Metro Briefs March 17

Metro Briefs March 17

Skip Grinberg
Photo by David Bachman
Skip Grinberg Photo by David Bachman

Cantor Henry Shapiro will hold a Klezmer Guitar CD Crowdfunding Campaign from March 20 to April 26 at supports Jewish themed and Jewish community based projects. Shapiro graduated from the School of Jewish Music at Hebrew College in Newton, Mass., and is the cantor and spiritual leader at Parkway Jewish Center.

Shapiro has adapted lead klezmer playing to the acoustic plectrum guitar. A performer in Pittsburgh and the United States for more than 25 years, this is the launch of his first klezmer album, which includes traditional tunes and his own transcriptions of old recordings. He also has composed on guitar a number of klezmer originals.

Shapiro’s free Pittsburgh area performances coinciding with the campaign launch are Sunday, March 20 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Squirrel Hill Purim Street Fair with Steel City Klezmeorim, and Monday, March 21 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Monroeville Library with Tom Roberts on piano.

Contact Henry Shapiro at 412-608-8566 or for more information.

The Jewish Women’s Center of Pittsburgh will hold its annual Tzedakah Dinner for Queen Esther on Tuesday, March 22 at 6 p.m. at the Tin Front Cafe in Homestead. This year’s project will be a Diaper Drive for children in Western Pennsylvania. In the last three years, 5.9 million American babies were born into poor or low-income families, meaning that as many as 2,600 diapers are needed per baby, per year, adding up to almost 15.3 billion diapers annually.  Families in need within the community will benefit from this tzedakah project.

Temple Hadar Israel welcomes the New Castle area community to an informal lecture and discussion on the future of Judaism. Rabbis Danny Schiff and Howie Stein will discuss “Evolving Visions of the Jewish Community in the 21st Century” in the Temple Social Hall, Tuesday, March 22 at 7 p.m.

Schiff is the Jewish Community Foundation’s Scholar.

Stein is the spiritual leader of Temple Hadar Israel Congregation. He has devoted his career to building connections both within the Jewish community and between Jews and non-Jews. After 10 years as a software engineer, he returned to school to become a rabbi and has served congregations in South Dakota, Colorado, Tennessee and Ohio.

The rabbis’ presentation will include the lecture and questions are invited for discussion. Light refreshments will be served. Donations are welcome. Temple Hadar Israel is located at 403 E. Moody Ave.

Contact William Zeiger at 724-730-8350 for more information.

Rabbi Danny Schiff, Jewish Community Foundation Scholar, will present a learning session on “Risky Strangers? A Jewish View of Our Current Immigration Dilemma,” on Sunday, March 27 at 10 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill.

Contact Eric Probola, 412-992-5247 or for more information and visit to register.

The session is sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation and the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

A new initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh designed for working women in the Pittsburgh Jewish community, Bridges: Jewish Women’s Professional Series, will hold the next installment, “Successfully Navigating Male-Dominated Industries in the 21st Century,” on Thursday, March 31 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Tower at PNC Plaza, 300 Fifth Ave., DC/Delaware room, 16th floor.

Join the panel discussion and hear from women who have successfully navigated male-dominated industries. The guest panelists include Lori Shure, senior vice president of treasury management at PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.; Estelle Comay, partner at Marcus & Shapira, LLP; and Robbin Steif, owner and CEO of LunaMetrics. There is a $10 charge. Lunch will be served with dietary laws observed. This is a nonsolicitation event.

Register at

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will hold a program of four panelists that will present “Israeli Arabs and Jews: A Shared Society,” on Sunday, April 3 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave. The panelists will present constructive approaches to help all members of Israeli society progress together. The presentation is free and open to the community.

Panelists will include American and Israeli leaders with collective experience in education, government and the nonprofit sector: Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, Dalia Fadila, Michal Steinman and Pittsburgh native Bill Strickland.

Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu is co-executive director of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, an Israel-based nonprofit that promotes coexistence and equality among Israel’s Jewish and Arab Palestinian citizens.

Dalia Fadila, Ph.D., was the first female dean of an Islamic college in Israel. She is the current president of Al-Qasemi Engineering and Science College and past provost of Al-Qasemi Teacher Training College. Both colleges are near Haifa, Israel. Fadila is the founder of Q Schools, private schools for teaching English and personal empowerment. Q Schools offer special outreach to women as future educators, entrepreneurs and leaders. She is a fellow at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel and participates in other national and international forums dealing with education and Israel’s Arab minority.

Michal Steinman is the executive director of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues (IATF) in New York. The task force is a coalition of American Jewish organizations dedicated to learning about and raising awareness of Israel’s Arab citizens.

Steinman joined the IATF after directing the Bedouin Sheep Growers Project, which involved working with senior government officials to create incentives for Bedouin farmers to organize.

