Yoga, writing, and music
Local bookstore offers variety of programs
by Adriana Rambay Fernández
Reporter staff writer
Feb 14, 2013 | 11990 views | 0 0 comments | 211 211 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MUSIC CIRCLES – The Symposia Community Bookstore in Hoboken offers drumming and guitar circles on a weekly basis.
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Hoboken’s only used community bookstore, Symposia, continues to offer a variety of workshops and programs that appeal to people of all ages. Since 2001, the small bookshop on 510 Washington St. has cultivated a sense of community with readings, discussions, music circles, yoga, and workshops for kids. Beyond books, the non-profit Symposia survives the digital age through its owners Corneliu and Carmen Rusu’s take on innovation and the support of their volunteers and donors.

“It is a friendly environment,” said Carmen Rusu, manager and co-owner. “For a lot of people, this is like their living room.”

“It is a great place to meet other Hobokenites,” noted Rusu.

Rusu says their philosophy behind programming “is to empower people,” and encourage individuals who have a specific skill set or expertise to share that with others. The programs are typically free and volunteer-run.

Healing drumming and food

On Feb. 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. the bookstore is hosting a Drum Circle and Vegan-Raw Potluck event with Robert Lawrence Friedman. Kids are welcome to this event, which is meant to be relaxing, stress-relieving, and healthy. Friedman, author of “The Healing Power of the Drum,” will teach rhythmic exercises, vocalizations and specific hand drum techniques to demonstrate how the drum can help people de-stress, get energized, and release negative emotions. Friedman has appeared on numerous national television shows and has been interviewed in multiple health magazines to discuss his views on managing stress.

No experience is required and instruments will be provided to attendees.

A half hour before the drumming circle event begins, Symposia will host a Vegan-Raw Potluck from 6:30 to 7 p.m. People are invited to bring a vegan dish to share and/or cash donations for food. Space is limited. To pre-register, visit: or contact Gail Zikri at: (201) 388-3616 or

Yoga every Wednesday

Symposia is now opening its doors to a new environment for yoga practice and offers small classes that are taught by certified yoga instructor Carmen Rusu in a supportive and non-competitive manner. Students will be gently guided through basic yoga postures, yogic breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Rusu also provides individual attention.

After the class, students are welcome to linger, have tea, and chat. Refreshments will be served.

Yoga classes are $5 and are offered every Wednesday at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Carmen at: (201) 805-1739 or


Symposia seeks poets, writers on any genre, and all around lovers of language and discourse for the writing workshop Teaching Language New Tricks being held on Feb 21 at 7 p.m. The event is for people interested in sharing their creative experiences and endeavors in order to foster dialogue before “it becomes obsolete…about amazing things which are in the storehouse of the soul to discuss and share.”

For more information, contact Phil at: (201) 264-4508.

Guitar Circle

People are invited to jam with local guitar players in a casual, friendly atmosphere every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Guitarists can share their favorite songs and also learn new ones. All playing levels and styles are welcome. To register or for more information, contact Carlos at

Puppet shows for little ones

The bookstore offers a regular number of puppet shows for babies and toddlers through Puppetonia. The Rusu’s started Puppetonia as a way to generate more income for the store.

“It is the most popular program for kids,” noted Rusu.

The music and puppet shows teach more than the letters and number but also incorporate important social skills, early academics, thinking skills, motor skills, and self-expression. The music is upbeat. Children are encouraged to move to the rhythm, follow verbal instructions, practice sequential movements, and enjoy themselves. The puppeteers also bring out a bubble machine for fun with bubbles. The regular puppet show schedule is Mon. thru Fri. at 10 and 11 a.m., Tues. at 4 p.m. Baby Puppetonia is offered on Tues. at 2 p.m. and Thurs. at 1:30 p.m. Two new shows are offered every week. The Saturday schedule is sporadic. No reservation is required. The cost is $15 per child. For more information, call or text: (201) 805-1739, email:, or visit

Events, workshops, and activities pick up more momentum in the spring when the bookstore hosts more gatherings during the week. A popular writers’ series with a published author returns for beginner writers.

The Symposia bookstore is open daily from 12 to 6 p.m. and often later into the evening depending on programming. They seek volunteers and donations of books, CDs, and DVDs as well as financial contributions. For more information, call: (201) 963-0909 or visit:

Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at

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