Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for Jan. 9

January 9, 2014 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Brooklyn Israel Film Festival, Marking Tenth Year, Presents The Best of Israeli Cinema

The Brooklyn Israel Film Festival at Kane Street Synagogue marks its 10th anniversary, presenting some of the most exciting new films coming out of Israel. The 2014 festival features three nights of award-winning, thought-provoking films, discussions with film experts, plus a

10th anniversary opening night reception. The festival starts on Thursday, Jan. 23, and continues Saturday night, Jan. 25 and Sunday, Jan. 26. No films are shown on Friday night for Shabbat.

Relationships are the core theme of the 2014 films. There’s a grandson and his 96-year-old grandmother, a closeted Palestinian student and his openly gay Israeli lover and a young ultra-Orthodox woman and her widowed brother-in-law.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The 2014 festival kicks off on Thursday, Jan.  23 at 8 p.m. with Life In Stills, a funny and touching documentary about the bonding of Miriam Weissenstein (age 96) and her grandson Ben as they join forces under the cloud of a family tragedy to save the legendary Photo House studio and its nearly one million negatives documenting Israel’s defining moments. This film won the 2012 Israeli Oscar (Ophir) for Best Documentary. An opening night reception at 7:15 precedes the film. After the showing, a Skype interview and Q&A session with director Tamar Tal will be offered.

The festival continues on Saturday, Jan.  25 at 8 p.m., with Out in the Dark, a riveting thriller about Roy, a well-connected Israeli lawyer who falls in love with Nimer, an ambitious Palestinian student whose life depends on hiding his sexual identity from his family and community. When their love is tested by socio-political forces beyond their control, their lives are altered in ways they never imagined. This film, suited for mature audiences, won Best Film category at the Haifa International Film Festival, 2012. Producer Lihu Roter will take part in a post-film Q&A.

The Brooklyn Israel Film Festival concludes on Sunday, Jan.  26 at 7 p.m. with Fill the Void, an emotional drama offering an intimate glimpse into the cloistered world of an ultra-Orthodox family. Eighteen-year-old Shira Mendelman is looking forward to an arranged marriage with a man her own age, but when her sister dies in childbirth, she is pressured to marry her widowed brother-in-law. Fill the Void is the winner of seven 2012 Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Tickets are $12 per film or $30 for the entire series of three films, and can be purchasedm at at the door. For more information about the festival, go to or

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Plymouth Church Concert, Series Aim to Educate, Fight Against Slavery

Plymouth Church, whose mission to fight slavery dates back to its 19th century, Civil War-era founding, presents “Let Freedom Ring!,” a concert to combat modern-day forms of this same evil.

“Let Freedom Ring!” takes place on Jan.  11, which is observed as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The concert’s goal is to inspire people to learn about the scope and devastation of modern-day slavery, and consider ways to raise awareness in the community and

find ways to take action.

“Let Freedom Ring!” is part of a wider educational program that Plymouth Church offers on fighting all forms of captivity and enslavement.

The evening before this concert, on Friday, Jan.  10, Plymouth co-sponsors a panel discussion on “Fighting Modern-Day Slavery.” Beginning at 7 p.m. at the Brooklyn Historical Society (128 Pierrepont St.), the program features experts Maurice I. Middleberg, executive director of

the organization Free the Slaves, and Terry Patrick McCarthy, director of Harvard’s Human Rights and Social Movements Program. Read more and reserve free tickets at The exhibit “Brooklyn Abolitionists: In Pursuit of Freedom” also opens this month at the Brooklyn Historical Society, according to the BHS website.

Moreover, Plymouth’s Christian Spiritual Development ministry launches its study of human justice as part of the Winter ‘14 “Wednesday Nights at Plymouth” program. For five evenings beginning Jan. 15, Plymouth’s “Roots of Justice” class will meet to consider the challenge of cultivating and sustaining a passion for tackling the enormity of modern-day slavery and other forms of violent oppression. “Roots of Justice” is a Bible study series prepared by the human rights organization International Justice Mission, incorporating video instruction, scripture readings and prayer. The series convenes on Jan. 15, 22 and 29 and Feb. 5 and 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Plymouth Church – “the Grand Central Depot” on the Underground Railroad – makes for an incredible setting for “Let Freedom Ring!” A Concert To Benefit Free the Slaves on Jan. 11 featuring the Impressions, Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens, and members of The Dap-Kings. In February 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached a sermon on “The American Dream,” echoed just months later in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.

From the earliest days of its founding in 1847 by active anti-slavery Congregationalists, with Henry Ward Beecher as its first called minister, Plymouth served as a center of abolitionist activist and the most prominent ministry in the second half of 19th century America. Beecher was a master at creating public events to strengthen the fight against slavery. Beecher understood the connection between music, faith, and Civil Rights – a connection that continues with Let Freedom Ring! With his brother, Charles Beecher, and Plymouth’s organist, John Zundel, he compiled The Plymouth Collection Of Hymns And Tunes For The Use Of Christian Congregations, the world’s first modern hymnal in which words and music were printed on the same page.
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Popular ‘City of Churches’ Series Returns to NET, with Brooklyn Host

New Evangelization Television (NET-TV)’s Emmy-Award winning series “City of Churches” resumes next week. Its new host is Brooklyn born-and-raised Anthony Mangano. NET is a branch of DeSales Media Group, the communications arm of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

“City of Churches” focuses on parishes in and around the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and celebrates their place in local history. It’s a unique type of documentary program that explores the variety of church architecture in our city from a historic context. The church building is really the star of each episode. The significance of how these churches originated, why they were built, their artistic treasures and relics, plus the vital relationship with their surrounding communities sheds light on the legacy of Brooklyn’s Catholic people.

