Metro Briefs April 28

Metro Briefs April 28

The annual AIPAC Pittsburgh event will be held on Monday, May 2 at Hotel Monaco, 620 William Penn Place. Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, will address “Foreign Policy in Focus.”

A panel discussion, “United We Stand,” will feature diverse voices within the pro-Israel community. Featured panelists are Hector Flores, Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, Allison Lawrence Jones and Jason Miyares.

A private AIPAC Club cocktail event will be held at 6 p.m. for members who donate $1,800 each year. The program and dessert reception, which is open to the community, will begin at 7 p.m. The charge is $18. Dietary laws will be observed.

Reservations are required and can be made at Contact Michael Yaffe at 410-223-4190 or for more information.

The 2016 Omer Institute Speakers Series at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha will offer adult educational lectures and programs beginning on May 2 with Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg, professor of Middle East history at Carnegie Mellon University on “The Arab-Israeli Conflict in the Classroom: The Dog Ate My Peace Treaty”; May 9 Rabbi Chuck Diamond will present “The Rules of Engagement: The Future of Synagogue Life”; May 16 the Omer Institute will take a field trip to the Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology, located at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 616 N. Highland Ave.; and May 23 Ivan Frank will discuss “Change and National Identity in Cuba Today.”

All sessions are on Monday at 7 p.m. and include light refreshments.  There is no cost and all programs are open to the community.

Contact Alex Speck at 412-521-6788 or for more information.

The fifth annual Robinson International Short Film Competition gala to premiere the winning entries will be presented by JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum on Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. at SouthSide Works Cinema. The Pittsburgh premiere of six short films and announcement of filmmakers winning cash awards will highlight the evening.

The competition honors the memory of Sanford N. Robinson Sr., a member of the Pittsburgh Jewish community.

The purpose of the competition is to help further the careers of the winning filmmakers by awarding monetary prizes and offering exposure for their films. One Gold Prize at $10,000 and two Silver Prizes at $4,000 each are awarded immediately following the screenings.

The winning directors will be in attendance at the gala event but do not know which award they will receive.

The competition is open to independent filmmakers worldwide. This year’s competition brought in 98 entries from 18 countries.

The evening, hosted by the Robinson family, will feature the film and award presentations followed by a reception. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $6 for full-time students (26 and under with valid ID). Visit to purchase tickets. Contact or 412-992-5203 for more information.

The 28th Annual Westmoreland County Interfaith Memorial Service in Observance of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, will be held Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at the Trinity Evangelical Church, 331 Weldon St. in Latrobe.

The event, which remembers the lives lost during the Holocaust, is sponsored by the Seton Hill University National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, Westmoreland Jewish Community Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Greater Latrobe Ministerial Association, Greensburg Ministerium, Congregation Emanu-El Israel of Greensburg, Greensburg-Jeannette NAACP, YWCA of Westmoreland County and Christ the Divine Teacher School of Latrobe.

The featured speaker is Holocaust survivor Shulamit Bastacky of Pittsburgh. Born in 1941 in Vilna, Lithuania, Bastacky was hidden by a Catholic nun in a basement during the Holocaust. Both her parents, Simon and Dora Bastacky, also survived the Holocaust. Bastacky earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. Her story, “Beyond Memory,” is published in the book “Flares of Memory,” edited by Anita Brostoff and first published in 1998.

The service includes readings, song, prayer and candle lighting. This year’s service will feature the lighting of eight candles: six in memory of the 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust; one for the liberators; and one for 21st-century victims of genocide.

This year Pittsburgh’s Jewish community can take an extra measure of hometown pride in the annual observance of Israel’s independence. In addition to being the year of Israel’s 68th birthday, 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of The Burgh’s sister-city relationship with Karmiel-Misgav, in Israel. To mark both occasions, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Partnership2Gether (P2G) program will offer Israel Week, May 8 to May 15. Comprising dozens of activities in multiple locations in Pittsburgh and beyond, Israel Week will give Pittsburghers of all ages opportunities to learn, eat, dance and create with special guests, many from Israel.

