Metro Briefs July 7

Metro Briefs July 7

Recently, strong storms caused devastating flooding in West Virginia. At least 23 have been killed and thousands more have been displaced when river waters rose more than 27 feet in less than a day. The work Pittsburghers have done to build a strong Jewish Federation has allowed the organization to help provide immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural disasters around the globe. Donations collected will be distributed through the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Help to send relief to West Virginia by donating at

Dee Selekman has retired as executive director of NA’AMAT USA, Pittsburgh Council after 22 years.

Selekman has stewarded hundreds of thousands of dollars into nonsectarian Israeli social service agencies, including day care centers, vocational high schools and women’s shelters in the NA’AMAT network in Israel, serving all Israeli citizens.

“We will miss Dee’s incredible knowledge of our institutional history. After 22 years, she has worked with a dozen presidents and knows all of the members. We hope she will not go too far and will stay involved with our activities and our mission,” said Lisa Steindel, president of NA’AMAT Pittsburgh.

During Selekman’s tenure at NA’AMAT, the Pittsburgh Council opened the NA’AMAT/Weiner Center for Women’s Health, impacting the lives of thousands of women in and around Karmiel, Israel.

Prior to this position, Selekman was the director of the religious school at Temple Sinai for six years and taught at Tree of Life’s religious schools in Squirrel Hill and its satellite location in Fox Chapel for 17 years.

Selekman has also dedicated decades to volunteering, including membership with the Jewish Domestic Abuse Task Force. For a dozen years, she has been setting up breakfast every weekday morning after minyan at Congregation Beth Shalom. And three decades ago, when her children were at Hillel Academy, she launched the mishloach manot fundraiser, which continues to bring in money to the school.

“Almost every time I introduce myself in the Jewish community, someone will say, ‘Oh, are you Dee’s daughter?’ ” said her daughter Aviva [Selekman] Lubowsky, also a professional in the Jewish community. “I should just wear a nametag that says, “Yes, I’m Dee’s daughter.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is pleased to announce that Rachel Lipkin has joined the organization as development associate in charge of the women’s philanthropy of the Federation’s annual campaign. Lipkin earned her master’s of public administration degree from the Ohio State University. While interning at the Jewish Federation of Columbus, she was responsible for developing and implementing new fundraising strategies for young adults. Lipkin’s experience includes work at the Louisville Jewish Community Center. Lipkin is a recipient of the Federation Executive Recruitment and Education Program (FEREP) scholarship, which is funded by the Jewish Federations of North America Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence. The FEREP scholarship funds graduate school education for promising students who pledge to start a career in Jewish communal service.

Another new Federation staffer, Joel Schwarz, joins the organization as development associate in charge of men’s philanthropy of the annual campaign. Schwarz comes to Pittsburgh from the position of development manager at America Achieves, in Washington, D.C. He worked in development at Homeless Children’s Playtime Project after earning a master’s of public policy degree from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

Mihal Ehven is the Federation’s new digital marketing associate. As a freelance Web developer at her own company, Ehventerprise LLC, Ehven helped a variety of companies, including Jewish organizations, meet their website needs. She has experience in admissions at an early childhood education center and as an educator at Seattle Central Community College. Ehven started her career in Seattle, Wash., at Group Health Cooperative and Microsoft Corporation.

Jewish Women’s Foundation’s 2016 grantmaking cycle has started, with proposals due on Sept. 2.  This year the foundation is particularly interested in innovative programs that address the economic security needs of women and girls, but will also consider proposals in other areas that impact the lives of women and girls. JWF funds programs up to $10,000 in Allegheny County.

Each organization submitting a grant application will be notified in writing of JWF’s decision no later than Nov. 15.

Contact Judy Greenwald Cohen at 412-727-1108 or with questions or to discuss a proposal or visit

The Refugee & Immigrant Services program of Jewish Family & Children’s Service, in partnership with its Career Development Center, will hold the second annual Refugee & Immigrant Job Fair on Friday, July 8 from 9 a.m. to noon. The City of Pittsburgh’s Mayor’s Office and Allegheny County Department of Human Services are collaborating on the fair, which is free and will be held at the DHS building at One Smithfield Street, lower level, in downtown Pittsburgh.

Fifteen employers will be present at the event, including representatives from Allegheny County Dept. of Human Services, Allegheny Valley School, Big Burrito Restaurant Group, Callos Resources, City of Pittsburgh, Giant Eagle, Goodwill of Southwestern PA, Hotel Monaco, Kelly Services, Omni Hotel, PNC, Rice Enterprises LLC, Rivers Casino, Spartan Staffing, UPMC and others.

Attendees should dress professionally and bring copies of their resume.

Interested attendees and additional employers should contact Hussein Aladdin at 412-904-5959 or or Benedict Killang at 412-904-5947 or, employment specialists at JF&CS, for more information.

Temple Sinai invites the youngest members of the community and their families to participate in a Mini-Minyan with Cantor Laura Berman and friends on Saturday, July 9 at 9:15 a.m.

The spirited Shabbat morning program will include music, stories, Shabbat prayers, games, crafts and a snack.  Children ages 6 and under are welcome to attend with a parent or caregiver; children ages 7 and older may attend while their parents participate in the concurrent adult minyan.  

Call 412-421-9715, ext. 121 for more information.

Ohev Tzedek-Shaarei Torah in Youngstown, Ohio, is hosting a scholar-in-residence July 9 to July 10 with Nehemia Gordon, a Biblical scholar and one of the translators of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Gordon holds a master’s degree in Biblical studies and a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is one of the 50,000 Karaite Jews in the world, whose beliefs profess that each Jew should read the Torah and develop his or her own ideas of how to live rather than to follow the Halachah (Jewish Law).

On Saturday, Gordon will deliver the sermon at Shabbat services and join the Torah study following the service. Services begin at 9:45 a.m. On Sunday, Gordon will lecture at 10:30 a.m. on the topic of “The Dead Sea Scrolls as Viewed Through the Eyes of a Karaite Jew.” A light brunch will be provided.

Both events will take place at the temple, located at 5245 Glenwood Ave. The Shabbat service is free; the Sunday brunch and lecture are $10.  

RSVP to the Ohev Tzedek office at 330-758-2321.

Chabad of the South Hills will host Torah & Tea, a study group for women on life lessons learned from Zaidy, on Monday, July 11 at 10 a.m. at the Galleria (upper level across from Panera Bread).

RSVP at or 412-512-2330.  

Zionist Organization of America, Pittsburgh is sponsoring a lecture entitled, “America, Israel, and the 2016 Election” with professor Nathan Firestone on Monday, July 11 at 7 p.m. at New Light Congregation, 1700 Beechwood Blvd. in Squirrel Hill.

Firestone is a professor of political science at Point Park University and an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh.  He specializes in American foreign policy and has lectured on Middle East politics. Firestone is also a senior magisterial district judge.  Reservations are appreciated and can be made by contacting ZOA Executive Director, Stuart Pavilack, at 412-665-4630 or