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NAMES Project New York City Newsletter
Winter 1997
Articles:
Congregation Beth Simcaht Torah's Quilt Panel
Letter from Interim Chair
World AIDS Day's - Remembrance 1997

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Congregation Beth Simchat;
Torah's Quilt Panel Viewed by 4,000
(Winter 1997)
By Pat Eliana-Z'charya Morgan

During the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holidays, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah's (CBST) 12ft by 12ft panel was on display during it's 25th Anniversary High Holiday services. The panel which bears the names of over 70 members of the synagogue who have passed on from AIDS from the synagogue's inception to 1973 was designed by chapter member Pat Eliana-Z'charya Morgan and over 50 members of the congregation.

The Quilt panel belongs to The NAMES Project, has never left the hearts of the congregation. Each year when the synagogue is able during it's High Holiday services, the panel is placed on display. The Yom Kippur services which have taken place at the Javits Convention Center over the last few years, has over 3,000 in attendance. This year, the panel was on display in addition during the Rosh Hashanah services where over 1,000 joined in prayer to celebrate the New Year and the celebration of life. The Quilt panel which is named the "Scroll of Life," celebrates the lives of those honored.

I have attended numerous Yom Kipper services and each time I cannot help but see how important this panel has become to the synagogue. On Yom Kipper as we recite Yizkor which is a prayer to honor our deceased, the presence of our "Scroll of Life" Quilt panel invites those we honor to join us in prayer.

The panel has been displayed in many churches, synagogues, schools and in major displays all over the United States. But the one display which means the most to CBST and especially to me, is during our Yom Kippur services. As we look within preparing ourselves to perform the work necessary for the New Year which enables us to serve family, friends, community and ourselves to the best of our ability, we see that compassion is the path that brings us closest to our goal. And with this in mind, we know those we honor have not died in vain.


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Letter From Interim Chair (Winter 1997)
By Jeff Bosacki

On September 19, 1997, we had a special election to fill the Chapter chair position. Steve Noonan has become the Northeast Regional Representative and his new position required him to step down as Chair. Since steering committee elections are not until January, I was voted in as interim chair. I am committed to manage the Chapter's outreach programs while attending to the additional duties of the Chapter.

Now more than ever does the work of the Chapter mean so much. We are not going weekly to visit friends or family members in the hospital. It's a switch not to remember the colors of the walls of medical centers, hospital or emergency rooms we all have visited. We still, however, continue to experience soaring infection rates. Many have let their guard down, or still believe that "it can't happen to me." More importantly, some think the new medical "cocktails" means the crisis is over! Until there is a cure, we need to continue to use the Quilt to educate our community. Little did our decreased know how powerful a panel made to remember them would be in teaching our youth to our elderly about HIV.

While our National Office continues to decrease their staff, the work we do locally continues. The Chapter continue to believe that we need to display the Quilt anywhere logistically feasible and appropriate. While panelmaking has slowed down, which we celebrate, panels especially from students, still continue to be powerful tools to help with the healing process. We appreciate your support as we continue to use the Power of the Quilt to educate and remember. I'd like to encourage you to become a member of the Chapter, make a panel, and most importantly remember their names!


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World AIDS Day's - Rememberance 1997 (Winter 1997)
By Jeff Bosacki

Along with schools and businesses who have participated in World AIDS Day commemorations in past years, this year we welcome a number of new participants. We are once again exceeding our expectations for this day of remembrance. From displaying 50 sections of the Quilt in 1995, then doubling the amount last year, the Chapter will be displaying 175 12ft x 12ft sections, totaling 1400 individuals panels in places of worship, schools, hospitals and businesses throughout the New York City area.

We are honored to have new friends of The NAMES Project New York City who want to participate in this day of remembrance and bring greater awareness about HIV/AIDS to New York City and their highly visible businesses. These new partners include: The National Museum of the American Indian, The New York Public Library, New York University Medical Center, U.S. Dept. Of Health, and McCann-Erickson, to mention only a few. These participants will increase viewing of the Quilt from last year to an estimated 75,000. We also anticipate that our Fundraising efforts will double last year's donations, which will help underwrite our expenses to bring the Quilt to our youth and other locations in the coming year.

AIDS awareness and requests to display the Quilt has never been higher in the history of the Chapter. We know some of it is because of our careful planning and hard work, but most of the credit must go to the organizations, schools and businesses who, along with The NAMES Project, want to bring an end to the AIDS epidemic.

We hope on Monday, December 1st you will join us in remembering these we have lost to AIDS but have not been forgotten.


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