Chelsea Community Takes the Fight to Forbes

Chelsea Community Takes the Fight to Forbes

The Chelsea Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting on Sep.11 saw a focused gathering of concerned Chelsea residents fighting against YIHE Forbes, LLC and their new construction proposal, among other Chelsea zoning appeals.

Hosted at the Senior Center across from City Hall, the proposal attracted a larger audience as the ZBA meeting slowly proceeded from appeal to appeal, but more attendants poured in as Forbes’ lawyer Paul Feldman began speaking.

The planned project would be located across the train tracks opposite of Crescent Avenue on Forbes Street, providing only one entrance and exit and limited space for development.

“A $25 million investment doesn’t work on this size of space,” said Feldman in reference to previous 2015 plans that called for a much larger project with skyscrapers and hundreds of housing units.

Returning with a new plan from a similar proposal in 2015, YIHE presented their renewed project for an estimated 18 acre total reconstruction of Forbes Street in Chelsea to provide 630 residential units across roughly 700,000 sq. ft. with a 3-acre reconstructed public waterfront pathway for public use. There are a planned 80 studios, 330 one-bedroom, and 220 two-bedroom apartments to be available.

Feldman estimated that there would be approximately a $1.7 million tax revenue return for Chelsea.

“There are going to be $3 million in building and department fees estimated,” Feldman added.

Those opposed to the developing project also raised concerned criticism at the lack of transparency with the official costs and how exactly the tax revenue will be invested back into local community needs, with residents pointing out a lack of outreach to local schools.

The new plan cuts the 2015 sizing plan to less than half its original size (approx. 1.5 million sq. ft.). However, Chelsea residents continue to express their discontent with the project.

RoseannBongiovanni quickly fired back after Feldman, chief project engineer Richard Salvo, and traffic engineer Jeffrey Dirk completed their respective informational presentations concerning development.

“I’m offended by so much of what you’ve said here tonight,” Bongiovanni began, adding “I can’t go [to the new development] because I have two children. Because you are not family friendly.”

Bongiovanni is not the only concerned Chelsea resident; Crescent Avenue homeowners are worried about future traffic being even more congested, while others see a combination of other problems unfolding.

Among the major issues that locals raised included: an additional estimated 170 cars added to local transit, insufficient emergency egress, lack of community consulting, transparency of project plans, an 80 percent calculated median average income based cost for the proposed studios and apartments, parking, lack of community investment, a very low-height seawall (11 ft.), and the size of the infrastructure.

“Every time the community has raised a concern, it’s fallen on deaf ears,” Bongiovanni stated.

Many residents said they don’t believe a vast majority of the community could even afford to live in the new development, leading to even less of a desire to accept the proposal.

After more than two hours of presentations with strong appeals from both sides, the meeting concluded.

The project will be revisited and decided upon at the Oct. 9 ZBA meeting.


In other matters, a total of nine projects were presented, with three approved by the board and five others continued to either the Planning Board meeting on Sep. 25 or the next Zoning Board meeting on Oct. 9.

A noteworthy case was 34 Beacon St. and Carol Brown’s plans to create an extended closet in very limited space between her property and neighboring 32 Beacon St.

Brown appealed that she retained the right to remodel her property and create the extension, while two neighbors retained that due to flooding problems and snow accumulation on the planned closet, it shouldn’t be allowed.

“We have bent over backwards for these neighbors,” stated Brown.

There seemed to be a neighborhood blame game being thrown back and forth between the three homeowners. Despite Brown’s two neighbors declining to going on record, the tension between the three was palpable.

The project was approved with conditions, especially concerning sitting and freezing water on Brown’s property.


Of interest, the previous ZBA meeting on Aug.14 had seen TapanChowdhury introduce a project for a Buddhist Temple on 165 Garfield Ave., but the appeal for that project has since been withdrawn.

  • The remaining appeals that were approved had conditions set upon them, while the remainder of the appeals were moved to subsequent meetings due to needed revisions for the project.

The ZBA will be meeting again on October 9 at 6 p.m. in the Senior Center.

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Temple Emmanuel, a Renaissance in Chelsea

Temple Emmanuel, a Renaissance in Chelsea

Chelsea was a thriving center of Jewish life during the last century.  Located just four miles northeast of downtown Boston, Chelsea had the densest concentration of Jews outside of New York City.  The Jewish immigrants to Chelsea established about two dozen orthodox synagogues and one conservative temple.  Temple Emmanuel was formed in the 1930s and continues with a dedicated congregation from the local area and across the US.

