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washingdishesLiving through the Covid-19 outbreak here in Westchester County has many of us talking with our friends, debating online, shopping for supplies and otherwise preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best. And while making plans now that schools are closed and stocking up on toilet paper are important steps to take, during this stressful time it is also important to remember to try to keep our bodies and minds as healthy as possible.

While we know that stress has negative effects on our health and well-being, there are a plethora of ways doctors recommend combating stress and strengthening our immune systems. Some of these recommendations include making sure to stick to a regular exercise routine, eating healthily, getting enough sleep, and if you haven’t started a mindful practice yet, there is no better time than the present!

According to the University of Washington, a regular mindful practice routine “Reduces stress and its consequences...and can lead to less intense stress responses. This has many health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure and strengthening your immune system.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, defines mindfulness as an “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” With this definition in mind there are numerous ways to practice mindfulness, including but not limited to, sitting down to a traditional mindful meditation. There are however, lots of other easy ways to practice mindfulness throughout your day and even while you are on the go. Consider practicing mindfulness while you are brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, or shampooing your hair!

If you choose to try mindfulness say, while washing dishes, simply bring your focus and attention fully to the activity at hand. Notice the physical feelings: the warm water, the sudsy bubbles, the weight of the dish in your hand. Bring your attention to the sounds you might hear: clinking dishes, running water, sopping sponges. And also try to take note of how your body feels and what emotions you are experiencing while you are performing the task. Although it is pertinent to continue to pay attention to the present moment, it is also inevitable for other thoughts to creep into your mind. When this happens, simply treat the thought like a passing cloud in your mind. Don’t try to hold onto the thought, or admonish yourself for having the thought, merely let the thought go and bring your attention back to the present moment.

Another great way to practice mindfulness for stress-reduction comes from the University of Minnesota where they suggest that “STOP is an easy way to practice being mindful in the face of stress. When you notice something has triggered you and you are about to react, follow the steps below:

-Slow down

-Take a breath

-Observe: what are you feeling in your body? What are you thinking? What other possibilities exist?

Proceed, considering multiple possibilities.”

So while we prep, make contingency plans, and wait to hear what actions to take from our local government...perhaps a little mindfulness is just what we need to get us through. For more information and for access to guided meditations please click here

Wendy MacMillan is a former teacher and a proud mom of two children. While her background is in psychology and education, Wendy was recently trained in mindfulness at Mindfulschools.org. She has long been passionate about wellness, and as an active member of the Scarsdale PTA, Wendy helped to bring mindfulness to her children's elementary school. In addition, Wendy helped establish and is an acting member of the school's Wellness Committee. For more information about mindfulness check out this site: mindfulschools.org or watch the video of Jon Kabat-Zinn explaining what mindfulness is ... or contact Wendy MacMillan at wendymacmillan@gmail.com.

letter to the editorThis letter to the editori was written by Marc Greenwald and Ryan Spicer: We urge all Scarsdale voters to support the Citizens Nominating Committee candidates Justin Arest, Lena Crandall, and Randy Whitestone for Trustees, and Joaquin Alemany for Village Justice, in the Village elections on Wednesday, March 18. We served this winter as the non-voting Chair and Vice Chair of the CNC and we can attest to the robust process that consistently produces such qualified nominees.

Four years ago, when we were each elected as voting members to the CNC, we didn’t know each other or many of the other members of the CNC, but we came together in service to the community and we are both impressed with the non-partisan process. Ten new residents from every neighborhood are elected each year as a class and serve for three years as voting members. We were elected by the other members of the CNC to administer the process this year at the conclusion of our three-year term as voting members. The composition of the CNC is a constant cycle of good citizenship, but the essential character of caring neighbors deliberating together remains year after year, with excellent results.

We are proud of the candidates that the process has generated. We have seen the CNC select leaders who are long-time volunteers, well-known and well-regarded within the community. As is typical of CNC candidates, Arest, Crandall and Whitestone all have stellar personal and professional credentials. More importantly, they each have local volunteer experience and a reputation for listening respectfully and for getting things done. Rather than the loudest voices – pointer-outers who see only problems – the CNC process allows committed volunteers to emerge as service leaders. The CNC carefully, respectfully and confidentially vets all candidates for their character, integrity, experience and commitment to community.

Once elected, Arest, Crandall, and Whitestone will serve the Village well, preserving our high bond rating and engaging in critical oversight of our wonderful Village professional staff. Judge Alemany was nominated as a candidate to serve a second four year term as Village Justice based in large part on his exemplary service during his first term.

