December 2023 Happenings Magazine

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INBOX Dear Happenings, I just love your magazine. I recently moved back to this area from upstate New York and I find your publication to be very helpful and welcoming. –Joanne Doherty –Scranton Dear Happenings, We love your magazine and have attended so many nice events because of reading about them in your magazine. Keep up the good work! –Carol Hayer –Shavertown Dear Happenings, The advertorial and inclusion of so many great pics was well done (How to Renovate a Historic Hotel, July 2023). The placement of our ad immediately following the piece was perfect! Thank you! –Rod Soars –Marketing Director –Eagles Mere Inn Dear Happenings, Starting on page 18 of The Lake feature, I saw a replica of my Grandparents’ homestead (July 2023). What a beautiful article. I love to see Happenings each month when I get it at my doctor’s office. –Nicholas Niles –Hawley Dear Happenings, Thanks for using the photo of the bull elk on page 59 (Elliot Layland, November 2023). I always thought that it was a great shot. Elk are dangerous animals. During the fall rutting season, I risked my life getting that shot. He was not too happy about me being in his territory. Elk weigh 1100 pounds and stand nearly six feet tall at the withers and are very impressive up-close. Maybe too close! Happy November, – Jim Ruane – 4


Paula Rochon Mackarey

Art Director

Lisa Kalaha Ragnacci

Associate Art Director

Peter Salerno

Director of Social Media

Mary Joyce


Christine Fanning Ben Freda

Account Representative Linette Manley

(570) 878-5009

On the Cover: Western Wayne High School senior Carly Schott captures the beauty and tranquility of the Christmas Season. Published Monthly. Also read at ©2023 HAPPENINGS MAGAZINE All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any process except with written permission. Happenings Magazine published since 1969 Phone: (570) 587-3532

Read our digital issue for free at

$21/12 is


or Subscribe for Home Delivery Call 570-587-3532 or E-mail December 2023

contents DECEMBER 2023


Over the River and Through the Woods


Fifty Shades of Blue – December’s Birthstone


Antique Christmas Cards and Greetings


Christmas With The New York Tenors


May The Lights of Hanukkah Shine Upon You Photo: James Ruane ©







Factoryville Christmas Market, Dec. 1, 2 & 3

Penn's Peak Dec. 1, An Elvis Christmas Ryan Pelton Penn's Peak Dec. 2, Christmas With The Celts Lackawanna Winter Market Dec. 1 & 2 Equinunk Historical Society Dec. 1-3, Museum Open House, Calder Shop Sale NEPA Philharmonic, North Pole with Ballet Theatre of Scranton, Scranton Cultural Center, Dec. 1 Dietrich Theatre Dec 1-14, 12 Movies Of Christmas Potter/Tioga County - Dickens of a Christmas Dec. 2




Skytop, Breakfast With Santa, Every Sunday Dec. 1-Dec. 17





Hanukkah Dec. 7-15

Trunk Show, Boccardo Jewelers



1 Hometown Christmas

Philharmonic , 2 NEPA North Pole with Ballet

Dec. 1 & 2, Tunkhannock Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans, State Theatre

Theatre of Scranton, F.M Kirby Center Christmas Tea, Oldest House, Dec 2 & 3 Bach and Handel Chorale Christmas Concert, St. Joseph's Church, Jim Thorpe






Holiday Open House, Wyoming County Chamber

Christmas with The New York Tenors, Theater at North

Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, State Theatre




Straight No Chaser Sleigh It Tour, State Theatre

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day







The Wizards of Winter, State Theatre

Coal Country Portraits, Delaware & Lehigh Corridor

A Christmas Story, Shawnee Playhouse Dec. 1-23


25 Christmas Day Skytop, Christmas Day Buffet

31 New Year’s Eve National Egg Nog Month National Pear Month Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month Aids Awareness Month National Tie Month Safe Toys and Gifts Month Tomato and Winter Squash Month

26 Boxing Day





M erry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the entire team at Perio Health and Dental Implants Creating Beautiful Smiles for over 35 Years! Board Certified Periodontist | Bryan J. Frantz, D.M.D, M.S. Board Certified Periodontist and Prosthodontist | Kristen Frantz, D.M.D, M.S. 1039 O’Neill Hwy Dunmore, PA, 18512 P: 570-344-3344

Dear Readers,

So here’s my lifelong wish My grown up Christmas list Not for myself but for a world in need: No more lives torn apart And wars would never start And time would heal our hearts And everyone would have a friend And right would always win And love would never end This is my grownup Christmas list This issue of Happenings Magazine took us on a journey, quite literally, over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. During the conception of putting the puzzle pieces of the December magazine together my brain had a flashback to my earliest memories of my two grandmothers. While I had the privilege and honor of meeting two grandparents, both grandmothers, my daughter also enjoyed the privilege of meeting two of her grandparents, my late mother and my husband’s late father. Each grandparent has influenced her and continues to ground her in ways that are constantly being revealed. She enjoys exploring her Lebanese, Canadian, Irish backgrounds, among many others. After our lives were attacked in 2020 with that health thud (we are all tired of the word) family visiting came to a screeching halt. This has caused many of us to now place a tremendous value on traveling for no other reason than a visit.


Cheryl Kaiser Photog raphy


he Christmas song, My Grown Up Christmas Wish, written and composed by the pure musical genius of David Foster and Linda Thompson-Jenner and later recorded by Amy Grant (after an original duet by David Foster and Natalie Cole) checks all the right boxes for being a massive hit. It truly strikes the adult holiday heart with a perfect, straight arrow.

The heartwarming poem, A Cup of Christmas Tea, written by Tom Hegg, brings the true meaning of Christmas joyously to life. Reluctantly, in the midst of the Christmas rush, a young man decides to visit his ailing Great Aunt. This little poem/book was given to me by my sister-in-law Donna many years ago and has remained a treasure of mine since. I highly recommend looking up the poem well before Christmas so that you make time to share a Christmas cup of tea with someone who would truly value nothing more than a visit. Remember that each day is a gift! Wishing all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and very blessed holiday season.

Much Love,


Paula Mackarey Publisher 1994-Present

Over the river, and through the wood, To Grandmother's house we go; the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow.


lthough most associate this song with Christmas, it was originally a poem written by a New England boy who was recalling happy childhood memories of visiting his grandparents at Thanksgiving. The poem was eventually set to a tune by an unknown composer and is now included in our


most treasured Christmas Song Books. Visiting and traveling to see relatives at Christmas is such a fond part of the holiday season. When an evening drive is accompanied by freshly fallen snow in the beautiful countryside, it is all the more peaceful. Although I have but a few memories of visiting my grandmother at

Christmas, I always associate my paternal grandmother with her handmade cut-out Christmas cookies, especially her snowman which she adorned with tiny silver balls for his buttons. Her cut out cookies were perfect, crisp and buttery, best enjoyed with a glass of milk. While I only knew two out of four grandparents, December 2023

Over the River and

Through the Woods (both grandmothers) they indeed gave me, as psychologists proclaim, a valuable sense of perspective on where my parents came from and thus me. My paternal grandmother lived on Dorothy Street in Scranton, while my maternal grandmother lived in Ontario, Canada. They are both a part of me, through my physical, mental and December 2023

spiritual characteristics. The attributes that they passed on to their children were ultimately also filtered down to me. Grandparents are an important part of a child’s life, whether they are on earth or simply spoken of through fond memories and stories. Grandparents give children a connection to their past

and inspiration for their future. Grandparents and memories of our visits are a part of what we celebrate at Christmas whether they be with us or have passed on. The lights of the season reflect their light and the memories that are so very precious to us, especially during Christmas time. H –Paula Mackarey, Publisher




Across the Region

ver the river and through the woods, to Northeastern Pennsylvania we go! Whether you celebrate the holiday season with time-honored traditions or with the latest trending event, these celebrations have you covered with different ways to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

Lackawanna Northeastern Winter Market Pennsylvania December 1-2-3 Philharmonic Experience the old-fashioned goodness of Holiday Shopping in Town — Downtown Scranton. Enjoy an outdoor winter market with unique gifts, while embracing the beauty of the twinkling lights and fresh outdoors. Support small – on the square! North Washington Avenue, Scranton.

PNC Holiday Pops Performance December 1-2 Enjoy the festive sounds of a one-of-a-kind holiday concert and a performance of the wooden soldiers from Ballet Theatre of Scranton. 570-270-4444.

Skytop Lodge Explore 5,500 acres of tradition and memories. Since 1928, the lodge has curated the perfect wintertime experience with Holiday packages, Breakfasts with Santa, fireside storytelling, cookie decorating and Christmas activities. 855-3345-7759 12

December 2023

A Christmas Carol State Theatre, Easton Enjoy A Christmas Carol on December 16 at 7:30 p.m. Charles Dickens’ powerful story of redemption has enchanted audiences all over the world with its simple message of holiday joy. This adaptation of Dickens’ ever-popular classic fills the stage with first-class professional actors, lush costumes, stunning sets and puppetry, song and dance, a heavy dose of humor and a timeless message. A Christmas Carol is delightful, thoroughly entertaining, and the perfect family holiday event. 610-258-7766

The Bach and Handel Chorale, Jim Thorpe The Bach and Handel Chorale of Jim Thorpe will present its Christmas Concert December 2 at 2 p.m. at the historic St. Joseph’s Church, Jim Thorpe. It has been a staple of Carbon County and the surrounding areas for almost 40 years, and is composed of a group of local voices who simply enjoy singing together. Maestro and Musical Director, Randall Douglas Perry, an accomplished composer and conductor, is a native son who conceived the idea for The Chorale. Take a break from holiday stress, to enjoy great music, performed by very talented individuals. 570-325-4795

The Rupert Covered Bridge is located between Bloomsburg and Montour Township in the village of Rupert. The bridge was structurally deficient throughout the 1990s but was renovated in 2001 and is still standing today. 13

Shop Locally and Safely During the Holidays is the season for shopping, gift giving and good tidings. Wayne Bank is dedicated to supporting its local communities. The team at Wayne Bank recently stated, “As local bankers and lenders, we strive to help you achieve financial success. We live, work and shop in the very same communities that our customers do.”


