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FED TALKS: IDEAS TO POWER AN INSPIRED COMMUNITY — Jewish Federation’s 2018 Annual Meeting Will Feature Three Innovative Guest Speakers
7/27/2018


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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s 2018 annual meeting, FED Talks: Ideas to Power an Inspired Community, will include insights from three guest speakers who will offer creative ideas for use within the Jewish world and beyond. The Federation invites everyone in the community to the event, to be held Thursday, Aug. 30, at theKelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh 15206 — a venue new for the event. The format, also new this year, will include celebration of community leaders and reports about how the Jewish Federation impacts Jewish Pittsburgh. The presentation portion of the evening will be 7–8 p.m. A dessert reception (dietary laws observed) will follow, 8–9 p.m.

FED Talks guest speakers will be:

  • Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO, Hillel International, Washington, D.C., who will present “Energizing a Turnaround: Moving From Obsolete to Relevant.”
  • Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, community rabbi, educator, author and environmental activist, Baltimore, Md., who will offer “Connecting to the Power of Jewish Hospitality.”
  • Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt, Temple Ohav Shalom, Allison Park, Pa., who will share “Jumping the Gap: Reaching Out and Reimagining.”

Eric FingerhutRabbi Nina Beth CardinRabbi Jeremy Weisblatt

Meryl K. Ainsman, chair of the Jewish Federation’s Board of Directors, believes that the focus on creative ideas is especially appropriate for the 2018 annual meeting. “As I review the Jewish Federation’s activities over the last year, what strikes me are the gains the community has made as the result of data-driven forward thinking. Planning and innovation have resulted in ongoing support of our human services agencies, and we have increased outreach to young adults, enhanced security and nurtured Jewish education. What’s more,” she continues, “I’m excited about showing how the Jewish Federation has changed itself to be able to sustain innovative initiatives into the future.”

At the Aug. 30 event, the community leaders who will be celebrated are:

  • Cynthia D. Shapira, recipient of the 2018 Emanuel Spector Memorial Award, the highest honor presented by the Jewish Federation. The award recognizes exemplary service to the community.
  • Nancy D. Zionts, recipient of the 2018 Doris & Leonard H. Rudolph Jewish Communal Professional Award. The Rudolph Award recognizes the exceptional personal and professional commitment of a Jewish communal professional employed by the Jewish Federation or one of its partner agencies.

 President and CEO of the Jewish Federation, Jeffrey H. Finkelstein, previews some of the highlights of the annual meeting: “This year’s annual meeting will show how the Jewish Federation is expanding volunteering, training pro-Israel advocates, meeting the challenge of Jewish cemetery upkeep, strengthening bonds to Israel and creating relationships outside the community. These accomplishments are inspiring.”

Guest speaker Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International, has had a multifaceted career in which ideas have been the common denominator. He served as chancellor of Ohio’s system of public universities and colleges 2007–11 and corporate vice president of education and STEM Learning at Battelle, the world’s largest independent R&D organization. Government service complements his career in education. Mr. Fingerhut was a representative in the U.S. Congress (1993–94) and an Ohio state senator (1997–2006). He holds a juris doctorate from Stanford University. Since becoming the leader of Hillel International in 2013, Mr. Fingerhut has made changes that have helped the organization transform into the world’s leading Jewish campus organization. 

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin is a community rabbi, educator, author and environmental activistworking in Baltimore, where she is known as the Green Rabbi — a testament to her work in faith-based sustainability. Founder of the Baltimore Orchard Project, an initiative to strengthen food accessibility, she is the past chair of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and is helping to draft a state constitutional amendment to protect people’s rights to a healthful environment. Rabbi Cardin has served as a lecturer at the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City, and currently teaches at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, Baltimore.

Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt of Temple Ohav Shalom, in Allison Park, Pa., has helped to build young-adult and professional engagement, relaunch interfaith programs and re-imagine Jewish experiences. Rabbi Weisblatt has served congregations in Fredericksburg, Va., and Chicago. In New York City, Rabbi Weisblatt attended The Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), from which he was ordained. He is currently in an HUC-JIR doctoral program, where his study focuses on the relationships of Jews to non-Jews as depicted in Jewish tradition. 

Admission to FED Talks: Ideas to Power an Inspired Community is $10 per person when registering online at jfedpgh.org/annual-meeting. Online registration will be available until noon, Monday, Aug. 27. At the door of the Aug. 30 event, admission cost will be $20 per person. Additional information and help with online registration are available by calling 412.992.5251.

Sign language interpretation of the proceedings and large-print agendas will be available. The full inclusion of people of all abilities is a core value of the Pittsburgh Jewish community. To discuss disability-related accommodations, call 412.992.5251.

GET A CHANCE TO THROW OUT THE FIRST PITCH AT A PIRATES GAME FOR JEWISH HERITAGE NIGHT, AUG. 16
7/24/2018


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Have you ever imagined standing on the mound like Sandy Koufax (or, you know, pick a modern equivalent), staring down the batter, game on the line, fingers gripping a fastball--? 

Well, this isn’t quite like that. But it’s the same mound, same home plate! 

Now you can throw out the first pitch at a Pirates game. All you have to do is sign up at https://jfedpgh.org/first-pitch.  Anyone can enter (you don’t have to be Jewish). It’s free, and open to people of all abilities. The winner will be randomly selected and contacted the day before the game. 

This is a rare opportunity; the Pirates seldom open first-pitch opportunities to the general public like this. The game, August 16, is against the Chicago Cubs. 

It’s part of Jewish Heritage Night at PNC Park, August 16, hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Those who attend will receive a special limited edition Pirates Jewish Heritage Night cap, and are invited to show up early for a kosher BBQ before the game. A vegetarian an option is available. To purchase tickets and/or register for the BBQ, visit https://jfedpgh.org/jewish-heritage-night.

If you have any questions, or to inquire about the vegetarian option, contact Josh Avart at joshua.avart@pirates.com or 412-325-4903.

JEWISH FEDERATION RAISES RECORD AMOUNT TO BENEFIT HUMAN SERVICES, COMMUNITY PROGRAMS AND PLANNING
6/22/2018


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Donors to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will provide almost $28 million in allocations and grants to human services and community-building programs in 2018–19. The allocations, announced by the Federation’s Board of Directors, will support programs in Pittsburgh and in Jewish communities around the world.

The Jewish Federation raised funds for the allocations through its Community Campaign as well as through the Jewish Community Foundation, supplemental donor gifts, government funds secured with Jewish Federation assistance and a $900,000 human services block grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. Allocation decisions are the result of a year-long planning process that engages volunteers and professionals with diverse expertise, backgrounds and affiliations. The goal of this process is to identify the most pressing needs for today and the future.

“As the needs in the community change year to year,” explained Meryl Ainsman, chair of the Jewish Federation’s Board of Directors, “so do giving trends. By leveraging corporate, foundation and government dollars, the Jewish Federation is able to keep up with those changing needs and help here in Pittsburgh, in Israel and in communities around the world.” 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh multiplies the impact of private giving by leveraging corporate and government dollars through programs such as Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. In 2017–18, corporate giving to the Pittsburgh Federation reached a record high. EITC participation, combined with growth of the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation assets and additional resources, will allow the Jewish Federation to provide more support to the community than ever before. Although the Community Campaign total is projected to fall approximately $200,000 short of last year’s total, the combined resources that the Jewish Federation will allocate is projected to exceed last year’s $26.3 million by over $1.6 million, because of increases in both EITC participation and supplemental giving.

A large portion of the Federation’s Campaign allocations in 2018–19 will address aging and human needs in Pittsburgh. Though most of the Federation’s beneficiary agencies will receive a 2% cut, organizations that address health and human services will not lose any funding. Also, due to record giving through the EITC program, Jewish educators, day schools and pre-K programs throughout Greater Pittsburgh will see an increase in funding.

To maintain focus on the local community’s needs, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will decrease its allocation to international partner agencies Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Traditionally, the Pittsburgh Federation’s allocations to these agencies have been higher than the average allocated by Federations nationwide. The 5% cut that both JAFI and JDC will receive this year will result in an allocation that is closer to the national average. 

Results from the 2017 Jewish Community Study, which was funded by the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, were released this past February. 

Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, explained, “The 2017 Jewish Community Study is part of a much larger effort to take a hard look at the way we do things here in Pittsburgh.” 

The study revealed that that Jewish Pittsburgh now comprises nearly 27,000 households that include more than 49,000 Jewish individuals and almost 10,000 non-Jewish individuals. As a result, Mr. Finkelstein reported, the Jewish Federation will continue to invest substantial dollars to address Jewish engagement by providing allocations to support Israel travel, Jewish preschool and overnight Jewish camping. “We hope to continue our efforts to provide services and programs for those outside our core community, encouraging more Jewish participation in the future.”

Last year’s allocations promoted the growth of new projects earmarked for young adult initiatives, including OneTable and Honeymoon Israel. Both have been highly successful in engaging young adults. The coming year will include fewer new projects, but the Jewish Federation will continue to fund existing successful initiatives as it continues to revise its own organizational structure, to ensure efficiency and align with the community going forward, as well as the way the beneficiary agencies function.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s nine local beneficiary agencies are 

  • The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center
  • Community Day School
  • Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Association on Aging
  • Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Family and Community Services
  • Jewish Residential Services
  • Riverview Towers
  • Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh  

More information about Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh allocations and grant making is available from Adam Hertzman, director of marketing, at 412.992.5225 or ahertzman@jfedpgh.org.

PITTSBURGH LOCAL, PEYTON KLEIN RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD; A $36,000 GRANT FOR GIVING VOICE TO WORLD’S MOST UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS
6/20/2018

One of 15 recipients across the country, 16-year-old Peyton Klein of Taylor Allderdice High School was awarded the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award last week for her creation of the Global Minds Initiative. The program combats the issues of cultural intolerance, ignorance and discrimination through one-on-one after school tutoring and activities with English as a Second Language (ESL) and Native English Speaking (NES) students. 

The Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, announced June 14, 2018 the recipients of its annual Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. Now in its 12th year, the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards have given more than $4 million dollars to 114 Jewish teens who are tackling global issues and creating lasting change through tikkun olam. 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has a relationship with the Helen Diller Family Foundation due to its support of the Diller Teen Fellows program, a separate program of the Helen Diller Family Foundation that engages teens from Pittsburgh and our Partnership2Gether region of Karmiel and Misgav, in exploration of leadership, Jewish identity, Israel and other values. The Jewish Federation supports the Diller Teen Fellows program through the Community Campaign and the program is implemented by our agency partner, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. 

"The Jewish Federation is a proud local partner to the Helen Diller Family Foundation and we are extraordinarily proud of Peyton for receiving this honor and the good work that she is doing," said Debbie Swartz, Overseas Planning Associate of the Jewish Federation. 

Since the founding of Global Minds Initiative in 2016, Klein has worked hard to expand the organization to 13 schools across the country and in New Brunswick, Canada. “I’m so honored to be an award recipient,” said Peyton. “I think that this award doesn’t just represent Global Minds, but the power of student leadership.”

This year’s awards recipients are the creators of non-profit organizations, widely adopted school curriculums, student-led volunteer programs, and more that address issues from school bullying, sexual harassment and sexism, to health disparities, homelessness, and discrimination. Each awardee will receive $36,000 in support of their philanthropic vision.

Full descriptions of all 15 Award recipients and their initiatives can be found at: www.dillerteenawards.org

Klein started Global Minds Initiative after noticing the issues of cultural intolerance and the exclusion of immigrants and refugees at her own high school. She was inspired after getting to know her classmate Khwala and discovering her experience as a refugee and the newfound knowledge of the challenges she faced on a daily basis. 

“At the time I was working on Clinton campaign, and believed in diversity and equality, but I wasn’t living by those beliefs,” said Klein. “I went to the English as Second Language classroom with Khwala, conducted focus groups and then we dreamed up Global Minds Initiative. We started with 10 people at our very first meeting and have grown to a group of over 80 people.”

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards began in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007 as the vision of Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller. The Diller Teen Awards recognize Jewish teens demonstrating and exemplifying the spirit of tikkun olam, a central Jewish value meaning “repair the world.” Since 2007, the program has awarded more than $4 million to 114 teens in recognition of their vision, innovation, and demonstration of leadership. 

Past recipients continue to inspire their peers to follow in their tikkun olam footsteps and create meaningful relationships with new awardees through networking and mentorship. Many past recipients have also been recognized by some of the most prestigious institutions and leaders, including the United Nations Foundation, the Jefferson Awards, the Prudential Spirit Of Community Awards, The White House, and former President Barack Obama. 

The 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards recipients were selected by committees comprised of community leaders and educators located in cities around the country. Candidates completed detailed applications describing their Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards 2018 projects, goals, impact, inspirations and challenges, fundraising tactics and major accomplishments. 

The 2018 recipients encourage anyone interested in nominating a teen to begin the nomination process at www.dillerteenawards.org

VIBRANT PITTSBURGH AND URBAN AFFAIRS FOUNDATION OFFER MINI GRANTS TO STRENGTHEN CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AMONG THE REGION'S DIVERSE COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS
6/15/2018


PITTSBURGH – Two Western Pennsylvania champions of diversity — Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Urban Affairs Foundation, which is a part of the Community Relations Council (CRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh — have joined forces to implement this year’s Mini Grants Initiative: 2018 Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund. This fund will promote diverse communities in the Pittsburgh region. Each organization has committed $25,000 to create a $50,000 pool to fund projects that increase the civic engagement of diverse and immigrant communities. This year's theme is "Language Access through the Use of Technology."

Melanie Harrington, CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh, is thrilled about the foundation’s participation.

“We are pleased to team up again this year with the Jewish Federation because they have been providing services for more than a century to Pittsburgh’s immigrant and diverse communities. In addition, this is our sixth cycle of funding grants to community groups, so this partnership allows us to expand our resources and engagement.”

Cindy Goodman-Leib, chair of the Community Relations Council (CRC), explained how the partnership between the Urban Affairs Foundation and Vibrant Pittsburgh highlights "the Jewish Federation's support for healthy, diverse communities and our conviction that they contribute to the vitality of the region as a whole. We see awarding Mini Grants as a means of building the region in the way the foundation’s mission statement specifies: ‘to foster amicable relationships among ethnic, racial, national, religious and other groups in our community.’ ”

Funding through the Vibrant Pittsburgh-Urban Affairs Foundation’s 2018 Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund initiative will be available to applicants selected through a competitive proposal process. Lead organizations must have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and maintain a physical presence in the Power of 32 Region (see www.powerof32.org). Organizations can partner with other nonprofits, academic institutions, religious organizations, community groups, businesses and employee resource groups.

Projects eligible for Mini Grant funding should:

  • Create opportunities for civic engagement that result in a more inclusive and engaged multicultural region, and
  • Be collaborative by engaging diverse communities, organizations, or partners. 

The term of proposed projects should be one year. The typical range of a grant award is $500-$7,500.

Grant application materials will be available starting June 14 at jfedpgh.org/grants and at vibrantpittsburgh.org/Module/Resource/MiniGrantsList. Completed grant applications are due by 5 p.m., Friday, August 31, 2018, and should be sent electronically to ebernstein@jfedpgh.org. Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Urban Affairs Foundation will announce Mini Grant awardees in November 2018.

Past Vibrant Pittsburgh Mini Grants have funded health and human services, housing, education, mentoring, professional networking, social support, welcoming initiatives, and job-connection programs for refugees and immigrants.

About Vibrant Pittsburgh

Vibrant Pittsburgh is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the growth and economic competitiveness of the Pittsburgh region by engaging the region’s employers; attracting, retaining and elevating a diverse talent pool; and positioning the region nationally and internationally as an inclusive and welcoming place for people of all backgrounds. Vibrant Pittsburgh efforts and this Mini Grants initiative are made possible by Vibrant Pittsburgh Members; more information is available at vibrantpittsburgh.org.

About Urban Affairs Foundation

The purpose of the Urban Affairs Foundation, part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Relations Council, is to promote the involvement of Jewish organizations and individuals in urban concerns. The Community Relations Council engages in public policy activities to promote harmonious relations and mutual understanding within and beyond the Jewish community and to support the State of Israel.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH TO HOST CIVIL RIGHTS SYMPOSIUM ON HATE CRIMES
5/25/2018


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Pittsburghers have a chance to learn about hate speech and hate crimes that occur right here in western Pennsylvania at an upcoming civil rights discussion sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The event will occur on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 from 7-8:30 pm at Congregation Rodef Shalom located at 4905 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Representatives from the United States Attorney’s Office, FBI & State Police and other law enforcement agencies will discuss the laws that govern hate crimes and what to do when community members encounter hate speech. These first responders will present actual hate crime cases that have been prosecuted in Pittsburgh.

The Jewish Federation’s Director of Jewish Community Security Brad Orsini, who will moderate and present a “cross burning” case at the discussion, encourages the public to “say something when they see something."

”We are very pleased to facilitate this important discussion on hate crime and hate speech. We are encouraging the community to report this behavior when they witness signs of hate, whether verbal, graffiti or on some online platform.” said Orsini. “It is important to be aware and report signs of hatred, as they can sometimes evolve into a hate crime."

This event is free and open to the entire community. Middle-school and high-school-aged children are encouraged to attend and to listen to the civil rights experts. Various faith-based organizations will also join in the discussion.

If you plan to attend, please email Erin Wyland at ewyland@jfedpgh.org or call her at 412-992-5252, or register online.

Civil Rights Symposium

Civil Rights Symposium

Hate Crime and Hate Speech
June 13, 7:00 PM
 

Learn more...

 

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH SIGNS LEASE AT 2000 TECHNOLOGY DRIVE
5/16/2018


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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh yesterday signed a 10-year lease at 2000 Technology Drive, a building owned by The Silk & Stewart Development Group. The Jewish Federation will occupy 16,925 square feet on the first floor. Financial terms of the deal were unavailable.

The Jewish Federation plans to begin buildout when the current tenants vacate the space late in 2018. The organization projects that the Federation will move offices in the first quarter of 2019.

Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation, commented, “We are excited to move into this great space that will enable us to welcome the community better and will provide an excellent working environment for our dedicated staff.”

The Jewish Federation’s lease includes an option on additional space on the second floor of the building. Silk & Stewart’s lease also offers the Jewish Federation the option to renew their lease for two five-year terms.

