Metro Briefs March 21

Metro Briefs March 21

The 2013 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: Faces of Media will showcase the 2012 Israeli and U.S. film, “InContact,” Saturday, March 23, at 7 p.m. at the Melwood Screening Room.  The event will feature a discussion with director Ann Oren and a food reception compliments of the Allegro Hearth Bakery.

“InContact” depicts the interconnected lives of Gen and Christina, two young women who connect through the online social platform “InContact,” which broadcasts its users’ daily experiences over a series of live video feeds. Director Ann Oren invites the audience into this voyeuristic world as viewers, like the characters, sit back and watch as tensions rise and drama unfolds though the eyes of social media.

The program is presented in conjunction with The Humanities Scholars Program at Carnegie Mellon University.

Visit for more information on “InContact” and Ann Oren.

Visit for more information about the festival or contact Festival Director Jolanta Lion, at 412-445-6292.

“Remembering the Athletes of the
 1936 Nazi Olympics”
 is the theme of the Annual Yom Hashoa-Holocaust Remembrance Day Program, Monday, April 8, 7 p.m., at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill.

The program comes on the heels of the Nazi Olympics exhibit at the August Wilson Center (AWC), Downtown, which concluded Feb. 28, and came to Pittsburgh as a cooperative venture between the Holocaust Center and AWC. It was also part of a yearlong series of town hall meetings involving the black and Jewish communities.

There will be no keynote address this year, though former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris will light a special candle in honor and memory of the athletes who participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, which were overshadowed by the coming threat of Nazism and the Holocaust. Harris, who is lighting the candle as an athlete himself, was a co-chair of the “Nazi Olympics” exhibit project.

This year’s survivors who will light the six candles in memory of the victims of the Holocaust are Walter Boninger, Ruth Drescher, Helen Eaton (who will stand in for her husband, Joseph Eaton, who died Oct. 15, 2012), Fritz Ottenheimer, Judy Stein and Elizabeth and Theodore “Ted” Stern.

The absence of a keynote speaker for the second year in a row is meant to put the spotlight on the survivors and their stories, said Samantha Chilton, senior associate of the Holocaust Center.

Jim Rohr, former chairman and CEO of PNC Financial Services Group, and Thomas Usher, former president, chief operations officer and chief executive officer of U.S. Steel, will light the candle in honor of the righteous.

Space is limited, so reservations are requested. Seats are not guaranteed without an RSVP.

Contact Samantha Chilton at 412-421-1500, ext. 102 or
 for reservations.

The program is presented by the Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and
is underwritten by Agnes Rocher and Family in memory of her husband, George Rocher.

The Early Learning Center at Beth Shalom has been re-awarded the highest level “4 out of 4 stars” for early childhood learning by Pennsylvania’s Keystone STARS program.

Keystone STARS is an initiative of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning to improve, support and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania. The standards address staff qualifications and professional development, the early learning program, partnerships with family and community, and leadership and management.

“We are very proud of all our educators, support staff and directors for once again achieving four-star accreditation with Keystone Stars,” Lisa Hackam, chair of Beth Shalom’s Early Learning Center Committee, said in a prepared statement. “The hard work and committed staff made this possible for our early childhood department to be amongst the best in the city.”

The Early Learning Center, which is currently the only Jewish preschool in the city to hold the 4 out of 4 stars designation, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. It is open to children of all faiths from ages 6 weeks to prekindergarten. More than 100 pupils are enrolled.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service is running Low Income Taxpayer Clinics to help newly legal Americans understand the tax system (as well as other qualifying individuals, but primarily those who speak little to no English).

The program is run with funding from the Internal Revenue Service.

“We are only one in a handful or organizations in the state to offer these clinics,” said JF&CS spokeswoman Elizabeth Waickman. “Imagine having to prepare your taxes as a new American with only basic English-language skills and little or no knowledge of our tax system.”

The program is open to anyone in the community who qualifies as a low-income taxpayer, not just new Americans, she added.

According to Waickman, the program provides tax information for new Americans — what tax credits they may be eligible for, how to maximize their tax refund, where to go for free tax preparation and understanding their taxpayer rights and responsibilities. The staff does not do the actual tax preparation.

The next program session is scheduled for April 8. Contact JF&CS’s Jamie Englert, accredited representative, at or 412-422-7200 for more information or visit

The Jewish Women’s Center of Pittsburgh will hold its 20th annual women’s seder Sunday, March 31, 6 p.m. at the Labor Zionist Center, 6328 Forbes Ave. in Squirrel Hill.  

The JWC introduced the concept of a women’s seder to the Pittsburgh Jewish community in 1993, placing Miriam’s cup together with Elijah’s cup. This seder promotes knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the contributions of women in the Passover story and throughout Jewish history.  The JWC Hagada was written by its members and continues to be enhanced each year with relevant readings, timely commentaries, and spiritually uplifting songs and music.

Call 412-422-8044 for more information.