Sunday, September 23, 2012


My first born son Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff was born on September 23,1977. He was horrifically killed by the negligence and indifference of others at the age of 30 on June 21, 2008.

Today, September 23, 2012 is Steven's birthday, he would have been 35 years young today. Instead he is dead and there will be no birthday cake or candles for him to celebrate.

The only candle lit will be the perpetual candle that burns forever in the front window of my home. I will also light a Yahtzeit candle which is supposed to be used only to mark the anniversary of a death. I will light it anyway as a memorial to the memory of his life.

Those whose evil acts killed Steven, those who stole his young life from him, those who have prevented justice to be given for the taking of his life, those who have tried to erase that Steven ever lived, those who cruelly tortured, caused him to suffer pain beyond ones imagination, those who desecrated his body, those who have deliberately lied or remained silent in telling the truth in order to protect their jobs, you are all guilty, and one day will be judged by what you have or have not done.

Today as every other day I mourn the loss of my son Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff, all that he was, and all that he could have been. I miss you so very much Steven and there is so much for us to share with each other that can never happen.

Your family will never forget you and we continue to be left stunned and grieving that we will never see you ever again.

I am sorry that there is no way for me to ease your pain and release you from the eternity of death.  All I can do is kiss you good night for another year my son Steven.

I love you. Dad

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Welcome to arsenic, the new additive in our food that is good for you, well not really good for you, but trust the Government and our ever vigilant agencies that are here to protect us. They would never lie, cover up or allow bad things to happen to us because they all care about our well being. So a "little" arsenic is fine, it builds strong American cancer ridden bodies. 

Get me my Dunkin donuts, spare ribs, fried chicken, french fries, quinoa,  Ben and Jerry Cannoli ice cream, and all the sugar you can find. It's the secret antidote to being poisoned by arsenic and other carcinogens that have infected our food supply.

That's it!!! There is nothing left to eat, breathe, wear, or do that won't kill us. Personally I always felt that our food chain and human chain has been totally compromised, poisoned beyond any hope of being made safe.

It's just that all this truth of how we are being poisoned is kept hidden as much as possible, either deliberately or by indifference. 

It really doesn't matter if you try to eat "healthy food', apparently there is no such thing, as the damage has, is being done to us any way.

Everyone knows arsenic is a poison--it is how countless villains have knocked off their victims in countless murder mysteries. However, it takes a lot of arsenic--relatively speaking, at least a teaspoon or two--to do someone in on the spot.

Much lower levels of arsenic, though, can cause health damage over long periods of time. Both animal and human studies have shown that what seem like tiny amounts of arsenic--exposures in the parts per billion range--can result in cancer years later. Just how carcinogenic arsenic may be is only now just coming to light. 

Arsenic is already considered to be one of the most potent carcinogens in our environment, but a new analysis still working its way through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that it may be even more potent than previously thought.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says consumers shouldn't stop eating rice, though she does encourage a diverse diet just in case."Our advice right now is that consumers should continue to eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of grains — not only for good nutrition but also to minimize any potential consequences from consuming any one particular food," she said.

Gee, doesn't Ms. Hamburg's double talk response make us all feel so much better, especially her scientific state of response of "just in case". Good job Margaret, "just in case of what", so reassuring that you are on top of all this in doing your job.

Given these new concerns, Consumer Reports (SEE ENTIRE REPORT BELOW) decided to test rice and rice products (everything from Rice Krispies to rice milk) for arsenic. Why rice? Prior research has shown that rice generally contains more arsenic than other grains, probably because rice is grown in water-flooded conditions and absorbs arsenic from the soil and water.

The news about rice products is not good. Consumer Reports indicated today that it found arsenic in virtually all of the more than 60 different rice products it tested, and recommends that people limit rice and rice product consumption in various ways. 

Consumer Reports suggests that infants be given a serving of rice cereal no more than once a day, and that children under five not consume rice milk (rice drinks) on a regular basis. Kids should eat no more than one and a half cups of ready-to-eat rice cereal, like Rice Checks or Rice Krispies in a week. Adults should limit themselves to two standard servings of rice per week. And once you have your quota of one product, that's it for all rice products for the week.

Are some rice products better than others? Maybe. Consumer Reports test represent a snapshot of the market from which they cannot draw any conclusions about any particular brands, but they did observe some trends. White rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas generally had higher levels of total and inorganic arsenic (the most worrisome kind) than rice samples from elsewhere (India, Thailand and California as a group).

And arsenic is present on a lot of soil. Residues from decades of lead-arsenate insecticide use linger, even though their use was banned in the 1980s. Arsenic-containing drugs are also permitted for use on food animals to prevent disease and promote growth. As a result, fertilizer made from poultry waste can contain arsenic.