As a commitment to Temple Emmanuel and Chelsea, the members raised almost $100,000 and just completed an extensive renovation.  The sanctuary was built in the 1840s as a Methodist-Episcopal church with high ceilings and excellent sight lines to the ark.  In the 1950s the sanctuary, which seated almost 500, was often full for the high holidays.  We still attract crowds to our major functions.  A few years ago we mounted a Jews of Chelsea Exhibition that attracted more than 500 visitors.

The re-invigoration of Temple Emmanuel reflects a loyal membership and a dynamic tireless president, Sara Lee Saievetz Callahan.  Sara Lee learned effective leadership from her mother and grandmother, who were very active in the community including the Chelsea Soldiers Home and the Assumption Church.  Rabbi Oksana Chapman has been very creative in preserving some religious aspects of conservative traditions while adapting to embrace a diverse community.  For example, services now include a chorus and musicians; interfaith and same-sex weddings and congregants are celebrated.  The temple renovations include a large social hall and an updated kitchen, which can accommodate up to 135 for both religious and secular functions.

Chelsea is in the midst of a renaissance and is growing with the construction of government, commercial, and residential buildings plus a new transportation hub.  Temple Emmanuel welcomes new residents, those with roots in Chelsea, and anyone seeking a welcoming and warm environment (haimish in Yiddish).  We invite visitors and prospective members at any service or function.

Temple Emmanuel is throwing a party and invites you to celebrate our recent renovations and continued commitment to the renaissance of Chelsea.

Saturday evening

June 16, 2018

7-11 PM

Temple Emanuel

60 Tudor Street in Chelsea

Enjoy our food stations!

Dance and enjoy our entertainment!

View our exhibit: a century of Chelsea cultural life!

Just $100 per person, which includes two tickets for beer and wine. Call 617-889-1736 for more information.

Come see the preservation of Chelsea history.  The Temple Emmanuel building dates from the 1840s as a Methodist-Episcopal church with high ceilings, excellent sight lines, and solid elegant woodwork.

As a commitment to Temple Emmanuel and Chelsea, we raised almost $100,000 and are completing an extensive renovation.  We continue as enthusiastic supporters of our community by investing in the renewal of Chelsea.  Come see our progress and celebrate with us!

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Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony Set for Sunday in Chelsea Square

Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony Set for Sunday in Chelsea Square

By Cary Shuman

The Tobin Bridge Chabad of Everett, Temple Emmanuel and the Walnut Street Synagogue will host a Hanukkah menorah lighting ceremony Sunday in Chelsea Square.

Hanukkah, also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, began Tuesday night and continues for eight days.

Rabbi Yisroel “Sruli” Baron said the City of Chelsea was very welcoming to holding the event in the city.

“We reached out to City Manager Tom Ambrosino and he was very helpful and encouraging in setting up this ceremony,” said Rabbi Baron, who is the spiritual leader of the new Tobin Bridge Chabad that is housed in the former Congregration Tifereth Israel on Malden Street in Everett, just over the Chelsea border. Tobin Bridge Chabad is an affiliate of Chabad of the North Shore.

Ambrosino will deliver the city greetings at the event that was an initiative of Tobin Bridge Chabad. The city manager and former Revere mayor will also have the honor of lighting the shamash candle, which is the ninth branch of the menorah.

Rabbi Oksana Chapman of Temple Emmanuel and Rabbi Lila Kagedan of Congegration Agudas Shalom (Walnut Street) will join Rabbi Baron in leading the ceremony. The two local congregations are co-hosting the holiday gathering.

City Council President Leo Robinson will lead a delegation of Chelsea officials expected to be in attendance.

Rabbi Baron invites Chelsea residents to attend the candle lighting ceremony that will begin at 5:30 p.m.

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Painting a Picture of Generosity:Temple Emmanuel Honors Barry and Darleen Kirshon for Their Philanthropy

Painting a Picture of Generosity:Temple Emmanuel Honors Barry and Darleen Kirshon for Their Philanthropy

By Cary Shuman

Temple Emmanuel honored Barry Kirshon and his wife, Darleen Kirshon, in a surprise ceremony Sunday morning at the historic house of worship on Cary Avenue.

The Kirshons thought they were there to present flowers to Rabbi Oksana Chapman on a day celebrating the near-completion of an extensive renovation project at the synagogue.

