Theater Review: Warm, human and marvelous: we say see ‘Issei, He Say’

By Madeline Schulman

Long Branch — The world premiere of Issei, He Say (Or the Myth of the First), by Chloe Hung, is playing at NJ Rep. Here is a spontaneous three word review by my husband, Joel Schulman. “That was marvelous!” Joel felt this very strongly. I would go with “warm and human,” but “marvelous” works.

Stan Egi and Fenton Li in a scene from the world premiere of Issei, He Say or the Myth of the First by Chloé Hung. (SuzAnne Barabas Photo)

Two houses sit side by side in a working class neighborhood in Scarborough (Toronto), Canada. The year is 1969. The Chu family lives at number 29. Mr. Chu (Fenton Li), has brought his wife (Kathleen Kwan) and 12-year-old daughter Lucy (Christina Liang) from Hong Kong to pursue the North American dream.

Mr. Yamamoto (Stan Egi) lives at number 28. He is first generation Japanese American (Issei), a former fisherman from Vancouver now working as a gardener. Jessica Parks has designed a lovely little garden for him, contrasting with the neighbors’ barren yard.

Mr. Yamamoto calls out a friendly, “Good day, neighbor!” every morning as Mr. Chu goes grumpily off to work, but never gets a friendly response. Mr. Chu hates all Japanese because of atrocities committed by the Japanese against the Chinese during World War II, and holds Mr. Yamamoto guilty by association, even though Mr. Yamamoto was in Canada during the war, shamefully incarcerated in an internment camp. (I did not know that the Canadians were also guilty of imprisoning their Japanese citizens.)

Lucy loves her neighbor, who gives her orange cream soda and listens to her tales of the terrible way the white girls at school treat her. Poor Lucy! Canadian culture is so foreign to her that the only Canadian parties she can name are “Birthday, Christmas, Easter.” He can sympathize as one Issei to another with a newcomer trying to fit in.

Mrs. Chu has to endure patronizing white ladies laughing at her accent. Kathleen Kwan is charming when Mrs. Chu, practicing her “th” sound (since the ladies have mocked her for saying “Sank you”) is inspired by the word “nothing” to burst out in an inspired version of Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog.

She and Lucy are very funny about a casserole one lady has given them, exclaiming “They put cheese on everything!”

Mr. Chu has fewer chances to amuse, but Fenton Li makes the most of those, especially when sympathizing with Darren on Bewitched. “Those women make him do everything!”

Unexpected news brings a confrontation in which Mr. and Mrs. Chu express what the Japanese invasion did to their families, and Mr. Yamamoto tells how internment wrecked his life and family. Even though decades have passed, the wounds are still painful. It seems that it is up to Lucy, a generation removed from the horror, to make a fresh start, and her love for Mr. Yamamoto points to hope.

The actors are wonderful. The characters are well drawn, and their story is moving and relevant. As a bonus, there are some neat special effects with snow. You can’t have a play set in Canada during the winter without snow!

Issei, He Say runs through May 20. Tickets are $46. Premium seats (aisles and front row) are an additional $5.

Regular performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets and more information, contact NJ Rep at 732-229-3166 or njrep.org.

 

 

 

NJ Marathon this weekend

By Neil Schulman
On your mark, get set, go! Get ready for lots of runners – and some traffic diversions – this weekend.
The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon and Half Marathon take place April 29, going through Oceanport, Monmouth Beach and Long Branch, as well as heading north to Asbury Park before returning to Long Branch for the finish line.

The races will be preceded with the Diadora Race Exposition on April 27 and 28 at Monmouth Park, featuring food, drinks, music, and athletic swag. There is also a 5K run and RJW Barnabas Family Health Day on April 28 along the Long Branch promenade starting at 8 a.m.

Organizers say that they are expecting 10,000 athletes to attend the races, along with family members and well wishers.

Because of the runners, numerous roads will be closed off.

Races start at 7:30 a.m. Sunday by Monmouth Park Racetrack.

Oceanport police say that roads along the route will be closed at 7 a.m., and are all expected to reopen by 9:30 a.m., with the exception of the Main Gate of the Racetrack to Port au Peck Ave will remain closed until 5 p.m. Residents are advised to plan ahead since some roads will not be accessible.

In Monmouth Beach, road closings are scheduled from 6:45-10 a.m.

