2017 Annual Report


Jeffrey H. Finkelstein Cynthia Shapira“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”

Rabbi Hillel’s powerful aphorism from Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, aptly addresses how we approach our personal commitments. But it is perhaps even more fitting when we speak of our community.

We all benefit from the work we do to strengthen ourselves and, together, our community. We strive to address the needs of our own community by caring for the most vulnerable among us and supporting meaningful connection to Judaism, the Jewish people, and our Jewish homeland. We also look beyond our immediate environs—to Israel and to Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union, Europe and elsewhere, reaffirming our commitment to Jewish continuity for the long term.

Rabbi Hillel’s profound question“If not now, when?” urges us not to be complacent and suggests that we understand the need to plan for the future.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh seeks to live by Hillel’s words. In the past year, we have continued our commitments to the community while finding new opportunities to strengthen Jewish identity and to enhance Jewish life at home and around the world. We meet these commitments through such programs as AgeWell Pittsburgh, providing a continuum of care for some 8,000 seniors, and Rosh Pina, creating a truly inclusive community for individuals with special needs. In addition, the Federation’s Annual Campaign and Jewish Community Foundation enhanced young adult engagement with programs such as SteelTree, which empowers young adults to fund relevant young adult programming.

At the same time, we are planning for the future, harnessing the wisdom of our leadership and the generosity of our donors to continue building a culture of excellence in all we do.

Through a newly-initiated Jewish Community Study, our first since 2002, we are identifying areas of strength and weakness, helping to understand what we need to do to ensure this strong and vibrant community of excellence. We are seeking your input through this study. At the same time, we are measuring impact through a variety of tools, such as the Jewish Community Scorecard and a rubric to understand the effect of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative.

With an eye toward the future, we are engaged in thought processes to better understand and address the needs of young adults and young Jewish families on the one hand, and seniors on the other. These efforts involve long-term planning in partnership with Jewish organizations and community members. They include bringing to Pittsburgh new programs—not all of them will flourish, but we hope that most will succeed, and all of which will help us to learn what works well in Pittsburgh.

One such innovation, Honeymoon Israel, will help intermarried couples and couples less connected to their Judaism to discuss their Jewish futures as couples on a trip to Israel. Another Federation investment, OneTable, will help young people create Shabbat experiences in their own way, expanding places and times to explore Jewish experiences for the “do it yourself” generation. All this innovation is happening as we continue to grow our Birthright Israel and Onward Israel programs, sending many of our college-age young people on immersive and meaningful Israel experiences.

Collectively we are exploring solutions to complex problems so that we can deliver excellence in Jewish Pittsburgh and beyond. We are charting new paths internally, building systemic supports to provide quality opportunities to all and to provide quality service to you. We are evaluating the ways we do everything from fundraising to allocating the money that you, as donors, entrust to us. Just as Rabbi Hillel advised us, we are tending to the needs of our Pittsburgh Jewish community and others in Jewish communities around the world. We are doing it now – even as we strategize for how best to do it for years to come. 

Please join us, and help us. Volunteer. Get involved. Donate. Tell us what you’re thinking. If not now, when? 



          Cynthia D. Shapira                                                      Jeffrey H. Finkelstein
          Chair of the Board                                                       President & CEO  


The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is the central fundraising and planning organization for the Pittsburgh Jewish community. The Federation engages in a wide range of financial resource development efforts to ensure a stream of funding that will help the community remain strong and vibrant. 


Federation programming offered through the Young Adult Division, Women’s Philanthropy and Men’s Philanthropy enables donors to take part in a wide range of meaningful learning, leadership development and volunteer activities. Such engagement leads to community commitment to the Annual Campaign — commitment from donors in their philanthropy and in their hearts.


The Jewish Community Foundation enables donors to fulfill their philanthropic dreams and leave a legacy that will impact our community in the decades to come. Resources made possible by endowments, trusts, bequests and donor funds help address pressing needs, enrich our culture and strengthen our community now and into the future.

Donors to the Jewish Community Foundation work with Foundation professionals to choose a vehicle suited to donors’ circumstances. Such a vehicle could be an annuity that provides payments during the donor’s lifetime; a life insurance policy; a permanent endowment; or a donor-advised fund, which serves as a low-cost philanthropic fund with tax advantages.

