I am

Eight days later Jesus’ parents did for him what the Law of Moses commands.

Today we listen to the shortest Gospel reading of the year; one sentence in length. Yet this reading contains so much of what Jesus is all about.

After eight days every male child who was descended from Abraham was to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant with God and in order to be full participants in God’s community.

The milah – circumcision – was performed anytime between sunrise and sunset on the eighth day from when the child was born. Mary brought her Son to the place where the circumcision was to be performed and Joseph likely performed the ceremony. Circumcision in Jesus’ time was much the same as it had been in Abraham’s day. It was ritualistic and less formal than it is today.

Now Jesus, being God, did not need circumcision, yet He went through it. We can say that His circumcision is more than something He accepted, it is something He resolved to do. It was His purpose, God’s resolution, that the requirements the old law be observed so that the new law, the new covenant would be ushered in.

For practical purposes alone Jesus had to be circumcised. Otherwise, the community of Israel would have excluded Him from the Synagogue and Temple. He would not have been able to bring God’s new covenant to God’s chosen people if He was seen as against the Law.

Beyond the practical, Jesus took up in this act the fullness of humanity. God came, born of a woman and took up all of what we are. God would live and experience the fullness of human loss, sufferings, pain, and temptation. He would also enjoy the fullness of human joy. He, like us, would not live immune or somehow above the reality of human nature. He came to show us what we can be, what our opportunities and possibilities are.

We stand at the beginning of a new year. It is that moment when we take up opportunities and possibilities. They may be practical – lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more. They should be something more.

In reflecting on the opportunities and possibilities of the New Year let us unite ourselves with the Lord. Let us recognize the important lesson He taught – the fullness of our humanity has every chance at perfection because of Jesus and only in Jesus. Like Jesus we will spend time in joyful celebration and happiness in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Like Him we will be challenged by human loss, sufferings, pain, and temptation. God resolved to save us. Let us be resolved to do the Father’s will, and become more and more like His Son. He has freed us in the new covenant to do exactly that.


The New York State Summer Young Writers Institute, June 29- July 11, 2015 at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.

The New York State Summer Young Writers Institute is a thirteen-day in-residence writing workshop for high school students. Held during the months of June and July the workshop offers young writers artistic development, recognition and respect, and peer support. Students work closely with professional writers, immersing themselves in poetry, prose, creative nonfiction, and the critical evaluation of each other’s work. Admission is limited and participation is determined by the evaluation of creative writing samples submitted as part of the application process. The SYWI is open to any high school student entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in the fall of 2015.

Workshop participants attend three instructional sessions per day — a ninety-minute workshop in the morning, and two hour-long workshops each afternoon. In addition, the young writers attend readings and presentations by the nationally-known writers who are part of the New York State Summer Writers Institute, which is held at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Work produced by each student during the Summer Young Writers Institute is published in an anthology.

Full and partial financial assistance based upon individual need is available to help offset the cost of tuition and room and board. The application deadline is April 1st.

For more information visit the 17th Annual Creative Writing Workshop website or contact the Skidmore Office of the Dean of Special Programs at 518-580-5593.

Casting Auditions in Schenectady for We The Animals

Producer – Jeremy Yaches and Director – Jeremiah Zagar, co-founders of Public Record (a production company that specializes in film, TV, branded content, and commercials) are looking to cast Latino or multi-racial boys ages 7-13 for their new Sundance supported film “We the Animals.” The film, based on a New York Times best-selling novel by Justin Torres, is a coming-of-age story about three young boys growing up in upstate NY in the care of two young parents.

Auditions will be held Saturday, January 31st and Sunday, February 1st from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady, 400 Craig Street, Schenectady, NY 12307



Fellowship and Internship Opportunities

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Arthur V. Savage 2014-2015 Internship Program

Arthur V. Savage (1926-2012) was a distinguished lawyer-conservationist, with a particular devotion to the preservation of open spaces and public parks in New York State. During the last half of the 20th century, Art co- founded or led a large number of nonprofit organizations that shape environmental laws, protect natural resources, and educate the public about conservation values. A 20-year member of the Parks & Trails New York Board of Directors, Arthur received our George W. Perkins Award in 2003 for his outstanding parks and conservation leadership. To honor the life and legacy of one of New York State’s most influential environmentalists, Parks & Trails New York is proud to offer the Arthur V. Savage Internship Program.

The Arthur V. Savage Internship Program offers an opportunity for undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates to work in Albany with the Parks & Trails New York staff to shape environmentally intelligent policies, organize grassroots constituents and provide stewardship for parks, trails, and other outdoor recreational facilities. The program provides interns with valuable insight and first-hand experience in the environmental field.
Specific Responsibilities: Assist with a variety of program, communications, and outreach tasks related to protecting, promoting and enhancing New York’s parks and trails. Projects include: Events – assist in organizing and promoting the statewide I Love My Park Day, Canal Clean Sweep, and Park and Trail Advocacy Days; Communications – assist with print and e-publications, website content and production, and other outreach; Advocacy – assist with PTNY’s advocacy efforts for state parks funding, funding for bike and pedestrian projects, and other park- and trail-related issues.

Skills: Well organized, excellent oral and written communications skills, multi-tasker, strategic thinker, experience with Microsoft Office and web-based tools

Hours: Part-time, 15-20 hours/week. Hours are flexible in terms of days and times. Position starts in September and runs ideally through May, but requires at least a 15-week commitment.

