Metro Briefs November 20

Metro Briefs November 20

The Jewish Association on Aging is launching a survey to examine the critical needs of aging adults in the community, now and into the future.

According to the U.S. Census, for the first time in history there are more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 5. Couple that statistic with the fact that a large percentage of U.S. society are baby boomers who are approaching retirement, the need to examine senior care has become critical.

“In many ways, we are reimagining the aging experience in our Pittsburgh community,” said JAA president and CEO Deborah Winn-Horvitz. “The thoughts and opinions of the community will help us plan for the future so we can meet the needs of older adults and their families — both now and for generations to come.”

The survey is looking for the opinions of Pittsburgh residents to better position the JAA to plan for the diverse needs of elders and their families. The survey is in this edition of The Chronicle and can also be filled out at

This review of critical senior needs is possible with the support from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and longtime Pittsburgh resident Rita Gould.

For more than 100 years, the JAA has cared for older adults in the Pittsburgh area. The JAA is a continuum of care offering home health care and residential services. Its mission is to honor and enhance the lives of older adults through a spectrum of individualized, quality care consistent with Jewish values and traditions. Its network includes personal care, memory care, skilled nursing, home care and hospice, adult day services, outpatient and short-term rehabilitation, care navigation and a kosher home-delivered meal program.

Call 412-420-4000 for more information.

The Pittsburgh Learning Pathways Summit on Friday, Nov. 21 and the Kids+Creativity Network Assembly on Friday, Dec. 5 will explore innovative concepts, such as digital badges and connected learning pathways, with the focus on creating opportunities for students to integrate what they learn in school with their lives out of school.

“The digital age offers unprecedented opportunities and new challenges,” said Cathy Lewis Long, executive director and president of The Sprout Fund, a nonprofit organization that is helping to lead this learning revolution in Pittsburgh.

Participants in the Pathways event, including teachers, students, museum educators, artists and others, will share their expertise in a town-hall-style meeting to design new educational pathways linking classrooms with other locations of learning throughout Pittsburgh, so that students can pursue personalized educational paths.

Two weeks later, more than 200 organizations will meet in the annual Kids+Creativity assembly to discuss next steps for remaking learning in Pittsburgh, West Virginia and beyond.

Pittsburgh is one of six U.S. cities that have joined the Cities of Learning initiative that was launched in Chicago last year – a movement to connect community resources for youth and ensure learning does not stop when school lets out. The other four Cities of Learning are Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington.

Supporters of these initiatives locally include the Grable Foundation, the Hillman Foundation and the Giant Eagle Foundation, among others.

The Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center, the University of Pittsburgh Jewish Studies Program and Rodef Shalom Congregation Archives invite the community to an open house for “Jewish Life in Western Pennsylvania:  Exploring the Archives,” given in honor of Richard E. Rauh, on Sunday, Nov. 23 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Coffee and bagels will be available beginning at 10 a.m., and Andrew E. Masich, president and CEO of Heinz History Center, will welcome the participants.

The program includes an introduction to a new website, Jewish Families of Western Pennsylvania: Stories Drawn from the Rauh Jewish Archives. Presentations include Beyond the Family Tree; the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section Oral Histories: Voices from the Past; and The Lost Jewish Community of Pittsburgh’s East End: A Documentary in the Making.

Students from the University of Pittsburgh Jewish Studies Program will present new research on Jewish Pittsburgh. Julian Preisler, author of “The Synagogues of Central & Western Pennsylvania: A Visual Journey,” will be there to sign his book. Other offerings will be a discussion of the Homestead Hebrew Jewish community and information about preserving family collections.

Admission is free. Reservations are requested and can made at or 412-454-6406.

Irene Sidel, longtime regional director for Young Judaea, will be honored at a tribute on Saturday, Nov. 29 from 6:15 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation.

“CYJ: A Night to Remember” is an evening of Young Judaea for family and friends.  

Through her passion for creating Jewish and educational opportunities for youth and her devotion to Young Judaea and Camp Young Judaea Midwest, Sidel served as a role model for generations of Pittsburgh children; she served Western Pennsylvania Young Judaea for more than 17 years.  