 “We’re excited to have the Jewish Federation join our other tenants at 2000 Technology Drive,” said Andrew Stewart, principal of Tech Drive Partners, LLC, the legal entity under which Silk & Stewart handles rentals in the building.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh chose the space through the work of a volunteer committee led by David Sufrin, vice chair of the Jewish Federation’s board, in conjunction with the staff of the Jewish Federation, real estate broker Jamie Pivarnick of CBRE and attorney Alan Gordon of McGuireWoods. The process began more than a year ago and involved evaluation of a wide variety of commercial properties around the Greater Pittsburgh area.

“We’re all looking forward to a more efficient and effective workplace so that our organization has the opportunity to better provide for the needs of the Jewish community,” said Mr. Sufrin, who also serves as the Jewish Federation’s development chairperson.

About Silk & Stewart Development Group
Founded in 1989, the Silk and Stewart Development Group develops, leases and manages commercial properties in well-established growth markets, including the Western Pennsylvania metropolitan area, middle and western Tennessee and the Greater Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan market. The company is responsible for the development and management of approximately 40 properties comprising over 1,000,000 square feet of space.

JEWISH FEDERATION TO HOST CELEBRATION! — A NEW THANK-YOU EVENT FOR DONORS
5/8/2018

 


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Kippalive, Israel’s leading a capella group, will headline CELEBRATION!, a new donor-appreciation event. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will present the event to thank donors to the Federation’s 2018 Community Campaign. CELEBRATION! will take place at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 31, at Pittsburgh Opera, 2425 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh 15222.

The night will also feature the presentation of the PNC Community Builders Award. This year’s recipient is the Halpern family. Sy Holzer — executive vice president and special advisor to the chairman, PNC Financial Services Group — will present the award to acknowledge the Halpern family’s volunteer efforts to enhance the strength and vibrancy of the Greater Pittsburgh community.

The evening’s entertainment, Kippalive, is known for amazing energy, humor and a fresh musical style. Founded in Ra’anana, Israel, Kippalive has performed on the Israeli “X Factor”; at the president’s residence, in Jerusalem; and in London, Mexico and throughout the United States. The group blends a modern Israeli sound with classical Jewish music and pop songs.

The evening will also act as the official public launch of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Legacy Society. Created to inspire donors to endow their contributions to the Community Campaign beyond a lifetime, the Legacy Society in Pittsburgh is part of a national effort to encourage after-life philanthropy. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation has partnered with the Jewish Community Foundation to help inspire donors as part of the Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY™ program.

CELEBRATION! is sponsored by the Ira and Nanette Gordon (z”l) Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The Jewish Federation invites to the event donors who have made a contribution of at least $1,000 to the 2018 Community Campaign as well as Legacy Fund holders and their adult children.

At the May 31 event, valet parking will be provided and cocktails and a “strolling dinner” will be served. Dietary laws will be observed. The couvert is $18 per person.

Celebration!To attend, register online at jfedpgh.org/CELEBRATION or contact Melissa Roane (mroane@jfedpgh.org or 412-992-5264), who can help with registration, provide additional information and coordinate requests for disability-related accommodations.

JEWISH FEDERATION HONORS PART-TIME JEWISH EDUCATOR SHARON SERBIN WITH 2018 HAROLD GRINSPOON AWARD
4/30/2018


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Sharon SerbinThe Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will honor part-time educator Sharon Serbin as one of the North American Grinspoon Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education at the June 6th ceremony held at the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA)/ Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh 15217.

The Pittsburgh recipient of the 2018 Grinspoon Award is Sharon Serbin, a part-time educator at Adat Shalom Religious School and Dor Hadash Religious School. Sharon is currently in her 20th year of teaching at Adat Shalom and in her 3rd year of teaching at Dor Hadash.

Jewish Federation’s Director of Jewish Life and Learning Rabbi Amy Bardack acknowledges Serbin for her achievements. “We are so pleased to be recognizing the dedication and skill of Sharon Serbin. Jewish educators are central to transmitting our traditions and values, and Sharon is well deserving of this honor.”

Serbin was delighted when she received the news that she was the 2018 Grinspoon Award winner. 

“I am speechless. And anyone who knows me, knows that doesn’t happen often. I am deeply and truly honored. It has been a great joy and blessing to teach and to inspire Jewish youth over the years, and to come up with creative new ways to spark their interest and deepen their connection to and understanding of Judaism. With much gratitude, I thank you.”

This year, the Jewish Federation presents the Grinspoon Award as a newly designed teacher appreciation event for all Jewish educators in the community. The Grinspoon Award nominees will rotate each year among part-time congregational schools, day schools and early childhood centers, with this first year focusing on the part-time schools.

The Harold Grinspoon Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education recognize skilled, innovative educators in Jewish day schools, religious schools and Jewish early childhood centers. This year marks the 18th year the Harold Grinspoon Foundation has presented an award to a Jewish educator. Since 2000, the program has grown to 80 North American communities and has recognized hundreds of outstanding educators in the U.S. and Canada.

Honorees are nominated by the organizations they serve. In Pittsburgh the award is supported by the Barbara and Lester Parker Fund for a Jewish Future Endowment. This endowment is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Foundation. 

Andrea Lieber, PhDAt the June 6 Grinspoon Award celebration, Andrea Lieber, Ph.D., will serve as keynote speaker, addressing the discussion From Camp to Classroom: A Path toward Experiential Jewish Education.

Dr. Lieber is a professor of religion at Dickinson College where she holds the Sophia Ava Asbell Chair in Judaic Studies. She is the author of The Essential Guide to Jewish Prayer and Practices (Alpha Books/Penguin 2012), numerous articles and two edited anthologies. In addition to her career in higher education, Andrea currently serves as the Educational Director at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, recently completed a 6-year term as president of the Board of Directors of The Silver Academy, a K-8 Jewish day school in Harrisburg, PA and was the inaugural director of Gesher, a collaborative Jewish part-time school.

For details or to register, contact Cheryl Johnson at 412-992-5249 or cjohnson@jfedpgh.org. To learn more or to register for the event, visit jfedpgh.org/grinspoon.

Light refreshments will be served. (Kosher dietary laws observed.) The event is free; registration is requested.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH’S COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL CONDEMNS ANTI-SEMITIC REMARKS BY GATEWAY SCHOOL BOARD DIRECTOR
4/3/2018

 

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh's Community Relations Council (CRC) condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by a member of the Gateway Board of School Directors targeting Rabbi Barbara Symons. We are appalled by the actions of Steve O'Donnell, who has since resigned from the board. On separate occasions Mr. O'Donnell mocked the rabbi's yarmulke, declined to refer to her as "rabbi," and suggested that she felt superior to him because she is Jewish. When asked to apologize, O'Donnell refused and insisted that Rabbi Symons owed him an apology.

Additionally, we commend the Monroeville Interfaith Ministerium for speaking out against anti-Semitism and supporting Rabbi Symons, president of the ministerium. We are appreciative of Rev. Dr. David Morse, a member of the ministerium, who stated to the board of school directors: "An insult to any one of our religions is an insult to all of our religious faiths."

"It is disheartening to hear a public official use hateful language, particularly when he is elected to represent a community as diverse as Monroeville," said Cindy Goodman-Leib, chair of the Community Relations Council. "However, we should not judge an entire community based on the actions of a single individual. I applaud the strong group of interfaith leaders who came together to set a powerful example to let Monroeville know that hate will not be tolerated."

The Community Relations Council stands with Rabbi Barbara Symons, the Monroeville Interfaith Ministerium, and the Monroeville community as they continue their efforts to strengthen their community and combat bigotry through dialogue, outreach and understanding.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH CELEBRATES THE STATE OF ISRAEL'S 70TH ANNIVERSARY AT YOM HA'ATZMAUT
3/28/2018


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The state of Israel is turning 70, and Pittsburgh is invited to the party. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is hosting a community-wide celebration for Yom Ha’atzmaut, the 70th Independence Day of Israel, on April 19.

It’s from 4-8 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill. All events will be outdoors, weather permitting. Admission is free, and food will be Kosher.  

The public is invited to sing, dance, play, eat and celebrate Israel. Visitors can listen to Israeli hits, watch a live dance performance from Pittsburgh’s Partnsership2Gether regions of Karmiel and Misgav in Israel and help to paint a community mural, designed by artist Daniel Cascardo.

The celebration includes games for the kids like GAGA, Karmiel Caterpillar Catch, Cookie Decorating and PJ Library Story Walk.

Murray Avenue will close at 9a.m. between Forbes and Darlington Avenues and will reopen at 11p.m. There will be partial access to the streets for Darlington residents and St. Edmund’s Academy parents and students. All Darlington exit traffic will be directed onto Forbes via the St. Edmund’s Academy driveway. 

Schedule: 

  • 4:00pm Open Activities: Israeli dancing, Community Mural, Table Games, Moon Bounce, Face-painting and more
  • 5:00pm Israeli dancers perform
  • 6:00pm ISRABAND, an Israeli cover band
  • 7:30pm Teen Dance Party and Young Adult Trivia Contest
TWO ISRAELI HIGH SCHOOL GRADS VOLUNTEER AT JEWISH INSTITUTIONS IN PITTSBURGH THROUGH THE JEWISH FEDERATION'S SHINSHINIM PROGRAM
3/14/2018


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Through the generous support of a local, private family foundation and in partnership with the Jewish Agency of Israel (JAFI), the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will be bringing two 18-year-old Israelis to Pittsburgh for a year of service beginning August 2018.  The "Shinshinim" program (derived from “shnat sherut” in Hebrew that translates to “a year of service” in English) offers a unique and effective way to deeply connect and engage Pittsburghers with Israel through informal education and relationship-building.

The Jewish Agency's international Shinshinim program sends 18-year-old Israelis all over the world to volunteer in Jewish schools, synagogues, camps and community organizations for a period of one year.  Here in Pittsburgh, the Shinshinim will expose the local community to Israeli society and culture through informal educational activities while establishing meaningful personal relationships with members of the community; thereby deepening American Jews' connection to Israel while giving young Israelis a chance to connect to pluralistic Jewish communities outside of Israel. 

Typically in Israel, high school graduates are required to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF); however, teens selected for the elite Shinshinim program receive special permission from the IDF to postpone their army service for one year, allowing them to volunteer in Diaspora communities. 

In preparation for the Shinshinim's arrival to Pittsburgh in August, Shani Turel was recently hired by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh as coordinator of the program. Shani grew up in Misgav, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh's Partnership2Gether (P2G) region, in Har Chalutz, is fluent in Hebrew and came to Pittsburgh in 2005 through the Spirit of Israel delegation. She is trained as an educator and taught in a unique and multi-denominational Jewish kindergarten class in Tel Aviv. 

“The Federation is honored to sponsor the Shinshinim program and to bring a little more of Israel to the Pittsburgh Jewish community. With our two amazing Shinshinim and Shani as the program coordinator, we anticipate that the program will have an incredible impact on the community's connection with Israel, which will ultimately impact on Jewish continuity,” explained the Director of Israel and Overseas Operations at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Kim Salzman. 

Shani will supervise the two Shinshinim – Raz Levin and Hadar Maravent. Raz is from Rosh Ha’ayin, twenty minutes outside of Tel Aviv, and served as a "young ambassador" for the State of Israel, and Hadar is from Karmiel, another Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh P2G region, and is a Diller Teen Fellow alumni with a vast amount of experience as a counselor for her youth movement. 

The Shinshinim were selected out of hundreds of candidates and bring a highly impressive resume of skills that should greatly increase the Pittsburgh community's engagement with Israel. 

While in Pittsburgh, the Shinshinim will stay with local host families. By hosting a Shinshinim in their homes for an extended period of time, the families will develop a meaningful relationship with Israeli youth, creating a long-lasting impact on their connection to the State of Israel. 

The two Shinshinim will offer their time to various agencies and synagogues throughout the community, but will focus their efforts at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC), Community Day School (CDS) and Joint Jewish Education Program (J-JEP) in Pittsburgh. 

Raz and Hadar will work with students at the JCC to bring Israel-related activities and education to teens that participate in J Line, Diller Teen Fellows, The Second Floor and other programming areas. They will play a large role in planning the teen activities for the community-wide celebration, Yom Ha'aztmaut.

“Bringing two post-high school teens to our community is a tremendous opportunity to provide added value to the youth and teens around Israel education and engagement. Allowing students in our community to connect one-on-one with peers from Israel will help create an authentic relationship with Israel for our students,” Senior Director of Jewish Life at the JCC Chris Herman said. 

The JCC isn’t the only agency thrilled to welcome the teens into our Jewish community. J-JEP Religious School Director Liron Lipinsky is looking forward to introducing this Israeli connection to her students. 

“J-JEP is thrilled and grateful for the opportunity of having Shinshinim as part of our educational framework. We look forward to the additional Israeli connections our students will form,” Lipinsky said. 

J-JEP is a collaborative effort between Congregation Beth Shalom and Rodef Shalom Congregation, whose mission is to provide innovative, experiential learning that will inspire and prepare students to engage meaningfully in Jewish life.

As part of the Jewish Agency’s flagship initiative, these young leaders come to their new communities abroad as passionate ambassadors who teach, inform and serve as role models for life in modern Israel. Community Day School Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies Tzippy Mazer is also excited to expand Israeli culture in the classroom and strengthen her students' connection to Israel. 

“Empowering children to forge a meaningful lifelong connection to Israel is a vital part of our mission at Community Day School," said Mazer. "We are thrilled to welcome Pittsburgh's Shinshinim to CDS to enrich our students' understanding of Israeli culture, history and government in a way that becomes more deeply personal and impactful." 

To learn more about the Shinshinim program, or if you are interested in hosting a Shinshin in your home, contact Shani Turel at STurel@jfedpgh.org or 412-992-5231.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH PARTNERS WITH JEWISH COMMUNAL SECURITY TEAM TO LEAD ACTIVE THREAT DRILL
1/18/2018


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First Responders, professional staff and volunteers will participate in an Active Threat Drill in collaboration with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC) on January 25 at 8:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and coordinated by its Director of Community Security, Brad Orsini, the drill will test various aspects of the community’s critical threat and response plan.

“This drill will help our First Responders increase their preparedness and response to major critical incidents,” said Orsini. “We have fortunately never had a significant incident, but this type of drill presents an important opportunity to practice in case of an emergency and to determine how to improve the plan.”

The Active Threat Drill, which will take place at the JCC in Squirrel Hill, is part of an effort to ensure that security professionals at Jewish institutions around the area have training and preparation and are able to coordinate well with Pittsburgh area First Responders in case of an emergency.

“We are so pleased to be working in partnership with the Jewish Federation and public safety officials in improving emergency preparedness,” said Jason Kunzman, Chief Program Officer for the JCC.

The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety, including Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Departments plan to participate in the drill. Some Jewish organizations will send a representative to participate and to witness the drill, helping them to garner additional security knowledge for their own facilities. Some security staff at Jewish organizations, many of whom have joined the Jewish Communal Security Team to improve communication efforts, will also participate.

“Training staff and community members to help in an emergency plays a vital role in reducing the impact because they are often the first ones to respond,” said Orsini. “Drills like this also offer a great opportunity for our Jewish Communal Security Team and CERT [Community Emergency Response Team] to liaison with our First Responders so we can all help in time of crisis.”

In order to make the drill more realistic, Orsini and the Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety who are running the exercise will keep details of the scenario secret until the night of the drill. Volunteers will play a variety of roles in the simulation and will get instructions on their involvement before the exercise starts.

JEWISH FEDERATION TO RELEASE STUDY SHOWING GROWTH IN PITTSBURGH JEWISH COMMUNITY
1/9/2018


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The Jewish population of Pittsburgh has grown to 47,600 according to a new study the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will release at 5:30pm on February 20 at Rodef Shalom. The Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study covers topics related to Jewish life and needs in the Greater Pittsburgh area Jewish community.

Other key findings include the decline of Jewish concentration in Squirrel Hill; a dip in the percentage of Jews aged 30-49; the fact that a quarter of Jewish households have someone with an impairment, a disability or a chronic physical or mental health problem; and an increase in the number of Jews not affiliated with the Reform, Conservative or Orthodox movements.

The study’s preliminary findings indicate that an estimated 47,600 Jews in Pittsburgh (a 13% increase since 2002) live in 24,300 households with at least one Jewish adult (a 22% increase since 2002). The study shows the total number of individuals living in Jewish households is 56,500.

The Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation funded the study to provide relevant data and analytic frameworks that can support informed decision making by the Federation and service providers. This data and analysis will improve planning, service delivery, and fundraising and marketing as well as help Jewish agencies connect people to Jewish community life.

The Jewish Federation published the last such study in Pittsburgh in 2002. 

The purpose of the study is to enhance the community’s ability to plan for the future by focusing on the most pressing communal needs. Community leaders will use the study as a roadmap to help guide the strategic planning efforts of service providers throughout Jewish Pittsburgh. 

The Jewish Federation selected the Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) at Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS) to lead the study.  

Unlike in 2002, when nearly 50% of the community lived in Squirrel Hill or adjacent areas, the Jewish population now appears much more spread out, with roughly 25% of the community's households residing in Squirrel Hill or its adjacent neighborhood.

Another major demographic shift has been the age composition of the community. In 2002, Jews aged 30-49 comprised roughly 26% of the Jewish population; in 2017, they constitute an estimated 20% of the population. This decline mirrors the general population trends for this age group according to U.S. Census data. 

As a direct result of the decline in the number of adults in their 30s and 40s, there is also a decline in the number of children from about 8,300 in 2002 to approximately 6,400 in 2017.

Nearly every other age demographic has increased over the last 15 years, including both millennials and seniors.

Beyond demographic information, the study captured data related to community members’ social service needs. 

In an estimated 25% of Jewish households, there is at least one individual who has been limited in the kind or amount of work, school, or housework s/he can do because of an impairment or a disability, or a chronic, physical, or mental health problem. Of that 25%, an estimated 26% did NOT receive the services needed to help, 40% received the services needed to help, and 34% did not need services.

In the past year, in an estimated 32% of households, someone required counselling or another mental health service AND received services. An estimated 5% needed counseling or other mental health services and did NOT receive services. Roughly 63% of households reported that no services were needed. 

