Metro Briefs July 4

Metro Briefs July 4

Two recent contributors to Jewish Family & Children’s Service raised the money for their charity in somewhat unusual ways.

Rather than just write a check, Eric Rickin marked his 40th birthday by embarking on a 300-mile bicycle trek along the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., at the end of May, raising funds for JF&CS’s Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry in the months leading up to his ride.

Rickin, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, raised more than $6,000 for the pantry, and introduced about 70 new donors to JF&CS.

“I was really surprised with the amount of support I received.  I was quite overwhelmed with the response,” Rickin said in a prepared statement. “It was gratifying to see that so many people care about helping other people and coming together to support the Pantry.”

Rickin’s wife, Melissa Marks, and 10-year-old twins Abby and Ben Rickin-Marks met up with him at the end of his journey.

Jonathan Weinkle, primary care doctor at the Squirrel Hill Health Center, also approaching his 40th birthday, will hold a birthday concert in July at Club Cafe in the South Side. He has decided to donate a portion of the proceeds to JF&CS’s refugee department.

“I can’t think of anybody I do more work with and feel closer to than JF&CS,” Weinkle said. “It was a natural choice to me to donate a portion of the proceeds from this concert.”

Both individuals came to JF&CS of their own accord with these fundraising ideas.

Hazon, an organization that promotes Jewish inspiration and sustainable communities, is again holding its Cross-USA Ride, a nine-week cycling adventure covering 3,300 miles through 14 states. And once again, Pittsburgh is one of the stops.

The ride, which began June 13 in Seattle, is semisupported, with luggage transport, meals and accommodations provided. Along the way the riders will learn about sustainability in America in both its transportation and food systems, and will visit nearly 24 Jewish communities.

The riders are expected to reach Pittsburgh by Friday, Aug. 9, and will enjoy home hospitality here.

The other stops are Spokane, Wash.; Helena and Miles City, Mont.; Aberdeen, S.D.; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus and Washington, D.C. — the final destination, which riders are expected to reach by Friday, Aug. 16.

Riders join the Cross-USA Ride for a full nine weeks or any segment longer than one week. They also commit to raise a specific amount of money depending on how long they ride.

The riders also will join Jewish communities along the route, sharing experiences such as meals, meditation, daily prayer, mikva visits, Kabbalat Shabbat and the observance of Tisha B’Av.

Jewish Healthcare Foundation hosted an informational session on Legionnaires’ disease for area funders, public health officials and health care providers Thursday, June 20.

The event included experts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the Allegheny County Department of Health. The speakers focused on how Legionella — the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease — is transmitted and what steps health care providers and others can take to minimize the risk of an outbreak, since there is currently no way to entirely prevent Legionella outbreaks. They also discussed recommended strategies when responding to outbreaks of Legionella.

A discussion followed on what health care providers and other organizations in this region should take in order to better prepare themselves to thwart and remediate Legionella outbreaks.

Hadassah Family Picnic will be held Sunday, Aug. 4, from noon to 4 p.m., at Squaw Valley Park, 325 Fox Chapel Road.

Contact Francine Surloff at 412-421-8919 or for more information and reservations.

David Hollander, formerly of Mt. Lebanon, is a writer and executive producer working on Showtimes’s new “Ray Donovan” television series.

This is Hollander’s — creator of CBS’s “The Guardian” — first time as a writer and co-executive producer on a premium cable drama.

Duquesne University School of Law student Christy Gamble received the Kandy Reidbord Ehrenwerth Award from the law school in June. The award, based the recommendation of the School of Law faculty, recognizes a graduating law student who exemplifies ethics, devotion to the law, concern for the underprivileged and a commitment to social issues affecting society. The Ehrenwerth family created the award to honor the memory of the 1977 Duquesne School of Law graduate who passed away in 1992.

Law School Dean Ken Gormley presented Gamble with the citation on June 1 at an awards presentation.

Gamble garnered a number of additional honors during her time as a law student. She received the Student Bar Association Centennial-Al Pelaez Award, Machen Endowed Scholarship, Pennsylvania Environmental Law Forum Scholarship and an American Bar Association Diversity Fellowship in Environmental Law. As a Duquesne University School of Law national trial team member, Gamble was named Best Oral Advocate and her team honored as 2013 Mid-Atlantic Regional Champions of the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. She served as editor-in-chief of the Duquesne Environmental Health Law Journal in and as a senior staff member of the Duquesne Law Review.

In addition to a Juris Doctor degree, Gamble holds a doctorate in epidemiology. She completed the doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health the same year she completed her first year of law studies at Duquesne University School of Law.  She plans on taking the bar examination this month.

The Jewish Cemetery and Burial Association of Greater Pittsburgh will be holding a burial for sacred texts at its Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery Sunday, Oct. 6, at 11 a.m.  A special gravesite has been prepared; the community is invited to participate and attend.

Jewish custom holds that books such as siddurim, chumashim, machzorim, as well as copied pages on which the name of G-d has been printed that have become frayed, worn out or are in disrepair, are to be buried, not thrown away.

Congregations and individuals in the community may participate by collecting items to be buried and dropping them off at Congregation Beth Shalom.

Hebrew and religious school students of b’nai mitzva age, along with their teachers, are invited to participate in this activity. The Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery is located on Oakwood Road in Shaler Township.

Contact Jonathan Schachter, JCBA vice president, at 412-979-3607 for more information.

Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman, senior advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace and adjunct senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, will speak at Temple David, Monroeville, during the 7:30 p.m. Shabbat service Friday, July 5.

Lyman’s career in government included assignments as deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa, U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, director of refugee programs, ambassador to South Africa and assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs. From 1999 to 2003, he was executive director of the Global Interdependence Initiative at the Aspen Institute.  He has written extensively about U.S. foreign policy, especially in Africa.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton awarded Lyman the Distinguished Service Award, the State Department’s highest award, in March.

Lyman was called out of retirement by the White House to help Sudan end more than 20 years of civil war, and allow for the secession of the non-Islamic people of the south. He will talk about the challenge of bringing peace to a war torn society where religious and political differences contribute to bitterness and distrust.

New Light Congregation’s Men’s Club is sponsoring a bus tour of historic Mon Valley Jewish sites Sunday, July 28, traveling to Uniontown, Monessen, Donora, McKeesport, Duquesne, Braddock and Homestead. Tour guides will be current or former residents of each town whenever possible. Tours of the former synagogues in each community will be made if possible.

The bus leaves from New Light Congregation at 9 a.m. and will return at approximately 6 p.m. There is a charge; bring a bagged lunch. Beverages and water will be provided.

Contact Rich Gottfried at 412-367-7384 for more information or to make a reservation.