by Bob Curtis, Local Secretary

January, 2020

Jamuary is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars.

Ancient Roman observances during this month include Cervula and Juvenalia, celebrated January 1, as well as one of three Agonalia, celebrated January 9, and Carmentalia, celebrated January 11. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar

January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology January is the door to the new year, and the janitor is the door-keeper. At college we really had a janitor, Dominic Pandolfo, who kept the front door, greeted our guests, took care of messages, etc.

Traditionally, the original Roman calendar consisted of 10 months totaling 304 days, winter being considered a month-less period. Around 713 BC, the semi-mythical successor of Romulus, King Numa Pompilius, is supposed to have added the months of January and February, so that the calendar covered a standard lunar year (354 days). Although March was originally the first month in the old Roman calendar, January became the first month of the calendar year either under Numa or under the Decemvirs about 450 BC (Roman writers differ). In contrast, each specific calendar year was identified by the names of the two consuls, who entered office on May 1st or March 15 until 153 BC, from when they entered office on January 1.

Various Christian feast dates were used for the New Year in Europe during the Middle Ages, including March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation) and December 25. However, medieval calendars were still displayed in the Roman fashion with twelve columns from January to December. Beginning in the 16th century, European countries began officially making January 1 the start of the New Year once again—sometimes called Circumcision Style because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the seventh day after December 25.

Historical names for January include its original Roman designation, Ianuarius, the Saxon term Wulf-monath (meaning "wolf month") and Charlemagne's designation Wintarmanoth ("winter / cold month"). In Slovene, it is traditionally called prosinec. The name, associated with millet bread and the act of asking for something, was first written in 1466 in the Škofja Loka manuscript.---Wikipedia

January 2, 1920, was the birth of Isaac Asimov, famous polymath, Mensa member, and prolific author. We celebrate this hundreth anniversary of his birth. I strongly recommend Ian Randall Strouck’s article about him in the Mensa Bulletin.

Keith Armontinides has resigned as Program Coordinator so he could have more time for his other activities, particularly in the world of motion pictures. If you are interested in this position, please advise me.

Angela Daidone, our testing coordinator, advises that she and Franck Mounier plan to schedule more testing dates for candidates. Precise dates are posted on the American Mensa website. I have appointed Franck as our new Membership Officer and look forward to his initiative in his new position.

Bill Holzmann has served us as Treasurer for the last twenty years and has advised me that he would like to resign as soon as a replacement for him can be found. If you are capable and willing to do this job, please let me know,

Jennifer Ferrara successfully organized some Gifted Youth events this fall called the October Blitz, which extended into November. Jennifer reported great success with the events which were very much enjoyed by the students. Michael and Elise Korn presented the programs. She plane on more events in the Spring. When scheduled, these events will be posted on our website

Mid-Hudson Mensa continues to encourage us to participate in their events. They have an events page at

All other Mensa groups also welcome us to their activities. Their newsletters and calendars are on the Americal mensa website,

Our neighboring Mensa chapters:

to the Southwest: Central New Jersey Mensa
(straight to the calendar.)

to the East: Greater New York Mensa

to the North: Mid-Hudson Mensa

to the Northeast: Connecticut and Western Massachusetts Mensa

to the East: Southern Connecticut Mensa

to the East: Boston Mensa

To find Local Groups elsewhere in the U.S., see the “American Mensa Groups” page on the American Mensa website:

You can visit our NNJM Facebook page at and our website at

Our scholarship program was discussed at the November 17th Executive Committee meeting. If you can, please contribute to help support the program. The Wendy Sailer Scholarship is an award given annually by Northern New Jersey Mensa (NNJM) based on an essay contest. It is funded by contributions from members of NNJM and is given in memory of Wendy Sailer who was very active in NNJM. (Yes, the scholarship still needs contributions. If you can, please mail a check made out to Northern New Jersey Mensa, to our Treasurer, William Holzmann, 163 Morningside Road, Paramus NJ 07652.)

In 1995, a great friend and supporter of NNJM, Irwin Arnold Meit, a neo-natal nurse, passed away at the age of 54. Contributions were made by members and his friends, and the Irwin A. Meit Memorial Scholarship was begun in 1996 for an adult who is studying for a career change. Unfortunately, this scholarship ran out of funding (about 2010) and has not been awarded since. We would be happy to re-institute this scholarship when adequate funding is provided. Some members have begun funding this scholarship again. Please consider making a contribution by sending a check to our Treasurer, Bill Holzmann.

At the request of donor Nancy Van Court, the executive committee voted that the donations made for the Meit scholarship will be awarded now in one scholarship rather than be set aside as capital whose interest is used for scholarship awards in the future.