From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

October 8, 2009

Electric Bikes Hit Mt. Airy’s Streets

Needs Grow, Stocks Shrink at City Food Banks

Vote for TTF in Vacant Lot Contest

Call for NW Restaurant Festival

Dignity Recognizes Tenants

Workshop on Life Planning for Older Adults

New Hours for Northwest Library Branches

Studio Tours

Review: ‘Psycho Beach Party’ Brings Campy Laughs at Allens Lane

Tango Every Second Sunday at Summit

Jazz/Film Fundraiser at Allen’s Lane

NIM Mural to be Dedicated October 18

Architecture in Tiles, Photography

Discussion on Middle East at LTSP

1st Presbyterian Celebrates 200th

Summit Notes 125th Year

Book Drive at St. Michael’s

Mt. Tabor Joy Night

Germantown town Mennonite

Fall Festival at Cedar Park

Spooky Fun at ‘Whispers Along the Wissahickon’

Fall Cleanup at Cliveden Park

Express Your Views on Park’s Future with Com. DiBerardinis

Speak Out About Proposed Commercial Trash Fee

Play Visits Past, Present, Future at RittenhouseTown

“Bodies” littered the ground at Cliveden of the National Trust on Saturday, October 3 during the annual re-enactment of 1777’s Battle of Germantown. Redcoats battled Continentals to a draw in fierce fighting on the grounds 232 years ago, a turning point in the battle which initially saw the Americans driving the British before them.  The weather threatened on Saturday but the noon and 3 p.m. battle re-enactments – and the Revolutionary Germantown Festival of which they were a part – were graced with clear skies.  Photo by Sue Ann Rybak.

Electric Bikes Hit Mt. Airy’s Streets


Staff Writer

Mt. Airy resident Mike Carlson walked through the corner entrance and onto the bamboo floor at 550 West Carpenter Lane on Thursday, October 1, with a broad smile on his face. He met Afshin Kaighobady, wrench in hand, and a cheerful Marie Dilsizian, and the pair welcomed him to Mt. Airy’s newest eco-business.

But it wasn’t until he got a good look at the sleek new technology resting on that showroom floor that his eyes really popped. Carlson has some gray in his beard but you still might have thought: kid in a candy store.

Think again. This was more like kid in a new bike shop, only all these bikes run on batteries.

“Well, Mt. Airy is the place to sell them, I think,” Carlson said to Kaighobady, owner of the newly opened Philly Electric Wheels. “I think Mt. Airy has enough people in the area that might be interested.”

Mt. Airyites do seem well-trained on the ethics of low carbon impact modality. Ever since Kaighobady decided to open the business the most frequent question from his neighbors has been, “If I go downhill will it regenerate?” he said. Thank you, Prius.

But, no, most of the twenty or so models featured at the store do not regenerate on the down-hills, though Kaighobady is definitely researching that. Don’t be scared away, however, there are still some upsides to commuting on one of these rides.

“You get about a thousand miles per gallon… in car terms,” said Weavers Way employee Bill Quern, who bought his first electric bike last year. 

Quern rides an eZee Torque, one of the models sold at Philly Electric Wheels. The bike allows him to adjust the level of electric assist as he pedals, and as he’s an avid traditional cyclist this was important to him. But even though Quern bought the bike largely because his human powered model was starting to give him knee troubles, the eZee has become the replacement for his car, not his bike.

He uses it to travel about 8 miles per day to and from his Germantown home, the Co-op, and the Co-op warehouse in Germantown, and all year long, even in winter he said, it has worked great.   

“It’s so much fun,” he said. “You’re out of the car and you just go around the traffic. And you can still go dancing at night.”

This realization was exactly what got Kaighobady into the electric bike business in the first place.

“Everybody needs to go to work and back,” he said. Even his wife, Meenal Raval. It was her desire to find an ecological and manageable way to travel between Mt. Airy and Germantown is what spurred the Electric Wheels brainstorm in the first place.

Raval had just opened her own eco-business, Philly Compost. Somehow it didn’t seem right to travel there by car, but she was afraid that traditional biking would be unworkable every day. That changed when she rode the modest-looking Ecobike, Kaighobady said.

Dilsizian understood Raval’s concerns. As a native of Europe, where electric bikes have been popular for a long time. she knew the right electric bike could really do the trick.

“For the ladies definitely the advantage is you can be on your bike and not get all messed up,” she said.

The bikes at Philly Electric Wheels range in price from $550 to $3,000. They start with the entry level Ezip, which looks like a regular bike with two heavy battery packs and a small motor attached to the rear wheel. They go up through the small and efficient Ecobikes to the more serious eZee models and on to the impressive A2B, which, with its thick tires and front and rear shock absorbers has a decidedly motocross vibe about it. And with good reason – A2B can travel 20 miles per hour and has a range of 40 miles with dual batteries.

