The Senior Social Network (SSN) is a program for adults (60 and older) seeking a supportive social network made up of long standing and new friends who share a commitment to remain active, independent and involved in the community. Our first meeting was in February 2014.

The SSN meets the 3rd Monday of each month, 7:00-9:00pm, in the Parlor of the Reformed Church of Highland Park. In addition to monthly meetings, outings and gatherings are scheduled throughout the month which include visits to art museums, concerts, luncheons, and a book club that meets every Tuesday at 10:30am in the Juvenile Books room at the Highland Park Public Library. There are many ways to become involved. Please contact the Who Is My Neighbor office at if you would like further information. All seniors are welcome to attend!


December 17: Holiday Potluck Dinner

November 19: Save the date, meeting topic to be decided.

November 7 11:45am-1:30pm: Outing to the Downtown Lunchtime Recital Series at First Reformed Church New Brunswick.Soprano Heather Gardner and pianist Lee Hagon-Kerr will present songs for voice from around the world by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, American composer Zachary Wadsworth, Czech composer Vítězslava Kaprálová, Johannes Brahms as well as Anne Trulove’s Aria and Cabaletta from Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress. This event is free, and a delicious lunch is provided as well after the concert. RSVP required to reserve transportation one week in advance to concert by emailing

October 24 11:45am-1:30pm: Outing to the Downtown Lunchtime Recital Series at First Reformed Church New Brunswick.Collegium Musicum of Central Jersey will perform Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1 in D major. Featuring the famous Andante Cantabile, the composition was one of only three quartets published during the composer’s lifetime. This event is free, and a delicious lunch is provided as well after the concert. RSVP required to reserve transportation one week in advance to concert by emailing

October 15: Save the date, meeting topic to be decided.

October 10, 11:45am-1:30pm: Outing to the Downtown Lunchtime Recital Series at First Reformed Church New Brunswick. World renowned marimba artist Greg Giannascoli will perform a program of works by George Gershwin with pianist James Navan. Greg and James will perform their arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue as well as Jascha Heifetz’ arrangement of American in Paris and Peter Nero’s arrangement of I Got Rhythm. This event is free, and a delicious lunch is provided as well after the concert. RSVP required to reserve transportation one week in advance to concert by emailing

September 26, 11:45am-1:30pm: Outing to the Downtown Lunchtime Recital Series at First Reformed Church New Brunswick. This month’s concert features Lewis Baratz & Kevin Devine on recorder, harpsichord, and hurdy-gurdy. The duo performs an unusual program sampling music of the French Baroque, with traditional tunes from the English and Irish countryside. This event is free, and a delicious lunch is provided as well after the concert. RSVP required to reserve transportation one week in advance to concert by emailing

September 17: The topic for the evening is “Enhancing Your Environmental IQ” and will be lead by Esther Barcum and Fran Mittleman. We will have a conversation about our personal relationship with the environment, our awareness of the environmental crisis, and what we can each do about it. We also welcome Meredith Carman for the evening who will speak about the Terracycle program through Who Is My Neighbor.

June 18: It will be an appreciation dinner in honor of Rita Finstein and her work over the past few years with the Senior Social Network. Food and drink will be provided, so no need to bring anything except yourselves. Dinner will be ordered from Highland Park restaurant Jerusalem Pizza and will include a variety of fresh salads, hummus, and falafel.

April 16: Our speaker will be Tammy Russ Fishbane. She is a clinical social worker in private practice in Highland Park. She graduated with her MSW from Hunter College in 2002 and has since worked in the fields of health care, aging, and end of life. Tammy has extensive experience working with people as they navigate the complexities of aging, bear the burden of illness while navigating our complex medical system, and care for loved ones with chronic illnesses including dementia. In her current practice, Tammy offers both psychotherapy and consulting services to help clients think through strategies, services, and to help through strategies, services, and relationships as they care for aging loved ones or prepare for their own futures. The topic of Tammy’s presentation “Living Our Last Years Fully” will focus on our last years of life, when loss of function and abilities keep us from living independently as we do now. The key to living this part of our lives according to the values that are important to us is planning ahead, preparing for the future and communicating our values to our loved ones, We will discuss what is most important in planning for getting older both on a practical level and on an emotional level. We will explore how to communicate our values to our family members so they can help care for us when we need them. We will also think about broader issues we confront as an aging population on a practical and policy level as well as on an interpersonal level. Hope you will be able to join us for this important discussion.

March 19: This will be a game night organized by Esther Barcun. We’ll have the usual favorites on hand: scrabble, bananagrams, boggle. Please bring along cards or any other of your favorite games, (Rummy Cube anyone?). Refreshments will be served. Come and bring your friends. It promises to be an enjoyable relaxing evening.

