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respectThis note was sent out in an email to the community by William Natbony, President of the Scarsdale School Board on the eve of the bond referendum on 2-8-17.

Dear Members of the Scarsdale Community:
It is hoped that you have been the beneficiary of our efforts to reach out to our community with accurate and detailed information about the proposed school bond. As tomorrow's vote approaches, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that some of the strengths and hallmarks of Scarsdale and its community are respect for differing opinions and respectful, open discussion without personal attacks. We are all part of the same community, and after the vote we look forward to receiving your continued participation and input as we work together for the betterment of our great school system. The most important way to express your view on the bond is by exercising your right to vote tomorrow.

Sincerely,

William J. Natbony
President
Scarsdale Board of Education

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leadRepresenting tenants of a Bronx apartment owned by the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA), Greenacres resident and attorney Thomas Giuffra just won a $57 million lawsuit. The suit charged NYCHA with failing to test for the presence of lead paint and maintaining the apartment in a dangerous condition. NYCHA denied the presence of lead in the apartment despite violations being issued by the Department of Health and being ordered to abate the lead.

The child, who grew up in the apartment, had high levels of lead in her blood which her attorney argued caused permanent brain damage. The injured child was diagnosed with a lead level of 45 mcg/dl at a routine checkup. The CDC considers any lead level above 5 mcg/dl to be lead poisoning, but states no safe lead level in children has been identified.  Due to sustaining lead poisoning, the child developed significant permanent cognitive injuries which has impacted her ability to learn and required extensive special education and other services in City Public Schools.

Lead in young children is accepted by science to cause brain damage and being responsible for developmental and cognitive issues. In addition to harming the central nervous system, the long-term effects of lead poisoning include renal damage, cardiovascular disease and damage to the reproductive and immune systems. Lead has a long-term impact because the body recognizes lead as calcium and stores it in the bones. 

What are the implications of this verdict for the proposed renovation of Greenacres Elementary School?

We asked Giuffra and here are his thoughts on the matter:

He said, "The case against NYCHA was a classic example of what happens when authorities minimize or deny the presence of lead and perform inadequate inspections. In the case of Greenacres, the district performed 509 XRF lead tests, a completely insufficient number based on the size of the school. For example, in my case, the Department of Health tested over 150 XRF sites for two small NYCHA apartments. To truly understand the full scope of the lead issue, there should have been thousands of test sites done on a building the size of Greenacres, including all rooms in the school (particularly ceilings and windows). Also no paint chip sampling was done at the school which provides additional useful information."

Giuffra continued, "As somebody who has handled lead cases for over twenty years, I viewed the sparse testing as a transparent attempt to reassure parents and the community by using a completely inadequate sampling. The fact that they found lead by using such a limited survey is clear proof that there likely is lead paint throughout the school... and if known would require abatement under New York law. Assurances that the building can be fully abated over the summer are very misleading, because the full scope of the problem remains unknown. Rather than reassuring the community, the finding of lead should cause greater concerns."

He said, "My view is as it has always been .... if they renovate, the kids should not be in the school during construction. I personally believe that the district should have included trailers on the field to protect the children or made allowances to relocate. The current plan leaves kids in unsafe conditions, demonstrates a complete ignorance of the potential hazards of lead and the risk of permanent injury to the children of Greenacres. The primary pathway for lead intoxication is breathing dust contaminated with lead. To think that children will not be exposed to construction dust during a major renovation of this type, despite safeguards, shows a lack of familiarity with construction sites in the real world. Lead, like asbestos, becomes harmful when it is disturbed either through peeling or demolition. Unlike asbestos which harms older people, lead attacks the developing brains of young children and they never get the chance for a normal life."

Giuffra continued, "To those who argue that work was recently done at the high school with kids in the school, here is the difference; the students in grades K-4 are at an age when school age children are most vulnerable to harm from lead. High school aged children are at a much reduced risk of injury because they are at a far more advanced stage of brain development. To attempt to equate two wholly different situations demonstrates nothing more than a lack of knowledge about lead poisoning."