If you’re wondering how much it costs to charge the batteries on these bikes, let’s just say the $20 per month federal tax credit available for bike commuters will pay for it many times over.

Philly Electric Wheels will hold its official Grand Opening Thursday, October 15, from 2 to 7 p.m. Ice cream will be served and most of the bike models will be available to test ride in a safely enclosed parking lot at 520 Carpenter Lane. For more information call 215-821-9266.

Needs Grow, Stocks Shrink at City Food Banks


Staff Writer

It was chilly in Vernon Park on the morning of September 30. People talked about it. Fall was here, and colder weather was coming. But the 150 arrivals that morning brought more than heavy coats. They needed their own bags, at least, or rolling tote carts, because they were there to put food on the table in the way increasing numbers of Philadelphians must do – through free giveaways of donated food.

Germantown residents Annie Foster, 78, and Rene Horton, 81, were among the crowd. They are regulars at the Wednesday Veterans United Free Food Program in the park. Both women said they would not be able to eat adequately if not for these weekly bulk giveaways.

“I’m glad they’re here,” said Foster. “I do come in and it helps a lot. I do appreciate this kind of thing.”

By this time of year most emergency food reserves experience a cyclical low across the country – a combination of the end-of-summer growing season and a summer of feeding children who typically get free meals at school the rest of the year, according to William Clark, executive director of Philabundance, which provides the fresh food to Veterans United.

But it’s worse this year. Thanks to the recession, high rates of unemployment, and the long delay in passing the state budget, area food agencies are particularly strapped. According to SHARE, which supplies emergency food cupboards across the city, most of those facilities are seeing a 30 to 60 percent increase in first-time clients this fall.

The numbers at Vernon Park supported this trend. It was a publicized event meant to highlight the close of Hunger Action Month with a loud call for more food donations, but so many people showed up in need of food that Veterans United, which has run the Vernon Park food giveaway for the last five years, was taken completely by surprise.

“Don’t leave! Stay here!” shouted volunteer Margaret Robinson to the crowd that stretched down one of the park’s long walkways. “We don’t have enough food for 150 people. We’re going to get some more food.”

If the situation wasn’t so dire, it might have seemed almost scripted. At the other end of the podium, officials from State Representatives John Myers’ (D, 201st) and Rosita Youngblood’s (D, 198th) offices attended the event in place of their bosses who were called away for emergency work on the long delayed budget – a major factor holding up money to Philadelphia’s food distribution agencies.

The system in the city is made up of a network of agencies including Philabundance, which handles fresh food, and SHARE, which handles storable food, and a number of other programs such as shelter and soup kitchen assistance through the Office of Supportive Housing, the Food Stamp program, the Women, Infant, Children or WIC program, summer feeding programs, free school lunches, and the Farmers Market Nutrition Program for Seniors.

Philabundance does not receive state funding, and SHARE is funded primarily with federal dollars, but when fully state-funded programs like those operating through the Office of Supportive Housing are crippled by months of state funding delays, and smaller state-funded supplemental programs, such as SHARE also administers, are halted, it puts a major strain on the entire system, according to Clark and SHARE Executive Director Steveanna Wynn.

“It really takes all of those programs working in concert with one another to make sure that people in Philadelphia do not go hungry,” Wynn explained in a phone interview.

And while both directors were certain that area legislators like Myers, who chairs the House Hunger Caucus, and Youngblood understood the difficulty of the situation created by budget delays, “they’re not the whole legislature,” Wynn said.

Despite increases in demand due to the recession and heavy pressure from feeding agencies, state funding for food assistance has remained the same for the last three years. To Clark that translates into a reduction in services. Add in the long budget delay and he is none too happy with the rest of the legislature.

“Balancing the budget on the backs of people who have to come to events to get food is probably not the most compassionate way to balance your budget,” he said.

This spiral of need made the awareness event at Vernon Park all the more important. Typically Hunger Action Month, which was declared in Pennsylvania on a resolution co-sponsored by Myers and Youngblood, and house citations like the one Youngblood provided Tony Moore, the volunteer who has run the city-wide Veteran’s United program since the early nineties, are the kinds of things meant to get individual donors - citizen donors such as you and me – on the donations list to help boost food bank stores before the holidays hit. These donations tend to fill in where large corporate donations have fallen off, Clark said.

And this year especially, both Clark and Wynn stressed, individual donations can make a huge difference.

“It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. It doesn’t have to be a thousand dollars,” Wynn said. “Fifteen dollars buys a case of food. If everybody that had it would just send five dollars that would be just phenomenal. If everybody brought one can of food that would be phenomenal.”