The study also covered economic well-being: roughly 7% of the population reported that their standard of living is either "poor" or "nearly poor" with another 15% "just getting by."

Additional data around behaviors and attitudes about Jewish practice and about the Jewish community show declining synagogue membership, following the national trend. An estimated 38% of households belong to a synagogue, compared to 53% in 2002. Roughly one-third of all Jews, up from 17% in 2002, now consider themselves of "no denomination" as opposed to Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, or Orthodox.

The Jewish Federation plans to incorporate the study’s data and analysis into the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard, an online tool for people and organizations to review data about Jewish community performance. Using the Scorecard, programs and institutions can assess progress toward becoming a more vibrant, thriving, and engaged Jewish community. The data collected will add directly to the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard as it defines, spurs and measures the definition of a community of excellence. 

The Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard committee plans follow-up research studies that will continue to measure community members’ behaviors and attitudes every two years. The first, primary study will serve as a baseline. Subsequent studies will track the fluctuation of those measures. 

The Cohen Center is a nationally renowned research firm directed by Dr. Leonard Saxe, Ph.D. In addition to conducting Jewish community studies throughout the United States, the center’s research areas include Jewish education, Israel travel (e.g., Birthright Israel) and national demography (e.g., the American Jewish Population Project). The center recently concluded Jewish community studies for Jewish Federations in Seattle, Nashville, Boston, and Naples, FL. 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, one of 151 independent Federations associated with The Jewish Federations of North America, raises and allocates funds to build community locally, in Israel and around the world. With the vision of a thriving, vibrant and engaged Jewish community, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh aims to carry out its work in the context of cooperation and inclusiveness. 

JEWISH EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS FROM PITTSBURGH STUDIED EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY IN REGGIO EMILIA, ITALY
11/7/2017


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12 Jewish early childhood educators just returned to Pittsburgh from a study seminar, Exploring Reggio through a Jewish Lens, in Italy (October 19 -29). The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy based on the image of the child, and of human beings, as possessing strong potentials for development and as subjects of rights who learn and grow in the relationships with others.

Seminar participants visited the Reggio Emilia infant-toddler centers and learned about some of the research projects carried out there. Research includes the image of “the competent child,” teachers as researchers, observation, children with special rights, the role of the environment and the pedagogy of listening.

Director of Early Childhood Education at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and seminar leader Carolyn Linder explains that the Reggio Emilia Approach is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education, valuing the child as strong, capable and resilient as well as rich with wonder and knowledge. This approach supports collaboration on all levels and nurtures individuality.

“Our work focuses on supporting educators and directors on their journeys to become more focused on child-centered learning with an emphasis on discovery and play and to elevate the image of the child in their practice,” Linder said. “We are deeply inspired by the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education and guided by the Jewish values and culture within the context of each center’s unique community.”  

The objective of this immersive study seminar was to deepen their understanding of the pedagogy of the Reggio Approach and connect it to the values and content of their own local Jewish Early Childhood programs. 

This seminar marked the first time that local Jewish early childhood educators traveled to Reggio Emilia, Italy in order to learn from and be in dialogue with the educators in Reggio, to visit the schools in Reggio and to participate in many discussion groups with their Italian and North American colleagues. They joined 51 other Jewish early-childhood educators from Boston, Chicago, District of Columbia, Maryland and Israel.

“Reggio Emilia is perhaps the only city in the world that specializes in the field of Early Childhood Education. Over the decades their educators, citizens and civic leaders have made countless thoughtful choices that have supported the growth of extraordinary schools. We too make daily choices impacting the lives of children. As educators we are inspired by the Reggio concept of intentionality, [which is also] the Jewish concept of kavana,” Director, Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Development Center, Iris Harlan elaborated.

The Pittsburgh group included early-childhood professionals from Beth Shalom Early Learning Center, Rodef Shalom Family Center Preschool, the Jewish Community Center’s Squirrel Hill Early Childhood Development Center, Temple Ohav Shalom Center for Early Learning, Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Development Center, The Early Childhood program at Community Day School (CDS), The Early Learning Center at Yeshiva, and The Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center at Hillel Academy, together with two local Pittsburgh Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI)/Bonim Beyachad consultants.

Upon returning, each cohort participant was challenged to introduce at least one change in their school or classroom from something that sparked inspiration in the seminar. On a community level, the Pittsburgh cohort will participate in two collaborative outcomes from the seminar that will be facilitated by Linder:

  • The cohort will work collaboratively to create a document to be shared with colleagues and families that explores in depth the deep connections between Judaism and the Reggio Emilia approach. They will be tying this document to our Shared Communal Goals for Excellence in Jewish Early Childhood Education.
  • The cohort will work collaboratively to create a piece of documentation that chronicles the Pittsburgh JECEI/Bonim Beyachad journey for the past nine years. This piece of documentation will then be publically displayed at each of the nine Pittsburgh JECEI/Bonim Beyachad ECE Centers. 


The seminar enlightened and inspired many that attended, Assistant Director, Squirrel Hill Jewish Community Center; Annabelle Rubinstein Early Childhood Development Center Gina Crough was among these attendees. 

“There is no simple way to communicate the deep and lifelong impact that this seminar will not only have on me, but also Early Childhood at the JCC. I feel encouraged, empowered, and excited to share and collaborate with my colleagues as we continue on a journey of discovery and innovation through best practices in early childhood education,” Crough said.

Local participation in the seminar was made possible thanks to the generous support of The Dr. Solomon and Sarah Goldberg Memorial Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

SOUTH HILLS JEWISH PITTSBURGH TO TRANSITION FROM THE JEWISH FEDERATION TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF PITTSBURGH
11/2/2017


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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh (JCC) are pleased to announce that South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh will transition from the Jewish Federation to the JCC.

South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh (SHJP) launched in July 2014. Private donors funded SHJP with the help of the Jewish Federation to strengthen the South Hills Jewish community through grants, innovative programming, social media and other communication platforms. SHJP works in collaboration with their South Hills Jewish partners and Jewish agencies in Pittsburgh.

Over its more than three years, SHJP has increased South Hills residents’ engagement in Jewish life. In fiscal year 2016-17 alone, the 21-member SHJP Community Council approved more than $51,000 in grant and programming allocations, resulting in more than 6,800 attendees at 60 events and programs. Since its start, attendance at SHJP-facilitated programs increased by double-digit percentages. The South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh Community Engagement Survey also quantified major improvements in a many key measures.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh chiefly holds three roles: increasing the impact of private giving; bringing people together to solve complex problems; and identifying the most important emerging needs today and into the future. Creating and developing South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh was consistent with all of these roles. At this point, the Jewish Federation has solidified SHJP’s goals and staff structure. To support a transition from “startup” to an ongoing, sustainable program, it made sense to transition the program to an established agency. The Jewish Federation sought an agency with a record of success in community engagement and direct experience working in the Jewish suburbs. 

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC) wholly fits the description. This agency has worked directly in the South Hills for more than a quarter century. The JCC has a track record of success in program management, collaboration and growth as well as a successful focus on community engagement. The South Hills Engagement Survey also noted that the JCC serves a prominent physical resource in South Hills community activities. SHJP fits within the JCC’s core community-building mission, aligns well with regular JCC programs, and builds on the foundation of collaboration that SHJP has built during its early years.

Important components of the transition plan over the coming months include:the retention of experienced South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh staff,continuation of the grant  program that has fostered increased attendance and audience growth, andincreased programming that leverages both JCC facilities and continued  partnerships with all South Hills Jewish institutions.

The Jewish Federation and the JCC will work together to determine the dates and key milestones for this transition starting immediately. The transition plan will include a future physical relocation of SHJP administrative offices to the JCC South Hills.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH HIRES SARA SPANJER AS YOUNG ADULT DIVISION DIRECTOR
8/2/2017


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Sara Spanjer, Young Adult Division DirectorThe Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh announces the hire of Sara Spanjer as Young Adult Division director. In this position, Ms. Spanjer will focus her efforts on leadership development and manage all fundraising activities related to the Young Adult Division, including cultivation and solicitation of donors ages 22–45. Ms. Spanjer’s first day at the Jewish Federation was July 20, 2017.

Spanjer comes to the Jewish Federation from Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. She is excited to explore the city of Pittsburgh and bring her skills and knowledge to help the Young Adult Division (YAD) grow and prosper.

“I’m thrilled to be in Pittsburgh and excited to meet the thriving young adult community, which I’ve heard so much about. I look forward to building a long-lasting relationship with the Jewish Federation and the community,” Spanjer said.

As YAD director, Ms. Spanjer will focus on programs such as the Wechsler Leadership Development Institute and the SteelTree Fund, in addition to young adult philanthropy. She will be the driving force to further develop of the Ben Gurion Society and participation in the National Young Leadership Cabinet.

She will also partner with leading local and national organizations in the young adult world, to develop beneficial partnerships to amplify the Jewish young adult community in Greater Pittsburgh.

YAD Chair Randal Whitlatch welcomes Sara and is enthusiastic about seeing positive changes to the division. “I think that Sara brings a magnetic personality to the YAD director role and a passion for building Jewish community, which will help greatly in our dual mission of engaging young Jews from across our 22- to 45-year-old age demographic and inspiring them to get more invested in Jewish Pittsburgh through the Federation,” said Whitlatch. “We are striving to get young Jews in Pittsburgh to be part of the Federation movement by investing their time and dollars in the myriad of causes we support, and I think Sara is going to do a fantastic job of bringing that message to the growing number of young Jews in our Pittsburgh community.”

Ms. Spanjer has a strong background in Jewish communal service. She was associate director of Jewish and student life at The Weber School, in Atlanta, Ga., for seven years. Most recently, she served as associate director of youth and teen engagement at Congregation Rodeph Sholom. In addition to earning an undergraduate degree from Georgia State University, Sara earned a certificate in Jewish studies from the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

OUR NEXT ACT, JEWISH FEDERATION’S ANNUAL MEETING, WILL REPORT AND PREVIEW COMMUNITY-EMPOWERED INITIATIVES
7/28/2017


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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will present highlights of the past year at its Thursday, Aug. 31, annual meeting, with the theme “Our Next Act.” The show will star Pittsburgh’s Jewish community: its collective accomplishments through the Jewish Federation in 2016–2017 and a preview of the initiatives that are in the wings. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill, 5738 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15213.

The annual meeting is one means for donors to the Federation to learn about the Federation’s funding strategy and the benefits that result from collective giving. As Chair of the Board Cynthia D. Shapira explained, “Federation continues to grow in the Annual Campaign while being more strategic about leveraging this private giving to get additional corporate, foundation and government funds. The combined impact more than doubles the allocations for Pittsburgh, Israel and world Jewry.”

Jeffrey H. Finkelstein, Federation president and CEO, explained that the theme of the annual meeting, Our Next Act, reflects one of the Federation’s most significant purposes: “The Federation brings people together to solve complex problems,” he said. “In partnership with the community, we are developing some new approaches to addressing Jewish Pittsburgh’sfuture needs. I’m excited to be able to outline the plans we have staged and to recognize community leaders who are working on behalf of Jewish Pittsburgh.”

Among the leaders who will be honored at the event are Chuck Perlow and Alexis Winsten Mancuso. Mr. Perlow will receive the Emanuel Spector Memorial Award. Ms. Mancuso will receive the Doris and Leonard H. Rudolph Jewish Communal Professional Award.

                      Chuck Perlow                         Alexis Winsten Mancuso

                                  Chuck Perlow                                    Alexis Winsten Mancuso
                                                                                                Photo: Joshua Franzos

In addition, the event will recognize Jan Levinson, who in June received the Federation’s Gerald S. Ostrow Volunteer of the Year Award, and salute 41 Jewish Federation Volunteers of the Year. The 41 honorees were nominated by the local Jewish nonprofits and synagogues they serve. At the annual meeting, the volunteers will be recognized as a group. The service that Spector Award recipient Chuck Perlow has given to the community reflects his passion for Jewish continuity and Jewish learning.

Mr. Perlow has worked to ensure that young Jews will remain involved with their Judaism through his work with the Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, which builds endowments to maintain community strength into the future. Mr. Perlow is a long-time Foundation volunteer, former chair of the Foundation and a former chair of the Foundation’s Investment Committee. He is a founder of the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future.

Mr. Perlow’s passion for Jewish learning resulted in the formation of the Pittsburgh Day School Council, which brings together Community Day School, Hillel Academy and Yeshiva Schools to work collaboratively on projects of mutual interest. Mr. Perlow has chaired the council since its inception.

He was the first chair of the Jewish Education Institute. The institute awarded him the Shazar Prize in Jewish Education, which he received from Ezer Weizman, then president of Israel. Mr. Perlow chaired the International Advisory Board of the Melton Center for Jewish Education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was the first chair of the reconstituted Pittsburgh Kollel.

Mr. Perlow served the educational interest of the wider Pittsburgh community by establishing the Edward A. and Charles S. Perlow Scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the Rosenberg/Perlow Permanent Chair in Classical Judaism at the University of Pittsburgh.

He has served on the Board of Directors and many committees of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. His other affiliations include board service for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), the Jewish National Fund, and many other organizations. 

The other award to be presented at the annual meeting, the Doris and Leonard H. Rudolph Jewish Communal Professional Award, recognizes the exceptional commitment of a Jewish communal professional employed by the Jewish Federation or one of its partner agencies. The recipient is selected for his or her contribution to improving the quality of services offered in the community and to the enhancement of Jewish life.

Rudolph Award recipient Alexis Winsten Mancuso is assistant executive director at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. In that capacity, she is responsible for the agency’s human resource management and oversight of the JCC’s services to older adults,including oversight of AgeWell Pittsburgh. This year the Lodestar Foundation named AgeWell Pittsburgh the recipient of the national Collaboration Prize, which recognizes nonprofits that work together to maximize impact.

Ms. Mancuso brings to her work at the JCC more than 35 years of experience in the nonprofit and local-government arenas. She holds a master’s degree in public management from Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management.

At the Jewish Federation’s Aug. 31 annual meeting, onsite registration will begin at 6:15 p.m. A dessert reception will follow the meeting. (Dietary laws observed.)

Sign language interpretation of the proceedings and large-print agendas will be available. The full inclusion of people of all abilities is a core value of the Pittsburgh Jewish community. To discuss disability-related accommodations, call 412.992.5251.

Admission to the annual meeting is $5 per person for those who preregister online at www.jfedpgh.org/annual-meeting. By mail or at the door, the cost is $7 per person. To preregister by mail, send a check payable to Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to Federation Annual Meeting, 234 McKee Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Information about the meeting is available online at www.jfedpgh.org/annual-meeting or by calling 412.992.5251.
PNC Bank has generously provided support for the Jewish Federation’s annual meeting, which is also underwritten by a grant from the Lillian & Dr. Henry J. Goldstein Annual Meeting Endowment Fund of the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation.

JEWISH FEDERATION DONORS GIVE $26 MILLION TO BENEFIT HUMAN SERVICES, COMMUNITY PROGRAMS AND PLANNING
6/30/2017


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Donors giving through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will provide more than $26 million in allocations and grants to human services and community-building programs in 2017–18. The allocations, announced by the Federation’s Board of Directors, will support programs in Pittsburgh and in Jewish communities around the world.

The Federation raised funds for the allocations through its Annual Campaign — which reached a record-breaking $13.7 million — as well as through the Jewish Community Foundation, supplemental donor gifts, government funds secured with Jewish Federation assistance, and a $900,000 human services block grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

“Federation continues to grow in the Annual Campaign while being more strategic about leveraging this private giving to get additional corporate, foundation and government funds,” explained Cynthia Shapira, chair of the Federation’s Board of Directors. “The combined impact more than doubles the allocations for Pittsburgh, Israel and world Jewry.”

Funding decisions are the result of a year-long planning process that engages volunteers and professionals with diverse expertise, backgrounds and affiliations. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh focuses on its ability to multiply the impact of private giving by leveraging corporate and government dollars. The goal of this process is to identify the most pressing needs for today and the future.

“Over the last couple of years, we have begun the process of doing a deep dive into the needs of our community to determine where attention and assets need to flow,” said Scott Tobe, Chair of the Federation’s Planning and Allocations Committee. 

Tobe explained that the planning process has expanded beyond identifying needs. “We are also trying to emphasize the Federation’s role in solving complex problems that require broad community support,” Tobe said. “We continue to strive to understand what the community needs, but we also need to be able to respond to those needs by bringing people together.”

A large portion of Federation allocations in 2017–18 will address aging and human needs in Pittsburgh. In addition to aiding some of Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable, in 2017–18 the Jewish Federation will continue to invest substantial dollars to address Jewish continuity by providing allocations to support Israel travel, Jewish preschool and overnight Jewish camping.

The 2017–18 allocations included significant grants, from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, earmarked for young adult initiatives, including One Table and Honeymoon Israel. One Table aims to help young adults host Shabbat dinner and enjoy Jewish experiences together, capitalizing on the trend toward self-organized Jewish activities among Jews ages 20 to 40. With support from the Jewish Community Foundation, One Table will sponsor Shabbat dinners in more homes and will help young Jews meet one another.

Similarly, the hope for Honeymoon Israel — funded locally by a grant from the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future — is to help young adults connect to their heritage and solidify their Jewish identity. The program provides immersive trips to Israel for small groups of Pittsburgh-based couples that have at least one Jewish partner — couples who are still finding their place in the Jewish community. The goal of Honeymoon Israel is to reach these young adults early in their relationships, creating meaningful connections to Jewish life and the Jewish people for a diverse range of Jewish families, including interfaith couples.

Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, explained the significance of supporting Pittsburgh’s Jewish young adults. “These programs, and those like them, aim to maximize the number of Jewish Pittsburghers engaged in meaningful Jewish experiences,” he said. “Younger adults are under-represented in communal leadership, and we hope that focusing on providing services and programs for this age bracket will encourage more participation in the future.”

Other new and increased disbursements from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation include, for example, a grant to help facilitate discussions among synagogues about the potential to share space; a grant to the Jewish Association on Aging, to expand the Memory Care Support Network; a grant to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and Emma Kaufmann Camp, to enhance Jewish programming; and a grant to the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, to enable creation of a new teacher resource guide.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s nine local beneficiary agencies are 

  • The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center
  • Community Day School
  • Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Association on Aging
  • Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Family & Children’s Service
  • Jewish Residential Services
  • Riverview Towers
  • Yeshiva Schools 


The two overseas affiliates are the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel.