He concluded with a warning, "My opinion is that the current renovation plan is like driving while wearing a blindfold; you don't know what lies ahead and hope that it all works out. It is a fact that lead paint was used in the United States until 1978, particularly in schools and municipal buildings, as it was an excellent and durable paint. I would not be surprised that if the old pre-1978 bid documents were reviewed, the specifications called for lead paint to be used. The school board and community has no idea of the full scope of the problem and plunging forward in this manner without knowing what is on the walls, ceilings, windows and trim throughout the building is just reckless. My recent verdict should alert parents, teachers, administrators and residents to the very real danger that this project poses to children. Lead is the number one environmental hazard to children. Ultimately, it is the children who pay the price for lead poisoning, and that is a tragedy."

"Younger children get poisoning from eating paint chips primarily, they also get it from breathing it. This is because younger children have pica (a fancy name for putting things in their mouth and eating it). They eat lead paint chips because they taste sweet. In contrast, older children develop lead intoxication from breathing lead contaminated dust which goes into their lungs and their bloodstream."

About environmental laws he said, "As far as regulations being such a great protection, why is it that Scarsdale is home to so many lawyers who earn a very comfortable living because laws are broken every second of the day. If laws and regulations were not broken, I would not have won my case or the other verdicts I have had in lead cases. Though the district claims that all interior work can be done in the summer, they don't know the scope of the lead problem based on the small survey sample. Very likely the entire school would need some form of abatement."

Giuffra added, "I do not care if they renovate or replace. I only care if kids are in the school when they do the former. I can't understand why the people who support the renovation don't fight for trailers or relocation to guarantee the safety of the children with the same passion. If they had trailers they would be able to work 12 months of the year and not be governed by the school calendar. What is more cost effective long term?"

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berniniScarsdale resident and renowned curator Linda Wolk-Simon is making headlines in the art world with her upcoming show of works from the Church of the Gesu in Rome that have never left Italy before. On view at the Bellarmine Hall Galleries of the Fairfield University Art Museum will be masterpieces by the great baroque sculptor and his contemporaries Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Giovanni Battista Gaulli and Ciro Ferri, three of the leading artists in Rome in the 17th century, as well as a stupendous jeweled and gold Cartagloria (richly ornamented altar cardframes) and a magnificent embroidered chasuble (vestment) made for the church's great benefactor, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese—one of the finest examples of its kind to survive from the Renaissance. The large painted wood model of the apse (the semi—dome behind the high altar) by Gaulli is essentially a miniature version of the actual interior of the church with his fresco decoration included, and is one of the many visual treats the exhibition offers.

The exhibition titled, "The Holy Name – Art of the Gesu: Bernini and His Age" runs from February 2 through May 19. It will showcase these extraordinary works of art normally found within the Church of the Gesu, which is the mother church of the Society of Jesus, founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1540 in the charged religious and political climate of the Counter-Reformation. Visitors will learn about the immensely talented artists who created the works and the powerful and strong-willed personalities whose ambitions and financial means made it all possible.

The big attraction is Bernini's bust of Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino that has never left Rome before. Striking for its lifelike naturalism, it is one of Bernini's early works and particularly meaningful because Roberto Bellarmino (the antagonist of Galileo) is the patron saint of Fairfield University.

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The landmark exhibition celebrates Fairfield University's 75th anniversary and presents the five works from the Gesu itself with over fifty paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, rare books, historical documents and objects from American public and private collections that elaborate the story of the founding of the new religious order, the building of its dazzling church, and the canonization of its first saints.cartagloria

The exhibition was over two years in the planning, the time it took to negotiate the complicated loans from Italy. Simon went into it knowing that getting even one of these major works of art would be a coup—getting all five that she requested was nothing short of a miracle. Commenting on the exhibit, Philippe de Montebello, Director Emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art said, "If I were still director of the Metropolitan, I would be jealous of Fairfield doing this show. It's simply incredible. It brings to the Fairfield University Art Museum some of the greatest artists working in 17th-century Rome."