Arsenic and Rice: Concerning Levels of Known Human Carcinogen Found in Tests of More Than 200 Consumer Reports Samples

Our findings show a real need for federal standards for this toxin

Consumer Reports magazine: November 2012

Our analysis found varying levels of arsenic in more than 60 rices and rice products.

Organic rice baby cereal, rice breakfast cereals, brown rice, white rice—new tests by Consumer Reports have found that those and other types of rice products on grocery shelves contain arsenic, many at worrisome levels.

Arsenic not only is a potent human carcinogen but also can set up children for other health problems in later life.
Following our January investigation, "Arsenic in Your Juice," which found arsenic in apple and grape juices, we recently tested more than 200 samples of a host of rice products. They included iconic labels and store brands, organic products and conventional ones; some were aimed at the booming gluten-free market.

The results of our tests were even more troubling in some ways than our findings for juice. In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms. We found significant levels of inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, in almost every product category, along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern. Moreover, the foods we checked are popular staples, eaten by adults and children alike. See the for arsenic in rice or rice products.

Though rice isn’t the only dietary source of arsenic—some vegetables, fruits, and even water can harbor it—the Environmental Protection Agency assumes there is actually no “safe” level of exposure to inorganic arsenic.

No federal limit exists for arsenic in most foods, but the standard for drinking water is 10 parts per billion (ppb). Keep in mind: That level is twice the 5 ppb that the EPA originally proposed and that New Jersey actually established. Using the 5-ppb standard in our study, we found that a single serving of some rices could give an average adult almost one and a half times the inorganic arsenic he or she would get from a whole day’s consumption of water, about 1 liter.

We also discovered that some infant rice cereals, which are often a baby’s first solid food, had levels of inorganic arsenic at least five times more than has been found in alternatives such as oatmeal. Given our findings, we suggest limiting the consumption of rice products. Use our recommendations.

Our study was a snapshot of the market, with many products purchased in the New York metropolitan area and online, to gauge the extent of arsenic’s presence in everyday foods. It can’t be used for overall conclusions about specific brands. Still, we found important trends:
  • White rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, which account for 76 percent of domestic rice, generally had higher levels of total arsenic and inorganic arsenic in our tests than rice samples from elsewhere.
  • Within any single brand of rice we tested, the average total and inorganic arsenic levels were always higher for brown rice than for white.
  • People who ate rice had arsenic levels that were 44 percent greater than those who had not, according to our analysis of federal health data. And certain ethnic groups were more highly affected, including Mexicans, other Hispanics, and a broad category that includes Asians.
  • Reducing arsenic in food is feasible. We examined the efforts of two food companies, including Nature's One, trying to tackle the problem and learned about methods being used to try to reduce arsenic in products.
  • Based on these findings, our experts are asking the Food and Drug Administration to set limits for arsenic in rice products and fruit juices as a starting point.
Studies show that arsenic can cause cancer in humans.
Rice producers argue that concerns about dietary exposure to arsenic in rice are overblown. “There is no documented evidence of actual adverse health effects from exposure to arsenic in U.S.-grown rice,” says Anne Banville, a vice president at the USA Rice Federation, a trade association representing the $34 billion rice industry. “And we believe the health benefits of rice must be properly weighed against the risks of arsenic exposure, which we believe are minimal.”

Why rice? Prior research has shown that rice generally contains more arsenic than other grains, probably because rice is grown in water-flooded conditions and absorbs arsenic from the soil and water. And arsenic is present on a lot of soil. Residues from decades of lead-arsenate insecticide use linger, even though their use was banned in the 1980s. Arsenic-containing drugs are also permitted for use on food animals to prevent disease and promote growth. As a result, fertilizer made from poultry waste can contain arsenic.

But scientists warn of complacency. “We already know that high concentrations of arsenic in drinking water result in the highest known toxic substance disease risks from any environmental exposure,” says Allan Smith, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. “So we should not be arguing to wait for years until we have results of epidemiologic studies at lower arsenic intake, such as from rice consumption, to take action.” His studies of arsenic in public water in Chile and Argentina helped show that it causes lung and bladder cancer and other diseases.

Such long-term studies that track health effects of exposure to arsenic in rice have only recently begun in the U.S. Researchers at the Dartmouth Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center in late 2011 published a small but informative study that indicated consuming slightly more than a half-cup of cooked rice per day resulted in a significant increase in urinary arsenic levels, comparable to the effects of drinking a liter of water containing the federal maximum of 10 ppb arsenic. The authors say their results suggest “many people in the U.S. may be exposed to potentially harmful levels of arsenic through rice consumption.”

The USA Rice Federation says it is working with the FDA and the EPA as they examine and assess arsenic levels in food and has supplied rice samples to those agencies for research. It also says some of its member companies may be doing their own testing. One rice company shared with us details of how it is taking matters into its own hands. Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms in Richvale, Calif., which sells rice and rice products, says the company is testing more than 200 samples of the many varieties of rice in its supply chain and plans to share the results with FDA scientists.
“We’re committed to providing safe food, to really listening to our consumers, and dealing with this problem very openly because doing the research needed to assess what the risks really are is the only way to go,” Lundberg says.

