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Take A Tour Of Jewish India

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Yes, there is most definitely a Jewish community in India and former Great Neck resident Rahel Musleah will lead just such a tour this coming January. Rahel, who was born in Calcutta and today is an active member of Temple Israel of Great Neck, leads the tour of the Jewish communities in Bombay, Cochin, Calcutta and Delhi.
The trip also features India’s top attractions, including the Taj Mahal and Gandhi’s home, a backwater tour along Kerala’s canals, and an elephant ride in Rajasthan.
“India is in my blood,” Musleah explained to the Great Neck Record. “I was born in Calcutta, where the Jewish population has dwindled from 5,000 in the 1940s to 30 today and it’s really important to me to share our history, customs, traditions and music so they can be passed on.”
Musleah’s excitement flows as she describes how “Jewish travelers will enjoy an intimate and close-up view of the local Jewish communities as they visit the sites of shipwrecks and the palaces of maharajahs that are intertwined with Jewish history.” Sabbath in Bombay will feature services and a kosher Baghdadi-Indian feast at the distinctive, robin’s-egg-blue Knesseth Eliyahu Synagogue. In Calcutta, Musleah will lead a walking tour of the streets, bazaars and synagogues, as she shares her own memories. An Indian-Jewish chef will welcome guests for a meal in her home. In Delhi, Musleah will lead an optional Sabbath morning service “according to the tropes and traditions of the Baghdadi Jews of India.”
According to Musleah, the tour will introduce travelers to a rich tapestry of heritage and culture little-known to most. It offers an insider’s look at the Jews who came to India to escape Hellenism in the land of Israel and to flee the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal and who then created new lives under the British Raj on the heels of pogroms in Baghdad. For thousands of years, Jews in India enjoyed a rare and benevolent diaspora … and that experience continues for the population of 4,500 Jews throughout India today.
HPIM0691.JPGOther highlights include: Hindu and Jain temples; the Gateway to India and the David Sassoon Library; a ferry ride to the villages off the coast of Mumbai; the Chinese fishing nets and the burial place of Vasco de Gama, the Portuguese explorer who discovered India; Mother Teresa’s mission, and Fatehpur Sikri and the ghost city of palaces and Moghul architecture.
Musleah has been leading “virtual” trips to India for the past 20 years . An author, a nationally known speaker and a journalist, she is seventh generation of a Calcutta Jewish family that traces its roots to 17th-century Baghdad.
In this trip she is combining” the best of India’s magnificent and well-known sites with a Jewish angle.” She explained that “India is a place that opens hearts, minds and souls.”
Having led trips to India for so many years, she explained that this upcoming tour in January is not sponsored by any particular group, but is open to anyone who wants to participate.
Anyone wishing to participate may contact Musleah at: rahel.musleah@gmail.com, call 516 829-2358, and visit www.rahelsjewishindia.com.

Keeping Up With Kings Point

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At the northern most tip of the Great Neck peninsula lies the beautiful Village of Kings Point. With large pieces of property, many with spectacular waterfront views, this village has an all-around spectacular setting. The village is all residential, absolutely no commercial properties, no businesses and no shops. The one and only exception is the federal academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy with its intriguing old homes, a wonderful museum and a breathtaking view of Manhattan. This is one of just five United States service academies. The USMMA is charged with training officers for the United States Merchant Marine, branches of the military, or the transportation industry.
Mayor Michael Kalnick reports that Kings Point has done much drainage work this summer, and as well, they have relined some roads and repaired many others. “And we will be doing more road work this year, come the Fall,” Kalnick told the Great Neck Record.
Kalnick noted that his village has just completed its camera system, with 39 key spots and 19 entries to the village set up with cameras. The cameras are most effective in keeping up with all who enter and exit Kings Point, often helping with criminal cases. As well, the village has just updated its 911 and village blast email services, to assist in emergencies and to warn of upcoming severe weather conditions.
In addition, the mayor reported that the Water Authority of Great Neck North, where Kalnick chairs the board of directors, is working on the water system, on Kings Point Road and on Grassfield Road. When that work is finished, the roads will be repaired.
Touching on work on homes, Kalnick reports that there are a lot of “teardowns,” with homes sold and then rebuilt. He reports that a fair number of homes that have been sold are still standing, with just renovations.
On a sad note, the mayor told the Record that the private Wildwood Pool Club that long stood in Kings Point has been sold to a developer. It is anticipated that this property will soon become the site of new homes.
Led by Mayor Kalnick, the village board consists of Deputy Mayor David Harounian, and trustees Sheldon Kwiat, Ron Horowitz and Hooshang Nematzadeh.

