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wjcssamwickTwo Scarsdale women, Linda Plattus and Cynthia Samwick are helping the UJA-Federation of New York’s Scarsdale Women’s Philanthropy to raise funds for the WJCS Senior Program, a day program that provides 250 older adults with a critical lifeline: an opportunity to connect to others and their community. The women have committed to raising $50,000 as part of UJA-Federation’s Share a Mitzvah, with an additional $25,000 available from a challenge grant if the goal is met.

The senior program, which is run by Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency, offers Yiddish and art classes, a current events club, card games, exercise classes, holiday celebrations, and a hot lunch program, among other programs. For some clients, it is their only hot meal of the day.

Most of the people who come to the senior center, which is housed at the Sinai Free Synagogue in Mount Vernon, are widows and widowers in their 80s and 90s. Many have lost their closest friends. Some have outlived their children. Others have spent years caring for a frail spouse. Nearly all of them must now build new lives — alone. The WJCS senior program provides services to allow them to continue to live independently.

Cynthia Samwick told Scarsdale10583 why she was moved to get involved in this important project:

“With the population of the elderly growing so rapidly in the US, it is vital that we address their growing needs – especially right in our own community. Currently, I am an intern with Dorot, an organization that provides companionship for isolated seniors, while I’m getting my masters in social work. Therefore, when Tammy Brass, from the UJA, told me about the problems that the WJCS Senior Program at Sinai Free Synagogue was facing, I knew I had to get involved. Many of my clients at Dorot attend the programs at Sinai Free. It is such an important part of their lives and an incredible resource that is their lifeline. It’s a privilege to be involved with the “Share-a-mitzvah” initiative. I just hope we can raise these vital funds and help our neighboring seniors.

wjcsplattusCynthia Samwick and Linda Plattus, both of Scarsdale, serve as chairs of the WJCS Senior Program Share a Mitzvah project. For more information, please contact Tammy Brass at 1.914.761.5100, ext. 133 or .


johnkingJohn T. King, the Minister of Music at Hitchcock Church and the Artistic Director and Conductor of the New Choral Society is well known in Scarsdale for his wonderful concerts. He leads a chorus of 48 talented vocalists from Westchester and offers four choral concert programs each season, two accompanied by a professional orchestra and soloists.

This Sunday, March 13, the New Choral Society will present Mozart’s Requiem at 3 pm at Hitchcock Church. Soloists include soprano Arinna Zukerman, mezzo soprano Laura Vlasak-Nolen and bass-baritone Christopher Temporelli who will perform with the chorus.

King spared a few minutes in his busy schedule this week to answer our questions:

Where did you grow up and when did you first become aware of your musical talents?

I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and started piano lessons very late in the game--ninth grade, to be exact, and organ lessons even later--between tenth and eleventh grade.

As a child did you play an instrument or sing?

I always sang in children's choirs at church but didn't start formal instrumental lessons until high school.

What is your formal music training?

I have a Bachelor of Music from the University of Louisville School of Music; a Masters of Music from Yale University and a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the Manhattan School of Music.

What was your first musical job after you completed your education?

I have been working "in the field" since I was in high first job was very part time as a church organist when I was a high school senior and I have been playing the organ and conducting ever since. My first job out of post-graduate school was at Hitchcock Church, where I started twenty one years ago.

How did you find Scarsdale ... or how did Scarsdale find you?

Hitchcock Church found me when I graduated with my Doctorate of Musical Arts from Manhattan School of Music in May 1989 . Hitchcock was starting a search a former professor of mine gave them my name. The head of the search committee contacted me, and after some time, I threw my hat in the ring. The rest is history!

What are you responsibilities at the Church?

I am the full-time Minister of Music where I work with all of the choirs, including the adult and four children's choirs. I play the organ at all of the services as well.

What can you tell musical novices about Mozart’s Requiem? And why did you select it for the concert on Sunday?

The Requiem is probably the most familiar piece of classical choral music ever written. Even if you have not ever listened to classical choral music,mozartyou will recognize some of the movements from movies and commercials. The music from the Requiem runs throughout the movie “Amadeus.” It is so popular because it is a work of true genius. It is sublime, transcendent and absolute beauty.

What are the specific challenges to performing this work?

The work requires excellent choral singers and just the right mix of soloists to really make the music come to life, for it runs the gamut of blood-curdling to tender and peaceful.

What do you most enjoy as the Director of the New Choral Society?

I LOVE bringing great music to this audiences and to know that people have been transported is very rewarding.

What advice would you give aspiring musicians and conductors today?

Find the passion.

Last: Can you tell those who may not be classical music aficionados why they would enjoy the concert this Sunday?

