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Riverdale’s ONLY Locally Owned Newspaper!

Volume XVIII • Number 7 • January 13 - 19, 2011 •


Parking meter rate hike is thwarted – for now

East Bronx Councilman James Vacca gives the thumbs-up sign after, at least temporarily, rolling back a parking meter increase.

By BRENDAN McHUGH It’s becoming all too common that The Bronx and the mayor are finding themselves wrestling, whether it’s over the multimillion-dollar Kingsbridge Armory or a quarter increase in parking meter rates. Either way, The Bronx is winning. East Bronx Councilman James Vacca, chair of the transportation committee, and Councilwoman Diana Reyna of Brooklyn and Queens, chair of the small business committee, managed to pin down a budget agreement between Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the City Council that averts a parking meter rate hike that would have taken effect in all neighborhoods outside of Manhattan’s central business core as early as this week. The hike, which would have raised the outer-borough meter rate from 75 cents per hour to $1 per hour, would have represented the second increase in only 18 months and would have struck yet another blow to struggling momand-pop commercial districts that have already been deluged with overzealous traffic agents and sanitation inspectors.

In mid-December, Vacca and Reyna rallied with business leaders in Ridgewood, Queens, to protest the hike. In the intervening weeks, they have worked with their colleagues and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn to urge the mayor to take the rate increase off the table. “This is the very definition of penny-wise and pound-foolish,” Vacca said last month. “If we have to strip the city of this power in order to protect our outer-borough commercial areas, then that is what we’ll do.” While the City Council could not actually stop Bloomberg from raising the meter rates, they did work within the budget to make other reductions, offsetting the cost of what the meter hike would have needed to pay for. At a rally last week celebrating the forestalled hike, Vacca said, “Outer-borough motorists can breathe a big sigh of relief today, knowing that after years of an outof-control parking ticket blitz and ever-increasing tolls and registration fees, for once the budget will not be balanced on their backs. “I fought hard alongside Council Member Reyna and business leaders from across the city

to make this issue a priority, and I want to thank Speaker Quinn for recognizing the needs of our outer-borough communities.” “We are happy that the administration is listening,” Reyna said. “The parking meter hike was a Band-Aid approach to the budget that would have emptied the pockets of consumers and merchants while the economy is still recovering. It sent the wrong message to thousands of working families in New York who are watching where every quarter is being spent. I am proud to stand with Council Member Vacca and my colleagues, as today’s agreement gives us hope that the city won’t just keep adding to the burden.” As they gear up for the release of the Fiscal Year 2012 Preliminary Budget, in which the mayor is expected to reintroduce the meter rate proposal, Vacca and Reyna are also pursuing legislation that would restrict the city’s ability to increase parking meter rates by more than 25 percent over any five-year period, unless granted special authorization from the City Council. The legislation is currently being drafted and could be introduced as soon as February, according to a Vacca representative.

You can whiz through the HH Bridge right now; But your cash won’t be taken starting next year

By BRENDAN McHUGH Tolling is finally coming into the 21st century. The problem is, your car may not be ready for it. Beginning in 2012, there will be no cash lanes for drivers hoping to cross the Henry Hudson Bridge. As part of a two-phase pilot program, the bridge already has “gateless tolling,” for E-ZPass users, meaning they can drive through the tolling plaza without slowing down. There is still one cash lane for drivers who have yet to install an E-ZPass. Currently, drivers without EZPass who miss the cash lane have their license plate photographed and are sent a $50 violation. Once the entire plaza goes cashless, however, the drivers without EZPass will still have an option. “How is someone coming from upstate going to know what to do?” Charles Moerdler, a member

of the MTA Board, asked rhetorically. “He goes through! They take picture of the license plate.” Drivers will be photographed and sent a bill for the non-E-ZPass rate. At the start of 2011, the rate for non-E-ZPass users rose to $4, while the toll for those with the device is $2.20. A spokesperson for the MTA did not say whether or not the rate would be higher once the entire plaza is cashless. Common sense would say that with less people working the tollbooths, a rate increase wouldn’t be necessary. The MTA, however, projects a $6 billion deficit over the next four years. The gateless pilot program is the first phase in MTA Bridges and Tunnels’ ‘all electronic tolling’ pilot, which was announced earlier this year by MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Continued on Page 2

INAUGURAL SONGBIRDS – Students from P.S. 24 serenade newly sworn-in State Senator Adriano Espaillat at his inauguration ceremony this past Sunday. See story on page 12.

Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Local ties to injured official By MIAWLING LAM Bronx Congressman Eliot Engel has vowed to maintain a public profile and will continue meeting constituents despite last weekend’s attempted assassination of Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords. The long-serving politician said that while his own security protocols will not change, he conceded that all U.S. representatives could soon walk around with personal bodyguards. The frank admissions follow last Satur-

HH Bridge tolls

Continued from Page 1 Jay Walder in his 100-day message. Part of the 100-day message Walder issued was to test non-stop all electronic toll collection. This allows motorists with E-ZPass to move through tolling stations without having to stop and wait for a gate to open. This new toll collection method reduces the cost of handling cash and also the cost of replacing current toll plazas. In September, the Henry Hudson Bridge changed its traffic pattern to begin facilitating the new program. Drivers were found with one less lane to use, as there was an increase of space allocated for an emergency breakdown lane, something the MTA said would prevent backups during rush hour commutes. Within the next two years the MTA will evaluate the gateless operation to move to a new phase of their plan. The ultimate goal is to go completely cashless at all tolling plazas. In 2009, the Henry Hudson Bridge carried an average of 62,000 vehicles daily.

day’s shooting at a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, which killed six people and wounded 14 others, including Giffords. The Tucson-area Democrat was meeting with constituents for the first “Congress on Your Corner” when she was shot in the head at point-blank range. She remains in a critical condition. Prosecutors have since charged Jared Lee Loughner, 22, with two counts of first-degree murder, two of attempted murder and one of attempting to assassinate a member of Congress. More charges are expected. Engel, who was celebrating Loeser’s Kosher Deli’s 50th year in business at the time of the shooting, described the brazen attack as an attempt to assassinate democracy in this country. He said that despite heightened fears, he did not have plans to change his security procedures and remained committed to serving his community. “In the short term, nothing much is going to change. I intend to attend as many meetings as I can, as many community events as I can,” he said. “I won’t let this stop me because if that stops me, then the assassin wins. And he can’t win because in this country, we conduct our democracy by ballots, not bullets.” The shooting has reignited the debate over gun control in America. According to reports, Loughner was turned away from the army and exhibited signs of mental illness several months before the incident. His erratic behavior eventually led to his expulsion from a Tucson-area community college. Engel admitted gun control laws will need to be reviewed in the coming weeks, as will security protocols for all U.S. rep-