But Barry and Darleen were the true honorees as the congregation bestowed flowers and gifts upon the Kirshons, including the high honor of having a permanent, inscribed plaque placed on the bimah.

During his remarks for the rabbi, Barry noted that as a young boy he attended Hebrew School at Temple Emmanuel under the tutelage of Mr. Maurice Pearlman and took his bar mitzvah lessons there.

“It was a terrific time of my life back in the 1960s and I remember it well,” said Kirshon, owner of Kirshon Paint on Park Street. “It’s just an amazing thing that this temple has been able to survive and so many haven’t. It’s due to people like Sara Lee Callahan and Richard Clayman and others that have led this temple for many years. I’m just honored to be here. We’ve gone through a lot of work to get this place revitalized and there’s a lot work to do still but we’re getting there. It will be a wonderful place to be and enjoy and pray.”

That’s when Rabbi Chapman and Temple President Callahan turned the spotlight on the Kirshons for their continuing generosity and many acts of kindness.

“This temple has many angels who care deeply about the community and are sent to us by God to create and recreate this beautiful space that brings joy to all who enter,” said Chapman. “The two specific angels that we are celebrating today are our own Darleen and baary Kirshon. Your dreams with your hard work became a reality for all of us to celebrate and enjoy.”

State Rep. Dan Ryan presented a congratulatory citation from the Mass. House of Representatives to the Kirshons in recognition of their contributions to Temple Emmanuel.

“We offer our sincerest congratulations to Barry and Darleen Kirshon for their selfless generosity toward the renovation of Temple Emmanuel,” said Ryan. “Your hard work and unwavering dedication is a credit to both Temple Emmanuel and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

Callahan then presented a proclamation from City Manager Tom Ambrosino and the City of Chelsea recognizing the Kirshons for  “their volunteer work and extraordinary generosity that has helped Temple Emmanuel continue to thrive as a welcoming place for worship, reflection, and refuge.”

The next tribute to Barry and Darleen Kirshon came in the form of a special plaque inscribed with their names that will forever shine on the wall behind the pulpit. The guests responded with warm applause for Barry and Darleen, a final nod of appreciation to a couple that has meant so much to Temple Emmanuel and the community of Chelsea.

“Thank you very much, Barry and Darleen,” said Callahan before the congregation moved in to the function room for a collation.

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A Brush with History:Kirshon Paint Celebrates 70th Anniversary

By Cary Shuman

Barry Kirshon, owner of Kirshon Paint, is pictured inside his well-known store. Kirshon Paint is celebrating its 70th anniversary at 124 Pearl St. in Chelsea.

Barry Kirshon, owner of Kirshon Paint, is pictured inside his well-known store. Kirshon Paint is celebrating its 70th anniversary at 124 Pearl St. in Chelsea.

The name Kirshon has been a staple in the Chelsea business community for 70 years.

The Kirshon brothers, Abraham, Martin, and Russell started Kirshon Paint in 1946 at the same location where it stands today, 124 Pearl St.

Barry Kirshon, son of the late Abraham and Ruth Kirshon, has carried on the store’s tradition of excellence in the role of owner since 1988.

He understands well the family’s legacy and the outstanding role models that his father and uncles were in terms of running a business professionally and with the highest ethical standards.

“My father and his brothers ran the business and had great employees,” said Barry. “They built up a great clientele. They took care of their employees very well and had kept them on board for many years. They built up the business and I took over in 1988.”

Barry remembers being at the store after school and on Saturdays when he was 10 years old. “I came here and worked and helped my family in the business.”

Barry was well known in Chelsea as a student at the Shurtleff School and Chelsea High School before graduating from Huntington Prep. He received his college degree from Northeastern University, where he studied Business Administration, Business Management, and Marketing.

Those courses would seem a perfect foundation for running a business and they were. He started working at Kirshon Paint in 1979. His brother, Howard, worked alongside him, but he left the business to enter the field of electronics.

Now in his 28th year as the owner, Barry said the key ingredients to Kirshon Paint’s success are, “treating people fairly, treating the employees fairly having loyal, trustworthy employees, being good to the community and giving back to the community.”

There is no question that Barry has given back to Chelsea. His family has sponsored Chelsea Little League teams, donated to many local organizations, and supported events with his attendance and volunteerism.

Barry was a past president of the Chelsea Rotary Club and remains a 20-year member and Paul Harris Fellow. He has been a member of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce for decades. The City of Chelsea honored Barry with an All-City Award as Businessman of the Year.

