by Bob Curtis, Local Secretary

February, 2020


The Roman month Februarius was named after the Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual Februa held on February 15 (full moon) in the old lunar Roman calendar. January and February were the last two months to be added to the Roman calendar, since the Romans originally considered winter a monthless period. They were added by Numa Pompilius about 713 BC. February remained the last month of the calendar year until the time of the decemvirs (c. 450 BC), when it became the second month. At certain intervals February was truncated to 23 or 24 days, and a 27-day intercalary month, Intercalaris, was inserted immediately after February to realign the year with the seasons.

February observances in Ancient Rome include Amburbium (precise date unknown), Sementivae (February 2), Februa (February 13–15), Lupercalia (February 13–15), Parentalia (February 13–22), Quirinalia (February 17), Feralia (February 21), Caristia (February 22), Terminalia (February 23), Regifugium (February 24), and Agonium Martiale (February 27). These days do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

Under the reforms that instituted the Julian calendar, Intercalaris was abolished, leap years occurred regularly every fourth year, and in leap years February gained a 29th day. Thereafter, it remained the second month of the calendar year, meaning the order that months are displayed (January, February, March, ..., December) within a year-at-a-glance calendar. Even during the Middle Ages, when the numbered Anno Domini year began on March 25 or December 25, the second month was February whenever all twelve months were displayed in order. The Gregorian calendar reforms made slight changes to the system for determining which years were leap years and thus contained a 29-day February.

Historical names for February include the Old English terms Solmonath (mud month) and Kale-monath (named for cabbage) as well as Charlemagne's designation Hornung. In Finnish, the month is called helmikuu, meaning "month of the pearl"; when snow melts on tree branches, it forms droplets, and as these freeze again, they are like pearls of ice. In Polish and Ukrainian, respectively, the month is called luty or лютий, meaning the month of ice or hard frost. In Macedonian the month is sechko (сечко), meaning month of cutting [wood]. In Czech, it is called únor, meaning month of submerging [of river ice]. --- 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 Randal Strock’s article about him in the Mensa Bulletin for January.


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.