More information about Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh allocations and grant making is available from Adam Hertzman, director of marketing, at 412-992-5225 or ahertzman@jfedpgh.org.

CONVERSATIONS THAT COUNT SERIES PRESENTS “PRIVACY IN A DIGITAL AGE”
5/30/2017


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Rabbi joins cybercommunication expert to provide insights in June 29 discussion  

Rabbi Danny Schiff, PhDJames Currier


WHO and WHAT
The Men’s Philanthropy Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh presents “Privacy in a Digital Age” as the next event in its Conversations That Count engagement series, which is open to registered guests. 

In a time when cyberattacks can affect businesses worldwide and when the Internet and social media have increasing access to personal data and play a key role in disseminating fake news and anti-Semitism, “Privacy in a Digital Age” will provide a timely examination that will emphasize the Jewish perspective. 

Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff, DHL, DD, of the Jewish Community Foundation, and James “Kip” Currier, PhD, JD, assistant professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Computing & Information, will bring their expertise and perspectives to a presentation about how information-related needs and wants, in personal and corporate spheres, affect daily life — and the ethical questions involved.  

Rabbi Schiff has lectured widely — in Pittsburgh and internationally — on matters of ethics, particularly as they inform and affect the Jewish community. He holds a doctor of Hebrew letters degree and an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Schiff’s presentations typically combine penetrating scholarship and humor. 

Dr. Currier holds a doctor of philosophy degree in library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. His research interests include open government, censorship, human information behavior, and the effect that the “Internet of things” will have on privacy. His proficiency in Japanese allows him to analyze cybertrends as they develop outside the English-speaking world. 

As a co-author of “Legal, Ethical, and Policy Issues of ‘Big Data 2.0,’” Dr. Currier received the 2016 LIBER Innovation Award, presented annually in Helsinki to recognize innovative and relevant research.  

Admission is $10. Drinks and light hors d’oeuvres will be served. Kosher dietary laws observed.  

WHEN and WHERE 

  • Thursday, June 29, 5:30–7 p.m. 
  • Carnegie Mellon University’s Cohon University Center, second floor, McKenna–Peter Rooms, 5032 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15213 

WHY 
The Men’s Philanthropy Division is dedicated to providing meaningful outreach and engagement opportunities for men at all stages of life. Whether Jewish men gather to socialize, network, consider important world issues or give back to the community, the goal is to create an active and engaged community of Jewish men with a focus on Jewish philanthropy. 


HOW
 

  • To register online, visit www.jfedpgh.org/men-conversations  
  • To register or for more information, contact Chrissy Janisko at cjanisko@jfedpgh.org or 412.992.5268. The full inclusion of people of all abilities is a core value of the Pittsburgh Jewish community; please email or call to discuss disability accommodations. 
  • Park free in the East Campus Garage, off Forbes Avenue.
STAND-UP COMEDIAN GARY GULMAN TO BE FEATURED SPEAKER AT JEWISH FEDERATION’S ANNUAL CAMPAIGN THANK YOU EVENT
5/19/2017


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Gary GulmanGary Gulman, a stand-up comedian the Village Voice called the next comic “to break huge,” will be the special guest at this year’s Annual Campaign Thank You event. The event — presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, in appreciation of donors to the Federation’s 2017 Annual Campaign — will be Thursday, June 8, at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh 15213. In addition to Gulman’s comedy, the evening will feature the presentation of the PNC Community Builders Award and the Campaigner of the Year Award. 

This year’s PNC Community Builders Award winners are the Rudolph family. PNC Bank President and CEO Sy Holzer will present the award to acknowledge the family’s volunteer efforts to enhance the strength and vibrancy of the Greater Pittsburgh community.

Joel Smalley will receive the Campaigner of the Year Award, which recognizes a volunteer whose work on behalf of the Annual Campaign serves as a role model for others.

Gary Gulman’s clever brand of original absurd observational humor has delighted audiences of all ages throughout the United States. A headlining comedian for several years, he is best known for his breakthrough success on NBC’s hit stand-up showcase “Last Comic Standing.” Gulman has produced four one-hour comedy specials, which have aired on Showtime, Comedy Central or Netflix. His comedy album, “No Can Defend,” debuted at No. 18 on iTunes, and his one-hour comedy special “Gary Gulman: In This Economy?” was recognized as one of the best comedy specials currently airing on Netflix. His new special, “It’s About Time,” is now streaming on Netflix.

The King David Society Reception, a by-invitation event organized in appreciation of donors who gave at least $25,000 to the 2017 Annual Campaign ($3,600 for young adults ages 22–45), will precede the thank-you event. King David Society members will enjoy a strolling dinner and cocktails before the main presentation begins. 

The Annual Campaign Thank You Event is sponsored by the Ira and Nanette Gordon (z”l) Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Invited are donors who have made a contribution of at least $1,000 to the 2017 Annual Campaign.

At the June 8 thank-you event, dessert will be served following the program, and dietary laws will be observed. The couvert will be $10 per person.

To attend, register online at www.jfedpgh.org/acty or contact Tiffany Babinsack at tbabinsack@jfedpgh.org or 412.697.6649. Ms. Babinsack is able to answer questions about the event and will coordinate requests for disability-related accommodations.

UNSUNG JEWISH HEROES CELEBRATION TO HONOR 19 LOCAL EDUCATORS AND PRESENT THE GRINSPOON AWARD
5/12/2017


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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will honor 19 local educators from early childhood centers, day schools, and part-time religious schools at the Jewish Federation’s Unsung Jewish Heroes celebration. The event will praise the hard work of the individuals who have provided outstanding Jewish education to the community. 

The celebration will be Sunday, June 11, 10–11 a.m., in Levinson Hall, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (Squirrel Hill), 5738 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15217.

The Unsung Jewish Heroes Awards, presented by the Federation, recognize local educators, staff or volunteers who make a lasting impact in Jewish education. Recipients may serve children, youth, families or adult learners.

Rabbi Amy Bardack, as the Jewish Federation’s director of Jewish Life and Learning, has worked with many of the 2017 Unsung Jewish Heroes. “We are thrilled and privileged to honor 19 educators from across the community for their work in transmitting Jewish tradition to the next generation of our people.”

The Harold Grinspoon Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education recognizes skilled, innovative educators in day schools, religious schools and early childhood centers. This year marks the 17th year the Harold Grinspoon Foundation has presented an award to an educator in up to 80 North American communities and has recognized over 700 outstanding educators in the U.S. and Canada.

Honorees are nominated by the organizations they serve. In Pittsburgh the award is supported by the Barbara and Lester Parker Fund for a Jewish Future Endowment. This endowment is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Foundation. On June 11, at the Unsung Jewish Heroes event, Barbara Parker will present this year’s award.

Ellen DrookThe Pittsburgh recipient of the 2017 Grinspoon Award is Ellen Drook, an early childhood educator at Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC), where she teaches kindergarten enrichment. The award recognizes Ms. Drook as an early childhood educator who caters to young children’s needs, listens to their interests and works diligently to make an impact on their educational experience. 

Instead of using the same curriculum each year, Ms. Drook collects ideas for projects from the children and from real-life experiences. She follows the children’s cues to indicate time spent on a project and is attentive to the classroom environment and its impact on learning.   

In order to improve classroom communication with parents, Ms. Drook created a classroom blog that includes photos, classroom activities, examples of the children’s work and links to educational resources to strengthen the connection between the early childhood center and homes. Due to the positive feedback from her classroom blog, the practice has expanded throughout the ECDC. She has designed individual classroom blogs and provided trainings for early childhood educators at Temple Emanuel ECDC.    

Ms. Drook hopes her students leave her classroom knowing that education is a journey. “I hope my students remember me as that teacher who loved to learn and didn’t mind making mistakes along the way,” said Drook. “I hope they remember that I didn’t have all of the answers, but that I had a ball trying to find out!”

Beginning next year the Federation will present the Grinspoon Award at a newly designed teacher appreciation event for all Jewish educators in the community. The Grinspoon Award nominees will rotate each year, among part-time congregational schools, day schools and early childhood centers.

At the June 11 Unsung Jewish Heroes celebration, Rabbi Amy Bardack, director of Federation’s Jewish Life & Learning department, will serve as master of ceremonies. Light refreshments will be served. (Kosher dietary laws observed.) The event is free; registration is requested. For details or to register, contact Christa Maier at 412-992-5249 or cmaier@jfedpgh.org. A complete list of the 2017 Unsung Jewish Heroes Award honorees and their organizations are available at www.jfedpgh.org/UJH2017.

AGEWELL PITTSBURGH IS GRAND PRIZE WINNER OF COLLABORATION PRIZE
4/20/2017


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Collaboration among three Pittsburgh-based community organizations wins $150,000 grand prize

PHOENIX — AgeWell Pittsburgh is the winner of the Collaboration Prize — a national award designed to spotlight exceptional models of permanent collaboration among nonprofit organizations. The nonprofit partnership that supports older adults and their caregivers in leading healthy and independent lives will receive the grand prize of $150,000. 

“Winning the Collaboration Prize not only provides these great agencies with national validation but also shows the role permanent collaboration can play to help nonprofits improve outcomes for the communities we serve,” said Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. 

AgeWell Pittsburgh is the central outreach and coordinating umbrella for activities and programs for seniors provided by three Pittsburgh-based community benefit organizations: the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA), Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC). The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh also facilitates the collaboration, and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania and Jewish Federation help to fund the effort. 

Formed 14 years ago, AgeWell serves 8,000 seniors and thousands of family members. The nonprofit collaboration offers more than 20 different services, such as home-delivered meals, transportation assistance and social opportunities across the three collaborating agencies. 

“The AgeWell Pittsburgh collaboration has strengthened each of our agencies by helping us to focus on what we do best, and in turn our clients have clearly reaped the benefits through improved outcomes. As we collectively continue to refine our business strategy, we see similar collaborations starting across the country modeled on our Pittsburgh experience – what a great way to share our successes,” said Deborah Winn-Horvitz, president and CEO of the JAA. 

Currently, 96 percent of the 7,000 seniors enrolled in AgeWell Pittsburgh services are able to live independently because of the assistance they receive. 

“As a result of our collaboration, we were able to reduce duplication of services and capitalize on efficiencies in service delivery. We’ve also been able to improve our senior care and identify programmatic changes to better serve members of our community,” said Sue Berman Kress, volunteer chairman of the AgeWell Pittsburgh Advisory Committee.

AgeWell Pittsburgh was recognized for how the innovative collaboration enhances individual services – and stretches community investment further – by ensuring that the collective network of services for seniors are aligned to meet the needs of the community.

“Through this collaboration, AgeWell Pittsburgh has been able to turn Pittsburgh’s aging population into a vital asset by keeping our seniors healthy, independent and fully engaged in this great city,” said Jordan Golin, president and CEO of JF&CS.

For interviews with spokespersons from AgeWell Pittsburgh or from the Collaboration Prize, please contact Sangeetha Sarma at 301-395-5227 or ssarma@vancomm.com. For more information about the Collaboration Prize and all eight finalists, please visit www.thecollaborationprize.org. For information about AgeWell Pittsburgh, please visit www.agewellpgh.org

###

About the Collaboration Prize 
The Collaboration Prize helps raise awareness of collaboration as a powerful and strategic way for nonprofits to increase their impact. 

A selection panel comprising major funders of nonprofit collaboration reviewed more than 350 applications from qualified nonprofits for the Prize. After identifying eight finalists that will each receive $10,000, the judges ultimately selected AgeWell Pittsburgh to take home the grand prize. 

To be considered for the Prize, collaborations needed to be between two or more nonprofits, have a formal written agreement and be in operation for at least 18 months. For a full list of requirements and to learn more about the Prize, please visit www.thecollaborationprize.org.

The legacy of the Prize is the Nonprofit Collaboration Database, a resource of effective collaboration models among nonprofits. The database currently contains information on about 650 collaborations, not including the new models from the Prize process. Nonprofits and other interested organizations can access the easily searchable database at www.grantspace.org/collaboration.

CONVERSATIONS THAT COUNT SERIES PRESENTS “BALANCING JEWISH FAITH WITH POLITICAL LIFE”
3/1/2017


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Panel discussion on March 29 will feature insights of elected officials


WHO/WHAT
The Men’s Philanthropy Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh presents “Balancing Jewish Faith With Political Life” as the next event in its Conversations That Count engagement program, which is open to registered guests.

Facilitated by Jewish Community Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff, and joined by State Representative Dan Frankel, Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman, and Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor, this panel discussion will explore how public officials’ Jewish faith and culture inform their decisions — decisions that have an impact on the broader community.

WHEN/WHERE

  • Wednesday, March 29, 5:30–7 p.m.
  • The Tower at PNC Plaza, 300 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh 15222
  • Cost is $10. Drinks and light refreshments served; kosher dietary laws observed.


WHY
The Men’s Philanthropy Division is dedicated to providing meaningful outreach and engagement opportunities for men at all stages of life. Whether Jewish men gather to socialize, network, consider important world issues or give back to the community, the goal is to create an active and engaged community of Jewish men with a focus on Jewish philanthropy.

HOW


The full inclusion of people of all abilities is a core value of the Pittsburgh Jewish community.

Federation Leadership:
Men’s Philanthropy Chair: Jan Levinson
Men’s Philanthropy Co-Chair: Chuck Snyder

Shofar Society Chair: David Steinbach
Shofar Society Co-Chair: Todd Rosenfeld, CFP®

SUSAN R. KLEIN FUND IS CREATED FOR ISRAEL SCHOLARSHIPS
3/1/2017


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The Parkway Jewish Center of Monroeville and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Pittsburgh are pleased to acknowledge the creation of the Susan R. Klein Fund for Israel Scholarships. 

The fund’s creation is thanks to the pre-existing scholarship distributed by Larry Klein, a former member of the Parkway Jewish Center of Monroeville, to honor his late daughter Susan R. Klein. Each year, after an anonymous essay and résumé evaluation, a teen from the congregation was awarded a $1,500 scholarship toward a trip to Israel.

Trip expenses increased over the years, resulting in the request of additional donations from the congregation. The president of the congregation, Ira Mazer, realized other actions needed to be taken.

“Since Larry’s passing, I thought about what I could do to align with Larry’s wishes and perpetuate Susan’s memory. I thought of a couple ideas and hoped the Jewish Federation could help,” Mazer said.

Mazer contacted the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to help aid and continue the scholarship, resulting in the creation of the Susan R. Klein Fund, which will support the Israel Scholarship program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. This scholarship program makes Israel experiences more affordable for local teens

“We are grateful to Larry Klein, of blessed memory, and to Parkway Jewish Center for supporting the Israel Scholarship Fund,” said Overseas Planning Associate Debbie Swartz. “We look forward to putting the money to good use and helping teens in our community. It’s a privilege to honor the memory of Susan R. Klein and her father, Larry, by continuing their legacy to support our local teens in their Jewish journeys to Israel.”

Combining non–need-based and need-based Israel scholarships with savings and matching dollars from the Passport to Israel program can help pay up to $7,150 per applicant toward a trip to Israel. The deadline to apply for these scholarships is April 7, 2017. For more information about scholarships, visit www.jfedpgh.org/IsraelScholarships

For more information about the Susan R. Klein Fund, contact the Jewish Community Foundation at 412-992-5216.

AGEWELL PITTSBURGH IS 2017 COLLABORATION PRIZE FINALIST
2/24/2017


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AgeWell Pittsburgh was named a finalist for the 2017 Collaboration Prize. This prize is a national award designed to highlight exceptional permanent models of collaboration among nonprofit organizations. AgeWell Pittsburgh was chosen from more than 350 submissions nationwide.

AgeWell Pittsburgh is the central outreach and coordinating umbrella for 21 types of ssenior citizen–focused activities and programs provided by three Pittsburgh-based community benefit organizations: the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA), Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC). The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh facilitates the collaboration, and the Jewish Federation and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania help to fund the effort.

“The AgeWell Pittsburgh collaboration has strengthened each of our agencies by helping us to focus on what we do best, and in turn our clients have clearly reaped the benefits through improved outcomes. As we collectively continue to refine our business strategy, we see similar collaborations starting across the country, modeled on our Pittsburgh experience — what a great way to share our successes,” said Deborah Winn-Horvitz, president and CEO of the JAA.

Judges identified eight collaborations that exemplified the impact of working together on a permanent basis. AgeWell Pittsburgh was recognized for how the innovative collaboration enhances individual services — and stretches community investment further — by ensuring that the collective network of services for seniors are aligned to meet the needs of the community.

“Through this collaboration, AgeWell Pittsburgh has been able to turn Pittsburgh’s aging population into a vital asset by keeping our seniors healthy, independent and fully engaged in this great city,” said Jordan Golin, president and CEO of JF&CS.

The Collaboration Prize recognized the challenges the collaborating organizations faced when creating AgeWell Pittsburgh. The challenges involved blending different organizational cultures.

“It is very affirming to have a national organization outside our region validate the impact of the collaboration and its ultimate impact to improve the long-term health outcomes of older adults,” said Brian Schreiber, president and CEO of the JCC.

Since the beginning of the AgeWell Pittsburgh collaboration, the three agencies have improved senior care while increasing referrals to existing services, improving their ability to secure funding for services and improving their ability to identify areas in which program changes are needed.

“AgeWell Pittsburgh ensures that individuals don’t fall through the social services ‘cracks’ that can occur in some communities when seniors are referred between agencies,” said Deborah Baron, chief operating officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

The mission of AgeWell Pittsburgh is to enable at-risk seniors to continue living independently with proper support systems, alleviating and/or deferring placement in more costly and restrictive skilled care settings. AgeWell Pittsburgh began as the Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) demonstration project in Pittsburgh. The initial role for the Jewish Federation was to serve as the neutral party to bring agencies together around the original NORC grant and to shepherd the process and iron out problems as issues came up. 

Ms. Baron commented, “AgeWell is an incredible collaboration that brings significant value to our seniors and shows the added impact that agencies can bring to the community when they work together on shared goals.”