Barry is a beloved member of Temple Emmanuel where he is known for his generosity and kindness. For years, he has been an outstanding candlepin bowler and has played softball for the Rotary team.

The painting business has changed in the 70 years Kirshon has been in the city. Large national chains have brought competition but Kirshon Paint has maintained his loyal customer base.

“We are able to compete because we have better products, better service – having Benjamin Moore is a big plus because of the higher quality and lasting that Benjamin Moore provides,” said Barry. “We carry only quality products at reasonable prices and provide excellent service to our customers. Homeowners and property owners would rather deal with us because they have more confidence that we’re going to direct them with the right advice on how to use the products.”

Kirshon has become the place to go for Hollywood producers filming movies in the Boston area.

“Movie production companies buy their paint and supplies at our store,” said Kirshon. “We’ve done many of the movies that are filmed here, including Ted 1, Ted 2, the Equalizer and Ghostbusters. Our paint is being seen by millions of movie goers on the big screen.”

Has Barry met any of the movie stars?

“The only star that I’ve met is Kevin Spacey,” he replied.

  1. Bruce Mauch of Chelsea Clock and a past president of the Rotary Club, said Kirshon Paint’s sterling reputation is well deserved.

“Kirshon Paint is a great place to do business,” said Mauch. “They’re friendly, personable, and they have everything you need at a price that’s reasonable. He’s a great Rotary member and a pretty good golfer.”

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson is another fan of Kirshon Paint.

“I’ve known Barry for many years and he has run a business that is second to none,” said Robinson. “I’d like to wish him continued success.”

Barry lauds his staff of outstanding employees, Ryan Mazin, Eddie Hernandez, Audy Hernandez, and David Padgett-Pino for their dedication and commitment to every customer.

In addition to the business’s anniversary, Barry has another very important celebration this year. He and his fiancée, Darlene Nelson, will soon be married.

“Darlene is the love of my life and very special and very supportive of my business,” said Barry, who has two married daughters, Melanie and Kimberly.

Barry, who turns 60 this week, said retirement may be beckoning but not yet. “I’m looking toward the light at the end of the tunnel – not immediately but in the near future.”

Park Square and Pearl Street in Chelsea just wouldn’t be the same without a Kirshon overseeing operations at Kirshon Paint.

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Obituaries 08-13-2015

Kazimiera Kociszewski

Devout Catholic, lifelong vegetarian

and animal lover

Kazimiera Kociszewski of Chelsea passed away on August 5 in the peaceful surroundings of her daughter’s home with her caring family at her side. She was 85 years old.

Born in Tulislow, Poland, she was loving daughter of the late Andrew and Czeslawa (Jesiolkiewicz) Siepka. When she was six years old, her parents settled in northern France. She gained her formal education attending schools there.

She married her beloved Leon Kociszewski and in 1957 she and her family immigrated to the United States settling in Chelsea where she remained for the better half of her lifetime. A deeply religious and devout Catholic, she was a longtime parishioner of St. Stanislaus Church in Chelsea. She dedicated her life to a simple home life style, caring for her family. She enjoyed time preparing and hosting family dinners. She had a great love for animals and was very fond of her pet corgi “Abby”. She was an avid reader of all subjects. Having grown up on a farm and with her strong love for animals, Kazimiera has been a lifelong vegetarian.

In addition to her parents, Kazimiera was also preceded in death by her husband Leon Kociszewski and her sister Marianna Bialas. She was the devoted mother of Irene Zaroda and her husband, Adam of Revere and Christine Kociszewski of Merrimack, NH and the cherished grandmother of Andrew Zaroda, Anthony Zaroda, Annette Zaroda and her fiancé, Daniel Morales.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea. Interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett.

Leo Demko

40-year Owner of Northeast Floor Covering of Chelsea; member of

Temple Emmanuel Brotherhood

Leo J. Demko of Chelsea died on Thursday, August 6.

The beloved husband of Marlene (Karacek) Demko, he was born in Chelsea, the son of the late Joseph and Annette (Pagliuso) Demko. Leo was owner operator of the Northeast Floor covering in Chelsea for over 40 years.

A member of the Temple Emmanuel Brotherhood of Chelsea, he loved to cook and entertain his family and friends. He was a family man, a dog lover and great “Buddy” to many.