In Long Branch, parts of Patten Avenue and Monmouth Boulevard will close from 6:45-9:45 a.m. Most of the other roads marked for closing will shut at 7 and reopen between 10 and 11, depending on their location. The exception are stretches of Ocean Avenue, closed until 2:45 p.m.

Many roads will also be marked with no parking signs in advance of the race.

If you wish to cheer the runners on, there are numerous locations along the way to do so. The finish line is the Ocean Promenade.
More information can be found at www.thenewjerseymarathon.­com.

Meet the Author of Lioness; a look at Golda Meir

Ocean Township — She was born in tsarist Russia 120 years ago, moved to Milwaukee when she was eight, and wound up the first female prime minister of Israel. And you can learn about her in a biography the New York Times Book Review called a “thorough and absorbing examination of the woman and her role in Zionism and Israel,” and Jewish Book Council calls an “absolutely riveting page-turner.”

On April 29, 11 a.m. Congregation Torat El will host Francine Klagsbrun, author of “Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel.”

Lioness has received several awards, including the 2017 National Jewish Book Award and Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year.

Klagsbrun’s book looks at a woman who was known for many things: iron-willed leader, chain-smoking political operative, and tea and cake serving grandmother.

She had a major role in the founding of the State Israel in the late 1940s, raising funds and meeting with leaders of foreign nations. She served as minister of labor and foreign minister in the 1950s and 1960s — the only woman in the world to hold such a prominent position at the time — and was eventually elected Prime Minister.

Meir negotiated arms agreements with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and had dozens of clandestine meetings with Jordan’s King Hussein in the unsuccessful pursuit of a land-for-peace agreement. But her time in office ended in tragedy, when Israel was caught off guard by Egypt and Syria’s surprise attack on Yom Kippur in 1973.

Analyzing newly available documents from Israeli government archives, Klagsbrun looks into whether Golda could have prevented that war and whether in its darkest days she contemplated using nuclear force.

Klagsbrun is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day and Married People: Staying Together in the Age of Divorce.

Klagsbrun was also the editor of the best-selling Free to Be …You and Me and is a regular columnist for The Jewish Week, a contributing editor to Lilith, and on the editorial board of Hadassah magazine.

Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, and Ms. Magazine. She lives in New York City.

She was influential in the earliest days of feminism and the women’s movement.

The book is available for purchase at the temple office, 301 Monmouth Road, Oakhurst, at a reduced price of $25, and will be signed by the author during the program.

Billed as a “book club with a twist,” the Meet The Author quarterly event features a presentation by the author and a lively Q&A with the audience.

Pre-paid reservations at $15 per person can be made at www.torat-el.org or by calling 732-531-4410. The charge is $20 per person at the door. A catered brunch will be served.

This event is made possible through a generous grant from the B’nai Sholom/Beth El Foundation.

Police investigating verbal threat at Maple Place School

Oceanport – Police responded to Maple Place Middle School today on an investigation of a student who could have made a verbal threat. Following is a statement that was posted on the school webpage.

An incident occurred at Maple Place School today consisting of a verbal threat. At no time was there deemed a viable threat, nor were any students in danger. No weapons were present or involved, and the individual making the threat has been removed. All protocols were followed, the authorities were notified immediately and assumed jurisdiction over this matter. There is an ongoing investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Oceanport Police Department, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, and the federal Department of Homeland Security.

By law, we cannot provide any more details. However, please know the safety and security of our schools is of the utmost importance, all appropriate security measures and notification regulations have been followed, and there is no reason for parents to keep any students out of school based upon this matter.

Leaks into sewerage system costing Sea Bright

By Neil Schulman

Sea Bright — The good news is that Sea Bright isn’t paying the sewerage bills for neighboring towns. The bad news is that means the system has some big leaks somewhere.

At the April 12 Borough Council workshop, Councilman Kevin Birdsall said that he and other borough officials had met with the Two Rivers Water Reclaimation Authority to examine the meters by the Sea Bright-Rumson bridge.

The sewerage systems are only supposed to be used for waste water, not storm drainage. But when there’s heavy rains or floods, the amount of water Sea Bright sends to the TRWRA for treatment can skyrocket.

Sea Bright typically sends about 2 million gallons to the authority a month. Following the January flood event, they sent 10 million. In theory, the storm should not have affected the borough’s usage at all.

