It takes more than a village
It is gratifying to read of the efforts of Etna community members Megan Tuñón, Jessica Semler and Robert Tuñón, as well as those of the Highland Park Community Council’s Stephanie Walsh, in working to stamp out hate in their respective communities (“It takes a village: Communities respond to antisemitism,” Dec. 31). According to proverb … “it takes a village,” yet time after time we learn that it takes even more. It takes us as a nation, indeed a world, to stand up against hate of any kind, no matter where it exists.
Toward this end, Pat Siger, Linda Simon and I contracted to bring The Violins of Hope to Pittsburgh in the fall of 2023. A collection of violins that have been restored from the ghettos and concentration camps of the Holocaust, The Violins of Hope will be on exhibit here in Pittsburgh for six weeks between October and November 2023, underscoring humanity’s ability to rise above the ashes of hate and destruction and to bring beauty to the world.
As we work collaboratively with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, multiple religious institutions, universities, educational institutions (including The Holocaust Center and Classrooms Without Borders), and Greater Pittsburgh’s robust arts community, our neighbors from near and far will be able to experience exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and theatrical and dance performances, each underscoring the importance of every person’s value to our collective existence. Lessons associated with the dangers of intolerance, bullying and hatred will be shared with middle and high school students throughout the region in a communitywide effort to break down the barriers that divide us and to underscore the importance of loving one another. We are thrilled to be part of a collaborative of 45 entities working together responding to hate in all its ugliness, and grateful to the people of Etna, Highland Park and the City of Pittsburgh for doing so today.
SAJS documents now archived
I read with interest the article “Rethinking the Brave New World of Jewish Teen Education” (Dec. 24). I wanted to call it to your readers’ attention that the former College of Jewish Studies/School of Advanced Jewish Studies had tackled this same issue for many years (from the early 1950s until it was dissolved just a few years ago). It has always been a challenging but tremendously important area of concern to the Jewish community.
I am writing this to inform the community that there is now an archive for the historical documentation (correspondence, pictures, photos and writings) that came from SAJS. The archive is located at the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center. Over the many years of its existence, SAJS successfully taught hundreds of Pittsburgh Jewish teens from all parts of the city. Many now live out of town but still have good memories of growing up Jewish in Pittsburgh. The archive is available to the public — Eric Lidji has been most helpful in organizing it and making it available.
Penina Kessler Lieber
CDS story incomplete
I was both saddened and stunned to see the short shrift the tenure of Frank Smizik (my brother) received in the Dec. 24 story commemorating 50 years of Community Day School “Community Day School marks golden jubilee”). In what could be the ultimate backhanded compliment, Frank’s six-year tenure was described thusly: ‘’He is credited with establishing an intramural sports program and other extracurricular activities.’’ I believe that is the definition of damning with faint praise.
A reporter researching such a story most certainly should have reached out to the man who was head of school from 1998-2004. Frank was and is a phone call away.
If the reporter had reached out he would have learned that when Frank took the job there he improved the math curriculum, English curriculum and Hebrew curriculum. There also were science books that were 10 years old. Within two years, the science books had been replaced.
This letter in no way wishes to diminish the excellent tenure of Avi Baran Munro at Community Day but only to set the record straight on her predecessor.