We have inherited a wonderful system here in Scarsdale. The two of us have tried to do our part these last four years of making sure the system continues to produce well-vetted, quality candidates who are ready to represent us responsibly. Please do your part by voting for Justin Arest, Lena Crandall, Randy Whitestone, and Joaquin Alemany on March 18th. Then, next fall, run for CNC and see for yourself how you and 29 of your neighbors can keep the non-partisan system thriving in the Village.

Marc Greenwald, Oak Lane

Ryan Spicer, Tunstall Road

PappalardoSteve Pappalardo and Samuel AmoaOn Tuesday February 5th, Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Services held a luncheon to honor this year’s recipients of the Thomas Sobol awards. The heart-warming celebration, held in the Harwood Building (in a space generously donated by President of the Scarsdale Improvement Corporation, Rush Wilson), began with a ceremony where both Samuel Amoa and Luis Marino were presented with awards and honored for their valuable contributions to the Scarsdale community.

First to welcome the crowd was SFCS Board President, David Lee. Mr. Lee started by reminding the audience of what an incredible man Dr. Thomas Sobol was and the contributions he made to the community. Lee detailed Sobol’s accomplished resume including his tenure as Scarsdale’s Superintendent of Schools, New York State Commissioner of Education, and his time as a professor of Education at Columbia’s Teachers’ College. Just as important as the positions he held, were Sobol’s values, passion and his ardent belief in the collaboration between communities and schools to work toward a common goal. Dr. Sobol believed that if we work together, “through education we can close the achievement gap and create a more equitable society.”

Next, Bill Miller, a Scarsdalian also once recognized for his own contributions to our community, expounded upon Dr. Sobol’s legacy of service. Mr. Miller recounted how Sobol believed “that a school day doesn’t end at 3pm when the bell rings. Instead he believed that community matters, families matter, and neighbors matter.” Mr. Miller explained that it was with these tenets in mind that Dr. Sobol worked collaboratively with the Scarsdale Schools and the village to create the Youth Service Project a program administered by SFCS to provide services to middle and high school students. Mr. Miller ended by claiming that this “service award” where one person is recognized from the village and another is recognized from the school district, is a wonderful way to “honor Dr. Sobol and what he wanted to achieve”.

Scarsdale Village Manager Stephen Pappalardo rose to present the first honoree of the day, Samuel “Sammy” Amoa. When Mr. Hagerman MarinoThomas Hagerman and Luis MarinoPappalardo began his introduction, he couldn’t hide his admiration for, and sense of camaraderie with village center caretaker, Amoa. Mr. Pappalardo waxed poetic about how the two first met some 25 years ago and how every day since Mr. Amoa has shown up to work with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. Mr. Pappalardo also expressed how hard Sammy Amoa worked and outlined a list of exhausting jobs that Amoa readily tackled with diligence. What’s more, “Sammy was always available when we needed him, weekends, evenings...from Bicycle Sundays to village hall meetings.” Mr. Pappalardo further described how Sammy Amoa also served as a volunteer firefighter for the Greenville Volunteer Fire Department and once helped “avert a disaster on Garth Road with his quick actions”. Before turning to shake Amoa’s hand, Mr. Pappalardo finished with, “There is no better ambassador for our village than Sammy Amoa.”

In a touching moment, Mr. Amoa choked back tears, and thanked Mr. Pappalardo, saying “Thank you so much for the opportunity to work here.”

There to present the award from the school district to Luis Marino was Dr. Thomas Hagerman, Scarsdale Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Hagerman began by quoting a passage that was written about Sobol and his many admirable traits; “Everyone who worked with Tom, bonded with him.” Dr. Hagerman went on to say, “Luis Marino will no doubt be described in the same way.” Truly living the American dream, Mr. Marino made his way from Lima, Peru to Port Chester in 1981 and in 1994 joined the Scarsdale Schools’ custodial team where each day he brought his “professional attitude, dedication, and high energy.” Hagerman continued his praise of Mr. Marino by detailing how much he cares about the “health, happiness, and wellness of others.” In addition to all he has done for the Scarsdale community, Mr. Marino is also a very productive citizen in his hometown of Port Chester where he is a volunteer firefighter, a village trustee, and currently acting as deputy mayor. Still more, Mr. Marino is an active volunteer for the American Red Cross as well as other international organizations providing aid and relief to those in need. As Dr. Hagerman says, “We should all seek to emulate Luis Marino. Imagine what the world could be, if we were all a little more like Luis.”

