Category Archives: Uncategorized

In Our Backyard Documentary

Iryna said: We need people who are teachers to share this.

There I was at the perfect intersection: attending this film at my church in Park Slope, teaching in a New York City High school, had taught for 7 years in East New York, and the girls they were talking about could have been my students. While I was teaching at the former George Gershwin Junior High School two girls were shot, one killed near the public track and they were undoubtably wrapped up in the sex trade.
I wrote a poem about the incident.

Two girls were shot, one killed,

Two weeks ago on Linden Boulevard.

The news might have said outside our school,

Although the spot was nearer to the park and athletic field.

I walked around the block the next day,

When I needed some air.

And I followed a trail of blood,

From the corner to the corner, around the block.


A little life was lost here,

A little blood.

A little rain washed it away.

The sidewalk was wet today.


I listened to the radio at home.

The market was down today.

A few more dollars gone.

I thought of things I might have done.

I thought of how I paid and paid,

Not to listen, not to think, not to think for myself.


My eyes got a little misty

A few tears washed the pain away

I thought of the rain

And a little life washed away




Danielle Rose’s documentary and the women, Iryna, Shandra, Ashley completely turned my mind around in a passionate and empowering expose about the sex trade in Brooklyn.

I have to say, apart from my sadness about the shootings of the two young women in East New York, I had never considered the suffering of the women who became the victims of the sex trade.

Every one is a story, a name, a person.  Everyone deserves the possibility of escape .



Hand in Hand Mural Project: Phase Three, Installation and Completion!

Hand in Hand Mural Project: Phase Three, Installation and Completion!

What happens when you set out to create a loving and inclusive work of art?

A great deal. People meet in a church basement, sharing snacks. People write their ideas on post its and others read them. People talk about the differences between words that are nouns, like “forgiveness” and words that are verbs, like “forgiving”. People discover shapes and symbols and reflect on their meaning. People talk about how colors make them feel and what their neighbors might think about colors being too bright or dark.

Kathy Hand in Hand draft

Kathy Creutzburg, the artist/ designer  of the Hand in Hand  mural  took in all of this communication and convergence of ideas and interest in art and created a beautiful watercolor draft of the mural.

It all finally came together when we met to install the mural.


I was a little nervous.  Would we have the volunteers that we needed?  Was the heat going to crush us?

Then I met Ethan Sanchez, our intern, and Kathy Creutzburg at 10AM.

We got set up that first day and Janice Brown arrived, a good friend who’s just returned to Brooklyn and is an artist activist.  We met Lourdes Zephier and her family the first day, by accident or miracle, depends what you want to call it. Kathy, our artist guide, Ethan, our intern, Janice and Lourdes became the creative, dedicated working force that would see this project through to completion.

As Kathy described the process to us, we would begin by installing the mosaic portion of the mural. After locating space in the church for storing materials and tools for the mural process, we started by cementing the tiles to the wall that became the trunk of “tree of life” symbol overshadowing about half of the wall. That first week was just about laying in this “trunk and branches” portion. We created the leaves in a workshop including church members, Sunday dinner guests, Lourdes, Brooklyn, Derek and Janice.

Lourdes is a total delight and her kids are among the sweetest I’ve ever met.  I will never forget the sight of Brooklyn, age 7, totally absorbed by arranging and sorting tiles of different colors and shapes on the white table top. It was enchanting.

So much creativity and wonder has become part of the project. As Janice’s video documents, community members became part of the project as it grew from the mosaic, into a primed wall, into the sketching, and finally the painting of the mural.  Every time I visited the artists, people gathered to talk about the mural, children asked us questions, mothers and young people and block residents expressed their interest and appreciation. Special thanks go to Renee Mason and Jonathan Lewis for their support and spirit.

Meanwhile, Georga Accola, co-sponsor of the project, was off on a long planned vacation in Europe, and I had a tooth extracted and proceeded to hit the road, for a long awaited Road Trip with a friend in California.