During the busy holiday season in particular, Wayne Bank stresses the importance of shopping locally and educating readers on safe shopping habits. The following list demonstrates why more than ever, it is so important to keep small businesses in mind as you complete your holiday shopping. Buying local keeps money within the economy. If you support mom-and-pop shops, you are offering them a chance to help communities thrive, provide employment opportunities and directly aid in the livelihood of local small business owners and entrepreneurs. Find more unique and personal items. Instead of choosing the convenience of bigger box stores and online shopping, consider a smaller boutique, local hardware store or special novelty store. The items that you find will be one-of-akind, perhaps crafted by a local neighbor and the customer serv-

ice experience is something that you will likely not receive from an online retailer or busy chain store. Locally sourced food and ingredients: better for meals and the economy. Grandma’s pumpkin pie will likely taste a lot better when she uses local, fresh ingredients straight from the supplier, rather than products that have been shipped in from far away. Be sure to visit your nearest farmers’ market to take advantage of the best locally sourced food and ingredients for affordable farm-to-table meals. Shopping at a farmers‘ market also supports local farmers and keeps the money spent closer to your neighborhood. Don’t forget to keep your local food banks in mind during the holidays. Donating groceries and nonperishable items is a great way to give back to your community during the giving season. Create a sense of community... and shine! There is nothing better than walking into your local bank, flower shop, restaurant or specialty store, being greeted by name and receiving one-on-one, personalized customer service. Such experiences will add magic to your holidays and help you truly enjoy the meaning of the season. Remember that crime and fraud are most prevalent during this time of year.

Be cautious as you make yearly donations to charitable organizations. The holidays are a time for giving, but don’t let people take advantage of your generosity. Only donate to recognized organizations. Be wary of people who may approach you in a busy store parking lot asking for donations. Never conduct transactions over the phone with organizations with whom you are not familiar. Practice solid internet security. If you do shop online, choose companies you know and trust. Scam artists run schemes in person, over the phone and online. Never click a link that looks suspicious. Never send your financial information to anyone. Jillian Guenther, Wayne Bank Fraud Officer says, “If it looks too good to be true, it is.” Keep credit card information and cash out of sight from wandering eyes. While waiting in line, don’t count the cash in your wallet. Cover your credit card number when you take it out at the register. Shield the pin pad as you type. Taking these steps and measures will help you protect yourself while shopping this season. The Wayne Bank team reminds readers, “Don’t forget that a Holiday Savings Account at Wayne Bank will help you save all year for your holiday shopping list. Consider it the perfect gift to yourself to help you stay merry and bright all season long! From all of us at Wayne Bank, we wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous holiday season and upcoming new year!” H Wayne Bank is a subsidiary of Norwood Financial Corp., Member FDIC, and is located in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The Bank has 29 Community Offices serving Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties in Pennsylvania, along with Delaware, Sullivan, Otsego, Ontario and Yates Counties in New York State, including those offices operating under the Bank of Cooperstown and Bank of the Finger Lakes brands. The stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol— NWFL.


December 2023

Holiday Gift Guide Bella Faccias, Old Forge The original Blessing Bracelet made popular this year by the Hallmark movie. A beautiful gift to acknowledge one blessing in your life on each pearl on the bracelet that you are grateful for. In one year, if followed, you will be aware of a profound change in your life. $29.00 and up 800-401-8990/570-343-8777

Alpacas of Sunshine Farm, New Milford Our best-selling Ebel Sweater has been proven timeless! This 70% Alpaca, 30% Acrylic blend sweater features scoop pockets and pleats at the collar line. Available in a wide variety of colors. This beautiful women’s cardigan is best paired with mono-chromatic clothing items, that will bring out the contrast. Reg $110 XL $120 570-465-3360

The BriarPatch at Thornhurst Nurseries, Thornhurst Soy candles with an invigorating fragrance such as newcomers ‘Merry Mistletoe’ and ‘Wonderland.’ And the always popular 'Frosty Pines' with its true aroma of freshly cut pine. 14 oz jar $21.99 570-842-1266

Boccardo Jewelers, Scranton Personalized bar necklace with birthstone. Starting at $69 570-344-9021

My Mother's Delicacies, Inc., Scranton Small, medium, large and extra large gift tins filled with authentic butter and cream cheese rugelach in cinnamon walnut, apricot, raspberry, and/or chocolate flavors. Approx. 16-48 pieces Straight from Galicia, Poland! $22.49-$52.49 570-343-5266


December 2023

Space Time Mead & Cider Works, Dunmore Voyage Dans La Lune, a gorgeous dessert mead and our special seasonal release. Local honey is balanced by raspberry, currant, cherry and blackberry real fruit flavor. Limited edition moon decanter. $50 570-504-5758

Mercantile 22, Tunkhannock A wide selection of cozy Wanokome heavyweight hoodies and crews for men and women. Starting at $95. 570-996-6266

Van Gorders’ Furniture, Lake Wallenpaupack, Honesdale, Milford Country Classic Collection furniture, like this heirloom quality 4-drawer solid oak chest with full extension drawers. Made in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by Amish craftsmen. $1,699. 570-253-1860

November 24 to December 23, 2023


December 2023



hristmas Tree Farms The Briar Patch at Thornhurst Nurseries Christmas Tree Farm & Gift Shop Pre-cut Fraser and Douglas Fir. Choose & cut (7’ & above) Colorado Blue Spruce & Norway Spruce. Available tree sizes 6ft - 14ft. Fresh handmade wreaths & garland. Check out the gift shop... woodsy... eclectic... nature oriented. 278 Pine Grove Rd, Thornhurst, PA 570-842-1266. Follow us on Facebook.

Helen & Ed’s Tree Farm The tradition continues...In business since 1957, Helen and Ed’s is a 220 acre tree farm located in Dorrance Township, PA. Find fresh cut evergreens or choose and cut your own from many varieties and sizes. Wreaths and garland are handmade and pin tree stands are available. Come enjoy Christmas music, friendly atmosphere and service. 3758 Saint Mary's Road, Wapwallopen, PA 18660 (570) 868-6252

Made in PA!


rom motorcycles to guitars and snack foods to beer, pretzels and crayons... Pennsylvania can claim a few products manufactured right here in the Keystone state. Which PA products are your favorite? Drop us a line at


December 2023

Manning Farm Dairy

Eggnog is Available November 10 thru January 1

ince the 1920s, Manning Farm Dairy has delivered fresh milk and ice cream products to Northeast PA. Enjoy holiday treats such as egg nog, ice cream cakes and featured ice cream specials such as pumpkin, cinnamon, apple and peppermint stick. 570-563-1702


We are a local dairy that milks our own cows and bottles our milk every day! No added RBST

Bosak’s Choice Meats

(bovine growth hormone)

Farm 563-1702 Dunmore 207-0405 Clarks Summit 586-1288 Meadow Ave. Scr. 961-1645 Main Ave. W. Scr. 558-1680 Holiday ice cream cakes and ice cream pies - all locations

Northeast PA holiday is not complete without Bosak’s award winning store-made kielbasa and sausage. Bosak’s has offered its specialities for over the past 20 years. Bosak’s fan favorite kielbasa comes in five flavors: fresh, smoked, smoked with cheese, turkey and turkey cheese.



"Best Meat Store"

They make it in three forms including rings, patties and sticks. Their store-made sausage comes in 10 flavors. The old fashioned butcher shop also offers a full variety of deli meats and store-made salads, prepared foods, custom cold cuts and kielbasa. In addition to kielbasa and sausage, best sellers for the holiday season include prime rib, ham and turkey. The Bosak family cuts, packs and grinds all their own meats. 570-383-5260. December 2023

Award Winning Store Made Kielbasi Black Angus Choice Beef Variety of Store-Made Sausage Pork, Poultry, Lamb & Veal Full Variety of Deli Meats & Store Made Salads

16 First Place Awards!

524 Burke By-Pass, Olyphant • 570 383-5260



am native to the region. I have lived in Waymart for my entire life with my parents, Daniel and Denise Schott, my nana, twin brother and younger sister. I have always loved art, although it wasn't until middle school that I decided I wanted to take it more seriously. I remember sitting on the bus one day watching in awe as an older girl drew a picture of a sunset, and I remember thinking that I wanted to be able to draw like that as well. When I got home that day, I grabbed a sheet of printer paper and some colored pencils, and drew my own sunset. It looked nothing like that girl’s but I remember feeling sheer joy while making it, and was motivated to try to draw other things. That feeling has stayed with me;

Carly Schott

FRONT COVER ARTIST Western Wayne High School, Class of 2024

it’s there every time I pick up my pencil to create. I have improved and grown a lot as an artist since then. My favorite mediums are colored pencils, charcoal and watercolor. Art has always been a central part of who I am. To me, creating art is a way to express myself. As a typically shy and quiet person, my artwork has become an outlet for me to share my thoughts and feelings and personality with others while still being able to hide behind a page. Apart from art, my favorite subject is English. After high school, I plan to go to college and get a degree in studio art. I am not sure yet what career I want to pursue, but I know that I want to do something in the art field. I would love to one day sell my artwork. My favorite aspect about the


upcoming holiday season is the time I get to spend with my family. My family and I have many holiday traditions. My favorite is Christmas Eve dinner at my aunt's house. After dinner we play Christmas themed games like Christmas bingo, white elephant and a present auction. I treasure the time I get to spend with them at these dinners and the memories I get to make. I feel like the cover piece I created reflects my desire for a simple, peaceful existence. The thing I enjoy most about Happenings Magazine is how they support our local community and young artists like myself. Three words that describe me are ‘creative, driven and passionate.’ I wish to make my mark in the world by creating art that resonates with people. I enjoy visiting parks and my December 2023

local library, as I love nature and reading. I am inspired every day by my parents who work hard every day so that my siblings and I


can live comfortably and pursue our passions.

My favorite quote comes from my favorite book, ‘Six of Crows:’ "The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true. H




and Staff

103 EAST DRINKER STREET • DUNMORE, PA • (570) 344-2029 December 2023



All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. J.R.R. Tolkien 1892-1973


December 2023

A Winter Lake Wallenpaupack Even in the winter, Lake Wallenpaupack is fun. As a freshwater lake in the Pocono Mountain Region, it is the third largest lake in Pennsylvania measuring 52 miles of shoreline, 13 miles in length, 60 feet deep at points and has a surface area in excess of 5,700 acres. It was created in 1926 by the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company for hydroelectric purposes. It is located near Hawley and forms part of the boundary between Pike and Wayne counties.

Ice fishing in the winter at the lake is popular. An annual winter event is the “Ice Tee Golf Tournament,” which takes place on the frozen lake. Each day, thousands of individuals go to places managed by Brookfield Renewable like Lake Wallenpaupack to enjoy time outdoors with their families. H

Northeast Behavioral Health Care Consortium

Northeast Behavioral Health Care Consortium (NBHCC) is a regional non-profit Behavioral Health organization serving members of Luzerne, Wyoming, Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties. Our mission is to provide enhanced access to high quality recovery oriented Behavioral Health Services and to reinvest in the communities we serve to enhance positive outcomes. 2020-2022 - $20M reinvestment regionally towards behavioral health centered affordable housing, crisis response units and adolescent rehabilitation services.

