Newsletter – Dec 26, 2017 & Jan 2, 2018 – Guests and Topics on Schenectady Today

 Schenectady Today

In & Around the Capital Region

Now In Our 20th Year!

Guest Line Up for the next four weeks of filming. (May be subject to change)

Below you will find listings for our interesting on-air guests for the next four weeks.  Check out the lists below for our great variety of topics.  We start filming at 10 am at Proctors Underground on Tuesday. A live audience is always welcome and there are plenty of seats. You can meet the guests in person and learn more about their projects or even get involved yourself1

December 26, 2017 #1014

Repeated airing on 1/2/18

Scheduled Topics on the Show with Guests

(Listed alphabetically – subject to change)

Information below has been provided by the Guests or from their websites

~~~ Segment ONE ~~~

Music of the Season

Mike Purcell, Entertainer

~~~ Segment TWO ~~~

Armenian Traditions

Fr, Stepanos Doudoukjian, Parish Priest

From the web:

The Date of Armenian Christmas: In the fourth century, the Roman Catholic Church established Dec. 25 as Christmas, but the Armenian Orthodox Church adhered to an older Christmas Day. Armenians celebrate the nativity of Jesus in Bethlehem as well as his baptism in the Jordan River, called Epiphany, on Jan. 6. To commemorate the baptism, the Armenian Church conducts a ceremony called “Blessing of the Water,” during which the priest uses a basil-leaf wand to sprinkle water on the congregation. The Orthodox Church observes seven weeks of advent from Nov. 15 until Jan. 6. Armenian Orthodox believers fast for the three weeks leading up to Jan. 6.

Traditional Food:  The week before Christmas, Armenians abstain from eating meat. Instead they eat traditional braided bread, rice pilaf, figs, baklava, fresh vegetables and rice pudding. They also enjoy a wheat-based pudding with berries and apricots called “anoushabour.” On Christmas Eve, Armenians eat a traditional fish dish called “ishkhanatsoog,” or “princely trout.” For dessert they have dried fruit and nuts as well as “rojik,” or whole walnuts encased in grape jelly and hanging on a string. On Christmas, family and friends gather for the large family meal. Meat is finally introduced, often in the form of traditional Armenian specialties such as “poulgeur pilav,” a lamb and rice dish.

Organization: St. Peter Armenian Church

~~~ Segment THREE ~~~

Hanukkah Traditions

Judy Ben-Ami – Jewish Cultural & Adult Programming Dir

            Many Jewish holidays celebrate freedom.  Religious freedom has always been very important to the Jewish people.  Hanukkah is not considered a holy day, but an historical holiday that celebrates the return of the Jewish people to the temple in Jerusalem. In 200 BCE, the Greeks governed the land, and they forbid the Jews to worship the Jewish way which is reading Torah, (which is part of the Jewish Bible), pray to one G-d and to celebrate holydays. The Greeks also destroyed the inside of their temple.

The Maccabees won their fight for religious freedom and were able to return to the temple.  In the temple, they had a candelabra with seven arms and it needed oil to be lit. The Maccabees found a jar with oil that should have lasted for only one day, but it lasted for eight days which it was a miracle!

On Hanukkah, we light candles in a Hanukkah-menorah that has nine branches — eight candles represent the eight days of what we call “the miracle of the oil” and the ninth candle serves to light all the rest.

The kids and adults too, like to play dreidel, which is a top with four sides. On each side, there is a Hebrew letter — ( נ‎ (Nun), ג‎ (Gimel), ה‎ (Hei), ש‎ (Shin),) which together form the acronym for “נס גדול היה שם‎” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – “a great miracle happened there”). People play with chocolate coins. They spin the dreidel and for each letter, they either have to give coins or gain coins. it is a fun game.

It is customary to eat fried foods. Most people eat potato pancakes called latkes, and they are topped with different things like sour cream or applesauce. We also eat doughnuts. The traditional doughnuts are filled with strawberry jam, but we love any kind of doughnut with any fill. My favorite is chocolate cream!

During the holiday the JCC is open to everyone in the community and we have a fitness center and aerobic classes so we don’t worry too much about eating these treats!

If there is time, how we celebrate at the JCC?

  • Early Childhood Education has an art show and Hanukkah dinner.
  • The school-age kids make crafts and cook latkes.
  • There are different Hanukkah parties for families, adults, and Seniors.
  • And lastly we have an event called “cycle for good” a spinning opportunity to raise money for a good cause. This year we raised money for the Hurricane Harvey relief fund.  We link this event to Hanukkah because of the spinning – like a dreidel – and the Jewish value to help others.
  • Organization: Schenectady Jewish Community Center
  • Mission: Schenectady JCC is a thriving non-profit community center that welcomes the diverse populations of Schenectady, Albany and Saratoga Counties. Since 1921 the JCC’s role has changed and expanded to reflect the times. Our staff is committed to providing members and guests with high quality programs and customer service. Included in a membership is the use of the fitness center, more than 60 group and water fitness classes each week, lap and family swims, open gym use, adult swim lessons, family art and gym activities, a relaxation center complete with whirlpool, sauna and steam room, and discounts on fitness, social, and enrichment classes and programs.
  • Dates: Tues Dec 12 – Tues Dec 19
  • Information: 518-377-8803
  • Website:

