Metro Briefs March 5

Metro Briefs March 5

Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation will hold an Open House on Sunday, March 8 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at 5898 Shady Ave. Families with young children are invited to visit and experience one or both programs. The Toddler & Me class is for newborns through age 3 and meets bimonthly. The program includes play, special speakers, snacks and socialization in the new toddler room. The Mini Mensch program for pre-K to first-graders meets on Sundays. The class includes Hebrew through movement and Torah Alive. The programs are supported by the Sylvia and Martin Snow Charitable Foundation Fund. Contact Karen Morris at or 412-521-6788 for more information or to RSVP.

J Street Pittsburgh and Partners for Progressive Israel will sponsor a presentation on “Standing on the Precipice: The Israeli Elections,” on Sunday, March 8 from 1:15 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill. The speaker, Maya Haber, was born and raised in Israel and graduated from Tel Aviv University with a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy. She continued her education at the University of London and earned a doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has written and published on health care and social sciences in post World War II Soviet Union. Haber was the recipient of the Partners for Progressive Israel’s study-tour scholarship in 2014. She is the director of development and programming for PPI, where she produces, writes, and edits the organization’s podcast and blogs. The program is open to the community.

Dr. Stanley M. Marks will speak on “New Approaches to Cancer: From Shotgun to Precision Therapies” at the Congregation Beth Shalom Health Initiative on Monday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. Marks is chief of the division of Hematology/Oncology at UPMC Shadyside and clinical professor of medicine and chief medical officer for the UPMC Cancer Center. He will discuss how cancer treatments have evolved in recent years from the general one-size-fits-all to personalized, and now individually targeted, therapies.

The Health Initiative is funded by the support of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, the Fine Foundation, the Staunton Farm Foundation, the UPMC Cancer Center and the Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and University of Pittsburgh. The program will be held at Congregation Beth Shalom, 5915 Beacon St., in Squirrel Hill and is free and open to the public. Contact 412-421-2288, ext. 112, for more information.

The Squirrel Hill Historical Society will hold its next free meeting on Tuesday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. Michael Chen, an established local restaurateur who owns 10 restaurants, will speak on “Chinese Restaurants in America.” Contact 412-417-3707 or visit for more information.

The Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee will hold a Christian-Jewish Dialogue on Thursday, March 12 from noon to 1:15 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave., in the church library. The topic will be “Faith & Science.” Rabbi James Gibson and Fr. David Poecking will lead the dialogue and discussion.

The community is invited to share thoughts on this timeless conversation and to explore how faith impacts science and how science impacts beliefs. Regular dialogue conveners are Gibson, Rabbi Paul Tuchman, The Rev. Linda Theophilus, Poecking and Father Radu Bordeianu. The Rev. Michael Foley, rector of Church of the Redeemer, is hosting the dialogue.

Pittsburgh Young Judaea is hosting a Havdalah-Ton overnight/CYJ Mini-Day on Saturday evening March 14 to Sunday, March 15 at Beth El Congregation of the South Hills. The overnight is planned by teens and is for second-graders and up and will include Havdalah, camp fun, games and friends. On Sunday, students will participate in Good Deeds Day by helping the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry with a project done at Beth El. For more information or to register, contact Hana Uman at Visit for general information about Young Judaea.

The Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania will hold its 60th annual Orchid Show on Saturday, March 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Phipps Garden Center, 1059 Shady Ave. at Fifth Avenue. Admission is free; donations are appreciated. Visitors will see hundreds of orchids in full bloom in staged exhibits. The show will include orchid exhibits, free educational seminars, plant raffles and sales by vendors from all over the Eastern United States and Ecuador. The orchids and exhibits will be judged by a team of certified American Orchid Society Judges. The Orchid Show is part of the educational mission of the OSWP. Contact Carolyn Bolton at 412-714-0263 for more information about the show and the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania or visit

The Great Jewish Books Summer Program is a tuition-free residential program at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. The program introduces students to a range of modern Jewish novelists, poets and short-story writers, ranging from Franz Kafka to Philip Roth, Sholem Aleichem to Grace Paley, in classes taught by college professors. Participants also have the opportunity to meet with contemporary authors and to connect with other students from across the United States and Canada while staying in dorms at Hampshire College, adjacent to the Yiddish Book Center, and taking part in field trips and recreational activities under the supervision of resident advisers. Now in its fourth year, the program is open to rising high school juniors and seniors. Students accepted to the program receive full scholarships covering the cost of tuition, room and board, books and special events.

This year’s program will take place Aug. 2 to Aug. 9. Applications are due April 1.

Visit for more information or to apply.

Cindy and David Shapira are the recipients of this year’s Hillel International Renaissance Award. The award will be presented on Tuesday, May 26 at the Pierre Hotel in New York City during Hillel International’s annual Renaissance Gala. The Renaissance Award is Hillel International’s highest honor and is bestowed each year upon an individual or individuals whose bold vision and transformative initiatives enrich the campus, the Jewish community and the world. David Shapira serves as executive chairman of the board of directors of Giant Eagle, Inc. and is president of the David S. and Karen A. Shapira Foundation. Cindy Shapira is a community activist and vice president of the David S. and Karen A. Shapira Foundation.

In announcing the 2015 Renaissance Award honorees, Randall Kaplan, chair of Hillel International’s board of governors said, “Cindy and David Shapira, through philanthropy and active engagement, are leading the Hillel enterprise’s transformation to the Comprehensive Excellence model on our campuses and at the Schusterman International Center. Their partnership with the Beacon Foundation, Hillel International, Hillel’s boards of governors and directors and universities currently in the Compre-hensive Excellence pilot has set a new bar for achieving and measuring quality and impact. Recognizing them with this award puts a spotlight on Hillel International’s commitment to reaching and positively affecting the lives of the approximately 400,000 Jewish students at colleges and universities.”