And beyond donations, it takes a lot of work to feed people. There were at least six volunteers at the Vernon Park giveaway last Wednesday, in addition to Moore. They had to use their own cars to transport the food. They lugged 40-pound bags of carrots, and cabbage and boxes of potatoes that looked just as heavy. They were there most of the morning. And, as the largest distributor of Philabundance food, Veterans United has four other distribution sites besides Vernon Park.

“Every day of the week he’s out here. Rain, snow, sun, heat,” Clark said of Moore.

Even though he is retired Moore considers his feeding work a job that he both loves and feels obligated to do. At times it can be hard on him, but he has settled into a routine that he’s not likely to disturb.

“I’m disabled and I hurt every day,” he said. “But it’s a good feeling to help people, that’s what makes it all worth it.”

After receiving his official citation Moore’s most heartfelt words at the podium were to the people in front of him waiting to get food. He might have spoken for Clark, Wynn, Myers, Youngblood and everyone else who doesn’t want to see people go hungry.

“Just keep coming,” he said.

For more information about SHARE Food Program, Inc. 2901 West Hunting Park Avenue, call 215-223-2220 or visit

For more information about Philabundance, 3616 South Galloway Street, call 215- 339-0900 or visit

Representatives Myers and Youngblood are accepting donations at their offices. Representative Myers’ office is at 5847 Germantown Avenue, phone 215-849-6896; Representative Youngblood’s office is at 5520 Wayne Avenue, phone 215-849-6426.

Vote for TTF in Vacant Lot Contest

The Toocany/Tacony-Frankford (TTF) Watershed Partnership based at Awbury Arboretum was chosen as a national finalist for a Tom’s of Maine sponsorship grant. It beat out the rest of Pennsylvania in the contest and now must compete against community groups across the country to fund its “Eyesores to Assets: Reinventing a Vacant Lot” program.

If TTF gets enough votes on the Toms of Maine Website by October 30, the organization will be able to transform a vacant lot in Germantown into a park filled with innovative storm water management features meant to help protect the watershed and beautify the community.

Supporters can vote every day at, or go to for a link.

Call for NW Restaurant Festival

Recently, the Northwest Philadelphia area has seen the development of local, sustainable food production along with the development of small, creative, chef-owned and operated restaurants. These two developments are complementary and symbiotic: each furthers the other.

Among the local producers of local foodstuffs are the gardens of Weavers Way Co-op, and the historic sites of Grumblethorpe, Wyck, and Stenton. Among the creative chef-owned and operated NW restaurants are the Urban Café; Umbria; Geechee Girl; Earth, Bread and Brewery; The Wine Thief;  and Bacio. In addition, Weavers Way Co-op is also a purveyor of various local producers of artisan cheese, bread, coffee, honey, and condiments.

The Northwest is in the midst of a food renaissance that parallels the European tradition of local inns and restaurants serving the foodstuffs f local producers. Also, the Northwest is unique in that there is sufficient open space at various schools, arboretums, and historic sites to allow for local food production. Restaurants abound throughout the city, but the area allows a close proximity of producers and restaurants that achieves a special, creative partnership that brands the Northwest area with its own distinct identity.

It seems that the mutual interests of all these enterprises could best be served by having a Restaurant and Harvest Festival, where the various chef-owned restaurants would offer fixed price dinners made exclusively of ingredients produced and purveyed in the Northwest. By holding such an event on the same day, the strengths and versatility of all these enterprises would be showcased in a focused manner, thereby gaining the attention and appreciation of the dining public both within and outside of the area.

It is anticipated that Thursday, Oct. 22, would be the best time to hold such an event. In addition, a portion of the proceeds would be returned to the growers to further local, sustainable production.

There is ample evidence that the partnership of local, sustainable, urban food production and local, creative, chef-owned restaurants is an idea whose time has come. Consider how this past summer – in Northwest Philadelphia - both Weavers Way and Awbury Arboretum, in conjunction with The Scribe Video Collective, presented collections of films dealing with sustainable, urban food production. The Big Blue Marble Bookstore, in Mt. Airy presented authors speaking on the same topic. Currently, the Schuykill Center for Environmental Education, in nearby Roxborough is presenting an outdoor art installation focusing on a theme of food production, entitled “Down to Earth: Artists Create Edible Landscapes.” Now is the moment to catch this wave of energy and interest and capitalize on it.

To further discuss this idea, please contact Pat O’Donnell at the Urban Café, 215-844-0296;; or Dan Jefferson, food writer, at 610-322-9347, e-mail

Dignity Recognizes Tenants

Dignity Housing is hosting its 10th annual Tenant Recognition Reception on Friday, October 9, 6-9 p.m., at the Commodore Barry Club, 6815 Emlen Street.

The 10th Annual Tenant Recognition Reception will acknowledge and celebrate the many achievements and milestones reached by Dignity Housing’s youth and adult tenants this year.

