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Jennifer PalmieriOn Thursday night June 7 at 7:30 pm the Scarsdale Adult School will host a special event with a New York Times Best Selling Author, Jennifer Palmieri. Her book, Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to Women Who Will Rule the World is an empowering letter to the first woman president, and by extension, to all women working to succeed in any field. The evening will feature a conversation with Chris Riback, host of Chris Riback’s Conversations and whose politics podcast has been ranked No. 3 on iTunes News and Politics category. Tickets are available at

According to Riback, "Palmieri considers it all – history, gender, the campaign, Donald Trump – and offers advice to the girls and women who, as she puts it, will run the world.” He adds, “The book is incredibly reflective — In a time of #MeToo and even #EnoughisEnough, the result is a really thoughtful story that captures our times and provides clear insights about the future.”

An evening that is not for women only, we can all learn from Palmieri’s inspirational and practical advice for how we can make a difference today and for future of generations to come.

Jennifer Palmieri is the former Director of Communications for the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign. She served as White House Communications Director for U.S. President Barack Obama. Before her service at the White House, she served as the President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Earlier, Palmieri was the National Press Secretary for the 2004 John Edwards presidential campaign and for the Democratic National Committee in 2002. She served as a Deputy White House Press Secretary, Special Assistant to White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and Deputy Director of Scheduling and Advance in the Clinton White House.

Chris Riback ( is co-founder of Good Guys Media Ventures and host of Chris Riback’s Dear Madam President book coverConversations - podcasts on politics, business, technology, science and the arts, including Political Wire Conversations, Investigating Breast Cancer, and Working Capital Conversations.

Chris’ Political Wire Conversations has been ranked No. 3 on iTunes News & Politics category. He also has served as guest host for a national show on the ABC radio network. Chris is co-author of “YOU WON, NOW WHAT? How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House” (Scribner), a political management book widely hailed by prominent politicians and journalists as a must-read for “anyone seeking to understand how American politics operates.” Good Guys Media Ventures incubates digital media properties — including Good Guys Podcasts — for businesses and non-profits, helping organizations connect with — and influence — audiences that matter.

Who: Jennifer Palmieri, Chris Riback, Scarsdale Adult School
What: Author Talk about Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to Women Who Will Rule the World
When: Thursday, June 7, 2018
Where: Scarsdale Middle School
Time: 7:30-8:30 pm. Book signing after talk
Price: $25 for standard admission; $40 for standard admission and hardcover book; Free for students 18 and under
Tickets: Purchase your tickets online at

Contact: Jill Serling, Executive Director of Scarsdale Adult School. 914-723-2325 or

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deciccos5DeCicco's was hit hard by a Jeep, midday on Monday.Just before noon on Monday May 21, there was the screech of brakes, the sound of breaking glass and a loud boom in Scarsdale Village. Shoppers looked out their windows and saw a white jeep in the window of DeCiccos Market on East Parkway.

It turns out that a confused 16 year-old teen hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, jumped the curb and headed straight for the store in her 2018 Jeep Wrangler. The accident shattered the front glass windows and turned over the coffee station in front of the check out counters.

Fortunately no one was seriously injured though one of the workers at the check out was scraped and bruised and removed from the scene by Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

One shopper reported that surprisingly, the incident barely stopped any of the shoppers or workers in the store or on the street. After a moments pause, everyone was back to business.

This is not the first time a car was driven into DeCicco's. In July 2012 a 64 year-old woman drove her car into the windows on the other side of the entry to DeCiccos, breaking the plate glass windows, taking down salad dressing and mayonnaise and leaving the lingering odor of vinegar in the store. A 97 year-old passenger was in the car at the time.

(Photo credit: Susan Jureller)deciccos4Police and SVAC rushed to the scene.deciccos2The Jeep shattered the front window and took down the coffee counter

deciccos3The Jeep knocked out the front window of the market.

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AaronPankenHundreds of mourners from near and far came to Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale on Tuesday May 8 to pay their respects to Rabbi Aaron Panken, a leader of the Jewish Reform Movement and the twelfth President of Hebrew Union College who died in a plane accident at the age of 53 on Saturday May 5. The synagogue overflowed with visitors, with mourners filling the main sanctuary and spilling over to an adjacent room to watch the proceedings on monitors.

