July 12, 2020

Study group updates


Check whats happening with our Study Groups!

Hello Members: Here we are again with the latest news from Study Groups. Our Vice Presidents have been very busy with new groups. If you are interested in the groups recently formed, groups now being formed, and even groups that have been going on for quite a while, just call the V.P. who is doing the organizing and get yourself enrolled for the fun. Check out what we have all been busy with during the last month.

Honey Bencomo – danhoney@aol.com (click here to send email directly to Honey)

The Constitution VS the 21st Century 
There has been an organizational meeting and everyone is prepared to discuss where we stand on the relevance of the Constitution.

A New Legal Puzzler Group 
With legal problems all around us every day, we all have many questions that we want to discuss and debate. The organization meeting is scheduled for next week. Legal puzzler groups are among out most popular so join quickly.

Conejo Valley Women 

who dine and go to the theater right here in the Conejo Valley is the subjects of a new group that is in the planning stage.

Beverly Sklar – beverlysklar2@gmail.com (click here to send email directly to Beverly)

The Investment Group has just started and so there are openings. All the members are very excited so don’t miss this opportunity to learn and enjoy.

Ethnic Dining is just formed and is going strong now also. Join up as it is such fun.

Monday Morning Quarterbacks is a men’s group which discusses sports and values all the members’ opinions. They would like more members so call to get involved.

There are several groups that have been suggested in this category and if you are interested call to sign up. Men’s and Couples Mah Jang, Bridge, Cribbage, Poker, Men’s Golf and an exciting wine tasting group.
Also due to the many members who want to join, a new On the Town Group will soon begin.
Ellie Puls – norm0020@yahoo.com (click here to send email directly to Ellie)

The Supreme Court and Couples Potpourri have had their organizational meeting but would love to have new members joining.

Women in History and a Book Club are new groups that are in the forming stage and sound very exciting.
Sign up as soon as you can for these new groups.

If you have a Study Group in mind, please fill this form and send/give to one of our Study Group VP’s

Study group Request Form to join a new group.(pdf. format)
Thank you,

  Your Study Group Vice Presidents:


Ellie Puls   norm0020@yahoo.com
Honey Bencomo
Beverly Sklar

Brandeis News: Brandeis Professors Win Nobel Prize

Left to right: Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey C. Hall. Photo by Mark Lovett.

On October 2nd the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Michael Rosbash, Jeffrey Hall, and Michael Young for their research on circadian rhythms. This year’s award is especially exciting as Rosbash and Hall share a history of teaching and research in Brandeis’ biology department in addition to being the first long-term Brandeis faculty to win the Nobel Prize. Rosbash, whose research continues in the labs of the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, is a current professor at Brandeis while Hall has retired to Maine. Young is currently on the faculty of Rockefeller University.

Rosbash and Hall met at Brandeis in the 1970s striking up a friendship over basketball. This friendship evolved into a working partnership in the biology labs researching circadian rhythms using fruit flies as a model organism. The work that won them the Nobel Prize was the discovery of molecular mechanisms that control the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm, colloquially known as the biological clock or body clock, is the 24-hour physiological cycle that regulates certain internal processes. It plays a role in when we go to sleep, wake up, and feel hungry, as well as hormone balances and other brain activity. In 1984, Rosbash and Hall successfully sequenced the per gene which led to discovering its control over PER protein production. The per gene triggers the production of messenger RNA (mRNA) which carries information out of the cell nucleus. The information from the mRNA triggers PER protein production which peaks just before dawn and then declines until the protein is undetectable by night time. PER protein molecules then travel back into the nucleus, repress their own synthesis, and degrade. The decay causes the per gene to make mRNA, beginning the cycle over. The process was a mystery until Rosbash and Hall came along and connected the dots. Understanding the mechanisms behind the circadian rhythm has opened the door to a host of possible applications. Some mental illnesses, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes have been linked to issues with the circadian rhythm. Rosbash and Hall’s work could potentially lead to better treatments for these diseases as well as applications in plant science and environmental science.

