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Shabbat Under The Stars

Under a moon-lit sky and against a backdrop of stained glass windows, Temple Or Elohim conducted Frirday night services in the temple’s parking lot Sept. 5. The event was the seventh annual “Shabbat Under the Stars,” featuring a complimentary barbecue, a performance by the temple’s five-piece band, and an interactive and rousing service, led by Rabbi Harvey Abramowitz and Cantor David Katz.


Rabbi Abramowitz (left) and Cantor David Katz lead the Shabbat Under the Stars service.
(Photos by George Haber)

Welcoming the informal congregation of more than 300 local residents, with some coming from nearby Locust Valley, Plainview and as far south as Wantagh, in addition to Jericho, Syosset and Woodbury.

“This event is an expression of community and celebration,” said Abramowitz.

The barbecue offered turkey and beef burgers, hot dogs, chicken and salads and beverages, sponsored by Hasson Caterers, Ben’s Deli and the New Country Deli. [Read more...]

Gym Delivers Health To Syosset

Tara Notrica is your typical 49-year-old mother of two. Along with her husband Barry, the Merrick mom is kept busy by her 14-year-old son Jared and 10-year-old daughter Samantha. One more thing: she has been battling Mast Cell disease in addition to other autoimmune diseases for the past eight years. Josh York, the CEO and founder GYMGUYZ, an in home personal training company that comes to the home of clients all over the island, has been working closely with Notrica to help her cope with her disease.


Josh York and his crew brings the gym home.

“GYMGUYZ is all about the three C’s: convenient, creative and customizable workouts,” said York. “We come to the setting of your choice from homes, offices, churches, and bring our fully loaded van, which has 365 pieces of equipment,” he continued.

In what first began as a vision and a laptop in York’s parents’ dining room, GYMGUYZ set a goal to become the largest personal training franchise in the world. Some of the services include weight loss, body building, senior fitness, pre and post natal, nutritional counseling, and professional sports conditioning.

“We have over 30 employees, including our fitness coaches,” said York, who added that GYMGUYZ works with individuals with MS, muscular and nervous system disorders, cancer and other issues. “Tara is under the care of our head coach Matt, but I always see her on follow up visits. She’s a very special person and has been with us since day one.” [Read more...]

Songs And Prayer In Syosset

North Shore Synagogue, 83 Muttontown Rd., invites one and all to attend a free evening of song and prayer in celebration of Selichot on Sept. 20., starting at 8:30 p.m. with a musical program by guest performer Noah Aronson, followed at 10 p.m. with Selichot services with clergy Rabbi Deborah K. Bravo, Rabbi Jaimee B. Shalhevet and Cantor Rich Pilatsky.

Light refreshments will be served after services. There is no charge to attend, and the event is open to the public. For information, call 516-921-2282.

Aronson is an energetic and soulful composer/performer whose unique musical style propels his music into communities across the country and in Israel. His latest project ‘Left Side of the Page’ sets to music some of the poetic selections from the Mishkan Tefilah Prayer Book. Aronson’s music is now sung in progressive communities worldwide and has been included as part of the cantorial curriculum at the Hebrew Union College Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music.

Selichot is the name of the prayers that are recited in preparation for Rosh Hashanah, the holiday that ushers in the Jewish New Year. Selichot prayers provide a time to focus attention on preparing for a new year with a new start, committing to life affirming and healing, part of an ancient tradition of beginning the New Year with a fresh start.

For more information, visit

Jericho Chess Players Inspire

Under the beautiful weather, on Sunday, Sept. 14, three young chess stars, Wesley Wang and Evelyn Zhu of Jericho, and Katherine Qi of East Meadow, spent several hours conducting chess clinics for little chess enthusiasts and shared with them valuable chess tips and tactics that have helped them achieve chess success.


Jericho’s Evelyn Zhu and Wesley Wang join East Meadow’s Katherine Qi (center).

They know a thing or two about what it takes to win at chess — the three talented kids will be representing the U.S. in the 2014 World Youth Championship this month in South Africa.

Their activity was part of the first annual Chess-in-the-Park event held in Syosset-Woodbury Community Park, championed by Syosset Chess Mates, with the help of Long Island Chess Mates and headed by International chess Grandmaster Gennady Sagalchik. The event attracted close to 200 participants, including approximately 60 players, children and adults. During the whole day, the event also hosted several other chess activities including casual play, blitz tournaments and Bughouse tournaments. The event raised $1,415 for the three youngsters for their trip to South Africa. The event was also generously sponsored by two Woodbury vendors, the Fresh Market and Woodbury Pizzeria Ristorante. [Read more...]

Syosset Walks For Alzheimer’s Cure

Eight hundred people from around Long Island and out of state braved the 90-degree temperature to walk at the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center 11th annual fundraiser event at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration recently.


Syosset’s Robert Rankel holds his plaque with Bethpage’s Team Cousins. (Photos by Cynthia Paulis)

The event featured a Coney Island theme, with 90 teams walking the paths around the village. The event raised close to $150,000 and the donations are still being tallied. Executive director Mary Ann Malack-Ragona was pleased with the turnout given the sweltering heat of the day. Malack-Ragona said two grants were recently awarded, with $5,000 to the New York Stem Cell Foundation and $3,000 to Dr. Irving Gomolin, chief division of Geriatric Medicine at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola.

