Metro Briefs February 4

Metro Briefs February 4

Dr. Nathan Bahary, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and medical director of the Pancreatic Cancer Program at the Hillman Cancer Center, will speak at Congregation Beth Shalom on “Considerations in End of Life Decisions” on Shabbat afternoon, Feb. 6, at 12:45 p.m. to lead off the 2016 Beth Shalom Health Initiative series.

Bahary will explore background and teachings that offer insights into a Jewish perspective to end of life care, particularly with the advent of respirators, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, tube feeds and rounds of chemotherapy. The presentation is free and open to the community at Beth Shalom, 5915 Beacon St. Contact Candace at 412-421-2288 for more information.

The Beth Shalom Health Initiative is made possible by the support of the Aging Institute of UPMC, the Fine Foundation, the Jewish Association on Aging, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, the Staunton Farm Foundation, the UPMC Cancer Center and The Jewish Chronicle.

The Squirrel Hill and the Chinese communities of greater Pittsburgh invite all Pittsburghers for a two-week celebration of the Lunar New Year.  This year’s Lunar New Year is also known as the Year of the Red Fire Monkey. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public and will ring in the Lunar New Year with cultural performances, demonstrations in Asian arts and crafts, a parade and a taste of authentic flavors from Squirrel Hill’s acclaimed Asian restaurants and eateries.

On Saturday, Feb. 6, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the celebration begins with the Lunar New Year Kickoff at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill. The afternoon will include live performances by Pittsburgh Taiko Drumming, the Organization of Chinese Americans’ Cultural Youth Ensemble, Silk Elephant Thai Dragon, martial arts, dance, music, Steel Dragons acrobatic lion dancers and more. Earlier in the day, Steel Dragon lion performers will be visiting and “blessing” individual shops and restaurants in the Squirrel Hill business district.

On Sunday, Feb. 21, Murray Avenue will be closed from 10 a.m. to noon for the Lunar New Year Parade, which will start at 11 a.m., featuring costumes, music, marching bands and traditional Chinese and Thai Dragons. The parade will begin at Philips and Murray avenues, climbing up Murray toward Forbes Avenue to end at Darlington Street.

Lunar New Year began in China more than 4,000 years ago and is widely celebrated in East and Southeast Asia. The Asian diaspora has expanded the festivities into an annual worldwide event, celebrated by millions of Asian Americans and by many non-Asian Americans, in the United States.

During the two-week celebration, Squirrel Hill restaurants and cafes will offer a 10 percent discount to participating establishments through the “Passport to Asian Eats” program.

Organizers and partners of the celebration and events include Uncover Squirrel Hill, the Pittsburgh Chinese Cultural Center, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, the Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh, the Organization of Chinese Americans (Pittsburgh Chapter), the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, NextGen:Pgh, Carnegie Public Library, the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Chinese School, the Confucius Institute at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center.

The Kollel Jewish Learning Center invites men and women to hear Rabbi Yochanan Zweig, rosh yeshiva of Talmudic University of Florida, address the Pittsburgh community on “Jewish Jurisprudence: Appreciating the Torah’s Unique Justice System,” on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m. at 5808 Beacon St.

The Jewish Women’s Center and the Women from the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh will host the second annual interfaith shared meal and discussion on Sunday, Feb 7. The topic is “What We Have Always Wanted to Know About You.” Based on questions that each group has put together for the other to answer, the groups hope to better understand the things that matter to Jewish and Muslim women. Contact the JWC at for more information.

The Squirrel Hill Historical Society will hold its next free meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. City Theatre’s Tracy Brigden, Reginald L. Douglas and Clare Drobot will speak on “History of City Theatre: 40 Years of Developing New Plays.” Call 412-521-9132 or visit for more information.

Beth Kissileff, local author and community member, invites the community for a book launch on the day that her new book, “Reading Genesis: Beginnings,” is released. Kissileff’s anthology fills Genesis with meaning, gathering intellectuals and thinkers who use their professional knowledge to illuminate the Biblical text.

Distinguished contributors include Alan Dershowitz, Ruth Westheimer, novelists Rebecca Newberger Goldstein and Dara Horn, critics Ilan Stavans and Sander Gilman, poets Alicia Suskin Ostriker and Jacqueline Osherow and ethicist Paul Root Wolpe.  

