Metro Briefs December 26

Metro Briefs December 26

Alan Elsner
Alan Elsner

J Street Pittsburgh will present an evening with Alan Elsner, vice president of communications for J Street Tuesday, Jan. 14, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, Levinson Hall, 5738 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. The topic will be “Is the Two-State Solution good for Israel’s security?”

Elsner will define security and address how the achievement of a two-state solution can improve Israel’s security and enhance its standing among nations.

Elsner was chief political correspondent for Reuters News Agency; his 30 years there included stints as the Nordic Bureau Chief based in Stockholm, the Jerusalem correspondent and the NATO correspondent. He is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen who served in the Israel Defense Forces.

Contact for more information.

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in the South Hills will begin a 12-week renovation of the locker rooms in its facility in early January.  

The $500,000 project, announced by County Executive Richard Fitzgerald, is funded in part by a grant from the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County and administered by Allegheny County Economic Development as well as by donations from supporters of the JCC. Improvements to the men’s and women’s locker rooms include replacing the floors, walls, ceilings, lighting and benches.  Slip-resistant tiled floors, safety grab bars, HDPE lockers and bathing suit spinners are just some of the planned upgrades to the locker rooms.  

All areas outside of the locker rooms will be open and functioning during the construction period.

The JCC-South Hills, built in 1999, houses fitness and wellness facilities, 25-yard, six-lane heated indoor swimming pool, double-court gymnasium and accessible outdoor playground.

Contact Dan Garfinkel, branch director, at 412-278-1975 or for more information.

A group of early childhood development experts recently toured the newly renovated Early Childhood Development Center of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill, to experience the progressive learning environment that was created during the recent $2 million renovation of the center.

Visitors included Bill Isler, chief executive officer of the The Fred Rogers Company; Barbara Minzenberg, Lt. secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Child Development and Early Learning; and Michelle Figlar, executive director of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children.

Brian Schreiber, JCC president and CEO; Rachel Marcus, JCC associate executive director; and Kelly Gable-Labelle, JCC division director Early Childhood Services, led the group.

The 90 minute tour focused on how the JCC’s Jewish values and the constructivist learning philosophy tie into Pennsylvania’s early learning standards, and how the physical redesign of the space provides the progressive environment for early learning for children of all backgrounds and income levels.  The ECDC program now is taking on the role of serving as a demonstration school for the city, region and the state.

The visitors saw the child-height windows, infant room design and the Marking Time calendar wall installation, which communicates the relationship between the Jewish and secular calendars and locates the Jewish holidays with brightly colored translucent panels. They also explored The Studio, where children create and discover, and posed in front of a project on weaving.

The JCC completed the $2 million renovation to its Annabelle Rubenstein Early Childhood Development Center last summer, transforming the learning environment to mesh with the agency’s educational philosophy for engaged learning.

The Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee’s Christian-Jewish Dialogue will meet Thursday, Jan. 2, at Congregation Beth Shalom, 5915 Beacon St., at noon.  The topic will be “The Sabbath.”

Presenters are Rabbi Paul Tuchman and Suzanne Utts, who will be examining Psalm 95.  The regular monthly conveners are Rabbi James Gibson, Rev. Linda Theophilus and Rabbi Michael Werbow.

The program is free to the public.  Contact the PAJC office at (412) 605-0816 or at for more information. 

Shaare Torah Congregation will hold an evening of jazz, Saturday, Jan. 11, from 8 to 10 p.m. A selection of wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres will be served. There is a $30 per person charge in advance and $36 at the door.

Contact Shaare Torah at 412-421-8855 or for reservations.