Both men commented on Brandeis’ unusually collaborative atmosphere which allowed for such scientific innovation. The school’s small size and interdisciplinary values encourage interaction between departments resulting in collaborations drawing from many sources. Rosbash also acknowledged the hard work, creativity, and brains of Brandeis students in his work, undergraduate as well as graduate. Brandeis students of all levels often have the opportunity to work alongside professors on ground-breaking research, a chance students at many other schools only get at the graduate level. Rosbash, who regularly hires around 12 students a year, is known around the lab as a wonderful mentor with a knack for fostering talent.

The Brandeis National Committee would like to congratulate Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall on their win, and warmly thank our members for your continued support of Brandeis, its libraries, sciences, and scholarships. Your support makes it possible for students to learn from the great minds of today, such as Rosbash and Hall, and work towards the solutions of the future.

Read more about the professors in Brandeis NOW.

Read the Nobel Prize press release.


Brandesi Conejo Valley Chapter
Invites you to our annual
October 31st, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
North Ranch Country Club
4761 Valley Spring Rd.
Westlake Village, CA

~~ Boutique
~~ Silent Auction
~~ Study Group sign-up
~~ Membership Enrollment
~~ Lunch 12:00 p.m.

Experience the GOLDEN AGE of Radio Theater Professional Actors performing ‘The Matzo Ball Diaries’
Funny and poignant stories about food and home that have the power to nourish and heal The Jewish Women’s Theater is a community theater group based in Los Angeles and sponsored by the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, CA.
The shows are writer by accomplished writes and performed by professional actors.

All proceeds benefit Brandeis University’s medical research
to find cure for Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS.

Questions: email Susan Barnettansbar2@gmail.com

Membership Update:

 As we start a new Brandeis year, I look forward to welcoming many new members to the Brandeis experience. When I joined the Brandeis Conejo Valley chapter about two years ago, I had no idea how many warm, friendly people I would meet. I could walk into a study group knowing no one and by the second meeting feel I was joining a group of friends. There are study groups to learn, to discuss what you already know and to go to interesting places. Add interesting and entertaining large and small events while supporting Brandeis University’s research into neurodegenerative disease and you see why joining our Conejo chapter is a win-win.

If you have any friends or family interested in learning more about our chapter, please have them contact me.

Membership V.P: Elaine Leff   elainel@socal.rr.com

Join our vibrant network today –


Brandeis Conejo Valley Chapter – invites you to our annual

October 31st, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
North Ranch Country Club
4761 Valley Spring Rd.,

Westlake Village, CA

Questions: email


Susan Barnett


Featured Alumni: Debra Messing

Debra Messing graduated from Brandeis University in 1990 as a Theater Arts major before continuing to pursue acting at New York University. She is perhaps best known for her title role in the situational comedy Will & Grace. In the show, which aired from 1998-2006, Messing plays Grace Adler; an interior decorator living with long-time friend Will Truman (played by Eric McCormak) in New York City. The addition of their friends Karen (Megan Mullally), Jack (Sean Hayes), a clever script, and a live audience resulted in a show the country couldn’t resist tuning in to every Tuesday evening. The show was a tremendous hit despite worries at the time of cancelation due to certain themes. At the end of its eight season run the four co-stars went their separate ways and Messing moved onto other projects. Since the end of Will & Grace, Messing has acted in many productions including the show Smash, created by fellow Brandeis alumna Theresa Rebeck ’83 MFA ’86 PhD ’89, and The Mysteries of Laura. Most recently she contributed to the remake of Dirty Dancing in the role of Marjorie Houston which was released in May. Later this summer Messing will return to her roots as Grace in NBC’s revival of the groundbreaking series, due to begin airing in late September. In an interview with Haute Living Magazine Messing stated filming will begin in August in Los Angeles, “but New York is where [her] heart is.”

Though Messing has moved on from Waltham, she has never fully left Brandeis behind. In an interview with Scott Feinberg ’08 for The Hollywood Reporter about her time at Brandeis, Messing said she loved the school’s size and that “the kids were very serious about everything.” She attributes the late Ted Kazanoff, a professor in the theater department, for convincing her to pursue acting after graduation. “He is really the one who made me decide to do this for my life… I remember Ted Kazanoff got me ready for my audition for NYU for the graduate program and one of the graduate playwrights wrote my monologue.” In 2014 Messing greeted fellow alumni at an event in NYC. She said Brandeis taught her to believe in herself and her career would follow. “I knew I would work and not give up. I am a proud Brandeisian.”