Tracing the sources of arsenic

Grant Lundberg, a rice producer in California, has begun extensive testing for arsenic.

The USA Rice Federation tells consumers that there is no reason to be concerned about arsenic in food. Its website states that arsenic is “a naturally occurring element in soil and water” and “all plants take up arsenic.”

But “natural” does not equal safe. Inorganic arsenic, the predominant form of arsenic in most of the 65 rice products we analyzed, is ranked by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as one of more than 100 substances that are Group 1 carcinogens. It is known to cause bladder, lung, and skin cancer in humans, with the liver, kidney, and prostate now considered potential targets of arsenic-induced cancers.

Though arsenic can enter soil or water due to weathering of arsenic-containing minerals in the earth, humans are more to blame than Mother Nature for arsenic contamination in the U.S. today, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The U.S. is the world’s leading user of arsenic, and since 1910 about 1.6 million tons have been used for agricultural and industrial purposes, about half of it only since the mid-1960s. Residues from the decades of use of lead-arsenate insecticides linger in agricultural soil today, even though their use was banned in the 1980s. 

Other arsenical ingredients in animal feed to prevent disease and promote growth are still permitted. Moreover, fertilizer made from poultry waste can contaminate crops with inorganic arsenic.
Rice is not the only source of arsenic in food. A 2009-10 study from the EPA estimated that rice contributes 17 percent of dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic, which would put it in third place, behind fruits and fruit juices at 18 percent, and vegetables at 24 percent. A more complete study by the European Food Safety Authority found cereal products could account for more than half of dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic, mainly because of rice.

Rice absorbs arsenic from soil or water much more effectively than most plants. That’s in part because it is one of the only major crops grown in water-flooded conditions, which allow arsenic to be more easily taken up by its roots and stored in the grains. In the U.S. as of 2010, about 15 percent of rice acreage was in California, 49 percent in Arkansas, and the remainder in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. That south-central region of the country has a long history of producing cotton, a crop that was heavily treated with arsenical pesticides for decades in part to combat the boll weevil beetle.

“Extensive surveys of south central U.S. rice, by more than one research group, have consistently shown that rice from this region is elevated in inorganic arsenic compared to other rice-producing regions,” says Andrew Meharg, professor of biogeochemistry at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and co-author of the book “Arsenic & Rice.” “And it does not matter relative to risk whether that arsenic comes from pesticides or is naturally occurring.” High levels of arsenic in soil can actually reduce rice yields. Meharg, a leading researcher in the field, notes the Department of Agriculture has invested in research to breed types of rice that can withstand arsenic. That may help explain the relatively high levels of arsenic found in rice from the region, though other factors such as climate or geology may also play a role.

What our tests found

We tested 223 samples of various rice products that we bought mostly in April and May, many from stores in the New York metropolitan area and online retailers. The samples covered a variety of rice-containing food categories, including infant cereals, hot cereals, ready-to-eat cereals, rice cakes, and rice crackers. We bought products often used by people on gluten-free or other special diets, including rice pasta, rice flour, and rice drinks.

We tested at least three samples of the foods and beverages for total arsenic. We measured specific levels of inorganic arsenic. And we checked for two forms of organic arsenic, called DMA and MMA.

Download this PDF with complete details of our test results.

Though inorganic arsenic is considered the most toxic, concerns have been raised about potential health risks posed by those two organic forms, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer has labeled “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” We found DMA in the 32 rices we tested, which include choices from the south central states and elsewhere, including California, India, and Thailand.
Within brands, brown rice had higher arsenic than white.
In brands for which we tested both a white and a brown rice, the average total and inorganic arsenic levels were higher in the brown rice than in the white rice of the same brand in all cases. Among all tested rice, the highest levels of inorganic arsenic per serving were found in some samples of Martin Long Grain Brown rice, followed by Della Basmati Brown, Carolina Whole Grain Brown, Jazzmen Louisiana Aromatic Brown, and Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Long Grain Brown. But we also found samples of brown rice from Martin and others with inorganic arsenic levels lower than that in some white rice.

Though brown rice has nutritional advantages over white rice, it is not surprising that it might have higher levels of arsenic, which concentrates in the outer layers of a grain. The process of polishing rice to produce white rice removes those surface layers, slightly reducing the total arsenic and inorganic arsenic in the grain.

In brown rice, only the hull is removed. Arsenic concentrations found in the bran that is removed during the milling process to produce white rice can be 10 to 20 times higher than levels found in bulk rice grain.

We also tested for lead and cadmium, other metals that can taint food. The levels we found were generally low overall. Based on our recommended limits for rice products, even the few samples with elevated lead and cadmium should not contribute significantly to dietary exposure.

