Metro Briefs April 16

Metro Briefs April 16

Two hundred sixth- through 12th-grade area teens, along with 15,000 Jewish teens in 80 communities across 16 countries, will participate in a day of community service and improvement projects, as they take part in J-Serve: International Day of Jewish Youth Service on Sunday, April 19.

This is the 10th year that Jewish youth from around the world will turn out in force for J-Serve in an effort to encourage community building and connections across religious and societal lines. Since its beginning in 2005 and through 2014, J-Serve’s growth has continued: a 135 percent increase in community participation, a 234 percent increase in teen engagement and a 700 percent increase in countries involved. This is Pittsburgh’s ninth year as a participating city.

The partners that are helping to making J-Serve a success in Pittsburgh and that will host sites where the volunteers will perform community service include: the Jewish Community Center, BBYO, the Agency for Jewish Learning, the Volunteer Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Temple Ohav Shalom, Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, Youth Service America, Temple Sinai, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Adat Shalom, Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation, Diller Teen Fellows, Rodef Shalom Congregation, J-Serve, NCSY, Temple Emanuel of South Hills, Congregation B’nai Abraham, Young Judaea and Congregation Beth Shalom.

Volunteers will be working in a variety of projects from gardening to packaging medical supply kits to spending time with the elderly.

J-Serve 2015 is the Jewish service component of Youth Service America’s annual Global Youth Service Day and is a collaboration of BBYO, Rock the Vote, Youth Service America and Repair the World. J-Serve is underwritten by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and is supported by partner agencies Foundation for Jewish Camp, JCCA, Jewish Federations, Jewish Student Unions, Jewish Teen Funders Network, NCSY, NFTY, Rock the Vote, USY and Young Judea.

Those interested in participating in a J-Serve project can find additional information and register at or by calling BBYO Keystone Mountain Region at 412-446-4781.

This year’s Omer Institute Speakers Series will begin on Monday, April 20 at 7 p.m. with Dan Leger on “Making Sense of Hesed.”

Leger is a registered nurse and certified chaplain.  He is a longtime member of Congregation Dor Hadash, manages a drop-in wellness clinic for seniors through the Duquesne University School of Nursing and is experienced in hospice nursing and spiritual care at end-of-life.

Congregation Dor Hadash will host the talk at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha building, 5898 Wilkins Ave.    

Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg, professor of Middle East history at Carnegie Mellon University, will present “Middle East Map Mania” on Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m. at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha.

Eisenberg will explain today’s headlines and the historical background of the unprecedented conflicts presently dominating the Middle East.

All sessions include refreshments. There is no cost, and all lectures are open to the public. Contact Alex Speck at 412-521-6788 or for more information.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service and Jewish Residential Services will hold a presentation on affordable housing options for individuals with disabilities and/or special needs as part of the educational series “AIM: Support for Families of Individuals with Special Needs” on Monday, April 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Rodef Shalom, located at 4905 Fifth Ave.

Chuck Keenan, housing coordinator for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, will elaborate on affordable housing options, including Section 8, subsidized housing, low-income housing tax credits and homeless resources for people experiencing a housing crisis. At DHS, Keenan is responsible for coordinating all aspects of Allegheny County’s housing initiatives within the agency, including the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, the Mental Health Plan and the Jail Re-integration Plan as well as working with organizations outside of DHS in order to fully utilize affordable housing resources for DHS consumers. Keenan has more than 15 years of experience working in the affordable housing and disability fields.

The presentation is free and open to the community and includes a light kosher meal at 6 p.m. Registration is required; call 412-325-0039 to register.  

Visit or for more information.

Family Hospice & Palliative Care invites the community to an evening with Roz Chast on Thursday, April 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation.

Chast is The New Yorker cartoonist and author of “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” and will discuss her experiences with her aging parents.

There is a charge; proceeds benefit Family Hospice patients and families.

Visit or call 412-572-8812 for more information.

The Zionist Organization of America-­Pittsburgh District will hold the Charlene “Kandy” Reidbord Ehrenwerth Memorial Lecture and ZOA elections on Monday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at New Light Congregation. Scholar-in-residence Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg will speak about  “The Changing Shape of the Middle East.”

The Ehrenwerth and Reidbord families are sponsoring the lecture. Reidbord Ehrenwerth, a Zionist and ZOA member, was a Pittsburgh trial lawyer who was killed in an automobile accident in 1992.

Eisenberg has been a professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University since 1992 and is a historian of the modern Middle East.  Her areas of research and publication include the Arab-Israeli conflict and the peace process.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and may be made at or by calling Stuart Pavilack, ZOA executive director, at 412-665-4630.