Metro Briefs January 21

Metro Briefs January 21

Temple Sinai invites the Pittsburgh Jewish community to join in a new class about making important end-of-life decisions from a Jewish perspective. “A Time to Prepare” will provide forms and guidelines for making medical, financial and ethical wishes known. The series is appropriate for caregivers and older adults alike and will take place on Wednesdays, Jan. 20, Jan. 27, Feb. 3 and Feb. 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Temple Sinai. Participants can drop in for some of the classes.

Rabbi Keren Gorban will facilitate the series with presentations by experts in end-of-life issues. The cost is $36 for the series. Participants are permitted to bring their own dinner and drinks will be provided. Contact Judy Kirklin at or 412-421-9715, ext.115 for more information.

Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation is having a special Havdalah program for young children and families, third grade and under, on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 5898 Wilkins Ave. The program will include story time, crafts, community Havdalah and snacks. All are welcome.

Contact Karen Morris at or 412-334-3124 for more information and to RSVP. The Sylvia and Martin Snow Charitable Foundation Fund support the Havdalah program.

The Herzog Breakfast with Rep. Dan Frankel will be held on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. in Rodef Shalom Congregation’s Falk Library.

Frankel will discuss the Jewish community’s potential influence in the upcoming primary race set to begin in February. A question-and-answer session will follow the discussion. Visit for more information.

The Jewish Women’s Center of Pittsburgh will hold its annual Tu B’Shevat program together with women from the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh on Sunday, Jan. 24. The group will read from a Tu B’Shevat Haggadah focusing on women, which includes poetry, songs, readings and discussions and will eat symbolic fruits and nuts, together with cups of grape juice symbolizing the four seasons. The program will conclude with a potluck brunch. Contact the JWC at for more information.

The Hillel Jewish University Center and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh will hold its annual Speed Sitting event on Sunday, Jan. 24 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the JCC.

The event allows local families to meet and greet babysitters looking to connect.

Students can RSVP at; parents, RSVP at

Pittsburgh Yiddish Symposium, an evening of Yiddish language, culture, literature, film, song, food and all other things Yiddish, will be held twice a month on Sunday evenings, beginning Jan. 24, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. There is a $5 donation to cover nosh. Contact or for more information.

Join Rabbi Alex Greenbaum for the new communitywide Winter Speaker Series with guests Stuart Pavilack, executive director of the ZOA, Pittsburgh Section; Rabbi Danny Schiff, Federation scholar of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh; and Dan Marcus, executive director of Hillel Jewish University Center.

Pavilack starts the Winter Speaker Series on Monday, Jan. 25, with a talk on the Presbyterian Church and Israel. The series is a program of the Beth El Adult Programming Initiative, led by chair Shelly Seigel. Speakers will be discussing contemporary Jewish issues from Jewish business ethics to sexuality in Judaism. Each evening begins with a wine and cheese reception at 7 p.m.

The series is open to the community; there is no charge.

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

Countdown to Super Bowl 50 and join the Heinz History Center at “Yoi! Remembering Myron Cope,” a celebration of the life and legacy of a Pittsburgh original, Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope, on Sunday, Jan. 31 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The program will feature video highlights of Cope’s career along with presentations that give a glimpse behind the (Steel) curtain at the man few knew: father, acclaimed writer, Jewish Pittsburgher. Sports broadcaster Bill Hillgrove will emcee the event and share some of his favorite Myron Cope stories, and New York Times sportswriter and Squirrel Hill native Murray Chass will deliver the keynote presentation.

This event is presented by the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives together with the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. This event is included with regular museum admission and is free for History Center members. Visit for more information and to register.

Rodef Shalom Congregation will hold a screening of the film “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation” on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in Levy Hall. There is no charge.