Cereals cause concern

Worrisome arsenic levels were detected in infant cereals, typically consumed between 4 and 12 months of age.
Among the four infant cereals tested, we found varying levels of arsenic, even in the same brand. Gerber SmartNourish Organic Brown Rice cereal had one sample with the highest level of total arsenic in the category at 329 ppb, and another sample had the lowest total level in this category at 97.7 ppb. It had 0.8 to 1.3 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per serving.

Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Rice cereal had total arsenic levels ranging from 149 ppb to 274 ppb, but higher levels of inorganic arsenic per serving, from 1.7 to 2.7 micrograms.

So what’s a parent to do? To reduce arsenic risks, we recommend that babies eat no more than 1 serving of infant rice cereal per day on average. And their diets should include cereals made of wheat, oatmeal, or corn grits, which contain significantly lower levels of arsenic, according to federal information.

The EPA sets limits for a carcinogen based on how many extra cases of cancer would be caused by exposure to the toxin at a certain level. The limit is designed to minimize that risk. For our recommendations, we used the latest available science to choose a moderate level of protection that balances safety and feasibility, similar to the EPA’s approach for water. Our scientists made these calculations using standard estimates of weight, typical daily consumption of individual rice products over a lifetime, and the range of levels of inorganic arsenic we found. For our recommendations for children, we paid particular attention to their levels of consumption during this critical phase of their development.

According to federal data, some infants eat up to two to three servings of rice cereal a day. Eating rice cereal at that rate, with the highest level of inorganic arsenic we found in our tests, could result in a risk of cancer twice our acceptable level.

For children and pregnant women, risks are heightened. Keeve Nachman, Ph.D., a risk scientist at the Center for a Livable Future in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says, “The more we learn about arsenic’s additional effects on the developing brain, the more concerned I am by these levels of arsenic being found in infant and toddler rice cereal.”

Ready-to-eat cereals, which are popular with adults as well as children, also gave us cause for concern. For instance, Barbara’s Brown Rice Crisps had inorganic arsenic levels that ranged from 5.9 to 6.7 micrograms per serving. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, at 2.3 to 2.7 micrograms, had the lowest levels for the category in our tests.

Rice drinks in our tests showed inorganic arsenic levels of up to 4.5 micrograms per serving. Based on those results, our scientists advise that children under the age of 5 should not have rice drinks as part of a daily diet. In the United Kingdom, children younger than 4½ years are advised against having rice milk because of arsenic concerns.

“This is a time when cells are differentiating into organs and many other important developmental things are going on, so getting exposed to a toxicant like arsenic in utero or during early childhood can cause damage that may not appear until decades later,” says Michael Waalkes, laboratory chief at the Division of the National Toxicology Program. He is one of the authors of a June 2012 report funded in part by the National Institutes of Health that concluded early life exposure to arsenic produces a wide range of cancers and other diseases.

Diet changes arsenic risk

If rice truly is an important source of arsenic exposure, then people who eat rice should have greater arsenic levels in their body, on average, than people who do not. To find out, we analyzed data collected annually by the National Center for Health Statistics for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The survey contains information on the health and nutrition of a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population, based on interviews and physical exams, which may include blood and urine tests.

Our data analysis was led by Richard Stahlhut, M.D., M.P.H., an environmental health researcher at the University of Rochester, who is experienced in NHANES analysis, and Ana Navas-Acien, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-epidemiologist with expertise in arsenic research at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Working with Consumer Reports statisticians, they reviewed NHANES data from 2003 through 2010 from participants age 6 or older whose urine was tested for arsenic and who had reported what they’d had to eat or drink from midnight to midnight the day before their examination. A urine test is the best measure of recent arsenic exposure because most of it is excreted in urine within a few days after ingestion.
Our study shows people who eat rice have higher arsenic levels. Because seafood contains a form of organic arsenic called arsenobetaine, generally considered nontoxic to humans, we then excluded from our analysis anyone who reported eating seafood during the 24-hour period and those with detectable levels of arsenobetaine in their urine. The remaining participants therefore were more likely to have had exposure to inorganic arsenic, which poses the greatest potential health risks.

Our resulting analysis of 3,633 study participants found that on average, people who reported eating one rice food item had total urinary arsenic levels 44 percent greater than those who had not, and people who reported consuming two or more rice products had levels 70 percent higher than those who had no rice.

“Despite our taking into account other common sources of arsenic, and no matter which way we sliced the data, we see a very strong association between rice consumption and arsenic exposure,” says Stahlhut, who along with Navas-Acien led a similar analysis of NHANES data for our January 2012 article on arsenic in juice. That analysis found that study participants who reported drinking apple or grape juice had total urinary arsenic levels that were on average nearly 20 percent higher than those who didn’t. 

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, urged the FDA to set a 3 ppb limit for total arsenic in apple and grape juice.