Co-chairs are Barbara Baumann and Karen Morris. Tickets and donation information are at, or contact or Karen Morris at 412-429-2044 for more information or to order tickets.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will be part of an international call to action with #Giving Tuesday on Dec. 2.

The three ways a person can give are through time for volunteering through the Federation’s Volunteer Center, talent as a Federation fundraiser from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and resources by either giving or soliciting others.

Contact Brad Stamm, campaign associate, at 412-992-5228 or for more information.

The 53rd Annual Chabad Women’s Convention Retreat will be held from Friday, Dec. 12 to Sunday, Dec. 14 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Green Tree. Guest speakers will include Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Jacobson, Rabbi Manis Friedman and Rivki Hazan of Milan, Italy, who will inspire Jewish women from Pittsburgh and around the world.

According to Chanie Rosenblum, president of Lubavitch Women’s Organization and one of the retreat’s main planners, “The theme of the retreat is ‘Step Into the Light,’ and we want that energizing message to shine everywhere.” Blumi Rosenfeld, Chabad’s head emissary in Western Pennsylvania, who is also organizing the convention said, “We also have tremendous local talent who will be leading workshops, performing original entertainment and creating an elegant weekend retreat in every way.”

Nechoma Itkin, who has been a Chabad emissary in Pittsburgh for over 30 years, is also heading up the planning. According to Itkin, the last time Pittsburgh hosted a retreat was 22 years ago.

Visit for schedule information or email or call Leah Jacobs at 310-801-9230 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Keren Leeds at 412-805-1526 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service has opened its scholarship application process for the 2015-2016 school year. Area Jewish students can apply for community scholarships with one online application at

CSLRS, a nearly 50-year-old program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh administered by Jewish Family & Children’s Service, coordinates the efforts of a group of organizations, agencies and scholarship endowment funds that provide scholarships to local Jewish students enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education.

Any Jewish high school senior or those enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or technical school with demonstrated financial need and living in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington or Westmoreland counties can apply. Applicants must be a resident of one of these counties for at least two years before applying, and financial need must be demonstrated.

Applications for the 2015-2016 school year are due by Feb. 11, 2015, and first-time applicants must be interviewed by CSLRS staff. Students whose applications are received by Friday, Dec. 12 may be interviewed during winter vacation.

Last year, CSLRS awarded more than $400,000 in scholarships to 200 area Jewish students.

Visit or contact Alayne Lowenberger, JF&CS scholarship program director, at 412-422-7200.

Repair the World, a national nonprofit that encourages Jewish young adults to volunteer to meet community needs, announced the second year of Repair the World Pittsburgh, which aims to support local service projects to contend with issues such as education and food justice.

Repair the World offers full-time fellowships as part of its Communities program, engaging 42 full-time fellows, most of them recent college graduates, to support volunteer and service learning projects involving thousands of young adults. In addition to Pittsburgh, Repair the World Communities awards service fellowships in Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia. The program drew 3,500 local residents and volunteers throughout these communities in its inaugural year in 2013.

Last year in Pittsburgh, the Communities program had a group of nine full-time Millennial Fellows who worked to recruit, train and engage volunteers to meet the social missions of Pittsburgh-area nonprofits. In this second year, the Pittsburgh chapter has a team of nine new Millennial Fellows, including two fellows who returned as team leaders. The fellows will work with local nonprofit agencies that include Higher Achievement, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, East End Cooperative Ministries and Food Revolution.

Visit for more information.

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Carnegie Mellon University have shown in an MRI study that the brain anatomy in MRI scans of people with autism above age 6 is mostly indistinguishable from that of typically developing individuals and, therefore, of little clinical or scientific value.

The study, “Anatomical Abnormalities in Autism?” was published in the Oxford journal Cerebral Cortex.

“Our findings offer definitive answers regarding several scientific controversies about brain anatomy, which have occupied autism research for the past 10 to 15 years,” according to Dr. Ilan Dinstein of BGU’s departments of psychology and brain and cognitive sciences.

Other researchers who participated in this study include Dr. Sigal Berman of BGU’s department of industrial engineering and management, Dr. Marlene Behrmann of Carnegie Mellon University’s department of psychology and Shlomi Haar, a doctoral student in BGU’s department of brain and cognitive sciences.