The service was led by colleagues and family members, all who were rabbis and cantors, who knew Panken intimately and were deeply shaken by his loss. They eulogized Panken, noting his deep knowledge of the Talmud, his impact on his colleagues, trainees, family and friends and his vision for the Jewish movement here and around the globe. Both Panken’s sister Melinda Panken and his sister in law Sarah Messinger are rabbis, and they participated and shared more personal comments about the Aaron they knew as a boy, teen, father and friend.

WRT Rabbi Jonathan Blake opened with the question that was on everyone’s mind; saying, “How can this be? He was right here three weeks ago celebrating WRT’s 65th anniversary… He was wise and witty.... Now there are no words, only fathomless grief. When a sage dies, we have no one like him.”

Rabbi Sarah Messinger introduced three speakers; Rabbi Larry Hoffman, author and professor at HUC, Rabbi David Stern of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas and President of the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the former rabbi at WRT who now serves as the President of the Union for Reform Judaism. All three spoke of Panken’s intellect, compassion and humanity.

Hoffman, who worked with Panken at HUC said that Panken had “a double major in vision, competence and intellect and at the same time plain goodness and sweetness.” He called him, “thoughtful, modest and independent,” and said he was a Talmudist who “never stopped studying.” He said that Panken was loved by so many of his students, and exclaimed, “Look how many have come from around the world today.” Noting Panken’s good character, Hoffman said, “One who lives without blame, who does what is right, such a one shall never be shaken…. The tragedy is he was just hitting his stride, just putting the puzzle together when he was taken from us.”

Panken had been scheduled to ordain this year’s class of rabbis and cantors on Sunday May 6, the day after the accident. Hoffman said, “He was planning to ordain the rabbis. He was going to tell them to take a stand, to commit themselves to a better world… On behalf of this college we will complete the sermon for you and give it to your ordainees.” He concluded with a promise, “You remain our rabbi, even in death. We vow that you will not have worked and dreamed in vain.”

Rabbi David Stern said he had “been meaning to ask Aaron a Talmud question this week. Here is the question. The text says that the priest chosen to remove the ashes from the alter – there was no lamp in his hand. Why – he could walk by the light of the flames in the alter? Or to keep his hands unencumbered? I wanted to ask if its good for a rabbi to show up empty handed for the service. … I can’t ask him my question now. I can cite him as my answer. He showed up empty handed everyday, empty handed as in open hearted and open handed.”

Stern discussed Panken’s love of electronics and the opera, and his ability to as an electrical engineer to understand gadgets and fix things. He called Panken “The rarest of breeds – a rabbi who could fix stuff.” He mentioned his love of travel, “to experience and to know more”…. and how he proudly showed Stern his hand steamer to prepare his suits for his many trips. Stern said it was “fun to disagree with him because he was smart, stubborn and practical.” According to Stern, Panken “had a great sense of play and wicked sense of humor.”

Stern discussed Panken’s special relationship with Jack Stern, David’s father, also a former rabbi at WRT. About Panken, Stern said, “My father adored Aaron. Aaron was the favorite Stern child. When the young couple (Aaron and Lisa) showed up they were greeted with a warm embrace and a punch list… the printer, the television, the air conditioner. He had a huge heart and the patience to make it all work. …For all of his achievements – he never stopped being a rabbi to us when my mother was dying and when my father was there alone. He made Jack Stern laugh or made him proud. He could put things together like printer cables and broken hearts. He was a mensch beyond measure.”

Stern continue, “He loved sailing and he loved flying. He had a thing for the water and the wind. I believe he was most at home in the sky and in the water. He has fallen from a Sabbath sky and our hearts are broken. If a bunch of broken hearts together can make things whole, we can try.”

He vowed, “Let Aaron’s example guide our way. These are dark days. He taught us how to sail by a night sky. Good night sweet prince, flights of angels sing you to your rest.”