One theory as to where the water was coming from was that the meters on the bridge, which determine what water comes from Rumson and what from Sea Bright, were improperly calibrated, and Sea Bright was being billed for Rumson’s share, or leaks from their neighbor.

But the Authority showed Birdsall that there are two different meters monitoring the situation, and he’s convinced that’s not the problem.

“It does not look like Rumson is shorting their meter at all,” Birdsall said. “There’s no way to fudge the numbers.”

But had that been the problem, it would have been an easy fix. Now, Sea Bright needs to determine where storm water is coming into the sewerage system.

One possibility is sump pumps which are illegally hooked up into the sewerage lines.

Another one is just broken pipes or openings. If a four-inch top is broken off a drain, that could pour massive amounts of water into the system during a storm.

The next step will be to perform a smoke test, where smoke is pumped into the pipes. If any is visible, that’s an open leak and probably a big one.

It wouldn’t detect underground leaks, however.

 

MB children help foodbank

Monmouth Beach — Last summer the current first grade class of Monmouth Beach School operated a lemonade stand to benefit Fulfill of Monmouth and Ocean Counties (formerly called the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties).
The lemonade stand was run by the children every weekend at the Monmouth Beach Farmer’s Market where they learned the importance of giving back to their community.

Jake Dolan, Addie and Marnie Marowitz.

In February the children received two special awards from Fulfill acknowledging their hard work: ‘The 2,500 Pound Club’ and ‘The Extra Mile Award’ for raising over $3,000 – which translates to over 10,000 meals for the children of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

On Tuesday, March 27, the first grade class attended the Monmouth Beach Board of Ed meeting where Superintendent Michael Ettore, presented them with certificates of achievement.

The children are excited for the Monmouth Beach Farmer’s Market again this summer to continue their mission to ‘Quench Hunger!’ They hope to see you there.

 

 

Students receive recognition and certificates at the Monmouth Beach Board of Ed meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Branch Mayoral, Candidates Debate

There is a Long Branch Mayoral Debate Thursday, April 12, at the Long Branch Middle School, presented by the West End Watchdogs. 7PM

Another will be held at the Historic Long Branch High School,  on May 1 at 6PM, sponsored by The LINK News. First half with be with the Council candidates, and second half with be for the Mayors.

Both will be moderated by the League of Women Voters.

Go camping at Turkey Swamp Park

Spring into the season by spending a night under the stars at the Monmouth County Park System’s family campground located in Turkey Swamp Park, Georgia Road, Freehold.

There’s plenty more for campers to experience in the park.  Turkey Swamp Park features a lake where visitors can bring or rent canoes, kayaks, rowboats and paddleboats.  Rentals are available weekends starting Saturday, May 5 and daily starting Saturday, June 16. Visitors with a New Jersey fishing license (under age 16 license not required) can try their luck with the bass, crappie, catfish and bluegills that call the lake home.

The park also offers picnic areas with charcoal grills, four playgrounds, over eight miles of multiuse trails, and plenty of open space.Opening for the season on Sunday, April 1, the campground features 64 wooded campsites (52 which can be reserved while 12 are available on a first come, first served basis). All campsites are pull-through and offer water and electric hookups. The facility features drinking water, a dump station, picnic tables, modern restrooms with hot showers and laundry, as well as fire rings for charcoal cooking and campfires.  Families are sure to appreciate quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.  The rates per night are as follows: a tent site is $30 for county residents and $34 for non-residents; a recreational vehicle/trailer site is $36 for county residents and $40 for non-residents.

The campground also offers three cabins.  These cabins have two rooms and feature a double bed and two sets of bunk beds as well as lights and electrical outlets.  Outside each cabin is a water spigot and picnic area with fire pit. The cabins also offer air conditioning. One of the cabins is ADA accessible.  The cost of each cabin is $65 a night for county residents and $75 a night for non-residents.  Weekly rates are $310 for county residents and $360 for non-residents.

This summer, the Park System will continue its Campfire Programs in Turkey Swamp Park. Held on Saturday evenings June through August, these family-friendly offerings include

Swamp Things, Buccaneer Bonfire and Jersey Devil Hunt. Interested campers can register for free with the campground office on the day of the program.  Campers can also enjoy free wagon rides through the park on Saturday evenings starting Memorial Day Weekend.