72 Glenmaura National Blvd. Moosic, PA • 570-344-2005 •

December 2023


December in the Endless Mountains Eagles Mere

agles Mere’s name literally means “the eagle’s lake,” the word “mere” being a poetic synonym of “lake.” Civil engineer Embley S. Chase came in 1886 to oversee its development as a resort town and laid the groundwork.


Eagles Mere was laid out in the 1870s and quickly became a popular resort town due to its cool mountain air and natural lake. Visitors would climb aboard a narrow-gauge railroad in Sonestown for the trip up the mountain to the town.The kidney-shaped Eagles Mere Lake covers 230 acres and is about 3/4 mile long. It is a natural spring-fed lake with exceptionally clear water in the Allegheny Mountains at an elevation of 2100 feet.

Photo: Rick Liebert • 800-769-8999

This Place Is Heaven On Earth 17 rooms, private baths, exquisite food, new renovation, 41” average annual snow fall.

29 Mary Avenue Eagles Mere, PA 17731

Happy Holidays

570-525-3273 • 800-769-8999

Tunkhannock Susquehanna Montrose Dushore Nicholson Eagles Mere

For a Free Brochure:

1-800-769-8999 or 570-836-5431 The White Capped Hilltops • The Ice Covered Branches • The Ski Slopes • The Waterfalls • The Snow That Just Dances • 800-769-8999

Dietrich Theater’s 12 Movies of Christmas December 1 – 14, 2023 Admission: Free Seating is first come, first served. No advance tickets Enjoy 12 holiday movie favorites for free on the Dietrich’s big screen at various showtimes for 14 days.


Take 15% OFF

For list of films and showtimes visit

any individual item $90 or more

60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock • • 570-836-1022

2312 East Lake Road • New Milford, PA 570-465-3360 •

Funded in part by the Wyo. Cty. Tax fund and the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

Bespoke Designs for Every Occasion Let our flowers leave the impression... Call us today!

27 E TIOGA ST TUNKHANNOCK, PA (570) 836-5131 • 800-769-8999

Tanzanite, Turquoise, and Blue Zircon –

Fifty shades of blue when you are born in December


rom the bluish purple of tanzanite to the intense Robin’s egg blue of turquoise, to the soothing hue of blue zircon, December babies have the delight of choosing between three birthstone options! Whatever your color, style or budget preferences may be, Nye Jewelers can help you pick the right December birthstone for you or a loved one!

become one of the most intriguing and desirable precious gemstones of modern time. The very forces that shaped the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro and surrounding valleys created a gem so mystical and unique that the entire world would be enchanted by

it. Tanzanite remained unknown until the year 1967, and the supply is so limited that it is expected to deplete within the next decade.

Turquoise – Cool. Smooth. Suave. This December birthstone has been cherished for millennia.

Tanzanite – Vibrant. Interesting. Magical. From deep in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania comes tanzanite, a gemstone with only a single known source that has 30

December 2023

robin’s egg blue with no visible matrix, and Kingman turquoise, a prime example of classic turquoise with sand-colored veining.

Blue Zircon – Electric. Bright. Energetic.

Turquoise’s roots stretch back to Ancient Egypt where the pharaohs adorned themselves with this exotic gemstone. Chinese artisans carved the gemstone more than 3,000 years ago. It was named pierre tourques or ‘Turkish stone’ by the traders who brought it to Europe. The Apache thought turquoise could be found by following a rainbow to its end. This December birthstone also mark the 6th wedding anniversary. Nye Jewelers carries Bluebird turquoise, a fine quality featuring an intense

Not to be confused with cubic zirconia, Blue Zircon is a beautiful, brilliant, and unique genuine gemstone that has been known since before the Middle Ages. Medieval Europeans believed that the ethereal beauty of zircon promoted restful sleep and wealth and that it dispelled evil spirits. Blue zircon was especially popular during Victorian times and frequently adorned English estate jewelry from the 1880s. H


If you are having a blue Christmas... ...make sure it Engagement Wedding Birthstone Specialty Jewelry Watches Engraving Jewelry Repair

We buy gold, silver & coins! Turn your old or broken jewelry into cash... or a new piece of jewelry!

Fashion Mall • Rt. 6, Dickson City • 570-344-4NYE December 2023


Warm Wishes This Holiday Season 100 Old Lackawanna Trail Clarks Summit (570) 585-6400 A DIVISION OF PS BANK

Located at the PS Bank Business Center 223 Northern Boulevard South Abington Township (570) 586-3122

NMLS # 486076


December 2023

Don’t Miss a Single Issue Subscribe for only $21 a year m $21 for a year m $31 for 2 years m Payment Enclosed (check made payable to Happenings Magazine)

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Go to and click Subscribe Now. To place an order call (570) 878-5009 or print and mail to P.O. Box 61 Clarks Summit PA 18411. Rates good in the U.S. Only. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Subscriptions 65 are not refundable. 33

The Festive Sounds ofNortheastern the Holidays Pennsylvania Philharmonic

December 1 • Scranton Cultural Center • 7 p.m. December 2 • F.M. Kirby Center • 7 p.m.


ing in the Holidays by enjoying the festive sounds of the Philharmonic’s Holiday Concert, featuring the Ballet Theatre of Scranton, the Choral Society of Northeastern PA, the Bloomsburg University Concert Choir, the Valenches Music Company students and a special visit 34

from Santa & Mrs. Claus! Families will enjoy orchestral arrangements of all their holiday favorites, including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet, Sleigh Ride, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and much more! This Holiday spectacular is accompanied by song and dance, and will conclude with our crowdfavorite sing-along which

engages audience members and sends them on their way in the spirit of the holiday season! The Philharmonic will be collecting donations of unwrapped mittens, hats and scarves for children affiliated with the United Neighborhood Center (Scranton) and Family Services (Wilkes-Barre.) H December 2023

Santa Photos: Darren Elias


Christmas Cards and Greetings O ne of the first mass produced Christmas cards is said to have originated from a prominent educator and patron of the arts, Henry Cole of early Victorian England, who maintained a robust social life with many friends.

The Penny Post, an expansion of the British postal system, allowed anyone to send a letter or card anywhere, simply by placing a penny stamp on the letter. Having many friends and receiving many letters through the convenience of the Penny Post cre-

ated a dilemma for the popular Henry Cole: How to answer all those letters that were stacking up? Cole approached an artist friend, J.C. Horsley, and asked him to design an idea that he had sketched out in his mind. Cole then took Horsley’s illustration—showing a family at table celebrating the holiday flanked by images of people helping the poor—and had a thousand copies made by a London printer. The image was printed on a piece of stiff cardboard 5 1/8 x 3 1/4 inches in size. At the top of each was the salutation, “To:_____” allowing Cole to personalize his responses, which

34 2023


included the generic greeting “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You.” Early British cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, but instead featured flowers, fairies and other artful designs that caused the recipient to long for Spring. Louis Prang, is sometimes referred to as the father of the American Christmas card. Prang, a Prussian immigrant with a print shop near Boston, first printed cards with paintings of flowers and a simple message,

“Merry Christmas.” This more artistic, subtle approach would mark this first generation of American Christmas cards. December 2023 37

Competitions for card designs were organized by card publishers, with cash prizes offered for the best designs. Christmas cards soon become collectible items. Christmas card production expanded to be a profitable business for manufacturers with an endless supply of ideas and artwork. The World Wars brought Christmas cards with patriotic themes. Nostalgic, sentimental and religious images continued in popularity until the 21st century when technology contributed to the decline of the Christmas card. The estimated number of cards received by American households dropped steadily. Email, telephones, smart phones and social media allow for more frequent contact and are easier for generations raised without handwritten letters.

36 38

December 2023

We're Hiring!

Join our caring team.

Adult Day Program - Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide supports uniquely designed to meet individual desire and need. We promote the continued development of communication and job readiness skills. Hours are Monday-Friday 8:30a.m.-3:30 p.m. Residential Program - DSPs assist folks in various aspects of household routine such as shopping, laundry, cooking, budgeting and entertaining. Each residence is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

570-346-4010 x 718 for more information or apply on-line at: https://thearcnepa. Please specify job title. Thank you for your interest in The Arc of Northeastern PA.

Still for many receiving a beautiful and friendly Christmas Greeting is a highlight of the season and a tradition that marks both a formal opportunity to check with friends and family.


Source: Smithsonian Magazine and Wikipedia. The antique Christmas Cards shown here are from an assisted living facility resident in Clarks Summit. The resident planned to discard the cards but, knowing the Happenings staff’s fondness for such items, they were salvaged to share with readers. H


December 2023

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Frost - 1874-1963 Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

December January 2023 2023

57 41 55

Forest and Field

A view of the customer lounge area with working fireplace, a large TV, and inspiring books and magazines.


pened in 2021, Forest & Field is a 10,000 square foot home design showroom located in the Columbia County Business Park near Bloomsburg. F&F is the inspiration of John O. Coates, who is also the owner of Tri-County Lumber & Truss of Berwick. In 2015, as owner of TriCounty Lumber & Truss of Berwick, John created a kitchen and bath department at the lumber yard to service the area’s builders and architects who needed more design options. The new department’s early success allowed John to pursue his own dream project, a showroom with the space to really do something unique. John created F&F to inspire passion for good home design, which in turn creates happier homes and better communities. 42

In fact, Forest & Field was designed to engage the community beyond homeowners. The large working demo kitchen has already hosted several events, including a free five-week Italian cooking class conducted by The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum.

Entrance with portico bui

lt by a local craftsman

All are welcome to visit Forest & Field. If you are ready to get your project started now, call (570) 450-0681 to schedule a free consultation.