The exhibition is free and open to the public and can be viewed at Bellarmine Hall Galleries at the Fairfield University Art Museum from February 1 – May 19, 2018. Hourse are Tuesday – Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. An audio guide narrated by Paul Lakeland, PhD, Kelley chair and professor of Catholic studies will be available. A lecture series on Italian Renaissance and baroque sculpture is being offered. Visit here for details: Fairfield.edu/museum.

LindaSimonCurator Dr. Linda Wolk-Simon is the Director and Chief Curator of the Fairfield University Museum. She came to Fairfield University in February 2015 after 25 years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where, from 1986 to 2011 she served in many posts, including curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints. While at The Met, she organized a highly attended Raphael exhibition and was co-curator of the well received Art and Love in Renaissance Italy.

Dr. Wolk-Simon specializes in European art of the 15th-19th century with a concentration on the Italian Renaissance, and has published extensively in her field. She is a highly sought-after speaker, having lectured at museums around the country and spoken at conferences in Europe and the United States. She was also an associate editor and reviews editor of the quarterly scholarly journal Master Drawings for several years. She also spent two years as the Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Department Head at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, where she organized a critically acclaimed exhibition on Degas, and was responsible for implementing and directing the Morgan Drawing Institute, a research center devoted to fostering scholarship in the field of old master and modern drawings.

She holds a Ph.D. in history of art and a B.A., summa cum laude, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Fairfield University Art Museum
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 254-4046
museum@fairfield.edu

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The internship logoA key component of the Scarsdale Alternative School curriculum is the January Internship Program that gives SAS students the opportunity to spend the month learning in a different way than they normally do. Founded in 1973, the SAS Internship Program suspends class time for the month to allow students to pick an internship of their choice. Students commute to local businesses in Scarsdale, Westchester and New York City or even go abroad. These internships allow students to focus on other interests that they wouldn't be able to learn from within the school curriculum. Students are expected to spend the same 35 hours they normally spend in school at an internship assignment. However, if students are taking classes in the high school, they still have to attend those classes, making their internship hours a little harder to manage.

The mastermind behind the program is teacher and A-School internship Coordinator Jeanne Cooper. A huge advocate for the program, Jeanne remarks that the major advantage to students partaking in these internships is that they learn to move through the world more independently, gaining the new experience of taking public transportation or learning to be on time. Jeanne notes that she loves going to visit her students at their internships. She says, "I love to see my students working in a different way and in a different environment than they do at school. It shows other sides of my students I've never seen before."088 However, she acknowledges that the program is tough for students who cannot miss classes taken at the high school which are not suspended for the month of January. Since the students are still responsible for attending those high school classes, it can be challenging for them to make the most of the internship program.

Wanting to get in touch with your NYS Assemblywoman?
Ross Forman '19 is spending the month working for New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin as a legislative researcher. He has enjoyed his time researching bills and prospective bills that may be introduced into the Assembly. Ross says, "I find it really interesting to learn about government at a local level because people in the office really respond to constituents' questions and concerns. I was surprised to see how many phone calls constituents make to the office regarding an issue that they want the Assemblywoman to advocate for."

Curious who is helping out in your child's classroom?
Alex Wilson '19 is working as a class aide for her former second-grade teacher, Mrs. Farella, at our local Greenacres Elementary School. She mentions how her favorite part of the job is getting to know the students. Alex says, "It feels so weird to watch the class that I took nine years ago from a staff member's perspective- it's like experiencing it with a new set of eyes."

Knot StandardIn need of a new suit?
Matthew Kuo '18 is interning for Knot Standard, a custom menswear and suit company in NYC. Kuo has been working on prototyping a dress shirt subscription service and researching ways to revamp the showroom. He's getting the opportunity to visit other companies' showrooms to figure out how to best design Knot Standard's
.

