04/06/13 10:00am
Greenport Temple

JULIE LANE PHOTO | The Congregation Tifereth Israel building in Greenport.

Did you know that the Beatles were not Catholic? It was a shock to learn that fact, which, as I recall, a sibling shared with 10-year-old yours truly on the way home from a trip to the barber shop one Saturday morning. Given that the old man served in the Army Air Corps in World War II and never gave up his GI style, our hair was about as long as the grass on a putting green and Earnie, the one-legged Austrian (I’m not making that up) was done with us in no time flat. Buzz, buzz, buzz. Next!

I secretly longed for long hair just like the Fab Four, who I had assumed were Catholic. Since we were Catholic, wasn’t everybody?

They’re not? Really? Wow! Well, obviously they’re not going to heaven. It’s as simple as that.

A few years later my hairstyle, if you could call it that, remained crew cut, which was just as well given that my Boy Scout cap just fit and a new one appeared as unlikely as my becoming an Eagle Scout. Our troop met in the Methodist church hall and you should have seen the look on Ma’s face when I passed along the good reverend’s invite to attend an ecumenical service.

Oh, no, you can’t go, said she. Why not? I asked, not at all unhappy at avoiding another hour in uncomfortable clothes sitting in a butt-numbing wooden pew. Why? Because they’re not Catholic. To be fair, Ma loosened up considerably over the years and without losing her faith became quite critical of the many blatant examples of hierarchical hypocrisy.

But if the reverend invited the Beatles? They could go.

I offer this slice of personal history to give an idea of my state of mind when attending a recent Passover Seder — my first — at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Greenport. Don’t get me wrong, I was pleased and honored to take part in the Seder, the service commemorating the Jewish people’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. But I’m always nervous at religious observances, especially one totally foreign to me.

I think I knew one Jewish kid growing up. That number wouldn’t have been so ridiculously low had my folks never left Yonkers, but that’s how it was out in the sticks.

My apprehension was fed by the knowledge that a Seder is an interactive affair, parts of which date back thousands of years, so the prime directive coming from either the emotional or rational part of the brain was simple: Don’t screw up, don’t screw up.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Buddy, you’re not 10 anymore. Shouldn’t you be beyond that? Well, I’m not, OK? So sue me, whydoncha.

Fortunately, everyone at the Seder table received a copy of the Haggadah, the book read on the first night of Passover. (Haggadah means “telling.”) It covered everything. Ah, this is a piece of cake. During Mass we all had missals, the books with all the text and instructions, so with a Seder guidebook I had nothing to fear.

I perused the Haggadah before Rabbi Gadi Capela, a very energetic young man in his first year with the congregation, got things going. But just a few pages in, right on top of the page, it said, “Our Seder now has ended” and several lines below that, “La-shana haba’ah birushalayim,” meaning, Next year in Jerusalem!

Uh, OK, where’s the rest of the text? Good lord, I’m in trouble. It wasn’t until just before the start that it hit me. Dummy, like Hebrew, the book is read from right to left, not the other way around. Whew!

With the unjustifiable panic in remission, I could finally enjoy the not-unfamiliar trip through what some call a crash course in Jewish history. Indeed, the rabbi noted that to forget or forgo the story of slavery under Pharaoh or the freedom through Exodus is to lose faith and an identity maintained, often at great cost, since antiquity.

So I happily did the reading when my turn came around, even though my silent practicing went for naught when the Rabbi skipped some pages. I shared in the matzoh, tried the horseradish, the “bitter herb” recalling the bitterness of slavery and drank the four cups of wine representing the four promises of redemption. OK, it wasn’t really four cups, because at that point I might have decided I could sing in Hebrew as well as the rabbi. It was more like four small portions.

As a recovering Catholic who’s about as religious as the Kremlin, it was humbling to witness a community of faithful folk who embrace tradition in an active, endless effort to fend off the dark powers of mindless modernism. And who were kind enough to let a big Irisher share the special evening.

Did I mention the real, not ceremonial, food available in abundance at the Haggadah’s end? Incred-i-ble.

Could not have been a better evening, even if the Beatles had showed.

Tim Kelly is the editor of The Suffolk Times. He can be reached at tkelly@timesreview.com   or 631-298-3200, ext. 238.

 

03/19/13 8:00am

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO | Gerry Hayden outside North Fork Table & Inn, where he works as chef and co-owner.

For the third consecutive year, Gerry Hayden, chef and co-owner of North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, is a finalist for a James Beard award, one of the most prestigious honors in the culinary world, in the best chef in the Northeastern U.S. category.

