This is the Schneider-Farris Family's Blog. Keep up with what we are doing by logging into this site regularly! (The reason this site is called "Tragedy and Triumph" is that when I first founded this site, my husband, Dan, had been in a horrible accident, and he recovered. His recovery was a miracle! Go back to the 2005 archives to read our story.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Memories of Moishe Rosen

Yesterday, I was informed that Moishe Rosen died on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 8:30 PM. He was surrounded by his wife of 60 years, Ceil Rosen, his grandson Asher, and his daughter Ruth.

I knew he had been very ill, so his death was not a surprise.

There is a Moishe Rosen Memory website already set up. I took a look at the memory video that has been put together in his memory. I admit, that I did cry. I always wondered what I'd do when I heard that Moishe Rosen died. Unlike many of the people out there that think of him as an icon or legend, I think of him as a man who did some things that affected the lives of many people. Some people loved him, but others hated him.

There is a place on the memory website to share one's thoughts, but my thoughts are too long to be put there, so I'm going to put them here.

My first introduction to Moishe Rosen came in 1977. I read a book he wrote about JFJ that he wrote in 1974. When I finished the book, I felt I knew the man. His book talked about young and innovative people that seemed to unite under him. I wanted to be a part of what he had started.

I wanted to work for his organization and wrote a letter to his San Francisco office asking for a job. I received a note back from one of his assistants that suggested I first move to San Francisco and then after the group knew me, that perhaps I could apply to work for JFJ.

I decided not to do that, and moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 1978. There, I linked up with the LA Branch of JFJ, but did not meet Moishe Rosen. In fact, I didn't meet Moishe Rosen face to face until 1982 (I think) at a JFJ Ingathering in Santa Barbara.

Dan and I became official JFJ volunteers around that time. I remember only talking to Moishe at Ingatherings during our volunteer years. Once, at one Ingathering, he came up to me, looked me in the eye, and stated how much he appreciated me and Dan. Dan remembered having a short talk with him at one Ingathering.

That was the extent of interactions until early 1988.

You see, in 1988. Dan and I went on JFJ staff. Before going on staff, we flew to San Francisco and met with Moishe. I remember going to a sushi restaurant with him for lunch. I ordered a salad, but Dan was convinced by Moishe to order sushi. I learned later that sushi was Moishe's favorite food!

We spent most of the day with Moishe during that "pre-interview." He asked a lot of personal questions and I remember being very drained after our day there.

A few weeks later we returned to San Francisco for a JFJ Council Meeting and were accepted on staff.

In the afternoon, on that Council Meeting day, after finding out that we were accepted on JFJ staff, Moishe asked me to walk with him to his office from the Hospitality House. (His office was at 60 Haight Street, and the Hospitality House was at 160 Haight.) I went to his office (called Executory), sat down, and began reading Moishe's books. ( I learned later that Moishe didn't like anyone to touch his books, but he didn't seem to mind me touching them that day.) He went into a smaller office inside Executory and took a nap. I waited. When his nap ended, we walked back to the Hospitality House.

That day at the JFJ council meeting was very draining. I remember Moishe telling me that I relied too much on my husband. I would have to change, he stated. He told me, in front of the entire Council that JFJ would help me change. I also remember him asking us if we were going to stay in "The City" that night. I answered that we were going to stay at my friend's house in Mountain View. He responded, "That is not The City." Soon I learned that people that lived in San Francisco called San Francisco "The City.

When we began working on JFJ staff in April of 1988, I had little interaction with Moishe, but Dan saw him every day because Dan worked in Executory serving as Susan Perlman's assistant.

Then, in the summer of 1988, we both went on Campaign in New York City. I'll never forget that Campaign. Moishe was there the entire summer and ran that Campaign. I don't remember or not if he was up as early as the Campaigners, but he was always there when the group ate meals together. He told us not to use our real names out on the street and to take on names from Star Trek and Star Wars. He was "Mr. Spock" I recall. I chose the name "Princess Leah" and throughout that Campaign, in my conversations on the street with strangers, I called myself "Leah," not JO ANN!

Once I remember going out one night on Campaign with his "team." We were told to stay a close as possible to our team leader, so I walked as close behind Moishe as possible. He was walking towards the New York Public Library. Once we arrived, he went up the steps and began reciting a street testimony. It was like something out of a movie about NYC!

That summer he announced that he wanted me to pass out broadsides on my Rollerblades, so someone from San Francisco shipped them out to NYC. I really liked broadsiding on Rollerblades!

