Metro Briefs October 8

Metro Briefs October 8

The Western Pennsylvania Auxilliary for Exceptional People will sponsor a free concert on Monday, on Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. in Levinson Hall at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill.

Aidana Yntykbayeva from Kazakstan will play classical music on the kobyz, the national instrument of Kazakstan, accompanied by pianist Anna Kovalevska.

The public is welcome to the performance.

The OLM Trio, composed of Susanne Ortner, clarinetist and saxophonist; Douglas Levine, pianist and composer; and John Marcinizyn, guitarist, composer and banjoist, will present the first concert of the Music at Rodef Shalom Series on Monday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. in Levy Hall at Rodef Shalom Congregation. The concert is open to the public at no charge. A reception follows the performance to provide an opportunity to meet and to converse with the musicians. Refreshments will be served.

These musicians are familiar to Pittsburgh as both performers and composer/arrangers of music for a wide variety of local musical and theater venues. Ortner, a graduate of the University of Augsburg, has arranged and composed music for the Jewish Theatre of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. She specializes in Eastern European music, including klezmer. Ortner is a member of the German Klezmer Quartet and the Ortner-Roberts Duo.

Levine, in addition to work as music director and pianist, composes for theater and dance. His recent work is with the Microscopic Opera Company’s Chamber opera, “Mercy Train.” He has written original music or arrangements for Pittsburgh Public Theatre, City Theatre, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Dreams of Hope, Gateway to the Arts, Renaissance City Women’s Choir and Pittsburgh Musical Theater.

Marcinizyn holds a doctorate in music composition and theory from the University of Pittsburgh and is an artist/lecturer in guitar and composition at Carnegie Mellon University and Seton Hill University. He performs both as a soloist, with contralto Daphne Alderson and with groups ranging from the Bach Choir to Billy Price.

The program will be announced from the stage.

The Helen Diller Family Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, a program that recognizes up to 15 Jewish teens annually with $36,000 each to be used in support of a social justice project or to further their education.  This call for nominations presents an opportunity for educators, civic leaders and teen mentors in communities across the United States, to acknowledge Jewish teens whose thoughtful approach to making a difference is creating meaningful change in their communities and the world around them.

Up to five teens from California and 10 from other communities nationwide will be acknowledged for demonstrating exceptional leadership and successfully working to make the world a better place. Anyone interested in nominating a teen, or any teen interested in self-nominating, should visit to begin the nomination process. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards began as the vision of Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller in 2007, as a way to recognize the next generation of socially committed leaders whose dedication to volunteerism exemplifies the spirit of tikkun olam, a central Jewish precept meaning to repair the world. In its nine-year history, more than $2.5 million has been give to 70 teens from more than 20 U.S. communities.

A video of the 2015 recipients spotlights the power of commitment, passion and leadership behind each teen project, and inspires hope for solutions to real world problems. Past recipients of the awards have made their mark through projects that champion a wide range of causes including: changing attitudes about bullying and special needs through peer-to-peer programs, outfitting a school district with solar power, building water wells in Tanzania and Nicaragua, improving life for kids with incarcerated parents, fighting hunger and promoting nutrition in low income communities.

Each candidate must be a U.S. resident aged 13-19 years old at the time of nomination, who self-identifies as Jewish. Community service projects may benefit the general or Jewish community, with impact locally, nationally or worldwide.

The online form is available at Contact or 415-512-6432 for more information.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s SteelTree Fund will give four projects a total of $11,500 in first-round 2015-2016 funding. The projects aim to engage young Jews in Judaism through means as diverse as Holocaust documentation and Jewish rock radio.

The SteelTree Fund, which combines support from the Federation’s annual campaign with support from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, enables SteelTree’s young adult members to make a collective impact by designating grants. During the fund’s first two years, it has attracted nine new donors to the annual campaign. Combined contributions from the 23 SteelTree members totaled more than $43,000. Because of the success of the engagement program, the Jewish Federations of North America will highlight the fund in a “FEDovations” panel at the JFNA General Assembly in Washington, D.C., Nov. 8 to 10.

The four organizations to receive the first round of SteelTree Fund grants are the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Chabad of Pittsburgh, the Holocaust Center of Greater Pittsburgh and Rick Recht and Jewish Rock Radio.

The JCC’s Department of Jewish Life will receive a grant to program “kitchen table conversations” to engage Jewish teens in discussions about how Judaism relates to current events and other areas of life. These conversations will involve teenagers from various denominations and political belief.

A grant to Chabad of Pittsburgh will help bring young Jewish women together to prepare a meal to support a cause of their choice. The event will offer the women the chance to connect with an older generation as well as highlight food insecurity in the Pittsburgh area.

The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, an affiliated organization of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, will receive a grant to support the Living Legacy Project. The grant will enable Holocaust Center professionals to document — in photos, video and other media — the stories of Pittsburgh Holocaust survivors. The outcomes of the project will be an exhibit at the Holocaust Center of photos of Pittsburgh-area survivors.

New grantees include Rick Recht with Jewish Rock Radio, which will help distribute Jewish rock music to teens and young adults in Pittsburgh. Listeners will download the music from the Jewish Rock Radio website.

Three upcoming rounds of funding will offer additional opportunities for organizations to apply for grants. Application deadlines for each round are Nov. 16; Feb. 9, 2016; and April 15, 2016. Contact Emily Richman, associate director of development operations at the Federation at 412-681-8000 or for more information.

A program with Combatants for Peace, a group of former Israeli and Palestinian fighters who now embrace nonviolence toward achieving peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis, will be held on Monday, Oct. 12 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Porter Hall 100 on the Carnegie Mellon University campus.

The program will include Israeli and Palestinian men and women who will share their individual experiences as fighters and explain why they see joint nonviolent advocacy for a two-state solution as the best means of achieving peace and justice in the region.

The program is sponsored by CMU University Lecture Series, the Department of History/Global Studies, Center for International Relations and Politics, J Street Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Global Studies Center and the Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies.