Metro Briefs April 4

Metro Briefs April 4

Col. Richard Kemp
Col. Richard Kemp

AIPAC will host the Annual Pittsburgh Community Reception, Thursday, April 18, 7:30 p.m., at Congregation Beth Shalom.

Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, is the featured speaker for the program. Kemp, who follows Middle East conflict and politics, and frequently travels to the region, is best known to the Jewish world for his famous address to the United Nations Human Rights Council during its consideration of the Goldstone report on the Gaza conflict. He has sought to provide objective, expert commentary and analysis on that subject as well as more widely on Israel’s security, including conflict with Hezbollah and the Gaza “flotilla” incident.

Kemp has been actively involved in fighting terrorists around the globe for 35 years. He commanded British forces in Afghanistan with responsibility for counter-insurgency operations, disarmament and reintegration programs, development and training of the Afghan national security forces, reconstruction and defense diplomacy.

A dessert reception is part of the program. There is a charge.

Visit or contact Kelly Stein, Pittsburgh assistant area director, at 410-223-4190 or to register.

“The Yankles,” the last film of this year’s Rodef Shalom Sisterhood Movie Night series, will be held Sunday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the synagogue’s Levy Hall.

“The Yankles” is an American film made in 2008 and has played in film festivals across North America, including the 2009 JFilm Festival. It has won more than 15 festival awards and garnered praise for its originality, humor and broad appeal.

Written and directed by brothers Zev and David Brooks, “The Yankles” tells the story of an obscure Orthodox yeshiva whose rabbi gives a down-and-out former baseball player a chance to do community service by developing a baseball team for his school.  The hilarious result, according to one critic, is like a loopy ground ball to center field that suddenly hits out of the park when religion and baseball fuse as one.

The film, which is rated PG, is open to the community. Attendees are welcome to bring children ages 10 and older. The film will end at about 9:30 p.m. and light refreshments will follow.  There is no charge.

Call Rodef Shalom at 412-621-6566 for more information.

Congregation B’nai Abraham in Butler will present the program, “Remembering the Holocaust in Poetry and Song,” Sunday, April 7, at 7 p.m.

Poet Phil Terman will read from his poetry on the subject, including “At Auschwitz-Berkenau,” “With the Survivors” and “What We Pass On.” Terman is a professor of English at Clarion University, with four published books of poetry.

Cantor Michal Gray-Schaffer, spiritual leader of the congregation, will sing songs either inspired by the Holocaust, or written by its victims, such as Pavel Friedman (“The Last Butterfly”) and Hannah Szenes (“Ashrei HaGafrur” and “Eli, Eli”).  Two of her selections have been arranged especially for her by conductor/composer Nizan Leibovich. Pianist Mark DeWalt will accompany her.

The program is free and the community is invited to attend.

The Diller Teen Fellows Program is looking for rising 10th- and 11th-grade Jewish students from Greater Pittsburgh who show potential to be the future leaders of the Jewish community and are committed to serving their community, honing their leadership skills and developing a lasting connection to Judaism and Israel.

Selected Diller Teens participate in a pluralistic informal Jewish educational program, which focuses on leadership development, exploration of Jewish identity and Judaism, commitment to tikkun olam (community service), Israel and Jewish peoplehood.

The program consists of monthly Sunday workshops and thought-provoking weekend retreats throughout the 15-month program. Also included is a three-week summer seminar in Israel, the Diller Teen Leadership Congress, and a 10 day peer-to-peer exchange in North America with an Israeli counterpart group from Pittsburgh’s Partnership2Gether region of Karmiel-Misgav.

The Diller Teen Fellows Program is an international Jewish teen leadership program currently being offered in eight North American/Israeli partner communities.

To nominate 10th- and 11th-grade students send names and contact information to Lisa Sobel-Berlow at 412-521-1101 ext. 3200 or by April 19.

The Israel Heritage Room at the University of Pittsburgh will mark its 25th anniversary with a program, Sunday, April 21, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Frick Fine Arts Building, 650 Schenley Drive, Oakland.

