Metro Briefs November 26

Metro Briefs November 26

The annual Hillel Academy Alumni Basketball Game will be held on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 11 a.m. at the A.J. Palumbo Center on Forbes Avenue. Admission is free. Those interested in participating should contact the school at or 412-521-8131.

Kol Shira, the Pittsburgh Jewish women’s a cappella group, announced the release of their new Chanukah CD, “Eight Lights.” The celebration of the CD’s release will be held Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, Hazelwood Avenue in Squirrel Hill.

In addition to refreshments and selling CDs, the group will perform mini-sets every half hour. The CD will be available for a special release price of $5 that evening only. Kol Shira’s other CD, “Speak to the Heart,” will also be available to purchase.

Kol Shira is comprised of eight women from all walks of Jewish life and has been performing for more than 10 years. The music is a mix of traditional Yiddish and Hebrew tunes set to modern arrangements, as well as classical favorites. They compose their own arrangements, rehearse them weekly and perform in venues around Pittsburgh including synagogues, senior centers and private homes.

Go to for more information.

Admission to the event is free. This event is only for women and children.

The Mystery of the Hebrew Detective, a lecture by Israeli literary critic and best-selling mystery novelist Dror A. Mishani, will be held on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. in the University of Pittsburgh English Department Conference Room 501 in the Cathedral of Learning. Mishani will address the question of the relative paucity of detective fiction in Israeli Hebrew culture.

The University Bookstore will have copies of Mishani’s books available for purchase at the event.

Mishani is an Israeli crime writer, translator and literary scholar, specializing in the history of detective fiction. His detective series, featuring police inspector Avraham Avraham, was first published in Hebrew in 2011 and is translated to many languages. The first novel in the series, “The Missing File,” was shortlisted for the 2013 CWA International Dagger Award and won the Martin Beck Award for the best translated crime novel in Sweden. The second novel, “A Possibility of Violence,” won the Bernstein Award for Best Hebrew Novel in 2014.

The Pitt Jewish Studies Program and Department of English are sponsoring the lecture.

Contact or 412-624-2280 for more information.

Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee will hold the next East End Christian-Jewish Dialogue on Thursday, Dec. 3, from noon to 1:15 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave. in room ALC-1.

The program will be an opportunity to celebrate and recognize what would have been Thomas Merton’s 100th birthday in 2015.

Visit for more information.

Beth El Congregation of the South Hills will hold a communitywide Shabbat experience of music and joy with New York-based artist Sheldon Low performing with Rabbis Alex and Amy Greenbaum and cantorial soloist Sara Stock Mayo on Friday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m.

Friday Night Live is Beth El’s new service for those interested in celebrating Shabbat with song. The evening is for people of all ages and is open to the community, including a complimentary dinner at 7 p.m.

Visit for more information and to RSVP for dinner by Dec. 2, or call 412-561-1168. Beth El is located at 1900 Cochran Road.

Women of Temple Sinai will host the Ortner/Marcinzyn Duo on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. Susanne Ortner-Roberts, clarinetist, soprano and saxophonist, and John Marcinzyn, a guitar virtuoso, will perform an eclectic blend of Gypsy jazz, Latin, klezmer and more. Light hors d’oeuvres, wine and dessert will be served.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Advance registration is due by Friday, Nov. 27.

Call 412-421-9715 ext. 121 or visit for more information and to RSVP.

Shalom Pittsburgh’s annual Vodka Latke party will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Altar Bar, 1620 Penn Ave. in the Strip District.

The party will help support the collaboration between the Jewish Federation Volunteer Center and Beverly’s Birthdays, a Pittsburgh nonprofit organization that provides birthday celebrations for children experiencing homelessness and for families in need by donating items for a “party in a bag.” Items that will be collected at the party are kosher, unopened containers of cake mixes and frosting, candles, disposable tablecloths, paper plates, forks, cups and napkins.

Collected items will be assembled during Mitzvah Day and distributed through the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry, a project of Jewish Family & Children’s Service.

The party, which will be $30 per person in advance, $50 at the door, will include an open bar, DJ, kosher spread with latkes and cookies, a photo booth and more.

Contact Meryl Franzos at or 412-992-5204 for more information. Register at

The Nathan and Hilda Katzen Religious School at Temple Sinai invites all 3-year-old members of the community and their parents to experience a new early childhood program, B’yahad, on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. B’yahad is a program that will allow participants to interact with Rabbi Keren Gorban and an experienced preschool teacher while exploring ritual objects, celebrating holidays and learning about Jewish values. This session of B’yahad will focus on Chanukah. Preregistration is required.

Contact Debbie Haber at 412-421-9715, ext. 116 or for more information and to RSVP.

Chabad of Pittsburgh will hold the annual Menorah Parade followed by the Grand Menorah Lighting on Sunday, Dec. 6, with the parade beginning at 4:45 p.m. at the Chabad Lubavitch Center, lining up at Prospect Drive and Hobart Street. The menorah lighting will be at 5:45 p.m. in Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

The event will include live music, donuts and latkes.

