Metro Briefs June 18

Metro Briefs June 18

World Refugee Day will be observed in Pittsburgh on Friday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Market Square, Downtown.

The Northern Area Multi-Service Center will lead the celebration planning efforts in collaboration with Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Acculturation for Justice, Access & Peace Outreach, Red Cross of Southwest Pennsylvania, AmeriCorps, Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh,

CISV Pittsburgh and the Change a Heart San Franciscan Volunteer Program. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Vibrant Pittsburgh are providing funding.

The family-friendly event is free and open to the public and will feature local refugee groups performing traditional musical and dance numbers, cultural crafts and activities for kids. Traditional cuisine representing countries around the world, including Nepal, Zambia, Kenya and several other ethnicities, will be available for purchase from local restaurants and vendors (cash only).

The United Nations established World Refugee Day to honor and recognize the approximately 42.5 million refugees, internally displaced and stateless people around the world who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

Through their work in refugee resettlement, the hosting organizations have helped thousands of refugees, including most recently Bhutanese, Burmese, African/Somali and Iraqis, resettle in communities throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area. They also provide additional services including career services, social and human services and support.

Contact Liz Waickman at or 412-586-3778 for more information.

Squirrel Hill Psychological Services and Quest Therapeutic Camps offer Quest Camp, a therapeutic summer day camp program for children ages 6 to 18 with diagnoses that include attention deficit disorder, anxiety, depression and high-functioning autism (previously labeled Asperger’s syndrome).

Quest Camp offers campers a structured and therapeutic curriculum with the look and feel of a typical summer camp. Daytime activities include swimming, field trips and sports, and

drama, music and science classes. The program follows a cognitive-behavioral approach designed to teach skills and reinforce positive changes in behavior to help children learn, grow and increase confidence.

The camp runs from June 22 to Aug. 7 and is held at Community Day School in Squirrel Hill. The program offers some scheduling flexibility, but campers must register for a minimum of three consecutive weeks out of the seven weeks.

Campers also have the option of continued participation during the regular school year through the Quest after-school program, which meets once a week and is designed to build on the gains made by campers during the summer.

Contact April Artz, director for Quest Therapeutic Camp/Afterschool, at 412-521-3800 or for more information.

Young Peoples Synagogue/Bohnai Yisrael has announced that Tammy Hepps, formerly of New Jersey and New York and now based in Pittsburgh, will be the guest speaker at Shabbat services on Saturday, June 27 at 9:30 a.m. The community is invited.

Since last summer, Hepps has been researching her family’s history in Homestead. She will speak about the strong and intimate connections between her family’s history and that of the Homestead Jewish community itself from the late 19th  century through the mid-20th century. She will also talk about her experience conducting the research, including visiting current and former Jewish sites in Homestead, examining the city’s archives, the archives of the Homestead Jewish community in the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center, existing oral histories and conducting interviews with Pittsburgh- area residents with Homestead-Jewish connections. She has a show at the History Center and has created a website,

Hepps is a graduate of Harvard University and worked in senior information technology positions at The New York Times and at NBC before coming to Pittsburgh.  

The Squirrel Hill AARP Chapter #3354 has planned a luncheon trip to Ligonier on July 25 and an Aug. 29 luncheon trip on the Gateway Clipper. Contact Marcia Kramer at 412-731-3338 for more information.

The Zionist Organization of America-Pittsburgh District recently completed the 2015 edition of its Tolerance Education Program. The program was created in 1999 by Dr. Zalman Shapiro to give high school students the opportunity to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Visits to the Holocaust Museum to view artifacts and historical displays expand and cement what is taught in school in ways that cannot be achieved in the classroom.

Some 500 Pittsburgh Public School students who have studied the Holocaust in their 10th-grade history classes visited the museum in February and March as guests of ZOA. ZOA, through donations and grants by individuals, businesses and foundations, pays the entire cost of the trips.

The final part of the program is an essay contest. Each student writes a 500- to 1,000-word essay entitled

“My Impressions on Visiting the Holocaust Museum. How It Has Affected My Own Attitudes? And Can I See Myself as an UpStander?” Teachers at each school review their students’ essays and select one to submit to ZOA.  ZOA judges evaluate the essays, stripped of any characteristics to identify the author and high school.

Prizes of $150, $125 and $100 are awarded to first, second, and third places respectively. Others earning honorable mention receive $50.

The 2015 essay contest winners are: first place, Noa Wollstein, Allderdice High School; second place, Taris Sandling, University Preparatory School; third place, Dakoda Atkinson, Carrick High School. Honorable mention: Haley Arlet, Perry High School; Victoria Volpe, Barack Obama Academy; La-Dayazia Diggs, Westinghouse Academy; Kelly Herman, CAPA; and James Wagner, Brashear High School.

Chabad Centers of Western Pennsylvania will be hosting an “Evening of Inspiration” on Monday, June 22. During the event, the award ceremony will recognize eight individuals with the Lamplighter Award from each of the local Chabad Community Centers: Aleph Institute, Pinky Naiditch; Bnei Emunah Chabad, Shifra Nash; Chabad of Fox Chapel, Laura Pechersky; Chabad of Monroeville, Bob Korfin; Chabad of Pittsburgh, David Dvir; Chabad of South Hills, Dafna Shimshi; Friendship Circle, Stuart Horne; and Yeshiva Schools, Amy Schuler.