Metro Briefs June 26

Metro Briefs June 26

Jewish Vegetarians of North America invite the community to its first Pittsburgh event Monday, June 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Schwartz Living Market on East Carson Street in the South Side.

JVNA is bringing in Chef AJ, author of “Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight,” in collaboration with the Schwartz Living Market. Along with a cooking demonstration, there will be samples of her cooking. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

Visit for more information.

Elizabeth Wein, author of the award-winning young-adult novels “Code Name Verity” and “Rose Under Fire,” will be a Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures presenter at a program for kids and teens on Wednesday, July 16 at 7 p.m. at the Hill House Kaufmann Center. The series, in its 14th season and presented in association with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, brings nationally acclaimed authors with popular books to local audiences to help promote a lifelong interest in reading.

Congregation Poale Zedeck and AIPAC will hold a pro-Israel insider’s briefing on Israel and the changing dynamics in the Middle East with Asaf Romirowsky on Thursday, July 17 at 7 p.m. at Poale Zedeck, 6318 Phillips Ave. in Squirrel Hill.

Romirowsky is an adjunct scholar at Foundation for Defense and Democracies and the Middle East Forum.

Contact Kelly Stein at 215-587-4104 or for reservations.

A recent CNN article touted the benefits of making time for students to engage in self-directed learning through a model sometimes called Genius Hours. This practice was inspired by Google’s 20 Percent Rule, which allows Googlers to spend 20 percent of their time working on pursuits that interest them outside of “official” projects.

Community Day School has been in the forefront of this practice for two years through its IGNITE program, which serves as a model for other schools to follow.

IGNITE stands for Inspiring Greatness Now: Innovation Through Exploration. IGNITE gives students an opportunity to pursue projects that are inspired by their own talents and interests. According to CDS Head of School Avi Baran Munro, the program was started to give gifted programming to all students, not just the children who meet a certain IQ score.

“All children are gifted in some way and deserve an opportunity to have an experience that cultivates those gifts and talents,” Munro said.

For Community Day School, IGNITE created small groups in which creative teachers gave students room to investigate their own passions and acquire new skills in the process.

Each year, the program is tweaked based on input from students and teachers to encourage improvements and evolution and also to build student ownership of this creative space.