William “Bill” Strickland, Ph.D., is president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation. While attending college, in 1968, Strickland founded Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) to bring arts education and mentorship to inner-city youth in his neighborhood, Pittsburgh’s North Side. He later established Bidwell Training Center, which offers nationally accredited programs ranging from horticulture to medical technology; MCG Jazz, a venue for music performance and teaching; and the Drew Mathieson Center for Horticultural and Agricultural Technology. Strickland applied a vision of mentorship, education, and beauty to create educational environments similar to MCG outside Pittsburgh, through the National Center for Arts & Technology. Currently, center-affiliated programs operate in eight cities. In 2010, he was appointed to President Barack Obama’s White House Council for Community Solutions.

Attendees are encouraged to continue the discussion during a dessert reception following the program. Dietary laws will be observed. Registration is requested; visit the online registration form at Contact Eric Probola at 412-992-5247 or for more information or to submit questions to panelists in advance.

Beth Shalom Sisterhood will honor Ira Frank at its annual Torah Fund brunch on Sunday, April 3 at 10 a.m. in the Samuel & Minnie Hyman Ballroom. Frank is a member of the board of trustees and longtime member of Beth Shalom.

Frank has been an active leader and volunteer in the congregation, supporting both Men’s Club and Sisterhood. He has served the congregation in many positions, including synagogue president and Men’s Club vice president. He has also chaired or served on committees for more than 30 years.

Frank is known in the community for his dedication to Jewish causes and his involvement with Jewish organizations. Three areas of special interest are the Jewish youth of Pittsburgh, State of Israel Bonds and Jewish National Fund. He is the current president of Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Congregation and is on the board of ZOA-Pittsburgh District, where he served as president for three terms. He has served as the treasurer of Jewish National Fund and as a board member of State of Israel Bonds. Professionally, Frank is the owner of National Fabrics in downtown Pittsburgh.

The community is invited to attend the Torah Fund event. Contact Rhoda Judd at 412-521-4341 for more information or to make reservations. The cost is $20 per person. Donations to the Beth Shalom Sisterhood Torah Fund, made in honor of Frank, can be mailed to Rhoda Judd at Congregation Beth Shalom, 5915 Beacon St., Pittsburgh 15217.

The Early Learning Center at Congregation Beth Shalom in Squirrel Hill is now accepting applications for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. The preschool has a four-star rating from Pennsylvania Keystones Stars and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

The ELC operates from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with core hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parents may choose to send children on a full-time or part-time basis. The ELC is open to families of any religious background. Discounts are available for families with multiple children enrolled and for Beth Shalom members. Need-based scholarships are available for children age 3 and older. Visit or call 412-421-8857 for more information.

The Jewish Delegates Assembly (JDA) met March 3 at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Convened semiannually by the Federation’s Community Relations Council (CRC), the JDA brings together all of the major Jewish organizations in Pittsburgh to collaborate and form official communitywide positions on important present day issues, shaping the public policy arm of the Jewish community. Resolutions passed at the JDA directly guide the CRC’s advocacy efforts and on occasion gain the community national recognition. At the most recent meeting, two resolutions were passed: one in opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel, and one on stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. All resolutions must receive a two-thirds majority to pass.

The “Statement in Opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel,” among other initiatives, reaffirms the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and to a Jewish homeland in the State of Israel; recognizes the divisive tactics of BDS, which intends to end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state; acknowledges the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and encourages direct bilateral peace negotiations; and recognizes the need for education about the BDS movement and positive, accurate and relevant information about Israel in the Greater Pittsburgh community.

The “Statement on Stereotypes, Prejudice and Discrimination” categorically opposes all forms of stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination; embraces a diverse community as critical to a strong future for the Pittsburgh region; and recognizes the progressive nature of how bias and individual acts of prejudice, when left unchecked, can cultivate employment and housing discrimination, bias-motivated violence and, in the most extreme situations, genocide. It encourages the CRC to promote diversity and inclusion in Southwestern Pennsylvania through a variety of initiatives.

Also at the assembly, Cindy Goodman-Leib, chair of the CRC, presented Skip Grinberg with the Sonia and Aaron Levinson Community Relations Award. The purpose of the annual award is to give community recognition to the importance of Jewish women and men carrying out a significant citizenship role in harmony with the Jewish ideals of social justice and concern for our fellow man; to recognize those who have demonstrated leadership ability in promoting improved intergroup relations and the elimination of prejudice and bigotry in our society; and to recognize active participation in the advancement of the goals and objectives of the CRC. Grinberg, the 34th member of the community to be honored with the award, received a plaque and an honorarium to attend a Jewish Council of Public Affairs Town Hall, the organization’s annual national conference.