Metro Briefs September 12

Metro Briefs September 12

Franklin Toker
Franklin Toker

Franklin Toker will speak on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at noon at the University of Pittsburgh in room 125, the auditorium of the Frick Fine Arts Building. Toker will discuss the surprising finds he has made under the Baptistery of Florence, specifically of a baptismal pool of third-century CE date that was excavated a century ago but never identified as such.

Toker uses talmudic specifications on the mikvah to identify its offspring, the Early Christian baptismal pool, at Florence and elsewhere.

Moving the Lives of Kids (MLK Mural), has created a new mural on the corner of Murray Avenue and Beacon Street in the Squirrel Hill business district.

MLK Mural worked with the local community groups, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC) and the Squirrel Hill Gateway Committee to select the location and design the mural.

Though the mural has already been on display for weeks, a ceremonial unveiling is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. at 1940 Murray Ave.

The mural celebrates the residential side of Squirrel Hill, where a diverse community has formed. It celebrates the community and the nature that surrounds them.

The mural design has an abstract letter formation made of native plant forms that reads “Sq H” to represent Squirrel Hill. The community groups selected this theme because of “their pride in Squirrel Hill being the greenest neighborhood in Pittsburgh, having more tree cover and parks than any other neighborhood in the city,” according to a prepared statement from SHUC.

This is the second MLK Mural in the Squirrel Hill business district. The first one, painted in 2009, was also translated into flags on every light post in the zone serving as a branding for the neighborhood.

MLK Mural, which creates public art in partnership with the local youth and support of communities, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization focusing on the arts, youth development, and education.

Visit for more information.

David Harris-Gershon, Jewish studies teacher at Community Day School and author of the new book “What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?” will be at Beth Shalom, Friday, Sept. 13.

Harris-Gershon will lead teens in Helfant Chapel, grades eight through 12, in a discussion on repentance and what it means to forgive.

Visit for more information.

WorkAble, a partnership of the Career Development Center (CDC) of Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh (JF&CS), North Hills Community Outreach (NHCO) and South Hills Interfaith Ministry (SHIM), will hold a career fair for unemployed and underemployed adults throughout the region, Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 9 a.m. to noon, at SHIM’s offices in Bethel Park.

Launched in the fall of 2012 and supported by the United Way of Allegheny County, WorkAble is a countywide employment and critical needs service for financially struggling adults; especially those newly struggling and those who are one event away from crisis. WorkAble serves unemployed and underemployed individuals throughout Allegheny County at NHCO sites in Allison Park and Millvale, SHIM offices in Bethel Park and JF&CS offices in Squirrel Hill.

WorkAble is an expansion of JF&CS’s holistic, high-touch combination of employment and critical needs services, which has successfully helped thousands of people find work and return to self-sufficiency, while including new components, such as NHCO’s experience in communitywide volunteerism. WorkAble is unique in that the program serves both job seekers ready to meet the challenges of a job search and employment, as well as employers seeking talent.

The upcoming career fair will include employers from Giant Eagle, Lifesteps, PNC, St. Clair Hospital the University of Pittsburgh and others.

Call 412-854-9120 to register.

Those who are struggling and need assistance can call the WorkAble hotline at 412-904-5993 or visit

Shoshana Hadassah of Greater Pittsburgh is celebrating its 40th anniversary, Sunday, Sept. 29, at 11:30 a.m. at Summerset Community Center.  All members and guests are welcome at brunch. This is the fall fundraiser; there is a charge.  Rob Rogers from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will be the featured speaker on “Laughter is the Best Medicine.”

Call the Hadassah office at 412-421-8919 for more information and reservations.

Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh is hosting the National Council on Aging’s Flu + You campaign, Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the JCC, 5738 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill.

The event includes a health fair and presentation about the importance of flu vaccinations, and vaccines will be administered. The event is free and open to adults age 65 and older; appointments are not required but participants should bring Medicare identification or health insurance cards.

Influenza, commonly known as “the flu,” is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease that can cause severe complications. The best way to help protect against it is through annual vaccination.

Flu + You is designed to educate adults 65 and older about the seriousness of the flu and the importance of vaccination. Visit for more information.

J Street will hold its fourth annual conference, Saturday, Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, in Washington, D.C.

This year’s theme and focus is “A Time to Lead” and will include plenary and breakout sessions, a gala dinner and advocacy day with visits to Capitol Hill.  Members of the Knesset who will be participating include Shelly Yachimovich (Labor), Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid), Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), Meir Sheetrit (Hatnuah), Zehava Galon (Meretz) and Merav Michaeli (Labor).  

Rep. John Lewis will be a keynote speaker on Saturday evening. Other representatives include Jan Schakowsky, Jared Polis, Peter Welsh and Tammy Duckworth. Also participating are Barak Ravid, diplomatic correspondent from Haaretz; Nidal Foqaha, executive director, Geneva Initiative Palestine; Nancy Kaufman, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women; Steve Gutow, president and CEO, Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA); Kenneth Pollack of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy; and Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, executive director UCLA Hillel. An as yet unidentified representative from the Obama administration will also be attending.

Pittsburgh will be represented with 20 members of J Street Pittsburgh.

Those interested in attending can consult the J Street national website at