Metro Briefs May 31

Metro Briefs May 31

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden will present biologist Daniel Chamovitz, director of the Manna Center for Plant Biology at Tel Aviv University, Thursday, June 7, 6 p.m., at Rodef Shalom Congregation. He is the author of “What A Plant Knows.” 

Chamovitz grew up in Aliquippa and studied at both Columbia University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He carried out post-doctoral research at Yale University before accepting a faculty position at Tel Aviv University, where he recently served as chair of the department of plant sciences. He is the director of the university’s Manna Center for Plant Biosciences.

There is no charge to attend; reservations are necessary and can be made at or 412-444-4464. 

Bob Konig will present a lecture titled “Safe Haven: A Story of Hope,” Monday, June 4, at Beth El Congregation of the South Hills. Lunch will be served at noon followed by the lecture at 12:30 p.m.

The lecture is about the 1,000 World War II refugees, including Konig’s grandparents, whom President Franklin D. Roosevelt granted safe haven in the United States in 1944.

The lecture features a 38-minute film, also titled “Safe Haven: A Story of Hope.”

The Anthony DeCello Basketball Academy will begin offering shooting clinics at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in South Hills, 345 Kane Blvd., Scott Township, with a free introductory session Sunday, June 10, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Participants will be given a free shot analysis using the new Noah Basketball Shooting System, which digitally analyzes a player’s shooting arc and provides immediate feedback, instant video review and printed shot arc plots.

The Summer Basketball Shooting Clinic, which also features the Noah Basketball Shooting System, will be conducted at the JCC South Hills Sundays, from 4 to 6 p.m., starting June 17. There is a charge.

Contact Chris Gilbert at (412) 278-1975, ext. 262 or for more information.

The Agency for Jewish Learning will honor 22 local educators and volunteers with the Unsung Jewish Hero Award, Sunday, June 10, during its annual meeting at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill.

The honorees represent local synagogue schools, early childhood programs, and day schools in the greater Pittsburgh area, and were selected for this honor by their schools.

The AJL established the Unsung Jewish Hero Award in 2008 to recognize the contributions and impact educators make each day in the classroom.

“The teachers in our Jewish educational institutions provide our students with the foundation they need to build a righteous world, and engage them with our rich heritage and our vibrant Jewish community,” AJL President Charles Saul said in a prepared statement.

The Grinspoon/Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education will be presented to Steve Kroser, a J-SITE teacher. The award, sponsored by the Jewish Education Service of North America, is presented to professionals in up to 80 communities across the country and is supported locally by the Barbara and Lester Parker Endowment Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Foundation through the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future.

Rabbi Mordy and Rivkee Rudolph will receive the 2012 AJL Special Needs Distinguished Service Award, given to a professional who is dedicated to the inclusion of all Jews in the greater Pittsburgh community. They are being honored for their work with the Friendship Circle.

The community is invited to the meeting; there is no charge to attend. Call the AJL at 412-521-1101, ext. 3207 for reservations.

Squirrel Hill Historical Society will hold its next free program, “History of UPMC’s Sports Medicine Clinic and the History of Sports Medicine,” with speaker Dr. Freddie Fu, the David Silver professor and chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at UPMC, Tuesday, June 5, 7:30 p.m., at the Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave.

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

The Reunion Committee of the June 1962/January 1963 classes of Taylor Allderdice High School is planning a 50th reunion celebration during Labor Day weekend. A “Meet & Greet” will open the reunion Saturday evening, Sept. 1; followed by dinner at The Rivers Club Sunday, Sept. 2; and a farewell breakfast at the Courtyard Marriott at the Waterfront Monday, Sept. 3.

Contact Gail Sablowsky Wedner at for more information.

Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh is in need of teenage volunteers from June 25 to July 27, for its summer youth program, which helps teenagers who are blind or vision impaired prepare for college or a career. Teenage volunteers accompany students to places such as Kennywood, Pirate baseball games, Sandcastle, camping or just spend time with them in the evening. Volunteer schedules are flexible, and training is provided.

Contact Nancy Schepis, volunteer coordinator, at 412-368-4400 or for more information.

The Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee’s Christian-Jewish Dialogue will meet Thursday, June 7, noon, at Congregation Beth Shalom. The session will review and discuss the past year’s topics and generate ideas for next year. The regular monthly conveners are Rabbi James Gibson, Reverend Cynthia Bronson-Sweigert, Father Dan Valentine and Rabbi Michael Werbow. The program is free to the public.

Contact the PAJC office at (412) 605-0816 or at for more information.