It was the power of artists Kathy Creutzburg, Janice Long and Lourdes Zephier that made this work a reality! Thank you!!!

Today, 8/21, Hannah Long-Higgins interviewed me about the mural project.

It was exciting to see the project take on yet another dimension.  In addition to being appreciated and discussed by church members and the community, especially the block residents, other people who may not even live in Brooklyn will learn about the mural and its message.

This was an opportunity for me see the mural’s power and the power of art in a new way.  Hannah Long-Higgins has been inspired to document this project.  She is attracted to its beauty, its positive message, and its spiritual connection.  She meets Lourdes Zephier and is inspired to share her story as an audio project for her class.

How many more spiritual connections will the project make?  Already I see new friends in our congregation who have come to worship with us. What else is a possible result of this project?





Road Trip

Road Trip

SF Ojaiballet school buddiesDiane and Sarah

“Dewdrop, having reconnected with you means more than you know. Somehow, I am more Whole”.
These words echo in my soul as I read them again. These feelings of friendship, returning after so many years, are like rediscovering my self.
This is the story of two high school friends who lost each other for 35 years through time and 3,000 miles of space. Ballet school buddies who called each other Dewdrop and Buttercup. Two friends who found each other through a newspaper ad for a garage sale. Two friends who agreed to meet in a beloved place, for an adventure. A road trip.

On the plane I was nervous.  Planning for the trip had been both an escape and a reality check from the anxiety of job hunting.
Job hunting in Brooklyn. The heat makes the city more intense and the city is already intense. Thank god for Coney Island. After a couple of hours at the beach, I get my mojo back. Preparing for the trip (and my job search) with a new look: new hair, new glasses, new make up, manicure and new clothes, has given me more confidence.
Everywhere this summer I’ve told friends about this trip, and they got excited about the idea.
One friend said “Wow, that’s really risky.” I’m not sure what she was referring to exactly. But I think it was the possibility that we might disagree on the temperature of the A/C in the hotel room or politically. Now I venture to say most of us , even knowing the difference between friendship and politics, have gotten into some disagreement over hot button issues such as gun violence and reproductive rights on social media. Still, I remain confident that two people can stay friends and agree to disagree. I determined that my goal was to listen, try to understand other viewpoints and state mine.

So I guess I wasn’t surprised to hear my friend say “I hope this doesn’t ruin our friendship, but…”
If 35 years and 3,000 miles hadn’t ruined our friendship, I did have some confidence that we could get along.

I had picked up a gift for the two of us. Feeling discouraged about my job search, I had stumbled on the words “Lean not on thine own understanding” . These turn out to be from Proverbs 3, a biblical chapter that contains a central image of the feminine divine, the tree of wisdom. I shared this over the phone with B. Then at the farmer’s market in Bellingham Washington I found a necklace with the tree on a pendant . I got two of these, so we could each have one. A gift of wisdom.

Turns out B. was thinking about a gift, too.  In addition to planning our Road Trip itinerary, she had gotten us passes to the Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park.  OMG OMG . A music Festival Golden Gate Park! Thank you, B!!!!!!



Subway Poem Four R Train

Subway Poem Four R Train
  1. trot down stairs. train standing still doors open


  1. doors close train rolls away

oh crap

  1. Loud speaker: “Brooklyn and Manhattan trains delayed because of an investigation at Court St. Brooklyn bound R trains are running to Dekalb Ave’
  2. Double crap
  3. stairs up into the spring evening

light on the buildings

no traffic crossing Flatbush Ave.

  1. Metro card says ‘go’. Skip down aluminum stairs. ‘B’ train in the station! All aboard.
  2. Doors close. A seat. loud Arabic music until a violin drowns it out

Hand in Hand Mural Project Phase Two

Hand in Hand Mural Project Phase Two

Kathy collage

Hand in Hand Mural Project


Design by Kathy Creutzburg

Your suggestions and feedback are welcomed and invited as we proceed with the mural project.