The KraftMaid large kitchen display with oak cabinets, Cambria countertop, Wolf appliances and Kohler fixtures. (All displays are designed by the Forest & Field team.) The working demo kitchen is used regularly by the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum for “Kids in the Kitchen” cooking classes. t

The very popular pet station (featuring photos of Coco, an important member of the F&F family!) provides a bright and spacious area, ideal for bath time, feeding, sleeping and storing all those favorite toys and treats! December 2023


The working demo kitchen, built to last with Omega framed cabinets in maple with Top Knobs hardware; a large granite countertop in “Brown Fantasy” leather finish; Wolf/Cove/Sub-Zero appliances, Kohler fixtures and WOW tile. H



December 2023

Koziar’s Christmas Village


estled on a farm in Berks, arriving at Koziar’s is a little like coming to the North Pole. Millions of Christmas lights welcome visitors from the darkness. The Koziar family has entertained thousands of guests for nearly 76 holiday seasons. What began as a private Christmas display created by William H. Koziar has grown into a major destination– even earning a place as one of the Top 10 Travel Attractions in Pennsylvania by the PA Travel Council. Tour the grounds at your own pace. Paved walkways wind through hundreds of holiday displays, lighted decorations and festive scenes. Two giant outdoor train setups December 2023

chug through a miniature village and farm scenes. Small buildings along the way house scenes of holiday traditions. Peek through the giant windows to get a glimpse of Santa’s Post Office, an old-fashioned bakery, a candy shop

and Santa’s Toy Shop plus beautiful Nativity scenes. Warm up with hot chocolate and warm cookies or other festival food. Koziar’s Christmas Village is open daily through January 1. H


hristmas with C The New York Tenors 2023 with Special Guest, Arianna Paz Olympics in Salt Lake City. Christopher Macchio is a gifted performer with a voice of exceptional power and beauty. Macchio’s growing reputation has brought him to sold-out theaters and events across the U.S. and Europe. His tenor voice has filled the rafters of The White House and has been featured on PBS.


xperience the memorable music, moments and magic of New York at Christmas, as the vocal artistry of Andy Cooney, Daniel Rodriguez and Christopher Macchio take audiences on a truly entertaining journey through the greatest city in the world — New York, New York! Andy Cooney, christened by the New York Times as “Irish America’s Favorite Son,” has been taking the Irish music scene by storm for the last 30 years. Andy’s unique tenor voice has been heard in concert halls internationally, including hallmark venues ranging from Dublin’s National Concert Hall to sold-out performances in New York’s iconic Carnegie Hall. Daniel Rodriguez first captured


the attention of Americans everywhere during some of the darkest moments in our nation’s history. He was the New York City police officer whose amazing voice soothed the nation’s grief in the days following September 11. Daniel’s career highlights include performing with Boston Pops Orchestra and debuting before a worldwide audience at the 2002 Winter

Joining the New York Tenors will be special guest, New York mezzo soprano, Arianna Paz. The young and talented Arianna made her debut in 2021 in Italy as a soloist in the Festival Internazionale di Mezza Estate in Tagliacozzo and with Classical Lyric Arts in Novafeltria, Italy. She is a student of The Mannes School of Music in New York under the tutelage of Grammy-nominated mezzo soprano, Margaret Lattimore. This year Arianna made her debut with The Long Island Lyric Opera. H

Tickets Make Great Gifts!

DEC. 16

JAN. 3 & 4

Mar. 9

Apr. 17 & 18

Apr. 21

Easy Access from RT 33 South! 453 Northampton St., Easton, PA 610-252-3132 . 1-800-999-STATE


December 2023



Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Make the season bright with Broadway! Give the gift of everlasting experiences Shows at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple

Wayne County Inspires

Winter Wonderland


leigh bells ring, are you listening?” Chances are you can sing the next sentence. “Winter Wonderland” is one of the most recognizable Christmas songs in history and the most often recorded. Honesdale native Richard “Dick” Smith was inspired by his hometown to pen the beloved tune in 1931. Smith was born in Honesdale, PA on September 29, 1901. He lived with his parents John and Eliza Smith and siblings in a house with a direct view of Central Park and the Wayne County Courthouse. He learned to play the piano at his family home. He graduated from Honesdale High School in 1920 and then left the area. Smith attended Penn State where he conducted the school’s orchestra, served as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper and

wrote several songs for the Glee Club and plays. After graduation, he managed movie theaters in Connecticut, New York City and Chattanooga, TN.

Smith married Jean Connor from Scranton on March 30, 1930 and contracted tuberculosis shortly after in 1931. He was admitted to Lenox Hill Hospital and later Scranton’s West Mountain Sanatorium, where he wrote his best-known work, “Winter Wonderland.” He wrote the song about the snow-covered beauty of the park that he saw from his boyhood home. Felix Bernard composed the music for the song.

He wrote the song about the snow-covered beauty of the park that he saw from his boyhood home. Although Smith realized his dream of writing a Christmas song, he passed away before it rose to popularity. He died on

September 29, 1935 at the age of 34. “Dick Smith‘s song has become a classic– a work of enduring excellence,” said the Wayne County Historical Society. “It has timeless lyrics that are just as fun to sing or listen to as they were in 1934. Though the song is generally recognized as a Christmas song, the lyrics do not refer to Christmas at all, just the snowy winter season.” “Winter Wonderland” was featured in Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway and Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadian Orchestra performed the song. Over 200 artists have recorded “Winter Wonderland” including Bing Crosby, The Andrew Sisters, Perry Como, The Carpenters, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. “There is a small plaque on the front porch of a privately owned house in Honesdale where Dick Smith grew up. The locals know which house it is and tell their children and friends.” H


December 2023

103 East Drinker Street • Dunmore, PA • (570) 344-2029 •

December 2023


Bring Nature Inside Brown paper packages tied up in string, these are a few of our favorite things! Simple, natural decor becomes the most beautiful in our crazy, busy world. Simmering pots of oranges with cranberries and decorating with popcorn strings, cranberries, branches and pine cones bring an old-fashioned, peaceful and aromatic touch to your home. Add the glow of a balsam pine or holly berry candle and you will have succeeded in capturing the best of the natural winter season.

Christmas Trains Trains running around Christmas trees bring back memories of simpler times. Historians believe the train tradition dates back to the early 1900s, when manufacturer Lionel began to produce the first electric toy trains.

Annual Holiday Trunk Show Thursday, December 7

December 2023


Virginia Goodrich, Executive Secretary of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is retiring after 58 plus years. Virginia began working at the Scranton Chamber in 1965. Meet Virginia and wish her well in her retirement.

“Meet Virginia” Young Virginia As a young child, Virginia Goodrich loved to play outside. “I had a sandbox, rode my

bicycle, enjoyed hopscotch and jacks. I also enjoyed indoor activities like coloring, board games and paper 54

Congratulations on 58 years! dolls. My sister was born when I was five years old, and we played together until I reached my teens and had other interests. I joined the Brownie Girl Scouts at age 8, loved the troop meetings and going to Day Camp. I went to Sunday School, church services and Bible School at the Dickson City Primitive Methodist Church and a children’s ministry there called “Junior League” where we sang songs, heard Bible stories and memorized Scripture. As a teenager, I participated in our church youth group which was called “Christian Endeavor.”

Virginia grew up in Dickson City. She graduated from Dickson City High School in 1964 and also graduated the Executive Secretarial Program in 1965 from what was then Lackawanna Junior College. “Career options were somewhat limited for women in 1964. My parents could not afford a four-year college but “business school” was an alternative. At that time, Lackawanna Junior College essentially guaranteed their graduates a job. The president of the school, Mr. Seeley, sent me on two interviews – the second of which was at the Chamber of Commerce – and, as they say, the rest is history. December 2023

Biggest lessons from parents “I’d have to say that they taught by example. Neither of my parents graduated high school but my mother was one of the smartest people I ever knew. She was an avid reader who instilled a love of reading in me at a young age. My father was a blue-collar worker, who grew up on a farm, and gave 110% at whatever job he had. I believe I inherited his work ethic. My mother was a stay-at-home mom; dad worked as a yardman for several lumber companies.

Early years working at the chamber Virginia initially served as the Secretary in the Industrial Development Department. Her earliest years were rather quiet compared to the present. “I mainly took dictation, typed letters,

answered the phone, filed, helped address and stuff envelopes for membership mailings. I had very little contact with Chamber members and volunteers. Jack Keever was the Executive Vice President, now called President, when I became his secretary in 1979. When I started to work at the Chamber, I had never even used an electric typewriter. I

“There’s a saying frequently used in Girl Scouts - ‘always leave a place better than you found it.’ I hope I’ve done that.” went from using a manual typewriter to using an electric typewriter, then to an early word processor – the IBM Magnetic Card typewriter – to Microsoft Windows and Word. The primary means of communicating used to be by mail and phone. Now it’s email and text, not to mention meetings conducted using Microsoft Teams or Zoom. In my early years here, we housed the Tourist Bureau which published brochures and flyers advertising local hotels and attractions and sponsored an Annual


Flaming Foliage Bus Trip; we

had an Agriculture Committee that promoted the Farmers Market and ran an excursion to the Farm Show in Harrisburg each year; we owned the building at 426 Mulberry Street with tenants on three of the four floors and employed a maintenance and kitchen staff (the

Chamber had a cafeteria for many years). Since our founding in 1867, we have had a mission of recruiting business and industry, creating/retaining jobs, and improving the economy, but now we are also engaged in leadership development, government relations and advocacy, small business and entrepreneurial development, and workforce issues.

Girl Scouts “I joined the Girl Scouts at the age of 8 and continued as a girl member until I graduated high school. At age 18, I

December 2023

became an Assistant Troop Leader, then was the Troop Leader of Brownie Troop 112 for 30 years (19702000). Since then, I’ve been a council board member, committee member, training facilitator and camp volunteer. Although I no longer take an active role, I am a Lifetime Member and provide modest financial support when I can.

Words of wisdom In everything that she has done and will continue to do, Virginia likes to live by the The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As for her legacy,

December 2023

Here is what she had to say, “There’s a saying frequently used in Girl Scouts - ‘always leave a place better than you found it.’ I hope I’ve done that.”

For all that you have done for the region, Happenings Magazine congratulates Virginia Goodrich on 58 years of dedication! Enjoy your retirement. H




uxedo by Sarno’s main business is dressing men for life’s special occasions. “We know what it takes to make you look and feel your best, whether you choose to rent or purchase,” says Sarno.

Life’s special occasions have been Sarno’s focus for over 80 years. “We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your special event. Time for a wardrobe refresh? We offer suit separates for purchase in 15 exciting colors. You can mix and match colors and sizes” says Sarno. Sarno sells all the accessories you’ll need to complete your look, including shirts, ties, belts, socks and shoes. Sarno offers personalized, fast, friendly service and guarantees a perfect fit. Sarno offers over 55 styles featuring the latest designs and trends, in high quality fabrics for comfort and elegance. They feature a large selection of vests, ties and bows in an endless array of color options. Weddings are a priority at Sarno. Their trained stylists will help you select the

perfect attire for your event. “From casual, coatless options for school dances to formal suits and black tie, we offer something for everyone at an affordable price,” Sarno states. Choose to buy or borrow over 35 styles of suits and tuxedos. Sarno can service wedding parties throughout the United States and Canada. Members of your wedding

party may be measured in one of over 400 fitting locations. Sarno offers a free “Wedding Manager” web page to keep you up to date on what is happening with your wedding party and to monitor fittings and pick up times. “We maintain a high level of customer service and are proud of our 5 star reviews,” they said.

