Metro Briefs May 12

Metro Briefs May 12

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh launched a communitywide study of Jewish life and needs in the Jewish community in the greater Pittsburgh area last week. The study, the first such effort since 2002, will estimate the current number and geographic distribution of individuals and households in the community who identify as Jewish and will collect data on community members’ behaviors and attitudes about Jewish practice and the Jewish community.

A central benefit of the community study will be to reveal the greatest community needs. The study’s results will provide organizations and programs in Jewish Pittsburgh with more information so that strategic decisions can be made.

The Marilyn and Maurice Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS) at Brandeis University’s Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) will send out survey invitations via email and the U.S. Postal Service. The Community Scorecard committee selected CMJS/SSRI in the fall of 2016 from seven firms invited to apply as part of a formal request for proposals.

The Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation funded the study to provide relevant data and the analytic framework that can support informed decision-making by the Federation and service providers. This data and analysis will improve planning, service delivery, fundraising and marketing, as well as help Jewish agencies to connect people to Jewish community life.

The Federation’s plan for the community study includes demographic information and behavioral and attitudinal information about how the Jewish community engages within the community — perceptions of their modern Jewish identities, connections with organized Jewish institutions and expectations, needs and wants from the Jewish community. These behaviors and attitudes will inform the services the Federation, its funded agencies and other Jewish institutions develop.

The Federation also plans to incorporate the study’s data and analysis into the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard. The Scorecard is an online tool of the organized Jewish community in Pittsburgh that enables people and organizations to review data about Jewish community performance. Using the Scorecard, programs and institutions can assess progress toward becoming a more vibrant, thriving and engaged Jewish community. The data collected will add directly to the Scorecard as it defines, spurs and measures the definition of a community of excellence.

The Scorecard committee plans follow-up research studies that will continue to measure community members’ behaviors and attitudes every two years. The primary study will serve as a baseline. Subsequent studies will track the fluctuation of those measures.

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Congregation Emanu-El Israel will present Cantor Henry Shapiro and the Steel City Klezmorim as part of the congregation’s Festival of the Jewish Arts. The concert with new music will be on Saturday, May 13 at 7 p.m. at 222 N. Main Street, Greensburg. The term klezmer comes from the Hebrew words klei meaning “vessel” and zemer meaning “song” – literally meaning “instrument of song.”  The music is Jewish folk music that developed originally in Eastern Europe.  Refreshments will be served during the intermission. This program is free and open to the community and is funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. For more information call 724-834-0560.

The Lag B’Omer Family Festival will be held on Sunday, May 14 at Anderson Field in Schenley Park, beginning with a children’s rally and show at noon, followed by a carnival from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact 412-422-7300, ext. 1217 or for more information.

Israeli archaeologist Gabriel Barkay will present a lecture, “Bible and Archeology:  The Time of David and Solomon,” in Butler on Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m.  The lecture is presented as an interfaith collaboration between Congregation B’nai Abraham, Covenant Presbyterian Church and Grace at Calvary Episcopal Church, as well as Classrooms Without Borders and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.  Barkay is the director of the Temple Mount Project in Jerusalem and winner of the 1996 Jerusalem Prize for Archaeological Research. Among his many discoveries at digs in Israel and Iran are the Silver Scrolls — two amulets from the late seventh century B.C. that contain the oldest recorded Bible verses (Numbers 6:24-26).

The lecture will be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 230 East Jefferson Street in Butler. The program is free and open to the public, but a goodwill offering will be accepted.

Yeshiva Schools will hold its 73rd annual dinner on Tuesday, May 23 at 6 p.m. at the Westin Convention Center, downtown. Yeshiva will be honoring Mayor William Peduto and will present the Community Builders Award to Rabbi Sruly and Chani Altein. Six13, a Jewish a cappela group from New York, will be featured.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Councilman Dan Gilman are the dinner chairs.

Contact 412-422-7300, ext. 1217 or for more information and to purchase tickets.

Chabad of Pittsburgh will sponsor the sixth annual Sound of Jewish Music event for women on Wednesday, June 7 at Bellefield Hall, beginning with a dessert reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7:15.

The Sound of Jewish Music, which brings together hundreds of Jewish women of all ages and backgrounds, features the musical performances, words of inspiration, and original artwork of more than 50 local Jewish women.

Tickets for the event are $20 in advance and $25 at the door; discounted tickets are available upon request. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 412-421-3561.

Contact for more information.