February 19: Dr. Gary Merrill of Rutgers University will discuss “Our Aging Bodies,” a subject familiar to us all. Gary Merrill, Professor of cell biology and neuroscience at Rutgers University and author of the book Our Aging Bodies will give an illustrated presentation giving some basic information on the functions of the body and how these change with age. There will be time during/after the presentation for Q&A and comments. Professor Merrill has been at Rutgers for 42 years and teaches Graduate and Advanced courses that focus on the cardiovascular system.

January 16: Instead of our usual monthly Monday evening meeting, the program for the January meeting of the Highland Park Senior Social Network will be a docent led tour of a special exhibit at the Zimmerli Art Museum, “Commemorating the Russian Revolution, Russian Art & Nonconformist Art.”  The cost is $10 per person and transportation will be provided. After the tour we can purchase lunch in the Museum’s cafe.


December 18: Time to take a break from holiday frenzy. We will enjoy a pot luck supper and social evening. Please bring a grab bag gift (not more than $5.00).

 November 20: Learn more about the impact of plastic bags, “Bag It! Is Your Life Too Plastic?” Come to this screening, Sustainable Highland Park, a borough commission, has been awarded a $10,000 grant to reduce single use plastic bags in our town. Looking forward to seeing you all at this event.

October 18: The third recital in the Downtown Lunchtime Recital Series at the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick will feaure Traditional Irish Folk Music: Performance on Fiddle and Uilleann Pipes.

October 16: Chris Rasmussen, Associate Professor of History at Farleigh Dickinson University will give a talk on “Race Relations in New Brunswick, 1967-1976.” He’ll speak about the 1967 riots and the ensuing struggle between New Brunswick and North Brunswick over school integration vs. segregation and over school consolidation vs. local control. The so-called “Battle of the Brunswicks” was quite a battle. This talk will give us a background to better understand the racial issues raised in John Hulme’s film, “Blood, Sweat & Tears: a Basketball Exorcism,” that we saw at our September meeting.

October 4: Outing to the Downtown Lunchtime Recital Series at the First Reformed Church of New Brunswick featuring Daniel Swenberg on the oboe and Taya Tarasevich-Koenig on the flute.

September 20: Outing to the Downtown Lunchtime Recital Series at the First Reformed Church of New Brunswick featuring The Piano Music of Claude Debussy.

September 18: We are fortunate to be able to show the film, “Blood, Sweat & Tears: A Basketball Exorcism.” Thirty years after Highland Park lost the Central Jersey Basketball Championship to New Brunswick on a last second shot, John Hulme a Highland Park filmmaker returns to confront the issues of race, class and religion that simmered below the surface of the game – and how they still ripple through today.

Summer Outings to the Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts in Richardson Hall on the Princeton University campus. This year the first concert is on Wednesday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. featuring the WINDSYNC (woodwind quintet). The second concert in the Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts series will be on Sunday, July 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm in the Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton campus. This concert will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this concert series and will feature the Brentano String Quartet. The last concert in the Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts series will be on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm in the Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton campus. This concert will feature the Argus Quartet.

June 19:  This will be a social evening with a dinner entree catered by the Global Grace Cafe. The food will be vegetarian and gluten free. Bring a small dessert to share. Beverages will be provided.

May 15: Josh Haimson will be our speaker. Josh is one of the lead organizers of Forward Not Back Central New Jersey. The mission of Forward Not Back is to advance progressive policies by providing reliable information, opportunities to advocate, and connections to like-minded groups. The group was formed in response to the reactionary policies advanced by the Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress on such issues as health care, the environment and climate change, economic justice, immigration, civil liberties, and women’s rights. Josh has worked on various presidential and congressional campaigns. He also was the chair of the Highland Park Education Foundation. His day job is designing and conducting studies of education programs and policies for public agencies, foundations, and non-profits. Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us for this important event.

May 1o: Outing to the Downtown Lunchtime Recital at the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick featuring a performance by harpsichordist and WWFM radio host Lewis R. Baratz consisting of music of 17th century Amsterdam, Vienna, and Paris. The performance will be followed by a free lunch.

May 19: It’s almost time for filling the planters along our streets with beautiful flowers. If you would like to get your hands in the dirt, we’ll meet Meredith Carman at the Doughboy. Bring a spade and Meredith will provide the plants along with instructions on how they should be arranged.

April 19: Outing to the Downtown Lunchtime Recital Series at the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick will feature music of France and the Americas from 1900 to 1925 for horn, trumpet, and piano. A free lunch will follow the recital.