Sarno History Ralph Sarno, a master suit maker, immigrated to the United States from Italy in the 1920s and began practicing his trade. In 1940, he founded Sarno’s Custom Tailor Shop on Washington Avenue in Scranton. Founded on principles of honesty, quality and genuine care for the customer, Ralph’s business steadily expanded. Alterations, dry cleaning, custom suit making and tuxedo rentals were added. Ralph began to teach his son, Larry the tailoring trade. Larry moved the tuxedo section to the front of the store and expanded selections and styles for the next generation. By the late 1970s Larry built a chain of 11 stores extending from Williamsport to Syracuse. In 1972, he moved business operations to a large production facility on Blakely St. in nearby Dunmore. His next move was to shift from a retail chain to a wholesale supplier of tuxedos, an endeavor Larry’s own son, Mark, continued developing upon joining the family business in 1978. Sarno and Son became Sarno and Son and Daughter, at least in spirit, when Larry’s daughter, Nancy, joined the family trade in 1986. What began as an Italian immigrant’s small custom suit tailoring shop is now a thriving business in its third generation of family ownership. “Sometimes it feels like we’re the best kept secret in Scranton. Very few people realize how our service area has grown,” says Nancy.


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K erri Orzechowski

Early Intervention Director • Scranton Counseling Center cranton Counseling Center’s Early Intervention program serves children and their families in Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties. The program works with children from birth to 3 years old who have development needs or developmental concerns. The program sets up therapy services for children to help with communication/ speech, fine and gross motor skills, feeding, cognitive skills and social / emotional areas. Services take place at the family’s home or at the childcare setting.


Kerri says, I believe that every family should know of the benefits of Early Intervention and that help exists if there is a concern. Each child has the chance to get help if needed. The services are provided at no cost and a family can call anytime with developmental concerns. I am committed and passionate about serving children and families in our area. My goal is to have any family who received Early Intervention walk away with the most positive experience possible.

Once a child is found eligible for Early Intervention and sessions begin, a huge part of that session is spent giving parental instruction and coaching. If a child is getting therapy one time per week for one hour, that is a small piece of that child’s week. Giving par62

help a family get linked with the correct program for their child based on age and location.

ents the tools they need to help their child will result in the best chance at success. Early Intervention can link families to various resources, parent trainings and community events. At the first meeting with a family, we talk about what kind of support the family has and if any additional support is needed. Family needs can change so we always check in regularly. If a child is 3 years or older, there is an option for 3-5 year old preschool services. If a family is unsure of whom to contact they can call 1-800-692-7288. If a family resides in Lackawanna County and has a child 3 or under, they can call me directly at 570348-6100 ext. 3343. If they reside in any other county or if their child is over 3 years, the telephone number listed above can

Any child can have an evaluation, free-of-charge. The evaluation will determine if the child is eligible, based on one of the following: A score of -1.5 or greater on that evaluation showing that the child has a delay in any one area of development; a diagnosis that puts the child at risk for delays; and, finally, informed clinical opinion–special situations where the evaluation may show that there is a need for services but there is not a diagnosis and the scores of our evaluation did not reflect an eligible score. Early Intervention in Lackawanna has a tracking program called Watch As I Grow. Children referred to us who are considered at risk can go into this program free-of-charge and can get developmental questionnaires mailed to their home. Once completed and returned to us, we now have another method of evaluating if a child is reaching milestones. The ‘at-risk’ criteria for tracking is: affected by an elevated lead level, affected by prenatal substance exposure including alcohol, birth weight under 1500 grams, cared for in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Experienced Homelessness, or if they were referred by Children, Youth and Families. Career Choice Many years ago, I worked at December 2023

Living a balanced life/Avoiding burnout I make sure to switch my mind over when I get home from work. While at work, I give it my all; when I go home, however, I want to give my home/personal life my all as well and I try not to mix the two. I feel this keeps me

balanced and prevents me from burning out. I try to make sure Fridays and Saturdays are always for things that are fun. I work out and exercise regularly, and this helps to keep daily stress down. If I get lazy and stop exercising, I see my frustration levels rise so I am motivated to stay balanced. I am also the type of person who feels very guilty if I get grumpy toward anyone, so I attempt to avoid that; I always try to look at the bright side! Christmas time is my favorite time of year. I am a wicked planner so everything is always organized right up to the big day. My theory is that if I start planning early and get a little done each week to prepare, the week leading up to Christmas and New Year’s will be a breeze. Planning and organization help me maintain balance as well as creating a lot of lists; I keep ToDo Lists everywhere! I currently

Scranton Counseling Center in another position. We moved offices and my new neighbors were the Early Intervention staff. I never heard of Early Intervention before and I was curious. As I learned more, I realized that it sounded like a perfect area for me. A few months later, a position opened up within that department, I made the switch and the rest is history. When I first graduated from college, I intended to be working with women in domestic violence situations so it is a bit different than my original plan. I have no regrets!

have a list of things to do to prepare for Christmas and New Year’s. Each week, I put a dent in my lists. I want to enjoy every moment so I take my time and do it right. If I am too tired and pushing myself to rush, it will not be any fun. Personal: I attended Wilkes University and LCCC and have worked in Early Intervention for 20 years. I have worked at Scranton Counseling for 25 years. I have been married for 25 years and live in Hanover Township and the proud mother of two girls, Kailey, age 25 and Alicia age 20. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and doing many outdoor activities like riding ATV’s, camping, fishing and boating. One goal I try to strive toward personally and professionally is to always keep working on improving myself. Each day, I want to be better than I was the day before H

Your Community Mental Health Specialists Treating children, adults, and the entire family for mental health needs, as well as providing co-occurring disorder treatment to adolescents and adults. 570.348.6100 • • 329 Cherry Street, Scranton December 2023


Tis the season...


is the season to bring on the holidays! Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is a time filled with many emotions: happy, merry, joyful, grateful, blessed, stressed, anxious, sad. The holidays can bring so much joy from being around loved ones, sharing traditions and celebrating. Unfortunately, this is not true for everyone each year. What once may have been a time of the happiest of memories may now be a difficult time for those who are grieving, struggling, alone or sick. In our present world with such uncertain times, I encourage each of us to find something this holiday season to bring some positivity and gratitude to ourselves and those around us. So many of us do not enjoy the holidays because we are so busy cramming it all in that we don’t stop and take in the sights, sounds and scents.

Studies have shown that decorating early for the holidays makes us happier. Make a day or night of putting up lights and decorating the tree. Make to-do lists and scratch off two per day. The smell of home-baked cookies and music playing can spark a sense of joy. While some issues are out of our control and we need to strive to make 64

our control, we need to strive to make the best of each moment. We can all strive to have more positive self–talk and gratitude. While in the chaos of hustle and bustle, don’t forget to have fun and spread kindness. Self care plays such a big role in helping others. When we take care of ourselves, we put ourselves in a better state to help those around us. My five tips for self care during the holidays: 1. Get eight hours of sleep a night. 2. Eat three meals a day and maintain your recommended protein and water intake (even with cookie snacks)! 3. Stick to your regular exercise routine. Keep the endorphins flowing! 4. Take some alone time such as a walk, meditation or prayer.

5. Speak kindly to yourself. Positive self talk goes a long way. None of us is perfect, so just do your best. Have a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season, Jackie H –Jackie Kerekes

December 2023

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Open to the Public Açaí bowls • All made-to-order • Create your own blends of smoothie • Build your own bowls • High quality protein Protein balls in multiple flavors • New items introduced weekly Online ordering and curbside pickup available at: 513 S. State St.,Village Square, Clarks Summit, PA

December 2023

Jackie Kerekes, Owner NASM CPT, NASM FNS 513 S. State St., Village Square Clarks Summit, PA



National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Mental Health and the Holiday Blues


igh expectations, loneliness and stress can lead to the “Holiday Blues.” In most cases symptoms are temporary, but they can be serious if they last for more than two weeks, leading to clinical anxiety and depression. The “holiday blues” can stem from a variety of sources, such as current events, personal grief, loneliness, illnesses of all kinds, economic concerns, separation from family members, separation or divorce. The COVID crisis has made maintaining mental health more challenging for many. “For many, the holiday season is not always the most wonderful time of the year,” said NAMI Northeast Region PA executive director Marie Onukiavage. “For individuals 66

and families coping with mental health challenges, the holiday season can be a lonely or stressful time. There is a tremendous need for people to reach out and watch out for each other in keeping with the spirit of the season.” Be mindful of the following: • Holiday blues are different from mental illness, but shortterm mental health problems must be taken seriously because they can lead to clinical anxiety and depression. • People already living with mental illness are often affected by the holiday blues. Individuals, families and friends should know symptoms and watch out for each other. • There are many ways to avoid or minimize holiday blues. NAMI can be a source of support. • It’s a myth that suicides increase during the holidays, but suicide risks are always serious.

• Children and teens get the blues too. The highest rate for child psychiatric hospitalizations occurs in winter. None of this means that we should skip the holidays entirely. Instead, there are strategies to minimize the negative aspects of the season. Be realistic. Don’t worry about how things ‘should be.’ Ask yourself, do I really have to do everything on my list? Why am I doing things that make me miserable? Draw up a list of reasons to engage in holiday traditions, and then a list of reasons not to engage. A simple pro and con list will remind us that we do have a choice. There is a lot of cultural pressure during the holidays. We tend to compare ourselves with idealized notions of perfect families and perfect holidays. Remember, other families have their own stressors to contend with. December 2023

Accept your needs and keep your own mental and physical well-being in mind. Recognizing triggers can help prepare you for stressful situations. Is shopping for holiday gifts too stressful? Is preparing all the traditional homemade dishes overwhelming? Once you know what is making you feel physically and mentally agitated, you can take steps to avoid or cope with the stress. Finding ways to manage time by making a day-to-day schedule can help keep us from feeling overwhelmed and allow us to say “No” to things that don’t fit our schedule or make us feel good. Likewise, it is helpful to spend time away from the hype, even if it’s just for half an hour a day. Spend time in nature. Studies show that time in nature reduces stress. Break away from family during a holiday gathering. Take a walk in a local park. Eat well. Get enough sleep. Eating habits are challenged during the holidays. Eating unprocessed foods, like whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruit can help to maintain a healthy diet. Exercise has an antianxiety, anti-depression effect. Even a small amount of exercise, such as parking further from the store, can help. Eating well, exercising and sleep can help to stabilize mood.

Don’t let the “holiday blues” become a scapegoat. If these are persistent feelings, make an appointment to see your doctor! Find support. Whether it’s with friends, family, a counselor or a support group, airing out and talking can help. Consider attending a free support group provided by NAMI Northeast Region PA. If you or someone you love is experiencing a crisis, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, or use the Crisis Text Line by texting NAMI to 741741, to connect with a trained crisis counselor for free 24/7 crisis support.” Overall, remember that this is not an easy time of year for a lot of people. We need to be gentle with ourselves. For more information about NAMI Northeast Region PA visit or call 570-342-1047. H

Avoid alcohol and drugs. Substances don’t reduce stress: in fact, they often worsen it. If you’re struggling with substance abuse, educate yourself and get help. Volunteer. Simply knowing that we're making a small dent in the lives of people who are not as fortunate can be a great source of comfort. This is a great strategy to combat feelings of loneliness or isolation. Consider seeking out community, religious or other social events. Take steps to stay safe. As COVID and the flu continue to pose a risk, do not attend a gathering if you feel sick or have health issues.