“These findings show that rice is an important source of arsenic exposure for the U.S. population,” says Navas-Acien. The associations were even stronger for rice compared with juice and are consistent with the relatively high levels of arsenic, including inorganic arsenic, measured in rice samples, she says. She says the results underscore the need for monitoring arsenic in food and establishing safety standards. A new study of NHANES data from Dartmouth researchers also shows that rice consumption can contribute to increased urinary arsenic levels in children.

What should be done

Consumers Union believes a standard for arsenic should be set for rice, and industry should accelerate efforts to reduce arsenic levels in rice. They should also develop types of rice that take up less arsenic, and use rice with the lowest possible arsenic in products for young children, such as infant rice cereal.
Our scientists are also asking regulators to prohibit agricultural practices that may lead to increases in arsenic in rice:
  • The EPA should phase out use of pesticides containing arsenic.
  • The USDA and the EPA should end the use of arsenic-laden manure as fertilizer.
  • The FDA should ban the feeding of arsenic-containing drugs and animal byproducts to animals.
To find out more about what Consumers Union is doing on the subject and to get involved, go to On the international stage, a group advising the World Health Organization is meeting in 2014 to consider proposed arsenic standards for rice. Limits of 200 ppb (inorganic) for white rice and 300 ppb (total or inorganic) for brown rice are under discussion.

After the concerns raised by our juice story, the FDA says it is confident in the overall safety of apple juice. “FDA has made significant progress in developing a proposed action level for arsenic in apple juice and is nearing completion of this work,” the agency says in a statement.

The FDA also says it is studying arsenic in rice and rice products to determine the level and types of arsenic typically found and to identify ways to reduce it.

“The need for a standard for arsenic in food is long overdue,” says Trudy Bialic, director of public affairs for PCC Natural Markets, a Seattle-area chain that is America’s largest food co-op. “Certainly there are excellent and committed people in FDA’s ranks, but it’s shameful the agency has not addressed this problem more systematically, leaving us to figure it out on our own to protect ourselves.”

Arsenic in food

The chart here lists the rice and rice products in our tests and the levels of arsenic we found. Also, download this PDF with complete details of our test results.

How to cut your arsenic risk

Test your water. If your home is not on a public water system, have your water tested for arsenic and lead. To find a certified lab, contact your local health department or call the federal Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

Change the way you cook rice. You may be able to cut your exposure to inorganic arsenic in rice by rinsing raw rice thoroughly before cooking, using a ratio of 6 cups water to 1 cup rice for cooking and draining the excess water afterward. That is a traditional method of cooking rice in Asia. 

The modern technique of cooking rice in water that is entirely absorbed by the grains has been promoted because it allows rice to retain more of its vitamins and other nutrients. But even though you may sacrifice some of rice's nutritional value, research has shown that rinsing and using more water removes about 30 percent of the rice's inorganic arsenic content.

Eat a varied diet. Some vegetables can accumulate arsenic when grown in contaminated soil. To help, clean vegetables thoroughly, especially potato skins. Some fruit juices such as apple and grape juice are high in arsenic, as our previous tests showed. To prevent obesity and tooth decay, pediatricians advise that infants younger than 6 months shouldn't drink juice; children up to age 6 should have no more than 4 to 6 ounces a day and older children no more than 8 to 12 ounces. Like grape juice, wine also can be a source of exposure, according to data collected in the FDA's Total Diet Study, which provides more complete information about arsenic content in a variety of foods. Go to and search for "total diet study analytical results."

Experiment with other grains. Vary your grains, especially if you eat more than two or three servings of rice per week. Though not arsenic-free, wheat and oats tend to have lower levels than rice. And quinoa, millet, and amaranth are among other options for those on a gluten-free diet, though they have not been studied as much.

Then the FDA and EPA should address the sources of arsenic in food. Arsenic-containing herbicides can still be used on cotton; EPA should phase out this use since the arsenic can get into water and soil. Arsenic-containing drugs can be given to healthy chickens, turkeys, and pigs to promote growth and prevent diseases--FDA should prohibit this practice. And because of this drug use, relatively high levels of arsenic may end up in poultry manure, which can be used on rice fields as fertilizer, contaminating the crop. Until FDA prohibits feeding arsenic-containing drugs to chickens, rice farmers should not use poultry manure on fields.

Arsenic is a serious health concern. Given what we learning about arsenic's role in contributing to cancer and other serious health problems, the government needs to regulate it in food. This includes setting standards and banning the practices that persistently deliver arsenic into our food and water supply.

In the meantime for me, pass the ice cream, cannolis, and donuts around, I need some more to stay healthy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


You could see the pain etched permanently in the faces of the victims families who gathered yesterday, September 12, 2012, at the 11th anniversary memorial of the murders that snuffed out the lives of almost 3,000 human beings at the World Trade Center.

It was a sickening feeling that I felt in my stomach as I looked at these faces of the victims, their children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins, other family members, friends of these victims.

