Metro Briefs February 5

Metro Briefs February 5

Henry Shapiro
Henry Shapiro

Cantor Henry Shapiro, spiritual leader at Parkway Jewish Center, after a long career of performing and studying Jewish music, is presenting his own Friday evening musical Shabbat service filled with original compositions. It will be a blend of klezmer, traditional nusach and his musical sensibilities.

With his music sounding as old as the hills of Judea and as fresh as today, the community is invited to this Shabbat service on Friday, Feb. 6 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Parkway Jewish Center, 300 Princeton Drive.

Visit for more information and directions.

Congregation Beth Shalom has changed the time for the Health Initiative featuring Dr. Jonathan Weinkle speaking on the topic “Nice Jewish Doctors.” The program will be held Saturday, Feb. 7 at 1:15 p.m. For more information, contact 412-421-2288, ext. 112.

J Street Pittsburgh will hold a screening and discussion for “My Neighbourhood” on Sunday, Feb. 8 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Library Squirrel Hill, corner at Forbes and Murray avenues.

“My Neighbourhood” follows Mohammed, a Palestinian boy growing up in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, as he comes of age in the midst of unrelenting tension and remarkable cooperation in his backyard. At 11, Mohammad and his family are forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers. The family joins other residents to begin a protest movement that soon attracts dozens of Israeli activists. Highlighting Mohammed’s own reactions to the highly volatile situation, reflections from family members and other evicted residents, accounts of Israeli protesters and interviews with Israeli settlers, the film chronicles the resolve of a neighborhood and the support it receives from the most unexpected of places.

The program is free and open to the community.

Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service applications for the 2015-16 school year are due Feb. 11. Area Jewish students can apply for numerous community scholarships with one online application at

CSLRS, a nearly 50-year-old program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh administered by Jewish Family & Children’s Service, coordinates the efforts of a group of organizations, agencies and scholarship endowment funds that provide scholarships to local Jewish students enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education.

Any Jewish high school senior or those enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or technical school with demonstrated financial need and living in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington or West-moreland counties can apply. Applicants must be a resident of one of these counties for at least two years before applying, and financial need must be demonstrated. First-time applicants will be interviewed by CSLRS staff.

Visit or contact Alayne Lowenberger, JF&CS scholarship program director, at or 412-422-7200 for more information about eligibility.

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Philip Chosky Performing Arts Program will present the 2015 senior high school musical, “Curtains.”

This year’s musical, directed by Jill Machen, is a send-up of backstage murder mystery plots, set in 1959 Boston and follows the fallout when the supremely untalented star of “Robbin’ Hood of the Old West” is murdered during her opening night curtain call.

Performances will be held in the Katz Theatre, JCC Robinson Building, 5738 Darlington Road. The show runs from Thursday, Feb. 12 to Sunday, Feb. 22. Call 412-697-3540 for tickets, pricing and days and times.

The Homestead Hebrew Congregation Cemetery will hold an open meeting to discuss its future on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom.

Since Homestead Hebrew Congregation closed its doors in 1993, the cemetery has continued to work together to fulfill the sacred obligation of providing maintenance by ongoing upkeep of the property, perpetual care and maintaining records.

Attorney Robert Garvin, who has expertise in the legal matters of cemeteries, will contribute to the discussion. A proposal has been made for Beth Shalom to assume the day-to-day operations and management of the cemetery as many of the Homestead Hebrew Congregation are part of Beth Shalom. Torah scrolls and Megillot, along with an aron kodesh and other Judaica, were donated to Beth Shalom, and in exchange Beth Shalom created and named the Homestead Hebrew Chapel, which now houses the old yahrzeit plaques.

The Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will hold a “Crash Course to Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict, from 1948 to 2014” in four Eastern suburban synagogues.

Through four classes, scheduled one Sunday per month from February to May, participants will obtain the context and background to fully understand the complexity of the issues concerning the history of Israel and her Arab neighbors.

Gregg Roman, director of the CRC and former adviser in the Israeli Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, will teach this interactive course. He has spent significant time living in both Israel and visiting the Arab/Islamic world. Both the Palestinian/Muslim narrative, as well as the Israeli/Jewish perspectives, will be explored.    

The first module, “Introduction to the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” will be held on Sunday, Feb. 15 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Parkway Jewish Center, 300 Princeton Drive. There is a charge to attend. Contact Eric Probola at or 412-992-5247 for more information.   

Chabad of Pittsburgh will host “The Art of Persian Cooking” on Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. at Bnai Emunah Chabad, 4315 Murray Ave. This event, open to all women of the community, will feature a cooking demonstration with Reyna Simnegar, professional chef and author of the popular cookbook, “Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride.”

Simnegar grew up in Caracas, Venezuela.  Raised in a Catholic family with Marrano roots, she later converted to Judaism.  In the United States, she met her husband, a Persian Jew, and before moving with him from California to New York, her mother-in-law hosted her for a week to teach her the intimate secrets of Persian cuisine.

Simnegar will share many of those secrets, and those in attendance will get to sample some of her most popular dishes. There is a $36 charge. Reservations are required by March 5 and can be made online at Contact Chani Altein at         or call 412-421-3561 for more information.

A communitywide symposium breakfast on “You and Your Genes: The Explosive New World of Genetics,” about the obstacles that genetic diseases pose to the Jewish community will be held on Sunday, March 8 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC auditorium. The event will include on-the-spot genetic screening and a panel of experts discussing topics such as 19 Recessive Genetic Diseases, HPV Educa-tion, BRCA1 and BRCA2, and a special focus on Jewish men and the way these genetic diseases can affect them.

Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Contact Dee Selekman, NA’AMAT executive director, at 412-521-5253 or for more information.

Rodef Shalom Sisterhood Shabbat will be held Sat-urday, Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m. The service will be planned and led by Sisterhood members and will be followed by an expanded kiddush.

Guest speaker Rabbi Meir Azari, an activist in religious pluralism and a key leader of the Reform movement in Israel, will speak about the complexities facing Israelis as they grapple with critical internal and external threats, the upcoming national elections, and the role that the American Reform movement and other streams must have in moving pluralism and tolerance forward within Israel and the world.