The Foundation’s Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future (CFJF) provides immediate and ongoing financial resources for Jewish learning and engagement. CFJF funds formal and informal education, Israel travel for youth, Jewish summer camp, and other activities that connect youth to our rich heritage. By removing cost barriers to high-quality programming, CFJF makes Jewish experiences widely accessible.


Many corporations and businesses provide essential event sponsorship that enables the Jewish Federation to provide high-quality events and to focus dollars raised on addressing community needs. In addition, the Federation raises funds through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, the Educational Improvement Pre-Kindergarten program and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program. Participation in these programs results in needs-based scholarships that allow children to attend Jewish day schools and pre-kindergarten programs in Pittsburgh and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.


Jewish Federation professionals work closely with major donors who wish to give above and beyond their increased Annual Campaign commitments to make an impact in areas they feel especially passionate about.


The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the largest Jewish grant-making organization in Pittsburgh, helps people in Western Pennsylvania, in Israel and around the world. The Federation works with direct-service agencies to address current Jewish needs and to plan for the future. 

The Federation engages a broad cross-section of community members in the the allocations and grant-making process, bringing a wealth of viewpoints and expertise to ensure that the programs and institutions that enrich Jewish community remain strong and vibrant.

Funding and planning efforts focus on three areas of need:

  • Aging and Human Needs. Federation supports innovative programs and services for seniors, individuals with disabilities, families in crisis and others who are vulnerable. That support means, for example, that more seniors will be able to age safely in their homes, thanks to AgeWell Pittsburgh’s evidence-based initiatives, which are designed to increase seniors’ strength, mobility, recall and prescription management.
  • Jewish Learning and Community Life. Federation dollars support all kinds of Jewish learning and engagement — from formal education in congregational and day schools, to experiential learning at overnight Jewish summer camp, to new adult learning initiatives. This year, K-12 teachers took online professional development courses to improve their skills and knowledge, teens organized and participated in the first community-wide Teen Tikkun Leil Shavuot, parents discussed the challenges of parenting through the perspective of Jewish values, adults learned texts in a new community beit midrash, and Jews of all ages and backgrounds participated in a community Purim shpiel, all with the support of the new department of Jewish Life and Learning.
  • Israel and Overseas. Our Israel and Overseas work includes providing food and health care to vulnerable Jews in the former Soviet Union, providing aid to Jewish families in conflict areas such as Ukraine, strengthening the global Jewish community and strengthening Jewish identities by involving our youth in educational trips to Israel. Our extensive support for Israel includes programs for adults and children with special needs, for the Ethiopian community, for at-risk youth, as well as programs promoting Jewish and Zionist education and shared society between Israeli Jews and Arabs. In addition, our support for Israel includes promoting economic development in our Partnership2Gether region Karmiel/Misgav and extensive peoplehood programs in an effort to connect Israelis with Jews in Pittsburgh.



As a convener of Jewish agencies and other organizations that share in mission, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh forms synergistic partnerships to address communal needs. 

For example, each of three beneficiary agencies of the Federation — Jewish Association on Aging (JAA), Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC) and Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS)— offers distinct services to Pittsburgh’s aging individuals and their families. With Federation support the three agencies work under the umbrella of AgeWell Pittsburgh. The result is coordinated case management that enables many elderly people to remain safe and healthy in their own homes. Each $100 spent on AgeWell Pittsburgh services saves $1,500 per senior, if these services allow the senior to avoid an emergency room visit. This $100 spending per senior saves $9,800 when AgeWell Pittsburgh helps the senior avoid hospital admission and $77,000 when the senior can stay at home for a year rather than spending the time in a nursing facility.

Another community-building endeavor, The Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard, enables local service providers to assess and address needs jointly. The Scorecard, a metrics-driven initiative, collects data and facilitates review of community performance. The goals of such review are using resources efficiently and identifying actions that will help Jewish Pittsburgh grow.