Looking for the perfect dress as prom season approaches?
Emma Kornberg '18 is working for Geraldina's Couture, a dressmaking company in Hartsdale. Emma shares her experience of going to a wedding expedition, helping the company run a fashion show, and helping customers make appointments. Emma notes, "It feels great to know that the company trusts me to help with big projects. I even had the opportunity to create a flower by burning the edges of fabric and sewing them together, which was then sewed on to a dress for a flower girl!" 

Planned Parenthood

Learning to lobby?
Hannah Lewis '18 is interning for Planned Parenthood's administrative office in Hawthorne. She has had the opportunity to call congress, senators, and NYS assembly members to update them on the latest news about Planned Parenthood. Hannah notes, "I love working for an organization that shares my beliefs even if I'm simply doing small tasks."

Auburn JewelryIn need of some new jewelry to keep up with today's trends?
Kimmy Markowitz '19 is working for Auburn Jewelry, a handmade jewelry company. Kimmy keeps the website updated and tries to find other similar business that would want to collaborate and do giveaways. Kimmy notes, "My favorite thing is seeing how the backend of a business works and how the company tries to get more publicity."

Looking for some new personal care products?
Jordan Kraut '18 is interning for the St. Ives Global Team at Unilever, a consumer goods company that is known for their personal care products and cleaning agents. Her task is to help the team with social media and competitive analysis. Jordan says, "So far working for Unilever has been a pretty cool experience! I love how they treat me like an adult and give me my own laptop and email for the month. I really feel a part of the team!"

Are your company's products struggling? Saint Ives Products
Zach Friedman '18 is working for Creative Engineering, a product development firm in Bronxville. Zach spends his time trying to find solutions for struggling products and working with 3D printers and laser cutters. Zach notes, "I love working with only six young, hip designers in a small environment because I feel more useful."

The program enlightens A-School students but also helps staff businesses that need extra hands. Some of the business owners look forward to January when bright, energetic, savvy students join their staffs. One business owner said, "I love my A-School intern. I wish she could be here all year."

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rabbiBlakeIn the wake of a New Year's Eve plane accident in Costa Rica, many in Scarsdale are struggling to make sense of the death of an entire local family. Those who knew them mourn them ... those who did not know the Steinbergs personally wrestle with a tragedy, that before December 31, was beyond their wildest fears.

A memorial service for the family was held at Westchester Reform Temple on January 7, 2017. Senior Rabbi Jonathan Blake's life-affirming words brought comfort and understanding to many in the room and he kindly offered to share these words with the wider community on Scarsdale10583.

Here are his remarks:

We who were strangers to one another when we entered this synagogue have become as one family in our sanctuary. We are united in the terrible kinship of our sorrow, the shared human horror at what was, until Sunday, the "unthinkable," the common thread of our bewilderment, and the collective need to place all of our bruised and battered feelings upon the altar of a God whom the Bible calls "a Healer of Broken hearts, the One who binds up their wounds."

Twelve vibrant lives, two cherished families, one guide and two crew, all snuffed out in a blinding instant, and the hopes and dreams that die with them—we are mourning them all: all the unfulfilled potential, all the graduations and first loves and weddings, all the potential for another generation of children and grandchildren, all the healing work that yet could have been brought to bear on a hurting world, all the laughter and love and hope—all gone.

The Book of Leviticus tells the story of two sons of the high priest Aaron who die instantaneously, in blaze of alien fire. When their father learns the news the Bible records just two words, Vayidom Aharon in Hebrew, "Aaron fell silent." There are no words, no eloquent eulogy, no tribute, no matter how heartfelt, adequate to respond to this kind of brutal and tragic bereavement. Every song of the heart falls silent in the face of such a loss.

The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote, "Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; ... I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned."

We are not resigned to this. I have no spiritual medicine that can soothe the hurt. And there is some wisdom in recognizing that anesthetizing our souls to feeling pain also numbs us to feeling love.