Dignity Housing’s mission is to support Philadelphia’s homeless families and individuals as they work to achieve their goals of self-sufficiency and family stability. Founder and Executive Director Alicia Christian and Deputy Director Beverly Roberts will be in attendance. Dignity Housing staff, Board members, community partners, families and recognized individuals will also be present.

Dignity Housing is committed to the success and well being of our tenants. During these trying economic times, Dignity’s tenants continue to reach new levels of personal, educational and financial achievement.

Dignity Housing is a non-profit organization established by formerly homeless people to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty confronting low-income and homeless families and individuals in Philadelphia.  Dignity Housing promotes their self-sufficiency by providing affordable rental housing with individualized social services, homeownership opportunities, assistance in pursuit of education objectives, workforce development, and financial management assistance.

For information about Dignity Housing visit

Workshop on Life Planning for Older Adults

Planning for how and where to live is a serious question for many Northwest Philadelphians 55 and older as they try to plan for their aging years. The aging process is often described as one of decline. In fact it can be a time of continued growth. People anticipate limits to their physical capacities and want to live in a place where they will be able to function and be safe as much as possible. But where you live is also a function of how you see yourself and what kind of life you want to live.

Resources for Older Adult Living is offering the workshop “How and Where Will I Be When I Grow Up” for people in their 50’s and older. The program will provide a framework for participants to think through what they want, learn some of the community options available, and brainstorm creative options for themselves. We’ll examine questions including How important is it to remain in your own home or neighborhood? Why? What do you want to do with your time?

The workshop will be presented twice: Oct.31, 9:30 a.m. - noon at First United Methodist Church of Germantown, 6023 Germantown Avenue; and November 8, 9:30 a.m. - noon at Germantown Jewish Center, 400 West Ellet Street. To register, contact Linda Brunn at 215-843-5600, X 127, or

New Hours for Northwest Library Branches

As a result of budget cuts and reduced staffing levels, hours have changed as of  October 5 at branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The hours for Northwest branches are as follows:

  1. Lovett Memorial, 6945 Germantown Avenue, Monday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday 1-9 p.m., Thursday and Friday, 10 am. – 5 p.m.

  2. Chestnut Hill, 8711 Germantown Avenue, Tuesday and Wednesday, 1-9 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  3. Wadsworth, 1500 Wadsworth Avenue, Tuesday and Wednesday, noon – 8 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  4. Coleman Northwest Regional, 68 West Chelten Avenue, Tuesday and Wednesday, noon – 8 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Studio Tours

Artists from the Northwest Artists’ Collective (NAC) will be opening their studios and showcasing their work throughout Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy and Germantown, such as InFusion and Earth, Bread and Brewery.  Meet the artists in their studios and talk with them about their work, the art-making process, and purchase art from the source. View an interactive map at their website,

This year, the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours is happy to feature the following members of the NAC: Elaine Bass, Debs Bleicher, Eleanor Day, Melissa Maddonni Haims, Helene Halstuch, Gail Kotel, Jennifer Monahan, Sherman Oberson, Daniel Oliva, Barbara Rosin, Ellie Seif, Dr. Valarie Ena Swain, Don Harrison, Elfie Harris, and Anne Boysen.

The NAC is a group of over twenty painters, sculptors, print makers, photographers and fiber artists in the Northwest. Members are professional artists who show independently and as a group throughout the region. Members meet on a monthly basis to discus local arts and projects to further their reach into the community through the arts. 

The NAC was born in 2005 after local artists met each other through the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST) program of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists.

Visit for detailed information about participating artists and community partners.

Review: ‘Psycho Beach Party’ Brings Campy Laughs at Allens Lane


Guest Writer

“Psycho Beach Party,” a play by Charles Busch and directed by Dave Ebersole, is now running at the Allens Lane Theater, Allens Lane & McCallum Streets.

It is the Malibu Beach summer of 1962. Nicky and Dee Dee dance the Bugaloo, the Swim and the Pony on the sand. Surf legend and beach life icon Kanaka stands around at the waters edge entertaining his surf-boarding fans with tales of world travel and surfer derring-do. Bountiful beach bunny Marvel Ann tantalizes the macho surfers and tries to pick out a man she can make over into a successful husband. Then there is Chicklet, the under-developed little girl who wants to learn how to use a surfboard and implores the great Kanaka to teach her his skills.

In the early 1960s, a handful of silly Beach Party movies were made starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. What I’ve just described could stand as the set-up for any one of them. But then along came playwright Charles Busch, described in the Allens Lane play program as the author of the long-running Off-Broadway hit “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom” and as a “drag legend.”