Mr. Hayden is one of five finalists in the region covering New York and all six New England States. He’s up against Jamie Bissonnette of the Coppa Restaurant in Boston, Joanne Chang of the Flour Bakery & Cafe, also in Boston; Melissa Kelly of Primo, Rockland, Maine and Barry Maiden of the Hungry Mother is Cambridge, MA.

The awards in 59 categories will be be announced during a ceremony at the Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center in New York of May 6.

Founded in 1986, The James Beard Foundation describes itself as dedicated “to celebrating, nurturing, and preserving America’s diverse culinary heritage and future.” It’s named after cookbook author and teacher James Beard, a champion of American cuisine who died in 1985. The James Beard Foundation, which sponsors the annual awards, maintains the James Beard House in Greenwich Village as a performance space for visiting chefs.

Mr. Hayden grew up in Setauket and began working in restaurants in junior high school when he took a job as a dishwasher at a Stony Brook eatery.

In an interview after receiving his second Beard award nomination last year, he said, “When people come out to eat, they expect a show. I don’t want people to come here and say, ‘Oh I could have made that at home.’ That’s not dining to me.”

tkelly@timesreview.com

03/17/13 7:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Bagpipers march during last week’s Cutchogue St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

St. Patrick’s Day just isn’t the same anymore.

For over a decade the annual celebration of all things Irish — and unfortunately things that have nothing to do Mother Eire (pronounced air-uh, not ear-ree) — meant riding a bus to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and onto Manhattan’s manic streets for THE parade. The granddaddy of ‘em all, the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade up 5th Avenue in front of hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom are actually not conversing on a cellphone.

That’s the parade any piper worth his salt dreams of. It dates back to 1762 when some homesick Micks and fellow countrymen serving in the British colonial military reconnected to the land of saints and scholars by staging their own March 17 march through lower Manhattan’s narrow streets.

The view from the street is at turns awe-inspiring and terrifying. I played and marched in fair weather and foul, passing St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s imposing Gothic spires, Tiffany’s and other tony shops, the Plaza Hotel and Central Park up to 79th Street. We used to play all the way up to 89th, right to the Guggenheim Museum, but then the city decided it was spending too much on police overtime.

While I think the city looks foolish in its current role as the Sugar Nazi, they heard no complaint from me about loping off those last 10 blocks. Believe me, 30 blocks, much of it uphill, is more than enough.

But I didn’t pipe there last year, nor will I make the march this year. Not sure where I’ll be when this year’s parade steps off on Saturday, on the 16th because the parade is never, ever held on a Sunday, but it’s a safe bet me pipes will remain out in the garage.

The reason is simple. Last year my group, the Peconic Warpipes, fell apart, the victim of internal strife and a lack of interest by many of the senior members. Of course there are other bands out there, including one connected to a Riverhead brewery that rose out of the Warpipes’ ashes, but I have to admit my heart just isn’t in it.

I marched in 10 city parades, in Boston and in dozens of others from the Rockaways to Montauk, but in me sixth decade on this planet the idea of standing in the snow, or rain, waiting for three hours to step off has lost its luster. I am soooooo done with this.

Or so I thought.

That’s not what I was thinking on Saturday as me and the Mrs. watched local dignitaries, Girl Scouts, antique cars, fire trucks, school bands, even a helicopter on a flatbed truck and pipers, of course the pipers, pass us by during Cutchogue’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Now I know how a professional athlete must feel when playing days have passed and the view is from the sidelines or the stands. Well, except that I never drew a seven- or eight-figure salary, had multitudes screaming for my autograph, appeared on Letterman or drove a Lamborghini. Other than that, it’s the exact same thing.

The skirl of the pipes grew louder as the bands marched west on Main Road toward the reviewing stand where they stopped, their tartans gleaming in the sunshine of a glorious pre-spring afternoon. They played for the dignitaries and marched off again. That could have been/should have been me up there. Why am I on the outside looking in? Why am I wearing pants? (Knock it off. You know what I mean.)

Then a couple of former bandmates came up to say hi. Great to see ‘em, but boy did it feel awkward.

Soon the horses clip-clopped by, signaling, for obvious reasons, the parade’s end. The crowd dispersed and we walked the short distance home and into the garage. Just before opening the kitchen door I glanced over at the pipes, lying on a cluttered table by the far wall.

Damn, damn, damn.

03/11/13 12:38pm

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley with missing persons experts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Southold Police do not anticipate filing any criminal charges in connection with the disappearance of Peconic teenager Ashley Murray, Police Chief Martin Flatley said Monday.

Police say they know where the teen was during her absence, but the chief declined to give the location.

“She was on the East End most of the time with friends who thought they were helping her,” he said. ”I’d like to think that anyone who helped her over that time was doing it for the right reason. Do I wish it had gone differently? Absolutely, but I don’t think there was any criminal intent.”

Ashley, 16, failed to show up at Southold High School Feb. 25 and she was gone 11 days before she and an adult friend showed up at town police headquarters in Peconic Friday afternoon.

The chief said Ashley spent only one night in the hospital after turning herself in and is now in the care of another family.

“When she was being interviewed it became evident she didn’t want to be home,” the chief added.

The police will conduct a few more interviews before closing out the case, he said.

tkelly@timesreview.com

03/08/13 5:05pm

Ashley Murray, the Peconic teen who went missing Feb. 25, touching off a massive search that lit up the social media world and involved agencies including the FBI, is on her way to a hospital for an evaluation after appearing with an unidentified adult friend at Southold police headquarters at 3:15 p.m. Friday, police said.

The teen was interviewed by police for about an hour and 15 minutes before being taken to a “regional hospital,” said Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley.

She said little about where she was during her absence, he added.

“She didn’t give a lot of information,” said the chief. “She was reluctant to say where she was.”

He added that police believe she was a runway, not abducted, and remained on the East End.

[Related: Relief and joy on social media for Ashley's safe return]

Reached at her family’s home, her brother Jamie Cradehl, said he hasn’t had time to process the news of his sister’s return.

“I’m waiting for everything to sink in,” he said.

He added that when the family asked Ashley if they should join her at the hospital, she said no, that she needed time by herself.

Ms. Murray was reported missing after failing to turn up at school that Monday morning. The ensuing search was unprecedented for the North Fork with police seeking assistance from other public departments, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Chief Flatley said that while the search is over, the investigation is continuing.

On the question of charges being filed, he said. “There’s always that chance. That’s what we have to look for.”

But he sees no reason to charge Ashley.

“We have look to see if there’s anyone else who should be looked at or might fit into a criminal charge, perhaps others who assisted her in remaining out of view,” he said.

Asked if the police interviews answered the questions on why she left and where she went, the chief said, “Not in their entirety, no.”

Southold Junior-Senior High School principal William Galati said he received a call about Ashley’s return about 4 p.m.

“We’re very excited, and I’m glad to hear that she is safe,” Mr. Galati said, adding that others in the school and the surrounding community will feel the same way.

“We have a caring, compassionate, educated community,” he said. “They express such great love and great care for these kids.”

tkelly@timesreview.com

With Carrie Miller and Jennifer Gustavson

 

02/02/13 8:00am

Police will be stepping up drunk driving patrols on the East End Super Bowl Sunday, but they’re not saying where.

Officers from the East End DWI Task Force will be out and about somewhere on the East End, mirroring the efforts of the Suffolk County PD, Suffolk’s Parks Police and the County Sheriff’s Office in the five western townships.

The East End DWI Task Force, which is headed by Riverhead Police Captain Richard Smith, will have the Sheriff’s Blood Alcohol Testing (BAT) mobile unit to help process alcohol and drug-related arrests, according to a release from the Suffolk County Stop DWI Program. The BAT unit will be part of patrols on major roads and highways.

The stepped-up patrols are funded through a grant from the governor’s traffic safety committee.

The release quotes a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which found that 40 percent of fatal crashes on Super Bowl Sunday involved drunk driving.

Riverhead Police Car

01/29/13 3:52pm

The first person Legislator Al Krupski placed on his staff since taking office last week may be new to the intricacies of county government, but he’s no stranger to public service or the business world.

Mr. Krupski chose John Stype, a senior partner in the Neefus Stype Agency, an insurance and financial planning company, as his legislative aide.

“The reason I asked him to help me is I needed someone who knows the district and someone I can trust completely,” Mr. Krupski said.

The two have been friends for years. During the busy harvest season, Mr. Stype has helped out at the Krupski family pumpkin farm in Peconic by driving the hayride tractor.

“I have confidence that I could send John anywhere and he could represent the district well,” Mr. Krupski said. “With me just starting out, that’s important.

Mr. Stype is a member of Southold Town’s Economic Advisory Council, created to strengthen the sometimes strained relations between the town and area merchants. That’s based largely on a perception held by some that town building codes and the permit review process is often lengthy and cumbersome and so anti-business.

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell believes the new legislator made a good choice in hiring Mr. Stype, but fears the town could lose the benefits of his experience and business acumen.

“John is a key part of my Economic Advisory Council and I certainly hope he stays in some capacity,” the supervisor said. “If he has to curtail his role to some extent given his new responsibilities I would understand that. He’s been an absolutely outstanding member.”

tkelly@timesreview.com