Metro Briefs March 31

Metro Briefs March 31

Members of HaZamir celebrate a succesful performance following the concert in 2016. 

Photo by Adam Reinherz
Members of HaZamir celebrate a succesful performance following the concert in 2016. Photo by Adam Reinherz

HaZamir Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh’s chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, and HaZamir Karmiel/Misgav, its Partnership2Gether sister chapter in Israel, will perform Jewish choral music together from HaZamir’s international repertoire at Mt. Lebanon High School on Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m. and at Rodef Shalom Congregation on Monday, April 3 at 7 p.m. Both events are free and open to the community. The Rodef Shalom concert is followed by a dessert reception.

HaZamir, an international network of Jewish high school choirs, meets weekly to learn a common musical repertoire and performs this repertoire at regional, national and international events. HaZamir is a program of the New York-based Zamir Choral Foundation and was created by founder and director Matthew Lazar to give teens a unique experience and to foster a lifelong commitment to Jewish culture and music. HaZamir Pittsburgh is conducted by Molly May, and HaZamir Karmiel/Misgav is conducted by Riima Primack.

HaZamir Pittsburgh and HaZamir Karmiel/Misgav teens returned from the annual HaZamir Gala performance in New York City, which took place at Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera on Sunday, March 26. More than 400 teens from 31 HaZamir chapters around the world participated.

The Pittsburgh and Karmiel/Misgav chapters spent this week together in Pittsburgh strengthening and building relationships, and exploring Israeli identity and American Jewish life. Programs included a visit to Community Day School, lunch and learning at Congregation Beth Shalom, performances at Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Pittsburgh CAPA, and home hospitality with Pittsburgh teens.

HaZamir Pittsburgh is a program of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. Rehearsals are open to all eighth- to 12th-grade teens and are held weekly at the Squirrel Hill JCC on Sunday afternoons from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Contact Carolyn Gerecht, director  of teen engagement and experiences at the JCC at 412-339-5400 or for more information.

Hadassah Greater Pittsburgh will present a book signing with Dorit Sasson, author of “Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces,” on Sunday, April 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, 827 Hazelwood Ave. The community is invited.

There will be a Q & A session with the author; the books will sell for $18. Light refreshments will be served. 

Contact the Hadassah office at 412-421-8919 or for more information.

Hillel Jewish University Center has several activities coming up for Israel Peace Week, April 2 to April 7. Events will include a soccer tournament with the Peres Center for Peace & Innovation; taste of Israel cross-cultural kitchen; virtual trip to Israel; Stand Up for Peace comedy with Jewish and Muslim comedians on co-existence and politics in Israel; screening of “Mekonen” and discussion about immigration; and multicultural Israeli Shabbat and black and Jewish discussion followed by an Israeli themed Shabbat dinner.

Visit for more information.

The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh will host its first virtual live streaming seminar on Tuesday, April 4 with two sessions that will enable middle and high school students to interact with guests Sam Gottesman, a local Holocaust survivor, and Andrea Joseph of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The seminar will include an interactive discussion about the importance of learning Holocaust history, and how to apply that knowledge to the present. All high school and middle school students and schools are invited to participate. The free seminar is offered through funding from the Earl R. Surloff Memorial Endowment Fund.

The seminar is composed of two separate sessions:  The high school session from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and the middle school session from 1:05 p.m. to 3 p.m. Both sessions feature two, one-hour presentations tailored to the needs of each audience. The first hour will feature Gottesman, a local Holocaust survivor of multiple concentration and labor camps.

During the second hour of each session, Joseph, a specialist from the ADL, will talk about current events, taking into consideration Gottesman’s experiences in the Holocaust. Joseph will examine how bias and bigotry often have a tendency to escalate, if intervention does not occur. Following each presentation, time will be allotted for questions and answers from participants.

Contact Christina Sahovey at or 412-421-1500 to participate or for more information.  Any high school or middle school is welcome to participate free of charge. 

The Squirrel Hill Historical Society’s next free meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. The normal date (second Tuesday of month) has been changed in observance of Passover.

Honey Forman, centennial coordinator at Congregation Beth Shalom, will speak on “Congregation Beth Shalom, Celebrating 100 Years.”

Contact, 412-417-3707 or visit for more information.

Councilman Corey O’Connor will speak at the AARP Squirrel Hill Chapter 3354 monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 19 at 1 p.m. at New Light Congregation, 1700 Beechwood Blvd. Learn what is happening around Pittsburgh from someone who really knows. Everyone is invited; membership is not required. Refreshments are served after the meeting. 

Contact Ilene Portnoy at 412-683-7985 for more information. 

Congregation Beth Shalom will be honoring its rich history with a Centennial Luncheon on Sunday, April 23.

Beth Shalom’s story begins in September 1917 when 35 families gathered for prayers in a small room on the second floor of 5802 Forbes St. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services were conducted in the Orpheum Theater. Together, the families planned the formation of a congregation that would uphold the cherished traditions of its people. They were preparing for the anticipated movement of Jews to the “suburb” of Squirrel Hill.

As the congregation grew, so did the services and the activities. The Sisterhood Auxiliary was formed in November 1917. In February 1919, a Hebrew School for children was organized with classes held in Colfax School. In July 1919, the name Beth Shalom was adopted and on Yom Kippur Day, $15,000 was pledged for the first Building Fund. On March 18, 1922, ground was broken for a building on the corner of Shady Avenue and Beacon Street.

The Centennial Luncheon will feature an interactive look through the history with archival photos and premiere of the video, “Celebrating the Warmth of the Past and the Light of Our Future.”

Register for the luncheon online at by Friday, March 31.

Rodef Shalom Congregation and Temple Sinai will host a program on fixing Pennsylvania’s redistricting problem on Thursday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Rodef Shalom, 4905 Fifth Ave. in Shadyside. Fair Districts PA volunteer Suzanne Broughton will discuss the history of gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, its impact on communities, and Fair Districts PA’s proposed plan for redistricting reform.

Redistricting reform is a nonpartisan issue and reforms that have passed in other states have had the support of voters across party lines. Fair Districts PA hopes to create an independent citizens commission for drawing district boundaries in time for PA’s 2020 redistricting.

The Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh invites the community to several free upcoming events.

Religious studies scholar Younus Mirza will speak at Pitt on Monday, April 3 from noon to 2 p.m., room 602 at the Cathedral of Learning, at the Jewish Studies Brown Bag Colloquium on “ISIS’s Writings on Jews and Judaism: Its Appropriation of Medieval Muslim Views.”

On Thursday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., students will present their research on the “The Pittsburgh Torah Scrolls Project” in the William Pitt Union, Kurzman Room.

Film Schmoozes will be back as part of the JFilm Festival, April 20 to April 30, venues TBA. What’s better than watching a good film? Talking about it afterward. Join at the JFilm Festival with post-film discussions led by Jewish Studies faculty and other scholars.

Visit for more information.