December 2023


2024 T he babies are coming: January 2019 Submit your baby's photo for inclusion in the next “New Baby Photo Gallery”. All entries must be received prior to December 8. (Baby must be born after Nov. 1, 2022)

$35 Entry Fee See details at Question? Email

Dr. Gary Thomas Verazin

A Good Practice in Basketball and in Surgery


r. Gary Thomas Verazin was recently inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame for his basketball accomplishments. He has been a noted surgeon and oncologist for many years. Born and raised in Nanticoke, Gary grew up in a town, where basketball was popular mostly due to Sylvester "Syl" Bozinski, who became the winningest coach in Pennsylvania. (This included a national championship in 1961.) Syl's winning streak inspired many kids in Nanticoke to play basketball. "In summers, you would play stickball against the school," Gary said. "In winter, you play football on the streets when it snowed. In between, you play basketball." He recalls playing basketball at West Side Park and Pulaski Playground. When he was a student at John S. Fine High School, he lettered in basketball, baseball and track and field. As a center fielder in baseball, he made All Star Teams tournament. In track and field, he won a few medals in the triple jump, long


jump and the 440, which at the time was ‘yards’ instead of ‘meters.’ Gary's primary sport was basketball. He was a starting point guard during his sophomore, junior and senior years from 1974 to 1976. In his first two years, his team went to the Eastern Semi Finals in Class AAA. In 1976 his team made the Final Four, losing to Norristown by one point. Making it to the Final Four earned Gary the Gene Guarilia Award from the Hughestown Sports Club. That same year, he became the Wyoming Valley Conference Most Valuable Player. He scored a total of 1,092 in his high school basketball career. Gary remembers working out with his high school's assistant coach Rich "Rico" Rutkowski in the mornings, then working in

the cemetery in the afternoon and playing basketball at night. "In those days, the atmosphere in Nanticoke was phenomenal," said Gary. "Every game you would go to was packed by halftime, and the people who couldn't get in would be listening to it on the radio, which is unlike today." There were not many sports played on TV during this time especially when there were only three major channels. So, people

December 2023

would tune in to a radio station to hear a game. In 1976, Gary graduated in the top 3 of his class. He continued to play basketball at Elizabethtown College, where he majored in biology. He received four varsity letters from 1976 to 1980. He became a member of the 1979 NCAA Division III Tournament Elite 8, which lost to Albright by one point. He earned the Replogle Scholarship by having the highest GPA amongst all varsity athletes. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in biology with a 3.8 GPA. He credits his coach Don Smith for his success in college basketball. Gary then attended Temple University of Medicine, where he graduated in 1984. He worked as a medical doctor for four years before becoming a surgeon. During his residency at Lehigh Valley Hospital Center from 1984 to 1989, he earned the Paul R. Bosanac Research in Publication Award. From 1989 to 1992, he did a surgical oncology fellowship at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. "Every day was a challenge with some of the most complex cases in the world," he said. "We would see people from all over the East Coast, as well as from Europe,” he said. In addition his experience with chemotherapy and radiation oncology, he was also involved with research in sentinel node biopsy. He received the E. Douglas Holyoke Award in his surgical oncology class. From 1992 to 1995, Gary served December 2023

with the US Air Force, as the Chief of Surgical Oncology at the WrightPatterson Airforce Base. He was also a professor of surgery at the Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He received the Meritorious Service Award and worked with surgeons in developing techniques in laparoscopic surgery and then was able to perform laparoscopic splenectomy and adrenalectomy. After returning to Wyoming Valley in 1995, Gary became the General Surgeon and Surgical Oncologist at the Wilkes Barre General Hospital.

committee for his nomination as well as Luzerne Hall of Fame president Jim Martin for all of his work with the organization. H– Ben Freda

All I want for Christmas... is MORE HAIR!


Last year, Gary and his wife, Elizabeth, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. . The couple has three adult children and two grandsons, . Gary was honored to be inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame. "It's something that will be there forever." Gary recognized the

Call today for a consultation!



347-6951 965 Winton St. Dunmore 71

Faith at Christmas


hile American society still celebrates Christmas, most adults believe the religious features of Christmas are not given as much prominence as in the past. Ten years ago 59% of Americans said they celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday. Many people attend church because it is the traditional and cultural thing to do with family, while visiting from other cities and amidst other holiday celebration. Will you attend a service? Write and share your story at


December 2023

Find the Perfect Story for Everyone on Your List!

Visit the Interfaith Magical Christmas Display through January 2, 2024 Find inspirational ways to

Give Love Susquehanna County Interfaith Montrose - 526 Church Street Susquehanna - 695 Jackson Ave. Forest City - 500 Main Street

Buy 3 titles from our Christmas Category and get the 4th one FREE! Use code FREE23 at checkout. Expires December 18, 2023.

Saint Ann's Basilica and Saints Peter and Paul Church

1(888) 246-7735

St. Paul’s Christmas Services Sunday, December 24, 11 a.m. Holy Communion Service Sunday, December 24, 7 p.m. Candlelight Service with Holy Communion


Free Winter Concerts Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Masses

December 3, 2:30 p.m. Wayne Choralaires Christmas Concert December 8, 7 p.m. Tomoko and David Kuhn– piano and vocal December 9, 2 p.m. Christmas Concert

Dec. 24, 4 p.m. Mass - St. Ann's Basilica Dec. 24, 4 p.m. Mass - Saints Peter and Paul Church Dec. 25, Midnight Mass (Carols at 11:30 p.m.) - St. Ann's Basilica Dec. 25, 8:30 a.m. Mass - St. Ann's Basilica Christmas & Christmas Day Masses Dec. 25,Eve 11 a.m. Mass - St. Ann's Basilica

Thursday, December 24:and Dec.Christmas 26, WeeklyEve, Novena Schedule with Mass p.m. •and p.m.• 6 p.m. NovenaMasses Servicesatat28p.m., a.m. •4Noon 3:306 p.m. Christmas Day, Friday, December 25: Masses at Midnight (11:30 p.m. Carols), 8:30Basilica a.m. and 11 a.m. Saint Ann's

Saxophone Quartet/ Holiday Jazz Concert

Reservations needed Eve•Masses. Call 570-342-5166 1239 Saint AnnforStthe.,Christmas Scranton 570-342-5166

Saints Peter and Paul Church 1309 West Locust St., Scranton • 570-343-7015

December 2023

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 401 Church Street, Hawley, PA. (570) 226-2411


“When my heart finds Christmas,


hristmas for seniors can be lonely. If you have an elderly relative or neighbor, why not try to make their holidays brighter, and in doing so, make yours as well. Spreading holiday cheer can be very simple. Just spending some quality time together can make all the difference in the worlds. A visit with a photo album, scrapbook or family photo calendar are great ways to connect the generations. Younger ones benefit so very much by getting to know their older relatives. In fact, studies have shown that a determining factor of a successful childhood

is when one is connected to their past. Bring along some holiday decorations and music and share a cup of Christmas Tea. Can your senior get out for a dinner? Pick your senior up for a memorable holiday meal out a restaurant. It very well may be the highlight of their week. Staying active with your senior can be fun, so joining them for a walk around their building or campus with individual one-on-one conversation will benefit you both. A Christmas puzzle or holiday crossword done together is good for body, mind and spirit! Enjoy some

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December 2023

I hope it finds you too..” cookies and tea while you are at it. While sending Christmas cards in the mail may not be as popular for us today, it is still a favorite highlight when a senior hears “You’ve got mail.” If you send no one else a card this year, pick five seniors and make sure they are not forgotten. Christmas caroling with old-time melodies

December 2023

and words that are impossible to forget can help a senior feel young again. It doesn’t matter who is singing on key, (no one is auditioning here) just brighten the day with a song. Ask a senior what his or her favorite Christmas memory was, and write it down! Are there photographs to accompany the story? Recorded stories from grandparents and great aunts and uncles are valuable, liv-


ing pieces of history that can be passed down for generations. Have too much to do on your list? Wrap with a senior! Engage them in helping you select the ribbons and paper for each one… and don’t forget to leave behind a few pre wrapped ones that they can open later.


Enjoy a classic Christmas movie. Bring your ipad and settle in next to your favorite senior as you watch the movies we all love so well Does your loved one enjoy reading and looking at great pictures? An annual subscription to Happenings can arrive right to your loved ones door. (Call 570-878-5009 to order.)

December 2023

Here at Wesley Village, we’re ready to share our beautiful community and worry-free lifestyle with you! We offer a vibrant community with social activities, wellness programs, dining options, and exceptional care for seniors. Winter can be a stressful time. We want to ease that stress so you can focus on what’s important - making memories with friends & family. Call 570-655-2891 OR email for more information about life at Wesley Village!

December 2023

209 Roberts Road, Pittston, PA


.........Christmas Cheryl Chilson

Jack Cooper

Jim Donnelly

Marketing and Admission Director. The Pines Senior Living

Cooper's Seafood House

President & CEO, Wayne Bank

Season’s Greetings! With many good wishes for the holiday season. From our family at The Pines Senior Living.

This holiday season, let Cooper's Seafood House be your destination for memorable moments, delicious food, and holiday joy.

Happy Holidays from your friends at Wayne Bank. We wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

Drs. Kristen and Bryan Frantz

Linda Thomas-Hemak

Integra-Clean & Dry

Perio Health and Dental Implants

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our team! We wish each of you a very Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year!

68 78

M.D., FACP, FAAP, president and CEO, The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education.

As you celebrate the holidays and think about 2024, we are here to help in your journey to better health.

Our Gratitude Never Takes a Holiday. We appreciate your support and wish you the best in 2024!

December 2023

Wishes................ John A. Mackarey

Linette Manley

Daniel J. Santaniello

New York Life Insurance Company

Account Representative Happenings Magazine

President & CEO, Fidelity Bank

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. Your health is your most important asset so do your best to maintain that. Every day is a gift so remember to be thankful for our blessings this season.

Wishing all of our clients, readers, supporters and friends the best holiday season. May the new year be filled with peace, love and happiness.

Season's greetings to our friends and neighbors! May your holidays overflow with joy, togetherness, and the promise of new beginnings.

Jennifer L. Severini-Kresock, MS

Brian Picchini

Ryan Wilson

President & CEO, United Methodist Homes.

Wilson Wealth Advisory Janney Montgomery Scott LLC

Owner and Head Career and College Counselor NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates

For behold I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

December 2023

From our communities to you and your families, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!