In addition to his wife of 48 years, Leo is survived by his daughters: Lisa Cohen and Lauren Demko, his grandchildren Benjamin and Kate Cohen, his brother, Robert Demko and uncle to many. He was also the brother of the late Joseph Demko.

His Funeral service was held on Sunday, August 9 at Temple Emnuel of Chelsea. Interment was in Greenview Cemetery, Everett. Contributions in his memory may be made to Temple Emmanuel of Chelsea, 60 Tudor St., Chelsea, MA 02150 or The National Parkinson Foundation 200 SE 1st Street Suite 800 Miami, FL 33131. For guest book, please visit the funeral home web site

Robert Martinello

Retired Chelsea Firefighter

Robert J. Martinello, retired Chelsea Fire Fighter and Vietnam Veteran, passed away at his Chelsea home on August after a long illness. He was 61 years old.

Born and raised in Chelsea he was the loving son of Armando and Grace M. (Griffin) Martinello of Chelsea. Robert attended Chelsea schools and graduated from Chelsea High School, Class of 1971. While attending high school, he excelled in sports and was a talented athlete in football, track and field sports. After graduating he enlisted in the US Air Force and served during the Vietnam Era. He was honorably discharged at the rank of Airman and returned to Chelsea. He married Andrea Porazzo, together they settled in Medford raising their family there.

In 1982 Robert was appointed as a fire fighter with the Chelsea Fire Department. He returned to school and received an Associate’s Degree in fire science. He was injured and disabled while on the job and was required to retire. He was a former member of CFD Local 937. He moved back to Chelsea in ’96 and has resided in Chelsea since that time. He was an all-around Boston Sports Fan and an avid history buff, He enjoyed golfing and music, but mostly enjoyed spending time with his children and granddaughter.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his former wife Andrea (Porrazzo) Martinello of Medford. He was the devoted father of Jamie DiClemente and her husband, Michael of Reading, Robert A. Martinello of Cambridge, Ryan J. Martinello of Medford and his fiancé, Courtney Hughes. He was the cherished grandfather of Giulia DiClemente; loving brother of Stephen Martinello and his wife, Patricia of Peabody, Thomas Martinello and his wife, Linda of Saugus, Michael Martinello of West Yarmouth, Frank Martinello and his fiancée, Christine of Winchester and the late Frederick, Maureen and Theresa Martinello.
His Funeral will be held from St. Michael the Archangel Chapel (Cardinal Cushing Pavilion) at the Chelsea Soldiers Home, 91 Crest Ave. Chelsea today, Thursday, August 13 at 10 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in the Chapel at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend.

Hector Enrique Romero

Loved movies and socializing with friends

Hector Enrique Romero of East Boston, formerly of Honduras, passed away after a sudden illness at the Boston Medical Center in Boston on August 11. He was 61 years old.

Born and raised in LaLima Cortez, Honduras, the beloved son of Ofelia E. Molina of Chelsea and Hector A. Romero in Honduras, he received his early education in Honduras and was a business major attending college in Honduras. He was a self-employed grocer in Honduras and came to the United States in the 1990’s settling in the Miami area where he established himself as an independent canteen truck operator. He settled in the Boston area 10 years ago and continued working as a laborer in the residential construction field.He was a resident of East Boston for the past 10 years. He enjoyed watching movies at local cinemas and socializing with friends.

He is survived by four sons and one daughter in Honduras. He was the dear friend and companion of the past 22 years to Sylvia Guillen of East Boston and he was the dear brother of Juan Vale, Aldina Romero, Ivonne Romero and Delcy Sunsin, all of Chelsea. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend visiting hours at the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea on Saturday, August 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. A Catholic Prayer service will be conducted at 5:30 p.m. Funeral Home fully handicap accessible, ample parking opposite Funeral Home. For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit

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Schedules for High Holidays at Temple Are Listed

Schedules for High Holidays at Temple Are Listed

Rabbi and Cantor Oksana Chapman and the congregation at Temple Emmanuel Chelsea warmly welcome everyone, especially Chelsea’s newest residents, to join them for the upcoming High Holidays season. Temple Emmanuel is a fully active and majestic synagogue located in Cary Square which opened in 1929 and follows the Jewish tradition in a modern and flexible manner, with new books and much active congregant participation.

