Metro Briefs May 2

Metro Briefs May 2

Diller Teens
Diller Teens

The Diller Teen Fellows Program is looking for rising 10th and 11th grade Jewish students from Greater Pittsburgh committed to serving their community.

Diller Teens participate in a 15-month program consisting of monthly workshops and weekend retreats focusing on leadership development and Jewish identity, community service, and a connection to Israel.  They also join a spring seminar with Israeli teens from Karmiel and Misgav and make a trip to Israel.

The Diller Teens fellows program is entering its fifth year in Pittsburgh and is run in partnership with eight other North American/Israeli partnerships.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2013-2014 cohort through May 17.

Contact Lisa Sobel-Berlow, program coordinator, at or (412) 521-1101 ext. 3200 for more information.

The second annual Robinson International Short Film Competition presented by JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum, is set for Wednesday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. at SouthSide Works Cinema. The Pittsburgh premiere of five short films and announcement of filmmakers winning significant cash awards will highlight the evening.

The competition honors the memory of Sanford N. Robinson, Sr., a noted member of the Pittsburgh Jewish community.

Robinson’s husband, Judy, and her children, Heather and David, are involved in screening the entries and selecting the winners, along with a panel of judges.

The winning directors will be in attendance at the event, but do not know which award they will receive.

The purpose of the competition is to further the careers of the winning filmmakers by awarding significant monetary prizes and offering exposure for their films. The winners will be announced following the screenings. First prize is $10,000 and two honorable mentions will be given at $3,000 each.

The competition was opened to independent filmmakers and received submissions from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Poland, Great Britain and the United States.

The evening, hosted by the Robinson family, will feature the film and award presentations followed by a reception.

Visit or call 412-992-5203 to purchase tickets.

JFilm is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

B’Nai Shalom Congregation  and the Federated Jewish Charities of Huntington, W.Va., marked Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s 65th anniversary, Sunday April 21, with its third annual Independence Day Celebration at Huntington’s Pullman Square.

The event capped a weekend of festivities to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut, which included services, a falafel bar, recollections of the recent trip to Israel by Huntington’s Jews and guest speakers, including Marty Greenberg, Jewish Federations of North America executive director for small communities.

Greenberg accompanied some 20 Huntington Jews, and some from other small communities, on a trip to Israel last December. The group visited Dimona — it’s Partnership community there — the Sea of Galilee, Safed, the Ruins of Caesarea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has issued a proclamation designating the Sunday event “the West Virginia Israel Independence Day Celebration.”

Linda Klein, a Pittsburgh native, coordinated the trip and the weekend’s events. She said three protestors protested at Pullman Square celebration, but otherwise did not disrupt the celebration.

Steeltown Film Factory Competition will show a short tribute film about Ellen Weiss Kander, Saturday May 11, at 11 a.m., during its annual Film Factory Competition at Purnell Center for the Arts at Carnegie Mellon University. The winner of the $30,000 Ellen Weiss Kander award from amongst the 3 finalists also will be selected.

This year’s screenwriting competition, which drew more than 250 applicants, is the realization of Kander’s dream to keep young, talented screenwriters in Pittsburgh, according to her husband, Gregg Kander.

A reception will follow the program.

Contact by May 8 for tickets.

The Friends of the Squirrel Hill Public Library will hold its annual program meeting, Sunday, May 5 at 2 p.m. Prudence Wright Holmes, stage and film actor, coach and author, will appear in her one-woman show,

“Call Me William: the Lives and Times of Willa Cather.”

Cather was a Pulitzer Prize winning writer and author of “My Antonia” and “Death Comes for the Archbishop.” She lived, wrote and taught in Pittsburgh from 1896-1906.

There will be a brief business meeting before the presentation.  Refreshments will be served.

The Brotherhood at Rodef Shalom Congregation will hold a bimonthly discussion and lunch series at the synagogue, 4905 Fifth Ave., Shadyside, with a new topic presented at each meeting.

The next session is slated for Thursday, May 9, 10:30 a.m. Rabbi Aaron Bisno will speak on the topic “Jewish Life in the Former Soviet Union.” Lunch can be ordered at check-in for a charge. No RSVP is required.

Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh is in need of teenage volunteers for its summer youth program, from July 8 to Aug. 9, which helps young adults who are blind or vision impaired prepare for college or a career. Teenage volunteers accompany students to places like Kennywood, Pirate baseball games, Sandcastle and Camp Kon-O-Kwee, or just spend time with them in the evening. Volunteer Contact Nancy Schepis, volunteer coordinator, at 412-368-4400 ext. 3430 or for more information.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service will hold its Annual Meeting, Monday, May 13, 7 p.m., at Rodef Shalom Congregation.

The program will include reports from Board President Joel Rosenthal and Executive Director Aryeh Sherman.

In addition, the JF&CS board governance committee will present the

annual Dr. Howard A. Mermelstein Leadership Award to Fern G. Schwartz.  Schwartz is senior vice president/senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, and currently serves as the secretary of the Board of Directors. She also serves as a member of the Executive Committee and as co-chair of the Governance Committee.

The late Dr. Mermelstein’s family established the Dr. Howard A. Mermelstein Leadership Award in 1993 to honor his commitment to the mission of JF&CS and to recognize that commitment to others.  

A special recognition for the JF&CS’ partner agencies and organizations throughout Pittsburgh also is planned.

The annual meeting is free and open to the public.  RSVPs are requested and may be made by return RSVP card; online at; or by calling 412-422-7200.

Pittsburgh City Council, Tuesday, adopted a proclamation recognizing Temple Sinai Rabbi James Gibson for his years of service to his congregation and his “outreach to city residents of all faiths.”

Gibson is celebrating 25 years as rabbi of the Squirrel Hill-based congregation.

The resolution further designated May 4, 2013 to be Rabbi James Gibson Day in the city.

The proclamation will be given to Gibson during a dinner in his honor this weekend at Temple Sinai.

NA’AMAT USA, Pittsburgh Council will have “Bagels and Books” program, Wednesday, May 8, 9:30 a.m. at the Labor Zionist Educational Center, 6328 Forbes Avenue. Helen Faye Rosenblum is the guest speaker.

There will be a light breakfast and a small charge for the morning. Contact Dee Selekman at 412-521-5253 or for reservations.