Metro Briefs November 28

Metro Briefs November 28

Chris Herman
Chris Herman

Chris Herman has been named coordinator of Pittsburgh’s Diller Teen Fellows program, a 15-month international leadership experience for Jewish teens.

In his new position, Herman will recruit and select teen participants, mentor youth and implement programs that help them develop a sense of belonging and responsibility for their communities, Israel and the Jewish people.  

Diller is part of Partnership2Gether, a sister-city program connecting the Jewish community of Pittsburgh with the city of Karmiel and the Misgav region in Israel’s central Galilee.

The Diller Teen Fellows program is built on the Partnership model and includes a complete exchange of Pittsburgh teens and their Israeli counterparts from Karmiel-Misgav.

In his job, Herman will work with Nir Eshkol, Pittsburgh’s representative in the P2K region, to develop both a 10-day visit for the Israeli teens to Pittsburgh in April, and a three-week summer seminar in Israel in July, in addition to ongoing educational programs on a regular basis throughout the year.

The Diller program, which is in its fifth year in Pittsburgh, includes supplemental activities for alumni of the 15-month program, thereby enabling them to remain connected to the members of their cohort as they expand their knowledge and leadership skills.

Herman comes to Pittsburgh from Wilmette, Ill., where he worked for five years for Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah.  His first position there, as youth director, resulted in a 65 percent increase in youth participation in the first year.  In 2008, he became director of informal education for the congregation, designing curricula, placing publicity and coordinating events for the 500-member congregation.

A graduate in journalism from Ohio State University, where he interned at the Hillel, Herman went on to earn a master’s degree in Jewish professional studies from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, Chicago.

For the past three summers, he has led international tours for a Pittsburgh company that offers international travel to Jewish singles.

The Helen Diller Family Foundation of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation founded the Diller Teen Fellows Program in 1997. It fosters the values of excellence, pluralism and responsibility.

Locally, Diller is co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, and the Agency for Jewish Learning, with significant support from the Helen Diller Family Foundation.

Herman can be reached at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill, at 521-8011, ext. 344.

Schelly Talalay Dardashti will be Temple Emanuel’s scholar in residence for its annual Rabbi William Sajowitz Endowment Fund Weekend, from Dec. 13 to 15.

The theme for this year’s weekend is “Who’s in Your Family Tree?
Tracing Our Roots: A Weekend of Genealogy.”

Dardashti is from, a global genealogy company founded in Israel. In addition to speaking and blogging — she writes “Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog” — Dardashti also is a board member of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies and the founder and administrator of Tracing the Tribe-Jewish Genealogy on Facebook.  

Temple Emanuel also is partnering with, which tests DNA for genealogy and ancestry. It also offers a learning center that contains answers to questions about genealogy DNA testing, personal ancestry and DNA group project administration.

In addition to the other programs Dardashti will conduct during the Sajowitz Weekend, she also will consult with individuals about their family genealogy by appointment.

Contact Temple Emanuel at 412-279-7600 for more information.   

Temple Emanuel of South Hills will roll out a new early childhood program next year.

“Let’s Explore!” which will debut in January at Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC), is designed as a supplement to preschool.

The 10-session enrichment program will combine art, drama, dance, poetry, literature, music, math and science.

In January and February ECDC will offer “Let’s Explore! The Colors of the Rainbow.”  Teachers and children will investigate rainbows, whether black is a color and the color of light. Activities will include mixing colors, making natural dyes, and creating spectrums from black paper and a glass of water.

“Wind and Weather” will be the theme for the February and March session, followed in the spring by “Our Garden.”

The written curriculum is subject to change as each teacher and child contributes his or her own questions and interests. Parents are invited to participate.

Let’s Explore! will be offered on Monday and Wednesday afternoons or Tuesday and Thursday mornings at Temple Emanuel, 1250 Bower Hill Road in Mt. Lebanon.  Contact Iris Harlan at 412-279-7687 or to register.

The Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee’s Christian-Jewish Dialogue will meet Thursday, Dec.  5, noon, at Congregation Beth Shalom, 5915 Beacon St.  The topic will be “God’s Name.” The regular monthly conveners are Rabbi James Gibson, Rev. Linda Theophilus and Rabbi Michael Werbow.

The program is free to the public.  

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

Chabad of CMU will offer students the opportunity to light their own menorahs each night of the holiday.

One of those nights will include a falafel dinner and dreidel games. Carnegie Mellon University faculty members also will light a 9-foot menorah in the center of campus on the last night of the holiday.

The CMU Bagpipe Band will entertain the crowd with Chanukah music and the CMU Scotty dog mascot will make an appearance as well.

AEPi, Hillel JUC, Jewish Graduate Student Association, Jewish Student Association and Tartans for Israel will co-sponsor the event.

Chabad of CMU will also erect a large menorah at the AEPi house.

Visit for more information.

B’nai Emunoh Chabad will hold its Chanukah dinner Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at 4315 Murray Ave., and will include latkes and donuts with menorah lighting and sand art.

The charge is $18 for adults and $10 for children under 12, with a $50 maximum for family.

Contact or call 412-521-1477 for reservations.

The Pittsburgh Haiti Symposium is scheduled for Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rodef Shalom, 4905 Fifth Ave., grew out of the desire of Pittsburgh residents Marian Allen, Rabbi Sharyn Henry and Cindy Tilson to spread the good news of what they observed while there.

They saw organizations working to rebuild Haiti from the ground up in every sense of the word and wondered if there was a way to help the nongovernmental organizations work smarter in the future. The three reached out to various Pittsburgh-based NGOs that work in Haiti.

Organizations attending include Hopital Albert Schweitzer, Friends of Hopital Albert Schweitzer, Brother’s Brother, GSPIA Center for Disaster Management, Friends of Haiti, Haitian Families First, Hearts for the Hungry, Medwish, Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, Pittsburgh Regional Haiti Thomas Merton Center’s Solidarity Committee, Surtab and others.

Visit for more information about the Pittsburgh Haiti Symposium and to register.