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This article was prepared for the

April 25, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

From a Peruvian Prison

This is an understated story of stunning heroism,"

writes former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark in his afterword

to Rhoda Berenson’s book "Lori: My Daughter, Wrongfully Imprisoned

in Peru" (Context Books, 2000). "This is the story of two

heroic women, a mother and her daughter. It is a story of the struggle

for truth over power, innocence against false witness, of a Good


traveling by choice and unafraid in a very violent, repressive


Rhoda Berenson visits Barnes & Noble in MarketFair to sign and talk

about her book and her daughter’s continuing imprisonment on Tuesday,

May 1, at 7 p.m.

Berenson’s book opens on the Friday evening in December, 1995, when

she returned home after teaching her physics class at Nassau Community

College and received a phone call from the U.S. Embassy in Peru. She

was told that President Fujimori had appeared on television

brandishing her 26-year-old daughter’s passport and that her daughter

had been arrested and charged with treason against that country. On

that evening the life of Rhoda Berenson, and that of her husband and

Lori’s father Mark Berenson, who taught statistics at Baruch College

in New York, became transformed.

Raised in New York City and educated at public schools, Lori Berenson

attended M.I.T. where she studied science and anthropology, and sung

in the chamber chorus. In her freshman year, 1988, she made her first

visit to El Salvador with a Quaker group. The following year, on a

subsequent trip there with her M.I.T. faculty mentor, Martin Diskin,

Lori experienced first-hand the kidnapping and brutal murder of her

host. This experience, writes her mother, more than any other, changed

Lori. She took an extended leave from M.I.T. and returned to Central

America in 1990.

"She had decided to devote her life to issue of peace and

justice," writes her mother. "Lori was deeply affected by

conditions of poverty and hunger, and refused to remain silent when

she saw abuse or the denial of basic human rights. She had recently

obtained press credentials in Peru in order to write articles about

poverty and women’s issues for two small American magazines, and she

was conducting interviews with members of the Peruvian government and

other Peruvians."

Lori Berenson was accused and convicted of assisting the rebel group,

Movimiento Revolutionario Tupac Amaru. Despite the full-scale effort

of her parents, who recruited Ramsey Clark to travel to Peru to help

negotiate this U.S. citizen’s release, Lori Berenson was convicted

by a hooded, anonymous military judge and sentenced to life in prison

with no possibility of parole. Although President Alberto Fujimori

has since fled Peru and a new trial for Berenson is in progress, she

remains imprisoned in Peru. And day by day, advocate by advocate,

her family works tirelessly for her release.

Rhoda Berenson, Barnes & Noble, MarketFair,


Author and mother signs and talk about her book, "Lori: My


Wrongfully Imprisoned in Peru." Free. Tuesday, May 1, 7 p.m.


Pennington Players has auditions for their summer


of "Brigadoon." Children, ages 6 to 13, audition on Saturday,

May 5; principal dancers audition on Sunday, May 6. Auditions are

by appointment at Kelsey Theater, Mercer Community College. Call


Peddie Community Players has auditions for their summer

production of "Six Degrees of Separation" on Sunday and


May 6 and 7, at the William Mount-Burke Theater, Peddie School,


Call for appointment, 609-490-7550.

Puttin’ on the Ritz has auditions for "The Best Little

Whorehouse in Texas" on Sunday, May 6, at the Ritz Theater, 915

White Horse Pike, Oaklyn. To schedule, call 856-858-5230.

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Call for Entries

Abington Theater Company seeks submissions for the


Brian Wolk Playwriting Award in memory of the actor Christopher Wolk,

who died last summer. The winning author of a new American play


$1,000. Deadline is Friday, June 1. Call 212-736-6604.

Top Of Page

Breast Cancer Resource Center seeks breast cancer


to share experiences in a study taking one hour. If you have completed

treatment, were diagnosed less than five years ago, read and write

English, and have a high school education or GED, please contact A.T.

Farren at 718-982-3816 or E-mail:

Top Of Page
University Without Walls

DOROT has set up a telephone conference program for


seniors to learn, share memories, and meet new friends in classes

on the arts, books, contemporary issues, history, investments, music,

Judaica studies, and health care. Course facilitators are from the

American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim, the Museum of

Modern Art, New York University Hospitals Center, and Columbia


Medical Center. Call toll-free at 877-819-9147 or online at

Top Of Page

Delaware River Basin Commission will hold its annual trip,

"The Delaware River Sojourn," on Friday, June 15, through

Saturday, June 23. "2001, A River Odyssey" covers 70 miles

combining canoeing, camping, and educational programs. The trip begins

in Hankins, New York, and ends on New Jersey’s Maurice River. Call

908-996-0230 or

Rabbi David Wolf Silverman will act as scholar and guide

on a two-week tour of Eastern Europe focusing on Jewish heritage and

culture of Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Vilnius, and Riga. Professional

tour guide will lead the group from the Princeton area. Complete


and enrollment through Class A Travel, 425 Wall Street, Princeton;

or call 609-497-0011.

Friends of the New Jersey State Museum will sponsor a

scientific collecting expedition to China to visit the famous fossil

sites at Sihetun. Hailu You of University of Pennsylvania and the

Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology is the guide on the trip

scheduled for Monday, July 23, through Friday, August 3. Call


Easter Seals New Jersey offers a seven-day Mediterranean

cruise on the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Sea visiting Naples,

Florence, Pisa, Valletta, Barcelona, and Monte Carlo. Prices,


airfare, begin at $2,499. The cruise begins Friday, August 3. Call

Margie Cortez at 732-257-6662 or

Top Of Page

Barbara Piasecka Johnson Foundation seeks volunteers to

provide catering services during the Instinet Class, a professional

golf tournament at Jasna Polana in Princeton from Monday, June 11

to Sunday, June 17. The money raised benefits children with autism.

Call 609-688-1030.

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Participate Please

Watershed Organic Farm delivers fresh, organically-grown

vegetables to Lambertville, Princeton Junction, Plainsboro, and


Each one-bushel box of produce provides vegetables for a household

of two to three people for one week. Call 609-737-8899.

Pennington Dance is accepting registration for 2001-2002

classes, beginning in September. Classical ballet, pointe, jazz, tap,

and pre-school for ages 3 to adult. Call 609-737-7596.

Historic Fallsington announces a watercolor workshop each

day Monday through Friday, July 9 to 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


receive class and individual instruction from Janice Edelman. Call


American International Youth Student Exchange Program

seeks host families for high school students from France, Germany,

Belgium, Spain, and Denmark for the upcoming school year. Students

arrive in late August, attend local high schools, and return to their

home country in June. Call 800-347-7575 or visit

Spirit of Princeton seeks veterans to march in the


Day Parade to be held on Saturday, May 26, on Princeton Avenue,


at 9:15 a.m. Call 609-921-3800.

New Jersey Historical Commission seeks information on

the Underground Railroad in New Jersey. Any information including

diaries, letters, and oral traditions welcomed. Call 609-292-6077

or E-mail

Fresh Air Fund is seeking families to host children from

low-income neighborhoods of New York City this summer. Call


or visit

Ride for Life is planning its 14th annual fundraiser for

Muscular Dystrophy Association. Participants ride over 260 miles on

motorcycles. Registration packets are available at area


dealerships or by calling 215-773-8081.

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