If you giggle at a very thin small man in a bikini and a bad wig, at a big man in wedgies, dresses, more bad wigs, and trollop make up, at a gaggle of people wrestling with suppressed sexual desires, and at the light side of multiple personality disorder, you will laugh out loud and often at Busch’s twisted surf entertainment “Psycho Beach Party.” It’s a zany good time.

The eleven-person cast is busy in this beach movie send up: Benjamin Kerr and Mary Sack are the dancing machines Nicky and Dee Dee, Danny Marcheski and Dan Stroiman are surf board buddies Yo Yo and Provoloney – goof balls who fight “the love that dare not speak its name,” Carly Bodnar is the man-hunter Marvel Ann, Jim Hooper is a former psychiatry student-turned-surfer called Star Cat, Eric Jarrell is surfing master Kanaka, Sara Williamson is the tiny Chicklet’s “Boswell” and bosom companion Berdine, and the lush Bettina Barnes – an ambitious Hollywood starlet who has come to hide-out among the beach bum crowd – is played very well by Ashely Ames, a former Texan and an alum of southwestern acting programs. Chicklet – the all-important central character – is played by the spunky Christopher Handschuch, seen on the Allens Lane stage last season in the gay domestic comedy “Mambo Italiano.” Playing a young girl whose mind is split into several horny and megalomaniacal personalities, he delivers a lot of entertainment wearing only a teensie-weensie bikini and a five o’clock shadow.  Chicket’s mother, Mrs. Forrest, is played by Bob Seifried, who turns in one of the bravest, most sporting drag performances the Northwest Philly theater scene has witnessed in a long while.

This is adult fare. And not all that sophisticated. But it’s done with a good-natured nod and a wink, and the inclusion of early ‘60s rock choreography and a strobe-lit, slow-mo fight sequence raises its camp level to the max. Accompanied by surf music, it guarantees you’ll never listen to the Ventures’ rendition of “Wipe Out” in quite the same way again.

Remaining performances of “Psycho Beach Party” at the Allens Lane Theater are October 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 8:00 p.m., and October 11 at 6:00 p.m. With reservations, tickets are $18 each; $ 20 at the door. For reservations call 215-248-0546.

Tango Every Second Sunday at Summit

New to tango and curious about the sensual Argentinian dance? Look no further then just one block down  from Weavers Way to give it a try. For almost two years tangueros Marie-Jose Dilsizian and Afshin Kaighobady have been organizing U2 Tango milonga, basically a tango dance party, at Summit Presbyterian Church.

Both are active in the tango community in Philadelphia but wanted to offer a place for people to dance tango in their own neighborhood.

Though a few locals do hit the floor, many of the dancers are regulars from the greater Philadelphia area, some coming from as far as Bethlehem. Once you get the hang of this tango, which is largely based on improvisation, it can be an incredibly satisfying experience. You may not realize it, but Philadelphia is full of tango junkies,  people who just can’t get enough of this dance once they’ve started, and who find somewhere to dance it all weekend long, every weekend.

For three hours, couples glide across the floor in close or open embrace. Giant stained glass windows tower over the room, filtering in the golden light of the setting sun, and adding to the drama that unfolds on the floor. As women enter, they immediately change from their everyday shoes to dazzling, high-heeled tango shoes.

They wear flowing skirts and scarves, while the men generally wear smart dress shirts.

The sound of traditional Argentinian music can transport you back in time, while the Nuevo sounds bring a contemporary flair to the party.

The atmosphere created by Marie and Afshin is very welcoming to people of all skill levels, so don’t worry if you are a beginner. Someone, no doubt, will ask you to dance and be happy to show you the basics, whether you’ve got the right shoes on or not.

U2 Tango is offered every second Sunday of the month at Summit Church, 6757 Greene Street (Westview Street entrance) from 4 to 7 pm.  The cost is $12.

Check our website,, for more information.

If youíve never done tango before and would like a few lessons before hitting this milonga, Jackie Stahl offers private and small-group lessons in Mt. Airy on Tuesday nights. Call 215-880-1289.

Also check out for a listing of more classes and other milongas.

Jazz/Film Fundraiser at Allen’s Lane

Philadelphia’s jazz and film lovers will come together for a special fundraiser at the Allens Lane Art Center, 601 West Allens Lane, from 2 - 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 18. 

Acclaimed /writer/director/producer Aaron Blandon has launched an exciting film project which extols the richness of the Philadelphia jazz community. The film, Tony Williams and Friends: Saving Jazz One Child at a Time, will document the unique efforts of Philadelphia saxophonist Tony Williams, and the Mount Airy Cultural Center (MACC), to keep jazz alive by educating our children.

For nearly a half century Tony Williams, and a cadre of supportive professional musicians, have provided free Saturday morning lessons in music theory, harmony, composition, arranging, performance, and life skills.