1988 passed. I don't know when our schedule changed, but soon I saw Moishe at least once a week in Executory since the San Francisco branch wrote postcards with Moishe every Friday afternoon. (Maybe we also wrote postcards with him on Tuesday, but I'm not sure.)

1989 began. By then, I wasn't sure I liked my job with JFJ. Moishe thought it would be good for me to go with the JFJ women to NYC for a long weekend of fun. I did have a great time. I remember shopping, eating, and just enjoying being in NYC! The attached photo was taken specifically for Moishe during that weekend in New York City.

When the weekend ended, and I saw Moishe at JFJ headquarters, he told me that he knew I would have a good time and was glad he had decided to send me on that weekend. That weekend truly was a gift I'll never forget!

By the Spring of 1989, I really wanted out of my JFJ job. I still wanted to work for the organization, but wanted a part time job. It turned out that I stayed with the job until the end of August. In September, I began a leave of absence.

It was in early September, that Dan and I renewed our wedding vows at a beautiful ceremony at the Hospitality House. Moishe officiated. He told me how pretty and happy I looked.

After my leave of absence, I met with Moishe and was absolutely shocked when he told me I could not work for JFJ. He fired me! It was a very bad experience since he was not nice to me at that meeting. Years later, he told me he thought he was doing a good thing by telling me I could not work for JFJ, but at the time I was so very upset.

A day or so later, Moishe sent me a letter telling me he was thinking about me.

In January of 1990, I decided to get the funds together to go to a Co-Laborer ingathering of sorts that took place in Fort Myers, Florida. Moishe and Ceil came. It was a very precious time for the people who attended since they all got to spend a lot of time with Moishe that week. There was not a great crowd there; it was an intimate group. I remember everyone going to the beach and how happy Moishe and Ceil looked in Florida. On our last day in Florida, we all at a huge brunch together at the Florida hotel. I remember sitting with Ceil and Moishe during that meal. The attached photo shows that group of Co-Laborers together in Florida with Moishe in the center.

Dan and I only stayed in San Francisco about 2 more years. During that time, I began teaching ice skating in San Mateo and I also worked 3 days a week in a medical office. I was very busy, but volunteered a bit with JFJ during that time. Sometimes I would go to "Postcards" in Executory on Tuesdays after I was done teaching skating. I went because I wanted Moishe to see that I was doing well.

During that time, Moishe wife, Ceil, took an interest in skating. Sometimes I would pick her up and take her to the ice rink with me. It was fun to spend that quality time with her as we drove to and from the San Mateo ice rink. She told me once, when I filled up my gas tank at the self-service pump that she had never put gas in her car on her own! She was just so very sweet.

Another time, Dan and I volunteered to help out at a huge meal at Moishe's house. I remember he and Ceil had two kitchens in that house. The bottom floor had a smaller kitchen in the walk-out basement which was used for parties. As I was washing dishes in that smaller kitchen and putting things away, a piece of what I thought was a kitchen drawer, came off completely! . It was not a drawer, but just a cabinet cover. I put the piece back in place, but really was nervous and wondered if I should confess that I may have damaged that cabinet. I never did confess. For years I felt guilty! To this day, I've wondered if that cabinet is still broken! I wonder if Moishe or Ceil ever noticed that the cabinet cover broke and wondered who the culprit was!

We left San Francisco in late 1991 for Colorado Springs. We had a bit of interaction with Moishe as we left. He sent me a nice letter stating that he believed we would be happy in Colorado Springs and once we arrived he sent us a Mezzuzah case to put on our the doorpost of our home in Colorado.

A few years later, we returned to San Francisco around Christmas time and went to Moishe's house for a party on New Year's Eve. That is probably the last time I saw Moishe face to face.

Years passed. In 2002 or so, I began the ex-jfj listserv and website. I wrote a book about my JFJ experience. Then, in 2003, the time came when the whole ex-jfj thing fell apart. It was during that time I had numerous conversations via phone, email, and chat directly with Moishe. He looked at photos of my children and sometimes talked to me about skating or about whatever was going on.

I found that sometimes talking to Moishe did not make me feel so good, so our conversations and interaction faded over time. My anger at JFJ faded as time passed too. Dan's accident in 2005 made all that happened in the past seem trivial.

I've had very little interaction with Moishe in recent years, but he did comment on some of the things I posted on Facebook and seemed a bit interested in what my kids were doing with skating.

