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Anne Russ Federman, the Last of Russ’ Culinary Dies at 97 – World –





The cause was heart failure, her granddaughter Niki Russ Federman said. With Josh Russ Tupper, her cousin, Niki Federman represents the fourth generation of the family to own and run the store, at 179 East Houston St. in Manhattan, near First Avenue.

Joel Russ, a Jewish immigrant from Galicia in what is now Poland, started out in the food business by peddling mushrooms and herring from a pushcart on Hester and Orchard streets.

He opened Russ’ Cut Rate Appetizers in 1914, moved to Houston Street in 1920 and enlisted his daughters as partners (he had no sons) in 1933, after they married.

As the neighborhood morphed from an immigrant ghetto to a trendy destination, Russ & Daughters endured. It is now coupled with a cafe around the corner, another at the Jewish Museum uptown on Fifth Avenue, and a booming catering and online ordering business (embellished with innovations like wasabi fish roe).

It remains among the last of the neighborhood’s so-called appetizing stores, which can be loosely defined as places where finicky customers argue with counter people about the perfection and price of smoked fish, cream cheeses, dried fruits, salads and other delectable “appetizers” that Niki Federman once described as “Jewish madeleines that have the ability to transport you in time and connect you to your lineage.”

Anne Federman began working in the store when she was 14. Working weekends meant she missed football games at nearby Seward Park High School (where actor Walter Matthau was a classmate). It also led to a diminished teenage social life because she usually smelled of fish.

But working at the store did not stop her from finding a husband. One day a regular customer asked which of the three daughters was not yet married. After the woman announced that her son was “the sheikh of Brooklyn,” Anne agreed to meet him — and ultimately to marry him, in 1940, after graduating from high school. Her husband, Herbert Federman, also joined the business.

“Joel Russ didn’t arrange his daughters’ marriages,” Mark Federman, Anne’s son, wrote in “Russ & Daughters: The House That Herring Built” (2013), “but did retain what is called in business today the right of first refusal.”

All three daughters — Hattie, Ida and Anne (by birth order) — learned the value of hard work from their father. But they also, fortunately, developed their own interpersonal skills.

“My father had no patience,” Anne Federman told The Times in 2000. “If a customer said a word to him that wasn’t right, he would chase her out of the store.”

The daughters were different, as Calvin Trillin recalled in the foreword to Mark Federman’s book:

“At Russ & Daughters a particularly adorable two-year-old didn’t get the quick smile and cursory ‘Isn’t she dear’ that you might hear from, say, the proprietor of an English tearoom. The daughters of Joel Russ, The Founder, were running the place then, along with their husbands, and they were people who had fully absorbed the profound teaching of Willy Loman’s wife: ‘Attention must be paid.’

“Am I just imagining it,” he continued, “or did one of them, while emerging from behind the counter to get within cheek-pinching range of one of my daughters, sometimes say to her colleagues, ‘How can you stand there and slice fish with a face like that in the store?’”


Anne Russ was born in Manhattan on June 11, 1921. Her father and her mother, Bella, were Jewish immigrants from Galicia. They both worked in the store, which moved to its present location in the 1940s.

In addition to her grandchildren Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper, Anne Federman is survived by her son, Mark, who retired from the store in 2009; two daughters, Tara Federman and Hope Gottlieb; five other grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1980.

Federman had retired to Florida, in Broward County, where she coached recent immigrants in English and lived with her sisters for many years. Ida Russ Schwartz died in 2001 at 86; Hattie Gold, in 2014 at 101. Joel Russ died in 1961.

Waxing rhapsodic in The New York Times Magazine in 2003, the editor and publisher Jason Epstein wrote that Russ & Daughters was “New York’s most hallowed shrine to the miracle of caviar, smoked salmon, ethereal herring and silken chopped liver.”

When he walked from his apartment to the store, he added, “I experience that enlargement of the soul felt by ancient worshipers as they blissfully approached the temples of their gods.”

The store also elicited mouthwatering reminiscences from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and journalist Morley Safer in a documentary film, “The Sturgeon Queens” (2013).

Martha Stewart recalled recently that in the early 20th century there were two dozen or more appetizing stores on the Lower East Side. “Today,” she wrote, “only one remains: Russ & Daughters.”

The reason, Mark Federman explained, was simple: “No one wanted their kids in the business.”

Yes, his daughter is now an owner of Russ & Daughters, but his son, Noah, practices medicine.

“As far as I know, I am the only Jewish father who was disappointed that his kid became a doctor,” Federman said. “I was thinking sturgeon, not surgeon.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Sam Roberts © 2018 The New York Times


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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard




Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.


However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard




President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health




Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

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Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.


Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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