A selection panel consisting of major supporters of nonprofit collaboration selected eight finalists from the 18 semifinalists. Each finalist will receive $10,000. The grand-prize winner will receive an additional $150,000 and will be announced in April 2017.

For a full list of finalists, please visit www.thecollaborationprize.org

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh raises and allocates funds to build community locally, in Israel and around the world. With the vision of a thriving, vibrant and engaged Jewish community, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh aims to carry out its work in the context of cooperation and inclusiveness. For more information, visit www.jfedpgh.org.

The 2017 Collaboration Prize was designed to raise awareness of collaboration as a powerful and strategic way for nonprofits to increase their impact. A legacy of the prize is the Nonprofit Collaboration Database, a resource of effective collaboration models among nonprofits. The database currently contains information on more than 650 collaborations and will expand to include new models from the 2017 prize process. Nonprofits and other interested organizations can access the easily searchable database at www.grantspace.org/collaboration.

FEDERATION’S JEWISH LIFE AND LEARNING SUBSIDIZES ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING FROM GRATZ COLLEGE
2/10/2017


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The Jewish Life and Learning Department of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has partnered with Gratz College to offer an online teacher-training program, NEXT, to teachers in Pittsburgh-area Jewish part-time religious schools serving students in the elementary and high school years. Gratz’s NEXT (New Excellent Teacher Training) program is an intensive program that consists of a series of four-week courses designed to build the skills and knowledge that part-time Jewish educators need. 

The Jewish Life and Learning Department will subsidize the cost of tuition for one course as well as provide a stipend for part-time Jewish educators in Pittsburgh who have preapproval from their principals. The arrangements may apply to the NEXT session that begins Feb. 27, 2017. Gratz College will offer three more four-week sessions in 2017.

The NEXT program is designed to provide individualized professional development for teachers. Rabbi Amy Bardack, director of Jewish Life and Learning of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, believes the program will fill a gap in teaching. 

“Teachers who have Jewish knowledge but lack formal education training can learn basic pedagogy through the Boot Camp for New Teachers course. Those ready to expand their tools can learn about incorporating the arts or project-based learning,” Bardack explained.

Course participants come from all areas of the United States, and course instructors have expertise in Jewish supplemental schools. The program is offered four times per year, with each course involving about two hours of study per week for four weeks. NEXT courses are asynchronous — that is, weekly study may occur at each student’s convenience.

Course topics cover a range of subjects, including the arts, project-based learning, addressing special needs, Jews and politics, and Hebrew through movement. All courses are taught by experts who have experience in Jewish supplemental school settings.

“Strengthening the skills of part-time Jewish educators is essential to engaging and retaining the more than 1,000 Pittsburgh-area students in our part-time religious education programs, including congregation-based K-7 programs and community-wide high school programs,” Bardack continued.

Gratz College of Melrose Park, Pa., has been a pioneer in higher education and Jewish education since it opened, in 1895. Gratz is the oldest pluralistic college for Jewish studies in North America and the oldest independent college offering Jewish studies. In addition, Gratz holds the distinction of being the first institution of advanced Jewish learning to accept women on par with men.

Other Jewish Federations partnering with Gratz College to provide NEXT teacher training are the Federations of Baltimore, Broward County (Florida), Cleveland, Detroit, Palm Beach County (Florida), Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia.

For more information, please contact Rabbi Amy Bardack, director of Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, at abardack@jfedpgh.org.

To register, visit www.gratz.edu/NEXT or email NEXT@gratz.edu or call 215.635.7300 ext. 135.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH’S COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL TAKES SERIOUS ISSUE WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS
1/31/2017


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Community Relations CouncilThe Community Relations Council (CRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh takes serious issue with Friday’s Presidential Executive Order, which imposes a four-month suspension on the United States refugee program and bars all immigration from seven Muslim countries – Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – for 90 days. The current executive order is counter to a stated policy priority of Jewish Federations of North America, which calls for “safeguarding the U.S. refugee program.” We support the statements from Jewish Federations and Jewish Community Relations Councils throughout the country, as well as from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Conservative Movement, and the Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America, which raise concerns about the executive order.

“The core Jewish value of welcoming the stranger is not only found in our texts, but also in the work of our Jewish agencies both locally and nationally,” said Cindy Goodman-Leib, Chair of CRC. “It is critical that we do not turn our backs on millions and millions of people in their greatest hour of need.”

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) handled 159 requests by Jews seeking asylum in the United States in 2016, according to a Jan. 30, 2017, report by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). More than 90 of those requests came from Iran and Yemen, two of the seven countries from which the executive order bans all forms of immigration.

Additionally, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh (JF&CS), a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh that plays a significant role in resettling refugees in Southwestern Pennsylvania, is directly harmed by the executive order.

“We recognize the weighty responsibility of protecting Americans from the increasing threat of terrorists and other extremists, whether foreign or domestic,” said Goodman-Leib. “But by moving too quickly and without engaging many important stakeholders both within the government and civic society, the administration has fallen short of its obligation. Rather than improving safety and security, the executive order has raised anxiety and sown fear and confusion while abridging the civil rights of legal American residents.”

CRC calls upon the administration to reconsider its executive order, and to collaborate with a wide range of diverse partners in order to balance the American and Jewish value of welcoming the stranger with appropriate security protocols.

JEWISH COMMUNITY FOUNDATION 2017 GRANT FUNDING AVAILABLE
1/26/2017


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The Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is now accepting grant applications for 2017.

In 2017, the Foundation is making approximately $320,000 available to fund programs and projects that address vital human needs, support lifelong Jewish learning and create a vibrant and dynamic Jewish community in Pittsburgh. 

Of the total, approximately $270,000 will be available to fund “Signature Grants” – grants to fund initiatives that are intended to have a significant impact on the long-term vitality of the Pittsburgh Jewish community. These grants are intended to be transformative, with the goal of making a substantial intervention that has broad community impact. 

“The hope is for organizations to tackle the big questions facing our Jewish community in Pittsburgh,” said Woody Ostrow, chair of the Jewish Community Foundation Grantmaking Committee. “We want you to envision the Jewish Pittsburgh of the future – one that serves all 54,000 of us. We’re looking to make big investments in projects that will accomplish that.” 

Additionally, $50,000 will be available for “Micro Grants,” which fund one-time projects in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community that align with the Jewish Federation’s mission and goals. Micro Grants range from approximately $5,000 to $15,000. 

The Jewish Community Foundation has already committed $525,000 in continuing funds for multiyear grants awarded during last year’s grant cycle. All told, the Foundation will allocate approximately $845,000 in grants in 2017.

The grant application – available online at http://jfedpgh.org/foundation-grants – must be submitted by 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 14, for consideration in the spring grant cycle. Awardees will be notified in June. 
Some examples of recent grants include:

  • $325,000 to facilitate a new Community Study, which will produce a profile of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, enabling a better understanding of our demographics, activities and needs. 
  • $125,000 to support a community scholar – Rabbi Danny Schiff – who provides Jewish education and Jewish content to diverse populations in the community.
  • $6,000 to the Rosh Pina Cornerstone Fellowship, which supports a year-long organizational-change project for leaders of the Jewish Family & Children's Service, Jewish Residential Services, and Jewish Federation to increase disability inclusion opportunities throughout the Pittsburgh Jewish community.
  • $7,500 to support Repair the World Pittsburgh in expanding its food justice programming and partnerships.


The Jewish Community Foundation, the planned giving arm of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, enables donors to create permanent endowment funds that address community needs in perpetuity. Total Foundation assets currently stand at over $230 million. The Foundation helps bring to fruition the philanthropic goals and dreams of more than 1,290 individuals, families and organizations.

For more information about the Foundation, grantmaking priorities, or the application process, please visit the Jewish Community Foundation website at www.jfedpgh.org/ foundation. While grantees must be non-profit organizations, individuals with creative ideas are encouraged to contact the Foundation, which may be able to match interested parties to a sponsoring organization. 

For more information about the request for proposals, please contact Shelly Parver, planning manager, Jewish education & continuity, at sparver@jfedpgh.org or 412.992.5207.

JEWISH FEDERATION’S YOUNG ADULT DIVISION PRESENTS COMEDIAN NOAH GARDENSWARTZ AT “STAND UP FOR GIVING”
1/24/2017


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Noah GardenswartzComedian Noah Gardenswartz will take the stage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Young Adult Division (YAD) event, Stand Up for Giving: Make Pittsburgh Laugh Again. YAD invites Jewish and non-Jewish adults ages 21–45 to the event, to be held Saturday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m. The event will be at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater (5941 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh 15206). The cost is $50 per person. In addition to Gardenswartz’s performance, the evening will feature pre-show cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and post-show desserts.

Noah Gardenswartz is a New York–based comedian featured on “Conan” and Comedy Central’s “Adam Devine’s House Party.” He was a semi-finalist in 2015 on NBC-TV’s “Last Comic Standing,” and he had his own half-hour special on Comedy Central last year. Gardenswartz performs at clubs and colleges across the United States, and he works on behalf of Jewish Federations, Hillel Jewish University Centers and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

Although born and raised in Denver, Gardenswartz made his debut on the comedy scene in Atlanta. Using his well-crafted mix of jokes, observations, and personal stories, he rose in popularity in New York City.

At the event, attendees will have the opportunity to make a financial gift to the 2017 Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. No minimum gift is required to attend. By making a Campaign commitment, each attendee can make a personal impact that benefits the community. The Federation’s Annual Campaign provides essential, unrestricted dollars to our beneficiary agencies that support individuals and families in Pittsburgh and around the world. Many of these programs, such as the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, benefit Jewish and non-Jewish Pittsburgh.

Dinsmore, one of the Pittsburgh region’s largest law firms, is the corporate sponsor of Stand Up for Giving. Event chairs are Rebecca and David Knoll, and the Host Committee includes Steve Abrams, Shira Burg, Max Cahn, Elena Davis, Sam Kline, Meira Russ, Nahum Shalman, Rachael Speck and Alex Speck. Randy Whitlatch chairs the Jewish Federation’s Young Adult Division, and Marcie Solomon serves as co-chair.

For accommodations related to disabilities or to attend Stand Up for Giving, register online at www.shalompittsburgh.org/stand-up-for-giving or contact Meryl Franzos at mfranzos@jfedpgh.org or 412.992.5204. Kosher dietary laws will be observed.

The Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is the nexus of Pittsburgh’s vibrant community of Jews in their 20s, 30s and early 40s. The division offers many exciting ways to get connected and involved, including fun social events, meaningful volunteer service opportunities, spectacular trips to Israel and beyond, stimulating educational programs and fulfilling leadership opportunities.

JEWISH LIFE AND LEARNING DIVISION OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH WELCOMES YOUTH DEVELOPMENT EXPERT DR. DEBI GILBOA FOR THREE-PART PARENTING SERIES
12/22/2016


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Events to be live-streamed to South and North Hills locations

Dr. Debi GilboaJewish Life and Learning Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh welcomes parenting and youth development expert Dr. Debi Gilboa, or Dr. G, for a three-part parenting series specifically geared for families with young children. The sessions focus on how to talk to your children about tough topics, the happiness of our children and the steps you should take to create a peaceful home. The workshops — all on Sundays, 9:30–11 a.m. — will be Jan. 22, March 5 and April 2 in the Falk Library of Rodef Shalom Congregation, 5905 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh 15213. Each workshop will feature a different topic.

To best meet the needs of families, each workshop will be live-streamed to Temple Emanuel of South Hills, 1250 Bower Hill Road, Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh 15243) and Temple Ohav Shalom, 8400 Thompson Run Road, Allison Park 15101.

Dr. Gilboa has an extensive background in child care as a family physician at the Squirrel Hill Health Center, in addition to being an international speaker, author, media expert, regular contributor on the “TODAY” show and mother of four boys. Her experience inspires audiences with relatable stories and easy tools to develop crucial life skills for children.

Last year, as part of the Jewish Federation’s early childhood education initiatives, the Jewish Life and Learning Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh partnered with our community’s Jewish early education centers and administered a school, educator and parent survey. The results showed that parents of young children wanted to enhance their parenting skills, suggesting the need for Gilboa’s parenting workshops. 

“A parenting class can give you better insight into your child so that you can become the best parent possible. Regardless of the age of your children, a parenting class can help you become a more confident parent as you learn strategies to stay close to your children and to raise them to be functioning members of society,” Jewish Federation’s Director of Early Childhood Education Carolyn Linder said.

Ten local Jewish early childhood education programs and PJ Library, which is run by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, have partnered with the Jewish Federation to support the parenting workshops: 

Adat Shalom
Early Learning Center of Yeshiva
Beth Shalom Early Learning Center
Temple Ohav Shalom Center for Early Learning
The Early Childhood Education program at Community Day School
Rodef Shalom Family Center Preschool
The Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Development Center
Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh, Early Childhood Development Centers in Squirrel Hill  Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh, Early Childhood Development Centers and the South Hills 

 

Director of the Beth Shalom Early Learning Center, Jennifer Perer Slattery, expressed her excitement as an educator about Dr. Gilboa’s presentations: “This series of workshops with Dr. G are a direct response to [parents’ needs], and the Beth Shalom Early Learning Center is truly delighted to be partnering with the other Jewish early childhood centers and the Jewish Federation on this community initiative.”

“These sessions are practical tools,” said Dr. Gilboa. “I hope parents come in with questions about real-life issues they’re facing. I will provide age-appropriate strategies that parents can use.”

While these three sessions are specifically geared for parents raising young children, Dr. G provides advice to parents of children ages 18 months to 20 years. She welcomes parents to come prepared with personal-experience questions or to submit questions beforehand on her website, AskDoctorG.com.

The three-part parenting series is free to the public, and free child care will be available at all three sites, but registration is required. Learn more and register online. Questions about the sessions may be addressed to Christa Maier at 412.992-5249 or cmaier@jfedpgh.org.

THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH HIRES BRADLEY ORSINI AS DIRECTOR OF JEWISH COMMUNITY SECURITY
12/6/2016


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Brad OrsiniThe Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh today announced the hiring of Bradley W. Orsini as director of Jewish community security. In this new position, Mr. Orsini will plan, direct and coordinate activities relating to the protection and security of the Jewish Federation and of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community organizations, including day schools, synagogues and Jewish communal organizations. Mr. Orsini will start his new position Jan. 3, 2017.

“With his wealth of experience, the Jewish Federation and the Pittsburgh Jewish community are very fortunate to have Brad Orsini as our security director,” said Milo Averbach, chief financial officer of the Jewish Federation and the staff person in charge of the hiring process.

Mr. Orsini has been with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for more than 25 years and is currently the supervisory special agent, crisis manager and training coordinator for the Pittsburgh Division. Past experience includes work with the FBI on the Public Corruption Squad in New Jersey, on the Crisis Management Team in Pittsburgh and as the supervisor of the FBI’s Community Outreach Program in Pittsburgh.

A fund within the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh provided resources to establish the new position. Position responsibilities include assessing Jewish community needs, recommending measures to strengthen existing security measures, and coordinating with Jewish agencies and government first responders.

“Security events affecting the Jewish community — including shootings, acts of terrorism and other attacks — have become increasingly common around the world. Coordinating security, training employees and volunteers, and implementing best practices will help to deter these crimes and prevent or decrease danger to Jewish Pittsburgh if they occur,” said Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

Andrew Stewart chairs the Jewish Federation ad hoc committee that explored the need for the security director and led the hiring process. Mr. Stewart commented, “Our community Jewish organizations have many appropriate measures in place, but there is definitely more that a security expert can bring to these efforts. From the experience of other communities around the country, we know that our Jewish community would benefit from the coordination, training and professional support for security initiatives that someone in this role could provide.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh worked with the Secure Community Network (SCN), a national homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America, to evaluate the need for a security director. In addition, SCN assisted with the hiring process.

Mr. Orsini will work with the community to develop goals and objectives and will develop, implement and monitor guidelines, procedures and programs to coordinate security and incident response to reach these goals. In addition, he will help to build relationships and coordinate activities with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Orsini received his bachelor of science, administration of justice degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1985 and served in the United States Marine Corps, reaching the rank of captain. During his previous work in Pittsburgh, he grew the Southwestern Pennsylvania Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition and was awarded the FBI’s Law Enforcement Agency Directors Award in 2005 for outstanding investigative results in the area of public corruption for Western Pennsylvania. In 2015, he was again awarded the Western Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Agency Directors Award for leading the FBI’s response to several mass-casualty critical incidents, including the Franklin Regional High School stabbing and the Monroeville Mall shooting. In September 2016, Mr. Orsini was awarded the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence in Training and Professional Development.

JEWISH FEDERATION COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL HIRES LAURA CHERNER FOR NEW ASSISTANT DIRECTOR POSITION
12/1/2016


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Laura ChernerThe Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Relations Council (CRC) has hired Laura Cherner for the newly created position of assistant director.

Cherner’s initial responsibilities include helping the CRC on programs to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel and on the Catholic-Jewish Education Enrichment Program, which seeks to promote understanding between Catholics and Jews. The program sends rabbis and Jewish educators into 12 Southwestern Pennsylvania Catholic high schools, to teach about Judaism, and Catholic educators into Jewish synagogue religious schools to discuss Catholicism.

Cherner previously worked for the Jewish Federation, supporting the Annual Campaign’s Women’s Philanthropy, missions and development. Prior to joining the Jewish Federation, she worked as an intern for United States Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA). Her published writing includes biographies of Sophie Masloff, former Pittsburgh mayor, and of philanthropist Liliane Kaufmann. These biographies were published in the National Council of Jewish Women’s collection Her Deeds Sing Her Praises.

A Mt. Lebanon native, Cherner is a 2016 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

JEWISH FEDERATION TO CONDUCT COMMUNITY NEEDS RESEARCH STUDY TO INFORM FUTURE PROGRAM AND SERVICE DEVELOPMENT
11/2/2016


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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh announced a major community-wide study of Jewish life and needs in the greater Pittsburgh area Jewish community. Planning for the study will start immediately.

The purpose of the study, the first such effort since 2002, will be to estimate the current number and geographic distribution of individuals and households in the greater Pittsburgh community who identify as Jewish and to collect data on community members’ behaviors and attitudes about Jewish practice and about the Jewish community.