Anyway, hearing he died, makes me sad. One article says he was like a Godfather. Yes, in some ways, that does describe him.. I told him once that he was like "The Godfather" and he thought that was very funny! So many people were in awe of him, but they also feared him.

Today, I found out that my name and actions are are included in an article in Christianity Today about the late Moishe Rosen. I feel so honored. Wow..I feel I am now part of a history book...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We Went to the Flying W Ranch to Celebrate My Birthday - May 7, 2010

I wanted to do something special for my birthday, so I made a reservation for our family to go to the Flying W Ranch Winter Steak House. The last time we'd been to the Flying W Ranch was before Rebekah and Annabelle were born and when Joel was just a little guy. I knew we'd all be in for a treat.

The meal was great of course, but what made the evening extra fun was when the cowboys that entertained the audience asked for volunteers to come on stage. Rebekah and Annabelle volunteered themselves and me!

Suddenly we all were on stage and we were told we were going to play a "To Tell The Truth" type game. Rebekah and Annabelle were taken to a "secret room" and I was asked some questions. There were two other families on stage, so I wasn't alone.

The girls came back and we tried to see if their answers matched mine. I don't remember the specific questions, but they asked things like "What is your favorite thing to do with your children?" and "What did your kids give you last year on Mother's Day?" and "Which celebrity would be a perfect match for your daughters?"

None of the questions were answered the same by me or the girls....

Then, they sent me backstage with the two other moms. When I returned, I was asked, "When is your birthday?"

Of course, my answer and the girl's answer matched!

Everyone in the place was asked to since "Happy Birthday" to me! It was really special! Here I was, standing on stage, and not only were "Waiter Cowboys" singing to me, but all the customers in the Steakhouse celebrated with me!

After that, we went back to our table and finished our dinner. It was so good! I had bbq brisket, Annabelle had bbq chicken, Dan had steak, and Rebekah had halibut. Joel enjoyed the chips and popcorn. All three kids had ice cream for dessert. The meal also included a baked potato, baked beans, biscuits, and salad.

When we finished the meal, the Flying W Wranglers entertained us with an incredible live stage show. It was a night and birthday to remember!

Friday, May 07, 2010

My Life Is Connected Through the Friendships I've Made! - Rambling on my birthday May 7

On May 6, the day before my birthday, I noticed I had hit the 900 Facebook Friends mark. I started thinking about my life. Each one of my Facebook friends represents a part of it.

For example, my father, Arthur Schneider, is on Facebook. So are my cousins Cherie Kadison-Jay and Loren Kadison. They've known me since I was a tot. My brother, Billy, does not have a Facebook page, but his wife, Amy Sutherland Schneider does. My sister Lynnellen, is not into using the computer, but her son, Drew Ste. Marie has a Facebook page. My children, Joel Schneider-Farris and Rebekah Schneider-Farris, both have Facebook pages. Annabelle Schneider-Farris and Rebekah and Joel Schneider-Farris have Facebook fan pages too.

Family is family...we are connected forever, but I'm glad we can be connected on Facebook too!

I'm kind of rambling, but, let me tell you how about my life and how all my friends and family and the people I've met have helped to connect it. Also, it is amazing to me that people that have touched me somehow are also connected!

I grew up in southern California:

I was born way back in the 1950s in Los Angeles, California. I'm the oldest of three children. My brother, Billy was born in 1958 and my sister, Lynnellen, was born in 1959. My parents are Arthur Schneider and Edith Kadison Schneider. They met in the late 1940s at UCLA and were married in August of 1950.

Our family lived in various places in California when I was growing up. In 1964, we settled in Bel-Air (next door to Beverly Hills!). All three of the Schneider kids went to Bellagio Road Elementary School which was right in the middle of Bel-Air.

Lenny Shaw, who was in my 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes from Bellagio Road Elemntary School "friended me" just a few days before my birthday. Thanks to Facebook, I found out his birthday falls on May 6, just one day before mine. He is one day older. He told me he remembered when I got a demerit in Miss McCormack's 5th grade class. I was a perfect kid, who did not ever misbehave or get into trouble. He not only remembered me, but remembered that incident! Isn't that amazing!

I was a Camp Fire Girl in elementary school. actually connected me with someone who was close to me in my Camp Fire Girls group named Sara Morgan Wade. Sara went with me for one week to Camp Yallani, a Camp Fire Girl camp in Angeles Oaks, California when I just had completed 4th grade. Thanks to, Sara found me. We wrote many emails to one another about 8 or 9 years ago. We discovered that we had so many things to share about our lives. Sara and her husband, Mark Wade, are now connected to me on Facebook. It amazes me that someone I knew when I was 9 years old can be in touch with me today so easily through the internet, letters, and Facebook!