Williams has musical acclaim, yet few know the story of his advocacy efforts to preserve the jazz art form and of his long and continued dedication to children. Assisted and supported by many fellow musicians, friends and followers, through Mt. Airy Cultural Center and the Council of Jazz Advocates, he has been responsible for more than 3,000 scholarships awarded to college students.

Strong Majic Films and Aaron Blandon invite you to become a part of this legacy by joining them for a silent auction and an afternoon of live entertainment, food and fun. Come hear what Blandon has to say about his mission and goals for this film work in progress.

Strong Majic Films is a Philadelphia-based independent film and video company dedicated to an exploration of narrative and documentary storytelling. The company’s primary emphasis is on the untold or misrepresented accounts of Africa and the African Diaspora.

For more information call 215-680-1398.

NIM Mural to be Dedicated October 18

The Neighborhood Interfaith Movement and Philadelphia Mural Arts Program invite the Northwest Philadelphia community to the dedication of NIM’s 40th Anniversary mural at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct.18.  The mural, entitled “Walking Together,” is being dedicated in honor of Elaine Dushoff, a longtime NIM board member and member of the Germantown Jewish Centre, to acknowledge her more than thirty years of service to the interfaith and broader community.

Also acknowledged at the event will be artists Paul Downie and Dave Woods, who conceived the vision for the mural and who have spent the last several months creating it on the south-facing wall of NIM’s office at 7047 Germantown Avenue, and the 60 congregations and organizations that comprise NIM’s membership, each of which will have tiles placed to represent them on the mural itself.  Some congregations sent members to spring workshops at the Allen’s Lane Art Center, where custom tiles were created. Speakers at the event will include the artists, NIM Executive Director Rabbi George Stern, and Mural Arts Director Jane Golden. There will also be musical performances and refreshments will be served.  For information, call Eric Wilden at 215-843-5600, extension 104.

Architecture in Tiles, Photography

“Clay and Camera: Architectural Visions,” an exhibit of ceramic tile and photography in, on and about architecture by Karen Singer and Carol Bates, will hold its exhibition preview and reception on Thursday, October 8, 6-8:30 p.m. at Karen Singer Tileworks Studio, 90 East Church Lane, Germantown. Additional exhibit hours are Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, noon-6 p.m.

View photographs of magnificent beach houses, the Comcast building, New York wineries, and see 7-foot tall handmade ceramic tile columns - and more art you can touch - in this art exhibit in Karen Singer Tileworks’ bustling studio as part of Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. Architecture is the theme of this collaborative show by two of Philadelphia’s artists, Karen Singer of Karen Singer Tileworks and Carol Bates of Bates Photography, Inc.

Carol Bates, an architectural photographer based in New York and Philadelphia, will show projects from across the world. Her latest work is featured in Spectacular Wineries of New York, available in bookstores in October. Other projects have been published in The New York Times, Interior Design, New York Spaces, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.

Karen Singer, artist and ceramic tile muralist, specializes in creating custom handmade tile murals and commemorative art. Her work is commissioned nationwide by hospitals, universities, private schools, and corporations. Current projects include historical renovation of the Uptown Theater on Broad Street in Philadelphia, and a mural commemorating the new emergency department at Doylestown Hospital.

For information call 215-849-7010.

Discussion on Middle East at LTSP

Two Lebanese experts on Islamic/Christian relations in the Middle East will help Philadelphians explore Middle Eastern implications for Americans at a convocation at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia on Tuesday, October 20. The visits of Dr. Mary Mikhael and Dr. Mohammad Sammak are co-sponsored by LTSP and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where they will be appearing on October 21. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Addressing the topic “”Living Together in the Middle East: Muslim and Christian Challenges, Opportunities, and Implications for Americans” will be Mikhael, president since 1994 of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut; and Sammak, syndicated columnist for three newspapers in the Middle East and counselor to the Grand Mufti of Lebanon. Their remarks will be offered at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, October 20 in Benbow Hall on the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue.

Mikhael, the first woman to ever serve as president of a seminary in the Middle East, has held that post since 1994 and been associated with the school since 1992.

She’s also held the post of academic dean there. Mikhael is currently a member of the executive committee and the theological committee of the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical churches. She has written numerous articles on theology and the position of women in the church and has lectured extensively in the U.S. Europe and Middle East regarding women’s issues in universities and churches.

Sammak, an expert on Islamic thought and political science, is a syndicated columnist for newspapers in Beirut, Abu Dhabi and Cairo. He is secretary-general for the Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue in Lebanon, secretary-general for the Islamic spiritual Summit there, and also secretary-general in Lebanon for the executive committee of Christian-Muslim Arab Group.

He has argued in the past that American church policies regarding Arabs are more balanced than the policies of the U.S. Government, but that the American Church views are not well understood in the Middle East because they are not presented in the Islamic press there.

