Metro Briefs December 9

Metro Briefs December 9

Laura Cherner 

Photo provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
Laura Cherner Photo provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Relations Council (CRC) announced that it has hired Laura Cherner for a newly created position of assistant director.

Cherner previously worked for the Federation supporting the annual campaign’s Women’s Philanthropy, missions and development associates. Prior to joining the Federation, she worked as an intern for U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa). Her published writing includes biographies of former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff and of philanthropist Liliane Kaufmann, published in the National Council of Jewish Women’s collection, “Her Deeds Sing Her Praises.” She is a Mt. Lebanon native and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor or Arts in 2016.

Cherner’s initial responsibilities include helping the CRC on programs to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and on the Catholic-Jewish Education Enrichment Program, which seeks to promote understanding between Catholics and Jews. The program sends rabbis and Jewish educators into 12 Southwestern Pennsylvania Catholic high schools to teach about Judaism and Catholic educators into Jewish synagogue religious schools to discuss Catholicism.

Join Pittsburgh author Beth Kissileff as she discusses her new novel, “Questioning Return,” on Saturday Dec. 10 at 12:45 p.m., after the Shabbat Kiddush at Congregation Beth Shalom. The novel’s protagonist, Wendy Goldberg, spends a year in Jerusalem questioning the lives of American Jews who make aliyah, a return both to Israel itself and to traditional religious practices. The unexpected answers to the questions of are they sincere and are they happier, and Wendy’s experiences lead her to reconsider her own true Jewish identity.

Poale Zedeck Sisterhood presents its annual Chanukah Boutique and Bake Sale on Sunday, Dec. 18 from noon to 4 p.m. at 6318 Philips Ave. Contact Alisa Fox at for more information about becoming a vendor.

A pre-Chanukah children’s event will be held on Sunday, Dec. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Poale Zedeck, in the L-shaped room. The event will include dreidels, latkes, cookie decorating, arts and crafts and a chesed project. The suggested donation is $5 per family.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will hold Super Sunday on Dec. 18 at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill. Be a superhero for the Jewish world by volunteering at Super Sunday, the Federation’s mega phone-a-thon where the community comes out to make calls for donations that will help strengthen the community at home, in Israel and wherever Jews are in need. Giving is a mitzvah as is asking others to give.

Being a superhero can take many forms. In addition to the phoning, there will be a blood drive. Sign up on the Central Bloodbank website at to choose a time slot ahead of time. Use Group Code C616 when making your appointment.

There are three Super Sunday sessions throughout the day. Kosher breakfast, lunch and snacks will be served.

Contact Sally Stein at or 412-922-5243 for more information or visit

Accommodations are available to include differing abilities. Contact or call 412-992-5225 with needs.

The Western Pennsylvania Auxiliary for Exceptional People will host a Chanukah luncheon for adults on Thursday, Dec. 22 at noon at Congregation Beth Shalom.

The area’s special needs friends, families and volunteers who help them are invited to this celebrate this happy occasion and join the Chanukah menorah lighting.

Volunteers, including Art Spiegel and Rabbi Eli Seidman, organize the luncheon, one of several held yearly to celebrate Jewish holidays. Volunteers visit these adults once a month at institutions such as the Allegheny Valley School, a residential therapy program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the Verland Foundation.

Private donors and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh fund the group.

RSVPs are required for planning the luncheon. Contact Seidman at 412-418-4631 or Spiegel at 412-421-4690 for reservations or more information.

Chabad of the South Hills Mt. Lebanon invites women to join in a special Torah & Tea study group on “Feminine Dimension of Chanukah,” with guest speaker Leah Shollar on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Please bring an unwrapped gift for the Chanukah Toy Drive.

Chabad of the South Hills presents the fourth annual South Hills Lights Community Chanukah Celebration at the Galleria Mt. Lebanon, upper level, on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 6 p.m. The evening will begin with the lighting of a 12-foot menorah. A live concert by Dr. Laz “The Rockin’ Rappin’ Reggae Rabbi” will be featured.

The free event will include a hot latke bar, menorah woodcraft with Home Depot, klezmer music and raffle prizes.

Preregistration for the event is appreciated at 412-344-2424, or register at Your RSVP will give you a free entry into the Chanukah raffle.

The event is co-sponsored by South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh and the Marriott Pittsburgh City Center.

The Chanukah Festival at The Waterfront will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 28 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 149 W Bridge St. in Homestead. The festival will have food, crafts, games and a live concert with the band 8th Day, co-founded by brothers Shmuel and Bentzi Marcus. Call Bnai Emunoh Chabad at 412-980-4798 for more information.