Last week’s shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (far left) struck a chord in Riverdale, as Councilman G. Oliver Koppell (far right) has held fundraisers for her and has had her as a guest at his house. Pictured here with the two officials are Koppell’s wife, Lorraine, and Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly. you don’t come out. There’s such a hatred resentatives. He even flagged the prospect of body- here for Washington and for the governguards walking around with elected of- ment among some people that I’m better off not doing anything that highlights ficials within six months. “We definitely need a reassessment,” my connection to Washington.’ It was prophetic if you think about it.” he said. City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell was “We’re going to have to make a decision about whether or not members of the also among the handful of local politicians Congress and Senate will have bodyguards who praised Giffords. He said he has supported the 40-yearwith them. But we’re far away from makold for many years and that she often ing those decisions.” Engel, who considers Giffords to be a stayed with his family when she visited close personal friend, also revealed for the New York for fundraisers. “We became friends during a luncheon first time that she was wary of the wave for a Jewish caucus,” he said. of political hatred in her district. “Gabrielle Giffords is an outstanding and He said that last July, the popular Democrat advised him not to visit Tuc- dedicated public servant, but more importantson because she was afraid that tensions ly she is a warm, caring, and kind person. “We fervently hope that she will rewould boil over. “She said to me, ‘I think it’s better if cover from her wounds.”

By BRENDAN McHUGH With a new decade comes new amigos in the state Senate. Sen. Jeff Klein has led a breakaway Independent Democratic Conference after losing significant power in the state Senate and after having multiple disputes with Democratic Conference leader Sen. John Sampson. Klein resigned from his deputy minority seat a few days before he had to relinquish it to a vote he would not have won. Before that had been ousted by Sampson as the head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. Along with Klein are Sens. Diane Savino of Staten Island, David Valesky of Syracuse and rookie David Carlucci of Rockland County. All four have indicated disgust with Sampon’s leadership and the inability to pass key legislation while the Democratic Party held the majority for the past two years. Legislation items such as campaign finance reform, ethics reform and redistricting reform were all key items in the senator’s re-election campaign. Yet as the number two man in the majority conference, Klein should have held himself equally responsible for the failure to move that agenda. Klein & Co. claim they are not the new amigos, a group that included the disgraced former Sen. Pedro Espada, who took the majority away from the Democrats and gave it to Republicans in order to bargain for leadership posts to return to the Democrats. “This isn’t a power play,” Klein said in a press conference in Albany earlier this week. “This isn’t a replay of past events

where individuals lost their way and held us hostage. This is not about the right price, this is about the right thing.” The departure of the four Democrats does weaken the conference, as it leaves the Republicans with a 31-26 majority. And if it was meant as a power play to gain leadership posts, it failed. The all-white political quartet were denied slots on the powerful rules and finance committees and lost out on a number of other key positions. Meanwhile, Sampson has awarded positions to a number of Latinos, a move that will help keep the balance of power leaning toward the minority leader. Freshman state Sen. Adriano Espaillat was awarded as chair of the minority business development committee and will serve as a ranking member on housing. Sen. Martin Malave Dilan of Brooklyn and Sen. Jose Peralta of Queens also received high-ranking positions. Racial differences, which have long separated Democrats in the state Senate, are now acting as a barrier to the four white senators’ efforts to gain political power. It remains to be seen to what extent the IDC will be able to garner support from Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Klein did take the office formerly held by Sen. Tom Libous, the former deputy minority leader, but Democrats are none too happy about it. Klein and Libous switched Albany offices after the Republicans took over the deputy majority leader office. It is unclear whether Klein will be forced to vacate the office once a new deputy minority leader is chosen for the Democratic Conference.

3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jeff Klein’s power grab falters

Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Around the Schools... Riverdale Country School

A team of four students--junior Dyaami D’Orazio, freshman Savannah D’Orazio, junior Kiara Santos and senior Brett Miller—will attend Algalita’s Plastics are Forever International Youth Summit, a conference for young leaders bent on finding ways to reduce plastic waste in their home communities. The school’s team, named the Eastern Hemlocks, was one of 30 teams from 14 countries selected to attend the March event in Long Beach, California. “The level of competition was remarkably high and demonstrated impressive insight, fascinating approaches, and illuminating perspectives,” an Algalita representative said. Students will participate in intensive programs to learn more about plastic marine pollution and to develop their leadership and communications skills.

Manhattan College

Dr. Terence P. Hannigan, a Riverdale resident, has been named the college’s new director of counseling and health services. He comes to Manhattan from Stevens Institute of Technology, where he was director of student counseling, psychological and disability services. He helped to expand their counseling staff and trained more than 100 staff members for a suicide prevention program. He also prepared a crisis management counseling team to serve in the event of a disaster. Before his tenure at Stevens, Hannigan was director of student counseling and disability services at Texas A & M International University, where he helped the counseling center gain International Association of Counseling Services accreditation. Hannigan became a fellow of the American Board of Professional Psychology in 2004. He began his counseling career at SUNY’s Rockland Community College in Suffern as an assessment specialist. He earned a doctorate in counseling psychology in 1998 and a master’s in philosophy from Columbia University’s Teachers College. He also earned a master’s in counseling in higher education from Long Island University and a bachelor’s in psychology and Spanish from New York University. Hannigan preceded his academic career with two years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer. “I spent my first few years as a child in The Bronx, and I feel that

working at Manhattan College will be like returning to my roots,” he said. This year’s De La Salle Medal will be awarded to Bill Klesse, Valero Energy Corporation’s board chairman, CEO and president, at the college’s annual fundraising dinner on Wednesday, January 19, at the Pierre Hotel. Proceeds from the $800-per-plate fundraiser will go toward academic programs, scholarship assistance and library resources. The blacktie event begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Susan Bronson at 718-862-7837 or Mechanical engineering students gathered in Leo Hall last month to present their designs for retrofitted products to enhance mobility for seniors at the Methodist Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation, just across the street from the campus. Eight groups of students explained the mechanism behind their creations— including a pump that can fill a glass of water from a bedside pitcher and a chair that makes it easier for the sitter to get up. There were also recreational items, like an arcade basketball game and gardening tables. The college’s partnership with the Methodist Home started in 2009 as an opportunity for mechanical engineering students to tackle real-life situations and for the home to benefit from custom-designed pieces that would be too costly to purchase. The college’s ethics team recently competed in the regional division of the International Ethics Bowl held at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The team was among the top four contenders from among 22 schools who will move to the national bowl next March in Cincinnati. The other three schools headed for the nationals are Colgate, Dartmouth and Stevens Institute of Technology. Manhattan seniors David Miller and Michael Woo finished in the top four in the competition, helping the team to its regional victory. Sophomores Nicholas Grecco, Daniel Lonergan and Suemi Mendez helped the team to triumph in two of the three preliminary matches and to win the quarterfinal round against Merrimack College. For each round at the regionals, two teams addressed questions on 15 pre-assigned cases and were evaluated for the quality of their arguments, their responses and their counter-responses.