April 17: Sarnya an international student and a trained Indian classical dancer will share with us some of what she learned. She will perform some traditional Indian dance and will teach those of us who wish some classical Indian dance steps. Sarnya is working on her MSW at the Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work and is doing an internship with Who Is My Neighbor. It will be a fun evening, a break from despairing about what is going on around us.

March 20: Seth Kaper-Dale is his name, social justice is his game. Seth along with his wife Stephanie are co-pastors of the Reformed Church of Highland Park. For fifteen years Seth has led the church to deeply engage in issues of community development and political action. They created Who Is My Neighbor that sponsors our group as well as an after school program, a Family Den for infants and their care givers, and an affordable summer camp. Currently he is running for governor of New Jersey on the Green Party ticket. He will be our speaker at this meeting. Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us for what promises to be a lively discussion.

February 20: John Hulme, a Highland Park resident and graduate of Highland Park High School, will show his film “Unknown Soldier: Searching for a Father.” On June 30, 1969, 2nd Lt. Jack Hulme was killed in Vietnam. He never met his newborn son. The film premiered on HBO’s America Undercover on Memorial Day, 2005.

January 19: Since our meeting date falls on Martin Luther King Day, instead of having our regular meeting on that evening, we are booked for a docent tour of a new special exhibit at the Zimmerli Art Museum, “Innovation and Abstraction: Women Artists and Atelier 17” at 11:00 a.m. The exhibit examines the formal innovations and burgeoning feminist consciousness of eight artists who worked at the legendary Atelier 17 printmaking studio. The fee for the tour is $10 payable on the day of the tour. Anyone who wishes may stay for lunch at the cafeteria located in the museum following the tour. Please contact Rita by January 11th if you would like to attend and if you would like to share a ride.


December 19: Holiday Potluck Dinner

November 21: We will have a performance by the Bacoustics , a Rutgers University, Mason Gross Department of Music undergraduate bassoon ensemble conducted by Professor Christopher Wickham. The ensemble is committed to raising “bassoon awareness” within the community and provides educational outreach concerts throughout the state of New Jersey as well as neighboring New York and Pennsylvania. This summer they made their international debut at the Summer Music in Tuscany Music Festival.

October 17: We will have a discussion about the upcoming national election led by Gerald Pomper, Board of Governors Professor of Politic Science (Emeritus) at the Eagleton Institute of Politics of Rutgers University. He is a specialist in American elections and politics and has written several books on this subject. He taught at Rutgers for fifty years and was chairman of the University and Livingston College political science departments. Professor Pomper will focus on “The Astonishing Election of 2016” and he’ll talk about the Electoral College, the influences on the vote, and he’ll make a prediction on the final outcome.

September 19: Three of our members, Mary Dalton, Lois Farrah, and Esther Barcum will continue our Beginning Life Tales and Trails project and Judy Targove will again provide delicious refreshments.

June 23, June 28, July 18, July 27: Princeton University Summer Chamber Music Concerts.

June 20: We will have a pot luck supper and social evening. Please let me know by June 16th if you plan to attend and what type of dish you will be bringing to share (appetizer, salad, entree, dessert).

May 16: Paula Antebi will talk about and share photos from the recent trip that she and her husband David made to Cuba. The second part of the program will be an acupuncture demonstration by Dana Cappa who is a graduate of Rutgers University and has a Master’s degree from the Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York. She has been in practice for seventeen years and her office is currently located at 1001 Route 27 in Highland Park. She will show us how acupuncture is done and answer questions about what it can accomplish.

May 13: Main Street Planting Day in the Veterans Triangle of Highland Park

April 18: Meredith Carman who has a BS in Environmental Science specializing in Landscape Architecture will talk to us about creating our own attractive container gardens and show us slides of the many beautiful public gardens that are not very far away from us. Meredith has been involved in the planting of the containers on Raritan Avenue and is the president of Who Is My Neighbor our sponsoring organization.

March 21: Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale will speak on Refugee Resettlement in Highland Park.

February 22: Our guest speaker will be Jerry Choi, Doctor of Physical Therapy. Dr. Choi graduated from the University of Delaware. In his practice at the Primetime Wellness Center in Highland Park, he primarily deals with musculoskeletal issues along with vertigo and dizziness. His talk will focus on the importance of balance and exercise. He will discuss some causes, conditions, and possible solutions to these problems and will answer questions about keeping fit and active as we age.

January 18: Our guest speaker will be Mea Kaemmerlen, president of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Princeton. The mission of this not-for-profit all volunteer organization is to “promote advance planning for funeral, cremation and memorial arrangements and to educate consumers about their rights and options regarding end-of-life issues.” She will be able to give us up-to-date information about funeral and cremation options and costs, cemetery options and costs, and much more. We will also continue with our Trails and Tales project. Joyce Browning will tell us more about what it was like growing up in New Brunswick.