Patients Given VIP Treatment

A new type of medical practice, adapting the “concierge” model of service, is now available in Great Neck, called MDVIP. This business model has been embraced by practices around the country, most recently with Dr. Adam Cohen in Lake Success.
With this practice, and others like it, the patient has an annual membership fee to ensure better access and medical care from their doctor. The patients receive their doctor’s email and cell phone numbers, and can schedule same-day appointments and longer visits. MDVIP-affiliated physicians limit their practices to no more than 600 patients.
According to the doctors, the patients who belong to MDVIP have a high level of care which focuses on prevention rather than just the treatment for an illness.
“Maintaining a high volume of patients typical in traditional primary care makes it nearly impossible to focus on the individualized needs of each patient,” Cohen told the Great Neck Record. With this new type of practice “doctor and patient have a partnership that keeps them healthier 365 days a year.” He added that with MDVIP he will be able to offer better care and “significantly lower hospitalization rates for patients.”
For the patients, appointments are less rushed and scheduling more flexible scheduling. There are travel advantages as well: Should you get sick in a different city, you have the opportunity to see another MDVIP-affiliated doctor.
The fee for this comprehensive prevention and wellness program for patients is an annual yearly membership fee of $1650 (which breaks down to $135 per month). This annual fee covers the MDVIP Wellness Program that encompasses advanced screenings and physician counseling that focuses on important health and wellness areas. These areas include heart health, emotional well-being, diabetes risk, respiratory health, quality of sleep, hearing and vision, sexual health, nutritional assessment, weight management, bone health, comprehensive risk factor analysis and face-to-face counseling with your own peronal doctor to develop a personalized wellness plan. The membership fee can be paid quarterly, semi-annually or annually.
Cohen promises his patients: “My goal is to always give you exceptional medical care. I will develop a partnership with you, taking the necessary time to listen, and understand what is important to you; together we will work towards reaching your health goals, and I promise to give you the respect, dignity and compassion that you deserve.”
Cohen just recently moved his practice to the MDVIP model. Cohen is one of six MDVIP affiliates on the North Shore of Long Island, and it is one of 12 located on Long Island. He received his medical degree from Boston University and completed his internship and residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx.
Dr. Adam Cohen practices internal medicine.
MDVIP is at 2800 Marcus Ave. in Lake Success. Tel: 516-775-9090

Lighthouse Needs $50K—To start

Setting its immediate fundraising goal at $50,000, the Stepping Stones Lighthouse Preservation Committee held its first official meeting last week a with North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Town Clerk Wayne Wink.
The Great Neck Historical Society has established the committee, chaired by Park District Commissioner Bob Lincoln. Lincoln told the audience: “We need $50,000 in the next several months. That’s doable. We hope that by the end of October that we will have a fundraising effort well under way.”
The money would go towards a federal matching grant offered by the National Parks Service. Tom Devaney, grants coordinator for the town, is working on securing the grant through the Maritime Heritage Program. “I know that Tom is looking to file for it in September,” Lincoln added. “It’s a matching grant. We need to have some cash to show that something is really there but the money can be raised during the lifetime of the grant, so it’s not like it has to be raised within the next 30 days.”
Estimates for the cost of full restoration have been speculated to be anywhere from two million dollars to as much as eight million dollars. “The bad news is that the structure is in bad need of repairs but the good news is that it’s restorable,” Lincoln said. “It’s structurally sound. The building itself is not falling down.”
Bosworth and her town board provided the committee with some fresh support the night before. At its monthly meeting, they unanimously authorized the creation of an intermunicipal agreement with the Park District and Historical Society for repairs to the deteriorating lighthouse.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth (right) and Great Neck Historical Society President Alice Kasten discuss the lighthouse project.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth (right) and Great Neck Historical Society President Alice Kasten discuss the lighthouse restoration project.

