Metro Briefs August 21

Metro Briefs August 21

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Volunteer Center is partnering with the United Way by recruiting for its “Be a Middle School Mentor” program. Contact Jenny Jones, volunteer center coordinator, at or 412-992-5209 for more information.

J-SITE will hold an open-house happy hour on Monday, Aug. 25 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave. Attendees will meet the new professional staff and Hebrew and Judaics teachers and will learn about new classes and J-Site’s new space.

Contact Carolyn Gerecht, director of teen learning, at to make a reservation and for more information. Visit for complete information on the coming year, which begins Sept. 7.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Holocaust Center and Community Relations Council and the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee will present an evening with Ira Forman, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, on Thursday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, Robinson Building, on Darlington Road.

Forman will offer a global survey of anti-Semitism and delve into U.S. efforts to combat the issue internationally. The event is free, but registration is required by Sept. 2. The event is underwritten by the Smiga Family.

Contact Gregg Roman at 412-592-5234 or for more information.

Chabad of the South Hills will welcome a new Torah scroll on Sunday, Sept. 14 at 1:30 p.m. at the Chabad Center, 1701 McFarland Road in Mt. Lebanon.

The Torah scroll has roughly 600,000 handwritten letters. With a feather and special mix for ink, the scribe writes the five books of Moses on roughly 54 pieces of parchment. The average process takes over a year to produce.

There will be live music, a parade with the Torah to its new home, special children’s programs, raffles and a buffet dinner.

The community is invited to join the celebration; there is no charge.

Visit or call 412-344-2424 for more information. Reservations should be made at

An extensive collection of Yiddish-language audio books is now available for free listening and downloading through a project of the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., preserving the voices of the last generation of European-born native Yiddish speakers.

The Sami Rohr Library of Recorded Yiddish Books comprises some 150 titles, including novels, short stories, nonfiction works, memoirs, essays and poetry by both major and lesser-known Yiddish writers.

The collection grew over the years thanks to dedicated volunteers — some of them professional actors, many of them laymen, all of them native Yiddish speakers — who devoted hours of their time to reading and recording the books in a makeshift studio.

The Yiddish Book Center, in partnership with the Jewish Public Library, digitally remastered those recordings and previously released a number of titles from the Sami Rohr Library on CD. The entire collection is now accessible on the Center’s website,, where the recordings can be listened to or downloaded to mobile devices, free of charge.

Highlights of the Library include works by well-known Yiddish writers such as novelists I.J. Singer, I.L. Peretz and Sholem Asch and poets Chaim Nachman Bialik and Avrom Sutzkever. The collection also includes several works by Sholem Aleichem, including his Tevye der milkhiker (Teyve the Dairyman), read by actor Shmuel Atzmon, founder and director of Yiddishpiel Theater in Tel Aviv. Dora Wasserman, founder of an eponymous Yiddish theater in Montreal, reads a collection of short stories.