By BRENDAN McHUGH They called it a toast for two centenarians, but it was also a tale of two very different century-old stories. Millicent McAfee had been a Broadway star; she had double-dated with Cary Grant. Rose Katz is a Holocaust survivor. Both life stories were celebrated at Atria Riverdale, where more than 100 friends and family members showed up to celebrate the two women on January 5. For McAfee and Katz, it was a chance to enjoy time with their families. Katz, who turned 104 on January 6, has two sons, three grandsons and one greatgrandson. Her niece, whom she hadn’t

seen for three years, was also at the party after making the trip from Israel. When asked what she is most proud of, Katz simply replied, “to come to this country and escape the massacre.” During World War II, in 1930, Katz and her sister were the only two members of her family to escape the Nazi regime. “That’s what I have—the two of us,” she said. Katz also expressed her gratitude toward the rest of her family. “Luckily, I have two sons that created families, and that’s the family I have,” she said. “I feel I’m not completely alone. They try to include me in whatever they are doing.”

they both were. “It’s a wild thing to see your mother at 21,” she said. “She’s got this [mischievous] look. I see it in my daughter, and me, too.” The entire McAfee clan has spent time in the spotlight. McAfee was married to 1930s heartthrob Johnny McAfee and starred in a number of vaudeville performances. Johnny and Millicent met at a music store in New York City, and after Johnny saw Millicent, according to Diane, he told his friend right there that he would marry her. Her granddaughters have also found recent fame. Maude Maggart is a cabaret singer and Fiona Apple is a Grammy Award-winning singer. McAfee, after the vaudeville days, ran a ballet school for 25 years. According to Diane, her mother has always stayed away from taking medicine.

5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 13, 2011

Celebrating a spectacular century

At the celebration, 100 cupcakes were served to help one of those family members, Katz’s three-year-old great-grandson, Marcus, understand the age gap between him and his great-grandmother. Katz began sewing men’s neckties when she first came to America. Self-educated, she is fluent in English, Czech, Hungarian, Slovak and Yiddish. McAfee was unable to make it to the celebration—because she was still recovering from her 100th birthday party a few nights prior, joked Atria’s Engage Life Director Jane Summer. She turned 100 on New Year’s Day. McAfee, also known with the surname Green, was an “extremely talented, beautiful,” person during her heyday, according to her daughter, Diane. Recalling a picture of her mother at 21 years old, Diane’s face lit up like the Broadway performers

Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday Mornings with Rabbi Burton This successful discussion group begins another season of lively dialogues beginning on Thursday morning, January 13 at 10:30 a.m. A wide variety of topics are explored from readings of the Psalms, to Jewish liturgy, to current events. Rabbi Burton always provides some text, commentary, an article or editorial as a jumping off point for interesting and lively discussions. This discussion group meets in the

conference room at the synagogue at 5919 Riverdale Avenue. All of the congregation's adult education programming is open to participation by the entire community at no charge. Come, Join the Experience! Congregation Shaarei Shalom is a Reform Jewish synagogue. It offers a contemporary and participatory worship experience and prides itself on its inclusiveness of all members of the Riverdale community, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, race, age, or creed. It is dedicated to embracing the diversity

within the Reform Jewish movement. To learn more about the congregation, this and other Adult Education programs, weekly Shabbat services, membership, its religious school, and many program offerings, please call (718) 796-0305 or e-mail: shaareishalomriverdale@gmail. com or visit its website at

charov, Rachel Greene, Adam Karliner, Lawrence Lederman, Romeo Lombardi, Erin Danielle Malone, Jessica Marketta, Eileen McNamee, Ira Merritt, Christine Osinski, Kathleen Pavlick, Anna Purves, Ray Santiago, Christopher Smith, Richard Svinkin, and Lafiya Watson. For more information, visit www.

Adult education series at Riverdale Temple

Shaarei Shalom celebrates the Sabbath of Song

Adult Education series will continue at Riverdale Temple. Relationships in the Bible with Rabbinic intern Steven Altarescu will continue to meet on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month from 7:30 to 9 p.m. On January 13 and 27, discussion will be on the relationships between parents and children (Judah, Tamar, Abraham, Isaac). Rabbi Lewis' class on Jewish Spirituality meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, Jan. 28, from 7 to 8 p.m. Riverdale Temple is located at West 246th and Independence Street. For more information, call 718-548-3800.

Woodlawn photo exhibit extended through Jan. 14

The Friends of Woodlawn and Lehman College Art Gallery announce the exhibition Photographing Woodlawn. The exhibition, presented at the Lehman College Art Gallery from Sept. 21 through Dec. 15, 2010, has been extended through Jan. 14, 2011. Photographing Woodlawn features the work of 26 artists whose photographs explore the sylvan landscapes and Gilded Age mausoleums of Woodlawn, one of America's most important cemeteries. Located on 400 acres in the northern Bronx, Woodlawn incorporates the work of some of the country's most accomplished architects, landscape designers, and artists. In this exhibition the photographs record the grounds and monuments using a range of techniques and styles - offering panoramic views, documentary images in high definition, sepia-toned landscapes, and performance-based photography. Photographers include: Sol Aramendi & Nicolas Dumit Estevez, David Bady, Sarah Corbin, Michael Falco, Ellen Fisch, Ayokoh Furukawa, David Gillison & Robert Schneider, Ken Goebel, Kathleen Gon-

Join the Experience! This Friday evening, January 14, Rabbi Steven D. Burton and Cantor Ronald J. Broden will lead an especially joyful service filled with special music as the Sabbath of Song is celebrated at Congregation Shaarei Shalom. Shabbat Shira occurs each year when Jews all over the world read the Torah portion Beshalach. The ancient rabbis gave this Sabbath this name because the portion contains the Shirat Hayam, the Song of the Sea, which all Israel sang as they crossed the Red Sea and escaped Pharaoh's army. In more recent times, this Sabbath has marked the beginning of Jewish Music Month. In celebration, Cantor Broden will present a 'sermon in song,' which will encompass a selection of musical compositions inspired by the words found in the Song of Songs. Shir Hashirim - the Song of Songs is one of the last books of the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible, and is a love poem ascribed to King Solomon. Believed to be written from the perspective of God's love for the Jewish people, it has served as the source for many beautiful Hebrew songs, both liturgical and non-liturgical. An evening of joyful prayer, wonderful music, and lots of singing! The entire community is warmly invited to participate in this very special Shabbat celebration. The service will be held in the synagogue's sanctuary located at 5919 Riverdale Avenue. Congregation Shaarei Shalom is a Reform Jewish synagogue. It offers a contemporary and participatory worship experience and prides itself on its inclusiveness of all members of the Riverdale community. To learn more about the congregation, this special Shabbat celebration, weekly services, membership, its religious school, and many program offerings, please call (718) 796-0305 or e-mail: shaareishalomr or visit its website at


The Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) will present a three-part series devoted to the short fiction of Isaac Bashevis Singer. Taught by Dr. Wendy Zierler, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies at Hebrew Union College, this class will meet on Wednesdays, Jan. 26, Feb. 2, and Feb. 9. Singer (1901-1991) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978. A longtime columnist for 'The Forward,' he wrote novels, children's books, memoirs, essays, and articles, but is perhaps best known for his short stories which include supernatural tales, slices of life from the shtetls of Europe, and stories of Jews from the Lower East Side of New York to California. CSAIR presents this program in conjunction with Context, the adult Jewish learning program of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Tuition for this program is $25 per person. 'The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer' is available for purchase from the CSAIR office for $15. This program is open to the entire community. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street at the Henry Hudson Parkway. For more information, call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400 or visit www.