In addition, Federation programs, initiatives and affiliates offer community-building programs and services. These include:

  • Classrooms Without Borders (CWB) offers Jewish learning through travel and special events. CWB focuses on “educating the educators” about Israel, the Holocaust and Jewish history. CWB also sponsors speakers and cultural events for the community and the public.
  • The Community Relations Council (CRC) educates and advocates for change locally, nationally and internationally. Programs have included missions to Washington, D.C.; Israel advocacy training; an economic summit of Israeli and Pittsburgh political and business leaders; and interfaith dialogues. CRC’s Delegates Assembly convenes representatives from local Jewish organizations to reach consensus on issues significant to the Jewish community. CRC’s Urban Affairs Foundation supports initiatives that strengthen the community and region.
  • The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh provides programs to commemorate and memorialize the Holocaust and its victims and to teach the tragic lessons of the Holocaust. The staff of the Holocaust Center works with educators to create age-appropriate curricula and innovative ways of teaching tolerance.
  • The Jewish Federation Volunteer Center matches volunteers with community agencies and the organizations that need them. On Mitzvah Day, an annual event that the Volunteer Center plans, more than 1,200 volunteers serve over 115 sites in the Pittsburgh region. Ongoing Volunteer Center options include VOOM! (Volunteer Opportunity of the Month), which enables volunteers to try a volunteer task without making a long-term commitment; volunteer missions to Israel; and projects designed for small groups.
  • Partnership2Gether celebrates the Pittsburgh Jewish community’s sister-city relationship with Karmiel and the Misgav region of Israel while building enduring relationships. Partnership2Gether engages youth by bringing Israeli teens to Pittsburgh and sending counselors in training, from the JCC’s Emma Kaufmann Camp, to Israel. Partnershp2Gether supports regional development that helps build and strengthen Karmiel and Misgav.
  • South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh increases opportunities for Jews in Pittsburgh’s southern suburbs to engage in Jewish activities. The initiative works in partnership with South Hills synagogues and the JCC.



Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh engages a broad cross-section of community members in raising funds, convening stakeholders to determine the areas of greatest need and distributing these funds efficiently. By bringing a wealth of viewpoints and expertise to these efforts, we work to ensure that the programs and institutions that enrich our Jewish community remain strong and vibrant. The Federation is the largest Jewish grant-making organization in our community, helping people at home, in Israel and around the world. The Annual Campaign and the initiatives of the Jewish Community Foundation say that we — as a community — address critical needs today and position ourselves to meet changing needs in the future. 



  • AgeWell Pittsburgh ‡
  • The Aleph Institute
  • Friendship Circle
  • Jewish Assistance Fund
  • Jewish Association on Aging*
    • Anathan Club
    • Home Health Services & Outpatient Rehabilitation 
    • Mollies Meals (kosher meals on wheels)
    • Charles Morris Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
    • Sivitz Jewish Hospice & Palliative Care
    • Weinberg Terrace
    • Weinberg Village
  • Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS)*
    • Career Development Center of JF&CS
    • Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service, a program of the Jewish Federation
    • SOS Pittsburgh
    • Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry
  • Jewish Residential Services*
    • Howard Levin Clubhouse
  • Riverview Towers*
  • Squirrel Hill Health Center



  • The Edward & Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center*
    • J’Burgh
  • Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Cemetery & Burial Association
  • Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh*
    • Diller Teen Fellows
    • HaZamir Choir
    • J-Serve
    • Emma Kaufmann Camp 
    • James & Rachel Levinson Day Camp
    • Teen Engagement Initiative
    • Teen Philanthropy
    • Youth Group Program Grants
  • Jewish Federation Volunteer Center
  • ReelAbilities Film Festival
  • PJ Library



  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
  • Birthright Israel
  • Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Jewish Federation Israel Scholarship Program
  • Onward Israel
  • Partnership2Gether



  • Jewish Federation Department of Jewish Life and Learning
  • Federation Educational Enrichment Fund (supporting 17 congregational schools)
  • Community Day School*
  • Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh*
  • Yeshiva Schools*
  • Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh*
  • Department of Teen Learning and Engagement
  • Kollel Jewish Learning Center
  • Friendship Circle
  • PJ Library
  • JECEI Early Childhood Initiative
  • Israel Education

*Beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

‡AgeWell Pittsburgh is a joint program of three Federation beneficiary agencies: Jewish Association on Aging, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and Jewish Family & Children’s Service.