“I look forward to this great partnership,” Bosworth told the audience at the committee meeting as she held up a draft copy of the partnership’s “save the Stepping Stones lighthouse” brochure. “I am so proud to be able to be working with Bob and Alice (Kasten, president of the Historical Society) to make this dream become a reality.”
Bosworth noted. “There’s a renewed interest on the part of the town to make this happen. This will be done by not using our taxpayer dollars, but by looking for grants, by having public-private partnerships and by going out to people who have a great interest in seeing lighthouses restored.”
The town will be providing services but clearly the Park District has been the one that has set up the initial repairing of the roof, setting up the temporary dock and actually helping us get started.
“It is our intention to reach far beyond Great Neck,” Lincoln said about fund raising efforts. “Things in the last month or month and a half so really have taken off quite well. We have made contact with the Huntington Lighthouse group. They have offered to give us guidance and lead us to sources for private money. We’ve also been in touch with the City Island Historical Society. They’re very interested. Both groups have expressed a very strong interest in participating.”
“Our immediate action steps are really to get the pump primed,” Lincoln said during a question-and-answer session. “We want people to get out there and network. We want to get more interest and get more people to participate in some capacity. We’re looking to get resources and contacts to get out there and actually make this program come together.”
He adde: “There are a lot of people who go out on water and over the Throgs Neck Bridge and see this lighthouse. When we tell them that the alternative is to tear down the lighthouse and put a light on a stick they say ‘no, we can’t allow that to happen.’”
Kasten voiced her continued optimism at the meeting and urged residents to become involved but cautioned, ”It’s going to be a long haul.”
The lighthouse, built between 1875 and 1878, stands in shallow water less than a mile from the Great Neck peninsula. It was fully automated, using solar power, in 1964, ending the need for it to be used as living quarters.
Contributions can be made and more information obtained by going to www.greatneckhistorical.org.

For more about the lighthouse restoration project, see our original story here.

Local Skaters Join Olympic Athletes

Ice_092014A (2)Rachel Breidbart, Tiffany McDowell and Rachel Woo, all from Great Neck, will join Olympians and National Champions on the ice at Ice Dreams, an Olympic Ice Show starring 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jason Brown and aspiring local skaters. The ice show is coming to Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sept. 20.
Rachel Breidbart who is 12 years old; Tiffany McDowell who is 15 years old and Rachel Woo who is 8 years old will be skating in the world class show to celebrate the opening of the best figure skating facility Long Island has ever seen.
“Twin Rinks is proud to host this figure skating event which will feature some of the best figure skaters in the world, said Ron Friedman, owner of Twin Rinks. We welcome everyone to come visit our state of the art facility, located in Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park, to watch these athletes up close in what is sure to be an enjoyable evening on Sept. 20.”
Ice Dreams will feature some of the top figure skating talent in the US and Canada including National Champions John Coughlin and Caydee Denney, 2014 Olympic and World alternate & Long Island Native Samantha Cesario, 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist Dylan Moscovitch and International Competitor Liubov Ilyushechkina, US National Silver Medalists Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, Two-Time Canadian National Medalists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier and The Skyliners! The entertaining show also offers more than 100 young skaters from Nassau County and the surrounding area the chance to skate in the show on the same ice as their Olympic heroes.
“I am looking forward to performing in Ice Dreams with fellow Olympians and National Champions. I hope this show will inspire a young generation of skaters to achieve their Dreams,” said Brown, the Olympic Bronze Medalist.
“Nassau County is pleased to present this family-fun ice show,” said Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano. “Ice Dreams is a once in a lifetime opportunity that brings together Olympic, World and National skaters with young skaters from our community. This wonderful event promises to be an entertaining, inspiring and memorable event for our young skaters and our community.”
Youth skaters can sign up to skate in the show by visiting www.icedreamstour.com or by calling 212 600-4330. Tickets to the show can also be purchased online. 

PSEG To Hold Public Hearings

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This week, PSEG kicks off two weeks of public hearings on their proposed Utility 2.0 plan, part of Governor Cuomo’s promise to reorganize LIPA as a 21st century utility. Read more… 

Meet the Squirrels

Well, it looks like we must be pretty careful when it comes to checking out new neighbors these days. A long-time Great Neck family just discovered that a family of squirrels had moved into the neighborhood, not next door but right in their chimney.
Although the homeowners had been vigilant in protecting their home, even having chimney professionals put a cap on the chimney, the squirrels arrived anyway, unknown to any neighbors. While friends and family relaxed at the family pool just last week, someone noticed squirrels scurrying around the roof, in and out of the chimney.
Surprised, and more than a little concerned, the homeowner called their chimney experts, Certified Chimney Service; the workers arrived quickly.
Squirrel_081514AOwner Charles Mc Carthy told the Great Neck Record that instances where squirrels invade a chimney are “very common around here … if there’s no cap on the chimney, or no damper.”
McCarthy’s company repairs and rebuilds chimneys. And, in addition, they clean out chimneys. In this case, with the squirrels right at home, the workers found a three-foot nest of twigs, leaves and grass right inside the chimney, along with three newborn squirrels quietly nesting.
When McCarthy and his staff discovered the squirrels, the “frantic” mother squirrel was watching the event from a near-by tree and “in true mother fashion” went after the workers. “We had to beat her away,” McCarthy explained.
However, the men worked hard not to hurt the mother squirrel nor to hurt her babies. “We do this as humanly as possible,” McCarthy explained. The men removed the babies, who were no older than a day and still had no fur, and placed them in a box in the side yard. “We were hoping the mother will come back for them,” he added.
When the Record soon after went to take a photo of the babies, they were already gone. The expert was right, the mother had returned and moved her babies to a new nest.
McCarthy further explained that his business is always careful to remove the little wildlife and cause no harm. “I’ve read about people in other states getting into trouble with the law when they remove wildlife and cause injuries,” he said. “We don’t do that.”
So if you do have concerns over unwanted, furry new neighbors, Charles McCarthy and his company, Certified Chimney Service, can be reached at 516 822-0834.

