Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Category — In the Spotlight

Jeff Mermelstein: Not Your Everyday Photographer

As soon as Jeff Mermelstein entered room 12-170 I knew it was going to be a fun, action-packed class.  It began with him asking Yuriy, a fellow classmate, and I to change seats in order to set up his projector.  Gladly, we did as asked.  As we were moved our belongings, Jeff cracked jokes to us and could have been mistaken for a college student himself.  Previously, I was expecting that class to be just another talk with a photographer, but I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Jeff Mermelstein: Not Your Everyday Photographer

Frances Richey offers Insight on “The Warrior”


Deep in the bowels of the Macaulay Honors College Building on November 11, 2008 we were privy to a small and intimate reading of Frances Richey poems by none other than Mrs. Richey herself.

She smiled somewhat nervously at the audience and adjusted her purple cardigan set. She beamed at them with her eyes smiling through her square lenses. There was not much to set her apart from an average benevolent looking middle age woman as I observed her from the second row. That was until she started to talk about her son directly and through her poems. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Frances Richey offers Insight on “The Warrior”


New York Times columnist and author of Jew vs. Jew, there are some circles where Samuel G. Freedman needs no introduction.  Currently a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Freedman has seen tremendous success in life.  Arguably his greatest work, Who She Was, however, is one that seemingly came from one of his failures in life, his failure as a son. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on A MEMORABLE “NON-MEMOIR”

Sam Freedman: “Who He Is”

Author, New York Times columnist, and dedicated son Mr. Sam Freedman appeared at Baruch College last week for a talk back about his historical biography Who She Was. The book is a factual rendering of his mother’s life: raw, unpretentious, and heartbreaking. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Sam Freedman: “Who He Is”

Sam Freedman: An Objective Look at a Mother’s life

Samuel Freedman, the author of Who She Was, was kind enough to grace my class with his presence and his wisdom. I was very excited o meet him because I was anxious to supply a face to the name that I knew very well. His book regarding his mother’s life was very powerful and contained many deep feelings within its pages. It was compiled with a good deal of comprehensive research an analysis of the era in which his mother lived. This thorough analysis gives anyone who reads the book a very clear idea of who Mr. Freedman’s mother was and the factors that made her this way. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Sam Freedman: An Objective Look at a Mother’s life

Sam Freedman: Accomplished Writer and Loving Son

When my fellow classmates and I were first notified about the upcoming visit from Samuel G. Freedman, I was looking forward to receiving insight and inspiration for my own “Who She Was” assignment.  After reading his book, it was evident to see the love and respect he had for his mother, but hearing him talk about her was completely different.  After this class, I decided that I would write about my own father because of the love and respect I have for him, much like Freedman and his mother.  Freedman claimed that the book was used as an “act of penance” towards his mother.  He also said that he made sure everything was done correctly.  For example, clothes, language and culture of his mother’s lifetime were vital to capture the essence of his mother’s life.  This is the technique and approach I would use for my assignment.

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December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Sam Freedman: Accomplished Writer and Loving Son

Sam Freedman

Since I was ten years old I have been reading biographies of famous people. I am not usually so fond of memoirs about ordinary people. Sam Freedman wrote a memoir, Who She Was: My Search For My Mother’s Life. Even though a son wrote this book about his mother, it is not written like a standard memoir, he writes it from a distance, rather than including himself in every aspect of the book.

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December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Sam Freedman

Francine Prose?

I never finish reading Reading like a writer, by Francine Prose. Even with all the accolades her books have received throughout her career, I took her novel lightly. It was one of those books that I would keep in my aged shelf under the dust, but I knew it would enhance my writing style and be an inspirational source of writing. But after attending “A Reading and Conversation with Francine Prose”, I found myself absorbed into the content of the book. “I want to be like Francine Prose,” I thought to myself while reading the book on the ride home. The event not only changed my perception of Francine Prose but also my understanding of good writing. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Francine Prose?

Samuel Freedman

Samuel Freedman, waking one morning, found himself with a purpose.  He had a book to write, a story to share with the world.  He needed to know who his mother was before he had known her.  Who she was before he was.  He went at this story with vigor, researching where most children don’t think to look for their parent’s pasts and delving into his own history.  [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Samuel Freedman

Who She Was: Freedman’s Atonement

           On November 25, 2008, renowned journalist and professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Samuel G. Freedman visited our IDC class to speak about his book Who She Was: My Search for My Mother’s Life.

           After attending his aunt’s funeral, and consequently visiting his mother’s grave the first time in thirty years after her death, Freedman realized that his mother had become a “stranger” to him; “I knew who she became, but not how she became that.” Fascinated by her life as a young Jewish woman in the Bronx, Freedman went on a quest to recover her past, and return to his mother’s “stomping ground.” [Read more →]

December 15, 2008   Comments Off on Who She Was: Freedman’s Atonement