Metro Briefs June 13

Metro Briefs June 13

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has joined with its national body, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in supporting efforts to ensure that the Western Wall remains a “spiritual center for all Jews.”

In doing so, the Federation lauded Natan Sharansky, chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), for his proposal to provide equal prayer access to all at the Kotel.

The Sharansky plan calls for a dedicated egalitarian prayer space at the Robinson’s Arch area of the Wall. JFNA also promised to work with Sharansky as he “develops a pathway whereby the Kotel is a spiritual center for all Jews and a symbol of unity for the entire Jewish community world-wide.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Sharansky to resolve the issue, in the wake of demonstrations by the Women of the Wall and counterprotests by some ultra-Orthodox groups.

The JFNA Board of Trustees and its Delegate Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to support the JAFI chair in his efforts to find a compromise to the issue of equal access at the Wall.  The resolution, drafted by JFNA’s Rabbinic Cabinet, which represents a cross section of rabbis from all religious streams, expresses JFNA’s “appreciation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued commitment to work on behalf of and to strengthen Jewish unity by seeking to resolve the issue.”

“We are proud that Natan Sharansky, the inspired leader of one of our two main overseas partner agencies, is spearheading efforts to address this very complex issue,” Federation President and CEO Jeff Finkelstein said in a prepared statement.  “Being able to pray at the Western Wall, as generations before you have, is one of the most powerful experiences for a Jew.  This plan allows more people to do so in a way that they will find personally meaningful.”

Annabelle Joseph, director of the Marta Sanchez Dalcroze Training Center at the Carnegie Mellon School of Music, is recruiting active senior citizens to participate in classes in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, a method that engages brain and body in response to music and helps maintain mental alertness and agility, which is essential to the aging process. Four areas of learning — physical, cognitive, social and emotional — are involved in this process. All four areas are at play in a Dalcroze Eurhythmics class as well as the joy of music.

Classes will be available to 15 people age 65 and over. Participants should be mobile and able to attend four afternoon sessions July 2, 3 July 10 and 11, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Carnegie Mellon University, Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall, Room 119. There is a charge.

Contact Annabelle Joseph at or 412-268-2391/412-251-0426 to register and for more information.

Women of Valor, a new series featuring portraits of 16 women from the Talmud who have changed their family tree and the course of history, will take place three consecutive evenings starting Wednesday, July 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Chabad of the South Hills. There is a suggested donation. Contact 412-512-2330 or to RSVP and for more information.

Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will, a program with David Friedlander, a certified professional in human resources, will be a presentation on finding the perfect job opportunity, Wednesday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m. at Chabad of the South Hills in Mt. Lebanon.  Call 412-344-2424 for more information or to register.

The Zionist Organization of America-Pittsburgh District has wrapped up the 2013 edition of its Tolerance Education Program.  Designed to help teenagers learn from lessons of the past to be better citizens, employees and future leaders. The program culminates with a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C .  

ZOA, with support from the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS), the City of Pittsburgh, the Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and personal donors, has taken 900 sophomores from the PPS to the USHMM in 2012 and 2013.

Since its inception, almost 4,000 students have participated in the Tolerance Program.

Students are asked to write an essay based on “My Impressions On Visiting the Holocaust Museum and How It Has Affected My Own Attitudes.”  Each school selects one essay to submit to ZOA.  From those submissions, ZOA judges, Andrea Chester, Andrea Elias, Nate Firestone and Judy Robinson, select winning essays. Shane Lutton from Science & Technology High School took first place and received $150.

Nashore Kelsey of Brashear High School took second place and received $125.  Shannon Kozikowski from Carrick High School took third place and received $100.  

Squirrel Hill AARP Chapter 3354 will have their annual luncheon at the Comfort Inn in Penn Hills Wednesday, June 19.

Contact Harriet Lipsitz at 412-243-2315 to make reservations for the meal and entertainment.