Contact 412-421-3561 or for more information.

South Hills Community Chanukah Celebration will be held at the Galleria Mt. Lebanon on Monday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. on the second level near the fountain. The evening will begin with the lighting of a 12-foot menorah.

Dave Darwin’s one-man sideshow, as seen on “America’s Got Talent,” will be featured with a juggling and comedy performance for the whole family. There will be klezmer music, menorah woodcraft with Home Depot and raffle prizes.

Admission is free. RSVP is appreciated at 412-344-2424 or or visit The RSVP will also be a raffle entry.

Chabad of the South Hills and South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh are presenting the event.

Young Peoples Synagogue/Bohnai Yisrael will be conducting a Community Chesed Initiative during the Chanukah season, in honor of the holiday and the community. Activities will include collecting for the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry in the form of packaged or canned kosher food items, as well as diapers and personal and household cleaning items; collecting new children’s books for school ages kindergarten through fifth-grade for Reading Is Fundamental, in Pittsburgh; and collecting winter items such as coats, blankets and gloves for Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Items can be brought to YPS, 6404 Forbes Ave., corner of Denniston Street in Squirrel Hill, on Monday, Dec. 7, or Thursday, Dec. 10, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Arrangements can also be made to pick up items from your home. Funds can be contributed for YPS to pass on to designated organizations. Receipts will be given for all items or funds collected.

Contact Marshall Hershberg, board chair, at 412-709-8052 or for more information.

Chabad of the South Hills will hold its Chanukah senior’s luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 12:30 p.m. at the South Hills Jewish Community Center, 345 Kane Blvd.

The kosher lunch will include latkes, menorah lighting and Chanukah music. The luncheon is co-sponsored by the South Hills JCC.

There is a $5 suggested donation. The building is wheelchair accessible.

Call Barb at 412-278-2658 to register.

Jewish Residential Services will hold a Chanukah Open House on Wednesday, Dec. 9, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Howard Levin Clubhouse at 2621 Murray Ave.

The event will include candle lighting by Rabbi Eli Seidman, hors d’oevres and klezmer music by Klezlectic. JRS is collecting donations of new household items and toiletries for children and families of the Children’s Institute’s Project Star,

RSVP by Dec. 2 at or 412-325-0039.

Temple Sinai invites seniors to join in the Chanukah spirit and meet Temple Sinai’s newest clergy members at its annual senior Chanukah luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 10, at noon. Guests are encouraged to bring their own menorahs; candles will be provided. Rabbi Keren Gorban and Cantor Laura Berman will lead the music.

The cost is $18 for community members. Preregistration is required by Friday, Dec. 4.

Call Judy Mahan at 412-421-9715, ext. 110 for more information.

JFilm’s Teen Screen Program is expanding to include new offerings. Teen Screen, an educational program of JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum, offers free film screenings for middle and high school groups, facilitating the exploration of important, often difficult, topics through film. Teachers choose from a selection of films curated to help educators comply with state recommendations to expose students to the topics of the Holocaust, genocide and human rights violations (Act 70). Teacher guides, in-classroom prescreening preparation, and post-screening talkbacks in the theater are included with the program.

Teen Screen attracts approximately 5,000 students each year, and almost 30,000 students and teachers have attended the program since it began in 2005.

This school year, Teen Screen’s roster includes 14 documentary, narrative and animated titles. One featured film is “Blood Brother,” a documentary by local filmmaker Steve Hoover. “Blood Brother” follows the story of Rocky Braat, who embarked on a soul-searching journey and ended up at an HIV/AIDS orphanage in India, an experience that changed his life. Hoover’s film has received critical acclaim and several awards, including the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2013.

This month Teen Screen welcomes Lisa Tedde, another Pittsburgh native who has spent the last few years working with Braat at the orphanage. Tedde will share her experiences with students from six local high schools at two late November screenings of the film.

The Teen Screen program is intended to serve all students, including those who may have limited exposure to the topics presented due to socioeconomic, behavioral or learning differences. The program introduces students to important historical events and shows world cultures and languages in an accessible and appealing format.

For up-to-date film descriptions, screening dates and other questions, contact Teen Screen Director Lori Sisson at or 412-992-5203. Additional information about the program can be found at

The American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science announced that Lowell H. Lustig has joined the organization as executive director, Leadership Giving, of its new region.

In Pittsburgh and other Pennsylvania Jewish communities, Lustig will lead philanthropic efforts to support the Weizmann Institute, a top-ranking, multidisciplinary research institution in Rehovot, Israel. He will also build support for the Institute in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

Lustig has experience in Jewish philanthropy, health care and higher education. He held development roles at Syracuse University in New York, including associate dean for advancement, College of Law; executive director of the school’s Hillel; and most recently, senior director for advancement and capital giving. He received his juris doctorate from Capital University Law School and his bachelor’s degree from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

The Weizmann Institute of Science is a multidisciplinary research institution with a strong scientific community that engages in research addressing crucial problems in medicine and health, energy, technology, agriculture and the environment.