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Josh and Lisa Bernstein Host Georgetowners in the Spirit of Betsy Cooley

November 8, 2018

"This evening is in honor of Betsy Cooley. She would have loved to be here tonight," said Jennifer Romm. Executive Director of the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) for 13 years and an accomplished artist, Betsy died earlier this year. 

Jennifer Romm and Leslie Maysak (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jennifer Romm and Leslie Maysak

The very special evening in the spirit of Betsy, was graciously hosted by Josh and Lisa Bernstein in their spectacular Georgetown home.

Guests mingle in the the column-framed living room (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Guests mingle in the the column-framed living room

The four-story 'Renovation on Cox's Row' by architect Robert Gurney of their Federal-style brick home was originally built in the early 1800's by Colonel John Cox, who later served as Georgetown's mayor. 

Andy of Pelonkey events (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Andy of Pelonkey events

"The house was actually in good shape," Josh explained. Pointing to the Ionic columns gracing the entrance to the living room, "They were here. We would have opened the space even more but they belonged here." The house was updated to showcase the owners' extensive, world-class collection of modern art.

Josef Albers' (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Josef Albers' "Study for Homage to the Square" and Lee Ufan's "Dialogue" on the walls of the living room

Intimate and oh so elegant, in lieu of the annual CAG Gala, this year's fund-raiser was quintessential Georgetown. 

Evan and Tina Nadler (left) (Photo by: Jusith Beermann) Evan and Tina Nadler (left)

One hundred guests enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres as they perused the Bernstein's private gallery. Piano accompaniment delightfully provided by Andy of Pelonkey events.

Constance Chatfield-Taylor in the courtyard (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Constance Chatfield-Taylor in the courtyard
Betsy Emes,Chair- CAG/Trees for Georgetown, Greg Love and Ruth Jacobsen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Betsy Emes,Chair- CAG/Trees for Georgetown, Greg Love and Ruth Jacobsen
(Photo by: Judith Beermann)
Jennifer Romm, Leslie Maysak, Simon Jacobsen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jennifer Romm, Leslie Maysak, Simon Jacobsen
(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Guests mingle in the the column-framed living room (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Guests mingle in the the column-framed living room

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I'm a Jew

October 29, 2018

Last week’s massacre in a Pittsburgh synagogue did not shock me. It only reinforced what I’ve known throughout my life. Historic, worldwide and systemic anti-semitism is alive and well.


I don’t consider myself a victim. Not yet, anyway. I’m not a practicing Jew. I love the cultural traditions of every organized religion, and have a particular affection for my own. But I can’t get past the notion that one god is better or more true than another.


Until now, I’ve never felt a moral obligation to announce that I’m Jewish. I’ve always been offended when people are surprised to learn that I am, or say, “You don’t look/act Jewish.”


Whatever it means to the reader, genetically, and verified by 23andMe (boring though it may be), I’m 98% Ashkenazie Jewish. 


I grew up in a predominantly Jewish Montgomery County, Maryland neighborhood. My parents, both refugees from Nazi Europe, belonged to an Orthodox congregation, not because they were so religious but because they liked the focus on traditional services and customs. I went to Hebrew school there, attended a public high school nearby that was 60% Jewish and almost never felt any overt discrimination. More about rebellion and adventure than Zionism, in my late teens I lived on a kibbutz in Israel.


Mine is a familiar story of East Coast Jews who settled in New York City during and after World War II.


My father grew up in Hanover, Germany and experienced first-hand the rise of Nazism in the 1930’s. Well liked by his teachers and a model student, by the time he was in his teens, he was no longer allowed on field trips, and excluded from school organizations. In a family album, there is a photo of Adolf Hitler marching through Hanover in 1936. My grandparents, foreseeing the threat, planned for more than five years prior, to emigrate to the US. Several members of his family chose to stay and died in concentration camps.


My mother’s maternal grandparents lived on Long Island, New York since the mid 1800’s and my mother was born in New York City in 1915.  At the age of five, she moved back to Vienna where my grandfather owned several businesses. With their five children, my grandparents lived there until the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. Through several different countries, they escaped to New York.


Why share my personal history? Proud of my Jewish heritage, I have enormous gratitude to my ancestors. And respect for everyone who has ever come to the United States in search of freedom and a better life. 


I’m not going to digress here and start talking about our nation's growing xenophobia and rapid move toward totalitarianism. We certainly have enough news and social media pundits already. But it's alarming.

Simply, I’m so very sad. 

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Cafe Milano Hosts Book Party for Samantha Sault's 'Moon Washington DC'

September 11, 2018

"At the end of the day, everyone comes together to have a cocktail," explained local journalist-turned-author Samantha Sault, who started writing Moon Washington DC in February, 2017. With an eye to visitors, Samantha says her new book also has a lot of tips for long-time locals. 

Kevin Chaffee introduces Samantha Sault to guests (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Kevin Chaffee introduces Samantha Sault to guests

Kevin Chaffee, introducing the author to several hundred guests Monday evening at Cafe Milano, "We have Michelin and other travel guides, and tonight, Washington has a Moon Guide."

Matthew Lauer (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Matthew Lauer

Thanking her host committee, Cafe Milano and husband Matt, glancing around the room,  Sault noted, "We have people here from the Trump and Obama adninistrations, all the way back to ... Reagan," As guests laughed, she continued, "everyone who makes up the fabric of the city. DC is resilient. There's no better time to visit DC."

Katie Abbott and Karin Tanabe (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Katie Abbott and Karin Tanabe

Neighborhood by neighborhood, including the first walking tour of Anacostia and the Navy Yard, the author introduces monuments, nightlife, bars and restaurants, all with a nod to their historic significance. She doesn't consider herself a foodie, "The best meal is a roast chicken," but she does think the DC dining industry is definitely maturing. Three of her favorites, too new for this edition, are: Rake's Progress, Primrose, and Garrison.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Samantha Sault began her career at policy journals, including The Weekly Standard, where she wrote about national politics as well as fashion and pop culture. For nearly three years, she wrote a weekly column for The Washington Times with her arts, culture, and nightlife picks for locals. She has covered international fashion weeks in New York, London, and Hong Kong and has also managed communications for the organization that lobbies on behalf of American fashion brands and retailers.

Samantha Sault and Maria Abad (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Samantha Sault and Maria Abad

After growing up in the metropolitan DC area, Samantha has a deep understanding of both how Washington works and has evolved, and a genuine love for the swamp. She learned how to use the Metro from a young age, first to visit Smithsonian museums as a child, and later to attend concerts and break curfew as a teenager. After graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a BA in government and politics, she moved to Dupont Circle, where she has lived for more than 10 years.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

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