The study will reveal where Jews are living within Pittsburgh as well as what are the behaviors and attitudes of community members throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. Questions addressed will include, “How do Jewish Pittsburghers understand their Jewish identities? How do they connect (if at all) with organized Jewish institutions? What do they expect, need and want from our Jewish community?”

The answers to these questions and others will enhance the community’s ability to plan for the future by focusing on the most pressing communal needs. The community study will offer an exhaustive roadmap that will help guide the strategic planning efforts of service providers throughout Jewish Pittsburgh.

Evan Indianer, chair of the Jewish Federation’s committee that helps to direct the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard, commented, “The Community Study is a perfect complement to the research of the Scorecard. It will give us a new perspective on community needs and will equip us with the knowledge to identify any gaps in service and new areas of opportunity.”

The Jewish Federation has selected the Marilyn and Maurice Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS) at Brandeis University’s Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) to lead the study. The Community Scorecard committee selected CMJS/SSRI from among seven nationally renowned firms invited to apply as part of a formal request for proposals.

The Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation funded the study to provide relevant data and analytic frameworks that can support informed decision making by the Federation and service providers. This data and analysis will improve planning, service delivery and fundraising and marketing as well as help Jewish agencies to connect people to Jewish community life.

Deborah Baron, Chief Operating Officer of the Jewish Federation, said, “The community study will illuminate our path to becoming a community of excellence, showing us areas of strength and sources of opportunity. Today, we don’t know what we don’t know.”

The study will focus both on the Jewish needs—religious, educational and social—and on the health and human service needs of the community, enabling service providers to adjust to new realities and to plan for the long term. 

The Jewish Federation also plans to incorporate the study’s data and analysis into the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard, an online tool for people and organizations to review data about Jewish community performance. Using the Scorecard, programs and institutions can assess progress toward becoming a more vibrant, thriving, and engaged Jewish community. The data collected will add directly to the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard as it defines, spurs and measures the definition of a community of excellence.

The Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard committee plans follow-up research studies that will continue to measure community members’ behaviors and attitudes every two years. The first, primary study will serve as a baseline. Subsequent studies will track the fluctuation of those measures.

The Cohen Center is a nationally renowned research firm directed by Dr. Leonard Saxe, Ph.D. In addition to conducting Jewish community studies throughout the United States, the center’s research areas include Jewish education, Israel travel (e.g., Birthright Israel) and national demography (e.g., the American Jewish Population Project). The center recently concluded Jewish community studies for Jewish Federations in Seattle and Boston.

JEWISH FEDERATION INVITES THE COMMUNITY TO “SEE THE GOOD” AT ITS ANNUAL MEETING TUESDAY, AUG. 30
7/25/2016

 

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Through the year, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has invited the community to “Do Good in the ’Burgh and Around the World” by contributing to the Federation’s Annual Campaign. Now the organization invites the community to the Federation’s annual meeting, to see the good that has resulted through Federation participation. The meeting — Tuesday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m.  — will be at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill, 5738 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15217. 

Stephen Halpern and Deborah Winn-Horvitz will be among the community leaders honored at the event. Mr. Halpern will receive the Emanuel Spector Memorial Award, and Ms. Winn-Horvitz will receive the Doris and Leonard H. Rudolph Jewish Communal Professional Award.

Other individuals the annual meeting will celebrate are three executives who are retiring from prominent Jewish agencies after long, constructive service:

  • Debbie Friedman, executive director, Jewish Residential Services
  • Rachel Marcus, chief operating officer, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Aryeh Sherman, executive director, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh


The event will also salute 37 Federation Volunteers of the Year. These individuals, nominated by Jewish agencies, organizations and synagogues on the basis of the individuals’ exemplary volunteer activities, will be recognized as a group.

Stephen HalpernEach year the Federation presents the Emanuel Spector Memorial Award to someone who has given outstanding service to the community in a single year or over many years. This year’s recipient, Stephen Halpern, has a long history of service in and beyond Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.

Mr. Halpern’s board and committee service provides just a sample of his volunteer activity. After serving as board chair of the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA) 2012–15, Mr. Halpern currently co-chairs JAA’s first-ever capital campaign. He served as board chair of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation 2006–08 and chaired the 1993 Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. 

Mr. Halpern was a trustee of Shady Side Academy and a UPMC Health System board member. He was also a member of the board of Tickets for Kids, which provides event passes to nonprofits serving children. In the international sphere, Mr. Halpern served on the board of Israel Tennis Centers (ITC). ITC is one of the largest social service organizations for children in Israel.

Mr. Halpern — president of Woodland Management, a privately held business and financial services company — holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program, which offers Jewish learning and leadership development to volunteer leaders in North America.

The Doris and Leonard H. Rudolph Jewish Communal Professional Award recognizes the exceptional commitment of a Jewish communal professional employed by the Federation or one of its partner agencies. The awardee is selected for his or her contribution to improving the quality of services offered in the community and to the enhancement of Jewish life.

Deborah Winn-HorvitzThe 2016 Rudolph Award recipient, Deborah Winn-Horvitz, has served Pittsburgh’s elderly by bringing 20 years of experience in academic medicine to her role as president and CEO of the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA). Before joining the JAA in 2011, Ms. Winn-Horvitz held leadership roles at UPMC Health System, at which she served as executive administrator for the Department of Medicine. Before moving to Pittsburgh, in 2002, she served Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where she focused on revenue-cycle management and patient satisfaction.

Ms. Winn-Horvitz serves as a board member of the National Association of Jewish Aging Services, the Faith-Based Network and the Pittsburgh Care Partnership. She is a trustee of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Greater Pittsburgh and serves the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health as a mentor and preceptor.

In 2015, Ms. Winn-Horvitz was appointed to Governor Wolf’s transition team for aging services. The same year, she was a Health Care Heroes finalist for the City of Pittsburgh. Ms. Winn-Horvitz earned a master’s degree in health administration from Sage Graduate Schools, New York State, and completed additional coursework at the John M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.

At the Federation’s Aug. 30 annual meeting, onsite registration will begin at 6:15 p.m. A dessert reception will follow the meeting. (Dietary laws observed.)

Sign language interpretation of the proceedings and large-print agendas will be available. Other accommodations may be made in advance to include differing abilities. Individuals wishing to discuss needs may email ahertzman@jfedpgh.org or call 412.992.5225.

Couvert for the Aug. 30 annual meeting is $5 per person for those who preregister online at www.jfedpgh.org/2016AM. By mail or at the door, the cost is $7 per person. To preregister by mail, send a check payable to Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to Federation Annual Meeting, 234 McKee Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Information about the meeting is available online at www.jfedpgh.org/2016AM or by calling 412.992.5251.

The Federation’s annual meeting is underwritten by a grant from the Lillian & Dr. Henry J. Goldstein Annual Meeting Endowment Fund of the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation.

THREE NEW STAFFERS JOIN FEDERATION TO SERVE JEWISH PITTSBURGH
6/28/2016

 

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is pleased to announce that Rachel Lipkin has joined the organization as development associate in charge of the women’s philanthropy of the Federation’s Annual Campaign. Ms. Lipkin earned her master of public administration degree from The Ohio State University. While interning at the Jewish Federation of Columbus, she was responsible for developing and implementing new fund-raising strategies for young adults. Ms. Lipkin’s experience includes work at the Louisville Jewish Community Center.

Rachel LipkinMs. Lipkin is a recipient of the prestigious Federation Executive Recruitment and Education Program (FEREP) scholarship, which is funded by The Jewish Federations of North America Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence. The FEREP scholarship funds graduate school education for promising students who pledge to start a career in Jewish communal service.

Joel SchwarzAnother new Federation staffer, Joel Schwarz, joins the organization as development associate in charge of men’s philanthropy of the Federation’s Annual Campaign. Mr. Schwarz comes to Pittsburgh from the position of development manager at America Achieves, in Washington, D.C. He worked in development at Homeless Children’s Playtime Project after earning a master of public policy degree from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

Mihal EhvenMihal Ehven is the Federation’s new digital marketing associate. As a freelance web developer at her own company, Ehventerprise LLC, Mrs. Ehven helped a variety of companies, including Jewish organizations, meet their website needs. She has experience in admissions at an early-childhood education center and as an educator at Seattle Central Community College. Mrs. Ehven started her career in Seattle, Wash., at Group Health Cooperative and Microsoft Corporation.

JEWISH FEDERATION GIVES $22 MILLION TO BENEFIT HUMAN SERVICES, COMMUNITY PROGRAMS AND PLANNING
6/28/2016

 

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will provide more than $22 million in allocations and grants to human services and community-building programs in 2016. The allocations, announced by the Federation’s Board of Directors, will support programs in Pittsburgh and in Jewish communities around the world.

The allocations and grants consist of resources from the Federation’s Annual Campaign, the Jewish Community Foundation, supplemental donor gifts, government grants secured with Federation assistance, and a $900,000 human services block grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. 

Funding decisions are the result of a year-long process that engages volunteers and professionals with diverse expertise, backgrounds and affiliations.

“The Federation allocation and grantmaking process allows big-picture planning to use resources wisely and helps ensure that no segment of the community is left out,” explained Cynthia Shapira, chair of the Federation’s Board of Directors.

Central to this process is a philosophy of providing core operating support to nine local beneficiary agencies and two overseas partners.

“Federation allocations help each partner agency sustain a strong infrastructure,” Ms. Shapira continued. “Strong agencies can weather economic downturns, adapt to change and grow to meet new challenges. The agencies and affiliates can be lifelines to the people they serve and to the continuing health of the Jewish community. ”

A large portion of Federation allocations in 2016 will address aging and human needs in Pittsburgh. In addition to aiding some of Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable, in 2016 the Federation will continue to invest substantial dollars to address Jewish continuity by providing allocations to support Israel travel, Jewish preschool, and overnight Jewish camping.

The 2016 allocations included a significant grant from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation to conduct a demographic study of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. The study will be the first of its kind in Pittsburgh since 2002. Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, explained the significance of the study: “This study will provide information about the size of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, the composition of our families and how Pittsburghers engage Jewishly. This information is crucial to identifying the community’s strengths and needs, and it’s crucial to planning to reach our potential.”

Other disbursements from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation include, for example, grants to Repair the World, the Jewish Community Legacy Project, Classrooms Without Borders, and the National Council of Jewish Women’s Center for Women. 

The 2016 allocations from the Federation will enable an expansion of the Diller Teen Fellows program as it is conducted in Pittsburgh. Each year since 2009, 20 Diller Teen Fellows from Pittsburgh and 20 teens from Karmiel-Misgav, in Israel, participate in leadership-development and Jewish peoplehood activities. The 2016 allocation will provide outreach and programing to Diller alumni and to the parents of currently enrolled Pittsburgh teens.

In Pittsburgh, the Diller Teen Fellows program is administered by Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Partnership2Gether program and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. Additional funding for Diller Teen Fellows in Pittsburgh and worldwide comes from the Helen Diller Family Foundation.

The nine local beneficiary agencies that receive Federation allocations are 

  • The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center
  • Community Day School
  • Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Association on Aging
  • Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Family & Children’s Service
  • Jewish Residential Services
  • Riverview Towers
  • Yeshiva Schools 


The two overseas affiliates are the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

More information about Federation allocations and grantmaking is available from Adam Hertzman, director of marketing, at 412.992.5225 or ahertzman@jfedpgh.org.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH PRESENTS 2016 GERALD S. OSTROW VOLUNTEER AWARD TO SUSAN BERMAN
6/21/2016

 

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Susan G. BermanJewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has named Susan G. Berman, PhD, the recipient of the Gerald S. Ostrow (z”l) Volunteer of the Year Award. This award recognizes the special efforts of a volunteer leader who has dedicated significant service to the community and has fostered partnerships among the Jewish Federation and its agencies. Dr. Berman received the award at the June 20 meeting of the Federation’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Berman has served as an officer of the Federation Board and as a member of the Federation Executive Committee. In her role as chair of the Planning and Allocations Committee, Dr. Berman played a vital role in determining community giving priorities. She has served on the National Young Life Leadership Cabinet and the Federation’s Community Scorecard Committee and chaired the Jewish Community Life Commission and the Young Adult Division. A graduate of the Wexner Heritage leadership program, Dr. Berman has served as president of the Board of The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center and as a board member of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. She has been an active fundraiser for Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Annual Campaign.

The Gerald S. Ostrow Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has devoted a significant amount of time over a number of years in service to the community. This individual has served in a variety of capacities in both the Federation and one or more agencies, demonstrated an understanding of and dedication to the mission of the Federation and the agencies, and supported the Federation Community Campaign by making quality commitments and completing campaign solicitations.

“Sue adds so much to Jewish Federation and to many Jewish organizations through her volunteer work,” said Jeffrey Finkelstein, Federation president and CEO. “She has been involved in so many different aspects of Jewish community life in Pittsburgh and brings hard work and passion to the many roles she plays.”

THREE ORGANIZATIONS WILL RECEIVE $13,875 IN FOURTH-ROUND FUNDING FROM JEWISH FEDERATION’S STEELTREE FUND
6/15/2016

 

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Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s SteelTree Fund will give three organizations a total of $13,875 in fourth-round 2015–16 funding: Community Day School (CDS), The Friendship Circle and Chabad of Pittsburgh.

The grant to CDS will fund a new program called Shabbat-in-a-Box. The goal of the program is to engage families with CDS through participation with CDS-involved families at Shabbat dinners. A grant to The Friendship Circle will help the organization fund a rooftop gardening club that will use new space to build client-volunteer relationships. The grant to Chabad of Pittsburgh will support Chabad’s second year of the very popular Love and Knaidels program. A women’s cooking program, Love and Knaidels offers participants the fun of cooking together and the joy of giving food to others.

“It was very difficult to pick three grant proposals out of ten overall applications. But there’s so much creativity here in Pittsburgh, it’s a great problem to have,” said Aaron Morgenstern, the incoming SteelTree Board chair. “We’re excited to see what the community puts forth next year.” 

The SteelTree Fund, which combines support for the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign with support from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, enables SteelTree board members to make a collective impact by designating micro-grants to local organizations and agencies.

SteelTree is actively recruiting new board members. Board members are young adults ages 22–45 who have a desire to make a difference in the Jewish community and a passion for venture philanthropy.

Over the past two years, the SteelTree board has created a vision, a set of values, a detailed scorecard and an evaluation process that help ensure the selection of deserving fundable projects. Grant proposals are measured on their potential impact on the community, degree of innovation and the extent to which the project would benefit local Jewish youth, teens and young adults. 

In 2015–16, the SteelTree Fund distributed $45,000 to support innovative community projects. Examples include the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh’s Living Legacy Project, which enabled professionals to document local Holocaust survivor stories, and the distribution of Jewish rock music to teens by Rick Recht of Jewish Rock Radio.

In the next fiscal year, four rounds of funding will offer additional opportunities for organizations to apply for grants. Application deadlines for each round, respectively, are Aug. 15, 2016; Nov. 7, 2016; Jan. 30, 2017; and April 17, 2017. The contact for grant information is Jason Oppenheimer, Young Adult Division director, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh (412.992.5222 or joppenheimer@jfedpgh.org).

JEWISH PITTSBURGH HEARTBROKEN OVER MASS LGBT SHOOTING IN ORLANDO
6/14/2016

 

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association and the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh are incensed and heartbroken over a mass shooting at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Fla. The shooting — which occurred early Sunday, June 12 — left 49 dead and 53 injured.

“This is a profound act of terror,” said Cindy Goodman-Leib, chair of the Community Relations Council (CRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “We are devastated over this loss of life and stand in solidarity with the LGBT communities in Orlando, Pittsburgh, and throughout the world. As Jews, we understand what it is like to be targeted for no reason other than our identity, and we recognize that those who hate typically don’t only hate one group of people. Sunday morning’s attack happened to be directed at the LGBT community, but it could have just as easily been any one of us.”

In addition to supporting and standing with our LGBT friends and allies, many of whom are part of the Jewish community, CRC will take three distinct actions as a result of this massacre:

  • Work to promote a wider understanding of the LGBT community throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania
  • Advocate to prevent gun violence, at both a local and national level, while supporting the Second Amendment
  • In the wake of the shooter’s ties to radicalization, work to educate the Greater Pittsburgh community on the difference between Islamic extremism and Islam

May the victims’ memories be a blessing.

BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND AUTHOR AVIVAH GOTTLEIB ZORNBERG MAKES FIRST PITTSBURGH VISIT TO PRESENT THREE-PART SERIES
5/4/2016

 

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Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, PhDBiblical scholar and author Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, Ph.D., will visit Pittsburgh for the first time in June and will present three lectures on significant Jewish topics. The Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and three synagogues will co-sponsor the lectures. Each lecture will be on a different date and at a different site: 

  • “And I Am a Stranger: Becoming Ruth,” 5:30¬–8:15 p.m., Friday, June 3, co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom and presented at the synagogue, 5915 Beacon St., Pittsburgh 15217
  • “Lech Lecha: Becoming Abraham,” 4:00–5:15 p.m., Saturday, June 4, co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Partnership Minyan at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh, Levinson Hall, 5738 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh 15217
  • “Is Redemption Possible? Of Women and Mirrors,” 9:30–11:00 a.m., Sunday, June 5, co-sponsored by Temple Sinai and presented at the temple, 5505 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15217

“Avivah Zornberg is an amazing intellect and an extraordinary teacher of Torah,” commented Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff, Ph.D. “She always draws huge crowds in Israel. Her debut appearance in Pittsburgh is one you don’t want to miss.”

Ms. Zornberg is the author of “The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis,” for which she received the National Jewish Book Award. Tikkun magazine called this work “a book to be studied … a modern midrash in its own right,” adding “a written text could never live up to the magic of her shiurim (teaching).” Among her other titles is the 2015 release “Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers.”

Born in London, Dr. Zornberg grew up and studied in Glasgow, Scotland, with her rabbi father, who was the head of a rabbinical court. She earned a Ph.D. in English literature from Cambridge University. After moving to Israel, she began teaching English literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem but soon turned her focus to teaching Torah. She has taught Torah in Jerusalem for 30 years. She holds a visiting lectureship at the London School of Jewish Studies.