RCT presents 'The Wizard of Oz'

Riverdale Children's Theatre presents The Wizard of Oz. RCT will be dancing down the yellow brick road in search of Emerald City in a dynamic musical production of "The Wizard of Oz," opening January 22 at the beautiful Lovinger Theatre on the Lehman College Campus. The show features a talented cast of 55 young actors ranging in age from 7 to 13 and seasoned adult actors in the roles of Uncle Henry, Auntie Em and The Wicked Witch of the West. The production will include all the familiar music from the movie version that starred Judy Garland and her ruby red slippers, with appearances by all our favorite characters including the Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the munchkins and Toto too! Show dates are Saturdays, January 22 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, January 23 and 30 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets

are $15.00 and can be purchased online at Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Please call 646-436-3045 to book. The Lovinger Theatre is located on the Lehman College Campus at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West and free parking is available in the student parking lot on Goulden Avenue. Riverdale Children's Theatre brings together children from various religious and cultural backgrounds to learn about themselves, each other and the joy of performing. By participating in a fullscale theatrical production, children learn the basic elements of theatre, music and dance, while pushing their own creative and physical boundaries.

Chamber concert features cellist Patrice Jackson

Cello Diva Patrice Jackson will headline Bronx Arts Ensemble's chamber music concert on Sunday, January 16 at 3 pm at the home of Ted and Vita Zambetti at 96 Franklin Avenue in Yonkers. Music will include Gerald Cohen's Preludes and Debka for clarinet and string quartet, Claude Debussy's Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor and Franz Schubert's - String Quintet in C Major, D 956. Patrice Jackson, a native of St. Louis, is the sixth generation in her family to play a stringed instrument. Her mother first introduced Ms. Jackson to the piano at age three. By eight, Ms. Jackson began cello lessons with her father. She made her cello debut with the Belleville Philharmonic at thirteen, performing the Elgar Cello Concerto. In 2002 Ms. Jackson won first place in the Senior Laureate Division of the Sphinx Competition, Yale University Aldo Parsicot Award and made her orchestral and recital debuts in South Africa. She followed her 2002 accomplishes with awards from the Alton Symphony Orchestra / Merie Stillwell Solo Competition, University City Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, Laclede String Quartet Solo Competition, and Laclede String Quartet Chamber Music Competition. Ms. Jackson has performed with the Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Omaha, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Grand Rapids, Nashville, Hartford, Chautauqua, Colorado, Mississippi and Lima Symphonies, Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as the Chicago Sinfenietta. Tickets are $25 ($15 for students).

Intermission refreshments will be served. For more information, call 718.601.7399 or visit Upcoming concerts include the Willie Rodriguez Jazz Quintet on Saturday, February 26, Violinist Joan Kwuon on March 6, Ferdinand the Bull on March 27, Hansel and Gretel on April 3, Eroica Trio on April 17, Peter and the Wolf on April 24, The Ugly Duckling on May 8, Pianist Emily Wong on May 15.

CB8 announces youth leadership awardees

Bronx Community Board No. 8 announced the winner of the NY Yankees Youth Leadership Award. Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., member of the New York Yankees Community Council, presented the awards at the Community Board meeting on January 11 at the Riverdale Jewish Center. Youth Committee Chair Andrew Cohen led the committees' selection of five youth from the board area. This year's honorees are: Laura Fitzelle and Alison Pruzan, nominated by Riverdale Neighborhood House; Maurice Williams, nominated by Kingsbridge Heights Community Center; Rey Llena, nominated by Riverdale Community Center; and Christine McNeil, nominated by New Marble Tenants and Civic Association Ltd. The NY Yankees Youth Leadership Award is an annual event. It was created ' acknowledge young people who

are providing a positive service to their community, the New York Yankees work in conjunction with the 12 community boards of the Bronx on an annual basis to identify five area youth in each district that are making a difference. These children make up The New York Yankees Community Council Leadership Corp. and are provided with a $750 stipend to assist them in continuing their work in the community. These awardees perform 50 hours of leadership/volunteer work as a tutor, mentor, community unity developers, and/or a youth leader against violence and substance abuse in the community.' The NY Yankees Youth Leadership Award winners and their biographies can be read on the Bronx Community Board No. 8 website at gov/bronxcb8.

Riverdale AARP Chapter to meet

The Riverdale Chapter 1546 AARP will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 12:30 p.m. at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church at 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway West. Historian Lloyd Ultan from the Bronx Historical Society will present the history of the Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Marble Hill area. The community is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. For more information call Manfred Segal at 718549-0088.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 13, 2011

CSAIR presents short fiction of Isaac Bashevis Singer

Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Thursday, January 13


DISCUSSION 10:30 a.m. Congregation Shaarei Shalom 5919 Riverdale Avenue A wide variety of topics are explored from readings of the Psalms, to Jewish liturgy, to current events. Led by Rabbi Burton. For more information, call 718-796-0305.

Wednesday, January 19


Spuyten Duyvil

ADULT EDUCATION 7 p.m. Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Rabbi Lewis will lead a class on Jewish Spirituality. For more information, call 718-548-3800.


TODDLER STORY TIME 10:30 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 W. 235th Street Toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy interactive stories, action songs, and fingerplays, and spend time with other toddlers in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

BRANDEIS GROUP MEETING 12:30 p.m. Riverdale Temple West 246th St. & Independence Ave. The Riverdale Chapter of The Brandeis National Committee invites its members and their friends to its next meeting. The program will be a memorable musicale presented by the celebrated concert violinist, David Podles.



ADULT EDUCATION 7:30 p.m. Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Rabbinic intern Steven Altarescu will lead a discussion on relationshiops between parents and children in the bible. For more information, call 718-548-3800.

Friday, January 14 Riverdale

FUN FRIDAYS 3:30 p.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Board games of all types and all skill levels. For more information, call 718-549-1212.


TEEN ADVISORY GROUP 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 280 West 231st Street TAG meetings will be held on Friday afternoons downstairs in the Reading Room. If you are a 7th -12th grade student, you are eligible to join. For more information, call 718-548-5656.

