Metro Briefs October 31

Metro Briefs October 31

Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN) will hold its next public action meeting, Thursday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., at Rodef Shalom Congregation. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Some 1,200 members from differing faiths will come together to secure commitments from public officials on critical regional and national issues.

“PIIN works on a number of issues that impact our city, region and state,” said PIIN Vice President Jonathan Mayo. “Some of our task forces will make presentations at the meeting — what they’ve worked on, what they will continue to work on. Then they will have specific ‘asks’ of some of the elected officials/candidates in attendance.”

Among the issues the task forces are addressing are education, gun violence, jobs and the economy (with a focus on employing green infrastructure in the ALCOSAN project).

“We also see the enormous potential of creating sustainable green jobs as a result of this project, Mayo said.

He said none of the “asks” (requests for action) the task forces make at the meeting should surprise the officials who attend.

“The officials who agree to come and stand up know what’s coming,” Mayo said. “They’re asked to commit to something; they’ll say yes and then they’ll be given a minute to speak.

“Typically, each [task force] has done their ask separately, but we’re working on showing how the issues are intertwined,” he added, “so we may do something where Peduto will get up and will get the asks on both gun violence and jobs and the economy together.”

Bill Peduto, Democratic candidate for Pittsburgh mayor, is expected to attend as is Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, members of city council, State Rep. Dan Frankel, members of the Pittsburgh Public School Board and some declared candidates for governor — Rob McCord, Katie McGinty and John Hanger.

Members of Temple Sinai, Rodef Shalom, Temple David in Monroeville and Temple Ohav Shalom in the North Hills are PIIN participants. There also will be representatives from the Catholic, Protestant and Islamic communities.

Contact PIIN at 412-621-9230, or visit for more information.

Congregation Beth Shalom will hold its annual Awards Brunch, Sunday, Nov. 3, 9:45 a.m., in the Samuel and Minnie Hyman Ballroom.

The program will recognize four members of the congregation who were honored with awards this year: Dana Himmel, Ethel and Bernard Halpern Young Leadership; Ronna Harris Askin, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Volunteer of the Year; Moshe Baran, Nathan E. Snader Distinguished Service Award; and Dorita Krifcher, Lester Hamburg Member of the Year.

Call Judy at 412-421-2288, ext. 110 for reservations.

The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future has $1 million in matching grants available in this challenge year.

From now until Sept. 30, 2014, all new funds established in the Centennial Fund will be totaled and the $1 million match will be added to those new funds, pro rata, up to 50 cents for each dollar contributed.

This is the Federation’s first challenge grant that directly benefits a fund set up by an individual donor.

The Centennial Fund provides funding for three key program areas that influence Jewish identity: educational youth trips to Israel, Jewish summer camp and Jewish education.

“The fund infuses resources into programs proven to have the greatest impact on building Jewish identity,” David Burstin, development chair of the Centennial Fund, said in a prepared statement.

Temple Beth Israel in Steubenville, Ohio, became the first donor to qualify for matching funds. Its board voted to give $250,000 from the sale of its building to the Centennial Fund.

“The board of Temple Beth Israel wanted to provide opportunities for kids and young adults to strengthen their Jewish identity and ultimately choose to raise Jewish families,” Sharon Perelman, associate director of the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation who worked with Temple Beth Israel to create this fund, said in a prepared statement. “This is an unrestricted commitment for Jewish education and engagement made by a community that wants to leave a lasting legacy.”

Contact Perelman at 412-992-5224 or for more information about the Centennial Fund and matching grant eligibility.

Bet Tikvah, led by Rabbi Joe Hample of Tree of Life Congregation in Morgantown, W.Va., will hold a Shabbaton, Friday, Nov. 15, beginning with the service at 8 p.m. followed by an oneg at 9 p.m. A joint oneg with Dor Hadash will follow at 9:30 p.m.

The learning session addressing, “Our love-hate relationship with Chasidism,” will run from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16.

Both the Friday service and the Saturday learning session will be held in the Sisterhood Room at Tree of Life-Or L’Simcha, 5898 Wilkins Ave., Squirrel Hill.

After the Saturday learning session, Havdalah and a kosher dinner will be held at a private home.

All events are free and open to the community and participants are welcome to participate in as many or as few events as they wish.

Contact Bet Tikvah at or 412-256-8317 by Friday, Nov. 8, for reservations.

Rabbi James Gibson of Temple Sinai will join the next Town Meeting, hosted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PNC, Friday, Nov. 8, at 4 p.m. at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District.

The Town Hall will address “Religion in the Public Square” at that session.

In addition to Gibson, the other panelists at the Town Hall will be Post-Gazette Executive Editor David Shribman (the moderator), New York Post columnist Naomi Schaefer Riley, The Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief Gerald Seib and Post-Gazette religion writer Peter Smith.

The Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame is sponsoring the Town Hall, which is free to the public.

Contact the Post-Gazette at or 412-263-3850 to register. Include names of attendees.

Teens from across Pittsburgh will celebrate Rosh Chodesh under the stars, Sunday, Nov. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at J&R Day Camp in Monroeville.

In ancient times, Jews journeyed to Jerusalem from across Israel to testify that they had seen the New Moon. Questions were asked about what they had seen, and when two witnesses answered correctly, Rosh Chodesh was declared and celebrated in joy.

The teens will journey to Monroeville to experience this ancient ceremony with other Pittsburgh teens who will learn to recognize the new moon and “testify” to seeing it, participate in a drum circle and Israeli dancing, enjoy snacks and hot chocolate around a campfire and stargaze with binoculars and telescopes.

This program is open to all teens in grades eight through 12 and is part of the new Agency for Jewish Learning Beyond the Classroom series for teens.

Contact Lisa Sobel-Berlow at (412) 521-1101, ext. 3204 or by Oct. 31 to for reservations.