It’s all there … the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. If you liked Amadeus or old Volvo commercials or Black Swan, you will walk away with a new appreciation for classical music and Mozart.

Background on Mozart's Requiem:

Mozart’s “Requiem”, is often thought to have been finished after his death by one or more composers who were close to him, is a must hear for any classical music lover. Shrouded in mystery regarding the actual parts of the work that were composed by Mozart, or by rivals, the legend that is probably closest to the truth is that the work was commissioned by Count Walsegg, who came to Mozart in disguise. Count Walsegg was known to have commissioned works from well known composers and then copy them into his own hand and take credit for the composition. It is speculated that Mozart was in such poor health when approached by a mysterious stranger (Walsegg) that he believed that the man in the dark cloak was a messenger of Death. The work remained unfinished and eventually his widow saw to it that Mozart’s students, most notably Franz Süssmayr, finished the piece.

If you would like to see the performance on Sunday March 13 at 3 pm, there are still a few tickets left!  To reserve yours now, click here:



hamilton1.jpgGordon Hamilton, a custodian at Scarsdale High School, constructed this gingerbread house for Valentine’s Day. Hamilton is a skilled pastry chef and spent 15 hours working on his giant confection that was displayed at Scarsdale High School for Valentines Day. Prior to February break, the gingerbread house was donated to the Pediatric Ward in White Plains Hospital.

--Posted by Monica Palekar, Mathematics Teacher, Scarsdale High Schoolhamilton2.jpg



skincareIn just a few hours you can discover something new about yourself, feel uplifted and regenerated, and adjust your perspective at Kol Ami’s second Spa for the Soul on Sunday April 3rd from 11:30 – 4:40 pm. The journey of replenishment will be lead by Rabbi Shira Milgrom, keynote speaker, Rabbi Pamela Wax and Rabbi Cara Weinstein Rosenthal. The day will be filled with learning, great food and spa time. time. Participants can try a yoga class, massage, or a facial, shop at the mini boutique, and get guidance from professionals in a variety of health-related fields. Spend the day treating your mind, body and soul.

Three study sessions will be included:

Every Move You Make: Turning Your Life Into Spiritual Practice: Rabbi Pamela Wax

We tend to think of spiritual practices as "extras" in our life -- things like prayer, meditation, or yoga. In this workshop, the group will discuss these spiritual paths, but also expand the parameters of what constitutes spiritual practice. It can include your most intimate relationships, childcare, or housecleaning. Find out how our everyday living can also be spiritual practice.

Nurturing a Heart of Gratitude: Rabbi Shira Milgrom

Scientists and mystics alike tell us that the most likely way to happiness is by cultivating gratitude. Study some of these ancient and contemporary texts and consider why this spiritual practice - the practice of blessings - is so challenging and so filled with potential.

The Prayer of the Heart: Chana’s Story: Rabbi Cara Weinstein Rosenthal

Walk into almost any synagogue, and you’ll see people praying silently. Where did this practice come from? Delve into the story of Chana, the Biblical heroine from the Book of Samuel who transformed the way that Jews pray. Learn about how a mild-mannered Israelite woman became a liturgical innovator, and use Chana’s story as a lens to examine your own prayer lives and the uniqueness of women’s relationship to prayer.

  • $85.00 includes all programming and the luncheon
  • Sponsors: $118.00
  • Patrons $144.00
  • Benefactors $ 180.00

To sign up, click here

For questions please contact Jill Abraham at 472-5806 / or Lauri Carey at 472- 8076 /

Spa for the Soul
Sunday April 3, 2011
11:30am- 4:30pm
Congregation Kol Ami,
252 Soundview Avenue,
White Plains, New York



bowlAThe Scarsdale Bowl, honoring Emily Sherwood will be held at Lake Isle Country Club on Wednesday April 6th. Invitations have been sent out and the committee welcomes everyone in the community to attend the dinner. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to your invitation. If you did not receive an invitation and would like to go, visit the Scarsdale Foundation website at: and click on Reservation Form or contact Nancy Michaels at 725-8310, or by email at .

The Nominating Committee of the Scarsdale Teen Center Adult Board seeks candidates for next year's Adult Board (2011-2012) from the Scarsdale community. They welcome all recent high school graduates and Scarsdale residents 18 years or older. Please contact Kendra Porter, Executive Director of the Scarsdale Teen Center with a letter of interest at or call 722-8358 for more information.

Save the date for the Gourmet Galaxy, the Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling's Gala event, on May 4th at the Westchester Country Club, honoring Judge John Galloway, III. Sample tastes from top caterers, bid at the world class auction, support Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling, and honor Judge Galloway, all on a marvelous May evening at the Westchester Country Club.



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