The 2008 award-winning film from Brazil is directed by Coa Hamburger and takes place in 1970 when Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship and its national soccer team was making its way toward the finals of the World Cup against Mexico. The fear and turbulence of this period are filtered through the perceptions of a

12-year-old boy who is left on the doorstep of his Jewish grandfather, while his politically activist parents go into hiding leaving no clue of their destination. Things go awry and the young boy winds up in the grudging and somewhat grumpy care of his grandfather’s Orthodox neighbors.

Sports and politics converge for a story filled with anxiety and charm conveyed by actors not well known to American audiences. The movie was submitted as Brazil’s entry to the Academy Awards Foreign Films in 2008, and it won awards in film festivals around the world. The film is in Portuguese and Yiddish with English subtitles.

Visit for more information.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service and Jewish Residential Services will present a program on waiver funding for individuals with special needs as part of the educational series AIM: Support for Families of Individuals with Special Needs.

The presentation “Waiver Funding: Who, What, Where, When, Why?” will be held on Monday, Feb. 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Rodef Shalom Congregation’s Falk Library.

Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Programs are available in Pennsylvania to provide the necessary supportive services to qualified individuals who wish to remain in their home and/or community.

Featured speakers include Mary Figlar, county liaison supervisor, Allegheny County Office of Intellectual Disability; and Matt Perkins, CEO, Service Coordination Unlimited, Inc.

The presentation is free and open to the community and includes a light kosher meal at 6 p.m. Registration is required. Contact 412-325-0039 or or visit or for more information and to register.

Hillel Academy’s cultural event will be a dinner and showing of the film “Above and Beyond” presented by producer Nancy Spielberg at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Dinner is at 6 p.m.; the showing is at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a Q&A with Nancy Spielberg. Visit for information about the movie. Contact 412-521-8131 for more information.

Shaare Torah’s fourth annual Chili Cook-Off lunch will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6 for another round of friendly competition and belly-warming chili. Chili, cornbread, salads and desserts will be available.

The cost for adults is $15, children 3 to 12, $8 and a family maximum of $48.  Cost to cook is $5. Contact 412-421-8855 or Linda at to RSVP.

Cantor Henry Shapiro of Parkway Jewish Center is reprising his own Friday evening musical Shabbat service filled with original compositions on Friday, Feb. 5 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will be a blend of klezmer, traditional nusach and his musical sensibilities. Clarinetist Roy Mezare will join him. A reception will follow the service.

Given the uncertainty of winter weather, in case a program is canceled, it will be held the following Shabbat, if possible.

The community is invited; there is no charge. Contact for more information and directions.

Temple Sinai will host “Berisheet” (“In the Beginning”), a new class for all those in the Jewish community who want to learn Shabbat rituals from the ground up. Cantor Laura Berman will teach participants how to make Shabbat at home using blessings, music and spirit on Sundays, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21 and Feb. 28 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The cost is $36 for the series.  Coffee will be served. 

Contact Cantor Berman at or 412-421-9715, ext. 112 for more information and to register.

The Western Pennsylvania Autism Speaks Chapter has partnered with the Pittsburgh Foundation to create the Herbert A. and Charles E. Kester Scholarship established by Kevin and Tracy Walsh to honor their friend Charles Kester, and his father Herbert. This scholarship continues their legacy of helping children by giving them every chance to be all they can be.

This scholarship was established to provide awards to individuals on the autism spectrum who need financial assistance to access quality therapeutic learning opportunities ranging from therapeutic riding, art lessons/therapy, music lessons/therapy and summer programs of all types.

Contact 412-367-4571 or for more information.

Congregation Beth Shalom is purchasing a new prayer book from the Rabbinical Assembly, “Siddur Lev Shalem,” which is designed for use by individuals and congregations, in the home and in the synagogue.

The siddur begins with home preparation for Shabbat, including meditations on candle lighting, a song that incorporates halachic instruction, a passage about the spirit of Shabbat and an introduction to Shabbat from the Zohar.

Prayer books can be purchased for $36; dedications are an $18 donation. Contact Beth Shalom at 412-421-2288 for more information.