August Monthly Gathering — Dancing in the Streets! Reliving the Music of Motown

“It’s just an invitation across the nation,
A chance for folks to meet.
There’ll be laughing, singing and music swinging.
Dancing in the street!”

-Martha and the Vandellas

As an irresistible source of social and cultural change, Motown Records made its mark not just on the music industry, but on American society, as well. 

Starting with an $800 loan from his family in 1959, Berry Gordy’s brainchild of Motown Records, with its legendary “Motown Sound”, grew to become one of the most significant and stunning music industry success stories of the 20th century. In the process Motown became one of the best loved and most influential styles in American popular music. 

Henry Feinberg, our guest speaker, will take us through the development of Motown records, amid the politically and socially turbulent times of the 1960’s. You’ll hear how artists such as the Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and many others became international stars and remain popular to this day. Mr. Feinberg will also accompany his presentation with some of the music that made Motown famous, and helped shape a generation of Americans. 

Mr. Feinberg is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to and studying classical piano. The sounds of the Motor City along with an introduction to the Chicago blues fueled his interest and love of American “roots” music. Since the 80s, Henry has played both solo and with numerous blues, bluegrass, jazz and pop ensembles. His compositions have been played by jazz ensembles in various settings including the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival.  

Join us at 7pm on Saturday, August 20, when Henry Feinberg will take us through the story of Motown from its humble beginnings, to its emergence as the Sound of Young America, and beyond!

Please note that this program will be presented live and on Zoom. The live presentation will take place at:

Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 630pm. The program begins at 7pm. Admission: $4 for Mensa Members, $5 for non-Mensans. 

Following the presentation, please join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just Northeast of Middlebelt Rd.

If you’d prefer to participate on Zoom, you’ll need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0822-Gathering ,The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will only be sent to those who are pre-registered. The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling. There is no charge for the Zoom presentation.

June Monthly Gathering — Christianity and Anti-Semitism?

“Anti-Semitism is a disease.”
-Daniel Barenboim 

Christianity originated as one of multiple Jewish sects found throughout the Roman Empire, and it remained one through much of the 1st century CE. By the end of the first century, especially with the growing influence of Greek sources on the development of the faith, Christianity began to emerge as an independent religion from Judaism and, in the process, Jews and Judaism began to be cast as satanic. When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire (381 CE), Judaism became a target of Christian hatred, and antisemitism became a fundamental part of Christianity, resulting in untold suffering by the Jewish people and their religion, eventually manifesting itself most horribly in the Holocaust. 

Kenneth W. Phifer holds a BA degree in history from Harvard College and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. A Unitarian Universalist minister for over fifty years, he served the Ann Arbor congregation for 25 years (1980-2005). He is the author of three books and some two dozen articles and has been active in many peace groups and social justice movements. He is a father (5), grandfather (17), and has one great granddaughter. 

Join us on Saturday, June 18, when our speaker, Reverend Dr. Kenneth W. Phifer, will review the origins of Christianity and how antisemitism, often referred to as “the oldest hatred”, came to be a central part of the Christian religion.

Please note that this program will be presented live and on Zoom. The live presentation will take place at:

Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 630pm. The program begins at 7pm. Admission: $4 for Mensa Members, $5 for non-Mensans. 

Following the presentation, please join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just Northeast of Middlebelt Rd.If you’d prefer to participate on Zoom, you’ll need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0622-Gathering ,The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will only be sent to those who are pre-registered. The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling. There is no charge for the Zoom presentation.

May Monthly Gathering – The Fear Industry

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
– Edmund Burke

Join us at 7pm on Saturday, May 21, when our guest speaker, Dr. Arash Javanbakht M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC) at Wayne State University, will give us a crash course on the nature of fear, why we experience it, and how it can be, and is, used to manipulate us.

Dr. Javanbakht will deliver a research-based analysis of how fear can be exploited by politicians or religious leaders to encourage tribalism, by rallying us against feared others. Also, how it keeps us frantically consuming the media and social-media products that convey it, thus offering business a financial incentive to keep us afraid in ways that pit us against each other, or to intimidate enemies and subordinates. Lasty, Dr. Javanbakht will explore ways of overcoming fear and how to resist fear-based manipulation. Skills that if learned widely would leave our nation less divided.

Few people confront fear as often as Dr. Javanbakht, an internationally recognized expert on all of its aspects, including its biological roots and cultural influences. 

Dr. Javanbakht’s clinical work is mainly focused on anxiety and trauma related disorders, and PTSD in civilians, first responders, law enforcement, and refugees and victims of torture and human trafficking. 

