Metro Briefs December 12

Metro Briefs December 12

Ethan Kadish
Ethan Kadish

Rabbi Sharyn Henry brought a fundraising campaign for a 13-year-old lightning strike victim to Pittsburgh last week, encouraging Jews across the area to light blue candles for the eighth night of Chanukah.

Henry distributed some 300 blue candles to families over a two-week period, culminating with last week’s IlumiNER ExtraordinNER program at the Heinz History Center.

“Ethan Kadish was struck by lightning on June 29 at Goldman Union Camp Institute in Zionsville, Ind.,” Henry wrote in a message enclosed in the bags of candles she distributed. “After 145 days in the hospital, Ethan, now 13, is home. His long road to recovery will be arduous, but he and his family are strong and resolute. As we light this blue candle on the eighth night of Chanukah, we are aware that the strength and courage of the Maccabees live within all of us. May the light of our little blue candles, and our great compassion, reach Ethan and his family.”

The Chronicle learned last Wednesday that Ethan was back in the hospital. Details of his condition were not immediately known, though Henry said he is susceptible to infections and readmissions are to be expected.

The blue candles are part of a national campaign called Team Ethan, which is designed to raise money to help Ethan’s family cover expenses related to the June 29 lightning strike at the Jewish summer camp near Indianapolis.

Ethan was teaching a group of younger children how to play Ultimate Frisbee when the lightning bolt struck him. He went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the children’s hospital in Cincinnati where he was placed in an induced coma and had to breathe through a respirator.

He still has a feeding tube and needs round the clock nursing care.  His family — including parents Scott and Alexia, and siblings Zakary and Elyse — are facing many financial challenges.

Henry, who was at the camp the day of the strike, said the whole experience has been very personal and emotional for her.

To assist the family, a fundraising campaign in Ethan’s honor has been established with HelpHOPELive, a nonprofit organization that has been assisting the transplant community for 30 years.

All contributions are tax-deductible, are held by HelpHOPELive in the Great Lakes Catastrophic Injury Fund, and are administered by HelpHOPELive for injury-related expenses only.

To contribute, visit

Squirrel Hill native, Dana Reichman Gitell, was invited to the White House Chanukah party, held Thursday, Dec. 6, as a result of her coining the term “Thanksgivukkah.”

Gitell was invited to bring a guest to the event, and took her mother, Dr. Nancy Hoffman, a Pittsburgh psychologist who lives in Squirrel Hill.

The Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee will sponsor the South Hills Christian-Jewish Dialogue, Thursday, Dec. 19, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2040 Washington Road. The group will study texts from Isaiah, including verses 40 and 53. Rabbi Howard Stein and Rev. Jim Gilchrist will present. The regular monthly conveners are Father Brian Noel, Rabbi Mark Mahler, Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, Stein and Gilchrist. The program is free and open to thepublic. 

Contact the PAJC office at (412) 605-0816 or at for more information.

AARP Squirrel Hill Chapter 3354 will hold its next meeting, Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 1 p.m. at New Light Synagogue located at 1700 Beechwood Blvd. at Forbes Ave.

City Councilman Corey O’Connor will speak. Refreshments will be served afterward.

Contact Frieda D. Safyan at 412-521-2804 for more information.

The Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry has a rolling library to provide free books for clients to take home.

The current selection offers choices from a variety of genres — from Jean-Paul Sartre for serious readers, to “Clifford the Big Red Dog” for little ones.

The Pantry is in special need of children’s books such as picture books, easy-readers and beginners’ novels and adult fiction and nonfiction literature.   

Contact the Pantry at 412-421-2708 for more information.

“More Than Just Learning” hosts Shirley and Morris Shratter lead the WIN book club in a discussion of “Out of this Furnace,” by Thomas Bell. The author grew up in the steel mill town of Braddock, and his novel is about immigrant labor at the turn of the 20th century.

The program airs every Tuesday in December at 8 p.m. on cable TV-Comcast Channel 21 or Verizon 47 in Pittsburgh only.

Chabad of the South Hills in Mt. Lebanon will hold its luncheon for seniors, Tuesday, Jan. 7, at noon. There will be a presentation by the Mt. Lebanon police department on scams and fraud.  The suggested donation is $5; the building is wheelchair accessible. 

Contact Barb at 412-278-2658 or to RSVP and for more information.