“The Stem cell Foundation makes stem cells not from embryos, but from skin grafts of people who have Alzheimer’s disease,” said Malack-Ragona. “This is ground breaking research. The second grant to Dr. Gomolin is doing a study on how the removal of Namenda from the marketplace which is set to take place at the end of the year and the use of the substitute, an extended release formulation will impact the blood levels of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.” [Read more...]

Syosset Rider Jumps To Major Win

When Syosset’s Danielle Cooper and Calantus strutted back to the ingate after their Bayer’s Legend $250,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix jump-off round, they exuded confidence. “You did your part — you rode great,” said Cooper’s trainer Todd Minikus with a pat to Calantus’ rump.


Cooper expects to put the majority of her winnings back into Calantus, the horse she rode to victory.

Cooper was one of six jump-off contenders over a course that tested both horse and rider. Danny Foster presented a true challenge, making each horse and rider work for their hefty checks. Twenty-five combinations qualified from Saturday’s round and six advanced to the jump-off to make a final bid for historic prize money.

Just hours before her trainer took up his throne in the Zoetis Million, Cooper went to the bank with a $75,000 check after the Bayer’s Legend Jumper Prix. The young rider laughed when she admitted the money would go right back to the horses. [Read more...]

Syosset Ponzi Scammer Pleads Guilty

A Syosset man pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges in a Ponzi scheme that prossecutors said bilked $30 million from 200 unwitting Wall Street investors.

According to court filings from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Eric Aronson, 46, admitted to using his victims’ money to fund his personal expenditures — including vacations, watches, jewelry and cars — from approximately Aug. 2006 to Dec. 2010. The district attorney said Aronson and his coconspirators issued promissory notes to investors and promised to use the proceeds to finance shipments of Permapave paving stones from Australia to the U.S. In reality, Aronson, together with his coconspirators, operated a Ponzi scheme whereby some investors were paid returns on their investment from the funds the defendant obtained from other defrauded investors.

 ”The defendant used the promise of sound securities investments to steal investor funds. He pretended to be a legitimate businessmen but he was no more than a common thief,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “Through his actions, the defendant caused the financial ruin of many, all the while enriching himself. This office will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who lie to, cheat, and steal from the investing public.”

 Aronson faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Syosset-Jericho Invited To Walk

The National Brain Tumor Society hosts its Long Island Brain Tumor Walk on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Jones Beach State Park, 1000 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh. Registration is from 8 to 9 a.m. Programs and activities run from 8 a.m. to noon.

Fiercely committed to finding better treatments and ultimately a cure for people living with a brain tumor, the National Brain Tumor Society’s Long Island Walk connects brain tumor survivors, patients, family members, caregivers, and friends for an inspiring, family-friendly day. Participants can choose to walk as individuals, create a new team, or join an existing team. All proceeds from the event will go toward funding critical brain tumor research and raising awareness of this devastating disease.NBTS_2013_Walk_NYC

“Only one out of three adults diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor today will be alive in five years. More so than any other cancer, brain tumors can have life-altering psychological, cognitive, behavioral, and physical effects. And yet, despite these facts, brain tumor research remains grossly underfunded,” said Kristina Knight, spokesperson for the National Brain Tumor Society. “Every dollar pledged from the Long Island Brain Tumor Walk allows us to continue funding vital research to accelerate the discovery of new scientific breakthroughs and the availability of more treatments for this disease.” [Read more...]

Syosset Academy Adds New Principal

Lisa Harrison has been appointed as the new Principal of Our Lady of Mercy Academy (OLMA) in Syosset, New York. A resident of Long Island, Harrison previously was Principal of the Academy of Mount St. Ursula in the Bronx.

“The Mercy community welcomes Harrison and we anticipate that she will make major contributions to the mission of the OLMA school community and the many exciting initiatives we have underway in academics, C-STEM, EDucational and ENvironmental (EDEN) program research, technology and athletics,” said Margaret Myhan, President of Our Lady of Mercy Academy.


Lisa Harrison

Harrison earned her M.S. in Educational Administration from St. John’s University and both her bachelor’s and master’s in Secondary English Education from New York University.  In addition, she holds New York State permanent certification and school building leader professional requirements. Harrison’s distinguished career at Mount St. Ursula’s since 2001, includes working as an English teacher, Chairperson of the English Department, and Assistant Principal for Academics, prior to being named Principal in 2009.

Harrison is very enthusiastic about her new role as Principal at Our Lady of Mercy Academy.

“Mercy offers students a uniquely challenging yet nurturing environment in which they can explore their God-given gifts,” she said. ”I look forward to meeting the students and working with the administration, faculty, and parents, all of whom are dedicated to their success.”

Peers Teach Character

Ninth-grade Peer Educators from Syosset High School visited third-graders at J. Irving Baylis Elementary School in the Syosset Central School District over the course of four days to teach students about friendship, accepting others, bullying and the steps of conflict resolution.BaylisB

The Peer Educators visit all seven of the district’s elementary schools as part of the program throughout the winter and spring. The ninth-graders participate in a full yearlong class, part of a four-year series, where they learn crucial communications, public speaking and leadership skills, as well as teamwork and confidence building. In order to be considered for the class, students must submit an application, obtain teacher recommendations and go through a panel interview. Next year, a second session of the class will be added due to high demand, which will enable the ninth-graders to focus on peer-to-peer programs on the high school level. The program supports the districtwide character education program PRIDE, which stands for patience, respect, integrity, dignity and empathy. PRIDE encourages students to display positive behavior both in and out of school.