US Trip – Wednesday, 19 October

Friday, 21 October 2022

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By David Gray

My day started off by travelling by train from Philadelphia to New York which gave me time to think about the previous 3 days in Philadelphia and its environs and about how I would tackle the day ahead in New York.  I arrived at Penn station and walked out into the open air and blue sky to be confronted by the magnificent architecture of the Moynihan train hall and to be surrounded by the steepling sky scrapers of New York city. I then met Rurik Halabi an old scholar of Brummana High School who left in 1958 and is now 82 years old, for lunch in a nearby restaurant.  He lives in New Jersey, but travelled in on a train to meet me; he has already generously supported the school and will do so again and was interested both to meet me and to learn of the situation of Brummana today in the context of a country in a deep crisis.  He also gave me the names of 3 connections, all of which I shall follow up, since he believed that all 3 could be of great help to the school. He said that his 10 years at Brummana as a boarder had had a very considerable influence on his life which had been severely disrupted as a child by conflict in the Middle East following the second world war.

I then travelled by taxi to my hotel the Holiday Inn in Brooklyn before going on in the evening to make a presentation to the Friends of Brooklyn monthly meeting which was well attended, but which was a hybrid event with half the audience on zoom and the other half present in person.  I had to find a way of communicating effectively with both groups and it was a matter of bemusement afterwards in the question and answer session, that I was not quite sure if the questions were coming from someone on the screen or from someone live in the Meeting house next to me.  This was also a successful meeting and many of those present, both in the virtual and live audiences were keen to support the school and took away pledge and donation forms.  Tomorrow I shall spend the morning at Brooklyn Friends school and in the evening in the company of a number of individuals who are keen to meet with me and with whom I shall have dinner.  Then on Friday morning I shall be flying to Cleveland Ohio.