Wishing all Happenings readers a wonderful holiday season and a 2024 filled with health, happiness and prosperity.


Wright Center specialty clinic provides whole-person care to HIV/AIDS patients


s she trained for her career as an infectious disease specialist, Dr. Mary Louise Decker, medical director of The Wright Center for Community Health’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Clinic, worked with people dying of AIDS at the Gift of Peace AIDS Hospice in Washington, D.C. More than 20 years later, half of the patients she treats at the Ryan White Clinic are over 55 and living healthy, everyday lives, thanks to decades of medical advances and the comprehensive care she and her team of dedicated and compassionate healers provide.

Ryan White quilt, from left, Melissa Bonnerwith,

Dr. Mary Louise Decker and Sister Ruth Neely. “The advances in treatment have been remarkable,” she said about the virus, which was patients aged 18 to 84 from 14 emergency financial assistance once a death sentence. “Now, counties across Northeast and and more. HIV is a chronic disease, similar Central Pennsylvania annually. “A patient might come for a to diabetes or hypertension.” It offers comprehensive servicgeneral medical visit, but dures for people living with or at Dr. Decker and other staff meming that time, they will have risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS, bers reflected on the advances their immunizations updated including prevention, testing made since the first World AIDS and their labs drawn and have and treatment. Day was observed on Dec. 1, the opportunity to talk to their 1988. Today, more than 70 milThe Ryan White Clinic offers a case manager or with a behavlion people have been infected whole-person approach to ioral health counselor. They’ll with HIV, and about 35 million patient care, allowing patients often meet with our nutritionhave died from AIDS since the to visit a single site for a full ist and maybe visit our food pandemic's start, according to spectrum of health services. In pantry,” said Dr. Decker. “We the World Health Organization addition to medical care manrefer patients to specialists (WHO). agement, staff at the clinic when appropriate. It’s satisfyoffer behavioral health, dental ing to see our patients looking The Ryan White clinic, based at care and addiction and recovand feeling well and caring The Wright Center for ery services. Ancillary services for their health.” Community Health Scranton include housing assistance, Practice, treats more than 450 Dr. Decker said the most medical nutrition therapy, 80

December 2023

significant change in HIV and AIDS treatment since the late 1980s has been the advances in medication. Azidothymidine, commonly called AZT, became available in 1987 to help people with HIV live longer. But it was expensive, and because the virus continued to mutate, it often stopped working. As scientists learned more, better drugs were developed during the 1990s. It meant, however, that people living with HIV had to take “a handful of pills” every day, according to Dr. Decker. Today, people can take just one pill to lower the amount of HIV in their blood to undetectable levels, ensuring they will not develop AIDS. There’s also an injectable medication available to patients at the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Clinic and medication to reduce the risk of the patients’ partners becoming infected with HIV. Because of the effectiveness of new medications and the

staff's focus on making sure ma surrounding HIV and AIDS patients can obtain medication remains, according to clinic and take it as prescribed, most leaders. of the clinic’s Sister Ruth Neely, HIV patients CRNP, a Religious have virtually Sister of Mercy, undetectable began offering viral rates. That HIV outreach ensures the services in 1997, patient will not three years develop AIDS, before the Clinic allowing them was formally to live long, established. healthy lives. It She said many also means patients she they cannot works with still pass HIV to struggle with anyone else. Dr. Mary Louise Decker acceptance from “The overall goal of the Centers for Disease Control is at least 95% of the people diagnosed with HIV have virtually undetectable viral rates by 2025,” said Melissa Bonnerwith, grants administrator for the Ryan White Clinic. “Our viral load suppression at the Clinic sits at 96.31%, so we’re already at the national goal.” Despite the advances, the stig-

family, friends and society. “I talked to one of my patients; he’s 80 years old,” she said. “And he said the stigma is still out there. It’s something he’s always dealt with.” Dr. Decker said HIV and AIDS are discussed more freely than in the past. “The more we can normalize getting tested, the less stigma will exist.” H

Ryan White staff, from left: Dr. Mary Louise Decker and Keisha Holbeck; Second row: Sharon Whitebread, Aliah Roseman, Sister Ruth Neely, Marah Lettieri, Ashley Gula, Melissa Bonnerwith, Beverly Birch and Joe Farley.; Third row: Shauna McDonnell, Courtney Gans, Daniel Hammer, Roman Ealo, Kimberly Simon, Ian McDonnell and Judith Chavez.

Who is the cutest of them all?




The Henning family of York claim that Bear is the most loving, sweetest snuggle bear you’ll ever meet.

Buddy loves to sit outside and relax, no matter what weather, dressed in his favorite attire. He resides with the Fetsock family in Scranton.


Delilah Rose


Cooper lives with the Shaughnessy family in Taylor. He loves pizza, shopping at TJ Maxx and is a big Notre Dame and Tampa Bay Rays fan.

Delilah Rose is considered to be very nosey, according to the Fusco family of Pittston who also say that she loves her fur-baby sister Zelda Rae.

Avery lives in Moscow with the Ives family. She is a Great Dane; a gentle giant with a great personality.

“The Kennel Alternative”

Jesse lives with the Hauenstein family in Lake Ariel. He’s a little shy and loves run and dig holes.

... are einMonth s e t o t of th The v

Vote for your favorite December pet at

e ber’s P akoda Novem Cole and T ions! is atulat Congr! The winner receives a Happenings bandana!


Snickers & Reese


The Graff family says that Peanut’s favorite thing to do is go fishing with his dad. He lives in Pittston.

Snickers and Reese are loving girls who enjoy going on adventures and chasing tennis balls. They live with the Jones family in Clifford Township.

Sookie is a very grateful, fun-loving rescue cat who loves getting into mischief, according to the Henry family of Tunkhannock.



Zelda Rae

Sylvie lives with Joseph, Ashley, and Joiee Piskkunowicz in Scranton. She loves relaxing on the couch with her family and watching television.

Thunder is very protective and loves to do tricks for his treats. He lives with the Brew family in Nanticoke.

Zelda Rae lives with the Fusco family of Pittston. She loves playing day and night… especially with her fur-sister, Delilah Rose.


Dickson City







p u p p y p a r a d i s e . o r g

Hanukkah: ‘Adding light to the wo rld’ By Christine Fanning

abbi Larry Kaplan and his family will light the menorah candles each of the eight nights of Hanukkah (December 7-15, 2023), sing a few songs and give the little ones a gift.


“It’s always been for the kids,” he said. “There are also some Hanukkah foods that are traditional mainly because of their connection to the story of the oil lasting eight days. Potato Latkes, pancakes made with oil, are served. In Israel it’s fried jelly donuts. They sell them on the street corners in Israeli 86

cities like chestnut sellers in New York City. As for my family, we had five kids when we moved here, became a foster family and through the years we have fostered more than 100 kids for various lengths of time. We’re in the process of adopting our 13th child. So gifts on Hanukkah are very minimal.” Rabbi Kaplan is connected to Temple Israel in Wilkes-Barre. He said he’s glad he doesn’t

have to celebrate Christmas, though he loves the traditional carols and attends midnight mass often. He reasons: “I don’t have to buy Christmas gifts for everyone in the family; just a few things for the kids.” He explained that the rules of Hanukkah “are not all that particular. There are many more rules about the weekly Sabbath (Shabbat) and the other major festivals like December 2023

Passover, Sukkot (Festival of booths in the fall) and Shavu’ot or Pentacost at the beginning of the summer. Those festivals are all mentioned in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. Hanukkah is not mentioned in our Jewish Bible, and it wasn’t until more recently, probably about 200 CE (AD) that it was actually celebrated as a holiday.There are no requirements to stay home from work on Hanukkah, or limit our lifestyle as is the case on the Sabbath or the other major festivals. It’s mostly a family holiday, lighting the candles in the home and we do a community Hanukkah party at the Jewish Community Center in Kingston on one of the evenings.” Rabbi Kaplan raises an important point about the festival of Hanukkah. “It’s

December 2023

become one of the most widely known Jewish holidays, mainly because it comes each year in the winter near Christmas. If Hanukkah came in March no one would know about it. Our holiday of Purim comes in March — based on the Book of Esther in the Bible — and it’s barely known.” Hanukkah was about a military victory from more than 2,000 years ago when the Greek empire tried to limit Jewish practices in ancient Israel. Many secular Jews joined the Hellenistic Greeks from Syria at the time and there was civil strife between the traditional Jews and the secular/Hellenistic Jews in the area. A small band of religious Jews were able to fight off the Greeks who had taken over the Temple in

Jerusalem and turned it into a Greek idol worshiping place. When the Jews finally retook Jerusalem they cleansed

the Temple of the pagan idols. The Talmud, written hundreds of years later, tells a story that there was only enough holy oil to light the lamp in the Temple for one night and miraculously it lasted eight nights. “Probably, it never hap-


pened. But the story has stuck, and we’ve been repeating it through the years. I don’t want to be the grinch who tells kids it didn’t happen!” Rabbi Kaplan illustrated his path to rabbi: “I was always enamored of my Jewish heritage, and liked learning about it and sharing it. I grew up in Philadelphia and was active in my congregation. I went to Jewish summer camp, actually not too far from Wilkes Barre in Lake Como. I spent my summers there in an immersive Jewish educational environment learning Hebrew and about Judaism and continued each summer as a counselor and division head. I had a knack for teaching, so I continued teaching religious school at various congregations while I earned my B.A. at Brandeis in the Boston area. I spent my junior year in Israel, and 88

then decided to continue on to rabbinical school in New York. I spent another year of study in Israel during that six year program. Looking back, after 10 years of college and graduate school, I suppose I could have been a doctor! I have had pulpits in the Hartford and Miami areas, and came back to NEPA about 25 years ago to be the rabbi at Temple Israel.” Regarding how things will be around Hanukkah, he said there’s no way to know what will happen by December. “It’s not looking good. We do have some additions to our service on Hanukkah, but nothing major since it’s not a big liturgical festival. I’ve been dealing with keeping the congregation up to date on what’s happening in Israel. We have many friends and some of our congregational family with relatives and friends in Israel. My daughter spent last year studying in Israel, and one of

the girls on her gap year program, who lives in Israel, was killed along with 260 other young people at the music festival when Hamas terrorists shot them as they fled. We have a zoom call with some of our friends while our Sabbath morning service is going on and we hear the latest news. Hamas is holding over 220 Israelis, including dozens of little kids, as hostages. For a while many countries were supportive of Israel, but now that Israel is bombing Hamas terror sites in Gaza, which are strategically placed in population centers, and many Gazans are being killed, many are pressuring Israel to stop trying to end Hamas’ terrorism. It’s not a good situation.” The Israeli family members of Kingston resident Taly Kornfeld, are all physically December 2023

safe, but she fears that their mental well-being may be permanently affected, just like many other Israelis and Jews around the world. “The barbaric attack of October 7 has left us all with trauma and emotional scars, and it's not just Israel, Jewish people worldwide are affected by this. I worry for everyone's safety because we, as Jews, see the Jewish people as one entity. When one of us suffers, we all suffer.” Taly noted that many of her cousins and children's friends have been called back to serve in the army. “My prayers are with them, the hostages, the soldiers and the entire nation of Israel, as well as Jews worldwide, for their safety and for an end to this war. I hope for the release of the hostages and that they will no longer endure any more suffering.”

