Community Briefs: Obituary, Commemoration, More

Janice L. Booker. Courtesy of the Booker family.

Writer and Broadcaster Janice Booker Dies at 91

Janice Leah Booker, who wrote three books, hosted a radio program for nearly two decades and had a hand in the creation of the iconic “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” line, died Oct. 25 in Malibu, California. She was 91.

Booker, who was formerly of Philadelphia and Wyncote, and her late husband Alvin, started publishing several small regional business magazines from a two-room office. Their company, Secrephone, branched out into transcriptions of medical reports for individual physicians and hospitals.

Years later, the Bookers bought the rights to what became Med-a-Lert, and its first advertisement was videotaped in their home with an actress saying the now-famous line “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.”

Aside from newspaper and magazine articles, Booker wrote “The Jewish American Princess and Other Myths: The Many Faces of Self-Hatred” in 1992, “Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love” and “Across from the Alley Next Door to the Poolroom” in 2011.

In addition, she hosted “The Janice Booker Show,” taught journalism at Temple University and memoir writing and public speaking at the University of Pennsylvania and wrote for The Jewish Writing Project.

She also worked as an interviewer for Steven Spielberg’s USC Shoah Foundation.

When living in Wyncote, Booker was a member of Or Hadash, a Reconstructionist Congregation and its Havurah group.

Booker and her husband moved to California in 2002, becoming active members of Partners in Learning Actively Teaching Ourselves.

Booker is survived by her son Ellis Carl Booker (Erin), daughter Susan Barbara Booker (Jerry Shevick) and seven grandchildren.

Folkshul Memorial Commemorates Kristallnacht, Tulsa Massacre

Jewish Children’s Folkshul held a memorial Nov. 8 at Fort Washington State Park to commemorate both Kristallnacht and the 1921 Black Wall Street Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Participants examined firsthand witness testimonies and combined music, songs and stories, with facilitated dialogue to reflect on those events and consider their relevance today.

In the Black Wall Street Massacre, white residents of Tulsa ransacked their neighbors’ Black-owned businesses and property. The Greenwood District, known as Black Wall Street, was attacked by ordinary citizens, some of whom were deputized and given weapons by local law enforcement. The numbers of deaths is disputed, although the Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics recorded 36 deaths, and as many as 6,000 Black residents were interned, some for several days.

Bat Mitzvah Project Raises Money for Women’s Hygiene Supplies

Bat mitzvah girl Sami Neff’s community project raised enough money to buy more than 29,000 women’s hygiene products that will be distributed by the Jewish Relief Agency.

The Philadelphia girl developed four methods for obtaining donations and supplies, including a donation box at the Baldwin School, where she is a student; links on for supplies to be bought online; use of her mother’s Venmo account for cash donations; and a Facebook fundraising page.

During her bat mitzvah speech, she said she raised $2,872 in cash and collected more than 50 unopened packages of hygiene supplies.

“Sanitary products are as essential as toilet paper or a toothbrush, and need to be discussed as such … [and] long after my bat mitzvah comes and goes, I plan to continue to raise awareness and help break down the taboos surrounding this extremely important topic,” she said.

Sami will visit the JRA warehouse on Nov. 13 to see the products her money bought.


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