~~~ Segment FOUR ~~~

Memories of Mexican Traditions

Mary Lou Samaha

            Mary Lou tells us of her memories in Southern Texas with her family making tamales on Christmas Day.


~~~ Segment FIVE ~~~

Italian Traditions

Angelo Santabarbara

          Learn about the Celebration of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Even in Italian Homes.



Upcoming Shows

January 9. 2018  #1015

(Topics listed alphabetically – subject to change)

Circle Theatre Players “One Act Play Festival” (Jan 18-21)

  •             Joan Fuess

Martin Luther King Celebration (Event Jan 14)

  •             Ang Morris, Executive Director

Proctors Historical Committee

  •             Janice Walz

Schenectady Foundation (Event Jan 16)

  •             Haley Viccaro

Schenectady Symphony Event (Event Jan 14)

  •             Robert Bour, Board President
  •             Chuck Schneider, Musical Director

Tara’s Kitchen

  •             Aneesa Waheed, Owner

January 16. 2018  #1016

 (Topics listed alphabetically – subject to change)

Biosoil Farm – Scotia Glenville

  •             Chad Currin, Owner/Operator
  •             Laura Brown

Capital Repertory Theatre’s “Paris Time” — (Event Jan 26-Feb 18)

  •             Maggie Mancinelli Cahill, Artistic Director
  •             Others TBA

Schenectady Light Opera’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” — (Event Jan 19 – 29)

  •             Trish Scott Dembling, Director
  •             Others TBA

Story Circle – Season’s Upcoming Events

  •             Kate Dudding, Storyteller

Urban Co-Works

  •             Jeff Goronkin
About the author

Schenectady Today

Now in our 17th Year of giving voice to Capital District / Tech Valley communities. To receive our weekly announcements & guest list by e-mail, send your name & e-mail address to: How to watch the Show: Live Streaming on the web when aired on Channel 16 in Schenectady County: Schenectady County — Channel 16– starting on Wed. 10 am and 6 pm and continuing throughout the week depending on time availability Now on FIOS in Sch’dy – on Channel 36 – see above for times: Amsterdam – Channel 16 – Tuesday 3 pm (one week later) Albany (City) – Channel 18 on ChannelAlbany on Sunday at 5 pm – Same week as filmed Albany County, Clifton Park, Saratoga, Rensselaer, Troy — Time Warner Cable – Regional Public Access –– Tuesday 3 pm (one week later) Bethlehem/Delmar – Channel 18 – Wednesday 2:30 pm. (One week later) We can also be found on Facebook: Schenectady Today – In & Around the Capital Region. Please join our page. You can also watch many show segments, read about guests and browse / search our archives, here on the site. Show Content: The show usually includes six segments with a variety of guests interviewed each week. Regular guests include Representatives from the Animal Protective Foundation; faculty from the various area institutions of higher learning discussing health and community issues; Representatives from City, County and State agencies; actors and directors from the theREP, Proctors Theatre, Circle Theatre Players at Sand Lake Center for the Arts, Schenectady Civic Players, Schenectady Light Opera, Albany Civic Players, Classic Theater Guild, and many other area theatrical groups; Tax Specialists from the Internal Revenue Service (during tax season); Representatives from Schenectady County Library; area museums including miSci & ESAM and many area non-profit organizations. We also try to highlight local artists and musicians whenever possible.