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2 awardsTwo longtime Scarsdale employees, Mary Lou McClure, Scarsdale Village Chief Financial Officer and Custodian of Taxes, and Maggie Favretti, a Scarsdale High School social studies teacher, were on honored for their service on Tuesday with the Thomas Sobol Award. This is the second annual presentation of the award, which is sponsored by the Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service (SFCS) and honors the legacy of Dr. Thomas Sobol, an extraordinary educator and a visionary in his field.

Held at the Harwood Building in Scarsdale Village, the presentation opened with remarks from Susan Greenberg, SFCS board president, who talked about Dr. Sobol's impact on the Scarsdale school community and why the award is given in his name.

"We are honoring two special employees of the Scarsdale Village and Scarsdale School Susuan GreenbergDistrict because Tom believed in collaboration between the village and school district," she said.

Following Greenberg's remarks, Bill Miller, director at large for SFCS, expounded upon the educator's emphasis on collaboration and went on to introduce McClure and Favretti as "two people who personify the legacy of Thomas Sobol, who saw public service as his calling."

Stephen Pappalardo, Scarsdale Village Manager, presented the first award to McClure, who he described as someone with "intelligence, professionalism, work ethic and integrity" and the "ultimate team player." As a Scarsdale Village employee, McClure administers all matters relating to finance and supports the preparation of the annual Village operating and capital budgets. Bill MillerHer hard work has helped the Village Board adopt consistently responsible annual operating budgets and maintain Scarsdale's Aaa bond rating. Always looking to improve operational efficiencies, she helped to upgrade the Village's Financial and Enterprise Resource Planning system and implement online bill payment and online recreation registration.

"In considering a worthy candidate for this award, I thought of Dr. Sobol's modest brilliance and innovative top-down support for bottom-up education reform," he said. "Mary Lou's consistent and continued pursuit of more efficient and effective service enhancements to benefit the Village and greater Scarsdale community, and her modest, professional, collaborative, and unassuming manner is consistent with Dr. Sobol's approach."

Next, Dr. Thomas Hagerman, Scarsdale Superintendent of Schools, took the podium to honor Maggie Favretti. He commented on her intellect, her dedication, and her "genuine belief that as educators, we can improve the world around us." As a teacher, Favretti has Mclurecontributed much to Scarsdale High School and her students, most notably developing interdisciplinary teaching and world history programs and serving as an adviser to various school clubs.

"Maggie has done a wonderful job of connecting student learning to real world situations," Dr. Hagerman said. Outside of SHS, she has published short works about the commodification of the American landscape, women's poetry during the Enlightenment, food history, and local history, and served on committees for the World History Association, the College Board, and various historical associations.

"Maggie has connected with countless students, families, and community members," Dr. Hagerman said. "We are delighted that she is this year's recipient of the Sobol Award." He also announced that sadly, it would be Favretti's last year working in the Scarsdale School system and that he had no doubt she would bring the same passion and energy to her future endeavors.

After the award presentations, Harriet Sobol, the wife of Dr. Thomas Sobol, spoke fondly of her late husband's accomplishments and about his devotion to the Scarsdale community.

"It's a wonderful way to remember him," she said. "He would have been happy to see Favretti and Hagermanpeople being rewarded for going above and beyond their responsibilities."

Dr. Sobol was known for going above and beyond throughout his career, as Superintendent of Schools for Scarsdale from 1971-1978, the New York State Commissioner of Education from 1987-1995, and as a Professor of Education at Columbia Teachers' College until his retirement in 2006. During his time in Scarsdale, Dr. Sobol was influential in the development of the Scarsdale Community Youth Service Project, a unique collaboration between the Village and the Schools and administered by SFCS, contributing significantly to the well being of students in the middle and high schools. Later he served as a board member of the SFCS and was the recipient—with his wife Harriet—of the SFCS Open Door Award for service to the community. Dr. Sobol passed away on September 3, 2015, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson's Disease.

food-bank-1-1-1The United Interfaith Food Bank (the "UIFB") is a cooperative of houses of worship in southern Westchester which has been helping to feed the hungry since 2004.

The UIFB will enter a new phase in 2018, partnering with the  and with Family Services of Westchester to provide food to low-income and extremely low-income families in White Plains. Through the Food Bank for Westchester, the UIFB is able to obtain food at steeply discounted costs and therefore help feed more individuals at less cost. Family Services of Westchester runs Head Start programs at several sites in White Plains. The young children attending these programs are provided with breakfast, lunch and a snack during each school day but they (and their siblings and parents) are at risk for going hungry on weekends and holidays. The UIFB seeks to help bridge this gap by providing bags of food to these families to supplement what they need to purchase, freeing up some of their limited resources for other family necessities.

Each month, volunteers from the houses of worship comprising the UIFB (Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont & Emanu-El, Scarsdale Congregational Church, Shaarei Tikvah - The Scarsdale Conservative Congregation and St. James the Less Episcopal Church), unpack deliveries from the Food Bank for Westchester, collect supplemental food items, sort and re-pack the food into individual family bags and deliver approximately 100 bags of food to Family Services of Westchester Head Start site(s). Each bag contains a variety of foods such as canned vegetables and fruits, beef ravioli, tunafish, soup, black beans, rice, pasta, pasta sauce and cereal.

Historically, the current members of the United Interfaith Food Bank, together with Christ Church Bronxville, served three sites in the north Bronx from 2004 to 2017, providing 100 bags of food twice a month to three Bronx organizations offering vital services to needy children, families and seniors. Each house of worship has raised funds and/or organized targeted collections, usually tied to major holidays, to encourage congregants to provide food and funds. Anyone wishing to donate to support this worthy program can donate online here. Just select "social action" from the choices of funds. All monetary donations have gone directly to purchasing food as necessary to supplement in-kind donations. We have no administrative costs.

