Metro Briefs January 23

Metro Briefs January 23

Manfred Honeck
Manfred Honeck

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Manfred Honeck, will perform this year’s free “Music for the Spirit” concert, Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m. at East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

This year, the Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is partnering with the PSO to present works by Schubert, Dvorák, Schmidt and Ullmann.

All the selections have some connection to the Holocaust according to Holocaust Center Director Joy Braunstein. Some pieces were performed by victims of the Shoa. Others, composed more recently, were inspired by the tragedy.  

Along with the PSO, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and Concentio of Pittsburgh School for the Choral Arts will be featured during the performance. Associate Principal Viola Tatjana Mead Chamis will be the featured soloist on Boris Pigovat’s Requiem, “The Holocaust,” for viola and orchestra.

“Music was such an integral part of the lives of so many of our survivors,” Hilary Tyson, chair of the Holocaust Center, said in a prepared statement. “Memories of favorite musical pieces helped get them through the darkest of their days during the Holocaust.”

The two entities also will collaborate on the Yom Hashoa/Holocaust Remembrance Day program on April 27 at Heinz Hall. The program, which will explore the art, music and literature from the Holocaust, will feature the PSO, a children’s choir and Cantor Moshe Taube.

General admission tickets are free to the public and are available now. Tickets are limited and up to four are available per household.

Contact the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 to reserve tickets.

Teen Screen, an educational program of JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum, will offer free film screenings for middle and high school groups at the SouthSide Works Cinema.

Many films complement a Holocaust education curriculum, offering new perspectives on the topic. Teachers select which film they wish to attend with their students from a roster that changes each year.

Beginning in January, JFilm is adding two new films, “Sweet Dreams” and “Blood Brother,” both of which expand Teen Screen’s current roster beyond mostly Holocaust-themed films.

“Sweet Dreams” is a film about women from warring Rwandan tribes coming together after the 1994 genocide to form a drumming troupe.  When the troupe decides to partner with two young American entrepreneurs to open Rwanda’s first ever ice cream shop, these women embark on a journey of independence, peace and possibility. Using personal stories and music, this film is a moving portrait of a country in transition.

“Blood Brother,” is a coming-of-age story focusing on Pittsburgher Rocky Braat, who finds meaning in his life at an HIV/AIDS orphanage in a poor, rural region of India. In an effort to find out what compelled Braat to leave behind his family, friends and job in Pittsburgh for a life of hardship in India, his best friend decides to trace Braat’s story, resulting in this film. “Blood Brother” won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary and the Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Contact Teen Screen Coordinator Lori Sisson at or 412-992-5203.  Additional information can be found at

Agency for Jewish Learning is sponsoring a kosher wine tasting event, Sunday, Feb. 9, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Clear Story Studio, 1931 Sidney St., South Side.

The Fruit of the Vine Festival will be an opportunity to source kosher wines from around the world that are hard to come by in Pittsburgh.

Select wines will be offered in a live auction along with some non-wine prizes.  Additional wines will be available through a sales arrangement with Pinsker’s.  The evening will also include hors d’oeuvres.

Tickets are $75 per person, $250 per person for patrons. The proceeds will benefit the Agency for Jewish Learning.

Call 412-521-1101, ext. 3207 for more information.

Pittsburgh snowbirds will get together at three events in February.

Sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation, they are at Boca Raton on Sunday, Feb. 9; Naples on Tuesday, Feb. 11; and Longboat Key on Wednesday, Feb. 12. All events are at 5 p.m. and will feature speaker Avraham Infeld. Contact Patti Dziekan at 412-992-5221 for reservations.

Amazing Journeys, a travel company that specializes in group travel for Jewish singles, has started a new division for travelers in their 20s and 30s.  Two trips will be offered in 2014 specifically for this age group. They will include active and adventurous options such as hiking the Inca Trail in Peru and kayaking Halong Bay in Vietnam.

Visit or email for more information.

ZOA-Pittsburgh District is again offering scholarships to assist student participation on educational trips to Israel.

Applications for the scholarships will be accepted through Feb. 28. Up to three scholarships of $1,000 each are available to students who will be entering their junior or senior year of high school in the fall of 2014.  All applicants must be participating in an approved program and submit a qualified application to ZOA.  Priority may be given to those who have never visited Israel or have not previously received a ZOA scholarship.  

The scholarships are made possible through the family of the late Natalie and Ivan Novick, Drs. Esther and Bernard Klionsky, Marla and Dr. Harold Scheinman, Patricia and Abraham Anouchi and the late Thelma Esman.

The ZOA Scholarship Program is intended to complement what students learn at home and in class by reinforcing their commitment to Judaism and enhacing their appreciation of the centrality of Israel to Jewish life.  

The Anouchi Research Scholarship of $750 is available to full-time college students, who have completed at least one year, and graduate students.  Research proposals for the Anouchi scholarship will be reviewed and the awardee will be required to complete a paper on their topic.

Applicants may submit a proposal based on a topic of individual interest or choose from a list of suggested subjects.

Contact ZOA Executive Director Stuart Pavilack, at 412-665-4630 or for more information.

Young Peoples Synagogue, in cooperation with the Pittsburgh Holocaust Center and the Jewish Studies Program of the University of Pittsburgh, will sponsor a presentation by Judith Cohen, “The Mantello Rescue Mission,” Sunday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m., at the YPS, at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Denniston Street.

Around 2005, a Hungarian survivor, Enrico Mantello, became aware of a suitcase belonging to his father, George, found in a basement in Geneva, Switzerland. Mantello had been first secretary in the Geneva Consulate of El Salvador during World War II.  The suitcase contained over a thousand Salvadoran citizenship certificates issued to Jews during the Holocaust.

Cohen will survey the scope and impact of thousands of such certificates issued and sent to Jews throughout Europe, and their role in saving Jews.

Cohen, a native Pittsburgher, is the director of the Photo Archives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. She originally came to the museum in 1995 and has written a number of articles on the museum’s collections and curated several exhibits, including “A Forgotten Suitcase: The Mantello Documents.”  She helped to secure the Mantello archives for the museum.