Israel Week will comprise both Yom Hazikaron, the worldwide day of remembrance dedicated to those who gave their lives for Israel, and Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s independence day.

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh will be the site of the Yom Hazikaron observance on Tuesday, May 10 at 8 p.m., in the Robinson Building, Katz Theater. The observance will include a delegation of Israeli war veterans, whose presence is sponsored by American Friends of Israel War Disabled; the Karmei-Machol Dance Troupe, a young-adult ensemble from Karmiel-Misgav; and the Pittsburgh chapter of the HaZamir Choir.

The Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration on Thursday, May 12 will have activities scheduled at various times between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., throughout the JCC facility. The activities will include games, a bounce house, crafts and more in the gym of the Irene Kaufmann Building. A shuk (food court) will provide refreshments for purchase in the Palm Court, Kaufmann Building. (Dietary laws observed.) A petting zoo will be outside the Robinson Building.

For adults ages 22 to 45, Israel Week offers a Young Adult Shabbat on Friday, May 13 at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation. Services will begin at 6 p.m.; dinner will be served at 7 p.m. (Dietary laws observed.)

Most Israel Week activities are free; some require registration. All are open to the public. Details of the complete schedule and an online registration form are available at Information about Israel Week is also available from Eric Probola at 412-992-5247 or

The final concert in the 2015-16 Music at Rodef Shalom Congregation series will be with 21-year-old cellist  Edgar Moreau, who was first-prize winner in the 2014 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. In 2013, he was named “New Talent of the Year” at the Victoires de la Musique in France, and in 2015, he was named “Solo Instrumentalist of the Year.” He was also the recipient of the 2015 Arthur Waser Award.

The concert will be held on Monday, May 9 at 8 p.m. and is open to the public at no charge. A reception follows the performance to provide an opportunity to meet and converse with the musicians. Refreshments will be served and the Temple Gift Shop will be open.

Born in 1994 in Paris, Moreau began playing the cello at the age of 4 and the piano at 6. He studied at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris and currently works with Frans Helmerson at the Kronberg Academy.

Moreau’s accompanist, pianist Jessica Xylina Osborne, is pursuing a degree at the Indiana University School of Music.

The American Middle East Institute invites the community to a luncheon presentation of “Water, Peace, and Prosperity in the Middle East: Examples of Remarkable Collaborations,” on Tuesday, May 10 from 11:30 a.m. for registration and networking and noon to 1:30 p.m. for lunch and the presentation at the Duquesne Club, 325 Sixth Ave.

Featured speakers are Ambassador (Ret.) Ram Aviram, specialist in hydro-diplomacy at BIT Consultancy, former chief of staff to H.E. Shimon Peres and former ambassador to Greece from Israel; and Ciarán Ó Cuinn, director, Middle East Desalination Research Center in Muscat, Oman, and former policy advisor to the Irish government during the Irish Peace Process.

Bill Flanagan, chief corporate relations officer, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, is the moderator.

There is a $50 charge. Register by Tuesday, May 3 at Contact 412-995-0076 or visit for more information.

Temple Emanuel will once again offer A Taste of Judaism for anyone interested in learning about Judaism: non-Jewish spouses or partners and Jews looking to reconnect with their faith or refresh their education.

A Taste of Judaism consists of three one-hour-plus sessions. Each session is equal parts instruction and conversation, question and answer, engagement and connection. The topics will include Jewish ethics and spirituality, Jewish rituals and practices and Torah.

A Taste of Judaism will begin on Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at Panera’s meeting room in the Galleria; Pavilion #1 at Mt. Lebanon Main Park on Thursday, May 19; and at Temple Emanuel, indoors or out, depending on the weather, on Thursday, May 26 for a Lag B’Omer campfire.

RSVP with the Temple office at 412-279-7600 or

Congregation Dor Hadash will present the 2016 Shore-Whitehill Award to Dan Leger, honoring his outstanding volunteer work, on Saturday, May 14. Services begin at 10 a.m.; a celebratory luncheon will follow.

