Metro Briefs March 12

Metro Briefs March 12

Living & Learning, a service of Squirrel Hill Psychological Services, will begin a four-week Memory Training Program for older adults over age 60 in the conference room at Temple David in Monroeville, located at 4415 Northern Pike.

The Memory Training Program will begin on Thursday, March 12 and will continue every Thursday through April 2 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Kelli McElhinney, LCSW, geriatric care manager at Jewish Family & Children’s Service, the parent agency of SHPS, will focus on strategies for developing good memory habits and techniques to improve memory. This program is not intended for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

The course targets the most common memory complaints: forgetting names and faces; forgetting to do things — like keeping an appointment or forgetting why you walked into a room; forgetting where you put things —such as keys, glasses, wallet; and knowing something you can’t immediately recall or other tip-of-the-tongue memory challenges.

Living & Learning programs are discussion-based and led by the professional staff of SHPS. They typically focus on issues related to aging, family dynamics and interfaith relationship challenges.

Programs are free and open to the public. Contact 412-372-1200 or for more information.   

The 23rd Annual Taste of Westmoreland will be held on Saturday, March 14 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Student Union (Chambers Hall) at the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg. The cost is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Children 12 and under are $10.

This is also the 23rd year that Congregation Emanu-El Israel brings the “Taste” to Westmoreland County.  Once again, more than 1,000 people are expected to visit UPG’s Chambers Hall to taste the specialties of more than 20 premier restaurants and caterers of Westmoreland County. The gymnasium is transformed into tasting stations, and the cafeteria is set for comfortable seating for hundreds of participants.

Along with door prizes, the evening will include a Chinese auction and silent auction, featuring special items, gift baskets and gift certificates. Merchants throughout Westmoreland County donated the prizes.  Anyone bringing canned and/or nonperishable items for the Westmoreland County Food Bank will receive one free ticket for the Chinese auction.

Contact the CEI office at 724-834-0560 or or visit for more information on ticket sale locations.   

The Biblical Archeology Society of Pittsburgh will present an illustrated lecture program on Sunday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave. Aaron Brody, associate professor of Bible and archaeology and director of the Bade Museum at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., will speak on “Ancient Israel and its Mediterranean Connections.”

Members of the Society can attend for free; the nonmember fee is $10, and the student fee is $8.

Call Francine Lefkowitz at 412-901-1402 for more information.

Lawrence Bush, editor of Jewish Currents Magazine and curator of the Freedom Summer Photo Exhibit, will be the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee guest speaker on Monday, March 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave. The program is free and open to the community. Dairy refreshments will be served.  

Bush will discuss the 1964 Freedom Summer Photo Exhibit, which documents Jewish involvement using historical photos and personal accounts of Jews who went to Alabama, which laid the groundwork for the march on Selma. The discussion, in light of Passover and the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma, will highlight how Jews and Jewish values influenced the civil rights movement and what needs to be done as the next to keep the American Dream alive.


Squirrel Hill AARP 3354 will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, March 18 at 1 p.m. at New Light Congregation at 1700 Beechwood Blvd. at Forbes Ave. in Squirrel Hill. Following the business meeting, Patty Eberle will entertain. Refreshments will be served. The community is invited. Contact Frieda D. Safyan at 412-521-2804 for more information.

The International Gorek Fund will hold a free concert with Aidana Yntykbayeva playing the kobyz, Kazakhstan’s national instrument, accompanied by pianist Anna Kovalevska on Saturday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. in Levinson Hall at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill. The repertoire will include Western classical music, Kazakh traditional pieces and American melodies.

A Jewish genealogy workshop, “There’s No One Left to Talk to: Using the Rauh Jewish Archives to Tell the Stories of the First Jewish Families in Homestead,” will be held on Sunday, March 22 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.

Genealogical researcher Tammy A. Hepps will give an introduction on how to use materials in the Rauh Archives to enrich genealogical research. Hepps will explain how she reconstructed the stories of her ancestors by cross-referencing collections of government records, old newspapers, city directories and maps with the Homestead Hebrew Congregation’s own records preserved in the Rauh Archives.

Hepps’ great-grandfather and his two brothers were founding members of the Homestead Hebrew Congregation. Although they passed down little of their early experiences, Hepps will show how she was able to construct rich stories about Homestead’s first Jewish residents by analyzing the congregation’s records.

The workshop is underwritten by the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Admission is free but space is limited; kosher refreshments will be served. Register at or call 412-454-6361.

HaZamir Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh’s chap-ter of HaZamir: The International Jew-ish High School Choir, has opened its 2014-2015 season. HaZamir is an international network of Jewish high school choirs that meet weekly to learn a common musical repertoire, and perform this repertoire at regional, national and international events.

HaZamir Pittsburgh, open to eighth- to 12th-grade students, consists of teens from around the city and is directed by musical conductor and director Nizan Leibovich. The choir rehearses weekly during the school year and performs in various local venues including the community wide Yom HaZikaron celebration, and in the past, the choir has performed at the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival.

As part of the International HaZamir Choir, HaZamir Pittsburgh has also performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York and at the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

HaZamir Pittsburgh will also host and perform in Pittsburgh with a visiting chapter from Karmiel/Misgav, Pitts-burgh’s Partnership2Gether city, after this month’s HaZamir Festival. The HaZamir Karmiel/Misgav teen choir will be in Pittsburgh from the afternoon of March 23 through Sunday morning, March 29. The Pittsburgh and Karmiel/Misgav HaZamir choirs will perform a joint choral concert for the community on Wednesday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation. A dessert reception will follow the concert; dietary laws will be observed. The Israeli HaZamir teens will perform at other venues throughout the week.

HaZamir Pittsburgh teens perform each spring with other HaZamir chapters from around the world at the International HaZamir Festival in New York City, which will be held Thursday, March 19 to Sunday, March 22. All singers will participate in a Shabbaton at the Hudson Valley Resort before performing together in the Gala Concert, the highlight of the festival each year, at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on Sunday, March 22 at 4 p.m.

Partnership2Gether (P2G) is a sister-city partnership linking the Pittsburgh Jewish community and Karmiel and the Misgav region in Israel’s central Galilee. Coordinated locally by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, P2G is a joint program of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Jewish Federations of North America.

HaZamir Pittsburgh is a joint program of the Agency for Jewish Learning and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. Rehearsals are held weekly at the Squirrel Hill JCC on Sunday afternoons from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., as teens prepare for upcoming performances and for the festival. New members are welcomed at any time.

Contact Carolyn Gerecht, director of teen learning at the Agency for Jewish Learning, at 412-521-1101, ext. 3201, or for more information or to visit a rehearsal. Contact Debbie Swartz at the Federation at 412-992-5208 or for more information about the Israeli delegation and their itinerary.

The Empty Bowls Dinner fundraising event, which the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank co-produces with Just Harvest, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Rodef Shalom Congregation will host the event for the 13th year on Sunday, March 29 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The annual dinner serves up a simple meal of soup and bread as a reminder that too many people throughout the region are facing hunger with “empty bowls.”

Attendees will begin by choosing an Empty Bowl to take home from the 1,200 to 1,500 bowls provided by local amateur and professional potters. Restaurants and caterers donate bread and several hundred gallons of soup, which is served by local celebrities, TV personalities and elected officials.

Empty Bowls is family friendly with children’s activities, a bake sale, live entertainment, a silent auction of ceramic art and celebrity-autographed bowls and soup to go.

Tickets to Empty Bowls are $22 and are on sale through the Food Bank and Just Harvest’s websites, and, or by calling Just Harvest at 412-431-8960. Tickets will also be available at the door.