Shana Tovah

from Barbara, Brian, Aviva and Yonah

Family at Pesach, 2015

We wish all of our friends and family a good and sweet new year, a year of peace, health, and blessing. This is (can you believe it), our nineteenth annual web site, letting us share some of our life (and pictures) with our community, both far and near. Looking back on the old web pages (links below) dramatizes the growth and passing of time as we mark the years.

We start by being grateful for all of the blessings in our life. We understand how much privilege we have as a family, in our work, in the excellent health care we receive and our children's education from K through college and grad school (and beyond). As we share our blessings with you, we hope that the coming year gives us all more opportunities to share with others and make our society more equitable and compassionate.

Befroe the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot - Chicago 2014 Barbara's biggest personal achievement this past year was to lose over 40 pounds and to pursue a rigorous exercise routine every day. The Fitbit can be quite an obsession, and Brian has succumbed to the idea of parking farther away, rather than closer. But it's also a terrific tool to remind her to be active throughout the day.

Aviva convinced Barbara & Yonah to join her and Colin in running a 5k Turkey Trot in Chicago on Thanksgiving Day. Barbara completed the 5 k and has now committed never to run more than a few laps at a time. She will stick to the elliptical, weights and Zumba, thank you very much.

Unrelated to her physical transformation, Barbara also received the surprising honor to be named one of the 10 Sexiest Rabbis of 2014. She still has no idea who nominated her, but it's definitely one of the greatest honors of a lifetime. Except perhaps . . .

. . . being invited to give an invocation at the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate when it opened in March. She spoke at the opening dinner, with Senator Ed Markey and the Kennedy family sitting right in front of her, and spent time schmoozing with Senator Elizabeth Warren as well. The next morning, both Brian and Barbara attended the opening of the institute and were a mere 15 rows away from the podium where President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senators John McCain and Trent Lott, and Vicki Kennedy all spoke. The institute is a tribute to the nobility of the Senate-when it's at its best. At the very least, it is a source of hope and inspiration for our political system.
Watch the video here:

Aviva pitchng the BallotReady project

Speaking of politics, the apple has not fallen far from the family tree. Aviva finished her first year of graduate school (and second year of marriage to Colin Gaw) at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. She spent her free time this year walking Dog Gately and keeping Prince Myshkin (the cat) calm, and working on a new award-winning website called BallotReady. The goal is to provide non-partisan information on every race on your local ballot. The proejct won first prize in the Social New Ventures Challenge from the Booth School of Business at the U of C. As a result, the project has received funding from a number of other groups as well.Aviva credited her trips to New Hampshire with her father as her inspiration in this article about BallotReady in the U of C Magazine:

Aviva spent the summer working in Chicago for the consulting firm Deloitte, helping them build an integrated eligibility system for people seeking state benefits.

Yonah is entering his final year at Temple University and we look forward to a May graduation. He has discovered that music is his passion, especially making electronic music (listen here). Having dj'ed for his fraternity since he was a freshman, he's become well-known on campus and hopes to pursue this after graduation. Check out Cruzko (here's an article in the Temple News), the music production company that Yonah is part of, and MTV's strong endorsement. The video of the musical festival "Electric Forest" (watch it here) is worth watching

This fall Yonah will be begin working at the Philly Apple Store - his charm and native smarts got him the job despite barely ever using Apple products before.

Brian kept up his work at Health Care For All, now in his 12th year. Much of his focus has been on a comprehensive delivery reform law being implemented in Massachusetts. The issues are even more complicated than the coverage issues he has worked on for years. For Brian, this means learning lots of new stuff, keeping the job fresh. Brian continued to manage HCFA's blog, writing most of the entries. His occasional tweets are from @rospenz.

He's most excited this year about legislation that would eliminate co-pays for preventive care for people with chronic disease - like asthma inhalers or diabetes drugs. He also continued his teaching of State Health Policy to masters of public policy students at Brandeis.

His other web site, The Homer Calendar (at, is still going strong, now in its 16th year. He also began tweeting the omer and more each day, from @CountTheHomer, and set up a Facebook page for the site. Still each spring he wonders if it's worth doing another year . Then he gets bunches of email messages, from all over, asking if the site will be renewed for another year. So it keeps on going.

In early September, Brian was hospitalized for almost 4 weeks with complications from some kidney issues related to his blood thinners. After coming home in early October, recovering his strength took another few weeks. He returned to work in late October, and keeps getting stronger every day. He appreciates the warm words of concern and friendship from the community.

This has been a joyous year for family events and celebrations. We rejoiced with our niece, Jennifer, at her marriage to John Richardson in Virginia in the fall. We attended a bat mitzvah of the daughter of one of Brian's high school friends, Steve (and Eve) Bressler in Scottsdale in the winter. In June we traveled to another bar mitzvah, the son of Brian's college roommate Vic (and Nancy) Mitnick in the Bay area. Short trips to Maine and Vermont were also nice breaks. In August we joined the entire Penzner clan in Cleveland to welcome Nora Evelyn Goldstein, Barbara's brother's fourth grandchild, into the world.
Barbara's Family in Cleveland, August 2015

Our new address:
10 Maple Terrace
West Roxbury, MA 02132

New home phone:

Email us!

 Here's our email address:

The Internet never forgets!

You can use our Web way-back machine to see us in the the good old days:








2007 (including Yonah's Bar Mitzvah pictures)






2001 (including Aviva's Bat Mitzvah pictures);



1998; and


Brian Rosman and Barbara Penzner
10 Maple Terrace
West Roxbury MA 02132
(617) 553-2258

This page last updated 8/28/13