Host Anthony Mangano is authentically Brooklyn born and raised. Many will recognize Mangano from his roles on mainstream TV and in feature films. He portrayed Detective Mike Grey on “Bluebloods,” Officer Ed Laughlin on “NYPD Blue” and Anthony currently plays Detective Kane on the hit series “Person of Interest,” starring Jim Caviezel.

His motion picture credits include “Inside Man,” “The Dictator,” “Point Break,” “Raising Helen” and “The Family,” a comedy by Robert DeNiro. Mangano was bitten by the show-business bug at an early age because his father was the popular romantic singer Tony Mann. While Anthony enjoys acting, he also loves to sing and paid tribute to his dad when he portrayed him in “Heart and Soul,” a short film about Tony Mann’s nightclub career. The film was well received, winning several media awards and much well-deserved praise.

However, it is his Catholic foundation that gives Mangano joy. Raised in Park Slope, he attended St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish and school, where he served as an altar boy.

“The most memorable moments of my life are growing up in Brooklyn, being an altar boy and going to Catholic school,” says Mangano. “My new role as host of City of Churches is especially close to my heart because we’re sharing the beauty and joy of God’s presence in Brooklyn.”

In the first 2014 City of Churches episode, which airs Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. Anthony takes viewers to his historic neighborhood and childhood parish. TimeWarner Channel 97 and Cablevision Channel 30 carry NET-TV. City of Churches is also broadcast nationally on Verizon FiOS On Demand, which includes the Top 10 markets of Baltimore, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. To watch on Verizon FiOS, select the “Religion” folder, then “NET Catholic.”

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Dr. Karen Smith Daughtry Invested As Pastor of House of the Lord Church

Dr. Karen Smith Daughtry, overcome with joy and the power of the Holy Spirit at her Jan. 4 installation service, receives a plumb line from City Councilmembers Inez Barron and Stephen Levin, as one of the many tokens of her new ministry.

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Dr. Karen Smith Daughtry greets her congregation from the pulpit of House of the Lord Church. She succeeds her husband, who will be assuming a new role expanding the church’s multi-state ministry. A full story will follow in next week’s edition.

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In Memoriam

Bronson Binger, 83, Was Key Leader In Grace Church Renovation Project

Bronson Binger, who was an early leader of Grace Church’s current renovation and restoration project, died peacefully in Massachusetts on Dec. 23. He was 83.

Binger was “a devoted member of Grace Church, former Vestry member, past chair of the building and grounds committee, and most recently, a visionary leader of the restoration and renovation committee. An accomplished architect, Bronson loved our historic Richard Upjohn church building but, even more, he loved the people of Grace Church. His faithful presence, infectious smile, exemplary generosity, and loving presence were a gift to this parish,” wrote the Rev. Stephen D. Muncie, rector of Grace Church, in his announcement to the parish.

Binger’s work at Grace Church gave him much joy.

“Bronson knew every inch and spot of Grace Church,” said Tom Chittenden, the parish’s senior warden. Before Binger’s illness set in, “he would walk here in the snow and ice and make sure everything is okay.”

Likewise, Muncie told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday, “Bronson was enormously generous. Money was not an issue if something had to be done. He was a man of vision and generosity. He was a prophetic and committed advocate of good stewardship.”

The New York Times, in its Jan. 7 obituary of Binger, while not mentioning his Grace Church connections, pointed out that architect and preservationist who helped wrest Union Square Park in Manhattan from drug dealers. He is also credited with turning the city around in the aftermath of its 1977 financial crisis. Within a year of joining the parks department, Binger was overseeing $250 million worth of work, he told The Times in a 2008 interview. Much of that work involved restoration.

The talent ran in the family. Binger’s father, His father, Walter Binger, had been a civil engineer who had been the commissioner of borough works in Manhattan in the 1930s, and fought Robert Moses’ plan to demolish Castle Clinton in Battery Park.

Born in Manhattan on Oct. 17, 1930, Bronson Binger was graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1948 and Harvard College in 1952. After serving in the Army, he received a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1958 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). He eventually became a longtime Brooklyn resident.

He is survived by his longtime companion, Ann Walker Gaffney; his daughters Lucie Spieler and Sarah B. James, both from his first marriage, to Susan Storck; a son, Walter, from his second marriage, to Julie C. Wang; two stepchildren, Timothy and Katharine Wang; a sister, Frances B. Mitchell, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

His funeral will take place in the Guild Hall at Grace Church, Saturday, Jan. 11, at 11 a.m. The church is at 254 Hicks St. in Brooklyn Heights.


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