The Hand in Hand mural project will hold a meeting Weds July 6th at 6:00 PM in the sanctuary. PSUMC 6th Ave and 8th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215


We will be discussing the next phases of the project including developing and finalizing the design for the mural,  a timeline for installation and outreach to engage folks interested in drawing, painting and doing the hands-on work of the project over the summer.

What are your responses to the questions:

  1. What do you love about our church?
  2. What do you want to say to our friends and neighbors who are interested in our church?


Love, Sarah




Subway two Q train


WIN_20140926_222827Cold legs   cold spring

This May begs a warm lilac scarf

a bowtie and suspenders


Sit! sit! no, you sit

friends in camel coats and false eyelashes

flashing golden light over my shoulder

Morning in Brooklyn, moving by

pretty legs, sleepy eyes phones

no newspapers


roller curls very much the girl

roll along the car shakes and shudders

rolling the town underground


Read the rest of this entry

Subway One F train


WIN_20160430_122314Oh sunlight on my hand and cheek as I write.

Oh sweet air that immerses the Brooklyn lane

in Dogwood blooms and iris emerging


Oh woody winged seeds covering flagstones, beds, pots and weedy grass

eagerly driving into earth act of love


Oh plodding thoughts   herds of clouds

transmuting into royal pleasures blue awakenings

Silent music, peaceful riot tender sensation

whispered kiss


Education for Social Development

Education for Social Development

One of the things I loved best as a child was “dress up”. This type of play always involved delight, drama, laughter , self examination, a flurry of ideas about self-identity.
My first delight in Kindergarten was looking around the room and seeing the play house and play kitchen.
I remember so much about kindergarten, i can only wish for all children the most wonderful first experience in school. So it happened that I came upon this editorial in the NY Times and remembered again some of the wonders of that experience.


Here’s my letter to the editor, scroll down on the link, It’s the last one. 🙂

To the Editor:

As an educator and a parent, I was reminded of a personal experience in Caitlin Daniel’s exploration of the financial and nutritional costs of children’s food preferences.

In 1960, in a Dewey-inspired kindergarten in Southern California, I was treated to “tasting parties.” Our teacher would arrange small pieces of foods like kumquat on a plate for us to taste. The bittersweetness of the kumquat fed the idea that tasting a new food could be an adventure.

American children from cultures beyond the United States’ borders experience many flavors and nutritional boosts that their more assimilated neighbors lose. School multicultural nights and pot lucks capitalize on building community through sharing dishes from many cultures. In our family, our children asked for plantains after tasting them at school, and another mother taught me how to prepare them.

Writing about food and favorite recipes has been a staple of the whole-language curriculum, and it encourages food studies that broaden cultural awareness. Schools can and should support better nutrition, education and community building.




Andrew Cuomo to New York State: Your Teachers Stink. I Will Fire Them. I will Break Their Union.


This lays it out . FYI the Common Core test was administered before teachers had access to curriculum. As ever, once students begin to succeed as a cohort on standardized tests, the bar is arbitrarily raised to create a false crisis. So the politicians re-stoke a fire about blaming teachers without addressing real inequalities: Income, healthcare, stability, the justice system, the list goes on.


Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

The gauntlet that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch picked up with their public correspondence in December has been thrown down.  The Governor announced his plans to revamp and revise education in New York with his State of the State address on January 21st, and it was accompanied by a book detailing his policy proposals.  On teacher evaluation, Governor Cuomo is delivering a massive change — and a direct challenge to community control of their teacher workforce.  If the governor gets his way, 50% of teachers’ evaluations will be controlled by students’ annual progress on standardized tests, and no teacher rated “ineffective” in either half of the evaluation will be scored higher than “developing.”   The other 50% of annual evaluations will be comprised of two observations, one by a school administrator and another by an “independent observer” in the form of an administrator from…

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