The event will take place on Thursday, Feb. 11 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill.  Professor Steve Albert of the University of Pittsburgh will also speak about the essay he contributed. Contact Rabbi Ron Symons at 412-339-5395 or for more information.

Love & Relationships “The Jewish Way” will be held on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at Chabad of the South Hills, Mt. Lebanon, with guest speaker Miriam Lipskier. There is a $5 charge in advance or $10 at the door. Contact or 412-344-2424 to RSVP and for more information.

Chabad of the South Hills, Mt. Lebanon will hold a lunch for seniors on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at noon.  The topic will be senior safety. 

There is a $5 suggested donation. The building is wheelchair accessible. Call Barb at 412-278-2658 to register.

Rabbi Daniel Yolkut will offer a Lunch & Learn Downtown seminar on “A Deeper Understanding of Jewish Prayer.” Part I will cover History of the Siddur, Shema and Shemoneh Esreh and will meet on Feb. 16 and March 1. Part II will cover the Haggadah and will meet on March 15, March 29 and April 12. Part III will cover Tachanun, Pesukei dezimra and Beginning and Endings.  

All sessions will meet from noon to 1 p.m. at the BNY Mellon Center, Jones Day, 500 Grant St., Suite 4500. The building has security, so you must sign up to be allowed into the building. To sign up or discuss sponsorship opportunities, email

The Jewish Association on Aging received a makeover courtesy of Levin Furniture. A gift of new chairs, loveseats, sofas, tables and accent pillows to the Winter Garden Room were made in honor of the late Sally Levin.

NA’AMAT USA Pittsburgh Council has hired Jackie Braslawsce as its new director of outreach and engagement and to plan its 90th Anniversary Gala this spring.  Braslawsce brings with her 13 years of experience as a Jewish communal professional in Pittsburgh.  

Professionally and personally, Braslawsce does outreach, Jewish experiential education, programming and volunteering. Most recently, she was director of experiential education at Temple Sinai for six years, in partnership with Rabbi Ron Symons.

Braslawsce has a Master of Education in higher education with an emphasis in counseling, and a Master of Arts in Jewish professional studies with a concentration on informal Jewish education.

To learn more about Jackie Braslawsce and NA’AMAT Pittsburgh, stop in at Martinis and Mahjong on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at NA’AMAT Pittsburgh Council, 6328 Forbes Ave., or contact  

Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler and Rabbi Jessica Locketz have notified the community that Wendy Freed, a member of Temple Emanuel, is in need of a liver transplant, and a living donor may well be her best opportunity.

Several years ago in similar circumstances, a Temple member needed a kidney transplant. Without hesitation, people stepped forward. Today, several years later, both the recipient and the donor are in good health.

If you can help in any way to fulfill this great mitzvah of rofei cholim, “healing the sick,” contact Temple Emanuel at 412-279-7600 or visit

Community Day School welcomes Jenny Jones as its new director of institutional advancement. Jones joins CDS with more than a decade of experience as a development and fundraising professional in the Jewish community, specializing in major giving, capital campaigns and volunteer and alumni relations.

Jones spent nine years at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh as senior development officer and also served as Volunteer Center coordinator, Women’s Philanthropy director and Young Adult director. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Jones began her career at the Hillel Jewish Student Center on the campus of her alma mater.

Jones brings her passion for Jewish education and community service to CDS, having earned the Ida and Samuel Latterman Volunteer Mitzvah Award from the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in 2014. In addition, she was recognized for her leadership in the Jewish community with the 2014 Emerging Leader Award from the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section, where she serves on the board. Jones also mentors a high school freshman through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh.

Jones lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband, Chad, and their two children.

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, together with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, will be hosting the 1st Annual Tri-State Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton from Feb. 12 to Feb. 15. One of the major focal points of the Shabbaton/tournament is unity.  The two local institutions are bringing together day school students and JCC athletes to learn about Judaism and grow together, while also competing on the court.

Hillel and the JCC are happy to welcome Fuchs Mizrachi School of Cleveland, Columbus Torah Academy, Yeshivah of Flatbush and the Harrisburg JCC to Pittsburgh.

Games begin on Saturday night, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. and conclude with the Tri-State Championship on Monday at 11 a.m. in the JCC Kaufmann gym.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend the games, which are free of charge and will be played in the JCC Robinson and Kaufmann gymnasiums. 

Contact Danny Shaw at or Mark Pattis at for more information or sponsorship opportunities.