Coming up

Coming up

Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, a celebrated Pittsburgh psychiatrist and author, will mark his 80th birthday with a celebration at Gateway Rehab’s Hope Has a Home Gala, Thursday, Dec. 9, at the Westin Convention Center Hotel, 1000 Penn Ave. The evening coincides with the release of his latest book, “Gevurah: My Life, Our World and the Adventure of Turning 80.” The program will include photo displays of Twerski over the years, guest speakers recognizing his achievements in the treatment field and a keynote message from Twerski himself. Twerski is the founder and medical director emeritus of Gateway Rehab. He is recognized internationally as an expert on addiction treatment and has traveled the world as a spokesperson for recovery on behalf of the millions who have achieved it. In addition, Twerski has composed music and is the author of more than 60 books, including collaborations with the late Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip. WTAE-TV news anchors Sally Wiggin and Mike Clark will serve as the emcees. A reception begins at 6:30 p.m. with musical entertainment from the Rick Gallagher Trio followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m. Call (412) 604-8900 Ext. 1234, or e-mail for more information. Proceeds from the program will support Gateway Rehab programs.

Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Phyllis Berman, both leaders in the Jewish Renewal, will be the scholars in residence at Rodef Shalom Congregation from Dec. 10 to 12 for a “spiritual weekend.” The weekend is designed to broaden the horizons of the congregation and community with a national scholar. Each event will introduce a dimension of the Jewish Renewal Movement. Berman and Waskow have worked as a team for renewal of Judaism for more than 25 years, as well as having their own separate work lives. They have led Shabbatons together across the United States and in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Israel, and have taken part in numerous interfaith conferences. As Jewish Renewal leaders, they are advocates for the ethical treatment of animals, environmental consciousness, interfaith connections, immigrants’ rights and Middle East peace. Berman practices meditative chanting as a way of davening rooted in the ancient structure of the prayer service. Waskow is the founder and director of The Shalom Center, a think tank of sorts promoting Jewish, multireligious and American life for peace, justice and healing of the Earth. The Fine Family Education Series is presenting the program, which is free to the public. Call Rodef Shalom at (412) 621-6566 for times and dates.

The inaugural Children’s Tumor Foundation Arts and Crafts Fair/Marketplace will take place Sunday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Summerset at Frick Park Clubhouse in Squirrel Hill. The fair is in honor of 6-month-old Jonah Snyder who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis when he was just 6 weeks old. The event will include 10 vendors, a silent auction and bake sale. Vendors will donate a portion of proceeds – some as much 50 percent – to the Children’s Tumor Foundation. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Foundation. Neurofibromatosis is a progressive disorder that causes tumor to grow on nerves throughout the body. NF can lead to deafness, blindness, learning disabilities, bone deformities, disfigurement and cancer. NF affects one in every 3,000 children born, more than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease combined. Research at the Children’s Tumor Foundation is funding is shedding new light on cancer, brain tumors, learning disabilities and bone abnormalities that will benefit the broader community, in addition to those with NF. Contact Jaime Snyder at or visit for more information.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, will speak at a public, free-admission event titled “Israel at a Crossroads: Decision Time for Peace” at Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Congregation Monday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m. The event is moderated by Lynn Cullen, and the Community Conversation partners include The Tikkun Olam Center for Jewish Social Justice of Temple Sinai, Social Action Committee of Temple Ohav Shalom, Congregation Dor Hadash, and the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee. The conversation will include audience Q+A and cover topics such as J Street’s role in the U.S.-Israel policy debate and the current peace process. J Street, which is the self-described “political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans” to promote meaningful U.S. leadership in an effort to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli and Arab-Israeli conflicts through a two-state solution. J Street Pittsburgh seeks to broaden the debate in our local community about Israel.

Gardens Ltd., founded 55 years ago, is the only Jewish garden club still functioning in Pittsburgh. The name was selected because the number of members was not to exceed 50, as meetings were held in members’ homes. The club holds 10 luncheon meetings a year with varied programs that now take place in different locations around the city. Civic projects have included planting flowers in front of Riverview Towers, and Anathan House, the home of the National Council of Jewish Women; and providing floral arrangements for major Jewish holidays for the Israel Heritage Room in the Cathedral of Learning. Every two years the club has a flower show with original arrangements created by members at the Phipps Garden Center on Shady Avenue. This year’s final meeting for 2010 will be Tuesday, Dec. 14, at Mitchell’s Fish Market at the Waterfront.

(Angela Leibowicz can be reached at