Metro Briefs January 3

Metro Briefs January 3

Dan Nichols
Dan Nichols

Dan Nichols, a nationally known Jewish performer and songwriter, will return to Rodef Shalom Congregation for his third visit in six months.

As the congregation’s artist-in-residence for the 2012-2013 season, Nichols has been leading worship at Shabbat services and spending time on youth programs, engaging members on a personal level.

The community is invited to join in Shabbat services, which Nichols will lead, the weekend of Jan. 4 and 5.

“This year we hope to breathe new life and meaning into our worship, guided by the gifted musician and teacher Dan Nichols,” Rabbi Sharyn Henry said in a prepared statement. “Over the course of five weekends, we will work together with Dan to discover more personal meaning and fulfillment in worship, connect more closely as members of a congregational community, and most importantly, learn how to talk to — and listen to — God.”

Nichols’ January appearances will be at Rodef Shalom, Friday, Jan. 4 (erev Shabbat service), at 5:30 p.m. and Tot/Not-So-Tot Shabbat services for families with children up to fifth grade at 6 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 5, (Shabbat morning service) at 10:30 a.m.  

The artist-in-residence is made possible through the Fine Foundation. More information about Nichols’ music is available at

Leslie Bonci, nutritionist for the Pittsburgh Steelers, will appear at a Rodef Shalom Sisterhood lunch and learn Tuesday, Jan. 8, 1:30 p.m., in Aaron Court of the synagogue.

Both men and women are invited to hear Bonci, who helps Steelers and University of Pittsburgh athletes stay in shape, speak on the topic, “The Maintenance Phase after Weight Loss.” More specifically, she will discuss how people can offer support to each other as a team to lose weight and keep it off.

Guests should bring a brown bag lunch; dessert and beverages will be provided.

Contact by Friday, Jan. 4, for reservations.

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh-South Hills will celebrate its 14th birthday, Sunday, Jan. 27, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the JCC, 345 Kane Bvld., Scott Township.

The “Birthday Bash” is free and open to everyone in the community.

The pool will be open for free swimming from 2 to 6 p.m. and the gym will be available for free play from 4 to 6 p.m.

There also will be SilverSneakers free fitness classes and demonstrations from 10 a.m. through 1 p.m., a kettlebell demonstration at 11:30 a.m., and free birthday activities from 2 to 4 p.m., including free prize giveaways for kids at 3 p.m., scuba lessons (bring your own swimsuit), a bounce house, a timed obstacle course for ages 2 to 12, family crafts, fitness assessments, personal training specials, and free birthday cupcakes, popcorn and lemonade.

Contact Ann Haalman at (412) 278-1975 ext. 204, or at for times and more information.

Shabbat Alive, a musical Shabbat evening with the Beth Shalom Band, will be held on two dates — Friday, Jan. 11, and Friday, Feb. 8.

Cantor Ben Rosner and Rabbis Michael Werbow and Donni Aaron, will join the band for both Kabbalat Shabbat services in the Helfant Chapel followed by a traditional meal.

There is a charge; reservations are due by Jan. 8 and Feb. 5 for each respective evening.

Contact Judy at 412-421-2288, ext. 110 for more information.

Shabbat Alive is supported by the Betsy and Alan Kanarek  Shabbat Alive Endowment.

Pittsburgh will be hosting the 15th IAYC International Yiddish Conference & Retreat April 26 to 29 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Greentree.

This year’s theme, “A Feast of Yiddish,” features academic presentations in Yiddish and English, live klezmer music, folk dancing, and each evening a retreat called “Yiddish in Slippers: a Dream Sequence.”

Yiddish classes and workshops will be held, along with the showcase of films, Eastern European cooking demonstrations, interactive historical characters, exhibitors, translators and vendors, large scale art projects, and individual instruction in Yiddish on the Internet.        

The conference will present more than 40 speakers in Yiddish and English, including Harvard professor Ruth Wisse, ethnomusicologist Yale Strom, founder of the Yiddish Farm Naftali Ejdelman, Yiddish Forverts Editor-in-Chief Boris Sandler, and Harry Bochner, editor of The New Yiddish-English Dictionary.

There will also be performances by a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra trio of Noah Bendix-Balgley, Aron Zelkowicz and Rodrigo Ojeda, and world- renowned Klezmer musicians from New York to California.

Early registration for the conference continues through Jan. 31, and includes a reduced rate.

Contact Fishl Kutner at 650-349-6946 or;  Nina Kaplan at or 412-302-2410; or visit for more information.