Reservations are available for stays of at least two nights (Friday through Sunday) and must be prepaid. They can be made in person at the Campground Office located in the Oak Point Shelter Building in the park, through the mail or by calling 732-462-7286.  MasterCard, Visa and Discover accepted.  For more information about the campground, please call 732-462-7286.  For more information about the Monmouth County Park System, please call 732-842-4000 or visit www.MonmouthCountyParks.com.   For persons with hearing impairment, the TTY/TDD number is 711.  The Monmouth County Park System, created in 1960 by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is Monmouth County’s Open Space, Parks and Recreation agency.

City to guard some private beaches and pools

By Neil Schulman
Long Branch — The city may be providing lifeguards to almost every condo and hotel with a beach this summer.
At the March 27 City Council workshop, Stan Dziuba, OEM Coordinator for Long Branch, said that they had been approached by Harbor Manor, the Villas, the Ocean Place hotel, and Ocean Cove, who were interested in seeing if the city would provide lifeguard services for their beaches this summer.
The private company that all of them had been using has gone out of business.

Dziuba says Long Branch crunched the numbers, and it can manage the work with the manpower it has. “Ballpark figures were all fine with it,” he said, and the groups seem okay with the city’s tentative rates.

From the city’s point of view, it makes things easy, since it gives their lifeguards almost uninterrupted control from the Deal border north. Only one condo, the Imperial House, wouldn’t be supervised by the city’s lifeguards.

“Every other beach, if we do it, we have complete control of it,” Dziuba said.

Dziuba had come to discuss the matter because council would need to approve any final agreement, and he wanted to make sure they were on board with the idea.

ABC license change

Before getting an Alcoholic Beverage Control license, required to serve any alcohol at an establishment, you need to pass a criminal background check, showing you haven’t been convicted of certain crimes.

One day, Chief Jason Roebuck was examining and signing a card for approval when he realized something.

“I’m looking at the name and I go ‘I arrested this person seven years ago,’” Roebuck said. The crime would have disqualified them from getting the license.

The reason for this is a loophole in the current law. You only need to do a background check the first time you get the permit, and the person in question had applied 14 years ago.

One of the reasons the city did this is because the reapplication fee is $10 a year.

“That’s not enough to run your fingerprints again,” Roebuck said.

The proposed change will change the fee to the cost of getting fingerprinted (which is handled by a third party, not at the police department). Since it’s more expensive, the city will make the license good for two years at a time instead of one.

That change will also help police with the processing. Any bartender or waiter who works in a place where alcohol is served requires these permits, so Long Branch issues quite a few.

Surf camps, skim camps and yoga need to bid for beach

By Neil Schulman
Sea Bright — Borough officials said that they are, reluctantly, requiring people to bid to hold surf camps, skim board camps, or yoga classes on the public beach.

Council introduced resolutions at its March 20 Borough Council meeting to require bids to hold these activities on the beach, so that the borough can regulate the amount and scope of these activities.

Councilman Marc Leckstein said that he thought the borough had no choice, because under the current system they would have a hard time refusing, for example, multiple surf camps, from taking up the public beaches, since they’ve given permission to one camp.

He said that not putting a bidding system in to allow Sea Bright to control the number of camps and where they take up space, would be to “continue to stick our heads in the sand.”

Councilman Kevin Birdsall noted that some activities, such as the skim camp, have grown over the years, and are in danger of taking up space needed by public beachgoers.

While yoga classes will be monitored under this system, more than one class will be allowed.

Council is also making a distinction between a surf camp and surf lessons. Lucky Dog Surf owner Melissa D’Anna said she offers lessons to a handful of people at a time who purchase a board.

Borough Attorney Roger McLaughlin said that this was not what the regulations were aimed at controlling.

“That, to me, is not dedicating a portion of the beach to a specific person at a specific time,” he said. This is unlikely to interfere with beach operations.

However, any students taking lessons from D’Anna would need to purchase a beach badge to use the public beaches.

Property values rise

Birdsall reported that in January and February alone, the borough added $2.2 million worth of property through new construction and improvements, according to permits issued.

Mayor Dina Long said this is part of an encouraging trend. In 2017, the assessed property value in Sea Bright rose $41 million, 6 percent.

After Superstorm Sandy, she had been told that the biggest indicator that things were getting back to normal would be when property values went up, and that’s been happening, she said.