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Clues to a mysterious key

The Editor’s Essay (“Unlocking a better magazine”) unlocked many of my own memories of the organ loft at Temple Beth El, where my father, the late Abraham Cohen, served occasionally as substitute organist, and later as Samuel Luskin’s successor as choir director in the late ’50s and early ’60s. At that time, the congregation was transitioning from its former location on Richmond Avenue (it became a Baptist church) to the Eggert Road location in the Town of Tonawanda, following the migration of the Buffalo Jewish community from North Buffalo to the inner suburbs.

I can’t say for certain because I was very young back then, but the key in the photo looks like the one which unlocked the door to the organ loft at the Richmond Avenue location. Peter Van Dyck, who was the organist at Kenmore Presbyterian Church, was also the organist for Temple Beth El, and it was my observations of him at the organ console that led me to become an organist, too. On a number of occasions, I accompanied Cantor Gerald DeBruin at Beth El, utilizing photocopies of Mr. Luskin’s manuscripts. I’m now the assistant music director and organist at United Hebrew Congregation in St. Louis, Mo., the oldest Jewish congregation west of the Mississippi River (est. 1837). And like my father and Samuel Luskin, I compose and arrange music for the synagogue.

Thank you for this wonderful essay, and thank you to UB for the musical education and experiences which gave me the skills to continue the legacy of Jewish music which Samuel Luskin and my father loved so passionately.

David Cohen (MusB ’90, BA ’77)
Maryland Heights, Mo.

Grain elevators tied to reader’s past

I read with much enthusiasm Patricia Donovan’s essay on the Buffalo grain elevators (“On the Waterfront”). My wife, who grew up on West Delavan not far from Niagara Street, saw those grain elevators daily. I grew up in the Tonawandas and became aware of these industrial giants while attending college and eventually moving to the city. I graduated from UB in 1976 with an MFA in painting and enjoyed the industrial scenery of the elevators and old train stations as well. Again, a most enjoyable article.

Jack Knight (MFA ’76)
Long Neck, Del.

Swimmer’s move had major impact

I was delighted to see your feature on Brittney Kuras in the Locker Room section (“Pregame Rituals”). I was one of the timers for her lane during the 2013 MAC Championships’ 200-yard freestyle final, and witnessed her prerace ritual firsthand. She pounded the starting block with such vigor it dislodged a wire from the timing system on the block, which I quickly re-inserted prior to the race! Thank you for featuring the UB Swimming and Diving program.

Kelly Darlak (PharmD ’04)
North Tonawanda, N.Y.

Where are the women?

I received my latest copy of At Buffalo. As I went through it, almost every picture was a man. Every major article was about a man. The one devoted to a woman was titled “Queen for a Day.” There were two tiny articles, “60 seconds with Lora Park,” which is about how long it took to read it, and another tiny article featuring Amy Richardson.

While I like men, as an educated woman who graduated from UB, I want to see more of us in the magazine, with substantive articles. We need to be sending messages to young women that their accomplishments will be recognized, too.

Karen Fitzgerald (BA ’74)
New York, N.Y.

Editor’s response:

We hear you—look for more stories about UB women who are making an impact in future issues of the magazine.

Reaction to our redesign

Congrats on the redesign of UB Today into At Buffalo. Great look that really bridges the paper and online editions, and the editorial content continues its high standards.

Blair Boone (PhD ’84)
Williamsville, N.Y.

I was happy to arrive home to find the new UB magazine At Buffalo. Great job! It is dynamic, informative, varied and aesthetically pleasing. I am sure the young alums will be eager to peruse the pages (even if most of them have sworn off print), and the older ones will be welcomed into the mix.

Sharon Cramer
Lancaster, N.Y.

The writer is SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at SUNY Buffalo State.

I love the new format! It’s obvious how much work went into the overhaul, so I just wanted to let you know that you did a wonderful job. It was a fun, engaging read, and I even ended up discussing a couple of the features with my sister (another UB alum).

Aimee Woznick (BA ’05)
Buffalo, N.Y.

What an impressive inaugural issue! Kudos to all who had a hand in its creation. Proud to have been “At Buffalo”—went here, worked here, played here!

Mary Anne Rokitka (PhD ’73, MA ’72, MS ’71)
Amherst, N.Y.

We want to hear from you!

Send letters and comments to Editor with the subject heading “Letters.” Or mail to Editor, At Buffalo, 330 Crofts Hall, Buffalo, N.Y. 14260. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity. Please include a daytime phone number for verification.