Metro Briefs February 24

Metro Briefs February 24

Congregation Beth Shalom Adult Education will present the film “Murray Avenue” on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the ballroom.​

The film, by Sheila Chamovits, is about Squirrel Hill and portrays the makeup of the neighborhood of years ago, from people to the kosher butcher shops with sawdust on the floor. If you lived here, you will remember the Squirrel Hill scenes, and if you are not from Pittsburgh or if you are too young to have been there, come to see the Squirrel Hill in which Congregation Beth Shalom grew. The community is welcome; there is no charge.

The Speaker Series at Poale Zedeck will present personal finance expert Mara Strom of to speak on “The Ten Commandments of Saving Money,” on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. at Poale Zedeck. There is a $5 charge with a reservation and $10 at the door. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to

The JJEP and J Line educators will get together on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Rodef Shalom Congregation to learn how to best incorporate Sefaria into classrooms. This session will expose teachers to this Wikipedia-like Jewish content resource and provide concrete examples of ways to include Jewish substance and text in a wide variety of lesson formats, including art, music, current events, service programs and discussions. Sefaria’s education director, Sara Wolkenfeld, will be leading a digital session.

Sefaria is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building the future of Jewish learning in an open and participatory way by assembling a free living library of Jewish texts and their interconnections, in Hebrew and in translation. Visit to learn more about Sefaria.

Beth El Congregation of the South Hills will hold its next program of the Winter Speaker Series on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. The evening is free and open to the community and starts with a complimentary wine and cheese reception. Rabbi Danny Schiff, the Jewish Community Foundation Scholar at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, will discuss “Marriage: A Dying Institution.” Beth El’s adult education committee presents this series.

Visit for more information or call 412-561-1168 to RSVP in advance. Beth El is located at 1900 Cochran Road.

Shaare Torah’s Blood Drive will be held on Sunday, March 5 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Contact Linda at 412-421-8855 or to make an appointment.

The New Community Chevra Kadisha of Greater Pittsburgh will hold its 12th annual Adar 7 dinner on Sunday, March 5 (7 Adar). The speaker will be Imam Abdul Wajid, religious director and resident scholar at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. Joining him will be Lana Shami, a member of the board of ICP and Niama Alharrak, vice chair of ICP. The presentation is entitled “Honoring the Deceased” and will include common traditions in the Muslim and Jewish communities. The kosher dinner and program will be held at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation.

Pittsburgh’s first Kids’ Mega Hamantash Event will be held at Congregation Beth Shalom on Sunday, March 5 from 1:15 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event, open to girls and boys from pre-K through grade five, will bring together hundreds of children from the greater Pittsburgh community.

The event will feature a range of fun activities, including baking hamantashen, a juggling show, a variety of Purim crafts, an interactive game show, a live re-enactment of the Purim story and more. All participants will get to prepare hamantashen, some to take home and enjoy and some to donate to the Jewish Relief Agency.

Chabad of Pittsburgh sponsors the Kids’ Mega Hamantash Event in partnership with CGI Fox Chapel, Community Day School, G2G (Generation to Generation), Hillel Academy, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, PJ Library, Shalom Pittsburgh and Yeshiva Schools.

The cost of this event is $10 per child. Reservations can be made at by Feb. 27. Contact or call 412-421-3561 for more information.

The Music at Rodef Shalom Series will present violinist Aleksey Semenenko and pianist Inna Firsova on Monday, March 6 at 8 p.m. at 4905 Fifth Ave. The concert is free and open to the community. A reception follows the performance to provide an opportunity to meet with the musicians. Refreshments will be served and the Temple Gift Shop will be open.

Chabad of the South Hills will hold a free Torah and Tea for women with guest speaker Nami Friedman on “The Mystery & Majesty of Queen Esther” on Wednesday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. RSVP to

Rabbi Danny Schiff will speak about the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War at Temple Emanuel of South Hills’ Shabbat service on Friday, March 10. The service begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes the Kol Emanuel band, comprised of Rabbi Mark Mahler, Janet Mostow, Robin Hausman and Mel Vatz.  All are welcome to attend.

For the first time in its 70-year history, the Great Latke Hamantash Debate, a deliberately funny academic debate on the merits of both treats, with forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht and surprise guests will come to Pittsburgh. Come early for wine, cheese and to sample the contenders. Try something new this Purim on Saturday, March 11 at 7:45 p.m. at Temple Sinai.

Visit or call 412-421-9715 for more information. This is a free event, open to all.

Chabad of the South Hills will hold its second annual Jewish comedy night, “Megillah & Martinis,” on Saturday, March 11. Comedian and ventriloquist John Pizzi will perform. An interactive, kid friendly Megillah reading will be held at 8 p.m. followed by the show for adults at 8:30 p.m. A separate free program for kids will be held.

The cost is $18 per person and will include drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Visit or contact or 412-344-2424 for more information and to RSVP.

AARP Squirrel Hill Chapter 3354 will hold its next monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 15 at 1 p.m. at New Light Congregation, 1700 Beechwood Blvd. This month’s speaker is Mary Bach, consumer advocate, as well as a member of the AARP Consumer Task Force. The meeting is open to the community; membership is not required to attend. Refreshments are served after the meeting. Contact Ilene Portnoy at 412-683-7985 for more information.

The Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania (OSWP) will hold its annual Orchid Show on Saturday, March 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Phipps Garden Center, 1059 Shady Ave. (Fifth and Shady avenues). The show is open to the public and admission is free; voluntary donations are appreciated. Orchids will be available for purchase from vendors brought in from all over the eastern United States. The show also includes free educational seminars ranging from beginner to specialty topics, and plant raffles.

The Orchid Show is part of OSWP’s educational mission.

Visit the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania at for more information about the Orchid Show and orchids. Contact Gary VanGelder at 412-638-9756 or Shelia Nathanson at 412-343-9457 for show-related questions.

J-Serve, the International Day of Youth Service, will be held on Sunday, March 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. J-Serve takes place this year in 20 countries and 90 cities around the world, engaging more than 13,000 teens in a day of global service.

Sites are first come, first serve and fill up quickly. Registration includes transportation to and from project sites. Visit for more information and to register.

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of more than 130 musmachim (ordained rabbis), including Moshe Abrams and Matthew Faigen of Pittsburgh, at their Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on Sunday, March 19 in the Nathan Lamport Auditorium, in New York City.

Chabad of the South Hills will hold a Model Matzah Bakery on Sunday, March 26 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. In addition to making matzah, the afternoon will include pre-Passover activities and music. There is a $5 per child charge. Call 412-344-2424 to register.