Metro Briefs May 21

Metro Briefs May 21

Beth Kissileff will speak following Shavuot morning services on Sunday, May 24 at Young Peoples Synagogue/

Bohnai Yisrael, at 6404 Forbes Ave., at the corner of Denniston. Kissileff’s talk is entitled, “Can Jews Study Together? The Place of Revelation in Modern Israel.”  Kissileff will describe what contemporary Israeli journalists, authors, and thinkers are saying about how observant and secular Israelis are finding ways to strengthen Israel’s Jewish heritage and culture through joint study of the Bible and other Jewish texts.  

Kissileff received her master’s and doctorate degrees in comparative literature and theory from the University of Pennsylvania, following independent study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and receiving her bachelor’s degree with honors at Columbia University.

She is a fiction writer and freelance journalist and addresses issues on Israel, Jewish identity, thought and current approaches to finding common ground among Jews from all backgrounds and denominations. Her articles and fiction have been published.

Kissileff lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Rabbi Jonathan Perlman of New LIght Congregation, and their children. Members of New Light Congregation are invited to attend the talk and join YPS at the kiddush to follow.

Contact for more information.

NA’AMAT USA, Pittsburgh Council will hold its President’s Day/Donor Brunch on Sunday, May 31 at 11 a.m. in the Jewish Association on Aging Community Room.  Outgoing President Marcia J. Weiss and the outgoing officers will be honored.  Lisa Steindel will be welcomed as incoming president along with the incoming officers.

Contact the NA’AMAT office at 412-521-5253 or for more information.

The Jewish Association on Aging, in celebration of the art of aging, will present the Academy Award nominated film, “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me,” on Thursday, June 4 at 6:30 p.m. at SouthSide Works Cinema. The film follows Campbell and his family throughout his 2012 “Goodbye Tour.” His daughter, Ashley Campbell, will be the guest speaker and will perform.

The event benefits the JAA’s memory care programs. Tickets are $125. Con-

tact 412-521-1975 or visit for more information.

The Tzohar Seminary for Chassidus and the Arts Class of 2015 will present “Illumination,” a collaborative presentation of art, writing, music, dance, theater and film, on Sunday, June 7 at 2 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center Katz Theater, 5738 Darlington Road. The program is for women only. Tickets are $10 and $5 for students.

Contact 412-521-1197 or for more information.

National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, June 9 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the O’Reilly Theater for a performance of Jonathan Tolins’ “Buyer & Cellar.” The program will include speaker Ted Pappas, artistic director of the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Visit for more information.

Rabbi Ronald B.B. Symons has been appointed to the new position of senior director of Jewish life at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, effective July 1. The position will oversee initiatives that enhance the JCC’s mission and core values to enrich Jewish life, tradition and community. Symons will oversee the JCC’s teen education and engagement programs, including teen programs currently housed at the Agency for Jewish Learning that are transitioning to the JCC over the coming months.

Symons served at Temple Sinai where he directed the Midrash Center for Lifelong Jewish Learning and the Tikkun Olam Center for Jewish Social Justice since 2008.

Symons is a faculty member of the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to Temple Sinai, he served as rabbi/education director of Larchmont Temple in New York, and as head of Jewish studies faculties at Cohen Hillel Academy and the Rashi School in Massachusetts. He served the Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa, Israel, and as regional educator for the Union for Reform Judaism.

Symons graduated from the State University of New York at Albany and was ordained by Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Hebrew literature from HUC-JIR and a Master of Science in educational administration and supervision from Pace University. He is a graduate of the Day School Leadership Training Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the AviChai Foundation. He is trained as a community organizer, is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh and is a Rabbi Balfour Brickner Rabbinic Fellow of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Symons and his wife, Rabbi Barbara Symons of Temple David in Monroeville, have three children, Aviva, Ilana and Micah.

Gregg Roman, director of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh announced that he has been appointed as the new director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia. He will remain at the Federation until mid August.

The board of trustees at Community Day School has approved an affordability initiative developed by its tuition affordability task force.

The initiative will: limit future tuition increases to not more than 3 percent a year; guarantee that annual tuition assistance awards will not be reduced in future years unless a family’s financial situation improves or the family’s number of students enrolled decreases; and implement a middle school tuition lock that will hold tuition constant from sixth grade through eighth grade.

These changes will take effect in the 2016-17 academic year.

More details about this initiative will soon be available on the school’s website,