Briefs July 7

Briefs July 7

Performing Arts campers rehearse. Rachel Petro surrounded by angels and devils, is Mayor Matilda, the villain.

Photo courtesy of Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Performing Arts campers rehearse. Rachel Petro surrounded by angels and devils, is Mayor Matilda, the villain. Photo courtesy of Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh

Donors giving through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will provide more than $26 million in allocations and grants to human services and community-building programs in 2017-18. The allocations, announced by the Federation’s board of directors, will support programs in Pittsburgh and in Jewish communities around the world.

The Federation raised funds for the allocations through its annual campaign — which reached a record-breaking $13.7 million — as well as through the Jewish Community Foundation, supplemental donor gifts, government funds secured with Federation assistance, and a $900,000 human services block grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

Funding decisions are made after a yearlong planning process that engages volunteers and professionals with diverse expertise, backgrounds and affiliations. The Federation focuses on its ability to multiply the impact of private giving by leveraging corporate and government dollars. The goal is to identify the most pressing needs for today and the future. Scott Tobe chairs the Federation’s Planning and Allocations Committee.

Tobe explained that the planning process has expanded beyond identifying needs. “We are also trying to emphasize the Federation’s role in solving complex problems that require broad community support,” Tobe said. “We continue to strive to understand what the community needs, but we also need to be able to respond to those needs by bringing people together.”

A large portion of Federation allocations in 2017-18 will address aging and human needs in Pittsburgh. The Federation will also continue to invest substantial dollars to address Jewish continuity by providing allocations to support Israel travel, Jewish preschool and overnight Jewish camping.

The 2017-18 allocations included significant grants, from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, earmarked for young adult initiatives, including One Table and Honeymoon Israel. One Table aims to help young adults host Shabbat dinner and enjoy Jewish experiences together, capitalizing on the trend toward self-organized Jewish activities among Jews ages 20 to 40.

The hope for Honeymoon Israel — funded locally by a grant from the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future — is to help young adults connect to their heritage and solidify their Jewish identity. The program provides immersive trips to Israel for small groups of Pittsburgh-based couples that have at least one Jewish partner — couples that are still finding their place in the Jewish community. The goal of Honeymoon Israel is to reach these young adults early in their relationships, creating meaningful connections to Jewish life and the Jewish people for a diverse range of Jewish families, including interfaith couples.

According to Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, “These programs, and those like them, aim to maximize the number of Jewish Pittsburghers engaged in meaningful Jewish experiences. Younger adults are under-represented in communal leadership, and we hope that focusing on providing services and programs for this age bracket will encourage more participation in the future.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s nine local beneficiary agencies are Hillel Jewish University Center, Community Day School, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, Jewish Association on Aging, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Jewish Residential Services, Riverview Towers
and Yeshiva Schools.

The two overseas affiliates are the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

More information about Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh allocations and grant making is available from Adam Hertzman, director of marketing, at 412-992-5225 or

The Squirrel Hill Historical Society will hold its next free meeting on Tuesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer at 5700 Forbes Ave. Speakers Eileen Lane, Eric Lidji and Lois Michaels will speak about their book, “Her Deeds Sing Her Praises: Profiles of Pittsburgh Jewish Women.” Contact, 412-417-3707 or visit for more information.

Performing Arts campers are “All Shook Up” as they rehearse for upcoming performances of the musical, based on the 1957 hit Elvis Presley song of the same name. “All Shook Up, Jr.” is this year’s production by kids participating in the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s Performing Arts Camp, a Philip Chosky Performing Arts Program.

“‘All Shook Up,’ the musical, is like a love letter to Elvis,” says director Delilah Picart. “His music is so monumental that a lot of our kids, even the 8-year-olds, know the songs already!”

The musical, which premiered on Broadway in 2005, is based on William Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night.” Picart says, “As a nod to Shakespeare, we’re having girls play some of the male roles. They’re very impressive.”

The energetic show is full of recognizable music and fun choreography by JCC dance director Kathy Wayne and her son, Davis Wayne.

Performances will be held in the Katz Theatre, JCC Robinson Building, 5738 Darlington Road, as follows: Wednesday, July 12, 7 p.m.; Thursday, July 13, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Friday, July 14 at 2 p.m.

Call 412-339-5414 for tickets. Tickets are available in advance at the Center fit Desk, lower level, Kaufmann Building, and at the door, 30 minutes before the show. General admission is $10 and $7 for students and seniors

The Nar Anon and NA meetings are held every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Beth El Congregation of the South Hills at 1900 Cochran Road.

Contact Karen at 412-563-3395 for more information.

The Kollel Jewish Learning Center of Pittsburgh will be hosting its 17th annual Women’s Summer Learning Program Monday, July 24 through Saturday, July 29.

Monday through Thursday there will be two morning classes and one evening class, and on Friday, one morning class. On Shabbat there will be a seudah shlishit.
All classes will be held at the Kollel Jewish Learning Center, 5808 Beacon St. in Squirrel Hill.

Devorah Kurin will be the presenter for the morning classes Monday through Friday.
Devora Chana Weisswasser is a speaker and educator in Toronto. Weisswasser has taught different topics to varied audiences and has also taught more than 200 women for conversion, authored a children’s book, led a women’s choir and has served as a doula for women in childbirth. She is the proud mother of six children, one of whom serves as a scholar at the Pittsburgh Kollel. Weisswasser will be the presenter for morning classes Monday through Thursday and the evening classes Monday through Wednesday.

Leah Milch is a middle school and high school teacher for more than 30 years and an adult education teacher for more than 15 years. Milch also served in the Hillel Academy administration and continues to serve on several communal boards, including the Squirrel Hill Health Center and the Jewish Women’s League. She will be the featured presenter for Thursday night’s class.

Elky Langer, originally from Detroit, moved to Pittsburgh with her family to join the Kollel in 2002. Langer is a teacher, writer and editor. She has given weekly Chumash classes to women at the Kollel and teaches Chumash and Navi to high school and middle school students. She is currently the assistant principal for grades kindergarten to four at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh and will be the featured presenter at seudat shlishit.

Contact Stacie Stufflebeam at or at 412-421-214-7973 for more information on class titles, times and sponsorship opportunities.

Shannon Phillips-Shyrock is the new assistant director at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. She previously taught at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).
Phillips-Shyrock is also an independent researcher for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos and is chair of the Holocaust Remembrance Events Organizing Committee at IUP.

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