Rabbi Rick Jacobs said he originally met Panken in the 1980’s when Panken interviewed to be his intern. He said he was originally puzzled by Aaron, thinking, “Who is this guy? A degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins – if I needed someone to fix the AV at the synagogue, he was the one. He also played guitar. Either he was a complete misfit or an extraordinary gem of a human being.”

Jacobs said, “Rabbi Panken recruited, taught and mentored a new generation of Jewish leaders. He modeled how to lead a Jewish life. Greatness and goodness flowed forth from this remarkable man.”

He said that Aaron had come to Judaism at an early age, asking his parents to send him to religious school. He met his wife Lisa Messinger at Camp Eisner in Great Barrington. About Aaron he said, “You could have dropped Aaron into any room in our movement. He possessed all of God’s leadership gifts.” He called Aaron’s love of Israel, “full throated and constant,” and said he advocated for a more inclusive and pluralistic Israel.”

He called for everyone to “Be disciples of Aaron. How do Aaron’s disciples conduct themselves? They spend their days loving and pursuing peace. Today this sanctuary is filled with the many disciples of Rabbi Aaron Panken who aspire to bring us to the deep water…Pursue peace and love all of God’s children.”

Jacobs also noted that Panken was unique, “In the Talmud there are some sages that are irreplaceable. Aaron Panken can never ever be replaced.”

Panken’s father Peter Panken shared his stories of watching Aaron grow up. He said that after getting his undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins Aaron carefully weighed his decision about a profession, telling his father, “I want a vocation which requires life long learning. I want to spend my time helping other people. I want to teach and mentor other people. I want to be a force for good, a community leader. He thought about medical school or a PhD in engineering but decided that what he wanted to do was at the heart of the rabbi’s profession.” He said that Aaron called his parents everyday, from all over the world and said, “Aaron we will miss your calls and we will miss you our son.”

His sister Rabbi Melinda Panken said that she and her brother “grew up laughing,” and described a joyful home and raucous family dinners. She said, “laughing was Aaron’s coping mechanism.” She looked up to him, and said, “I loved my big brother so much that I would do anything he told me to do.” She continued, “I will especially miss his Seders, 25 charosets, reading the Aramaic, shaking the table when Elijah came in the door, the pounding on the table.”

She then told a story that perhaps foreshadowed Panken’s fate. She said the family was on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard when Aaron was eight years old. He was outside riding his bike and they went to check on him but couldn’t find him. They started searching and finally found him at a nearby airstrip, sitting inside a plane. She ended by saying, “Aaron was taken to soon, with too much left undone for our family and the Jewish people.”

Sarah Messinger remembered meeting Aaron “the geeky guy” at Camp Eisner. She called him "genuine, honest and sensitive.” She remembers Aaron admiring her sister Lisa from afar, and told Lisa, “he loved and respect you. You decorated his life with love and laughter.” She told Panken’s children, “You were the jewels that adorned your father’s heart. He will always be with you because you are each the best parts of him. … May his name be a blessing.”

Former Scarsdale resident Cantor Tamara Wolfson, who was ordained on Sunday May 6 at a ceremony at Congregation Emanuel that Panken planned to lead, said, “A few days ago, you taught me that the Talmud says that smicha doesn’t always require laying hands on someone’s head — that it is enough for a community to recognize you as their leader for smicha to be granted. But all I wanted was that moment. You and me before the open ark. You had an ability to bless, to teach, to really hear people, to inspire people — unlike anyone I’ll ever know. I knew I’d wrestle with God forever, but this is a new fight. And I plan to channel all my shock and anger and grief and sadness into being exactly the kind of leader you challenged us all to be through your example. That’s the only thing left to do.”

It was evident that Panken touched so many lives and will be missed first by his family, but also by his Scarsdale friends, his colleagues, his students, and the international Jewish community. Though his life was cut short, he made an extraordinary contribution in the time he was here.