Saturday, January 15 Riverdale

RITUAL SKILLS WORKSHOP 12:30 p.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street Designed to help participants learn, re-learn or practice a variety of ritual skills, i ncluding: hagbah/gililah (lifting and wrapping the Torah), carrying the Torah, etc. For more information, visit or call 718-543-8400.

Monday, January 17 Riverdale

MLK JR. COMMEMORATION 8 p.m. Hebrew Institute of Riverdale 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway An inspirational evening of song with the Green Pastures Baptist Church Cho ir and the HIR Community Choir. For more information, call 718-796-4730.

Tuesday, January 18 Van Cortlandt

STORYTELLING 10:30 a.m. Van Cortlandt Branch Library 3874 Sedgwick Avenue Preschoolers from 3-5 years old and their parents/ caregivers can enjoy new and classic picture books, action songs, arts and crafts at the Library and meet other preschoolers from the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-543-5150.

Spuyten Duyvil

BABY STORY TIME 11 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 W. 235th Street Babies from birth to 18 months old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy great books, lively songs, and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-796-1202.


TU B'SHVAT SEDER 13:30:00 Atria Game Room 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway Bronx Chapter of Hadassah will celebrate Tu B'Shvat by partaking in a lovely Seder, officiated by Rabbi Steven Exeler of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.

AARP MEETING 12:30 p.m. Riverdale Presbyterian Church 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway Riverdale Chapter 1546 AARP wi ll meet. Guest speaker will be historian Lloyd Ultan who will present the history of Kingsbridge, Riverdale and Marble Hill areas. For more information, call Manfred Segal at 718-549-0088.

Thursday, January 20 Spuyten Duyvil

CB8 MEETING 7 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 W. 235th Street Meeting of the Libraries & Cultural Affairs Committee of Community Board 8. For more information, call 718884-3959.

Thursday, January 27 Riverdale

COMPOSTING WORKSHOP 11 a.m. Schervier Nursing Care Center 2975 Independence Avenue Called “Worm Bins Made Easy,” this hands-on workshop from the NYC Compost Project in the Bronx covers the essentials of indoor composting with worms. An RSVP to attend the workshop is required, either by phone at 718-817-8543 or via e-mail at


ADULT EDUCATION 7:30 p.m. Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Rabbinic intern Steven Altarescu will lead a discussion on relationshiops between parents and children in the bible. For more information, call 718-548-3800.

Sunday, January 30 Riverdale

TORAH TRAINING CLASS 11:30 a.m. Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel 475 West 250th Street A class for 5th graders who would like to get a jump on learning the skills involved in preparing for Bat and Bat Mitzvah. For more information or to register, call 718543-8400.

Einstein orchestra to perform in concert

The Albert Einstein Symphony Orchestra, under conductor/music director Stephen Moshman, will present an AllMozart Program. The program will consist of Mozart's Divertimento No. 13 in F major for Winds, K. 253; Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219; Clarinet Concerto in A. major, K.622. The performance will be held on Sunday, Jan. 16 at 2 p.m. at Robbins Auditorium, Forchheimer Building, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue. Contributions suggested. It will be an All-Mozart Program. Featured soloists are violinist Jennifer Lee and clarinetist David Bell.


The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 13, 2011


Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale supports Israel’s firefighters By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER Riverdale Lifeline to Israel, a group of souls who convene to rally support for Israel during times of crisis, has now launched a campaign to help the Northern Galilee Fire Department. They plan to raise $130,000 for a special van, a trailer and lifesaving equipment for the department, whose area includes the Carmel Forest region consumed by a devastating fire last month that claimed the lives of 44 people. The blaze has been called Israel’s worst civilian disaster. By the time firefighters gained control, it had consumed 5 million trees on 12,000 acres of land and destroyed or severely damaged 250 homes after raging for four days. In the wake of the fire, the Israeli government has just passed a bill allocating nearly $100,000 for an upgraded national fire service and an aerial firefighting force. The bill also transferred responsibility for fire services from the Interior Ministry and local authorities to the Public Security Ministry. “This is the ideal time to contribute to a drive that will help protect trees, homes and lives from future fires in Israel’s north,” campaign organizer Etty Bar-Shai said. She noted that Thursday, January 20, is Tu B’Shevat, a Jewish agricultural holiday akin to Arbor Day. The effort has already won support from most local synagogues and Jewish day schools as well as the Riverdale Y, the Riverdale Jewish Community Relations Council and other major community organizations.

According to the group’s Sy Oshinsky, Riverdale Lifeline to Israel has united the community on behalf of Israel since 2001. Through fundraising, they supplied Magen David Adom with a new ambulance after several were destroyed by terrorists. They helped equip a burn unit in the Rabin Trauma Center following a series of suicide bombings in the Tel Aviv area. They helped repair Northern Israel’s Western Galilee Hospital following bombardment by Hizballah rockets fired from Lebanon. They also provided scholarships for the families of fallen IDF soldiers and donated to the Israel Special Kids Fund to help provide a camping experience for children with serious diseases, disabling physical injuries and terroristinflicted traumas. For the current campaign, Lifeline is in touch with Israeli fire department personnel, who said that a customized GMC Savana van would transport a 10-firefighter team to a fire scene with speed, safety and maneuverability. All donations will be placed in an account set up by the Jewish National Fund specifically for the Northern Galilee Fire Department’s purchase of the vehicles and equipment. To make a tax-deductible contribution, write a check payable to Jewish National Fund, indicate “Riverdale Lifeline to Israel” on the memo line and mail the check to Riverdale Lifeline to Israel, P.O. Box 630211, Bronx, NY 10463. For more information, contact river

By BRENDAN McHUGH Sr. Mary Rosilda Tabacco, SC, who once served as principal at St. Margaret of Cortona School, died in the early morning on Thursday, January 6, 2011. She was 99 years old and had been in religious life for 83 years. Born Sophia Tabacco in 1911, she grew up in Yonkers, where her immigrant parents from Italy and Poland settled. She had one sister, two stepsisters and two stepbrothers. She graduated from St. Joseph’s School and Seton Academy. Tabacco entered the congregation on September 8, 1928, and earned a B.A. in history from the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Education was her ministry, and she served at seven schools over her 51 years as a teacher, principal and librarian. Her longest parish associations were her first and last assignments, both in Manhattan. Sr. Rosilda began her teaching career at St. Patrick Old Cathedral School, where she spent 17 years. She ended her career at St. Ignatius Loyola School,

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Sr. Mary Rosilda Tabacco, SC where she was a teacher and librarian for seven years, followed by 15 years in active retirement in the parish. She had served in Manhattan, Staten Island and The Bronx. She was principal at St. Margaret of Cortona for six years, from 1962 to 1968. Sr. Rosilda died seven months shy of her 100th birthday. She saw not only the turn of a century, but also the turn of a millennium. Her life was spent in quiet service to the community and to the countless children she prepared for the future. A wake for Sr. Rosilda was held at the Convent of Mary the Queen, where she lived in retirement for 15 years. The funeral was held at the convent on January 10, with the burial in the congregation’s plot at Saint Joseph’s Cemetery in Yonkers.

