BNC President’s Message / June – July 2022

Dear Friends,

It’s summertime here in the desert and temperatures are soaring. Everyone I know is making travel arrangements to cooler climates here and abroad. For the last two years the Covid pandemic has orchestrated the limits of our lives. It seems that the global community now has a better handle on the virus and suddenly…people are rushing to airports in droves. Americans love to take to the roads and skyways in the summer. We all have pent up plans to visit friends, relatives and wonderful, new places. I’m leaving next week to visit friends and family in my hometown of Chicago.

At our last planning meeting, the committee suggested an early October wine and cheese party to be held in the home of a member. The event will kick off our 2022-2023 season.
Our annual Showcase Luncheon will be held late in October at a hotel yet to be determined. A new format for the event is being developed.

After two years, University on Wheels will again be an in-person event at a local venue which has not yet been determined. We need a date from National.

March programming will include our Book and Author event and a local celebrity will be our guest speaker…arrangements are currently underway.

April will initiate a luminary brunch which will probably be held once again in Sun City.

This year at our Showcase event a new “Women’s Forum” series will be introduced. All the details need to be ironed out. The Forum will deal with any issues pertaining to the health and welfare of women. Guests with credentials will be invited to speak. We’re hoping to use Speakers Hall in Sun City Palm Desert for these events.

We are pleased that our efforts to become a Resident Club at the Del Webb Sun City in Palm Desert have finally come to fruition. For those members who live in Sun City, the publication News and Views will now carry all information pertaining to our organization. After much work on the part of Marcia Plumleigh’s Board, mission accomplished.

I am off to pack for cooler climes, but I will continue to think of ways to excite and entice new memberships for our desert chapter of Brandeis. The last two years have been a trial for everyone. Here in our desert chapter, we have lost treasured friends to illness and age. I know that loss is part of living, but that doesn’t make it easier to bear. To those of us who know a friend who is not well, remember to call, send a note, text a message. We are a family and we must take care of each other.

Charlene Williamson
President, Brandeis Desert Chapter

BNC President’s Message / February – March 2022

Dear Friends,

These are truly the times that try men’s souls; forgive the cliché…but it does seem appropriate right now. I have been living in a cancellation mode for the last few months. I missed the opening night of the symphony at the McCallum, an event I wait all year to attend. I missed what I’m sure was a beautiful party for one of our members; and a dinner party for my grandson’s 29th birthday in Irvine. A younger me would have been devastated to miss such momentous occasions, but I decided to err on the side of caution…more clichés. So sorry.

We usually invite the entire membership to our first annual meeting of the year. We are fortunate to hold this event at the beautiful home of one of our members. The objective of this meeting is to allow the general membership to see how our board conducts Brandeis affairs. For the sake of good health practices, we cancelled the meeting and decided that we will wait until next year. So sorry.

Brandeis National Committee always sends a visiting professor in January for our event, UNIVERSITY ON WHEELS. We look forward to the affair because the teachers are always fascinating and speak on a variety of subjects from theater to organic farming. We serve lunch in a lovely venue and get to hear a wonderful speaker. This year University on Wheels will be on March 9th, and we will be zooming. Bring your own lunch. So sorry.

Now for the good news…on March 22nd we will be meeting IN PERSON at the beautiful Omni Rancho las Palmas Hotel for our BOOK AND AUTHOR event. We are doing a Mystery Writers program worthy of Sherlock Holmes. We have two famous authors coming to speak about their work. To say we are excited about this is to add more clichés, but who’s counting. A wonderful registration flyer is being done as we speak and will be sent out soon. This is a luncheon event you won’t want to miss. I’m really excited about this and look forward to seeing everyone. Do remember vaccination cards and masks are required.

Now, for more good news. On Sunday, April 10th we will be holding our WOMAN OF THE YEAR Brunch at Sun City in Palm Desert. I can’t think of a more deserving person than our own Marcia Plumleigh, past President, to be our recipient. She served as President of the Desert Chapter for Brandeis for four years. She served with dignity, imagination and patience. Wrangling 15 or 20 Alpha females at every board meeting was no easy job…Marcia was always up to the task. She left very big shoes to fill. She also left impeccable files…I’m still trying to get organized! So sorry.

February 14th is Valentines Day…try to spread love everywhere you go…Mother Teresa said it, it’s a good idea.

Charlene Williamson
President, Brandeis Desert Chapter

BNC President’s Message / December 2021

It is said, “Be careful what you wish for.” Well, I’m throwing caution to the winds and I am going to wish for an exciting new year for our Brandeis Chapter. In a previous message I mentioned my prescient self — foreseeing good things ahead. It seems that I am an excellent prognosticator.

On October 5th we had a Wine and Cheese party at the lovely home of Barbara and Bob Friedman. Everyone who came was properly vaccinated and attendance was so large that the party moved out into the backyard. The food and flowers made a wonderful display and the wine flowed freely. It was so good to be with our members in person instead of on a small screen. We all agreed that our opening event was a success.

October 26 was our season kick off Showcase Luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel in Indian Wells. Personally speaking, I had a wonderful time greeting our members and seeing a number of new faces. Chalk up another well-attended event! The fashion show from City Lites was charming and the socializing provided a real feeling that life is slowly returning to normal.

