Metro Briefs December 3

Metro Briefs December 3

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has released a statement expressing outrage and disgust over the shooting of a Pittsburgh-area taxi driver who appears to have been targeted by his customer for being Muslim. The passenger, after mocking Islam for much of the cab ride, allegedly said that he had forgotten his wallet and entered the house that was his destination to get money to pay his fare. The passenger emerged from the home with a rifle, firing a shot through the rear windshield of the taxi. A bullet struck the driver in the upper back, according to media reports.

“This does not seem like a random act of violence, but rather a calculated act of hate,” said Cindy Goodman-Leib, chair of the Jewish Federation’s Community Relations Council. “If the driver was not Muslim, he likely would not have been shot. As such, this appears to be a hate crime.

“Unfortunately, the experience of being targeted because of one’s religion or identity is all too familiar to Jews,” she continued. “The Jewish Federation stands in solidarity with the Muslim community, who are our friends and neighbors in and around Pittsburgh. We are glad that the driver is in stable condition, and we hope that the shooter is apprehended quickly.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also strongly condemned the alleged hate crime.

The CBS national broadcast “Sunday Morning” will feature Violins of Hope Cleveland, a collaboration among seven area educational and cultural nonprofit partners and more than a dozen affiliate organizations on Sunday, Dec. 6. The CBS segment crew conducted in-depth interviews with the Cleveland Orchestra’s Franz Welser-Möst, music director; Peter Otto, first associate concertmaster; and Richard J. Bogomolny, chairman of the board; Milton Maltz, chair and founder, Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage; and Amnon Weinstein, master violinmaker and Violins of Hope founder.

The national news story follows a historic moment when instruments that survived the Holocaust were brought to Cleveland to educate and inspire the community through an array of public programs. The CBS “Sunday Morning” team captured the initiative’s kickoff concert when the violins were played by members of the Cleveland Orchestra on the occasion of the first-phase opening of the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at Case Western Reserve University. The segment is expected to include footage from that Sept. 27 Violins of Hope Cleveland opening concert and the exhibition at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Launched in October, Violins of Hope Cleveland continues into February 2016 with activities and events in Greater Cleveland.

Visit for more information and for the listing.

The Squirrel Hill Historical Society will hold its next free meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. Artist and owner Glenn Greene will speak on the history of his stained glass studio.

Call 412-417-3707 or visit for more information.

The Cranberry community welcomes everyone to its Chanukah party on the fourth night of the holiday observance, which will be celebrated with the lighting of a giant menorah, live entertainment and traditional foods, in front of the Cranberry Township Municipal Center on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m., sponsored by Chabad of Fox Chapel and the Cranberry Jewish Community Association. There is no charge to attend.

To celebrate the Chanukah miracle of a single cruse of oil lasting for eight nights in the Holy Temple, foods fried or baked with cooking oil, including jelly doughnuts and potato latkes, will be served inside the Municipal Center building.  Hot beverages and surprise entertainment will also be featured. 

Beth El Congregation of the South Hills is hosting Light Up Your Winter, an evening of celebration and reflection, on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m., a Chanukah-themed Coffee House Night featuring Pittsburgh native singer and songwriter Shoshana Averbach.

Averbach, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., has written articles, spoken at conferences and produced two CDs of her original songs: “The Time is Coming” (2011) and “I Reclaim My Heart” (2015). Her love of Hebrew, Israel and people began in her teens when her friend, Bernice Hoffman Natelson, a longtime Beth El member, introduced her to Young Judaea and volunteering at the Jewish Association on Aging.

This adult event is free and open to the community. The evening begins with complimentary refreshments, and the show starts at 8 p.m. Visit for more information and to RSVP for the event Dec. 7 or call 412-561-1168. Beth El is located at 1900 Cochran Road.

The seventh-grade class at Torah Lishmah Community religious school at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha is holding a Chanukah Mitzvah Menorah gift collection for needy families. Members of the community are encouraged to visit the menorah in the lobby of the synagogue. The menorah contains tags that represent anonymous children whose families cannot afford presents during Chanukah and the holiday season. Community members can “take a tag” and buy a small gift for that child.  

All gifts should be brought to the synagogue, where they will then be donated to local charities that will distribute them to needy families. Gifts will be collected through Dec. 14. Contact Alex Speck at or 412-521-6788 for more information.

The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, in cooperation with JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum, Classrooms Without Borders, P2G: Partnership2Gether and Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures, presents the 2015-2016 Waldman International Arts and Writing Competition, “Rebuilding of Lives: Post-Holocaust Life, 1945-1955.”

The competition theme challenges students to explore the post-war experiences of survivors – life in Displaced Persons (DP) camps, immigration to Israel, the United States and other countries, rebuilding of families and the impact of the Nuremberg Trials on survivors.

Students should look into how survivors were treated when they tried to return to their home countries/towns; how they tried to find family members who might have survived; what was needed for them to emigrate from Europe to Israel, the United States or another country (and why that country was chosen); what it was like for them to meet their spouse and begin anew; and what impact, if any, the Nuremberg Trials had on them.  

The competition is open to middle and high school students in the Greater Pittsburgh area and in the Karmiel-Misgav region of Israel.

Students may submit entries in the following categories: Creative Writing, Visual Arts, and Short Film, which is only open to high school students.

For more information about the competition, including the complete competition guidelines, the student entry form and suggested resources for research, visit or contact Holocaust educator Rachel Herman at 412-421-1500 or for more information. All entries are due by 3 p.m. on Dec. 16.