Metro Briefs December 6

Metro Briefs December 6

The largest ice menora in Pittsburgh will be lit at the Schenley Park Skating Rink, Thursday, Dec. 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

After the lighting of the ice menora, attendees may each light their own chanukiot, creating what is believed to be the largest Chanuka lights celebration in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, WQED media director of programming Chris Fennimore will participate in the celebration, dubbed IllumiNER  ExtraordiNER.

IllumiNER ExtraordiNER celebrates Chanuka’s theme of religious freedom and represents the future of Jewish education in Greater Pittsburgh.

NER is the Hebrew word for candle.  

Admission is free, and the program includes live entertainment and light refreshments. In addition, raffle tickets will be on sale for drawings at the event.

Prizes include tickets to the “Dudu” Fisher concert, provided by WQED; an oil menora, provided by Pinsker’s Judaica; tickets to the Matisyahu concert, provided by Drusky Entertainment; an Eyetique gift certificate; and a Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh family membership.

To participate in the candle lighting, a minimum advance donation of $18 is requested, $20 at the door. AJL will provide candles. Visit to make a donation in advance.

The event is presented by the Agency for Jewish Learning and is sponsored by First Niagara Bank, S&T Bank and Dunkin’ Donuts, with additional support from Huntington Insurance, Pomegranate Catering at Congregation Beth Shalom and Rodef Shalom Congregation.

The annual Holocaust Arts & Writing Competition — now called the International Waldman Holocaust Arts and Writing Competition — will be international in scope this year, with entries being sought from Israeli as well as local and regional youth.

The entry deadline for the competition, which the Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is sponsoring, is Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, at 3 p.m.

The Holocaust Center is collaborating with Partnership2Gether to seek entries from Karmiel and Misgav, the Pittsburgh Jewish community’s partner communities in Israel.

Also, in cooperation with JFilm: the Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum, the Holocaust Center has added a category of filmmaking to the competition.

This year’s Arts & Writing theme is the 1936 Berlin Olympics, often referred to as “the Nazi Olympics” because of the Nazis’ efforts to use the Games to showcase their perceived “Aryan superiority.”  The theme highlights the current Holocaust Center exhibition in partnership with — and housed at — the August Wilson Center, Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936, on loan from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Entries are judged in two divisions, seventh- and eighth-graders and ninth- to 12th-graders, and must represent the independent and original effort of the writer or artist.  Projects should reflect research  and be historically accurate.

Youth can enter in any of three categories: creative writing, scale sculptures/mixed media or short film.

Awards will be given to the first, second, third and honorable mention levels in all categories/divisions.  For the first time, awards will include scholarship funds (ranging from $100 to $2,500), as well as other prizes.

Teachers are invited to encourage students to participate in the Arts & Writing Competition. However, students can enter the competition independently.

Visit for entry forms or contact Samantha Chilton at 412-421-1500, ext. 102 or

The Aleph Institute will hold a training session for its mentors on ways to help inmates successfully transition back into society, Thursday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m. at Aleph’s Hyman & Martha Rogal Center, 5804 Beacon St., Squirrel Hill.

While incarcerated, prisoners can grow more hardened in their criminal mindsets. The negative influences around them make change an uphill battle, but their odds of transformation improve with the help of a dedicated in-prison mentor.

Aleph Institute mentors go into correctional settings to develop one-on-one relationships with an inmate of their same gender. They help prepare an inmate for transition back into the family and community by helping them establish goals, learn life skills and grow toward greater maturity.

Contact Aleph at 412-421-0111 or for more information.

The Agency for Jewish Learning is planning a celebration in May 2013 to mark 60 years of Jewish education for teens in Pittsburgh.

Interested alumni of all ages who attended J-Site or any of its predecessors (the Hebrew Institute, the College of Jewish Studies or SAJS) are invited to contact J-Site Director Beth Goldstein at or 412-521-1101, ext. 3203.

The Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee will hold its South Hills Christian-Jewish Dialogue Thursday, Dec. 20, noon, at Temple Emanuel, located at 1250 Bower Hill Road.  The topic will be “Messianism,” presented by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum and Dr. Edward Scheid, secondary education consultant for Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Jewish and Christian texts will be studied.  

The regular monthly conveners are Father Brian Noel, Rabbi Mark Mahler, Greenbaum, Rabbi Howard Stein and Rev. Jim Gilchrist.  

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

The Squirrel Hill Historical Society will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave.

Wayne Gerhold, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition treasurer, will speak on “Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition — History and Current Projects.”

Contact Mike at 412-417-3707 or visit for more information.

Beth Samuel Jewish Center’s annual Chanuka party, “Latke Fest,” will be held Sunday, Dec. 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 810 Kennedy Drive, Ambridge. The party will include a latke luncheon, children’s crafts and a silent auction. “Mazel! Mazel!” a Pittsburgh klezmer quartet, will be performing. There is a charge; children under 12 are free.

Call 724-266-5238 for reservations and for more information.

Music at Rodef Shalom presents Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival artists in concert, Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin; Rodrigo Ojeda, piano; Aron Zelkowicz, cello; PSO cellists David Premo, Mikhail Istomin and Michael Lipman Monday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. in Levy Hall.

Admission is free; tickets are not required.

Shalom Pittsburgh will hold its Holiday Hangout, Sunday, Dec. 9, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., at My Little Outback Indoor Play Center, 1936 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill.

Although this event is geared to kids who are 6 months to 8 years old, older children are also welcome to attend.

Contact Meryl Lotz at 412-992-5204 or for more information. There is a charge for children, but parents and guardians are admitted free.

Chabad of Pittsburgh will sponsor three menora lightings this year.

The main Chanuka event will be Sunday, Dec. 9.  The Great Menora Car Parade, with close to 100 cars, will leave Squirrel Hill and travel through Shadyside and Oakland at 4:30 p.m. The parade will conclude at the Grand Menorah Lighting at Schenley Plaza at 5:30 p.m., where a 12-foot menora will be lit followed by music and dancing, latkes and donuts and a fire show by Steel Town Fire.

Monday, Dec. 10, join the mayor at the City-County Building in lighting the city menora at 4:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 5:15 p.m. the the newly renovated Mellon Square Park Downtown will be inaugurated with a menora lighting followed by a party in the Oliver Building.