited to announce that the BNC Conejo Valley chapter has won the Louis Brandeis Award for 2018. This award recognizes the achievements of the chapter in various areas over the past year including meeting financial and membership goals, running study groups with Brandeis authored study guides, hosting a University on Wheels program, serving the community, and participating in leadership development training, among other criteria.

We would like to thank all of our members and chapter leadership for their support of Brandeis University and enthusiastic participation in chapter activities. We look forward to spending another wonderful year learning, exploring, and supporting Brandeis together.

Announcement: Magnify the Mind

Brandeis has long had one of the best neuroscience programs in the country. Nobel Prize winner Michael Rosbash, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Gina Turrigiano and world-renowned neuroscientist Eve Marder are all pioneers in the field. Their breakthroughs have helped transform our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and autism.

But to remain cutting edge — and continue to make advances in our understanding of human health — Brandeis needs to upgrade its microscopes. The university currently owns an aging fluorescence microscope that uses a technique called two-photon excitation to image intact brain circuitry in the living brain. This technique has allowed Brandeis researchers to study how genes and experience interact to produce functioning brain circuits. However, this equipment is no longer state-of-the-art because it uses old and slow scanning technology that takes only one image per second. This speed severely limits the type of research questions that can be answered.

The Brandeis National Committee would like to provide Brandeis with a next generation resonant scanning two-photon microscope. This new technology would enable Brandeis researchers to take 30 to 50 images per second. This increase in speed can be used to observe the brain much closer to its native processing speed, or can be used to take many photographs of the same tissue that can be averaged together to create very high resolution views, allowing Brandeis researchers to study structures as small as single synapses in the living brain.

Brain plasticity — how neurons react to changes in the environment — is one of the most important areas in brain research, understanding what brings about changes in behavior. When the processes responsible for plasticity malfunction, it can give rise to neurodegenerative illnesses. Resonant scanning will generate a trove of new insights and data to understanding why this happens.

Researchers at Brandeis will further be able to explore the role of molecules, dendrites and synapses in the brain and reveal operating principles. The Brandeis National Committee’s campaign to raise $500,000, launches July 1, 2018. Contact 781-736-7588 to donate today.

View the video here.

BOOKS and BRUNCH – MAY 9th, 2018

Women Writers in Entertainment

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 – 9:30 a.m.
Westlake Village Inn
30943 Agoura Road – Westlake Village, CA

(Directions to Westlake Village Inn: From the 101 Freeway take Exit 39
Lindero Canyon Rd. off ramp. Go South to Agoura Rd.
Turn right for about 1/2 mile. Inn will be on your right.)

Buffet Brunch at approximately 11:30 a.m.

For more details

Questions? Contact Nancy at

Thanks and the Nobel Prize

From December 6th to the 12th, Nobel laureates from around the world gathered in Sweden to receive their awards. During the week known as Nobel Week, winners attended dinners, ceremonies, and concerts in their honor. They met Swedish royalty, delivered lectures to be broadcast across the globe, and received their Nobel medals and diplomas as VIP guests of the Swedish government. Swept up in the excitement were Michael Rosbash and Jeff Hall, biologists from the Brandeis community.

Rosbash, currently a professor in Brandeis’ biology department, and Hall, a professor emeritus of biology, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Michael Young of Rockefeller University. While winning the most prestigious prize in the world and the various perks that come with it (such as a personal attaché, first-class trip to Sweden, and intellectual celebrity status) is exciting, it is far from the main reason for Rosbash and Hall’s work. Their discovery of the fundamental workings of the circadian rhythm have far reaching implications, especially in the medical world. The circadian rhythm, also known as the body clock, has connections to many bodily functions including sleep cycles, hormone balances, enzyme production, body temperature, and metabolism. This internal clock is also connected to several neurodegenerative diseases. Studies have linked chronic sleep disorders with higher levels of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s, while Parkinson’s is often marked by sleep disorders. Three quarters of patients with Parkinson’s disease have a sleep disorder and disordered sleeping may be an early indicator of the disease. It is necessary to understand the body’s underlying workings in order to develop targeted treatments. Foundational research like Rosbash and Hall’s is critical for advancing medical knowledge.

As the scientific and medical communities, and the world acknowledge the significance of Rosbash and Hall’s discovery, the two biologists recognize Brandeis University’s role in their research as a whole. Not only was Brandeis the place they met, but its collaborative, intellectual environment and financial support allowed them to perform critical research. In a time when pharmaceutical companies rely heavily on research coming out of universities; government funding for scientific research is more competitive than ever; and research in flashier, more profitable areas is more attractive; Brandeis provides a haven for an exploratory approach to the base questions, without which we can never fully answer the bigger questions. Brandeis University’s attention to foundational research and specialization in neuroscience fosters an environment of research and discovery for both faculty and students. Cognizant of the costs of research, the University provides financial support in the form of grants, fellowships, and scholarships, allowing minds like Roshash and Hall’s to stretch and push the limits of conventional science.

We must also recognize the role the Brandeis National Committee plays in Brandeis’ science. Through funding campaigns, and general support for the libraries and scientific journals, BNC members ensure Brandeis scientists have access to the resources and stability necessary to perform quality work. The Sustaining the Mind Fund for research in neuroscience and neurodegenerative diseases and scholarships in science specifically targets the needs of Brandeis’ science departments. Without the generous support of BNC members research into these diseases and progress towards their treatment and cure would be significantly slowed, and the future less secure. So in addition to congratulating Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall on their Nobel Prize, the Brandeis community and the Brandeis National Committee would like to recognize the role our members play and extend our thanks for your support in this meaningful discovery.

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