In Pittsburgh in June, each of Dr. Zornberg’s three lectures will be open to the public. The June 3 lecture at Congregation Beth Shalom will be presented at a cost of $15. Information about “And I Am a Stranger: Becoming Ruth” is available on the Congregation Beth Shalom website at www.bethshalompgh.org/events. The June 4 and June 5 lectures, at the JCC Squirrel Hill and Temple Sinai, respectively, will be presented at no cost. Registration is not required for any of the three lectures. Questions about the presentations may be addressed to Rabbi Dr. Danny Schiff at 412.697.6650 or dschiff@jfedpgh.org.

First Pittsburgh appearance of new education director, presentation of the Grinspoon Award: UNSUNG JEWISH HEROES CELEBRATION TO HONOR 20 LOCAL EDUCATORS AND HIGHLIGHT THE LATEST IN COMMUNITY EDUCATION
4/27/2016

 

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The purpose of the Unsung Jewish Heroes celebration, Sunday, May 22, 5 p.m., is to sing the praises of individuals who provide outstanding Jewish education. The event, presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, will include the presentation of Unsung Jewish Heroes Awards to 20 local educators from early childhood centers and day and religious schools. In addition, the event will comprise two other education-related aspects:

  • the first public remarks in Pittsburgh by Rabbi Amy Bardack, Federation’s new director of Jewish education and community capacity building
  • the Pittsburgh presentation of the 2016 Harold Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education

The Unsung Jewish Heroes celebration will be in Levinson Hall, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (Squirrel Hill), 5738 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15217.

The Unsung Jewish Heroes Awards, presented by the Federation, recognize local educators, staff or volunteers who make a lasting impact in Jewish education. Recipients, whom their organizations nominate, may serve children, youth, families, or adult learners.

“As in the past,” said Jeffrey Finkelstein, Federation president and CEO, “when the Unsung Jewish Heroes event was an Agency for Jewish Learning initiative, the celebration will spotlight outstanding contributions to Jewish education. This year, attendees will also have a chance to hear Rabbi Bardack’s educational philosophy and get a sense of future educational directions.”

Rabbi Amy BardackOn July 1 Rabbi Amy Bardack will begin her duties as the Federation’s director of Jewish education and community capacity building. In her new position, she will work to ensure high-quality Jewish programs in the community, boost engagement of Jews of all ages and backgrounds and strengthen Jewish identity and leadership. Currently, she is the Judaic studies director, Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. Rabbi Bardack will bring to Pittsburgh more than 15 years of experience in day school settings. In that context she pioneered a new approach to Hebrew 
instruction, published two children’s prayer books and spearheaded several strategic planning and visioning processes. She has experience as a congregational rabbi, is the current president of the New England Rabbinical Assembly and was a fellow with Rabbis Without Borders.

Rabbi Bardack holds a BA in religion from Columbia University and a master’s degree in Hebrew letters from American Jewish University. She received her rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City.

The Harold Grinspoon Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education recognize skilled, innovative educators in day schools, religious schools and early childhood centers. Each year since 2000, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation has presented an award to an educator in up to 80 North American communities. Honorees are nominated by the organizations they serve. In Pittsburgh the award is supported by the Barbara and Lester Parker Fund for a Jewish Future Endowment of the Jewish Community Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. On May 22, at the Unsung Jewish Heroes event, Barbara Parker will present this year’s award. 

Jackie GoldblumThe Pittsburgh recipient of the 2016 Grinspoon Award is Jackie Goldblum, a middle school teacher at Community Day School (CDS), where she teaches history, comparative religion and Hebrew. The award recognizes Ms. Goldblum, who has taught at CDS for 17 years, for her consistent, effective classroom use of art, writing and primary source documents. 

Tzippy Mazer, head of Lower School and Hebrew/Jewish studies at CDS, noted several examples of Ms. Goldblum’s use of special projects to engage students: “Jackie took a leadership role in developing and implementing the curriculum for the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day events at CDS. Instead of taking the day off, CDS took on the essential themes of this important day together with the broader Pittsburgh community.” In 2007, Ms. Goldblum initiated the Holocaust Survivor Dinner, an evening that was so successful that it has become an annual means of connecting 8th-graders with Survivors. 

Ms. Goldblum, reflecting on her goal as a Jewish educator, said, “My biggest reward will be if [students] remember me as a person that gave them the values of social justice and human rights. … If they see me in the street in twenty years, I hope that they will want to run up to me and tell me about their lives.”

In addition to her work at CDS, Ms. Goldblum offers a weekly after-school human behavior–history program to students who attend school in Homewood and the Hill District. The focus of the program, made possible through a grant from the Alfred M. Oppenheimer Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s CDS Holocaust Connections Endowment, is learning from history.

Carolyn Linder, as Federation’s early childhood education manager, has overseen the planning of this year’s 2016 Unsung Jewish Heroes Celebration. “Whether you are an honoree’s colleague, family member or friend,” Ms. Linder commented, “or you are someone who recognizes the necessity of Jewish education as an important pathway to Jewish life — I encourage you to attend the Unsung Jewish Heroes celebration.”

At the May 22 Unsung Jewish Heroes celebration, Scott Leib, chair, Federation’s Jewish Life & Learning Committee, will serve as master of ceremonies. Light refreshments will be served. (Dietary laws observed.) The event is free; registration is requested. For details or to register, contact Christa Maier at 412-992-5249 or cmaier@jfedpgh.org. A complete list of the 2016 Unsung Jewish Heroes Award honorees and their organizations is available at www.jfedpgh.org/UJH2016.

Celebrating 20 years of Partnership2Gether Connection Between Pittsburgh and Karmiel-Misgav: FEDERATION’S ISRAEL WEEK, MAY 8–15, MARKS ISRAEL’S INDEPENDENCE WITH SPECIAL GUESTS AND ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES
4/21/2016

 

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This year Pittsburgh’s Jewish community can take an extra measure of hometown pride in the annual observance of Israel’s independence: In addition to being the year of Israel’s 68th birthday, 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of The Burgh’s sister-city relationship with Karmiel-Misgav, in Israel. To mark both occasions, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Partnership2Gether (P2G) program will offer Israel Week, May 8–15. Comprising dozens of activities to be offered in multiple locations in Pittsburgh and beyond, Israel Week will give Pittsburghers of all ages opportunities to learn, eat, dance and create with special guests, many from Israel.

Israel Week will comprise both Yom Hazikaron, the worldwide day of remembrance dedicated to those who gave their lives for Israel, and Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s independence day. 

“Yom Ha’atzmaut is always a cause to celebrate,” noted Israel Week Chair Jan Levinson, “but this year we’re pulling out the stops to highlight the mutual benefits of the P2G Partnership between Pittsburgh and Karmiel-Misgav.”

Partnership2Gether, a program of the Jewish Agency for Israel, pairs Diaspora communities with Israeli communities. Worldwide, 500 communities participate. For the last 20 years — through Partnership2Gether, coordinated locally by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh has had a sister-city relationship with the Israeli city of Karmiel and the region surrounding it, Misgav, in the Central Galilee.

“Twenty years ago,” Mr. Levinson continued, “Pittsburghers began collaborating with Israelis, through what’s now Partnership2Gether, to develop mutually beneficial programs. Since then, through dozens of activities, P2G has nurtured connections between Pittsburghers and Israelis. Among the results have been personal growth, cultural exchange and cultivation of Jewish identity for young people and adults in both countries. Partnership2Gether’s Israel Week will be a way to celebrate and extend those connections.”


The Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh, 5738 Forbes Ave., will be the site of:

  • Yom Hazikaron observance, Tuesday, May 10, 8 p.m., Alex and Leona Robinson Building, Katz Theater. The somber remembrance will include the participation of a delegation of Israeli war veterans, whose presence is sponsored by American Friends of Israel War Disabled; the Karmei-Machol Dance Troupe, a young-adult ensemble from Karmiel-Misgav; and the Pittsburgh chapter of the HaZamir Choir.
  • Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration, Thursday, May 12, with activities scheduled at various times 4–9 p.m., throughout the JCC facility. In addition to presentations by many of the special guests whose descriptions follow, Yom Ha’atzmaut will offer games, a bounce house, crafts and more in the gym of the Irene Kaufmann Building. A shuk (food court) will provide refreshments for purchase in the Palm Court, Kaufmann Building. (Dietary laws observed.) A petting zoo will be outside the Robinson Building.


Many special guests will contribute to Israel Week:

  • Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, Ph.D., of Misgav will offer several learning opportunities through the week:
    • Monday, May 9, at Temple David (Monroeville), noon — a Lunch and Learn event.
    • Saturday, May 14, at Temple Sinai (Pittsburgh), 11:15 a.m. — following minyan, Rabbi Rosenstein will speak at an extended oneg. 
  • Rabbi Rosenstein, in tandem with Jewish Community Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff, Ph.D., will offer lectures at two locations. Rabbi Rosenstein’s lecture is “One in Five: Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish State.” The title of Rabbi Schiff’s lecture is “New Pew and the Israeli Jew.” Both lectures will be presented
    • Wednesday, May 11, at Rodef Shalom (Pittsburgh), 7:30 p.m. 
    • Sunday, May 15, at Beth El Congregation (Scott Township), 10:15 a.m. — a Brunch and Learn event.
  • The Karmei-Machol Dance Troupe, a young-adult ensemble from Karmiel-Misgav, will present several performances that combine Israeli folk dance and modern styles. In addition to participating in the Yom Hazikaron remembrance and the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration, the troupe will appear
    • Monday, May 9, at Temple Emanuel (Mt. Lebanon), 7:15 p.m. 
    • Sunday, May 15, Temple David (Monroeville), 10 a.m.
  • Chef Carmit Elkayam will present “Magical Mixings: Healthy Israeli Cuisine,” a cooking demonstration and tasting. (Dietary laws observed.) Video screens at the event — Monday, May 9, 7 p.m., at Beth Shalom (Pittsburgh) — will help attendees follow the action. In addition, Ms. Elkayam will offer brief demonstrations during the community-wide Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration.
  • Internationally known storyteller Peninnah Schram — professor emerita at Yeshiva University’s Stern College, New York City — will share Jewish tales Thursday, May 12, at the Yom Ha’atzmaut event.
  • Israeli artist Daniela Shacham Sarig will lead “intuitive” art workshops for artists and art novices
    • Thursday, May 12, at the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration
    • Wednesday, May 11, JCC South Hills, 3 p.m., at an event presented by South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh
  • Boston-based band Josh & the Jamtones, a roots-reggae group, will present a high-energy, interactive concert Thursday, May 12, 5:30 p.m., at the community-wide Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration. The concert, for families with young children, is co-sponsored by PJ Library and Shalom Pittsburgh.

For adults ages 22–45, Israel Week offers a Young Adult Shabbat on Friday, May 13, at Tree of Life *Or L’Simcha Congregation (Pittsburgh). Services will begin at 6 p.m.; dinner will be served at 7 p.m. (Dietary laws observed.) 

Most Israel Week activities are free; some require registration. All are open to the public. Details of the complete schedule and an online registration form are available at www.jfedpgh.org/israelweek. Information about Israel Week is also available from Eric Probola at 412.992.5247 or eprobola@jfedpgh.org.

Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, PhDRabbi Marc Rosenstein, Ph.D., is the past executive director of the Galilee Foundation for Value Education, a nonprofit organization active in the fields of Jewish-Arab cooperation and Jewish pluralism. In addition, he served 2009–2015 as director of the Israel Rabbinical Program of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Jerusalem. Since 2001 his online post, Galilee Diary, has appeared regularly on the Union for Reform Judaism website. A native of suburban Chicago, Rabbi Dr. Rosenstein earned his doctoral degree in modern Jewish history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a high school teacher and principal in Jewish day schools in Chicago and Philadelphia before making aliyah (moving to Israel) to Moshav Shorashim, in Misgav, in 1990.

Rabbi Danny Schiff, PhDRabbi Danny Schiff, Ph.D., has written extensively on Jewish law and ethics. A native Australian, he earned his Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree from HUC-JIR. In addition, he holds a Master of Arts in museum studies, and he lived in Jerusalem for six years while working on a new Jewish museum concept. In the Pittsburgh area, Rabbi Dr. Schiff served as the Agency for Jewish Learning Community Scholar and was rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak. He currently serves as Jewish Community Foundation scholar.

Karmei-Machol Dance TroupeThe Karmei-Machol Dance Troupe, represented in Pittsburgh during Israel Week by a delegation of nine young adults, offers an athletic combination of Israeli folk dance and modern choreography. Most ensemble members have been performing since their early teen years. Several have participated in the world-famous Karmiel Dance Festival, and some have appeared on stages in China and Cypress. After the 7:30 p.m. performance May 12, Yom Ha’atzmaut attendees will be able to join Karmei-Machol members in Israeli folk dancing. 

Chef Carmit ElkayamChef Carmit Elkayam will help Pittsburghers explore the diverse traditions that compose Israeli cuisine and show how to combine styles, colors and tastes to optimize nutrition. Ms. Elkayam, author of “Roasted Figs and Red Lentils: Food That Makes a Difference,” is a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, New York City. A resident of Pittsburgh’s Partnership region, Misgav, and a contestant on “Mischakei Hachef” [Chef Games], Israel’s on-TV chef competition, she works in Israel as a private chef and culinary teacher.

Peninnah SchramPeninnah Schram — professor emerita at Stern College of Yeshiva University, New York City — is an internationally known storyteller, teacher, writer and recording artist. She has authored 13 books of Jewish folktales, including “Jewish Stories One Generation Tells Another.” When asked to describe the power of Ms. Schram’s in-person delivery, Jane Yolen (author of Holocaust novella “The Devil’s Arithmetic”) replied, “When Peninnah Schram tells a story, even the leaves on the trees stop trembling to listen.” Ms. Schram is the recipient of the prestigious Covenant Outstanding Jewish Educator Award (1995) and the National Storytelling Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2003).

Daniela Shacham SarigArtist Daniela Shacham Sarig helps fellow artists and art novices reduce self-criticism, increase self-expression and enhance enjoyment of the creative process by leading workshops that employ an intuitive technique. Ms. Sarig studied this technique with Dr. Pinkie Feinstein, the founder of the Psycho-Creative Institute, Tel Aviv. In addition, Ms. Sarig studied art at the De Anza College in Cupertino, California, and specialized in drawing and painting at the Israel Hirschberg Studio of the Jerusalem Studio School.

Josh and the JamtonesSince 2011, the band Josh & the Jamtones has combined energetic folk, rock and reggae with comedy to involve young children and their parents in the group’s uplifting concerts. Featuring guitarist Josh Shriber and drummer-producer Pat Hanlin, the band offers first-rate musicianship (several band members are graduates of Boston’s Berklee College of Music) and harmonic vocals. Tablet, the online magazine of Jewish news, called the band “an act with a positive message and a lot to say to Jewish families.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, one of 151 independent Federations associated with The Jewish Federations of North America, raises and allocates funds to build community locally, in Israel and around the world. With the vision of a thriving, vibrant and engaged Jewish community, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh aims to carry out its work in the context of cooperation and inclusiveness. For more information, visit www.jfedpgh.org.

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) serves as the main link between the Jewish state and Jewish communities everywhere. This global partnership has enabled JAFI to address Jews’ greatest challenges in every generation. Today, JAFI connects the global Jewish family by providing meaningful Israel engagement and facilitating aliyah. JAFI’s many projects energize young Israelis and their worldwide peers to rediscover a collective sense of Jewish purpose. JAFI also serves as the Jewish world’s first responder, prepared to address emergencies in Israel and to rescue Jews from countries where they are at risk. For more information, visit www.jewishagency.org.

AWARD-WINNING ISRAELI SCHOLAR DANIEL GORDIS TO SPEAK AT FEDERATION’S ANNUAL CAMPAIGN THANK YOU EVENT
4/18/2016

 

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Daniel Gordis, PhDAt 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, at Rodef Shalom Congregation, Daniel Gordis, Ph.D. — senior vice president and Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College, Jerusalem — will speak at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Annual Campaign Thank You event. The event is held in appreciation of donors who have given $1,000 or more to the 2016 Annual Campaign. The evening will feature Dr. Gordis’ remarks as well as the presentation of the PNC Community Builders Award and the Campaigner of the Year Award. 

Stanley M. Marks, M.D, will receive this year’s PNC Community Builders Award. PNC Bank President and CEO Sy Holzer will present the award, which recognizes a Federation leader whose volunteer efforts have resulted in a stronger, more vibrant Greater Pittsburgh community.

Anita Lopatin Smolover will receive the Campaigner of the Year Award. This award recognizes an Annual Campaign volunteer who serves as a role model for others.

“We’re excited that Dr. Gordis will be sharing his views on Israel and the Middle East with our community in Pittsburgh,” said 2016 Annual Campaign Chair Meryl Ainsman. “We are honored to have such a distinguished scholar provide his unique and valuable perspective on the future of the Jewish people.” 

Ainsman’s co-chair, Linda Joshowitz, echoed this view: “Dr. Gordis has so much to teach us, as supporters of Israel and as a dedicated Jewish community.”

Gordis is the author of 11 books and a regular columnist for both The Jerusalem Post and for Bloomberg View. His writing has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The New Republic, Commentary Magazine and Foreign Affairs. He received the National Jewish Book Award for his book “Saving Israel.” Gordis’ next book, “Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn,” will be published in October 2016 by Ecco/HarperCollins. Dr. Gordis received his B.A. magnum cum laude from Columbia College (where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society), a master’s degree and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. 

The King David Society Reception, an invitation-only event organized in appreciation of donors who have donated at least $25,000 to the 2016 Annual Campaign ($3,600 for young adults ages 22–45), will feature cocktails and a light dinner. The program for reception attendees and Annual Campaign Thank You Event attendees will consist of the awards presentations and Dr. Gordis’ remarks. 

The Annual Campaign Thank You Event, for invitees only, is sponsored by the Ira and Nanette Gordon (z”l) Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Dessert will be served following the presentation, and dietary laws will be observed. Couvert is $10 per person.

For more information or to register, contact Emily Richman at erichman@jfedpgh.org or 412.992.5217.

JEWISH COMMUNITY FOUNDATION’S ANNUAL INVESTMENT MEETING WILL SPOTLIGHT FOUNDATION ASSETS AND ECONOMIC PROSPECTS
4/4/2016

 

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The Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh invites current and prospective Foundation fundholders to its third annual investment meeting and breakfast. The event will be Monday, May 9, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, 5738 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15217. A light breakfast will be served at 7:45 a.m. The meeting, 8–9:30 a.m., will feature three expert speakers and show how Foundation assets are invested and managed. 