And if you remember nothing else from this ritual of remembrance, remember this: grief is always reflected love. Our sorrow is monumental because our love for Bruce and Irene, Zachary, William, and Matthew is surpassingly great and is undiminished in death. And the love we come to express today will provide boundless support for Bruce's family, for his parents Irwin and Dianne, his sister Tamara (Tammy) and brother-in-law Alan and their children, for Irene's parents Margery and Allen, for her brother Robert, sister-in-law Rebecca, and their children. And of course we are here to embrace Olga who was family in every meaningful sense of the word. We are here for all of you.

The Jewish tradition speaks of a chatzi-nechama, a "half-measure of comfort," that comes from knowing that no one must grieve alone. I would add: not even the rabbi. I am blessed by the partnership of spiritual leaders who join in the common embrace of sympathy today. I bring our community the condolences of Rabbi Jacob Luski of St. Petersburg, Florida, who, in the coming days, will memorialize the Weiss family who perished along with the Steinbergs. Our hearts are linked to his community even as the memories of the Steinbergs and the Weisses are now forever linked. I bring the condolences of several of our elected officials, including New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and hundreds of rabbinic and cantorial colleagues.

And I am grateful to share the bimah this afternoon with my WRT clergy colleagues, Cantor Jill Abramson, Rabbi David Levy, Cantor Amanda Kleinman, and Rabbi Daniel Reiser. Each of them enjoyed a special connection with the Steinbergs, tutoring the boys for Bar Mitzvah, celebrating with them at Confirmation, and seeing Bruce and especially Irene here for pretty much any community program available to the Jewish People.

I am most of all grateful to Randi Musnitsky, Senior Rabbi of Temple Har Shalom in Warren, New Jersey, who joins us for today's service.

Every heart in this room is carrying an overwhelming burden of grief. Emotional resources have been battered and drained. We come into this sanctuary with but one question on our lips: Why? Why should a family—why should this family, this brilliant, dynamic, philanthropic, fun-loving, close-knit, fundamentally good, caring family—be taken from among the living in the prime of life?

Intellectually we may understand the monumental indifference of Nature; that accidents, terrible accidents, disasters even, can, and do, happen; can, and do, afflict even the gems of humankind—intellectually we may be able to comprehend all of this, but, emotionally, we also understand that the sun should not set before it has risen; that leaves should not fall from the tree in the brightness of summer; that parents should never have to bury their children or their grandchildren.

And so we are left with Why, a question that echoes back a silence as profound and awful as the grave itself.

The only response to the Why of death is to go on living as magnificently and magnanimously as our time on earth allows. We have been summoned to this place and this moment by a tragedy beyond our control. We did not choose this.

But we always have a choice in how we respond, even to the unthinkable. And in this case, we can, and must, still affirm life. Some losses can be met only with an uncomfortable mixture of inconsolable anguish, courage, and affirmation.

And that is what Bruce, Irene, Zachary, William, and Matthew would have wanted. They would not want their beautiful and big-hearted lives memorialized in endless pain or bitterness. We are devastated by their deaths. But in the weeks and months and years to come, we will use our grief to make sure that the message of their lives, the joy the members of this family brought to one another and to so many others, the good deeds and acts of charity they had already begun to perform on behalf of so many others, the beautiful and heartwarming and funny and sacred memories they placed in our hearts and minds, the stories of their lives—cut short though they are—will not die with them.

Many have asked: "What can I do to help?" The outpouring of support from the WRT and Westchester communities, from the Bridgewater and UJA-Federation and AJC and Seeds of Peace communities, from the Hopkins and Penn and Fieldston communities, from the Jewish community here and in Israel, from friends of this family of every age and stage of life, from elected officials and even total strangers all over the world—has been extraordinary and, on behalf of the surviving family members, allow me to express how grateful we all are.

Let it be known in this sacred circle that actions speak louder than words; but most of all, know this: your simple and loving presence here speaks loudest of all. Thank you for your steadfastness. Thank you for the acts of caring that will continue to sustain the parents, siblings, nephews and nieces of the Steinberg family in days to come. Thank you for the generosity of spirit that will allow our community to love the living whom the Steinbergs loved in life, and continue to champion the causes they cherished. Let our good deeds be the way in which we give honor to our friends.

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