Famous Great Neck Residents

chefThere have been a lot of famous faces living in Great Neck throughout the years. Here are dozens of celebrities who resided in Great Neck. 

Great Neck Plaza Burglary Arrest

An arrest has been made in connection with the burglary of a Great Neck residence in June.

Daniel Ratliff, 36, of Bay Shore, was arrested on August 14 and is being charged with three counts of Robbery 1st Degree, two counts of Burglary 1st Degree, Grand Larceny 2nd Degree, and three counts of Criminal Possession Weapon 3rd Degree.

Big Step For Rezoning Plans

An optimistic Mayor Ralph Kreitzman is looking toward October as a target date when the Village of Great Neck’s plan to revitalize the business district will be officially in place.
“It has taken a long time but I’m delighted that we’ve reached the stage that we’re at,” Kreitzman said after the latest public hearing regarding the proposed zoning changes, held at Village Hall last week. “It looks like we’re going to be able to come to a conclusion soon.”
“I’m very happy that the public has made numerous comments at the six or seven public hearings we’ve had,” he continued. “Community and developer input is critical and welcomed. I think we’re now finally getting close to concluding this. We’ll hopefully be able to act in our first meeting in October.”
VGNRezone_081514BStill to come is another public hearing on Tuesday evening, Aug. 19 on the plan, which involves making zoning changes to the business district on Middle Neck Road to create a new multi-family district on that street and a new townhome district on Steamboat Road. All of the provisions of the five actual bills up for approval, which cover everything from allowable business types, building heights and to parking spaces per residence, are directly aimed at making the village more “walkable,” i.e. increasing the number of residences that are within easy walking distance of businesses and stores
Kreitzman anticipates that a vote will be taken at the upcoming meeting to approve the mandated Environmental Assessment Form that has been prepared by the Village’s consultant, VHB Engineering. VHB’s Dave Schiff and his traffic specialist, Robert Eschbacher, were present at last week’s meeting to explain and interpret the report. “They’ve carefully studied everything,” Kreitzman said of VHB’s report. “They’ve come up with basically ‘no impact’ on traffic congestion and other matters.”
The extensive document, part of the required State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR), covers over 40 pages and is viewable online at www.greatneckvillage.org under “Steamboat Road and Middle Neck Road Rezoning.” The report assesses a wide variety of possible impacts on the environment from water quality, to flooding possibilities, to air quality to how the project would affect local schools and transportation.
One section of the report states, in fact, “The project will not result in any large and important impact(s) and, therefore, is one which will not have a significant impact on the environment.”
VGNRezone_081514AOnce the Village officially adopts the report, the Nassau County Planning Commission has 30 days to consider the Village’s plans.
“They can make a number of decisions,” the Mayor explained in regard to Nassau’s role. “They can say that “we have no comment’ and that leaves it up to the municipality, they can make comments or they can vote against it. The board can still adopt it provided it’s done with super majority (four out of five votes). The bills themselves can’t be voted on until we hear back from the Commission.”
Public comments about the plan at last week’s meeting included one from builder and Great Neck Chamber of Commerce President Hooshang Nematzadeh who felt that the number of allowable townhomes per acre (15) should be increased to 17 or 18.
“We can still make changes,” Kreitzman commented in considering what Nematzadeh and others said at the meeting. “All of the comments were good. The comments were good because we need this kind input to consider all things.”
“You want to get this done,” he said of the process that began four years ago, ”but you don’t want to do it until you consider all of the input and all of the relevant factors. The bills before us are the results of all of the meetings and all of the comments.”
“We want to preserve the predominantly single family home nature of the village,” the Mayor added. “I don’t believe that any of these bills will change the nature of the village. We want to preserve the historic nature of the old village and to revitalize our downtown by condensing it and having more residential housing.”