On November 19 Brandeis of the Desert invited members and prospective members to a Coffee Meet and Great at the elegant home of Gail Minkow and Bob Meyers. Board member Jean Carrus was our informative guest speaker. No one tells our Brandeis story better. We had a full capacity attendance including quite a number of new members. Carol Radin, Vice President in charge of study groups, spoke and was bombarded with questions about available groups. No one left the event hungry for food or information. I confess, I had to restrain myself at the sweet table.

We are currently in the planning stages for the rest of our year. We still don’t know about UNIVERSITY ON WHEELS, an annual January event provided by Brandeis National Committee. We may have to meet on Zoom…as soon as we know, we will announce to our membership.
I want to wish all our members and new friends a very happy and healthy holiday season.

Charlene Williamson
President, Brandeis Desert Chapter

ADDENDUM:  I never thought that I would have to add a “cancellation clause” to my messages. We have been planning some wonderful events for the last few months in the hope that we could continue to enjoy getting together as before. With new Covid mutations arriving with frightening frequency we realize… our well-planned occasions are subject to change. Please bear with us as we navigate these difficult times.

BNC President’s Message / September – October 2021

Dear Friends,

At one time or another, every woman has searched for the perfect “little black dress.” Every woman has known the excitement when you finally find it. It fits comfortably and you feel a sense of well-being when you wear it.
When I moved to the desert, I left a group of amazing women with whom I had a great fit. We raised scholarship funds for talented young singers and musicians, many of whom went on to amazing careers.

My job at The American Opera Society in Chicago was the perfect black dress. I loved working with dedicated young musicians and opera singers. About the time my tenure as President of the Opera Society was over, I decided to retire and relocate to the desert.

One lovely, sunny afternoon, after I arrived in the desert, I attended a cocktail party with a friend. The event was sponsored by the Desert Chapter of Brandeis University. I found myself in the company of friendly, smart, interesting women. I was asked if I had any interest in learning more about the local chapter. The thing that caught and held my interest was the mention of all the classes the group offered. I googled Brandeis University and was impressed with what I read about the school.

I was hooked…I found my new place in my new city, and I have never looked back. I know it’s not exactly like finding the perfect black dress, but the sense of comfort and rightness is much the same.

As the new, current President of our Desert Chapter, I’m excited about my job and hope to have an opportunity to greet members in person at the many events which are being planned. This is a difficult time in our country and some of the customs we know are being thrown up for grabs. So…it’s up to all of us to do our part in keeping sensible protocols in place for the safety of our members. We have been asked by National to provide proof of vaccinations to all indoor events. Masks should be worn upon arrival at certain venues until it’s safe to remove them. I know that following some of these rules is not easy. I also know that we are up to the task.

I look forward to the coming year with anticipation. Remember, common sense is not a gift given to everyone!!! Be smart and stay safe.

Charlene Williamson
President, Brandeis Desert Chapter

BNC President’s Message / June 2021

Dear Friends,

This has been quite a moment in time. None of us ever anticipated the complete displacement of our lives for an entire year. I think I speak for most of us; we are finally ready to give a collective sigh of relief. Our homebound life is almost over. My prescient self can see the future and it is looking promising. I am writing today to talk about a welcome return to normal. Our Desert Chapter of Brandeis University is making plans to excite your imagination and bring us all together once again.

We just had an election and, for those who know me, I’m proud to announce that I have the honor to be the new incoming President. I’m excited and a bit nervous…I have very big shoes to fill.

My name is Charlene Williamson and for the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of planning many of our events. I have loved feeding people and taking pictures of happy, smiling faces at our Brandeis parties. I will be coming to my new office with lots of help…our new Executive Board is filled with women of exceptional capabilities.

For those who don’t know me, be assured that I bring years of experience to my new office. In the past, I have served on the Women’s Board of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. In my hometown of Chicago, I spent 20 years on the Board of the American Opera Society, with four years as President. When my husband and I moved to Connecticut, I had the honor to chair The Women’s Campaign to raise money for the Greenwich Jewish Federation. I was raised to believe that a life without involvement is an empty one.

After a really difficult time for the entire country, the Board and I have a feeling of renewed excitement for our coming year.  When we put the final touches on what we hope will be an exciting Fall schedule, we will send out all the necessary information via our Brandeis Bulletin.

Here is the Brandeis Desert Chapter Executive Board for 2021-2022:

President: Charlene Williamson
Vice President: Beverly Ross
Vice President: Carol Radin
Secretary: Sandie Eichberg
Treasurer/Parliamentarian: Jean Carrus
Membership: Eleanor Blank

I look forward to the coming year with great anticipation as your new President of the Desert Chapter of Brandeis University.

Charlene Williamson
President, Brandeis Desert Chapter

BNC President’s Message / September-October 2020

Welcome to the 2020-21 Brandeis Desert Chapter new season. I do hope this finds you all safe and healthy. I do know how the last 6 months have exhausted our patience. I also know we must continue to keep up our spirits. With that in mind, our Board has been busy this summer researching and planning exciting, fun events for the membership. It is our goal to offer events that will make your days brighter, give you some entertainment and most of all, find virtual ways for you to connect and reconnect with your Brandeis friends. We know we cannot burst the bubble we are in, but maybe we can find ways to enlarge it.

