Metro Briefs March 6

Metro Briefs March 6

Father Patrick Desbois
Father Patrick Desbois

Father Patrick Desbois, author of “The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews,” will speak about his book, and his experiences, Tuesday, March 18, 7 p.m. at Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, W.Va. The lecture will be held in the Troy Theatre on campus.

A French Roman Catholic priest, Desbois, who is an advisor to the Vatican on the Jewish religion, is also a co-founder of Yachad-In Unum (“together” in Hebrew and “one” in Latin), a Paris-based organization dedicated to systematically identifying and commemorating the sites of Jewish mass executions by Nazi mobile killing units in Ukraine during World War II. His work relies heavily on eyewitness testimony.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the AJC (American Jewish Committee) and the Anti-Defamation League have all recognized Desbois for his work. Additionally, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yeshiva University and New York University have conferred honorary doctorates upon him.

The program is free to the public.

The Music at Rodef Shalom Series will feature violinist Paul Huang for the fourth concert of the season, Monday, March 17, 8 p.m., in Levy Hall at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave., Shadyside.

Huang has performed as a soloist with both American and international orchestras. He received the 2012 Helen Armstrong Violin Fellowship of YCA and made critically acclaimed debuts last season in New York and Washington, D.C.

A dedicated chamber musician, Huang has performed in music festivals and with instrumentalists around the world.

The concert is free to the public and a reception will follow the performance, which will afford an opportunity to meet the musician.

The Jacob’s Ladder Fund of Temple Emanuel of South Hills is presenting author, speaker and consultant Kathy Kater, who works in treatment and prevention of body image, eating, fitness and weight-related concerns.

Kater will give two sessions at Temple Emanuel on Monday, March 24. From 4 to 5:30 p.m., she will address teachers, health care workers and other professionals. From 7:30 to 9 p.m., she will speak to parents, teens and professionals unable to make the first session.

Tickets are $5 per person or $10 per family. Light refreshments are included. Call 412-279-7600 for tickets.

The Diller Teen Fellows Program is looking for rising 10th- and 11th-grade Jewish students from Greater Pittsburgh who show potential to be the future leaders of the Jewish community.

Diller Teens participate in an international leadership program for Jewish teens around the world.

The program consists of monthly Sunday workshops and weekend retreats throughout the 15-month program. Also included is a three-week seminar in Israel, the Diller Teen Leadership Congress, and a 10-day peer-to-peer exchange in North America with an Israeli counterpart group from the Partnership2Gether region of Karmiel-Misgav.

The program is being offered in 10 North American/Israeli partner communities. Applications are now being accepted for the 2014-2105 cohort.

Parents and teens are invited to learn about the program at upcoming Diller information sessions, Sunday, March 16, at the South Hills JCC, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 23, at the Squirrel Hill JCC, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Contact the program coordinator, Chris Herman, at 412-521-8011, ext. 344 or for more information and to make a reservation to attend a session.

The Diller Teen Fellows Program is funded by the Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the San Francisco Federation’s Jewish Community Endowment Fund and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

The 22nd Annual Taste of Westmoreland will be held Saturday, March 15, from 6 to 9 p.m., in the Chambers Hall student union at the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg.  

Congregation Emanu-El Israel of Greensburg has sponsored every year of the event.

More than 1,000 people are expected to taste the specialties of some 20 restaurants and caterers from Westmoreland County. The gymnasium will be transformed into tasting stations and the cafeteria will be set for seating for hundreds of participants.

Along with door prizes, there will be Chinese and silent auctions for gift baskets and certificates.

Anyone bringing canned and/or nonperishable items for the Westmoreland County Food Bank will receive one free ticket for the Chinese auction.

Tickets can be purchased at the synagogue, 222 N. Main St., Greensburg, or at various sites around the county. The cost is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Children 12 and under are $10.

Contact Emanu-El Israel at 724-834-0560 for more information or visit   

Women of Reform Judaism Atlantic District sisterhoods from southwestern Pennsylvania and Wheeling, W.Va., are sponsoring a screening for area female clergy of the short film “The Tribe,” Sunday, April 6, 2 p.m., at Rodef Shalom Congregation.

The film has been described as “an unorthodox, unauthorized, history of the Jewish people and the Barbie doll … in about 18 minutes.” It traces Barbie’s history and sheds light on the questions: What does it mean to be an American Jew today? What does it mean to be a member of any tribe in the 21st century?

After the screening, each table of guests will be asked to engage in discussion of some of the points brought out in the film.

The film comes with a study guide, which will be provided to participants.

Temple David will hold a mystery dinner, “Who Dunnit?” Saturday, April 5, in the Temple David Social Hall, at 4415 Northern Pike, Monroeville.

The comedy/dinner also include prizes and active participation in a performance by Mystery’s Most Wanted.

The price is $75 per couple; groups of eight or more can reserve a table. Doors open at 6 p.m. Proceeds benefit Temple David.

Contact Beverly at 412-372-1200 or for more information and reservations.

The Consulate General of Israel for the Mid-Atlantic Region will host a memorial service for Israel’s fallen soldiers on Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day), Sunday, May 4, at Har Zion Synagogue in Philadelphia.

The service, as in the past, will pay tribute to the fallen soldiers and victims of terrorist acts from across the region.

Pittsburgh area families of victims and/or soldiers who gave their lives for Israel, may email their information to the consulate at Type “Israeli Memorial Day” in the subject field.

Shaare Torah’s annual Spring Blood Drive will be held on Sunday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year the blood drive will be joined by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Mitzvah Day event.

“More Than Just Learning” hosts Shirley and Morris Shratter interview Carnegie Mellon University professor Paul Roth about Big Bands and entertainers of the 1940s every Tuesday at 8 March on PCTV Comcast channel 21 and Verizon 47.

Beth Israel Center will hold the third lecture of its series, Sunday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m., with speaker Rabbi Mark Mahler of Temple Emanuel of South Hills, on “The First Century.”

Elaine Small is sponsoring this year’s series in memory of her parents, Arthur and Esther Small.

The program is free to the public. Contact the office at 412-655-2144 for more information.

A Continuing Legal Education class on “Do Rabbinic Hiring Practices Violate the Sherman Antitrust Act?” will be held Friday, March 7, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Downtown Shul, 810 Fifth Ave., across from Chatham Center. Barak Richman, a professor at Duke University School of Law, will teach the class.

The CLE will explore synagogue hiring practices as they relate to contractual obligations in controlled hiring markets and will attempt to answer the question, are clergy placement systems a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and a betrayal of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom?

The class is open to the community. The Agency for Jewish Learning, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Cardozzo Society, are sponsors.

Contact the AJL at 412-521-1101 or for more information.

The Squirrel Hill Historical Society will hold its next free meeting Tuesday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m. on “The History of Tree of Life*Or L ‘Simcha Congregation,” with speaker David Dinkin, at Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave.

Contact Mike at 412-417-3707 or visit for more information.   

J Street Pittsburgh is hosting another session Sunday, March 9, at 1:30 p.m. at the Squirrel Hill Library on the core issue of “Security” in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, again from the Is Peace Possible Series developed by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and the Atlantic.

Ann Ruben will speak about “How Margaret from Dennis the Menace Cartoons Enriched My Life,” at ToonSeum’s Wonder Women exhibit, Saturday, March 15, at 2 p.m.

Ruben was reading the Sunday comics in 1993 when she stumbled upon a Dennis the Menace Cartoon: “Someday, a woman will be President!” exclaimed one of the characters, Margaret.

With permission of the Dennis the Menace cartoonist Hank Ketcham, Ruben took the slogan and created T-shirts to advocate for women’s equality.