This Saturday, September 20th at 7:00 PM, all are welcomed to a Selichot Service entitled “Cosmos and Knishes Open House” with mouth watering Knishes and more (All homemade by Temple women). Other unique and special High Holiday events include Tashlich on the Waterfront at Admiral Hill following Rosh Hashanah Services on Thursday, September 24th, “Kol Nidre in Voice and Cello” on Friday October 3rd, and “Sukkot Under the Stars” on Wednesday, October 8th. A complete schedule may be found below:


Erev Rosh Hashanah Service – Wednesday Evening, September 23rd, 6:30 PM

Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Service – Thursday, September 24th, 9:30 AM.

(Followed by Tashlikh on the Waterfront at Admiral Hill)

Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Service – Friday, September 25th, 9:30 AM.


Kol Nidre VOICE & CELLO Service – Friday October 3rd, 6:30 PM

Yom Kippur Service – Saturday October 4th, 9:30 AM

BREAK-THE-FAST SUPPER Celebration – Saturday Night, October 4th, following Neelah Service at sundown


“Sukkot Under the Stars” – Wednesday, October 8th at 7:00 PM

For more information:


60 Tudor Street – Chelsea, MA 617 889-1736


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Collaborative Effort in Cary Square Will Restore Green Space, Enlarge Garden for Somalis

Collaborative Effort in Cary Square Will Restore Green Space, Enlarge Garden for Somalis

Some 15 years ago, Brandon Menjares and Frank Souza spent most days in the wide-open field off of Temple Emanuel in Cary Square.

It was one of the few open green spaces in the neighborhood where they could play baseball, throw the football around or play capture.

It was a getaway, both said last week.

“That bush right there, that’s the place where I first got the wind knocked out of me big time when I got tackled playing football here,” said Menjares. “We played here every day, all the time. Everybody came here almost every day.”

Both, however, said they were surprised to come back a little over a week ago and found the lot unused and severely overgrown with weeds.

It didn’t stay that way very long.

That’s because both young men, now 20 and 22, had come back with about 20 other AmeriCorps YouthBuild members – under the blessing of the Temple – to turn the lot back into a neighborhood gem, including a passive park, more neighborhood garden space for Somalian refugees and a manicured open field.

“I grew up on Bloomingdale Street and this was such an important place for us to play, but when I came back the other day it was overgrown and no one was using it anymore,” Menjares said. “This is good for us to come back because we can bring it back and then maybe that will bring back the young people – give them a place like we had, but even better. Even though there are a lot of parks now, there are no wide open spaces like this.”

Added Souza, “This place was totally overgrown and we’re going to transform it into something you can use again. I grew up across the street from here. It was the only wide-open green space we had. If a lot of the guys weren’t here all the time playing sports, they would have probably gotten into drugs or worse.”

Members of YouthBuild – a division of Just-A-Start – are almost 80 percent Chelsea residents, said coordinators Sal Mancini and Robbie Sanders, and are in a program that allows them to get their high school diploma and earn money to use for high education. The non-profit has been striving to get more involved in Chelsea over the last couple of years, and seems to have struck gold in coming together with the Chelsea Collaborative on community service projects.

Roseann Bongiovanni of the Chelsea Collaborative said the project grew out of an outreach effort from the Temple, specifically Ellen Rovner and Marlene Demko.

“I am a member of the Temple and I just saw how underutilized this lot beside the Temple was and thought it should be used for something,” she said. “So, about five or six years ago I asked Roseann if we could put a community garden here. She wasn’t sure if it would fly and if it would be able to be maintained. However, she did tell us that the Somali Bantu refugees in Chelsea needed a place to meet and to garden.”

Said Bongiovanni, “The Bantu refugees needed a place to meet for Madrasa (an educational meeting in the Islamic faith) and because the Temple was unfortunately underutilized, we thought they could meet there. In the end, the decision was to have them start with a community garden and go from there.”

So, some two years ago, three garden plots were carved out of the open lot and began to be used for the Bantu garden project.

That was a modest success, but this summer that project and the entire open lot renovation really took off with the addition of Youth Build.

Now, the Bantu refugees will have three additional beds to plant in, which organizers said it a tremendous help.

“It’s very important for these refugees to be able to grow their own food because they’ve always been farmers and they have a problem here getting access to fresh foods,” said Aweis Hussein, a community organizer with the Collaborative. “Many of them depend upon food stamps and it’s not enough to support a family. To have them be able to grow their own food, that’s been great for them. They already knew how to farm, they just needed a place. Now, they will have double the space.”

Rovner said the Temple sees the project in its side yard as one group of older immigrants reaching out to those who are newer immigrants.

