Shalom Pittsburgh gives young adult Jews a chance to hang out, socialize

Shalom Pittsburgh gives young adult Jews a chance to hang out, socialize

Socializing — and a Penguins game — was the draw for this group of new friends. (Photo provided by Shalom Pittsburgh)
Socializing — and a Penguins game — was the draw for this group of new friends. (Photo provided by Shalom Pittsburgh)

In contradistinction to its past event, Shalom Pittsburgh hosted a quiet evening for socializing. Roughly one week after its raucous Vodka Latke, held at the Altar Bar in the Strip District, Shalom Pittsburgh again invited young adult Jews to congregate in a bar for drinking, dining and fraternizing. Despite hockey as a backdrop, the second gathering was much tamer. The event, Hockey for Chanukah, encouraged Jewish young adults to meet up at Hough’s, a taproom and brewpub located in Greenfield, and cheer on the Penguins as they played the Washington Capitals.

“It’s just a bunch of Jews hanging out,” Max Cahn, social division chair of Shalom Pittsburgh, said of the event.

“We do a happy hour every two to three months,” said Carolyn Slayton, associate of Shalom Pittsburgh, “The events are low key; people can stop by.”

Various factors including weather, location and evening chosen affect how many people attend the events, said Slayton. On this night,approximately 20 people stopped by. Some came with friends, others by themselves.

Jeff Klein, of Homestead, arrived alone. The third-year doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh said that Slayton messaged him earlier in the day about the event.

“Carolyn told me to come out for a drink,” said Klein, who is not from Pittsburgh and decided to attend in hopes of meeting other young Jews.

“Hillel is a nice spot to hang out on campus, but I hadn’t gotten involved in anything else. I went to a J-Burgh event earlier this year; this is my second foray into social Judaism.”  

Like Klein, Steve Jarron said he came to the event in order to branch out.

“I wanted to meet new people,” he said. “This is more low key and intimate than Vodka Latke or something with a million people.”

From responses, the evening’s event largely attracted those seeking to broaden their social networks. “It’s also people who need a cocktail on a Monday,” said Cahn.

Jonathan Furman, of Greenfield, called the event “fun” because “I get to meet other Jewish people in the area.”

Jonathan Fischer, board member of Shalom Pittsburgh, said that social hours present an opportunity for engaging young Jewish people throughout Greater Pittsburgh.

Fischer, who lives in the South Hills, said that through social hours and other events, Shalom Pittsburgh tries and connects those people “scattered outside of Squirrel Hill.”

“It’s important for me to make all of the events,” he said, “[so] I can connect with other members of the tribe.”

While the event began with disparate groups of attendees, within an hour several tables had been combined, and nearly all of the event-goers were seated beside each other talking, drinking and eating. The number of those gathered paled in comparison with last week’s Vodka Latke. Nonetheless, Fischer still considered the event successful. He pointed out the group of young Jewish adults seated together drinking, dining and socializing at the now-connected table and said, “You can’t judge it totally by the number of people, but you can judge it by the interactions that were had.”

Cahn differed in his assessment factor: “I judge it by who buys me a beer.”

Shalom Pittsburgh’s next event, A Very Jewish Christmas Eve, is set for Dec. 24. Slayton said that after volunteering on Day 1 of Mitzvah Day, young Jewish adults will flock to Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville to watch a movie and eat Chinese food. More information is available at

Adam Reinherz can be reached at

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