The program will pay tribute to the founders of the room. There will be a special video presentation with excerpts from an interview with Martin Chetlin. The 2012 scholarship recipient, Nicole Siegel, will speak and members of HaZamir, an international Jewish high school choir, will perform.

The Israel Heritage Room is one of the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning, which pay tribute to the rich ethnic history of Pittsburgh.

The event is free. Contact Suzie Rosenberg at or at 412-298-6698 for more information.

The Hillman Center for Performing Arts at Shady Side Academy will present “Reinventing Radio: An Evening With Ira Glass,” Saturday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m.

Glass, the well-known journalist and creator of the public radio show “This American Life” will speak about the keys to his program’s tremendous success, including the process of tracking down the great untold stories.

The event will take place at the Hillman Center for Performing Arts, located on the Shady Side Academy Senior School campus at 423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel.

General admission tickets are $40, and VIP tickets, which include guaranteed orchestra seating and a pre-show reception with Glass, are $125.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Hillman Center Box Office at 412-968-3040.

A professor from Ben-Gurion University in Israel will present views on how human rights can be portrayed as a security threat and the possibility of joint Jewish-Arab education in two free discussions, Thursday, April 11, at Duquesne University.

Visiting Duquesne as the Raymond J. Kelley Endowed Chair Distinguished Speaker in International Relations, professor Neve Gordon will address “Human Rights as Security Threat: Lawfare and the Assault on Rights in Israel/Palestine,” from 3 to 4:20 p.m. in Rockwell Hall, Lecture Hall 2.

Later in the day, Gordon will explore the deep-rooted segregation in Israel’s schools and provide a glimpse of an alternative: the Hagar Jewish-Palestinian School in “Jewish-Arab Education for Equality: Is It Possible to Create a Common Future in Israel?” from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Rockwell Hall, Room 502.

The Pittsburgh International Folk Festival, which runs from April 19 to 20 at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland, will again include an Israel booth, and volunteers are needed to man it.

Since 2005, the folk festival has drawn more than 30,000 people, including some 7,000 children.

This year, the Israel booth will show a printed Torah scroll, teach visitors to say Shalom and other simple Hebrew words as well as how to write their names in Hebrew.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Peacemakers and Unifers.” The Israel booth will highlight nine Jewish Nobel Peace Prize winners, as well as Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), and Emma Lazarus, poet and author of “The New Colossus” — the poem that graces the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

On Friday, April 19, from 1 to 4 p.m., seniors from various nursing homes will tour the festival. Seniors from Weinberg Terrace and Weinberg village will arrive about 2 p.m. and the teens from Jewish Pittsburgh’s Partnership2Gether communities of Karmiel and Misgav, Israel, will perform at 2:30 p.m.

The Israel booth will remain open Friday night and Saturday, but will not be manned in observance of Shabbat.

Contact Lee Feldman at 412-561-0321 or ‪ to volunteer.

Squirrel Hill Psychological Services and Quest Therapeutic Camps will offer a therapeutic day camp program this summer for children ages 6 to 18 with mild to moderate emotional or social challenges.

Squirrel Hill Psychological Services partnered with Quest to bring the summer camp program to Pittsburgh for the first time in the summer of 2012.

Quest Camp is a therapeutic program designed for children with diagnoses including attention deficit disorder, chronic anxiety, chronic depression and high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome.

Quest Camp is designed to offer campers a highly structured and therapeutic curriculum with the look and feel of a typical summer camp. Daytime activities include swimming, field trips, sports, and drama, music and science classes, while following a cognitive-behavioral approach designed to teach skills and reinforce positive changes in behavior.

Quest Camp will run June 24 to Aug. 16, and will be held at Community Day School in Squirrel Hill.

Visit Quest Therapeutic Camps online at or call 800-313-9733 for more information.

Beth Israel Center will hold the sixth lecture of its Lecture Series Sunday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. Rabbi Mark Mahler of Temple Emanuel of South Hills will discuss the Napoleonic Sanhedrin of 1807, which marks the emergence of the modern Jew.

Janet and Irv Selsley are sponsoring this year’s series in memory of their parents, Irving and Ethel Moore, and Alex and Sylvia Selsley.

There is no fee for this lecture and the community if invited.