December 21: We will have a holiday pot luck supper and social evening. Bring a grab bag gift (not more than $5.00).

November 16: Jean Stockdale from the Reformed Church will talk to us about “Labor Trafficking -the story of how some residents of Highland Park, NJ learned about the problem and are assisting the victims.”  We will also continue our Trails and Tales personal stories with Judy Friedman.

October 19: Robyn Shumer, certified yoga teacher, and working mom to two children, will lead us in chair yoga. Robyn teaches yoga at all levels and loves to bring the practice to people of all abilities. The Beginning Life Trails and Tales speaker this month will be Ruth Jansyn.

June 18: Chamber concert at Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University.

June 15: Picnic in the Open Grove of Donaldson Park. This will be our last regular meeting until September 21, 2015. Food and beverages will be provided so just bring yourselves, partners, and friends who might be interested in joining our group. Anyone with musical talent, this will be a good time to share.

May 18: A member of the Borough Council, Gary Potts, will join us to discuss the formation of a Senior Task Force in Highland Park. We will also continue The Beginning Life Trails and Tales Project with presentations by Cathy Korten and Muriel Haber.

April 20: Our speaker will be Kathleen Malkiewicz who is the director of the senior nutrition program for the Union County Division on Aging. Kathleen is passionate about nutrition and health, especially as a means of aging well. She will share information on nutrition as well as answer our questions on the topic as we strive to stay heathy and enjoy our lives. We will also continue our project Beginning, Life Trails and Tales, with Joyce Browning sharing about “Growing up in New Brunswick.”

March 16: Movie Night – “Iron Jawed Angels.” It is the true story of Alice Paul (Hillary Swank) and Lucy Burns (Francis O’Connor) who put their lives at risk to help American women win the right to vote. It also stars Julia Ormond and Angelica Huston.

February 16: We will continue our project, Beginning Life Trails and Tales, with “Four for February.” Four of our members, Josiane Joyce, Francine Kritchek, Mary Dalton, and Rita Finstein, will share stories from the experiences of their lives. We’ll have a birthday cake to celebrate our first anniversary and please bring suggestions for programs you would like us to have in the future.

January 8: We are booked for an overview tour of the Zimmerli Art Museum at 11:00 am. Wendy Jager will be our docent. The fee for the tour is $10 payable on the day of the tour. Anyone who wishes may stay at the museum for lunch in their cafeteria following the tour.

January 19: To celebrate Martin Luther King Day we will be attending the Boro program at 7pm.


July 13: Chamber Music Concert at Richardson Auditorium, Princeton, NJ
July 16: Mason Gross Faculty Jazz Concert, New Brunswick, NJ

September 15: Sergeant R. Walko of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department will speak to us on “The Latest in the Scam Artist Scene.” Sergeant Walko will make us aware of how we particularly as seniors can be taken advantage of in this technological society.

October 1: HP Pedestrian and Bike Survey
October 15: Culinary Arts Luncheon at Middlesex County College
October 20: 7-8pm Professor Rebecca Davis, Director of the Center for International Social Work in the Graduate School of Social Work at Rutgers University will be the speaker. She will discuss the work she does in many countries in Sub Saharan Africa helping those who face the challenge of building a strong child welfare and protection workforce. Professor Davis will provide an overview of what she is doing to help improve the ability of community care workers to cope with high priority problems such as violence against children, child trafficking, and children who are affected by HIV/AIDS. She will provide case examples of her work which she does in partnership with African governments and social workers in Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, and Liberia who face these difficult challenges.
8-9pm Highland Park Mayoral Candidate Meet and Greet

November 17: Our program for the evening will feature a local resident and historical fiction writer Judy Petsonk. She will talk about a little-known historical figure Queen Salome Alexandra. Queen Salome lived between the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament and influenced the culture of the whole Western world. Judy did extensive research on this little known heroine before writing her book, Queen of the Jews. Archeologists have uncovered ruins of her palaces, forts, and ritual baths. The author used her imagination to fill in the historical gaps in order to tell us about this charismatic leader who ruled Judea in the first century BCE.
Terracycling – What is it? How do we find it? Find out from Meredith Carman at November’s meeting.

December 15: At 6:30pm, we will have a pot luck supper followed by the first in the LIFE TRAILS & TALES series. Jill Millerand will share her experiences in France during WWII. “In the spring of 1940 I was fourteen. The Nazis were heading for Paris. Uncle Pierre admonished by mother, ‘Get the girls out’….”