After I graduated from Bellagio Road School, I went on to Emerson Junior High which was located in Westwood Village. We moved away from Bel-Air when I was 15, so as time passed, I lost touch with any ties I had in Bel-Air, but do wonder what happened to certain people from that time in my life.

Bernadette McEwan Brake
, was my best friend at Emerson Junior High. I've wondered what happened to her since I last saw her in 1971. Thanks to Facebook, I found her just a few weeks ago! She called me and it's like we picked up where we left off.

Ice skating connections from southern California:

Then, there's all the skating people who represent all sorts of eras of my life. Everyone in the "skating world" knows that skaters have a unique connection that seems to never disconnect. Only figure skaters understand this, but it is truly amazing.

I started ice skating in 1964 at an ice rink in southern California's San Fernando Valley called Valley Ice Skating Center. My first skating friend at that rink was Erika Susman Shorr. We reconnected a few years ago at the US Junior National Figure Skating Championships, but via Facebook, we are able to keep in touch. Another skating friend, Marina Drasnin, from my Valley Ice Skating Center days has connected to me through Facebook. It really is quite amazing!

The Burge family also skated there. They are the ones who told us about the "big skating world" got us to leave Valley Ice Skating Center for a higher level figure skating facility. We skated in Culver City and Santa Monica and Burbank. Friends from all those rinks are among my Facbook friends, including Wendy Burge Dickinson, Ken Newfield, Paul Guzman, and Tai Babilonia.

Summers in Squaw Valley:

During the summers, my family ventured to Squaw Valley for skating vacations. I ended up going to Squaw Valley for five different summers. Friends from those years are also among my Facebook friends, including Juli McKinstry Hosking, Lilla Tilghman, Bill Tilghman, and Lisa Illsley Navarro.

I must mention that during those "Squaw Years" I became friends with Marion Ennis Curtis. We've been friends ever since and consider one another "best friends." In fact, we've been best friends for over 40 years! Marion got me to join Facebook just a little over a year ago. Marion and I are connected in many more ways than just skating.

Ice Dancing:

When I was thirteen years old, I began ice dancing. That changed my skating life a bit, because I began to travel and skate at all the rinks in southern California. I had four different ice dance partners during my competitive skating career. Two of them, Corey Isenberg and Gary Forman, are also among my Facebook friends.

One of my ice dance coaches was Darlene Gilbert. Darlene is not on Facebook, but her husband Jerry Gilbert and his daughter Gail Gilbert-Mielke are.

Iceland Paramount:

In high school, my brother, sister, and I trained at Iceland in Paramount. Our coach was Doug Chapman. I saw Doug turn Dianne De Leeuw into a world figure skating champion during those years. Dianne is also connected to me through Facebook and so is her sister Marianne De Leeuw.

I also took singles lessons from Brian Tuck at a rink in West Covina and sometimes in Paramount. He is now connected to me on Facebook!

Hollywood Professional School:

I did not go to a public high school for 10th or 12th grade. Instead, I went to Hollywood Professional School and graduated from there. I'm also connected with several HPS alumni (skaters and non-skaters) on Facebook. One of those friends is Elaine Ballace who knows more about Hollywood Professional School than anyone I know. Other people who I attended HPS who I am now in touch with via Facebook include Mary Jo Shields Lefebvre, Roberta Loughland Snow, Karin Frandsen Blute, and Wendy Halber Olson.

Colorado in the 1970s:

My brother, Billy, went to Colorado to train under Carlo Fassi in the early 1970s. Carlo is no longer with us, but Carlo's wife, Christa Fassi, is one of my Facebook friends. Donna Arquilla Link trained under Carlo then and she too, is connected to me on Facebook. Canadian skating champions Lynn Nightingale and also Ron Shaver trained at "CIA" (Colorado Ice Arena) with Billy then, and both of them are connected to me on Facebook.

I ended up going to Colorado shortly after that to train at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. I have many facebook friends from those Colorado years, which include Debbie Might, Patrisha Cass, Nigel Cass, Michael Howard, Anne Marie (Baldy) Murphy, and Phil Tatton.

I went to Colorado College then. Many friends from "CC" are also among my Facebook friends, including Frank Langben, Helen Johnson, and Yvonne Krul. Yvonne lives in the Netherlands, but has made the effort to stay connected with me through holiday cards. Facebook now makes connecting easier.