The event is sponsored by Fiduciary Technology Partners.

Foundation Investment Committee Chair Andrew Stewart notes that “the annual investment meeting is always worthwhile. Not only do attendees with an interest in Foundation assets learn about the Foundation’s current investment process, but novice and experienced investors alike will have an opportunity to gain current market and economic insight from experts in the field.”

The keynote speaker — Stuart G. Hoffman, Ph.D. — will present his perspective of the state of the economy. Dr. Hoffman is senior vice president and chief economist of The PNC Financial Services Group. BusinessWeek, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal have recognized Hoffman for the accuracy of his economic forecasts. He joined PNC in 1980, after six years at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. 

The program will also feature Geoffrey Gerber, Ph.D. Dr. Gerber is the founder of TWIN Capital Management of McMurray, Pa., and a faculty member of the Aresty Institute of Executive Education, a program of the world-famous Wharton business school of the University of Pennsylvania.

Jerry Katz, CFA, Foundation investment consultant, will outline Jewish Community Foundation investments. Katz is partner and senior consultant at BilkeyKatz Investment Consultants of Pittsburgh. In 2002, Katz co-founded BilkeyKatz, a 100% employee-owned, independent firm that specializes in providing conflict-free investment consulting.

The Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh raises and distributes charitable funds that support vital educational, cultural and human service programs. The centerpiece of the Foundation is the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, an endowment that generates funds to build and sustain a vibrant Pittsburgh Jewish community.

The May 9 breakfast and meeting will be a nonsolicitation event, and dietary laws will be observed. To attend the free event, please register by Monday, May 2, by contactingPatti Flister (412-992-5216 or pflister@jfedpgh.org). Ms. Flister can answer questions about the meeting.

VIBRANT PITTSBURGH AND URBAN AFFAIRS FOUNDATION OFFER MINI GRANTS TO STRENGTHEN CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AMONG THE REGION’S DIVERSE COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS
3/18/2016

 

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Vibrant PittsburghPITTSBURGH – Two Western Pennsylvania champions of diversity — Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Urban Affairs Foundation, which is a part of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh — have joined forces to implement this year’s Mini Grants Initiative: 2016 Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund. This fund will promote diverse communities in the Pittsburgh region. Each organization has committed $25,000 to create a $50,000 pool to fund projects that increase the civic engagement of diverse and immigrant communities.

Melanie Harrington, CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh, is thrilled about the foundation’s participation. “We are pleased to team up with the Jewish Federation because they have been providing services for more than a century to Pittsburgh’s immigrant and diverse communities. In addition, this is our fourth cycle of funding grants to community groups, so this partnership allows us to expand our resources and engagement.” 

Cindy Goodman-Leib, chair of the Community Relations Council, explained how the partnership between the Urban Affairs Foundation and Vibrant Pittsburgh resulted: “Several Jewish Federation agencies have been Vibrant Pittsburgh grant recipients. The value of those grant projects underlined our conviction at the Jewish Federation’s Urban Affairs Foundation that healthy diverse communities contribute to the vitality of the region as a whole. We see awarding Mini Grants as a means of building the region in the way the foundation’s mission statement specifies: ‘to foster amicable relationships among ethnic, racial, national, religious and other groups in our community.’ ”

Funding through the Vibrant Pittsburgh–Urban Affairs Foundation’s 2016 Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund initiative will be available to applicants selected through a competitive proposal process. Lead organizations must have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and maintain a physical presence in the Power of 32 Region (see www.powerof32.org). Organizations can partner with other nonprofits, academic institutions, religious organizations, community groups, businesses and employee resource groups.

Projects eligible for Mini Grant funding should:

  • Create opportunities for civic engagement that result in a more inclusive and engaged multicultural region, and
  • Be collaborative by engaging diverse communities, organizations, or partners.

The term of proposed projects should be one year. The typical range of a grant award is $1,000–$7,500.

Grant application materials will be available starting March 21 at www.vibrantpittsburgh.org/resource-category/mini-grants. Completed grant applications are due by 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 4, 2016, and should be sent electronically to minigrants@vibrantpittsburgh.org. Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Urban Affairs Foundation will announce Mini Grant awardees in June 2016.

Past Vibrant Pittsburgh Mini Grants have funded health and human services, housing, education, mentoring, professional networking, social support, welcoming initiatives, and job-connection programs for refugees and immigrants. 

About Vibrant Pittsburgh

Vibrant Pittsburgh is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the growth and economic competitiveness of the Pittsburgh region by engaging the region’s employers; attracting, retaining and elevating a diverse talent pool; and positioning the region nationally and internationally as an inclusive and welcoming place for people of all backgrounds. Vibrant Pittsburgh efforts and this Mini Grants initiative are made possible by Vibrant Pittsburgh Members, including Leading the Way Members: Highmark Health, PNC Financial Services, and UPMC. More information is available at www.vibrantpittsburgh.org

About Urban Affairs Foundation

The purpose of the Urban Affairs Foundation, part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Relations Council, is to promote the involvement of Jewish organizations and individuals in urban concerns. The Community Relations Council engages in public policy activities to promote social and economic justice for all, build amicable relationships among diverse community groups, and enlist support on behalf of Israel.

About the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, one of 151 independent Federations associated with The Jewish Federations of North America, raises and allocates funds to build community locally, in Israel and around the world. With the vision of a thriving, vibrant and engaged Jewish community, the Federation aims to carry out its work in the context of cooperation and inclusiveness. For more information about the Federation, visit www.jfedpgh.org.

International Panel Will Present Second Annual Education Day — “ISRAELI ARABS AND JEWS: A SHARED SOCIETY”
3/2/2016

 

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Sunday, April 3, 2–4:30 p.m., the four panelists who will present “Israeli Arabs and Jews: A Shared Society,” will suggest constructive approaches to help all members of Israeli society progress together. The program, Pittsburgh’s second annual education day devoted to Israeli Arab issues, will be at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh 15213. The presentation will be free and open to the public.

Panelists will include American and Israeli leaders with collective experience in education, government and the nonprofit sector: Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu; Dalia Fadila, PhD; Michal Steinman and Pittsburgh native Bill Strickland, PhD.

“The goal of this education day is to promote a better understanding of relations between Arabs and Jews in Israel as well as the efforts being made to address inequalities in Israeli society,” said Barbara Burstin, co-chair of the Second Annual Israeli Arab Education Day. “We intend to have an informed discussion in a safe space that is free of finger-pointing and incendiary rhetoric.”

“Given the tensions in Israeli society today,” commented Estelle Comay, event co-chair, “what a special opportunity this program is — to bring these four leaders together to discuss the value of a shared society in Israel. Each of the four panelists brings a unique perspective and we are looking forward to having them share their expertise with the Greater Pittsburgh community.”

Amnon Be'eri-SulitzeanuAmnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu is co-executive director of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, an Israel-based nonprofit that promotes coexistence and equality among Israel’s Jewish and Arab Palestinian citizens. Before joining the Abraham Fund Initiatives, Mr. Be’eri-Sulitzeanu directed marketing and communications for the Jerusalem Foundation, which over 50 years has undertaken more than 4,000 initiatives to improve life for all Jerusalem’s residents, regardless of background. Mr. Be’eri-Sulitzeanu has also served as an adviser to and spokesman for Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.

Dalia Fadila, PhD, was the first female dean of an Islamic college in Israel. She is the current president of Al-Qasemi Engineering and Science College and past provost of Al-Qasemi Teacher Training College. Both colleges are near Haifa, Israel. A theme throughout her career has been promoting quality education for underprivileged students in general and Israeli Arab students in particular.

Dr. Fadila is the founder of Q Schools, private schools for teaching English and personal empowerment. Q Schools offer special outreach to women as future educators, entrepreneurs and leaders. She is a fellow at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel and participates in other national and international forums dealing with education and Israel’s Arab minority. 

Michal SteinmanMichal Steinman is executive director, Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues (IATF), New York City. The task force is a coalition of American Jewish organizations dedicated to learning about and raising awareness of Israel’s Arab citizens.

Ms. Steinman joined the IATF after directing the Bedouin Sheep Growers Project, which involved working with senior government officials to create incentives for Bedouin farmers to organize. As a member of Israel’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Ms. Steinman represented Israel in negotiations on General Assembly resolutions. In 2004, as a parliamentary director and legislative adviser, she helped to establish the Israeli Center for Human Dignity.

William StricklandWilliam “Bill” Strickland, PhD, is president & CEO, Manchester Bidwell Corporation. While attending college, in 1968, Dr. Strickland founded Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) to bring arts education and mentorship to inner-city youth in his neighborhood, Pittsburgh’s North Side. He later established Bidwell Training Center, which offers nationally accredited programs ranging from horticulture to medical technology; MCG Jazz, a venue for music performance and teaching; and the Drew Mathieson Center for Horticultural and Agricultural Technology.

Dr. Strickland applied a vision of mentorship, education, and beauty to create educational environments similar to MCG outside Pittsburgh, through the National Center for Arts & Technology. Currently, center-affiliated programs operate in eight cities.

Among the many prestigious awards that Dr. Strickland has received are the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Arts Leadership and Service Award and the Goi Peace Award, in recognition of contributions to the advancement of world peace. In 2010, he was appointed to President Obama’s White House Council for Community Solutions.

Sponsors of “Israeli Arabs and Jews: A Shared Society” are the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues.

“Israel Arabs and Jews: A Shared Society” will be a panel discussion with opportunities for audience engagement and questions. Attendees are encouraged to continue civil discourse during a dessert reception that will follow the program. (Dietary laws observed.) Registration is requested; visit the online registration form at www.jfedpgh.org/iaedday. For more information about the Sunday, April 3, program or to submit questions to panelists in advance, contact Eric Probola at 412.992.5247 or eprobola@jfedpgh.org.

THREE EXPERT PANELISTS TO LEAD “JEWISH PITTSBURGH AND THE REFUGEE CRISIS: A COMMUNITY CONVERSATION”
2/3/2016

 

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Pittsburghers will have an opportunity to hear experts’ insight on international and local refugee issues by attending “Jewish Pittsburgh and the Refugee Crisis: A Community Conversation,” 7–9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25. The program — to be held at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, 5738 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill — will examine whether we can be welcoming to refugees and still maintain a safe community. Three panelists — Aryeh Sherman, Mark Hetfield and Michael Kenney, PhD — a group with expertise in refugee resettlement and terrorism, will contribute informed views and invite attendees’ questions.

Four organizations will co-sponsor the program: the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh.

“As American Jews, it is important to engage the community in a conversation about refugees,” said Cindy Goodman-Leib, chair of the Federation’s Community Relations Council (CRC). “Welcoming the stranger is an integral part of our tradition. More than 30 times throughout the Torah, we read about the importance of being welcoming. Additionally, many Jewish families have come to the United States as refugees, fleeing persecution and violence. At the same time, we must be mindful of our community’s safety and security. This program will help to inform us as we respond to today’s refugee crisis.”

“In speaking to our constituents in the community, we’ve come to realize that many people have limited information about the refugee crisis,” says CRC Director Josh Sayles. “An educated community is an empowered community. We are taking it upon ourselves to inform Pittsburghers about the difference between refugees and immigrants, the process of vetting refugees, and the potential challenges and dangers, if any, of welcoming them into our community. We feel the best way to accomplish this goal is in the form of a community conversation.”

The extensive knowledge of the three panelists at the Feb. 25 program will help program attendees understand the logistics and challenges of the refugee crisis.

Aryeh ShermanSince 1999, Aryeh Sherman has served as president and CEO of Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh (JF&CS), a nonprofit agency. Among other services, JF&CS provides resettlement and naturalization assistance for the foreign-born. Earlier in his career, Mr. Sherman served as a field representative in the Western Galilee of Israel for Save the Children Federation. He worked in Philadelphia as a division director, Jewish Employment and Vocational Service, and he served as executive director of Family Service of Philadelphia.

Mark HetfieldMark Hetfield is president and CEO of HIAS, a global agency that helps refugees of all faiths and ethnicities. HIAS, which before 2012 was known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, partners with the United Nations Refugee Agency and the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Hetfield’s 25-year career began at HIAS in Rome and has included posts with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington, D.C., and Haiti. He is the senior advisor on refugee issues at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In November 2015, Mr. Hetfield testified on the resettlement of Syrian refugees before the House Immigration Subcommittee.

Michael Kenney, PhDMichael Kenney, PhD, assumed his post as associate professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. Dr. Kenney is also a fellow at Penn State’s International Center for the Study of Terrorism, a position he has held since 2008. A Homeland Security Post-doctoral Scholar at Stanford University in 2004, Dr. Kenney has written widely on the topics of terrorism, homeland security and drug-control policy. He has received research grants from, among others, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.

“Jewish Pittsburgh and the Refugee Crisis: A Community Conversation” — to be held in Levinson Hall at the JCC, Squirrel Hill — will be free and open to the public. Registration, available online at www.jfedpgh.org/refugee, is requested but not required. To submit questions to the panelists before the program, contact Eric Probola, 412.992.5247 or eprobola@jfedpgh.org. Mr. Probola can also provide by-phone registration and program details.

FEDERATION WILL WELCOME RABBI AMY BARDACK AS JEWISH EDUCATION AND CAPACITY-BUILDING DIRECTOR
1/7/2016

 

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Rabbi Amy BardackThe Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has engaged Rabbi Amy Bardack to serve in a new position, as director of Jewish education and community capacity building. Rabbi Bardack, currently the Judaic studies director, Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, will begin her duties in Pittsburgh on July 1, 2016.

“This is truly a dream opportunity for me,” said Rabbi Bardack, “to have an impact on Jewish learning, from childhood through elder years, in a community committed to growth and continuous improvement. I am so impressed with the strength of Jewish life in Greater Pittsburgh, and I am excited to work with Pittsburgh’s many educational partners in thinking about how to move Jewish education to the next level of excellence.”

In her new position, Rabbi Bardack will work to ensure high-quality Jewish programs in the community, boost engagement of Jews of all ages and backgrounds and strengthen Jewish identity and leadership. Among the groups with which she will collaborate are the Jewish Life and Learning Commission, the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future Grant-Making Committee and the Day School Council.

Rabbi Bardack will bring to Pittsburgh more than 15 years of experience in day school settings. In that context she pioneered a new approach to Hebrew instruction, published two children’s prayer books and spearheaded several strategic planning and visioning processes. She has experience as a congregational rabbi, is the current president of the New England Rabbinical Assembly and was a fellow with Rabbis Without Borders. 

Rabbi Bardack holds a BA in religion from Columbia University and a master’s degree in Hebrew letters from American Jewish University. She received her rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City.

In describing Rabbi Bardack’s background, Deborah Baron — chief operating officer, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh — said, “Amy brings a wealth of experience in innovating new programs, strategic planning and visioning. She has the ability to understand the needs of unique institutions while seeing the larger community picture. At the Federation, we are excited to welcome Amy and her family to Pittsburgh.”

Rabbi Bardack will move to Pittsburgh with her husband — Jared Magnani, MD — and children Ilan (age 14) and Orelle (age 12). Dr. Magnani, who is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular medicine, will work as a physician and researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

Rabbi Bardack’s position at the Federation arises from the Federation’s adoption, in 2015, of the lifespan education programs of the Agency for Jewish Learning (AJL). The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh now operates what were AJL’s teen programs.

The first public event at which Pittsburgh’s Jewish community will be able to meet Rabbi Bardack will be at the Unsung Jewish Heroes Awards, Sunday, May 22, 5–6 p.m., Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill. Information about this event is available by emailing cmaier@jfedpgh.org or calling 412-992-5249.

COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL’S EILEEN FREEDMAN NAMED RECIPIENT OF IRA AND NANETTE GORDON COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
1/7/2016

 

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh named Eileen Freedman, music director at the Community Day School (CDS), the recipient of the 2016 Ira and Nanette Gordon Community Professional Achievement Award.

The award, established in 2000, may be given annually to a professional, early in his or her career, who has demonstrated outstanding service to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, its nine beneficiary agencies and the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and overseas. The award recipient must, as a recognized role model, inspire service on behalf of the Jewish community.

In announcing the award, Community Day School Head of School Avi Baran Munro noted, “It is rare when an entire school feels the impact of a single teacher, but Eileen Freedman’s impact cannot be understated. Eileen has done no less than revolutionize the educational experience at Community Day School by creating a hands-on, integrated global music program, in a Jewish context, that inspires our students to love learning music, and she has organized events that unite and galvanize our entire community.”

Reacting to the announcement, Mrs. Freedman said, “I am both thrilled and honored to be receiving this level of recognition in our community. To know that my work in music education is valued so highly in the school and Jewish community gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment and pride, and receiving this award as a music educator speaks volumes about the importance of the arts in the lives of our students.”

At CDS, Mrs. Freedman teaches general music, and she organizes and leads music events at the school — events such as the regular every-other-Friday Kabbalat Shabbat, the biannual Zimriah and the Drum Olam ensemble she created. She has also organized many Jewish music events within CDS and outside the school, including a recent visit by Rachman Nachman, a 28-year-old hip-hop–inspired Ugandan Jewish cantor. The award recognizes her exceptional ability and commitment to providing an excellent music education to the students at CDS and to the broader Jewish community.

Mrs. Freedman began her career at Community Day School in 2005. Previously, she worked as a music specialist at the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh’s James and Rachel Levinson Day Camp. She was a Kindermusik educator and served as a cantorial soloist at Tree of Life Congregation. She taught Sunday-school music at Congregation Beth Shalom for 10 years. She has participated in numerous workshops and certification courses, including World Music Drumming, Dalcroze, and Orff Schulwerk. She is a certified Orff teacher through the University of the Arts at Villanova University. She incorporates many aspects of this creative music and movement approach into her teaching. 

The Federation seeks nominees for the Ira and Nanette Gordon Community Professional Achievement Award each spring. Chief professionals and presidents of the Federation and its beneficiary agencies select the award recipient. The winner receives a cash prize of at least $1,000. Ms. Freedman will be recognized for her achievement at a program for community professionals Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, 4–5 p.m., at Rodef Shalom Congregation.


Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

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