In this bulletin you will find a list of Study Groups we are offering via ZOOM. Many of our groups have been meeting since April on Zoom and have found this an enjoyable experience. Due to our ability to ZOOM our meetings, most groups are now open to all members. However, when we resume our normal study group approach, we may have to make adjustments to groups whose membership has become too large.

There is a list in the bulletin, with descriptions, of all open ZOOM groups. If you are interested in any of these groups, call Carol Radin, our Vice President, Study Groups at 760 565-0029 for more information. If you are already in a continuing group, you will pay the annual $20 fee to your group Coordinator.

Brandeis National Committee has a group meeting policy in effect during this pandemic: THERE WILL BE NO IN-PERSON MEETINGS. We are grateful that Brandeis National Committee bought the ZOOM license enabling all our groups to meet virtually and keep our connection with each other.

REMEMBER: YOU MUST HAVE RENEWED YOUR BRANDEIS MEMBERSHIP IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN STUDY GROUPS. If you have not yet renewed, please do so through this bulletin, or you can renew online on our website:

We have wonderful events lined up for this season. Check out the YEAR AT A GLANCE page. You will be able to register online for Special Events in advance of each event. I look forward to seeing you in our ZOOM meetings.

Stay well and stay safe.

Marcia Plumleigh
760 310-1822

BNC President’s Message / Summer 2020

Hello everyone.

The summer is shaping up to be a busy one for many of our members. In spite of our isolation, we are connecting with our friends and family through ZOOM. ZOOMING is not a wonderful substitute, but it is a good one even though the hugs, kisses, and handshakes seem to be a thing of the past, at least for a while.

Brandeis is sending, via email, lots of ZOOM opportunities for members to engage our minds in activities that range from learning about the climate crisis, what’s happening in Israel, meditation, cooking, and virtual tours of the Brandeis campus and Art Museums, to name a few.

I urge you to take advantage of these virtual seminars and classes. They are excellent and offered at no cost to us. Making a reservation is very easy. So, please do open every Brandeis email and check out the virtual opportunities.

The Board is busy planning for next season. We will be offering study groups and special events via ZOOM. Some groups are already holding virtual meetings and I urge more of you to take advantage of the ability to meet all summer and include the snowbirds, as well. If you are interested, call me and I’ll set up the ZOOM meeting schedule for your group. My email and phone number are at the bottom of this letter.

Sign-ups for the new season will follow the usual schedule, with publication online sometime in September. Watch for it.

REMINDER: Renew your membership if you haven’t already done so. Go online to our
On the right side of the homepage, you can click on RENEW and take it from there.


Marcia Plumleigh
760 310-1822

BNC President’s Message

Welcome to the 2019-20 season. In a matter of weeks we will be hosting this season’s kickoff event – SHOWCASE — on October 23, 2019. And what a Showcase it will be. We will have some new additions to our usual program and, for the first time, wewill host a fashion show.
Merle Carrus, a BNC Vice President and our advisor, will be on the program presenting a short video of current Brandeis activity. Watch for the eblast announcing Showcase that should arrive in your email in mid-September.

Brandeis Desert Chapter was still having fun this summer. We had two very well-attended luncheons, one in July and one in August. A big thanks to Beverly Ross for her usual wonderful planning and organization for the luncheons.

This year Brandeis National Committee has announced a new focus for the fundraising effort: HONORING OUR HISTORY-TRANSFORMING UNIQUE COLLECTIONS HIGHLIGHTING SOCIAL JUSTICE. You will see the new campaign on some of the special events announcements as well as the SUSTAINING THE MIND Campaign, the fundraising effort that focuses on neuroscience research.

Your Planning Committee has been very busy since May, organizing new and exciting Special Events and Study Groups. In September, you will receive the email that contains the new groups and the continuing study groups that have room for new members. You will be
able to sign up on-line, as usual, or wait until Showcase to sign up. REMEMBER: IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF A CONTINUING GROUP NOT LISTED, YOU WILL SIGN UP AT THE GROUP’S FIRST MEETING. You will also note that the study group fee has increased from $15 to $20.

Now a few words about the change in the sign-up process for Special Events. The Planning Committee has streamlined the process so we can handle each event individually. At Showcase we will have information about all Special Events for the season. We will NOT have the sign-up process for Special Events at Showcase. You will receive eblasts for each Special Event throughout the season and will sign up accordingly.

Each year we have a good number of activities that require planning and organizing. And each year I see the same faces of our members that volunteer to work for our organization. I urge all our members to lend a hand in the effort to keep Brandeis Desert Chapter a viable and stimulating experience for all. Get involved! There are big and small ways to make a contribution to our Chapter, and a very big personal payoff in volunteering.

Enjoy the rest of your summer. It will be terrific to see you all again at Showcase, Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at the Desert Horizons Country Club. Be sure to watch for the eblast announcing Showcase.

Marcia Plumleigh