Metro Briefs May 16

Metro Briefs May 16

 Robert Rehák
 Robert Rehák

Robert Řehák, cultural attaché at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, D.C., will speak on “The History and Legends of the Jews in Prague,” Sunday, May 19, at 4 p.m. at the Ellis School. The lecture is free and open to the public; a reception will follow the lecture.

Rehák’s career has been focused not only on diplomacy, but also on the relations between Jews and Christians in his country. From 2005-2009 he served as the cultural and press attaché at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tel Aviv, and from 2000-2005 was president of the Society of Christians and Jews in the Czech Republic.

His academic career, beginning in 1992, included a stint as general secretary of the Centre for Biblical Studies, a joint institution of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Prague, and time spent studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg, Germany.

Contact Zipora Gur at for more information.

Jewish Association on Aging has introduced a new mission statement:

“We honor and enhance the lives of older adults by providing a continuum of individualized quality care consistent with Jewish values and tradition.”

 JAA selected May, which happens to be National Older Americans Month, as the time to roll out the new mission statement. According to the agency, the new statement is the work of a special subcommittee.

“We carefully assessed and crafted a concise statement to better reflect who we are at the JAA, and why we are here,” according to JAA’s online newsletter. “As a non-profit organization, it is critical for us to be able to clearly communicate both to those we serve and to those who wish to help us serve. The new Mission Statement will form the basis of a Strategic Planning initiative that we are about to begin at the JAA.”

The Squirrel Hill Project will hold a Walking Tour of Squirrel Hill, Sunday, May 19, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Jewish Community Center to get a map for the tour of open houses and see the sights of Jewish Squirrel Hill. The tour is free and open to the public. The project is presented by the University of Pittsburgh. Visit for more information.

Barak Richman will hold a continuing legal education seminar on “Antitrust Law and Co-Religionist Commerce” for two ethics credits, Monday, May 20, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Beth Hamedrash Hagadol-Beth Jacob, at 810 Fifth Ave., Downtown.

Laymen as well as lawyers are also welcome to attend this program as Richman speaks about issues related to antitrust law in the Jewish sphere.

The Agency for Jewish Learning is sponsoring the program. Free parking is available in the lot to the right of the synagogue.

Visit to register.

Jewish National Fund will honor Rabbi Mordy Rudolph, executive director of The Friendship Circle, at its Guardian of Israel Award dinner Wednesday, May 22, 6:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom.

Contact Senior Campaign Executive Amy Jonas at 412-521-3200 or for reservations. 

Rodef Shalom Congregation Men of Reform Judaism will hold its next bimonthly discussion and lunch series Thursday, May 23, 10:30 a.m., at the synagogue, 4905 Fifth Ave., Shadyside.

The JCC Choral Group will perform and the discussion will follow. Lunch can be ordered at check-in for a charge. No RSVP is required.

The Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee will sponsor the South Hills Christian-Jewish Dialogue Thursday, May 23, at noon at Temple Emanuel at 1250 Bower Hill Road.  

The topic will be “Text & Context,” with study of Jewish and Christian texts.  The regular monthly conveners are Father Brian Noel, Rabbi Mark Mahler, Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, Rabbi Howard Stein and Rev. Jim Gilchrist. The program is free and open to the public.  

Contact the PAJC office at (412) 605-0816 or at for more information.

The Zionist Organziation of America, Pittsburgh District, elected its 2013 officers and board members at its May 6 annual meeting.

The officers are Ira Frank (president), Zalman Shapiro (chairman emeritus), Lawrence N. Paper, Michael Vanyukov and Jeffrey L. Pollock (vice presidents), Andrea Chester (recording secretary), Ruth Solomon (corresponding secretary) and Marian Salamon (treasurer).

The board members are Jeanne Bair, Hirsh Dlinn, Julian Elbling, Nate Firestone, Alexandra Greenberg, Glen Harlow, Linda Hurwitz, Barbara Katch, Galina Kirillova, Bernard Klionsky, Stephen Neustein, Mary Novick, Leonard Plotkin, Chaya Pollack, Linda Safyan, Evelyn Shapiro, Lyn Silverman, Phyllis Silverman, Jason Small, Brenda Smith, Marion Taube, Joe Titlebaum, Sybil Treblow, Cyril Wecht and Robert Wishnev.

Honorary board members are Charles Perlow, Louis Weiss and Richard Mottsman.

The Friendship Circle Walk 4 Friendship
will be held Sunday, May 19, from
 12:30 to 4 p.m., at the Schenley Oval Sportsplex,
1 Overlook Drive, Schenley Park.

The Friendship Circle recognizes that being part of an inclusive community is important for people of all ages and abilities. As a part of its efforts to help local children and young adults with special needs to become more fully integrated into their broader communities, the Friendship Circle is hosting a free, community celebration in honor of friendship. Visit to register.

The Jewish Volunteer Center will assist the Jewish Cemetery and Burial Association (JCBA) in cleaning and maintaining Beth Abraham Cemetery, 800 Stewart St., Carrick, Sunday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The JCBA, which maintains Jewish cemeteries that might otherwise be abandoned, relies on volunteers for the upkeep and beautification of these burial grounds.

Volunteers will be raking, picking up trash and cleaning off headstones. Nothing will be physically taxing and should be appropriate for all ages.

Visit to register.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Squirrel Hill is presenting two events in May as part of the 11th annual One Book, One Community celebration, in which community members are invited to read from the same novel and participate in discussions and cultural programs.

This year’s title is “People of the Book” by Pulitzer Prize winning author Geraldine Brooks. “People of the Book” is a fictionalized account of the perilous journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, the Medieval Jewish illuminated manuscript, as it survived through centuries of hostility, exile, and war, told from several points of view throughout history, People of the Book is both a thriller and history.

The first event is Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m. Michal Friedman, a Carnegie Mellon University adjunct professor of history, will speak on the subject, “Uncovering ‘Hidden’ Histories of Jews and Muslims in Medieval and Modern Europe.”

The second event will be Monday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m., when local Squirrel Hill storyteller Alan Irvine will present, “Jewish Folktales,” an all-ages program inviting attendees to immerse themselves in the cultural tradition alive in “People of the Book.” Irvine is an outreach performer for the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and has performed at festivals. Several of his recordings have won Storytelling World and NAPPA awards.

Both events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited and community members can register for the events by contacting the library at 412-422-9650 or at

Rodef Shalom Congregation will present a musical evening featuring songs of Jewish heritage and classical compositions led by the congregation’s musical soloist, Rowna Sutin, Tuesday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m.

Sutin will perform with guest artists Andrey Nemzer, a Metropolitan Opera soloist; and Aron Zelkowicz, founder and director of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival.

This concert is free and a reception, underwritten by the Sandra Gurgon Spear and Stanley J. Spear Fund, will follow.

The evening’s selections will include Yiddish folk music, classical pieces for cello, and familiar liturgical selections.

Sutin began as a music soloist at Rodef Shalom in 1999.  Since moving here, she has been a guest artist at faculty recitals, was affiliated with Heinz Chapel as a soloist, and participated in the inaugural season of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival.  Before coming to Pittsburgh she appeared in operas here and abroad, and was a soloist at Emmanuel Church in Boston.

Rodef Shalom is located at 4905 Fifth Ave., Shadyside.