Long Beach:

After I left competitive figure skating and graduated from Colorado College, I went back to southern California. My parents moved to Chicago while I was in Colorado, so I couldn't go back to a home in southern California, so I moved in with my grandmother in Long Beach. I met my husband Dan Farris only a few months after I moved to Long Beach. We met at Calvary Chapel of Long Beach. Even friends from that time are now reuniting on Facebook! Dan and I shared a house during that time that was nicknamed The Atherton House. Friends from our Atherton House days are also connected to me on Facebook.

I have a real live penpal!

When I lived at the Atherton House (way back in 1979 or 1980 or so!), I began a unique friendship with someone named Debbie Knauss Hackman. She was in college at the time. She wrote me a letter after I posted an advertisement in SKATING Magazine thinking I was someone else. I wrote her back and explained I was not the person she thought, but I asked if we'd like to become pen-pals. She and I have stayed connected through letters all these years. Now, we are connected on Facebook, but have yet met face to face!

Coaching Skating:

In 1983, I began coaching skating. I first taught for Ice Capades Chalets and then I taught at Iceland in Paramount. When Dan and I moved to San Francisco, I taught skating in San Mateo. I am connected on Facebook to many of the people I taught with at those rinks and with some of my students! Some of those people include Dorian Shields Valles, Debbie Takeuchi Latham, Stefano Stefan, Melissa Parker, Dave Parker, Mary Becktell, BJ (Passerella) Lilly, Scootie Paulsen, Laurie Brandell Stern, Jennie Walsh, Jacqui Palmore, and Shirley DaMotta.

San Francisco:

Dan and I left southern California in April of 1988, and moved to San Francisco. Many of the people we worked with from the organization we worked for in San Francisco are connected to me and Dan on Facebook. Some still work for that organization and others are just connected in some way. Some of those friends include Lisa Opton-Cohen, Elazar Brandt, Gordon Kushner, Lori Baron, Dyane Hendricks, and Susan Rothbard-Smadja.

Colorado Springs 1991 and beyond:

In late 1991, Dan and I settled in Colorado Springs and we've lived there ever since. I'm connected to many of the people we've connected with during our years here, especially ice and roller skaters and homeschooling families. I have so many Facebook friends who are connected to me through Colorado!

I can't mention everyone, but I am very close to Larisa Gendernalik and Hellene Anderson. Facebook also now has me connected regularly with Lisa Valentine Krenz who is the person I have to thank for getting me started with teaching skating in the Springs. Lisa moved to Michigan years ago, and is no longer involved in skating, but we are still connected.

Homeschooling families are also closely connected to me and my kids. One person who is always "there" for me when I need her is Susie Essing, a homeschool mom of 5 who also teaches my kids piano.

DeeDee Couch, is someone who had a great impact on my kids when they were little. She sees me at the rink all the time, but also is so supportive of all our family is doing!

I especially also want to mention Haley Gans and Patricia Gans. They are two wonderful people who we met at the Colorado Springs World Arena. Haley died tragically in a skiing accident in November of 2009. Haley touched many people during her short 14 year life. Haley's mom, Pat, became integrated in my life and the life of many others. I am glad to be connected to Pat Gans on Facebook.

There's no way I can mention everyone who has touched my life and been there for me and my family during our years in Colorado Springs, but I want you to know how much I do appreciate you all and how you have touched my life. Many of you went over and above for me, Dan, and the kids when Dan was injured in September of 2005. Thank you!

Internet Connections and Friends:

The world is shrinking. Many of the people I am connected with on Facebook are also people I've met through my job as's Guide to Figure Skating. The World Wide Web has connected me with so many people that love the sport. Facebook makes talking about what I love with hundreds of people! Anyone who has anything to do with skating seems to be instantly connected to me!

I especially want to mention my friendship with Kathie Fry, who introduced me to We've only met face to face once, but feel so very connected. Another person is Mary Lu Wehmeier, who like me, seems to know everyone and everything about skating (but her world extends way into the roller skating world).

Thanks for being my friend!:

I realize as I look back at my life, that friends and family have helped me be who I am today. I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has touched my life for being a part of it!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Another Year -- Another Piano Recital 5-1-10

The girls have taken piano lessons consistently with Susie Essing for over two and a half years now. Today, they played in another piano recital. They've made steady progress with their music. We are so proud of them!

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About Me

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Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author.