“This Temple is an older immigrant community and has been here 80 or 90 years,” she said. “It’s isolated in a way because most of the people around are newer immigrants. Those in the Temple are the children of immigrants who came here years ago. We felt that maybe we can bring them together. There’s a Hebrew saying of ‘Tikkum Olam,’ which means to repair the world. One way to do that is to build bridges, and we believe we’re doing that here this week.”


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Harry Kanter Was a Loving Family Man and an Avid Boston Celtics Fan

Harry Kanter Was a Loving Family Man and an Avid Boston Celtics Fan

C1Harry Kanter holds a special place in Chelsea High School sports annals. He was a starting forward for the 1938 state champion CHS basketball team, one of the few teams in Chelsea to ever win a state title.

Harry Kanter, who passed away on Sept. 15 at the age of 94, never strayed from his affinity toward basketball. He carried that passion with him through the golden eras of the Bill Russell-led Celtics and the Larry Bird-led Celtics. His love of the Celtics never wavered even during some of the less glorious years for the historic franchise.

“My father talked about his basketball playing all the time,” said his son, Paul Kanter. “Sports was huge in his life. Baseball and basketball were the biggest things but his big love was basketball. You could call him a No. 1 Celtics fan. My father took my brother Alan and me to just about every Celtics game and there was a Chelsea section at the Garden in those days.”

The Kanter boys, Alan and Paul, would give their father, Harry, and their mother, Laura, considerable joy and fond memories themselves in their youth and high school athletic careers. Both Alan and Paul played basketball for the Carter Junior High School and Chelsea High School teams.

“My father was always at our games and you could hear him yelling at the referees,” said Paul, who played three years of varsity basketball at Chelsea High.

Besides basketball, the other topic that Harry Kanter often spoke about with pride and patriotism was his service during World War II in the medical unit of the Third Army with the legendary U.S. Army General George Patton.

“My father was a food doctor medic,” said Paul Kanter. “His favorite story was that he was on the wrong side of the Rhine River. Everybody was supposed to be on one side and all of sudden he was on the other side and they were almost surrounded but they got out.”

Harry and Laura Kanter shared 65 years of marriage. They were inseparable as a couple. The Kanter family enjoyed family get-togethers on special occasions and holidays. The discussion would often revolve around sports.

“My father loved to talk sports,” said Paul Kanter. “He was very vocal whether he was at the Celtics games or watching them on television. When he was watching on TV, he basically thought they could hear him screaming and yelling.”

But in his home life, Harry Kanter was a very laid-back, lovable guy. He loved spending time with his beloved wife, Laura, his family, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren.

“His family was first and foremost with Number 1 being, of course, my mother,” said Paul Kanter. “They were a great couple, very, very close. They were devoted, did everything together and went everywhere together. My father was president of the Y.M.H.A. and he was very involved with Temple Emmanuel and the Jewish War Veterans. And my mother was by his side, supportive all the way as he was to her as well.”

Harry Kanter worked in various sales and management jobs and then had the opportunity to work at Syratech, where his two sons held positions.

“My father used to bring us lunch every day,” said Paul. “He just loved spending time with us, so we got to see him all the time.”

Alan and Paul Kanter learned lifelong lessons from their father, carrying those teachings about honesty, integrity, and kindness into their highly successful careers in business.

“He taught us to always work hard and be dedicated,” said Paul. “We both started working at Leonard Silver [owned by Leonard Florence]. My brother started two years before I did.”

Paul is currently the senior vice president of sales at Lifetime Brand while Alan owns a business, ABCs of Home Décor. They are not only success stories but role models to their children.

“We were as close as sons and a father could be,” said Paul Kanter. “My father had a wonderful life, 94 great years, a gentleman to the end. He was very kind. He always put others first before himself. I celebrate his life knowing that he had a lot of good years and that he was well-loved and loved everybody to the end.”

Grandsons Jason Kanter, a graduate of Connecticut College who holds a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago, Josh Kanter, a senior at Franklin and Marshall, and Jonathan Kanter delivered, beautiful, touching eulogies at a funeral service at Temple Emmanuel.

Granddaughters Stacy Kanter Stevens, Jillian Kanter, and Alyssa Kanter, read poems in honor of their grandfather.

Laura Kanter said it’s been a difficult time, adjusting to life without her amazing husband who brought love and joy into so many people’s lives.

“I have great memories,” said Laura Kanter. “That’s what has been keeping me going.”


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