Volunteers are needed. 
Contact us here if you are able to help.

Thursday afternoons (once or twice a month), to help unload deliveries from the Food Bank for Westchester;

Thursday afternoons or Friday mornings to sort and pack individual family food bags for delivery to the Head Start children;

Fridays before 2:00 P.M. to deliver food bags to White Plains

Scarsdale Synagogue is a reform Jewish congregation located at 2 Ogden Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583. 914.725.5175. Scarsdale Synagogue Website

sisterhoodFrustrated with the hostility between Jews and Muslims in the U.S., Scarsdale's Lori Amer decided to do more than opine. After reading in the New York Times about the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a group that brings Jewish and Muslim women together, she got the idea to start a local chapter here in Westchester. Amer, who is Jewish, reached out to Rabia Mian, the Muslim mother of one of Amers' sons friends and suggested forming the chapter. Mobilized by the Muslim travel ban, Rabia recruited seven of her Muslim friends to join them. One of the other mothers happened to teach Lori's first grade daughter's class about Ramadan. Together they formed Westchester Chapter 3 of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. There are now 16 women in the Westchester chapter with six from Scarsdale. They join a national network that was recently featured on the Today Show.

On December 5, the membership of the Westchester Chapter delivered homemade baked goods to police and firefighters in Scarsdale, Rye, Pelham, White Plains, Bronxville, New Rochelle, Mamaroneck and Hastings. They wrapped packages of rugelach and cookies baked by the Jewish women with samosas, a savory Pakistani delicacy, prepared by the Muslim members. The goodies were a way to thank local police and firefighters at holiday time, and also to demonstrate through their group, that those who are different from each other can find common ground.

"I think many of us are feeling the impact of the divisiveness in the country and world, so coming together as sisters to share our commonalities makes us feel united in a goal," said chapter co-leader Lori Amer.

The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom (SOSS) is a four-year-old national organization comprised of women from the two minority religions to form friendships and together perform acts of charity and kindness. Members believe that their joint acts of goodwill and education can counteract the hatred and prejudice that has proliferated across the country.

boot4Two local former creative directors have collaborated to create decorated war boots to benefit soldiers in service abroad. These boots will be auctioned off to support iPads for soldiers, a group that brings overseas soldiers closer to their families and loved ones, by collecting donations to purchase iPads for them.

Nanette Koryn and Larry Dalton created their first pair of boots in 2014 when they each designed a boot for the Footsteps to Freedom exhibit that was shown at Art Basel in Miami. At the time, artists from all over the country were commissioned to design one of these real combat-worn boots, and the proceeds went to iPads for soldiers. The showcase was called, "Footsteps to Freedom. ... You take steps everyday and the next time you do, consider walking a mile in the boots of soldiers."

The boots were auctioned for thousands of dollars and the funds were used to purchase the iPads. Koryn's first work, decorated with daisies, is shown on the organization's website.

This year, the two purchased a new boot and collaborated on a labor of love. nanette-larryLarry is now battling ALS and the degenerative disease has caused him to lose the use of his very artistic hands. But his mind remains as sharp as a tack. So the two had a lot of fun researching the quotes and laying out the design together. Nanette held the the sharpie, but they both held it together in creative heart and spirit.

They created a simple typographic design with various "war quotes", some historic and others well-known, from the current vernacular, covering all the nooks and crannies of the boot.

The quotes range from peace-promoting ones, "An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind" (Ghandi) and the iconic anti-Vietnam message created by Mothers for Peace in the early seventies, "War is not Healthy For Children And Other Living Things".... to more hawkish ones like, "Locked and Loaded," as well as "Let's roll" (Todd Beamer on United Airlines flight 93)..... and one from the Donald himself.

Learn more about this important effort here:

Here is a quote from a soldier who donated his boots to the artists in 2014:

In these boots I have bled. These are the boots that carried me through in times of great despair. I am SGT Andrew Burge and these are my boots. In these boots I have traveled farther than many men. I have been shot in combat wearing these boots, but these boots brought me back to my feet and allowed secondbootme to fight on. These boots have been there during some of the worst times in my life and have been there during some of the best times of my life. When I gaze upon these boots it takes me back to a time of unforgettable pain, suffering, and loss. The friends I will never see again, the explosions that I thought would remove my lifeless body from these boots, and the memories of looking down at these boots through tears and sorrow as names of soldiers are called out, but they are not present for duty because they have made the greatest sacrifice a soldier can make. I have prayed to these boots, "please keep me moving, don't let me stop, let me make it through just one more time, please don't fail me now." Oh the stories these boots could tell. But I love these boots. These boots are a constant reminder of not only the bad but the good as well. I see these boots and I see the faces of friends long gone and relive the memories of good times in the worst conditions. I feel the camaraderie that only brothers in arms can feel, the bond that never goes away. These boots are a reminder of the unselfishness of soldiers and measures we are prepared to go to in order to preserve the safety of one another and our loved ones back home. We are the other 1%, the less than 1% of the American population who is ready and willing to accept the call to arms and protect the nation from any who wish it harm. In these boots I bore witness.


SVACholidayphotoThe Scarsdale Village Ambulance Corps held their holiday party and award ceremony at Beach Point Country Club on Thursday night December 14. They celebrated with the White Plains Corps as well.

Debbie Fuchs was named EMT of the year and Jon Sarles was awarded Paramedic of the Year. Berenice Miller was recognized for 38 years of volunteering for SVAC. She will retire this year.

Photos by Jon Thaler – see more here:

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