11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 13, 2011

Former principal of St. Margaret’s was 99

Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Espaillat sworn in at gala ceremony

By BRENDAN McHUGH He was called the tiger, the mensch and the smiling dynamo, but the title Adriano Espaillat was most pleased to have at the end of last weekend’s inauguration was state Senator. “You speak different languages, pray to different gods, come from different neighborhoods,” Espaillat said in his inaugural address at Yeshiva University. “One reason this election was successful: We ran as one district. Not as Jews, not as Dominicans.” His message Sunday night was about unifying the district, restoring the faith in public servants and bringing new jobs to the community. “This moment is a golden moment for all of us to work together,” Espaillat told the dozens of elected officials in attendance. There was praise for the new state senator from all levels of government. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, a handful of congressmen, assemblyman, and state senators and City Council representatives were all in attendance to show support. “If there was ever an importance of immigrants to this city, then Adriano is exactly it,” Bloomberg, the first elected official to speak, said. Espaillat came to America from Santiago, Dominican Republic, when he was nine years old. Elected officials who followed continued to praise his Dominican background. “Our fearless leader shatters down the doors of the state Senate,” Rep. Charles Rangel said. “He will change the way Albany thinks, and talks.” Espaillat became the first Dominican to hold a state

office in 1996 when he began serving in the Assembly. The ceremony flowed between English and Spanish the entire night, with Espaillat repeating what he said in his address in both languages. Rangel and other officials also noted how, although this is a big step for Dominican Americans, Espaillat is a person everyone should use as an example. “You don’t do this for Dominican Americans,” Rangel said. “You do this for the country, and for the entire world.” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the endorsment of Espaillat was easy. “He has been right on all the issues,” Diaz said. “Today, we have another bridge from Manhattan to The Bronx, and it’s Adriano.” Maybe the most sincere praise an elected official can receive came from Rep. Eliot Engel. “I voted for you,” Engel said. “You’re really a nice guy, and that counts for a lot—a real mensch.” The name-calling was prevalent throughout the event. Schumer nicknamed Espaillat the dynamo, and then added ‘smiling’ after he realized that the new state senator never stops smiling. The Jewish elected officials called him a mensch, while the Latino members called him muy tigre—Spanish for very tough. New Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who proceeded over the swearing in ceremony, knows the challenges Espaillat will have to face better than anyone, as he has held the 31st state Senate district since 1998. The district goes from Riverdale down the West Side to 72nd Street in Manhattan and covers a number of ethnicities and faiths.



PARTY NIGHT 8:45 p.m. Playland Ice Casino Playland Park Live DJ, party lights, on-ice contests, giveaways and more. For more information, call 914-813-7059.

Saturday, January 15 Croton-on-Hudson

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING 10 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue Snow or no snow you win with this great opportunity to check out the beautiful vistas afforded by our bucolic landscape. For more information, call 914-862-5297.

Cross River

WINTER ECOLOGY WALK 10 a.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Through a variety of adaptive techniques plants and animals survive the cold winter in the northeast United States. Join us for a hike around the reservation as we discuss winter ecology and the methods of survival for our important biodiversity. For more information, call 914-864-7322.

North White Plains

INDOOR WINTER GAMES 1 p.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street Learn about nature while staying warm and cozy and having fun. Try some new games this year: Hive, Eco-flux and Orchard. For more information, call 914-428-1005.


VOLUNTEER WORK 1 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 Clearing the m eadow's edge of vines. This is a volunteer work project. Keeping the restoration forest on the "other side of the meadow" free of vines is a top priority. We will cut the vines at the right time before they go to seed. Please bring work gloves. Hand tools provided. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

Cross River

NATURE CRAFTS FOR KIDS 1 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation There is plenty to be found in the woods and fields of the reservation that can be used to create crafts of all kinds. Join a park naturalist for a walk to collect all types of natural objects. Dress for the weather. For more info, call 914-864-7322.


COLD BLOODED CREATURES 2 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Come in from the cold and join Travis Brady for an Ectothermic Experience that is anything but "warm and fuzzy." Get the cold facts as we see, discuss and if you're brave enough — hold some really cool or should we say "cold" creatures. For more information, visit or call 914-723-3470.


SATURDAY NIGHT GROOVES 8:45 p.m. Playland Ice Casino Playland Park Skate to the sounds of '70s, '80s, '90s and today. For more information, call 914-813-7059.

Monday, January 17 Scarsdale

MEET THE ANIMALS 11 a.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Come for an hour of fun as a naturalist shows off some of their favorite animals. For children 5 to 12 and their adult companions. For more information, visit or call 914-723-3470.

Friday, January 21 Rye


8:45 p.m. Playland Ice Casino Playland Park Live DJ, party lights, on-ice contests, giveaways and more. For more information, call 914-813-7059.

Saturday, January 22 Croton-on-Hudson

WORKSHOP 10 a.m. Croton Point Nature Center Croton Point Avenue Herringbone Bracelet Workshop with Emilie Hare. Cosponsored by the Westchester Area Basket Makers Guild. Preregistration and fee required. For info, call 914-862-5297.

North White Plains

NATURE STORY TIME 10 a.m. Cranberry Lake Preserve Old Orchard Street We have a library of great books in the nature lodge that we would love to share with you and your children. Staff choices may include The Lorax, The Salamander Room, Bufo: the Story of a Toad and more. For more information, call 914-428-1005.


MOVIE DAY 1 p.m. Lenoir Preserve Dudley Street Come in from the cold for a nature movie and refreshments. Pre-registration and fee required. For more information, call 914-986-5851.

Cross River

WINTER COLORS 2 p.m. Trailside Nature Museum Ward Pound Ridge Reservation This is a program for children. While many think winter is mainly white, colors abound in the field and forests. We will take a walk to see the different colors and discuss their importance to the creatures. Upon returning to the nature center we will use the colors we have seen in a craft project. For more information, call 914-864-7322.


WINTER TREE ID 2 p.m. Marshlands Conservancy Route 1 How can you tell one tree from the next without leaves? Find out as we journey through some of Marshlands's forests in search of these bare giants. For more information, call 914-835-4466.

White Plains

BATTLE OF THE BANDS 6 p.m. Westchester County Center 1985 Westchester Avenue Featuring some of the best young bands in the metro area. For ages 15 to 20. For more information, call 914864-7064.


SATURDAY NIGHT GROOVES 8:45 p.m. Playland Ice Casino Playland Park Skate to the sounds of '70s, '80s, '90s and today. For more information, call 914-813-7059.

