Several hundred men recently gathered for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Men’s Night Out. The inaugural event featured hors d’oeuvres, drinks and desserts as well as an inspirational talk by former NFL coach Herm Edwards.
Edwards, an ESPN analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback who coached the Kansas City Chiefs until 2008, was introduced by Clevelander Bradley Sherman, who shared his own stories about miraculous happenings in his life. In his address, Edwards used anecdotes and memories to illustrate what it meant to be a responsible man.
Speaking atop the stage at the Circuit Center and Ballroom on Pittsburgh’s South Side, Edwards looked at such maxims as, “We’re males by birth, but we must choose to become men,” and “You can lead by your seat or lead by your feet.”
He noted that his path to manhood began as a child. He shared early memories, such as when his father asked him to sweep the backyard. Pursuant to the request, Edwards willingly complied; yet, when it came time to sweeping the yard’s corners, Edwards laxly completed the task. When his father inquired as to the neglected corners, the young Edwards replied that no one would notice.
Edwards’ father countered by saying, “You do.”
Playing upon a similar trope, Edwards said that the greatest gift a parent bestows upon a child is a last name. According to Edwards, it is something that is honored and carried throughout one’s life.
Edwards’ and Sherman’s remarks, along with the event’s other components, were hosted by the Men’s Philanthropy and the Shofar Society divisions of the Federation. The Shofar Society represents men who contribute at least $5,000 to the Federation’s annual campaign.
“The focus of the group is, and will continue to be, meaningful outreach and engagement opportunities for men at any stage of life,” Men’s Night Out co-chairs David Ainsman, Michael Bernstein, Leonard Davis and Dan Snyder wrote in a thank you email to participants.
In an email, Federation CEO Jeff Finkelstein characterized the turnout as “a crowd beyond our expectations.” “The evening was fun and inspirational,” he wrote, “as we talked openly and directly about the needs of our Jewish community and the ways that these men can make a difference.”
“It was inspiring seeing a cross-section of those involved in Pittsburgh Jewish philanthropy and volunteerism come together to hear a couple of excellent speakers on the need and beauty of giving back,” said attendee Joel Ungar. “Along with Bradley Sherman sharing his autobiography and personal journey toward community giving, sports great Herm Edwards left us feeling the value of that involvement.”
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.