Behind their eyes, I recognized, felt, the familiar deep pain that victims families carry permanently inside of ourselves. It is hard to describe that pain, but we who are in this situation of never ending grief, know the look, signs, and sense the agony.

I could feel my own pain for my son Steven, my father Samuel, and all parents who have lost their loved ones to DUI, DWI, Wars, 9/11,  and so many other senseless tragedies.

Watching and listening to the 3,000 names, each being read in memory of the World Trade Center victims by family members, watching, feeling their grief bubbling to the surface, forever grieving.

The ages of these victims flashed by with their pictures on my television screen as each name was read. So many young people, babies, children, young adults in their 20's, 30 year olds the same age as my son Steven when he was so horrifically killed, 42 year old victims, the same age as my father when he was murdered. 

The symbolism clearly felt by anyone with a heart, that all of us are left with one deep, bottomless empty gaping hole, a lifelong scarring of what ifs, what is, what could have been, and why us.

I experience what I am feeling, that death is forever, they are all gone, never to return. We cannot ever again touch, talk, hug, kiss, or see our departed loved ones, and they will never be able to do so either. None of them will ever breathe, smile, cry, feel the sun, snow, rain, get to grow older, nor realize the goals that they set for their futures.

I deliberately post this Blog today, September 12, one day after the 9/11 anniversary date. My reason for doing so, is that all victims and their loved ones in this world know that the days after the date of our loved ones death are the very worst times of the year for us.

These are the times that drag on excruciating slowly, when the world forgets, others forget, and we are left alone as the only ones who truly remember. It is only us who can feel the pain of grieving that never gets better as the years, days go by, in fact it gets worse as we realize over time how much we have lost in life. 

We who are haunted by the demons, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, flash backs, thinking, always thinking, our on/off switches of the mind broken in the on position, cascading torturous memories about those so cruelly taken away, all blending into a chain of agonizing pain.

At the World Trade Center Memorial ceremony in 2011 last year, Paul Simon performed a beautiful, poignant, so very sad special version of the song "Sound of SILENCE" 

You can see it in his his face, his eyes, the words written so long ago as he sings, it's all there to feel as you watch.

For it is the terrible sound of silence that victims feel who are forever dead and their families live with until the end of time, never able to hear each others voices, laughing, crying, or saying I love you, missing them is unbearably final.

Monday, September 3, 2012


                             Monday, September 3, 2012

                                              STEVEN'S SONG 

                                                     In Memoriam: 
                                   STEVEN NATHANIEL  WOLKOFF
                        September 23,1977 – June 21, 2008

CLICK ON HERE TO LISTEN TO STEVEN'S SONG -The words below were sent to me by a friend who after listening to Steven's Song, wrote how she felt. 
"Dear Jerry,
That was one powerful song. Thank you for sharing it . It was well done and well played and a very generous gift to be given.

These are the unsung words for Steven's song:

Into His Own

He came into his own not even knowing he had
A young man, on his way, to meet his dreams
he fell in love with life the day he was born
he sang the songs of his time and played the music he loved.

He met life straight on,
every challenge a joy, a chance to meet destiny and more
he could decode and read things most cannot even begin to know
maybe it was the musician in him, maybe it was the genius.

He brought people in, closer to him just by being himself
those that knew him understood this charisma, this quality
he didn't even know he touched so many people
many that never even met him, yet those who knew him knew this about him.

A son, a brother, a boyfriend, a friend
endless words to describe him.
The one thing they all knew was, he would respond positively to them
and he could probably draw a sell out crowd.

My friend, his father, loved him more than words could ever speak
more than the deepest ocean or brightest sun
this young man, though he is no longer in his father's grasp or hand
has never let go of his son's heart and he never will.

He came into his own, much faster than many older than him ever do
he lived life to its fullest, though there was more to live.
Now, in silence and many times tears, he is remembered and revered
by those who loved him, this young, beautiful man,

My friend's son, Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff,
I have listened to you grieve, heard your voice crack
shared your deepest sorrow
and all I could ever hope for is one moment of peace for you.

May that moment come one day in a dream
in your mind, I know it won't in your heart.
Thinking of you, my friend, tonight and always
Know that your son, came into his own, not even knowing that he had.


                                                 In Memoriam: 
                                   STEVEN NATHANIEL WOLKOFF 
                       September 23,1977 – June 21, 2008


Steven's Song is an music composition written by the Composer Gary Gilroy in memory of my son Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff.

It's New York Premiere was performed by the Wantagh High School Wind Ensemble on May 22, 2012.

This original composition is a quiet and moving work meant to serve as a tribute to the life of an exceptional man, my son Steven. I love him, miss him very much and he will be remembered forever.

