Van Cortlandt Park Alliance — the civic group formed from the merger of the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy and the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park — has found its first executive director.
Stephanie Ehrlich, who most recently worked as the development director for the Queens Botanical Garden, takes over as park administrator.
Ehrlich’s resume includes a number of open spaces throughout the city, including Wave Hill, Central Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Her work in Queens allowed her to specialize in fundraising, programming and brand awareness.
Since public schools closed last month, kids — whether they attend the schools or not — have been able to pick up three meals a day from many campuses throughout the city.
One thing that was missing, however? Kosher and halal options for Jewish and Muslim students.
That changed last week as both kosher and halal options were added to meal distributions, earning praise from Teach NYS, an education advocacy group led by the Orthodox Union.
“Pandemics don’t discriminate between religious and secular students,” said Maury Litwack, executive director of Teach NYS and its national organization, Teach Coalition, in a release. “Every child has the right to three healthy meals per day in order to thrive.”
Teach NYS worked with the UJA-Federation of New York and The Jewish Education Project to push for the food options.
Soon after the meals began last month, the city’s education department added a halal option for adults, but it wasn’t until early April that kosher meals were added as well, according to Teach NYS.
Teach Coalition has worked to provide more kosher options outside of New York as well, including daily lunches distributed to students in Florida. The group also has pushed Pennsylvania to continue offering speech and counseling courses.