Work Environment: Friendly and hard-working staff. Casual atmosphere. Compensation: $10 – $12 per hour. May be used for college internship requirements.

To Apply: Please send a cover letter, resume, and references (including a former employer or supervisor of volunteer work) by August 31, 2014 by E-mail with the subject line “ASI Internship.”

PTNY is the leading statewide organization working to promote, enhance and protect a network of parks, trails and greenways across the state. We work with lawmakers to advance policy issues, assist local communities realize their visions for trails, lead bike tours along the Erie Canalway Trail and through the Hudson Valley, and work with grassroots groups to build their capacity to steward parks and trails.

Fellowship On Women & Public Policy

The Women”S Leadership Academy At The Center For Women In Government & Civil Society

Are you a graduate student or a mid-level professional seeking to strengthen your leadership skills and broaden your public policy knowledge?

Are you committed to positive social change and to furthering the well-being of women and their families?

The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society invites you to apply for its 2015 Fellowship on Women & Public Policy. The Fellowship on Women & Public Policy is a unique opportunity at the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society, Rockefeller Collegef Public Affairs & Policy, University at Albany.

Since 1983, the program has prepared public policy leaders by instilling the knowledge and cultivating the skills needed to become effective advocates and public policy leaders.

Through a balanced and comprehensive approach that combines academic instruction, field placement in a New York State-based public policy position, and personal and professional development activities, the program supports fellows to: Understand the public policy world with both theoretical and practical instruction from leaders in the policy arena; Research, analyze, and advocate for issues of concern to women, children, families and communities in New York State; Strengthen skills in writing, public policy analysis and creative and critical thinking, and sharpen interpersonal and critical skills needed to become effective leaders; Explore ways to overcome personal and professional barriers to leadership, and Develop a professional network of mentors and become part of an expanding community of alumna Fellows.

Based in Albany, New York, this six month program runs from the beginning of January through the end of June each year. Fellows are full-time graduate students in the Spring semester, and work thirty hours a week in their placement offices. A $10,000 stipend plus tuition assistance is available to Fellows.

The Fellowship invites qualified graduate students and professionals who have completed at least 12 credits of graduate coursework and possess a minimum of three years of internship/work experience to apply. The Fellowship is an interdisciplinary program that invites applications from all fields of study. Fellows are selected on a competitive basis, and must be in good academic standing at their college or university. The Fellowship is primarily for graduate students, but we also consider mid-level professionals who demonstrate commitment to the vision of the Fellowship.

Deadline for Submitting Applications for the second round is Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Applications can be found at the Center’s website. For further information about the Fellowship on Women & Public Policy, please contact Bilge Avci by E-mail, and 518. 591-8762, or Dina Refki by E-mail, and 518.442.5127.

The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society advances excellence in public service by facilitating balanced leadership; and promotes gender-responsive public policy that is shaped by women’s perspectives. The Center utilizes research, teaching, training and public education to accomplish its mission.

Soros Justice Fellowships

The Soros Justice Fellowship Program, an initiative of the Criminal Justice Fund of the Open Society Foundations, supports individuals who will further its mission of reducing the nation’s over-reliance on policies of punishment and incarceration, and restoring discretion and fairness to the U.S. criminal justice system.

All projects must, at a minimum, relate to one or more of the Justice Fund’s broad U.S. criminal justice reform goals: reducing mass incarceration, challenging extreme punishment, and promoting justice system accountability.

The Fellowships fund outstanding individuals, including lawyers, advocates, grassroots organizers, activist academics, journalists, and filmmakers, to implement innovative projects that address the Criminal Justice Fund priorities.

The Soros Justice Fellowships support individuals through two programs:

Advocacy Fellowships

These fellowships seek to identify and nurture emerging and seasoned leaders at either the local, state, or national level. Projects may range from litigation to public education to coalition-building to grassroots mobilization to action research, and must identify a clear policy goal. Advocacy Fellowships, which have two tracks, may be implemented in conjunction with nonprofit organizations. Track I supports new and emerging advocates with at least two years of advocacy experience. Track II supports individuals with a demonstrated record of achievement and expertise in their fields, including a minimum of ten years of relevant experience in their fields.

Media Fellowships

These fellowships support writers, print and broadcast journalists, filmmakers, bloggers, and other individuals with distinctive voices proposing to complete media projects that engage and inform, spur debate and conversation, and catalyze change on important U.S. criminal justice issues. The program intends to mitigate the time, space, and market constraints that often discourage individuals from pursuing important but marginalized, controversial, or unpopular issues in a comprehensive manner.

Special considerations is given to projects that demonstrate a clear understanding of the intersection of criminal justice issues with the particular needs of low-income communities, communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and children, and those otherwise disproportionately affected by harsh criminal justice policies; as well as applications for projects that cut across various criminal justice fields and related sectors, such as education, health and mental health, housing, and employment.

Applications are welcome from individuals directly affected by, or with significant direct personal experience with, the policies, practices, and systems their projects seek to address (e.g. applicants who have themselves been incarcerated, applicants who have a family member or loved one who has been incarcerated and whose fellowship project emerges from that experience).

Application Procedures:

Fellowship application materials must be submitted online through the Open Society Foundation’s website.

Grant Details: Stipends ranging from $58,700 to $110,250 are provided.

Eligibility Requirements: Individuals

Application Deadlines: October 22, 2014.