The 2017 Annual Campaign raised a record $13.7 million, thanks to more than 3,800 generous donors—including more than 650 new donors.

The Giant Eagle Foundation’s dollar-for-dollar matching grant of $170,000 inspired donors and provided a tremendous boost to the Campaign. Generous support from other corporate sponsors provided additional momentum.

2016-17 Community Campaign Allocations

Community Impact


The $13.7 million that the Annual Campaign brings in from private philanthropy enables the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to raise additional money through corporations, foundations and government sources. The foundation support includes a generous $900,000 grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation that goes to Jewish healthcare and human services agencies. Combined giving from the Annual Campaign and these other organizations plus supplemental giving from some of the Jewish Federation’s largest donors resulted in total giving of $20.6 million in 2016-17

2017 Total Financial Resource Development


2017 Community Impact


Stand Up for Giving
Stand Up for Giving, Make Pittsburgh Laugh Again chairs, David and Rebecca Knoll pose with comedian Noah Gardenswartz.Photo by Joshua Franzos

Several exciting new engagement programs were implemented under the support of the Annual Campaign:

  • 1. Stand Up for Giving: Make Pittsburgh Laugh Again – The YAD signature Annual Campaign event took a different angle this year featuring Last Comic Standing semi-finalist, Noah Gardenswartz. Gardenswartz entertained the crowd of 150 people with a mix of classic Jewish humor and modern observational comedy at the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty.
  • 2. Conversations that Count – The series was designed to create dialogue between experts in a given field, Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff and our community to examine important issues of today.
  • 3. Ladies Who Lunch – Ladies Who Lunch (LWL) is a new program created in partnership with Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Jewish Women’s Foundation, with the idea of creating fun and unique lunchtime programming for Jewish women in Pittsburgh. The Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy will hold three programs a year and will focus on a variety of topics. The first program kicked off with over 30 women in attendance.

Conversations That Count
Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff led the first Men’s Philanthropy session of Conversations that Count. The discussion “Balancing Jewish Faith and Political Life” featured a panel that included Rep. Dan Frankel, Councilman Dan Gilman and Councilmember Corey O'Connor.



The Women’s Division had many notable accomplishments this year. In the fall, 75 women attended the 2017 Hannah Kamin Annual Lion of Judah Event with Dr. Sima Goel. 

2017 Women's Philanthropy Spring Event
Past Presidents and Campaign Chairs, New Lions of Judah, New Ruby Lions, and New Sapphire Lions came together for a special reception before the 2017 Women’s Philanthropy Spring Event.


  • The Lion of Judah Lunch and Learn Series this year, featuring Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff presenting a series about Israel today, attracted amazing participation. In addition, the Lion of Judah program expanded, including many notable achievements:
  • Over 23 Pittsburgh Lions of Judah joined over 1,000 Lions of Judah from all over the world at the 2016 International Lion of Judah Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Women’s Philanthropy fundraising resulted in 11 new Lions of Judah (women making a commitment of $5,0000 or more in their own names), 3 new Ruby Lions of Judah (women making a commitment of $10,000 or more in their own names), and 3 new Sapphire Lions of Judah (women making a commitment of $18,000 or more in their own names).
  • In addition, 5 women became new participants in the Lion of Judah Endowment (LOJE) program, creating permanent endowment funds that will continue supporting their Lion of Judah-level gifts in perpetuity. These endowments will support the Jewish Community Foundation’s Legacy Fund campaign to encourage all donors to endow their gifts.
  • The Women’s Division hosted four great sessions of E3: Empowered, Educated, Engaged Jewish Women. Many new women attended these events, and this program continues to grow;
  • In its second year, Bridges: Jewish Women’s Professional Networking continued to thrive with two successful happy hours and three amazing lunch-time sessions geared toward Jewish professional women;
  • In the Spring, 120 women attended the 2017 Spring Event with Daniel Sahalo from Megemeria.


This year, a number of men increased their giving to join the Shofar Society level. (The Shofar Society is a giving society in which each member is a man who contributes at least $5,000 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Annual Campaign.) And in 2016-2017, several men in the Men's Philanthropy Division ($1,000+) increased their giving from the previous year.