Saturday, September 1, 2012




On Thursday August 29, 2012, Levi Aron was sentenced to 40 years to Life for the murder of 8 year old Leiby Kletzky.  He will be eligible for parole in the year 2052 at 77 years of age, unless he gets out for good behavior, meets some fatal payback in prison, or god decides to take him. 

The "Brooklyn Butcher" plead guilty to snatching the 8-year-old off the street last summer, holding him captive and chopping up his body.

In private, Aron was remorseful, his defense lawyer Pierre Bazile said outside the courtroom."He's sorry and he wished he hadn't done IT," said Bazile.

Small comfort to the parents of little Leiby and his family who will live with the inner demons of the horrific acts of depravity that were done to Leiby by the animal Levi Aron.

Mr. Aron hides behind his lawyers, his Yarmulke, and the phony facade that he is so mentally ill that it somehow prevents him from publicly stating his own remorse, taking self accountability for murdering, torturing, dismembering this innocent 6 year old child. 

Instead we are supposed to feel sorry for him according to one of his lawyers Jennifer L. McCann that  poor MR. ARON "will not be believed no matter how many times he "apologizes", has suffered enough, has atoned for his evil, will be punished "properly" for his deeds, and as his other attorney Pierre Bazile states "he's sorry and wished he hadn't done IT". 

Gee whiz, golly, what's all the fuss about? Levi Aron is sorry and wants a "do over", he wishes it didn't happen, as if magically he is not responsible for the heinous acts he chose to murder an 8 year old child. The terrifying last minutes experienced by Leiby Kletzky before he died at the hands of this monster can never be imagined by anyone, it is beyond comprehension. Too late for wishing "this" away, "it" is done, murder cannot be reversed by wishes.

"IT" doesn't say much about the actual facts that describe the cold blooded kidnapping, murder, mutilation involved in Levi Aron having had more than sufficient mental capacity and presence of mind to put together a series of systematic, planned actions that allowed him to horribly snuff out the life of an 8 year old child.

Mr. Aron knew exactly what he was doing in "his panic", drugging Leiby with a sandwhich that included sedatives which he had the knowing ability of his lucid mind to prepare, then strangling, suffocating Leiby with a towel as the child vainly tried to fight back, and cutting apart Leiby's body, limb by limb to hide it. The acts of an animal yes, the actions of a mentally ill person to be pitied, understood, or of "someone who is sorry and wished he hadn't done it,  absolutely not.

Mr. Aron knew exactly what he was doing when he did "IT". This was all about him trying to protect his cowardly ass, not having the courage, the common sense (Saychel) to control his fears of how to explain that he knew that what he had done was wrong by taking Leiby, and not wanting to be found out for doing this. 

Certainly this was a poor choice of decisions that Levi Aron consciously made but that does NOT constitute mental illness, allow for forgiveness, nor does it in any way diminish the evil that he has done.

40 years to life is too good a sentence for Mr. Aron. He deserves to rot in hell instead of burdening the people of New York State with the cost of  $60,076 which is the Average Annual Cost per inmate in housing a jailed prisoner (not including the overhead costs of Corrections Department staff, etc.).
His incarceration will cost much more than the above average inmates annual cost as he will require complete isolation from the rest of the prison population, no doubt a special Kosher diet, and the various amenities such as Cable TV that certain prisoners receive.

Let us never forget what  8 year old Leiby Kletzky got as his sentence. This innocent angel child who never deserved "IT", lies  6 feet underground, with his rotting body parts cut into pieces by Mr. Aron, and this child will never be alive again, despite the alleged remorse of " Mr. Aron. Leiby will never again enjoy his childhood, grow up, get married, have a family, enjoy his life. Dead is forever and his life has been stolen from him and his family by the deeds of Mr. Arron.

As I looked through the Internet, various media for their reporting of the sentencing of Levi Aron, there were much less coverage than ever before. Like so many victims before him, after him, the world has little interest and a very short attention span when it comes to remembering victims.

We have become a world of dumbed down, numbed, selfish, heads up in their assholes society, where unless something has happened that directly affects a family, it is consigned to the vitrual amnesiac dung heap of garbage where society places its fears, anxiety, compassion, caring so that it cannot feel any longer.  

Feelings are a dangerous thing to most people, it is something that most can no longer allow themselves to do without endangering their fantasy lives of self delusion. So, the Mr. Levi Aron's of this world and their helpless victims, even 8 year old children such as Leiby Kletzky, no longer matter in the daily parade of news describing unbelievable carnage of human beings that occur in our world, our country, our neigborhoods. 

Somehow people believe if they don't feel, think, it will somehow protect their own self, their families from being added to this growing long list of victims.

With all due respect to the Kletzky family beliefs and  their decisions, I understand what, why they have chosen this path in dealing with Mr. Aron. Nothing will bring their son back to them. However, based on my own personal experiences, sorry folks, I wish it were different, but sadly it doesn't work that way and you can believe what you want, pray to whoever you believe in, no matter, the Mr. Aron's of this world and the dysfunctional legal system will insure that a human life remains cheap, worthless, expendable, and we are part of their prey to be struck down when it is least expected. 

Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison for masterminding the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Levi Aron gets 40 years to life for murdering, torturing, dismembering 8 year old Leiby Kletzky. A ridiculous dysfunctional legal system huh, how can that be, need I say more???

The ugly truth is "IT" will be this way in the future and "IT" will be worse as the world we inhabit becomes more of a jungle that allows animals to do what they wish with the rest of us who follow the rules that they don't pay any attention to, for they have no rules.

Below is a summary of the Court sentencing Mr. Aaron on Thursday August 29th, 2012-Brooklyn, NY -August 29, 2012

Man Who Killed and Dismembered a Lost Boy, 8, Gets 40 Years to Life

A hardware store clerk who killed and dismembered an 8-year-old Brooklyn boy in 2011, stunning both the close-knit Orthodox Jewish community where they lived and the city, was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years to life in prison.

Levi Aron, 37, who kidnapped Leiby Kletzky as he walked home on a summer day in Borough Park before killing him and stuffing some of his remains in a suitcase, barely spoke during the brief proceeding in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

When asked by Justice Neil J. Firetog to comment before being sentenced, Mr. Aron, who sat slumped in an orange prison jumpsuit, a skullcap atop his head, whispered a “no” that was barely audible in the courtroom.

Mr. Aron, who has a history of mental illness, had faced the possibility of a life sentence. But under a deal worked out with the district attorney’s office this month, Mr. Aron pleaded guilty to one charge of second-degree murder and one charge of second-degree kidnapping, which carry lighter sentences.

The plea, on Aug. 9, also came after psychological tests concluded that Mr. Aron’s mental problems would not qualify him for an insanity defense.

Leiby’s parents, Nachman and Esther, wanted to avoid a trial
that would have forced them to relive details of the grisly killing, said Dov Hikind, a state assemblyman from Borough Park who has been the family’s spokesman.

As it is, the Kletzkys, who did not attend Wednesday’s hearing, have enough pain to contend with on a daily basis, Mr. Hikind said after the sentencing.“There’s someone not coming home from school; there’s someone not at the Shabbos table,” he said, referring to the religion-tinged weekend meals that are a tradition among observant Jews.“There’s someone missing there,” Mr. Hikind said, “so the last thing they wanted was to go through this for a week, or two, or three weeks.”

Mr. Hikind also forcefully played down the possibility that Mr. Aron could be released from prison in 2052, when he is up for parole. No parole board that considers the outrageousness of Mr. Aron’s crimes, which also included stashing cutup body pieces in a freezer, would ever let him out, Mr. Hikind said.

Although Mr. Aron may not have publicly apologized for killing Leiby, he has expressed remorse in private, according to Pierre Bazile, one of his lawyers. “He said he’s sorry and that he wishes that he hadn’t done this,” Mr. Bazile said after the court hearing.

Lawyers for Mr. Aron, who has been held in a cell for 23 hours a day on Rikers Island, have requested that he also be held in solitary confinement in prison, to protect him from other inmates. “There are a lot of sick, demented people that reside in the jails,” Howard Greenberg, another of his lawyers, said after the hearing.

Suggesting an explanation for his client’s actions, Mr. Greenberg added that Mr. Aron’s family had a history of schizophrenia, and Mr. Aron suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was young.

On July 11, 2011, Leiby’s parents allowed him to walk partway home from a day camp, all alone, for the first time. But he got lost along the seven-block route, prompting him to ask Mr. Aron for directions.

Instead, Mr. Aron kidnapped Leiby and drove him to a wedding in Rockland County, and later brought him to his attic apartment in Kensington, Brooklyn.

After Leiby’s abduction, thousands of neighbors took to the streets to try to find him, in a missing-child case that shocked a Hasidic community known for being insular and largely safe. At the same time, the missing-child case recalled an earlier, more dangerous era in New York City, when many children were forbidden to walk by themselves.

As the search intensified, Mr. Aron panicked, according to testimony, and suffocated the boy before chopping him up. Some pieces ended up in Mr. Aron’s freezer; others were stuffed in the suitcase, which was thrown in a Dumpster a few miles away.Video from surveillance cameras eventually led the police to Mr. Aron.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor, Julie Rendelman, condemned those actions, which snuffed out a life way too soon, she said.

Leiby’s family has filed a lawsuit against Aron’s father, who owned the building where his son lived when the boy was killed. They argue that the father should have known something unspeakable was happening under his roof and could have saved the boy if he tried.

Aron’s attorneys asked for protective custody for their client because they worry he will hurt himself or be hurt by others. The state department of corrections must decide whether to grant the request.
In keeping to my promise to honor the memory of murdered 8 year old Leiby Kletzky, I will continue to post on my Blog, all stories related to this tragedy until the case is closed.