Metro Briefs September 17

Metro Briefs September 17

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh announces the Refugee Crisis Emergency Fund, created to raise money to help the flood of refugees in Europe and the Middle East. This flood stems from the war in Syria and from instability throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The Federation joins an international coalition of Jewish organizations to provide humanitarian aid through the Federation’s overseas partner, the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

“This is the worst refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War II,” said Woody Ostrow, chair of the Federation’s board of directors. “The human needs will be enormous, and there is an urgent call for life-saving assistance.”

For the last two years — through the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief (JCDR), a consortium of nearly 50 Jewish organizations — Jewish donors have been quietly funding relief efforts to support Syrian refugees. Convened by JDC, JCDR provides a coordinated Jewish response to humanitarian crises around the world. This spring, for example, JCDR provided a response after earthquakes in Nepal. Before that, JCDR had aided thousands of Syrian refugees by providing grants to humanitarian groups operating in Jordan, in coordination with humanitarian assistance provided by Israel. The JDC’s efforts led to the founding of the Multi-Faith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, an interfaith group that advocates for the needs of Syrian refugee populations.

“Helping refugees is a core Jewish value, with its roots in the Torah’s command ‘Love the stranger because you were once strangers in a strange land,’ ” said Rabbi Danny Schiff, who holds the position of Federation scholar. “As Jews, we remember many times that we, as a people, were in similar situations, and we are moved to help.”

Jewish Federations of North America is a standing member of JCDR, which connects the Pittsburgh Federation with the JCDR’s work on this refugee crisis. The ongoing relationship enables the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to ensure that 100 percent of contributions donated to the Refugee Crisis Emergency Fund will go directly to services for those in need.

Donors can contribute to the humanitarian relief efforts by visiting the Federation’s website at or by calling Jessica Brown Smith, director of financial resource development, at 412-992-5248.

Hadassah Greater Pittsburgh will honor past presidents Marlene Silverman and Bernice Myers with the Myrtle Wreath Citation of Honor at a luncheon and silent auction on Sunday, Oct. 11 at 11 a.m. at the University Club, 123 University Place. Marlene Post, Hadassah National past president, will be the guest speaker.

The Myrtle Wreath Citation of Honor is given to outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves by making significant contributions to society through civic responsibility.

There is a $75 charge to attend. Kosher meals will be available upon request.

Reservations should be made by Sept. 18. Contact the Hadassah office at 412-421-8919 or for more information.

The “In the Air: Visualizing what we breathe” exhibit will open on Friday, Sept. 18 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Galleries at 477 Melwood Ave. Curated by Laura Domencic, director of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and photographer Brian Cohen, the exhibit features photography by Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith, Lynn Johnson and Annie O’Neill. The photographers have spent the last year recording people and places that illustrate the environmental, social and economic effects of air quality in Western Pennsylvania.

An accompanying book, designed by Brett Yasko with essays by Reid Frazier, will expand on and provide context to the visual work.  The project will also have an online presence, This team has gathered materials that describe the variety of issues at the heart of the air quality subject, highlighting the relationship between the health of the community and the health of its environment.

The exhibit will be on view through Feb. 26, 2016. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Both the opening and gallery admission is free.

Visit for more information about the exhibit.