He has also written that it is not well understood that the American values regarding human rights, liberty and democracy are rooted as well in Islamic culture.

1st Presbyterian Celebrates 200th

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of the First Presbyterian in Germantown, 35 East Chelten Avenue, on Saturday, October 17 with a catered buffet featuring poached salmon, beef tenderloin, and Chicken Florentine. Come celebrate with us.  All in attendance will receive a copy of a special DVD documenting our 200 years of ministry and mission in Germantown. The cost is $30.

Please RSVP by October 9; call 215-843-8811. Tickets can be purchased on Sunday in Longstreth Auditorium.

On Sunday, October 18, there will be a Bicentennial worship service and unveiling of an anniversary plaque during the 10 a.m. worship service. Then at 3 p.m. Cameron Carpenter, organist, will perform in concert.  Holding master’s and bachelor’s degrees from The Julliard School, Carpenter has studied with Gerre Hancock, John Weaver, and Paul Jacobs.  He is known as “the ultimate maverick of the U.S. organ community.”

Summit Notes 125th Year

Summit Presybterian Church, 6757 Greene Street (at the corner of Westview Street)  is celebrating 125 years of ministry on the weekend of October 17 and 18.   

The celebrations will begin with a banquet on Saturday, October 17, from 6:30-10 p.m.   The program will include reflections on Summit’s history, music and dancing.  All from the community are welcome; tickets are $35.  Call Angela at 215-438-2825 or e-mail to  to make reservations.  

The worship service on Sunday morning, October 18,  at 10 a.m. will be a festive one of praise and thanksgiving with the participation of former pastors.  The Reverend Cheryl Pyrch will preach and the Summit Handbell Choir will premier a piece by Thomas Whitman, a Mt. Airy resident and professor of music at Swarthmore college. All are welcome.

Book Drive at St. Michael’s

St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 6671 Germantown Avenue, will hold its annual flea market and book drive on Oct. 10, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., (rain date Oct.17) to benefit the Eleanor C. Emlen Elementary School.

This event is a part of an ongoing partnership between the school and the church in an effort to gather community support for the school’s success. 

Community members can participate by renting tables ($15 per table donation), donating books (new or gently used), donating items for sale and coming out for a day of shopping, food and activities for children. For information, call 215-380-0842.

Mt. Tabor Joy Night

The Mt. Tabor Baptist Church Men’s Ministry, 110 West Rittenhouse Street, is having a “Joy Night” on Saturday, October 10 at 7 p.m. All are welcome to come as several invited guests join them in a night of prayer, psalms, hymns and spiritual songs praising God and asking His blessings as they prepare for Men’s Day on Sunday, November 8. 

All senior Citizens are invited to our Seniors Annual Day on Sunday, October 11 during the 10:30 a.m. worship service as we honor those who have paved the way and give wisdom. 

Germantown town Mennonite

A Healthcare Reform Neighborhood Forum featuring Wendell Potter, former health insurance executive turned outspoken critic of “Wall Street healthcare,” will be held Sunday, Oct. 18, 3-5 p.m. at Germantown Mennonite Church, 21 West Washington Lane. It is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Fall Festival at Cedar Park

Cedar Park Presbyterian, 7740 Limekiln Pike, will observe its Annual Revival beginning Thursday, October 8 - 11. 

Thursday, Friday and Saturday services will begin at 7 p.m. and will feature the following pastors on those respective nights, including Rev. Fred Hanna, Rev. Sean Wise and the Rev. Ashellarien Smith.  Dr. Carroll Jenkins, pastor of Cedar Park, will conclude with a worship service on Sunday, October 11 at 11 a.m.  All are cordially welcome. 

For information call the church office at 215-549-9775.

Spooky Fun at ‘Whispers Along the Wissahickon’

Welcome the fall season with a hauntingly fun party. The Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) will be hosting their popular autumn fund-raiser Whispers Along the Wissahickon on Friday, October 23, sponsored by Valley Green Bank.  The event will take place at the Wissahickon Environmental Center (Andorra Tree House) up the hill from the intersection of Forbidden Drive and Northwestern Avenue from 5:30-9 p.m. 

“This is Valley Green Bank’s fourth year as lead sponsor of Whispers Along the Wissahickon,” says Jay Goldstein, President and CEO of Valley Green Bank. “It is always a pleasure to support Whispers and Friends of the Wissahickon’s accomplishments as they continue to maintain the Park’s vitality.”

This family-friendly fall celebration offers spooky hayrides, scary face painting, awesome magic, live music, and creative crafts for hands-on fun. Everyone is encouraged to come in costume.

