SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON IN
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today
emphasized the necessity of a two-state solution to
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the
Jerusalem Post. In her first visit to
Secretary of State,
Clinton also congratulated Israel on its recent
elections, and stressed that the Obama
administration would cooperate with the new Israeli
government, according to the Post.
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||NO ORDINARY JOE
Joe Bronstein, as featured in a
United Way ad several years ago.
The following was submitted to Update by
Samuetta P. Nesbitt,
senior vp for communications & marketing for United
Way for Central Alabama. It's a great piece about
Birmingham Jewish community member Joe
Bronstein, who retired recently from volunteering at
By Samuetta P. Nesbitt
United Way recently said goodbye to a special
volunteer. He's retiring to enter a new phase in his life.
At 92, he decided now is the time to have some fun.
I'll talk about the "fun" later.
Joe Bronstein moved to Birmingham in 1992 to be
with his daughter after retiring from a career in social
work in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and
Delaware. He wasted no time in putting his skills to
work. He was 75, a widower, and he saw a lot he
could do in the "deep South."
Joe lived independently in an apartment in the
Community and drove to United Way each day where
he worked from 10 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday in
his own office. There was no pay. His boss was
Harry Brown, senior vp for planning, who appreciated
diverse executive experiences in social work in large
He wanted to produce something tangible, so Joe
researched the Internet and daily newspapers for
emerging social trends and published them once a
month in a newsletter. That newsletter went to staff
and UW agency executive directors.
RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES
Joe had most of the rights and privileges of an
employee. He attended staff meetings, going away
parties and birthday celebrations, and, from his
retirement money, he gave his "fair share" each year
to the United Way campaign.
Some of the staff would visit him
at home and share a glass of wine with him on
special occasions. Then-United Way president Dan
would often seek Joe's opinion on many issues.
we all wanted to know what Dan knew, we followed
and consulted with Joe, too.
It's the intangibles that Joe will be remembered for.
During the holiday season, I bought a Hanukah
menorah and dreidel
to put in our lobby because I wanted Joe to see
his holidays were important too. It started me
holiday symbols from different cultures.
I also remember trying to set him up with my single
mother and Joe telling me it wouldn't work. "Because
she's Black and Methodist?" I asked. "No, because
she's too old for me -- I like younger women," said
When there was a Jewish holiday, Joe would
announce that he would not be in the office the next
day and help many of us connect with his Jewish
We loved his history lessons. I considered myself
sophisticated in my knowledge of his culture and
and current events in Israel, but hearing it from Joe
was a different kind of lesson. It took Joe to show me
my knowledge was shallow and I didn't have a
As the years passed and he could no longer drive, Joe
would take a taxi or a bus to work. He loved his
independence more than
anything; no retirement or nursing home for him. It
took an illness that led to hospitalization and
rehabilitation in a nursing home to finally get him into
Once there, his own biases were shattered as he
discovered equally-educated, active residents, three
balanced meals a day, a Nintendo Wii and lots of
single Southern women who "loved" his Boston
We're losing Joe to a new phase in his long life. He's
made a choice to retire to a different type of social
work...to have some fun and thankfully it was his
At his farewell party, we all clung to his every word as
told us of his early days working with Jewish
immigrants and using the Yiddish language to
connect with them. He also talked about his first
racism. The impact he has made is
invaluable. We can't begin to measure the positive
presence he's had here at United Way. I'm proud to
work for an organization that recognized his worth and
allowed him to work into his 90's, never patronizing
him. We're a better organization
this special volunteer. Luv ya Joe! (And my mom
looks a lot younger than she is.)
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