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Riverdale Temple History

Our Ballroom Had a Starring Role

In 2012, the Riverdale Temple ballroom was transformed for three days into a set for the television show Smash, for which Steven Spielberg was an executive producer. The set was for a lavish Bar Mitzvah party. The main character (played by Katherine McPhee) was a wannabe Broadway musical singer who would do such gigs as Bar Mitzvahs. McPhee sang “Shake it Out,” and the party-goers did just that.

While Smash lasted only one season, Riverdale Temple benefited for the long term, receiving more than a few minutes of fame. In addition to being paid a tidy sum for the rental, the production’s art department had made the ballroom’s large blue painted wall hanging to fill a blank wall — and left it for the temple (photo by Victor Malafronte).

“They also left us a delicious cake that was in the form of a Torah scroll, which we served at our oneg!,” according to Rachel Radna, reminiscing with Judy Zucker, as they recalled this episode in our history. So next time you’re at the temple, take a good look at the Judaic artwork. In the meantime, use this link: to see the ballroom in action — and all decked out!

Thu, May 30 2024 22 Iyyar 5784