December 2023

For Taly and her family, Hanukkah, a distinct Jewish holiday with its unique history and significance, though not equivalent to Christmas in religious importance, offers a time to celebrate Jewish culture and history. This year’s eight day celebration of family and faith may warm hearts despite Israel’s war against Hamas terrorism. “In our family, it's a special moment when we gather around. Over eight nights, we reflect on the miracle of the oil, enjoy each other's company, light candles, recite blessings, sing songs, play dreidel, eat traditional foods, give each other gifts and give to charity. We also make sure to savor some delicious homemade potato latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts). To make it even more special, we try to include different family

members, friends or community events in our celebration, spreading the warmth and joy of Hanukkah to all. We usually serve latkes, donuts and either brisket or blintzes during the holiday season because of their delectable flavors and profound significance. Each of Taly’s family member’s light the menorah each night, progressively adding one candle for eight nights, with the Shamash which is at the center, symbolizing the spread of light and joy. “It signifies the miraculous oil that amazingly endured for eight nights. We place our menorah with pride by the window in front of our house for the world to see. I like to think of it as that we are adding more light to the world.”


She explained: “Following the lighting of the candles and the recitation of blessings, we exchange our carefully chosen gifts. It has always been essential to me not to make the holiday solely about the gifts. Each year, the focus on gift-giving may vary. Personally, I don't give our children a gift every single night; on some nights, the gifts come from other family members, which emphasizes the collective spirit of the holiday. Nevertheless, I make an effort to ensure that my children receive something each night, in order to keep it exciting, especially when

they were younger. These tokens of affection can range from small, heartfelt gestures to more substantial presents, depending on their current needs. Attending synagogue holds a profound significance in that it provides us with a sacred space to unite with our community, celebrate and foster a sense of togetherness, which is particularly crucial during these challenging times. We must stand together, offering support and strength to one another. The alarming rise in anti-Semitism is indeed a cause for concern, but it should not deter us from

remaining resolute as a nation.” Indeed, it is essential for Christians to approach Jewish traditions and all other religious traditions with respect and understanding. Learning about Hanukkah can promote tolerance and understanding. Rabbi Kaplan said it best. “Jewish history is also Christian history — after all, Jesus was raised and lived his life as a Jew.” H –Christine Fanning

Chamber 2 Violinist Sasha Margolis teams up with lutenist/guitarist Michael Leopold for a highly eclectic program full of nostalgia, virtuosity, and humor. With Leopold playing the picturesque lute known as the theorbo, the pair move from expressive sonatas from early 1600s Italy to soulful folksongs and whirlwind dances from lost Jewish worlds of Eastern Europe. To round things out, there will even be some 1950s-style French jazz—and a little singing. THURS., FEBRUARY 1, 2024 | 7:00PM Sordoni Theater, WVIA Studios, Pittston I 570-270-4444


a Musical Journey..

December 2023

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Potato Latkes

Grate potatoes well (using Cuisinart, chop with steel blade). Pour some liquid off of potatoes before adding egg, flour, soda and salt. Fry in smoking hot Crisco. Drain on paper towels. May be frozen and reheated in oven.

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Potato Latkes serve as both a delicious dish and a reminder of the Hanukkah story. Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple of Israel after Jewish warriors rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors. According to the Talmud, when the Jewish warriors traveled to the desecrated Temple, they found only enough oil to light the eternal flame for one day. However, the oil burned for eight full days before they were able to secure more. The crispy latkes, fried in oil pay tribute to the miraculous oil of the first Hanukkah. 92

December 2023

Serving Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike and Wayne Counties 601 Jefferson Ave - Scranton, PA 18510 (570) 961-2300

Happy Hanukkah to our members and our Community Partners Bais Yaakov of Scranton Beth Shalom Academy Beth Shalom Congregation Bnos Yisroel Girls High School B’nai Brith - Amos Lodge Chabad of the Abingtons Chabad of the Poconos Chevra Kadisha Congregation Beth Israel-Honesdale Congregation B’nai Harim Elan Gardens Elan Skilled Nursing & Rehab Jewish Community Center - Scranton

Jewish Family Service of NEPA Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms Jewish Heritage Connection Jewish Resource Center - Stroudsburg Machzikeh Adas Synagogue Ohev Zedek Congregation Scranton Hebrew Day School Scranton Ritualarium Temple Hesed Temple Israel of Scranton Temple Israel of Stroudsburg Yeshiva Beth Moshe

Call & Order NOW for the Holidays! Corporate Gifts Available Featuring Fresh, Gourmet European Style Rugelach, Specialty Cookies and More! Exquisite Baskets • Party Platters • Gift Tins High Quality Tradition Attention to Detail

Celebrating 35 Years! 570-343-5266 ext.1 FAX: 570-961-8861

We Ship UPS Anywhere!

302 Cherry Street • Scranton, PA 18505 • 570-343-5266 ext. 1

December 2023


Compliments of JoAnn Marianelli Finnerty Bella Faccias Wishing everyone a blessed, Merry Christmas! Buon Appetito!







Christmas Morning Casserole Directions

This is a simple, make ahead breakfast to pop into the oven to bake as you enjoy watching your family opening presents and drinking morning coffee, hot cocoa, mimosas or peach bellinis. Be part of the family fun and photos instead of being in the kitchen cooking Christmas breakfast for everyone.

Grease a 9×13 baking dish, set it aside. In a skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until browned and drain.Transfer to a bowl. Add chopped onion to skillet and sautee until translucent. Add the onions to the mixing bowl with the sausage, along with the bread cubes and shredded cheese. Toss well, then spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half and pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread mixture. Sprinkle parsley on top of casserole. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake the casserole for about one hour, uncovered, until puffed and golden brown. Oven temps will vary. Insert a toothpick or skewer in the middle of casserole to see how soft it is. Slice into squares and serve warm.

Ingredients: 1 pound ground sweet sausage 1 medium onion, chopped 6 eggs, beaten 1-1/2 cups half and half 6 cups of cubed bread (French bread works well or Pepperidge Farms Sourdough Loaf)


1/2-1 cup cheddar cheese (medium or sharp), shredded

Crumbled bacon or cubed ham can be substituted for sausage.

1/2-1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

Bell peppers, asparagus, mushroom or/and broccoli florets can be sautéed in the same pan as the sausage (once sausage is removed and drained) and added to the sausage, bread crumbs and cheese. (Added vegetables may lengthen baking time.)

Chopped fresh parsley (approx. 1/4 cup)

Mozzarella or Colby Jack cheese can be substituted for cheddar or Swiss cheese.

Pepper to taste


If you like spice, use hot sausage, jalapenos or top with hot sauce.

December 2023

A Few of Our Favorite Things.. Hot Chocolate/Egg Nog Bar To increase the holiday spirit at your home or office, set up a hot chocolate station. Add candy canes, marshmallows, sprinkles and whipped creme. Local treats from My Mother’s Delicacies (rugelach and specialty cookies) and handmade chocolates and gourmet baked desserts from Bella Faccia will make entertaining pleasurable for both the host and guests. A punch bowl with Mannings’ egg nog and scoops of ice cream will leave guests wishing that everyday was Christmas.

December 2023


Dining around the Region Abbiocco Try our signature dishes, such as Chicken Abbiocco, manicotti or blackened salmon. BYOB. Text Abbiocco to 51660 to receive our texts every Wednesday or see weekly specials. Tues-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 639 N. Blvd., Clarks Summit. 570-319-9633.

Alter House Restaurant & Bar Introducing a farm-to-table restaurant with a vibrant ambiance! Enjoy our delectable cuisine made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Join us for a lively happy hour, indulge in our delightful Sunday brunch, and groove to live entertainment. Our versatile venue is perfect for hosting events. Open Thursday through Sunday for your enjoyment!

Personalized Holiday Gifts • Gourmet Chocolates Cookie/Pastry Platters • Cheesecake • Cannoli • Cakes Globe Style Fudge • Customized Gift Boxes and Baskets Unique Holiday Gifts/Jewelry • Authentic Bayberry Candles Stocking Stuffers • Advent Calendars • Corporate Gifts • Dog Treats 510 & 512 S Main Street, Old Forge, PA 18518 • 1.800.401.8990 • We DELIVER | We SHIP


Mendicino’s Pizza and Family Restaurant Pizza, pasta, hoagies and more! Daily lunch and dinner specials. Full menu, dine in,take out and curbside available. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m-8 p.m., Fri. and Sat.

11 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Sundays. Located in the ShopRite Complex, Covington Twp. 570-842-2070. Pettinato’s Restaurant Try our grilled salmon in Asian sauce. Take out and delivery. Mon.-Sat. 4-8 p.m., Sun. 4-7 p.m. 78 Dundaff St., Carbondale. 570-282-5860. Sibio’s Restaurant Our fettuccine Alfredo is a customer favorite! Lunch and dinner regular hours, full menu with specials. 1240 Quincy Ave., Dunmore. 570-346-3172. Stirna’s Our Stirnaburger is full 1/4 lb. top choice ground beef with tomato, bacon and American or Swiss on a semi-hard roll. Wed.-Sat. 4 p.m.-9 p.m. 120 W. Market St. Scranton. On/off premise catering daily. 570-961-9681.

December 2023


Trust Cooper's for your seafood! Find the freshest fare! Fish • dry scallops • clams • oysters • lobster tails • king crab snow crab • shrimp & our famous soups: Crab and Lobster Bisque, Manhattan and New England Clam Chowder • LOUISIANA ALLIGATOR STEW AND OYSTER STEW Also ready- to-eat meals. Just purchase and heat!

Spend $30 or more and get a free pint of Maryland Crab Bisque!! Dec. 23 9 a.m.-5 p.m. • Dec. 24 8 a.m.-4 p.m • Dec. 30 9 a.m.-5 p.m. • Dec. 31 8 a.m.-4 p.m. • 701 Washington Ave., Scranton (570) 346-6883 December 2023 97 ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

John Mackarey, LUTCF, RICP® Agent, New York Life Insurance Company Registered Representative offering securities through NYLIFESecurities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC), A Licensed Insurance Agency.

220 Penn Avenue, Suite 100 Scranton, PA 18503 Phone: 570-340-1320 Email:

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