Events of 2008

NEW YORK Chapter events, which took place in 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008 , at 3 pm
A lecture by Rev. Josef Ben-David
The humanistic approach that emerged in the 1950’s has its roots in the existentialist thought of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Buber.
The lecture, followed by a discussion, focused on the history of humanistic psychology and today’s state of spiritual life in the Czech Republic. It will present an overview of the historical roots and ideas of the early Czech pioneers in the field of psychology, including the little-known contributions of two Bohemian philosophers and scientists Jan Amos Comenius (16th Century), and Jan Evangelista Purkyne (19th Century). It also examined the psychological research and ideas of President Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, and provide an overview of the contemporary scene of psychology in the Czech lands.

Czech-born, Rev Joseph Ben-David is a founder of the Church of Humanism in New York City, the only humanist religious organization that affirms God as a fusion of naturalism and realism. Its philosophy of life is based on a deep faith in the values of reason, love, and intuition and a call to conscience that relates particularly to issues of justice, freedom, and peace.

Sunday, November 23, 2008, at 2 pm
Memorial for a long time SVU memberNovember 20, 2008 -Thu at 7 pm
Mixed Bag-Open Mike – Poetry Reading I

Saturday, November 8, 2008, at 3 pm
A lecture by Pavel Illner, MD
Dr. Pavel Illner shared his observations of cardiac surgery as practiced in New York in the years 1982-2006 when he practiced cardiovascular anesthesiology.

Saturday, October 18, 2008 , at 3 pm
A lecture by Prof. Igor Lukeš, Boston University

Rudolf Slansky was a lifelong Stalinist, general secretary of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia (1945-1951), and one of the main strategists of the February 1948 coup d’état in Prague. His arrest in November 1951 and execution in December 1952 caused a sensation in the history of the Cold War. In seeking to expose the roots of the Slansky affair, the lecture focused on the hitherto uncharted terrain defined by the lives of Rudolf Slansky, Noel and Hermann Field, and Major (later Colonel) Frantisek Zdenek Ostry.
The main objective of the presentation was to expose the role played by OKAPI, an intelligence organization of Czechoslovak émigrés operating out of the American zone in Germany, and its attempt to arrange Slansky’s escape to the west. The overall argument was that the impetus for a show trial in Prague came from Moscow while OKAPI’s operation aimed at Slansky provided the trigger for his destruction. Lukes saw the affair a Cold War episode in which the competing forces of east and west worked together in an entirely unintended, yet harmonious manner to cause Slansky’s downfall and death.

Saturday, September 13, 2008 , at 3 pm
A lecture by Jaroslav E. Sýkora, ThD

The Czech-Canadian poet Pavel Javor (1916-1981; whose real name was Jiří Škvor) was a leading literary figure of Czech Exile after the 2nd World War. When he left the former Czechoslovakia after the Communist putsch in 1948, he settled in Canada, and for many years he was appointed as a Professor of Slavic studies at the University of Montreal. Before his emigration Javor/Škvor had published five poetry collections and won fame for sensitive lyrics and honest patriotism. These features are also present in all twelve of his poetry collections which came out in the exile years, 1951-1981. The lecture focused on those aspects of Javor’s poetry that relate to biblical themes, images, and names. Javor was not a spiritual poet like Jan Zahradníček or Otokar Březina. However, Javor‘s religious language, and expressions of faith, hope and love are essential components of his poetry, revealing the poet’s existential rootedness in God and Christian belief.

Dr. Sýkora, is the SVU chairman and former Professor of Biblical Studies at the Theology Department of the South-Bohemian University in České Budějovice.

Saturday, June 14, 2008 , at 3 pm
A lecture by Alice M. Svobodová, Consul of the Czech Republic
Before the implementation of the Schengen II Agreement, citizens of western Europe could travel to neighbouring countries by showing their national ID card or passport at the border. Nationals of some countries were required to have separate visas for every country in Europe; thus, a vast network of border posts existed around the continent which disrupted traffic and trade—causing delays and costs to both businesses and visitors. Since the implementation of the Schengen rules, border posts have been closed. Svobodová presented an insightful analysis into the pros and cons of the Schengen Agreement, with a special focus on the place of the CzechRepublic within a borderless region among the countries of the European Union.

Saturday, May 10, 2008, at 3 pm
A talk by Franta Nedved, artist
A native of Prague, Franta Nedved now lives in New York City. Franta’s formal education began in film production, and he holds a degree in fine arts from the Film Institute of Technology, Czechoslovakia. He continued his education in painting and sculpture at The Ringes Atelier of Prague. Franta also studied art restoration in the Vatican. Awarded the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant that recognizes artists withoutstanding talent, Franta has also worked to renovate the great murals of Radio City Mussic Hall in New York City along with churches and national monuments. Franta has exhibited widely since then in New York City’s studios and galleries.

Saturday, April 12, 2008 , at 3 pm
A presentation by Dr. Jitka Horejsova:
After more than 30 years of clinical experience and treatment of patients with severe back-pain, Richard Smíšek, MD myosceletal medicine specialist in Prague discovered that the key to a healthy posture is in the “spiral muscle chains”. He developed an effective method to correct imbalances in these muscles. The Smisek Method is now available in the USA thanks to Dr. Jitka Horejsova, who is offering certification courses, and the textbook by Dr. Richard Smisek, SpiralStabilization and Regeneration of the Spine in the USA, to Occupational Therapists. Chiropractors, Personal Trainers and other Rehabilitation Professionals intending to become certified and trained “SM Professionals”.

Saturday, March 1, 2008 , at 3 pm
A lecture by Martin Palous

Martin Palous, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, presented a talk about the outstanding Czech philosopher Jan Patocka and his thoughts about Czechs and their place both in Europe and in the world. Mr. Palous’ long-lasting passion for the philosophical giant has been proved in many ways, in academic milieux as in active politics, and the lecture offered a unique opportunity to hear not only Mr. Palous’ interpretation of Jan Patocka but also his own account of his experience as a politician in practical life, too.