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the little mermaid 5Travel under the sea with the senior class this weekend. Directed by Camila Tardiff and assistant director Sophia Roth, along with musical director Hudson Lin, Disney’s The Little Mermaid will be this years senior class play. The cast and crew has been working intensely on the production which will be onstange this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The play stars Caroline Stemmerman as Ariel and Jacob Greenberg as Prince Eric, alongside Chloe Faegenburg as Flounder, Camila Grisanti as Sebastian, Jolie Suchin as Ursula, and Eashan Panjwani as King Triton.

the little mermaid 6Everything in the play is done by students, from choreography, costumes, and makeup, to publicity. The seniors have worked tirelessly to make sure the show goes on without a hitch.

Both directors are in the drama club and therefore could not participate on stage, however, they decided to take part in the production in a different way. “Because I couldn't be in it I decided to do the other side of theater which is directing and producing,” commented Roth. “So many of my friends decided to do this production so it's been fun to share this experience with them. I’ve been able to work together with them and meet new people that I've never had classes with before and form a bond with them through singing, dancing and acting”

As much as the two directors have taken away from this experience, they have faced some challenges. “It’s been pretty difficult to assemble a group of people… Most of the people in the show have never done a show before, with a few exceptions,… for Camila and I it was mostly introducing them to the world of theater, the rules and courtesy of doing a show and how to be respectful of their cast mates, their directors and supervisors,” said Roth. “I give any director I've ever worked with a lot of credit because now I know how much work goes into it”

the little mermaid 7After much consideration The Little Mermaid was chosen as the senior class play due to the large character list which allows many people to participate. “It's one of my favorites and its a ton of fun, great music and characters,” noted Roth. “Were really excited to put this on we hope a lot of people come to see it. A lot of work has gone into it.”

Come see the play this weekend, May 17 and May 18 at 7:00pm and May 19 at 2:00pm in the Scarsdale High School Auditorium. Tickets will be sold at the door or buy your tickets online here.

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Lacrosse 1Lacrosse families are not complaining about their coaches, in fact, just the opposite. The Raiders Varsity lacrosse team families surprised their coaches with the first ever Scarsdale High School Coach Appreciation Day Saturday, April 28 during their home game against Westlake. As Coach James Synowiez and Coach John Felix led their team onto the field, fans lined their path holding sticks with pictures of their faces and posters to show their support for the Varsity Head Coach and Assistant Coach. Large helium balloons in numbers 23 and 39 were tied to the fence in tribute to the numbers the coaches wore when they played in college. Coach Synowiez was number 39 at Manhattan College and Coach Felix was number 23 at Geneseo.

Lacrosse 4Although they coached Junior Varsity hockey together, the pair only began coaching Varsity lacrosse at Scarsdale High School as Head Coach and Assistant Coach last year. They managed to capture the Section 1 Class A league IB Championship title in their Inaugural season. After being down by as many as five goals last Saturday, Synowiez and Felix motivated their team to a come from behind win in overtime, defeating Westlake 12-11.

The secret to their coaching success is the chemistry they create with the boys; the coaches have done an incredible job bringing these boys together over the last two years. Some of the team activities they've done this year include team yoga, trivia night with the Girls Varsity team, Olympics day (dodgeball, spike ball, relay races), bowling, and a day trip to Syracuse for a scrimmage with Coach Synowiez’s high school. The team has also attended lacrosse games at Manhattan College, Synowiez’s alma mater, a Syracuse/Johns Hopkins game (Senior Seth Thornton will play for Syracuse next year), and the Army/Navy game (Senior Jeremy Wolfe will attend the US Naval Academy next year). In addition, the team has held numerous dinners and breakfasts.

Lacrosse 3Carol Wolfe, a team parent says, “in the past 10 years, my children have participated in a variety of different sports at the high school. I consider being part of a team, any type of team, an essential role in learning how to work well with other in achieving a common goal. The coaches that have dedicated their time and energy to working with our kids not only teach them skills on how to play a sport well, but a great coach will take that even further and teach your child life lessons about winning, losing, teamwork, disappointment, courage, strength, and perseverance. I award and profusely thank our coaches for spending countless hours with my children in helping them become the best that they can be. I think our motto, non sibi, says it all.”

See the team play in their next home game against Mamaroneck on Tuesday, May 8th at 5:00pm.

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