In these months following graduation, Brandeis’ class of 2017 is stepping into the working world, for the first time for some. These graduates will go on to make great contributions to their fields, as Messing has done, and carry forward the lessons and inspirations Brandeis has bequeathed to them. For some of these students, Brandeis would not have been an option due to prohibitive costs. The Brandeis National Committee’s continued support of student scholarships, in addition to the libraries and scientific research, has enabled these students to chase their dreams. Join the Brandeis National Committee today to help ensure students have the resources to reach their full potential, both in the classroom and beyond.

Learn more about Debra Messing’s filmography here

Read Debra Messing’s full interview with Haute Living here

Friedberg Announced as BNC National President

Madalyn Friedberg, from the Central Westchester chapter, who has served as national vice president of fundraising for the past year, succeeded Barbara Sander as the Brandeis National Committee’s national president on July 1. Madalyn joined the BNC in 1973, and will serve as a leader for the organization and its 41 chapters.

Friedberg joined the BNC at the urging of a friend. A mother of three young children, she was seeking a group of like-minded lifelong learners. She knew about Brandeis University because her father, David Felix, had been friendly with Lawrence Wien, the founder of Brandeis’ Wien International Scholarship Program.

“I liked the BNC women right away,” Friedberg says. “I remember the women didn’t ask what my husband did for a living or how many children I had. They cared about who I was.”

As treasurer of the Central Westchester chapter for many years, she knows the financial advantages of establishing a charitable gift annuity for those interested in supporting the university. In 2015, Friedberg and her husband, Stephen, established a generous charitable gift annuity, planning to create another one this year.

“The premise on which the university was founded is very important to us,” Madalyn says. “Brandeis opened a whole world to people who needed an education. We want to do what we can to support Brandeis.”


We Honor Our Own!

Congratulation to Conejo Valley Chapter on it’s 10th Anniversary!





Western-2….a big THANK YOU to the Conejo Valley Chapter and its Presidents, Susan Barnett and Carol Smith, from your BNC Western Region Presidents, Honey Bencomo and Sharon Cohen:

We owe you a huge debt of gratitude for being the host chapter at the BNC Western Region Conference held Jan. 19-21, 2014, at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel. We have received many congratulatory notes raving about how everyone felt so welcomed by your warmth and your friendliness.

Your volunteers were absolutely the hostesses with the “mostest”. The “goodie bags” you put together for the delegates were terrific.

We also want to express our appreciation for the tremendous support we received from the chapter’s Board. We could not have achieved our aspirations without that support.

Seven chapters were represented from three states with 68 BNC Chapter, Regional and National Leaders in attendance including the new BNC National President, Barbara Sander, the Retiring National Executive Director, Janice Fineman, the Interim Executive Director, Beth Bernstein and former and current National Executive Committee (NEC) Board Members. In addition there were many past Presidents of the Western Region also present.

We were very privileged and proud to have all these VIP’s attend our conference…some Western-4who traveled from the cold weather (30 degrees) in the East to warm sunny California where the sun gods shown upon us with 80 degree temperatures.

The conference, consisting of many interactive workshops, was facilitated by our BNC expert National leaders with much opportunity for an exchange of ideas among the delegates. We learned about Leadership Development, Fundraising, Membership, Learning Opportunities and how Social Media relates to BNC. The conference was put together by the Western Region Board.

We got to know members of our Western Region chapters, our National Executive Board and our staff from Boston.

We had a lovely cocktail reception to kick off the conference. We were able to say good bye to Janice Fineman, our Executive Director who is retiring after 23 years.

Western-6We had a luncheon where we heard from our National President. Barb shared with us her goals for the future of our organization. At dinner we had, as our guest speaker, Scott Feinberg, a graduate of Brandeis University and a journalist for the Hollywood Reporter. He was a fascinating and charming speaker who shared stories of the movie industry and the current Awards season. He graciously took questions about the Oscars and his predictions.

Lots of hugs as our attendees prepared to leave for Boston, Arizona, San Jose, Desert, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and of course Conejo Valley and San Fernando Valley.

Our Keynote Speakers and Workshop Facilitators were truly inspiring and we hope the delegates left renewed and even more dedicated to the Brandeis Mission than ever.

Sharon Cohen
Honey Bencomo
Western Region
Brandeis National Committee


For more information about our chapter, visit our web site:

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