Metro Briefs October 22

Metro Briefs October 22

Yaron Sideman, Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region
Yaron Sideman, Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region

JUST ANNOUNCED: An Evening in Solidarity with Israel with Yaron Sideman, consul general of Israel to the mid-Atlantic region, will provide a briefing on the tenuous state of affairs in Israel, on Tuesday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, Squirrel Hill, Katz Theater, Robinson Building at 5738 Darlington Ave.

The event is free and open to the community.

Contact 412-992-5247 or for more information.

The sisters of AEPhi together with the Hillel Jewish University Center will host a Sharsheret Pink Shabbat to raise awareness about breast cancer and spread the word about Sharsheret.

In honor of October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sharsheret is working closely with synagogues and Jewish organizations across the country to host their Sharsheret Pink Shabbat events. The program brings members of the community together for a Shabbat experience, while raising awareness about the increased risk for hereditary breast cancer among Jewish families and the impact of breast cancer on our communities. Nationally recognized statistics show that one in 40 Ashkenazi Jewish women and men carries the BRCA cancer gene mutation, nearly 10 times the rate of the general population.

More than 150 events will take place during October in 16 states and will feature pink challah baking events, breast cancer survivors sharing their stories with program participants and Sharsheret’s free informational resources.

Contact the sisters of AEPhi at for more information about the events in Pittsburgh.

Beth Shalom Adult Education’s Beth Shalom University will present “The Jews and Early Islam” on Sunday, Oct. 25 beginning with a light brunch from 9:30 a.m. and program at 10 a.m.

David B. Ruderman, the Joseph Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History at the University of Pennsylvania, will be the virtual teacher. An audience discussion led by a member of the Adult Education Committee will follow.

Donations are welcome. RSVP for bagels, cream cheese, coffee and tea to or 412-421-2288, ext. 114.

PAJC and the Greater Pittsburgh Interfaith Coalition will present “Exploring Compassion Through Multifaith Lenses” on Sunday, Oct. 25 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The free panel discussion will explore the roots of compassion across faith traditions. Visit for more information.

PAJC is partnering with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Community Relations Council (CRC), South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh, the South Hills Jewish Community Center and South Hills congregations for a four-part course on Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict, led by Gregg Roman, director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia and former director of the Federation’s CRC.

Classes begin on Oct. 26. The cost is $10 per class or $30 for all four. Visit for more information.

Classrooms Without Borders will hold a discussion on “A Special Relationship: Jewish and Israeli Life in Germany after 50 Years of Diplomatic Relations” on Sunday, Nov. 1 at Rodef Shalom Congregation.

The Israeli community in Berlin has been growing steadily in the last few years. Where does this leave Jews and the Jewish community in Germany today? If anti-Semitism in Europe is on the rise, how does this affect German-Israeli relations? Join German and Israeli leaders in a roundtable discussion on the possibilities and difficulties of Jewish life in Germany today. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session.

Moderator Paul Overby is the honorary consul of Germany in Pittsburgh. Panelists are Andreas Eberhardt, executive director of German-Israeli Future Forum (which sponsors creative and economic cooperative projects by Israelis and Germans); Eldad Beck, journalist and German correspondent for the Israeli Daily Yedioth Achronot; and Katharina von Münster, communications director of Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, an international volunteer organization founded in 1958 by the Evangelical Church in Germany based on the conviction that the first step toward reconciliation had to be made by the perpetrators and their descendants.

Visit for more information and to register.

Leon S. Zionts, who has starred for more than two decades in musicals and comic operettas, will present his new one-man show, “Leon Zionts Sings Broadway Classics and More,” on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Ahavath Achim, the Carnegie Shul, at 500 Chestnut St. (corner of Chestnut and Lydia streets) in Carnegie.  

He will perform popular Broadway standards, with some Sinatra, Gershwin and other classics from the last century thrown in.

The free show is open to the community and is funded by a grant from South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh, a project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

Reservations, which are encouraged, can be made at 412-561-1261 or

Chabad of the South Hills in Mt. Lebanon will hold its Soup for the Soul seniors’ luncheon on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at noon. Attendees are asked to bring a favorite family photo for a discussion.

There is a $5 suggested donation. The building is wheelchair accessible. Contact Barb at 412-278-2658 or for more information and to register.

Camp Young Judaea – Midwest announced that Brian Jaffee will begin a two-year term as CYJ board president. Brian is a former CYJ camper and staff member with a 30-year association with the camp.  After beginning his career with Young Judaea by serving in two national positions, as well as in Israel on Young Judaea’s year course, Jaffee worked at AIPAC in Washington, D.C., for five years before moving to Cincinnati.  He currently serves as the executive director of the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. 

Jeffrey Cohan, executive director of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, announced that the organization has rebranded itself as Jewish Veg. Cohan made the announcement at the 40th anniversary fundraising celebration held at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York on Oct. 13.

Cohan said that the name change was based on considerations that included: “vegetarians” in the name created confusion, as the mission is to encourage and help people reduce consumption of all types of animal products, with veganism as the ultimate objective; the word Veg encompasses vegans and vegetarians alike, furthering the objective of being an inclusive organization; and the word Veg has a contemporary and positive connotation.

For 38 of its 40 years, Cohan said, the organization was all-volunteer. Over the last two years, the organization has added professional staff, built a board of directors and assembled rabbinic and advisory councils. Jewish Veg also announced that it is partnering with Hillel International to send Israeli vegan leader Ori Shavit to 10 college campuses.

Birthright Israel will be introducing new opportunities for participants this year. The Birthright Israel Academic program is an extended 13-day trip offering up to three college credits through Tel Aviv University. Participants will have the option to select from two courses in business, entrepreneurship and international relations.

The second program, Birthright Israel Focus, is a pilot program offering participants a seven- to eight-day trip during spring break that will have two tracks. One will focus on the geopolitical reality of Israel and will allow participants to speak with experts on politics, diplomacy, human rights, Israeli-U.S. relations and the changing realities of the Arab world. The second track will focus on life in contemporary Israel.

Visit for more information and registration.

Penn State Hillel has been selected to participate in Hillel International’s new Comprehensive Excellence pilot initiative, with a goal of building capacity through a matching grant so that it can engage Jewish students on campus over three years.

To achieve comprehensive excellence, Penn State Hillel is evaluated using Hillel International’s metrics for excellence: student engagement numbers; the quality of student impact; and the evaluation of critical operational and fiscal measures.

Heading into the grant’s second year, Penn State Hillel has implemented strategies to achieve excellence and create vibrant Jewish life. With last year’s student engagement number reaching 1,300, Penn State Hillel launched the Campus Engagement Internship Program, a yearlong experience that builds a personal foundation for students’ Jewish identities through peer-to-peer engagement. These 10 interns will participate in weekly workshops highlighting Hillel’s engagement methodology, Jewish learning and leadership development, inviting students to join in their own Jewish exploration.