In another heartfelt moment, Mr. Marino thanked everyone saying, “It is an honor to be here, thank you. The people I’ve worked with are like family...they become family”.

KrisberghGenovaRachel Krisbergh and Jay GenovaBefore SFCS Executive Director James Genova presented the awards, Mrs. Harriet Sobol spoke briefly about her late husband. “Tom loved this community and these people. He valued the most the people we don’t often ‘see’” Mrs. Sobol remarked. Genova then gave a thoughtful and moving speech saying, “The world needs more good right now and today is a day to celebrate the goodness of members of our community...today is a day to restore faith in people...not to focus on what’s wrong, but what we can do better.” Genova then granted Luis Marino and Samuel Amoa, a plaque and a copy of Dr. Sobol’s book while the audience gave both a standing ovation.

This wonderful luncheon (the kind of event that gives heart to our great community) could not have happened without the tremendous efforts of The Friends of Dr. Sobol and the SFCS planning committee: Racheal Krisberg, Susan Greenberg, Deb Pekarek, and Janice Starr.

MarciaMarcia Horowitz, a star in the field of public relations, a mother, grandmother and Greenacres resident was remembered at Bet Am Shalom on Wednesday February 12, 2020. Horowitz passed away at the age of 68 on Monday February 10 after a brief but valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.

The ceremony opened with Eric Clapton’s “Tears from Heaven,” a song that sustained her in her final days. Family, colleagues and friends eulogized Marcia in a thoughtful, well-scripted ceremony that would have made Horowitz proud. Several people who spoke said that the first person they would have asked to review their speeches was Marcia.

A master wordsmith and situation analyst, Horowitz was valued by industry titans, lawyers, media moguls and clients of Howard Rubinstein Public Relations who found themselves facing a crisis. In the words of her colleagues she had a gift for distilling the most complex problems and crafting straightforward, understandable strategies to save reputations.

Steve Rubinstein, son of Howard Rubinstein, said that when Marcia came to the firm she first learned the business from Howard Rubinstein, but ultimately ended up helping to run the firm and advising her boss. Steve shared a few comic shop stories. He said that every time he was introduced to a new client with Marcia she would tell them, “I was at Steve’s Bar Mitzvah.” Another time the two found themselves attending an unexpected meeting at the ASPCA. Caught by surprise, Marcia was wearing a big fur coat that she struggled to conceal in the conference room. When they got back to the office she remarked, “It’s really only raccoon!”

Many noted that her modesty and sense humor about herself disguised the talents and abilities that made her an icon in her field.

Her cousin Ellen Marcia was a kindred spirit, sharing Marcia Ellen’s two first names, in a different order. She shared memories of growing up with Marcia in Manhattan Beach and noted Marcia’s ability to make everyone laugh, calling her, “our own Joan Rivers.”

Marcia’s friends remarked on her brilliant smile, quick wit and infectious sense of humor. A commuter for 41 years, friends shared memories of walking to and from Hartsdale station, in every kind of weather.

Though her life was too short, it was evident that she accomplished much and lived fully during the years she was given. In words she wrote shortly before her death she told her family and friends that she loved them, asked for forgiveness and in turn forgave all and wanted to be remembered the way she was, before she fell ill.

She is survived by her husband Richard S. Cohen, their son Jared, his wife Antonia and grandson Jayce and their son Adam.

The family has already donated benches in her name at two of her favorite places to walk; the pond near Hitchcock Church and on a hill on the Tarrytown River Walk, overlooking the Hudson River. Contributions in her name can be made to The Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Marcia Horowitz Education Fund for Cross-Cultural Awareness; the Lustgarten Foundation, Pancreatic Cancer Research and Let's Win! Pancreatic Cancer. See more at marciahorowitz.net.

chilenoahFirst place winner Noah Chappell, holding the cutting board he was awarded.Hitchcock Church held its annual chili cook-off on Sunday January 25. This year the younger set ruled, though members of the community of all ages benefited from the chili tasting after service.

chilechefThere was no shortage of competitors at this year’s cook-off. There were 14 entrants.

chiletroop4Troop 4 Scarsdale came in second, represented by Matthew Kolb, Danny Hwang, Scoutmaster Kevin McCarthy, and Justin Gao. Jason and Steven Ren, not pictured, were also part of this winning team.

 ChileBeverlyCrowd Favorite Award was presented to Dr. Beverly Thornhlll (center, with glasses).

 chilebenitezYoung chef Lillian Benitez (third from left) took home third plaAll photos courtesy of Hyun Hwang.

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