The Shore-Whitehill Award, created in 1996, is named for Robert Whitehill and the late Barbara Shore and celebrates volunteers who promote inclusion of people with disabilities in the fabric of Jewish life through advocacy or direct service to individuals and families. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Jewish Residential Services present this award annually.

Leger has a history of dedication to helping others in the Jewish and health care communities through his career in nursing and a variety of volunteer positions. He was a founding member of the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania and served on Gov. Ed Rendell’s Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Task Force on Pediatric Palliative and Hospice Care.

Leger is a clinical chaplain certified through the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy and volunteers services in spiritual care through the Jewish Association on Aging and JAA’s Sivitz Jewish Hospice and Palliative Care, UPMC Shadyside Hospital, as well as the No One Dies Alone program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The Jewish Association on Aging named him Volunteer of the Year 2015.

Leger served as congregational president of Dor Hadash and leads the weekly Shabbat morning minyan and Torah study sessions. He has taught interactive courses on Jewish ethics based on the writings of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. Leger wrote “A Brief Guide for Managing a Death in the Family” for Dor Hadash, which has been adapted for use by several local congregations.

RSVP by May 1 by contacting Dor Hadash at 412-421-5158 or The luncheon is free of charge, but reservations are necessary.

The American Jewish Committee, Pittsburgh Chapter and the Department for Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, celebrated 15 years of the Catholic/Jewish Educational Enrichment Program (C-JEEP) in conjunction with the Caplan-Lieber Luncheon to celebrate its 60th anniversary on Wednesday, April 20 at Rodef Shalom Congregation.

In recognition of his role in supporting the C-JEEP program for many years, Dr. Robert Paserba received the Abraham Joshua Heschel Award. Paserba was superintendent for the Department for Catholic Schools for many years and retired in 2014 as secretary for Catholic Education and Evangelization.

Daniel Resnick, vice president of the PAJC board, presented the award to Paserba.

C-JEEP is an educational enrichment program in which rabbis and Jewish educators teach about Judaism in Catholic high schools and Catholic educators teach about their faith in Jewish schools, congregations and youth groups.

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation board of trustees approved grants totaling up to $165,000, including grants to hold a series of community conversations in support of a master plan for senior services in western Pennsylvania, and to provide ongoing training and technical assistance to organizations that will serve senior veterans, and individuals with disabilities who are eligible for the commonwealth’s new Managed Long-Term Services and Supports program.

The Foundation has approved a grant of up to $105,000 to hold a series of community planning exercises that will inform the development of a regional master plan for senior services. JHF will convene a series of three planning exercises with selected experts and champions to explore topics including increasing seniors’ mobility and recreational opportunities, supporting living options for seniors across all physical and economic demographics, leveraging technology, creating caregiver networks and redesigning the health care system to be more responsive to seniors’ needs. Each session will leverage western Pennsylvania’s current services, human resources and technological assets.

A new Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) program will launch in western Pennsylvania on Jan. 1, 2017, delivering long-term services and supports to seniors and disabled individuals through capitated Medicaid managed care programs. In other states that have implemented MLTSS, eligible populations have often benefited from a more integrated care network that increases access to home and community based services, which preserve independence while helping to prevent avoidable hospitalizations and institutionalizations that diminish quality of life and deplete budgets.

Western Pennsylvania, with its strong track record in outreach, enrollment, and network building for the health insurance marketplace, was selected as the first to implement MLTSS (called Community HealthChoices, or CHC) in Pennsylvania. CHC will serve an estimated 450,000 individuals across the commonwealth.

To further ensure that seniors, veterans and disabled individuals receive maximum benefit from the transition to MLTSS, the Foundation has approved a grant of up to $60,000 to Community Catalyst to provide on-site training sessions, on-demand technical assistance, and consulting services to MLTSS stakeholders. Community Catalyst is a consumer advocacy organization that has been funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies to guide states across the country in implementing MLTSS. JHF will look to leverage additional funds for the initiative from other philanthropic and government organizations.