Coming up

Coming up

Temple Sinai will host members of local congregations, Friday, Feb. 11, 9 p.m., following Sabbath services, to pay tribute to the memory of composer-singer Debbie Friedman. The tribute marks the end of shloshim, the first 30 days of mourning, at which time it is customary to gather in memory of the deceased and to recall their life. Rabbinic and cantorial staff members of Rodef Shalom Congregation, Temple Sinai, Beth Shalom and Ohav Shalom will join together to honor Friedman’s life and work. Friedman, who died Jan. 9, released more than 20 albums and performed in sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall and in hundreds of cities around the world during her career. She is credited with creating a new genre of contemporary, accessible Jewish music. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion recently announced it would rename its cantorial school for Friedman, who taught there in the last few years of her life. This event is open to the community and everyone is welcome to bring their voices and their musical instruments. Contact Linda Raden at (412) 421-9715 for more information.

Congregation Beth Shalom is hosting its annual winter film festival class with discussions by expert facilitators. The second in the series will be screened in the Samuel and Minnie Hyman Ballroom, 5915 Beacon St., Squirrel Hill, Sunday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m. “I Was There in Color” (2009), is a documentary about the newly discovered film reels of Fred Monosson showing footage from the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel in color. The movie tells the story that lay dormant in a basement in Brookline, Mass., for more than 40 years until it was accidentally found a few days before it was to be dumped. Contact Beth Shalom at (412) 421-2288 for more information. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome to attend. There is no charge but donations are appreciated

More than 400 special needs guests will have the chance to get up close to local sports celebrities, including a member of the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, wrestlers and collegiate athletes at the Congregation Beth Shalom Men’s Club Annual Sports Luncheon beginning at 12:15 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 13, in the congregation’s Samuel and Minnie Hyman Ballroom, 5915 Beacon St. in Squirrel Hill. WTAE-TV’s Andrew Stockey will be the event’s emcee for the 14th time. In addition to a Steeler, sports celebrities will include professional wrestlers, the entire University of Pittsburgh baseball team and their head coach, Joe Jordano, other Pitt student athletes and student athletes from Carlow University.“Every year, it is an honor and good deed for us to welcome local sports celebrities from the professional and collegiate level to our synagogue, and have them put a smile on the faces of our special needs friends,” said Stephen Neustein, sports luncheon committee member. The event will include celebrity introductions and hot dog/hamburger lunch from 12:15 to 1 p.m. followed by celebrity arm wrestling matches and autograph sessions. The entire community is welcomed. Contact Congregation Beth Shalom’s office at (412) 421-2288 to make reservations. This annual program is provided as a free service to our special needs community, and is funded by the Beth Shalom Men’s Club and a generous group of donors called their “Angels”. Contributions can be made to Beth Shalom Men’s Club, 5915 Shady Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Write “Angel” or “Sports Lunch Angel” in the memo line of your check.

Congregation Poale Zedeck is hosting an art auction Sunday, Feb. 13. A light dinner of soup, homemade rolls and salads, dessert and coffee will be served. The auction will feature art for all tastes and budgets. The preview will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Congregation Poale Zedeck, Social Hall, 6318 Phillips Ave., and the auction begins at 6:30 p.m. There is a charge. Call Poale Zedeck at (412) 421-9786 or e-mail Yikara Levari at for more information.

Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee is sponsoring a program to bring together Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim teenagers, Sunday, Feb. 20, at Oakland Catholic High School. The teenagers, who will come from all over the Pittsburgh region, will explore and share information on their various faith traditions. The program will include a tour of the Oakland Catholic chapel, social action project, tasting of traditional foods and workshop on how the four represented religions address death and the afterlife. Registration is at 1:45 p.m. and the event lasts from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Interested teenagers or youth group leaders should contact PAJC at (412) 605-0816 or at

Kollel Jewish Learning Center will present its 30th annual Melava Malka Dinner, Saturday night, Feb. 26, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill. Five people will be recognized as “Builders of the Torah” for their sponsorship of the Kollel’s new Torah. They are Abby Seigle, Marilyn Sindler, Ruth Ann Kaden, Dr. Geraldine Palkovitz and Norman Sindler. Contact Sara Weiss, executive administrator, at (412) 420-0220 Ext. 212 or at for more information.

Congregation Beth Shalom will host over 100 Jewish teenagers from western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia for Central Region USY (CRUSY) Specialty Kinnus, a regional convention that focuses on social action projects. Teenagers will visit the city from Thursday, Feb. 24 to Sunday, Feb. 27. Friday will be spent volunteering at various nonprofits around the city and participants will then return to the synagogue for the remainder of the weekend for Shabbat and other educational programming. Contact Carolyn Gerecht, Congregation Beth Shalom’s youth director at (421) 421-2411 or for more information.

One of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz, who rose to become arguably the highest-ranking American jurist in the world, is slated to speak in Wheeling, W.Va., in March. Thomas Buergenthal, who recently retired as the American judge to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, will give a talk at the Ohio County Public Library Friday, March 4, but that evening, he will speak at Temple Shalom following Shabbat services. He is coming to West Virginia to attend a Founders Day program at Bethany College, where he is an alumnus. Buergenthal, who served on the International Court from 2000 to 2010, recently published his memoir entitled, “A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy.” Services that evening will start at 7 p.m. The program itself will begin at 8:15. Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner will act as moderator.

Sherree Hall will lead a Jewish Community Center sponsored bike trip through Israel from March 6 to 17, 2011. Hall, JCC Sports and Wellness division director, will take the group from the Golan Heights to Masada, traveling nine to 32 miles a day, depending on the difficulty of the terrain. Part of the ride will be on the new Partnership 2000 Bike Trail in the Karmiel/Misgav region. The trip cost includes bikes, security, support cars, maps, insurance, accommodations, bike guides and all the logistics. Partnership 2000 and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh are co-sponsoring the ride. Contact Hall at (412) 521-8011 Ext. 374, or for more information.

South Hills JCC and Chabad of the South Hills will host a pre-Purim seniors concert and luncheon, Wednesday, March 16, 12:30 p.m. at the South Hills Jewish Community Center, 345 Kane Blvd, Scott Township. Contact Chabad at (412) 344-2424 or at for more information.

JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum will hold its 18th annual film festival from March 24 to April 10. Narrative and documentary films from around the world will be screened at the SouthSide Works Cinema and other venues throughout the city and suburbs. Film titles will be released in January. Tickets for all events go on sale March 3. JFilm is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Contact Kathryn Spitz Cohan at (412) 992-5256 or for more information.

(Angela Leibowicz can be reached at