Sunday, January 23 Mt. Kisco

HISTORIC MANSION TOUR 1 p.m. Merestead 455 Byram Lake Road Step back in time to the early 20th century. Learn how an elegant Georgian-style mansion influenced decorating and furnishing trends across America, learn how the Sloane-Patterson family, who built Merestead, had local, regional, national and international impact. 14 participants maximum. By reservation only. FOr more information, call 914-864-7039.


FEEDING WINTER BIRDS 2 p.m. Greenburgh Nature Center 99 Dromore Road Join Senior Naturalist Dean Fausel on a winter walk to learn what birds wintering in our area like to eat and where they find shelter. For more information, visit or call 914-723-3470.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 13, 2011

Friday, January 14

Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW



On Monday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m., the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (3700 Henry Hudson Parkway) will host an inspiration evening of song with Reverend Roger Hambrick and the Green Pastures Baptist Church Choir in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with an opening song by the HIR Community Choir. Rabbi Avi Weiss, senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute, says, 'More than ever, the spirit of Dr. King is so needed. In a world of intolerance we desperately seek harmony and unity and a powerful sense of common mission. Partnering with the gospel choir and hearing the music of both our heritages will no doubt be powerfully impactful.' The evening usually attracts over 400 people. The evening will conclude at 10 p.m. with hot soup and bagels. For more information, call 718-796-4730.

Ritual skills workshops at CSAIR

Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) presents workshops designed to help participants learn, relearn, or practice a variety of ritual skills, including: hagbah/gelilah (lifting and wrapping the Torah); p'ticha (opening

the ark); carrying the Torah; taking an aliyah; lighting Sabbath candles; making Kiddush, Motzi, and Havdallah; reciting the Birkat HaMazon (blessings after a meal), and more. Sessions will take place on Saturday, Jan. 15, following Shabbat services and Kiddush (about 12:30 p.m.), and on Sunday, Jan. 30, following morning services which begin at 9 a.m. These workshops, sponsored by CSAIR's Ritual and Religious Life Committee, are free and open to the entire community. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street at the Henry Hudson Parkway. For more information, call the synagogue office at 718-543-8400 or visit www.

Hadassah to celebrate Tu B'Shvat with Seder

The Bronx Chapter of Hadassah will celebrate Tu B'Shvat by partakking in a lovely Seder that will be officiated by Rabbi Steven Exeler, of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. The celebration will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 1:30 p.m., at the Atria Game Room, 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway East. It is the New Year of Trees in Israel. They will celebrate this holiday by eat-

ing the fruit and nuts of many Israeli trees. This program will be enjoyed by members, residents, and guests who join. JNF Tree certificates will be available for purchase.

Riverdale Temple to offer Yoga classes

Riverdale Temple is excited to announce a new offering to its members and the greater Riverdale community: YOGA! Rebecca Cheeks Soule, PhD, RYT of Seva Soule Yoga will be offering three series of six-week classes each. The first six-week series is a 75-minute Women's Yoga Class from 7:30-8:45pm and will start Wednesday Jan 12. The second in the series is an Open Yoga Class with a start date of January 19th, as Riverdale Temple celebrates Tu B'Shvat. The theme for the first class in this series will be "rooting and growing", in honor of Tu B'Shvat, the New Year for Trees or Jewish Arbor Day. This first class in the Open Yoga series is by donation, and all proceeds from the class will go to a selected charity. Class time is 6-7pm, and it is strongly recommended to arrive 15 minutes before class! The third six-week series is the Silver Yoga and it will begin on January 26th. This

class is open to all adults aged 55 and over, is a one-hour class,from 4:30-5:30 p.m. All classes are offered as a six-week package or drop-in. For more information and pricing, contact Rebecca Cheeks Soule at or rjcphd@me. com. More information is also available at

CSAIR Sisterhood program features Jewish women writers

The Sisterhood of Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) held its seventh annual 'Women's Night Out' on January 9. The event, featuring a dessert reception, was titled 'Jewish Women Writers and Totalitarianism' and featured three panelists: novelist and Riverdale resident, Barbara Finkelstein; Haya Leah Molnar, a writer born in Romania under Communist rule; and CSAIR member Graciela Berger Wegsman, a playwright and journalist. The CSAIR Sisterhood offers a full program of events during the year designed to bring women together and to benefit the synagogue community. CSAIR is located at 475 West 250th Street. More information is available by calling the synagogue at 718-543-8400 or visiting the synagogue's website at

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 13, 2011

HIR to host tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


‘Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘The Wire’ By DIANE RAVITCH Words can wound, words can heal, words can inflame. Given the Constitution’s First Amendment, we invariably support maximum freedom of expression, knowing that we are often extending protection to words we hate. The latest effort to cleanse literature of a hurtful word is by now well known. NewSouth, an Alabama publisher, intends to publish a sanitized version of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, replacing the “n-word” with the word “slave.” The Twain scholar Alan Gribben of Auburn University oversaw the change and believes that it will make the book less hurtful and less controversial than the original wording. As Professor Gribben surely knows, this book has been altered and censored innumerable times since it was first published in 1885. Over the past century-plus, many others have changed the n-word to “slave” or “servant” or “hand.” Bear in mind that this book is not just any old book in the school curriculum. This is the book about which Ernest Hemingway wrote: “...all modern literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” One assumes with certainty that Hemingway referred to the book as it was written, not to an expurgated version. Efforts to remove offensive words from books, plays, even poems, have a long history. In a 2003 book called The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, I traced that history—and the ridiculous extremes to which it has been taken. When I was on the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the federal testing program, I discovered that education publishers maintain lengthy lists of words, phrases, topics, and images that are banned from tests, textbooks, and other publications, for fear that someone might take offense. I understand that many people, especially African-Americans, are offended by the n-word. I, too, find it offensive. But I am even more offended by the prospect that Mark Twain’s classic work will be expurgated, rewritten by someone who wants to shield readers from the book’s original language. How did we become such delicate creatures that we cannot dare to read a word that might discomfit us? A friend recently urged me to order the HBO program “The Wire” from Netflix. This is a five-year series about the Baltimore Police Department, the drug trade, violence, corruption, and the ills of modern urban life. I have long abhorred movies and television programs that are violent and that contain X-rated language. I initially avoided “The Sopranos” because the vulgar language repelled me. But time has desensitized me. Now I ignore the nudity, crudity, and vulgarity, and just follow the story. Truth be told, I am fascinated by the characters and their stories and can’t wait for the next installment to arrive (I am near the end of Season Three). I thought about “The Wire” in context of the controversy over Huckleberry Finn for this reason. The n-word is used constantly. So is the f-word. Take away those two words and half the script would disappear. Black gangsters use the n-word freely to describe one another; so do the cops. To my knowledge, no one has protested to HBO or the producers. This is popular culture, so who cares? This is a strange juxtaposition: Our schools are cleansed of all that is troubling, offensive, and challenging, while our popular culture deals bluntly, graphically, and harshly with the ugliest realities of our time. I wish that our schools would elevate the popular culture and give young people a taste for something finer than what they see on television and in the movies. In my dreams, the schools would teach the best that has been known and said in the world. They cannot do that by bowdlerizing classic literature, by pretending that bad things never happened and that we live in a cotton-candy world. Bad things have happened. Slavery was a shameful reality. So was (and is) bigotry and hatred. Schools must teach young people to read history, warts and all, and to analyze great works of literature, even when they contain words and images that offend them. They cannot develop their thinking skills if they never encounter dilemmas worthy of debate and discussion and critical thought. I don’t understand how anyone can put himself or herself in a position to rewrite the words of a classic. What chutzpah! I say, if you think you can do better than Twain or Shakespeare, write your own damn novel or play.

Free middle school tutoring at RNH

Calling all middle school students. Start off 2011 on the right foot. come get free homework help and educational support from qualified college students and residents in the neighborhood. Tutors are available on Mondays and Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. If you are interested or need more information, contact Kristan McIntosh at or call 718-549-8100 x114.

Micheal Dale takes us Across the Empires

Penetrating the Greek and Roman Empires, traversing the Mongolian Empire towards the West via the Silk Road, or trekking through and sailing across French and British Colonial Africa and the Indian Ocean, Micheal Dale traces these journeys as well as those made in fleeing the Nazi reign in Germany. Using imagery and video along with his compositions on dulcimer and guitar, Dale's subjects

include the historical, the mythological and everyday people. Dale's presentation will be held on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 2 p.m., at the Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library, 650 West 235th Street. For more information, call 718-796-1202.

Schervier offers free workshop on composting

Bon Secours New York Health System/Schervier is pleased to announce that a free workshop is being offered to the public on January 27, 2011 at 11:00 am in the Community Hall at Schervier Nursing Care Center, 2975 Independence Avenue, Riverdale, between 227th and 231st Streets. Called 'Worm Bins Made Easy,' this hands-on workshop from the NYC Compost Project in the Bronx covers the essentials of indoor composting with worms. It is ideal for those who want to compost food scraps at home, work, or school but do not have access to an outdoor space. All participants will be eligible to 'adopt' a dozen worms in a mini-bin made of recycled ma-

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Note our New Address: 5752 Fieldston Road Bronx, New York 10471 (718) 543-5200 FAX: (718) 543-4206

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terials and can receive a discount coupon toward the purchase of a larger system. An RSVP to attend the workshop is required, either by phone at 718-817-8543 or via e-mail at This program is part of Bon Secours New York's Environmental Stewardship Program and is a Healthy Communities Initiative, which is our commitment to creating communities of health, hope and well-being. Bon Secours is developing long-term, collaborative relationships with the people who live and work in the communities we serve and with other local organizations so that together we can identify and address priorities to improve the quality of life and health.

Father Trevor Nicholls to address Serra Club

Father Trevor Nicholls, President of Cardinal Spellman High School in The Bronx, will be the guest speaker at the January 26th luncheon meeting of the Serra Club of The Bronx and Westchester. The Serra Club is an international organization whose mission is to foster and promote vocations to the ordained priesthood and vowed religious life, and through this ministry, foster and affirm the members' common Catholic faith. Luncheon meetings are held at noon at the Eastwood Manor at 3371 Eastchester Road (corner of Boston Post Road). The cost of the luncheon is $20. For more information and reservations, call 718-654-3601.

1. NEW YORK MAGAZINE has called Riverdale’s schools “subpar.” Anyone looking at the statistics and scores could only come to the same conclusion. Isn’t it time we had a full, frank and open conversation about why our schools are lagging? 2. P.S. 24 is one of just a handful of schools in the city to have been given a grade of “F” in school environment by it’s own teachers and parents. Here’s why: • Two in five teachers said the principal placed other interests ahead of the learning needs of students, while 53 percent said she was not an effective manager who made the school run smoothly. • 56 percent said they did not trust the principal at her word. • More than half of respondents said they were not given regular and helpful feedback about their teaching and believed the principal did not have confidence in the expertise of her staff. • Sixty percent of the teachers also said the school’s leaders did not communicate a clear vision for the school, nor did they let staff know what is expected of them. 3. For the first time in anyone’s memory, P.S. 24 does not have any properly certified assistant principals. In the past, the school had as many as two. The current principal refuses to fill the vacancies until such time as she can install a favored candidate who currently lacks the required qualifications. 4. The school is finally addressing its awful math curriculum, Everyday Math, that many mathematicians believe is responsible for the nation’s poor showing in international comparisons. But only fifth graders at the school will be using a somewhat better offering, Envision Math. Why not grades two, three and four as well? Not enough money, we’re told. The Parents Association IS raising money – but not for better instructional materials for our children but rather for a campaign to censor the Riverdale Review. Why are they targeting us, and not fighting to make sure that every child in the school is getting the best math instruction? 5. POLITICS. The P.S. 24 Parents Association is controlled by a clique of supporters loyal to defeated City Council candidate Anthony Perez Cassino. We could almost understand it if Perez Cassino was himself a P.S. 24 parent. But he sends HIS children to the private Horace Mann School. • Co-president Clifford Stanton, who holds city contracts for vending carts in city parks contributed $100 to Perez Cassino. Co-president Cori Worchel kicked-in a whopping $500. • Vice President Unjoo Noh, married to the Vice President of Perez Cassino’s political club, gave him a contribution of $100, as did Joseph Zizzo, the person designated by the Parents Association and the principal to filter information to local newspapers. • Worchel, Stanton, and Perez Cassino hijacked the Riverdale Kingsbridge Van Cortlandt Development Corp., and hired their crony, Tracy Shelton, the P.S. 24 Parents Association treasurer, as the Executive Director at $70,000 a year - $40% more than her predecessor. Shelton also contributed $250 to Perez Cassino’s failed campaign. 6. So what has the Riverdale Review done wrong? We’re blamed for Perez Cassino’s huge defeat in the last City Council campaign. They want us out of the way to clear the path for their political and economic benefactor to win next time out. There IS some bad news coming out of P.S. 24, but ignoring it WILL NOT make it go away. Telling the truth is the first step in insuring that our kids get the best possible education. But what of the “good news” coming out of the school? The principal and parents association have deliberately withheld this type of information from us to make it look like we’re targeting P.S. 24. It is time that children not be used as pawns in Perez Cassino’s dirty political game.

Don’t sacrifice the education of the children of P.S. 24 on the altar of Anthony Perez Cassino’s political ambition.

The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, January 13, 2011

What parents and community residents should know about 19 the troubles at P.S. 24, and why you shouldn’t be fooled by the politicos running the P.S. 24 Parents’ Association.

Thursday, January 13, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW


Riverdale Review, January 13, 2011  

Weekly newspaper published in Riverdale, NY 10471