Metro Briefs January 24

Metro Briefs January 24

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh will present its seventh Big Night, Saturday, March 9, 7:30 p.m. at the JCC, 5738 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill.

“Time of Our Lives” is the theme of this year’s event, celebrating the ’80s — the decade of Madonna, break dancing, Pac-Man, “Seinfeld” and “Dirty Dancing.” There will be music, dancing, food, drinks and other attractions including an “MTV lounge.” There will be two raffles: a $7,500 Henne Jewelers Shopping Spree and an A&L two-year BMW lease. Also, a silent auction, with smartphone remote bidding, for vacation packages, art, jewelry, designer accessories and dining and entertainment packages will be held.

Big Night raises a large portion of the JCC’s Annual Fund for scholarships and to support critical programming such as child and after-school care and special needs and older adults programs. Corporate and individual sponsorships and ads for Big Night, as well as the goodwill produced by the event, provide vital support for the JCC year-round.

This year, the Top Gun ($25,000) Sponsor is PNC Bank, a major supporter of the event over the years. Breakfast Club ($10,000) Sponsor is The Segal Family; Flashdance ($10,000) Sponsors are Philip Chosky Charitable & Educational Foundation; The Donald & Sylvia Robinson Family Foundation; Ellen and Jack Kessler; Nancy and Douglas H. Ostrow; Oxford Development Company; Suzanne and Brian Schreiber; and UPMC and UPMC Health Plan. To date, there are more than 100 additional sponsors.

Cathy Reifer and Samuel Braver, and Julie and Josh Farber are the event chairs.

Call (412) 521-8011, ext. 232, or email for event information and tickets. Information also is available at

Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service has announced that the deadline for student applications for 2013-14 community scholarships is Monday, Feb. 11.

One application, which must be completed at, gives students access to numerous community scholarships. CSLRS staff must interview first-time applicants.

CSLRS, a need-based scholarship 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 accredited institutions of higher education.

Any Jewish high school senior or students enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or technical school with demonstrated financial need and living in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties can apply. Applicants must be a resident of one of these counties for at least two years before applying.

Last year, CSLRS awarded $395,249 in scholarships to 203 area Jewish students.

In addition to administering CSLRS for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, JF&CS awards additional scholarships from the JF&CS Sarah & Tena Goldstein Memorial Scholarship Fund.  

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

Pittsburgh Conference of Jewish Women’s Organizations will hold its Second Annual Games Day Party, Monday, Feb. 4, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Poale Zedeck Synagogue, Shady and Phillips avenues in Squirrel Hill.

Poale Zedeck Sisterhood is hosting the event and Anita Kornblit is the chair of the day.

The afternoon will consist of mah-jongg, bridge, Rummikub, dominoes, Scrabble, Boggle and other games. Tables and refreshments will be provided.

Personal Care Closet boxes will be distributed that afternoon. Personal Care Closet is a project of the National Council of Jewish Women. There is a cover charge to attend.

Contact Anita Kornblit 412-421-8009 or or Judy Mendelson at 412-521-6498 or by Jan. 31 for reservations.

The Hillel Jewish University Center, together with the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, has piloted an extension of Taglit-Birthright Israel called +Pardes, giving 10 Hillel JUC students an opportunity to study Jewish texts and issues in Israel.

The Birthright session began Dec. 21, 2012, and lasted the traditional 10 days until Dec. 30. The extension, made possible by a grant from the David S. and Karen A. Shapira Foundation, began on New Year’s Day until Jan. 5.

After spending New Year’s Eve in Tel Aviv, the participants were asked to read a short text and sit down with another student and to discuss it one-on-one. This discussion-style learning allowed the students to delve into the issues at hand.

The theme of the program was “Relationships: Me, Others, Israel & God.”

After arriving and being oriented with Pardes, the first day of study dealt with relationships between people. The second day of discussion covered relationships between people and Israel and was supplemented by a walking tour of all four quarters of the Old City. The last two days were devoted to examining one’s relationship with God and included a Shabbat dinner shared with some of Pardes’s full-time students.

“I think that my experience at Pardes was a wonderful complement to my Birthright trip,” Sam Hantverk, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, said in a prepared statement. “Spending more time, both with my fellow participants and with the soldiers and our medic, was extraordinary. Having the opportunity to study at Pardes in Jerusalem was a unique learning experience.”

The joint program, meant to be a model for schools’ future Birthright trips, was set up with a flexible schedule, making it possible to accommodate participants’ requests to add in a hike through the desert.

JCC Maccabi Games tryouts for Jewish teens ages 13 to 16 will be held at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh Sunday, Jan. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Robinson Gym, 5738 Darlington Road, Squirrel Hill.

Team and individual sport sign-ups will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Basketball team tryouts are as follows: 5 to 6 p.m., girls ages 13 to 16 and boys ages 13 to 14; 6 to 7 p.m., boys ages 15 to 16. Scholarships are available upon request. Teens do not have to be a JCC member to participate.

The 2013 JCC Maccabi Games will be held in Austin, Texas, July 28 to Aug. 2.

The JCC Maccabi Games are an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer in North America. The first North American JCC Maccabi Games were held in 1982 with 300 athletes. Regional Games were added in 1985 to augment the even-year Continental Games. Today, more than 6,000 teens participate in the JCC Maccabi Games each summer. The Games are co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, Maccabi World Union, Maccabi Canada, and Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel.

Contact Alan Mallinger, 412-521-8011, ext. 272, or; or Jeremy Kelley, 412-521-8011, ext. 249, or for more