2017 Men's Night Out
Several generations of men came together to celebrate a night of philanthropy for the third annual Men’s Night Out featuring Super Bowl Quarterback, Joe Theismann.Photo by Goldstein Photography

Men’s Night Out.
 This past year, Men’s Philanthropy sponsored the third annual Men’s Night Out event. The featured speaker — Super Bowl winning Quarterback, Joe Theismann — drew more than 200 attendees to celebrate philanthropy in our community.

This year, the Men’s Philanthropy Division launched its new Conversations That Count program series. The series was designed to create dialogue between experts in a given field, our Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff, and our community to examine important issues of today. This year attendees met with local elected officials Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Frankel, City of Pittsburgh Councilmember Dan Gilman, and City of Pittsburgh Councilmember Corey O’Conner to examine the intersection of faith and politics. At a second event, attendees met talked with Dr. Kip Currier about the Jewish and modern ethical issues surrounding privacy in a digital age. The two Conversation programs exceeded expectations, with over 50 men coming together to learn and build community


In 2016-2017, the Young Adult Division (YAD) and its outreach and engagement arm, Shalom Pittsburgh, provided 28 successful events. Many reflected new innovative approaches and community young adult partnerships. A total of 538 unique individuals attended Shalom Pittsburgh activities. Total attendance at YAD and Shalom Pittsburgh events, including people who attended multiple events, reached 2,128.

The YAD signature Annual Campaign event got a makeover and reemerged as, Stand Up For Giving: Make Pittsburgh Laugh Again featuring Last Comic Standing semi-finalist, Noah Gardenswartz. Gardenswartz entertained the crowd of 150 people with a mix of classic Jewish humor and modern observational comedy at the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty. 

Shalom Pittsburgh offered a wide range of programs, including Shabbat Dinners, Wine and Wisdom, and other social events. Back by popular demand in 2016-2017 was the Apples and Honey Fall Festival at Anderson Playground in Schenley Park which drew nearly 1,000 participants to Rosh Hashanah-themed family activities. The Vodka Latke Party was a blast from the past was a 90’s themed blowout, 300 young adults attended the annual Hanukkah event

2017 Vodka Latke
Sam Kline, Dani Rovenger and Andrew Darling took a break from the dance floor to pose for a photo at Shalom Pittsburgh’s 90’s themed Vodka Latke party.Photo by Joshua Franzos

Other notable Shalom Pittsburgh events include the annual Bread Bash in partnership with J’Burgh, a post-Passover event including free pizza and beer; and for young families, The Great Afikomen Hunt Featuring Pasta Before Passover in collaboration with PJ Library, a program administered locally by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. Shalom Pittsburgh hosted several other events throughout the year with other community partners including J’Burgh, Moishe House, Repair the World, PJ Library and synagogues just to name a few.

Leadership and Philanthropy: The Ben-Gurion Society (BGS) is a giving society for young adults who give $1,000 or more to the Annual Campaign. In 2016-2017, society membership grew by 13 members. The end of the year kicked off a series of dinners hosted by adult major donors and community leaders that will continue into the 2017-2018 campaign year.

The SteelTree Fund allows members to make a collective impact on Pittsburgh’s Jewish community by determining how to allocate grant funding for proposal-based projects. Participants make a $500 commitment or increase to the Annual Campaign, and those dollars are matched by grants from the Jewish Community Foundation and from a private donor. The donors decide to which projects the matching grants will go. In 2017, the SteelTree Fund distributed $40,400 to support innovative projects. SteelTree gained 9 new members this year, bringing $26,132 in new dollars to the Annual Campaign over the 3 years since its inception. 

Shalom Pittsburgh and YAD continued to develop young leaders through the Wechsler Leadership Development Institute and participation in the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet (NYLC). This year 17 fellows graduated from the Wechsler Leadership Development Institute, and 1 new member was admitted to the prestigious National Young Leadership Cabinet group of young adults from Pittsburgh.


The Donor Center is an internal initiative to help ensure that every interaction a donor has with the Federation creates positive feelings about giving. This effort starts with fine-tuning internal processes and ensuring that our staff team is working in the most efficient ways possible.

Over the past year, the Donor Center has continued to utilize its database in order to create efficiencies and to keep donor information current and accurate. The department has also spearheaded the effort for interdepartmental collaboration between Development, Finance and Marketing. 


