Between comedy, lion cubs and clarinets, Pittsburgh is the place for entertainment this fall. With a bevy of Jewish performers and related events descending on the city, readers will find no shortage of ways to spend the upcoming season.
On Sept. 15, Grammy-nominated clarinetist David Krakauer returns to Pittsburgh as part of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival for a special centenary concert celebrating the Zimro Ensemble’s 1919 global tour (see p. 12 for more). With reliance on a clarinet, string quartet and piano, the upcoming concert will re-create the Zimro sextet’s Eastern European Jewish folk music inspired program. Krakauer’s performance and the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival will occur at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Shadyside.
Less than two weeks later, Jewish Veg, Humane Action Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Vegan Society will celebrate compassion with a night at the movies. The Sept. 24 event at Southside Works Cinema will feature a screening and discussion of “A Prayer for Compassion,” a 2019 film that follows Thomas Jackson andmembers of faith-based traditions as they explore the treatment of animals and what it means to follow a religious or spiritual path. “We are ashamed of our ancestors who owned slaves,” says Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz in the film’s trailer. “We are ashamed of our ancestors who believed in segregation. So too our grandchildren will be ashamed of what we are allowing to happen on our watch. Each of us has to ask ourselves a spiritual question, ‘What side do I want to tell my grandchildren I was on? Was I on the side of mercy and compassion or was I on the blind side that helped to perpetuate suffering?’”
The following night, Rayna Greenberg and Ashley Hesseltine, hosts of “Girls Gotta Eat,” will record an episode of their popular podcast live at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall on Sept. 25. “Girls Gotta Eat” is a top comedy podcast on iTunes and regularly features guests and discussions related to sex, dating and relationships. Greenberg is a Squirrel Hill native who graduated from Community Day School and Taylor Allderdice High School. Her Instagram account, @One Hungry Jew, has almost 400,000 followers.
Greenberg isn’t the only act coming back to the Steel City. After a record-breaking engagement in 2013, Disney’s “The Lion King” will return to Pittsburgh. Fans of the Tony Award-winning Broadway show can see it live at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts (see p. 13 for more) through Sept. 29.
Those seeking to satisfy an academic craving can travel to Oakland, as the University of Pittsburgh’s Jewish studies program is planning a dozen events this fall. Between Sept. 12 and Nov. 17, resident and visiting lecturers will explore topics including Yiddish theater, Jewish books and anti-Semitism. On Oct. 6, an exhibit titled “To Those Who Grasp It: Responding to October 27” will open at the Kimbo Gallery in William Pitt Union at the University of Pittsburgh and feature remarks from University of Pittsburgh “Tree of Life scholars,” according to program materials.
On Nov. 1, comedian, entertainer, author and activist Chelsea Handler will perform at the Byham Theater. After seven years of hosting E!’s “Chelsea Lately,” Handler moved to Netflix where she hosted 120 episodes of “Chelsea” as well as a four-part documentary series titled “Chelsea Does.” Since 2018, Handler has worked with Emily’s List to help elect women to public office, register voters and campaign for candidates who fight for women’s rights. Handler was raised Jewish and had a bat mitzvah. Her family history was explored on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” during which Handler discussed her German grandfather’s role in the Holocaust.
On Nov. 21, in Allison Park, there will be a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand at Legacy Theatre (UPMC Passavant Campus). With accompaniment from a full orchestra, Bo Wagner and Donna Groom will perform Sinatra’s and Streisand’s legendary hits. No need to imagine the way they were — the music will remind attendees that happy days are here again. pjc
Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@