Metro Briefs April 5

Metro Briefs April 5

Stephen Fienberg, a professor of statistics and social sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, has received an interdisciplinary research grant from the The National Science Foundation Census Bureau Research Network.

The grant, one of eight the NSF-CBRN recently awarded, is to support research into new ways to interpret social, behavioral and economic data and new ways to use and disseminate the resulting statistics.

Fienberg’s grant is for a project on “Data Integration, Online Data Collection and Privacy Protection for the 2020 Census.” His research team will study three basic issues of interest related to collecting census data: privacy, costs and response rates. They will address the practical problems of ensuring confidentiality and privacy while still producing useful statistics for public and private purposes.

“This grant program gives the Census Bureau and the entire federal statistical system the opportunity to leverage the expertise of academia to solve problems we face every day in delivering cost-efficient statistics and information to the public,” Robert Groves, director of the Census Bureau said in a prepared statement. “This research is an investment that will lead to cost savings, and we are excited about the possibilities for learning from our colleagues and for collaboration over the next five years.”

Fienberg is a member and past president of the Chronicle’s board of trustees.

Eastern Suburban congregations will come together, Sunday, April 15, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Temple B’nai Israel of White Oak to celebrate Maimuna, an observance held by many Eastern Jewish communities in the Sephardic world.

Members from Congregation Emamu-El Israel, Parkway Jewish Center, Temple B’nai Israel and Temple David will participate.

The festival of Maimuna includes food and drink having a symbolic significance. It marks the end of the holiday of Passover and, according to Jewish tradition, is the anniversary of the death of Maimonides’ father, Maimon Ben Joseph.

The Maimuna celebration will include music, art, cooking, study, storytelling and a dairy/vegetarian meal.

Rabbis Sara Rae Perman, Paul Tuchman and Barbara Symons, and Cantor Rick Berlin will teach classes at the gathering.

There is a charge and reservations are requested. Contact Temple B’nai Israel at 412-678-6181 for more information.

Mary Lou Quinlan, an author and actress, will perform “The God Box,” a one-act, one woman play based on her upcoming book, “The God Box: sharing my mother’s gift of faith, love and letting go,” Wednesday, April 18, 7 p.m. at Adat Shalom Congregation.

In both book and play, Quinlan shares the discovery she made after her mother’s death: two decades worth of her mother’s handwritten notes stored away in “God Boxes.”

There is a charge for admission, which includes a copy of the book and champagne and dessert reception. Proceeds benefit Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Visit for reservations.

Washington & Jefferson College is reuniting a Holocaust survivor and a man responsible for his freedom from the Buchenwald concentration camp for a public discussion about their experiences, Thursday, April 12, 7 p.m. in W&J’s Rossin Campus Center Ballroom.

A resident of Monroe Township, N.J., Sol Lurie was born April 11, 1930, and after being held captive in multiple concentration camps over a span of four years, was liberated from Buchenwald on the same day 15 years later.

Clarence Brockman, of nearby McDonald, a member of the 80th Infantry Division, was among the first Americans who entered Buchenwald, the first of the Nazi concentration camps to be liberated, April 11, 1945.

Last year, the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation Museum invited Brockman and others who freed the prisoners to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day in Weimar, Germany, where he and Lurie first met. Their W&J appearance comes a year later, and a day after Lurie’s 82nd birthday.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring together two men who went through so much in their lives and for those in our community and our region to hear directly from them what it was like during that time in history,” Zoe Levenson, sophomore and president of W&J’s Hillel Society, said in a prepared statement.

The Hillel Society is sponsoring the program.

Lurie was convinced to present to his granddaughter’s class six years ago, and has been spreading his story ever since, according to Levenson.

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh is offering the Sunday Sampler — a group of classes for children from pre-kindergarten through grade three.

Sunday Sampler will be held Sundays, April 15, 22 and 29, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the JCC in Squirrel Hill. Children in pre-k and kindergarten, and in grades one to three, choose two classes; snacks are provided in between the classes. There is a charge. Advance registration is required by Friday, April 6.

Contact Meredith Brown, program development coordinator, Children/ Teen/Family Division, at 412-521-8011, ext. 181 or for more information.

Contact Lauren Grinstein, administrative assistant, at 412-521-8011, ext. 852 or to register.

Nearly 1,500 young Jewish adults from across North America, including Pittsburgh, converged in Las Vegas last week for TribeFest — the second annual gathering of its kind sponsored by The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Together, participants at the three-day event explored and celebrated their Jewish identity and culture.

“Saturday Night Live’s” Rachel Dratch, The New York Times bestselling author and Esquire humorist A.J. Jacobs, and four-time Olympic gold-medal swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg were among the speakers at this year’s TribeFest.

Sessions were held by young Jewish leaders from some 50 organizations, representing punk Jews, Orthodox Jews, gay and lesbian Jews, to name a few.

Keystone Mountain Region of BBYO will host a benefit evening to support its programs, Saturday, April 14, 7:30 p.m., at the Green Oaks Country Club in Verona.

The evening will celebrate and showcase Keystone Mountain Region’s work, which is on track to serve more than 300 teens this year through chapter programs, regional conventions and community service.

The event will take place simultaneous to KMR’s Beau/Sweetheart Dance. It will kick off with a havdala service, and then proceed with a separate reception for parents, alumni and community members.

KMR has several sponsorship levels available for this event. Donors will receive tickets as well as inclusion in the 412-BBYO Edition KMR Directory, dependent on their level of sponsorship. Contact Robin Rothstein at 301-348-3783 for more information.

There is a charge to attend. Register by April 9 at

The Jewish Women’s Center of Pittsburgh will hold its 19th annual Women’s Pesach Seder Tuesday, April 10, at 6 p.m. at the Labor Zionist Center, 6328 Forbes Ave. in Squirrel Hill. This seder is not meant to replace the first two seders; rather, it is intended to enhance knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the contributions of women in Jewish history and to tap into the spiritual strength of the participants in shaping their personal and community life. Call 412-422-8044 for more information.

The Friendship Circle has kicked off its Magnet Madness Campaign to spread awareness for The Friendship Circle and its mission of acceptance and inclusion of people regardless of their differences. Participants can pick up purple magnets at The Friendship Circle or at local Crazy Mocha coffee shops and post pictures of them in unique places (Photoshop included) to win prizes. Details of the campaign are available at or by calling The Friendship Circle at 412-224-4440.