His research is also focused on anxiety disorders and trauma. Several research studies at the STARC examine the impact of exposure to war trauma in adult and child Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the US, and biological and psychological factors of risk and resilience. This research examines genetic, environmental, and inflammation correlates of trauma as well. Also, use of art, dance and movement, and yoga and mindfulness in helping refugee families overcome stress.

Please note that this program will be presented live and on Zoom. The live presentation will take place at:

Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 630pm. The program begins at 7pm. Admission: $4 for Mensa Members, $5 for non-Mensans. 

Following the presentation, those attending the live presentation are invited to join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just Northeast of Middlebelt Rd.

If you’d prefer to participate on Zoom, you’ll need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0522-Gathering ,The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will only be sent to those who are pre-registered. The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling. There is no charge for the Zoom presentation.

March Monthly Gathering — Fly Me to the Moon? The Story of NASA’s First Lady Astronauts

Until the weather becomes more predictably amenable to meeting in person, Southeast Michigan Mensa will be presenting a series of lectures on Zoom. Attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0322-Gathering .

In 1961, NASA invited the nation’s best female pilots to a medical facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they were subjected to physical exams unlike any they had ever experienced before. The tests were intense, both physically and psychologically, and were designed to determine if these women had “the right stuff” to fly in space. NASA had also just administered these tests to a select group of men, of whom seven were destined to be forever known as “the Mercury 7”. Now commonly known as “the Mercury 13”, this class of First Lady Astronaut Trainees (FLATs) included twins, a senator’s wife, and a few mothers. Would they fly in space too…and, if so, when??? 

Dr. Nicolle Zellner, our speaker this month, is a professor of physics at Albion College. Nicolle’s research interests focus on understanding the impact history of the Earth-Moon system and how those impacts affected the conditions for life on Earth. 

Dr. Zellner was a member of the 2006 Antarctic Search for Meteorites team and collected over 800 specimens. Before Albion she was a post-doctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, and she was a member of the scientific ground crew during NASA’s STS-67 Astro-2 mission of the Space Shuttle “Endeavour” in 1995. 

Nicolle completed her undergraduate degree, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her PhD is from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her work has earned several prestigious awards, including the Carl Sagan Medal for excellence in public communication.

Dr. Zellner has been published in over 50 Scientific Publications. She’s presented at more than 100 Conferences, and participated in up to 150 public outreach activities, and you can follow her on Twitter at @astrodiva.

Sound interesting? You can blast off with us on Saturday, March 19 to learn more about America’s first female astronauts. The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling. The program starts at 7:00pm. Please remember that all attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0322-Gathering .

February Monthly Gathering – Hail to the Chief! Saluting America’s First President, John Hanson!

Until the weather becomes more predictably amenable to meeting in person, Southeast Michigan Mensa will be presenting a series of lectures on Zoom. Attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0222-Gathering . The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will be sent to those who are pre-registered, about an hour before the presentation. The number of attendees may be limited, so please pre-register early. 

Quick! Who was the first president? George Washington right?…

Think about it. The ratification process for the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, was completed on March 1, 1781, but Washington wasn’t elected until 1789. So, who was our head of state during the 8 years in between? Enter John Hanson. It is a fact that on November 5, 1781, John Hanson of Maryland was elected the first “President of the United States in Congress Assembled”. And he was followed by eight more presidents PRIOR to George Washington.

But WHO was John Hanson? And WHY, despite his considerable accomplishments, was a person who played a vital part in founding the United States, almost totally forgotten by history, to the point where his burial place was lost, then obliterated, and remained unknown until rediscovered in 2011?

Peter Michael, our speaker this month, is the author of “Remembering John Hanson: A Biography of the First President of the Original United States Government”, which was awarded two national book prizes in biography. Mr. Michael has advised the federal and Maryland governments on John Hanson matters, and lectures widely on him. Peter Hanson Michael descends from President John Hanson’s immigrant grandfather, also
named John Hanson, and from William Stone, the third colonial governor of Maryland.

He also authored “Palace of Yawns: How the United Nations Failed Poor Nations in the Population Explosion”, which won a national book prize in foreign affairs; and “Running on Empty: Along an Epic 12,000 Mile Road Trip, America Has Its Say on Economic Inequality”, which was awarded national book prizes in political and economic affairs and in travel essays. He serves as publisher of “Underground Railroad Free Press”, North America’s top-circulation Underground Railroad news publication.

He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Berkeley and Princeton, and lives with his wife Vicki, a painter, at Cooling Springs Farm, a state historic landmark founded by the Michael family in 1768, near Adamstown, Maryland.

Please join us at 7pm, on Saturday, February 19 to learn more about the remarkable John Hanson, a Founding Father who was almost lost to history! The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling. The program starts at 7:00pm