Metro Briefs October 11

Metro Briefs October 11

Alan Hoffmann
Alan Hoffmann

Alan Hoffmann, director general of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), will be the next speaker in the Conversations for A Jewish Future speaker series, Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m., in the Katz Auditorium of the Jewish Community Center’s Robinson Building, Squirrel Hill.

Hoffman’s topic for the evening is, “Yinzers and the Yiddin: Our Community’s Relationship with World Jewry in the Future.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the Agency for Jewish Learning are sponsoring the series, which is underwritten by the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future of the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation. 

Born and raised in South Africa, Hoffman made aliya to Israel in 1967.  Formerly director-general of the Department of Education at JAFI, he developed initiatives such as MASA Israel Journey, which brings young people from around the world to Israel on long-term study and volunteer programs, and MAKOM, which generates content and drives educational processes that re-imagine the place of Israel in Jewish life.

He is responsible for numerous educational initiatives in Jewish communities worldwide, including summer and winter camps in the former Soviet Union; training Israeli counselors to work in camps in North America; professional training initiatives for Jewish educators; and sending Israeli educators to communities and institutions around the world.

There is a charge to attend. Register online at or pay at the door. Contact Danielle Kranjec at 412.521.1101, ext. 3204 or for more information.

The Center for the Study of Jewish Life in Central Pennsylvania will hold its second annual Shabbaton on Saturday, Nov. 3. The program begins with a Sabbath Service at 10 a.m. at Congregation Agudath Achim, 1009 Washington St., Huntingdon.

Following lunch, the program moves to the Liebig Science Center on the campus of Juniata College, 17th and Moore Streets, Huntingdon.

The afternoon program will feature a Veterans Day commemoration of Jewish servicemen and women who have served from the Revolutionary War to Iraq. Rabbi Eli Reich of Indiana, Pa., will join a panel of regional clergy discussing the changing face of religion in central Pennsylvania, followed by an update on the project to restore the Barnesboro synagogue by students from Northern Cambria High School. Members of Juniata College Hillel will share their experiences as new Jews in central Pennsylvania. The Shabbaton concludes with a Lower East Side New York kosher deli buffet.

There is no charge for the program, but reservations are requested. Contact the Center at, or (814) 234-7333.

The Charles M. Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility recently received a deficiency free annual state inspection — a difficult distinction to achieve.

Last year, through the generosity of Rae Gayle and Mitchell Pakler, the PEER (Pakler Exemplary Employee Recognition) award program was launched at the Jewish Association on Aging to encourage family members, residents, patients and other staff members to bring to light employees who have exceled in their jobs to provide services that exceed expectations for quality care.

Since it’s inception in 2011, more than 80 JAA staff members have been nominated, with the winner each month receiving a plaque and monetary prize.  

Examples of staff members who have been recognized include a team of careworkers who performed life-saving CPR on a resident who collapsed during lunch at the Weinberg Village, a nursing assistant who cared for a patient’s dog in her own home to enable the woman to complete her in-patient rehabilitation stay stress free, and a maintenance worker who stopped his task to help a resident who required assistance to eat a meal.

J Street Pittsburgh will host a watch party for the final presidential debate, Monday, Oct. 22, 8:15 p.m., at the Jewish Community Center, Squirrel Hill. The event will take place in Levinson Hall.

Refreshments and “facilitated conversation” will be offered from 8:15 to 9 p.m. when the debate, which will focus on foreign policy issues, will start. Contact J Street Pittsburgh at or visit for more information.

Dor Hadash Congregation is offering an adult education course, “The Jews of Spain:  Between Convivencia and Intolerance,” taught by Michal Friedman, Wednesday evenings, Oct 24 and November 7, 14, and 21, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha.

Contact the congregation at 412-422-5158 or at for more information. Reservations are requested.

Shoshana Hadassah of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter is hosting its opening event, Thursday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m. at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill. Louise Mayo, the guest speaker, who will address the topic, “What makes a president great, mediocre, or not so great.”  

Mayo is professor emeritus and former chair of the History Department of Morris College, and has written seven books, including “James K. Polk:  Dark Horse President;” “The House Divided:  America in the Era of Civil War & Reconstruction;” and “The Ambivalent Image:  Nineteenth Century America’s Perception of the Jew.”

Dessert and coffee will be served, and there is a charge. Call the Hadassah office at 412-421-8919 for more information.

Rodef Shalom Congregation will host one of four free informational programs on adult ADHD.

The programs will feature more than a dozen area specialists to talk about what it’s like to live with the ADHD/ADD conditions and review a variety of modalities to offer control back to the patient and client.  

Clinicians, including medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists,  licensed social workers and certified organizational coaches who are qualified to either diagnose and/or treat these conditions, will be speaking from Oct. 15 to 18 to increase awareness among the general and professional audiences.

The Rodef Shalom program will be held Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. The other venues are the Cranberry Public Library (Monday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m.), Mt. Lebanon Public Library (Wednesday, Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m.) and the Cooper-Siegel Community Library in Fox Chapel (Thursday, Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m.)

Susan Lieber, a certified organizer coach specializing in adults with ADHD, is spnsoring the series. Contact Lieber at 412-967-0567 or at for more information.