Proceeds from Whispers Along the Wissahickon will benefit the Friends of the Wissahickon, a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining the Wissahickon Valley. FOW restores historical structures throughout the park, eliminates invasive plant species, partners with multiple local organizations to monitor watershed management issues, and is working on a multi-year plan to restore trails throughout the park system. Their work protects the Wissahickon watershed and preserves the natural and historical features of this spectacular urban wilderness for future generations.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children. Price includes food, beverages, beer, and wine. Tickets are limited, so buy your tickets early. This is a rain or shine event.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call FOW at 215-247-0417 or visit

Fall Cleanup at Cliveden Park

On Saturday, Oct. 24, the Friends of Cliveden Park with their partners (Ionic #112 Lodge, St. Joe’s University and PHS: Philadelphia Green) will host their 10th Annual Fall Community Cleanup from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 6415 Musgrave Street.

Come help us prepare plant/vegetable beds for the winter, plant bulbs, mulch trees and work in our watershed.

There will be pumpkin painting, birds feeders made, and other crafts.  Refreshments will be served.

On Oct. 17 from 10-11 a.m. we will host a workshop to identify native and invasive plants for the watershed garden area.  Mark Paronish and Elissa Ruse from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will sponsor this workshop.  Come join us for this informative session.  E-mail to for more information and to RSVP.

Express Your Views on Park’s Future with Com. DiBerardinis

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis wants to exchange ideas for merging the Parks and Recreation Department. Whether you are a parent, Kelly Drive runner, hiker, basketball player, sports enthusiast, coach, young athlete, community leader, performing arts participant or someone who enjoys sitting in the park – they want to hear from you.

A series of eight community meetings is being held on the subject. In the Northwest, the meeting will be Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m.  at Simons Recreation Center, 7200  Woolston Street. For questions, e-mail to

FOW Sponsoring Bird Presentation

The Friends of the Wissahickon are sponsoring Birds of the Wissahickon, a slide-illustrated presentation by Ruth Pfeffer, expert birder and photographer and the owner of “Birding with Ruth,” as well as a teacher at the North Penn Continuing Education Center. She has been leading birding expeditions in the U.S. and abroad since the 1990s. Her thrilling bird calls and beautiful photographs are hallmarks of her presentations. The lecture will take place on Thursday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m. at New Covenant Campus, 7500 Germantown Avenue, Founders Hall, Room 1A. A walk supplementing the talk takes place on Saturday, Oct. 17. Meet at 8 a.m. at Forbidden Drive and Bell’s Mill Road. For more information on the Friends of the Wissahickon, visit

Speak Out About Proposed Commercial Trash Fee

The Philadelphia Community Voice Project (PCVP), a newly-formed means to facilitate citizens’ registering their opinions with members of City Council and other government officials, has launched its first campaign. The topic is the $500 fee announced by the Streets Dept to collect trash from small buildings with commercial tenants. Councilman Frank DiCicco has introduced Bill 09058 into City Council to rescind the authorization for this fee to be levied.

Through PCVP, interested parties can submit a form at the website, Their identifying information and the message they wish to convey, is automatically converted to a fax and sent to all members of Council.

Businesses in buildings with less than six total residential and commercial units will be directly affected by this fee, if it allowed to stand. And opponents point out that once a precedent for such a fee is established, all rental properties than all properties may be next.

Business owners and their employees, investors in small buildings, and residents alike, who are concerned about the imposition of such a charge, are urged to visit and express their views.

Play Visits Past, Present, Future at RittenhouseTown

Leah Stein Dance Company (LSDC) will perform Mill Tones, a new site-specific work at Historic RittenhouseTown, 206 Lincoln Drive, a more than 300-year-old historical site. LSDC is joined by long-time collaborator, percussionist Toshi Makihara, singer Ellen Gerdes, special guest artist Brigitta Hermann, and eight local community participants whose ages range from 6 to 60.

Historic RittenhouseTown, the first paper mill in America, was home to eight generations of the Rittenhouse family beginning in 1690. Inspired by the people and process of papermaking, choreographer Leah Stein tracks the change from paper to paperless as a metaphor for the transition from the past into the future.

Situated right next to the rush of Lincoln Drive, Historic RittenhouseTown reflects this dynamic world in which the past, present and future rest side by side. The intergenerational cast also demonstrates the flow from one generation to the next. The audience will follow the cast along the site, watching a stream of reflective and compelling events. This performance makes for an excellent fall evening with the family.

LSDC creates dance works for the stage and outdoor sites that highlight the interaction between people, their culture and the physical environment. LSDC works with untraditional approaches to creating dances with a focus on juxtapositions and interrelationships between movement, sound, object and place. Collaboration is central to the mission and most works include musicians, visual artists, and local communities.

Mill Tones will be performed at Historic RittenhouseTown on October 17 and 18, 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 students/seniors/DancePASS.

For information, call Kate Speer at 215-438-2623 e-mail to, or visit

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