In Late November 2016, Israel faced horrific fires affecting thousands of lives and leaving hundreds of families homeless. Along with many other organizations such as the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s international partner the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish Federation launched a fundraising effort to aid those in distress. The Pittsburgh community raised over $25,000 that will go directly to families in Israel recovering from the destruction the fires left behind.


2017 recipient: CHUCK PERLOW
The Spector Award is the highest honor presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The award is given for exemplary service to the community in a single year or over the course of many years.

2017 recipient: JAN LEVINSON
This award recognizes the special efforts of a volunteer leader who has dedicated significant service to the community and has fostered partnerships among the Federation and its agencies.

2017 recipient: MATTHEW BOLTON
To encourage talented new professionals in communal work to continue in this field, the Gordon Award recognizes a professional who, in the early years of his or her career, demonstrates outstanding service to the Jewish Federation, its beneficiary agencies and the Jewish community.

The Rudolph Award recognizes the exceptional personal and professional 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.

2017 recipient: JOEL SMALLEY
The Campaigner of the Year Award recognizes the efforts of a volunteer or volunteers who work on behalf of the Annual Campaign and whose leadership serves as a role model for others.

2017 recipient: KRISTEN M. KELLER
The Stark Award recognizes the achievements of an outstanding young leader who serves as a role model and exemplifies the ideals essential for the next generation of Jewish community leadership.

2017 recipient: RUDOLPH FAMILY
The PNC Community Builders Award recognizes a Jewish Federation leader or leaders whose volunteer efforts have resulted in a stronger and more vibrant Greater Pittsburgh community.

2017 recipient: CAROL TABAS
Created in 1996, the Shore-Whitehill Award celebrates volunteers who promote, through advocacy or direct service to individuals or families, the inclusion of people with disabilities in the fabric of Jewish life.


The Jewish Federation stands by a mission to strengthen Jewish Pittsburgh and the entire Pittsburgh community. Many corporations and businesses support our mission and generously gave $116,300 to support Federation programming this year.

Corporate sponsorship. Thanks to corporate sponsorship for events, the Federation can provide meaningful, substantive programming. Each dollar that corporate sponsors provide is a Campaign dollar that the Federation can use to support the community.

Corporate giving through state programs. Three state programs help the Federation fund its Jewish scholarships:

  • Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program
  • Educational Improvement Pre-Kindergarten program
  • Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program

In 2016–17, businesses that participated in these programs provided more than $3.9 million, resulting in 677 scholarships to children attending Jewish day schools and pre-kindergarten programs.




Ainsman Levine, LLC
Big Burrito Restaurant Group
BilkeyKatz Investment Consultants, Inc.
Burstin, Frantz & Hicks
Citizens Bank
Judy Danenberg–Two Sisters Catering
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
EQT Corporation
Representative Dan B. Frankel
General Wire Spring Co.
Highmark Inc.
Huntington Bank
James Joshowitz
Kamin Realty Co.
Key Bank
Littles Shoes
Marcus & Shapira LLP
McKnight Realty Partners
Charles M. Morris Charitable Trust
NDC Real Estate Management, Inc.
Louis Plung & Company
Prime Communications
Schorin Company, Inc.
Soffer Family
S&T Bank
Robbin Steif
TWIN Capital Management, Inc.
UPMC Health Plan
Wagner Agency, Inc./Jacobson Associates, Inc.
Woodland Management


Advanced Computer & Network Corp.
AMS Real Estate Ventures, LLC
Apex Diamonds
Apter Industries
Atlas Materials Recycling Corporation
Broudy Printing
Concast Metal Products Company
    (A Cubed Corporation)
Cowden Associates, Inc.
Ditto, Ken & Steve Shriber
Dollar Bank
FCC Asset Management
First Commonwealth Bank
Glimcher Group Incorporated
Guttman Group
Home Instead Senior Care, Inc.
Huntington Bank
Impel Strategies, LLC
JKM Trading Company
Littles Shoes
Marvista Real Estate Holdings LLC
McKnight Development Corporation
McKnight Realty Partners
Merlin Fiorano, LLC
MSA–The Mine Safety Company
Nartak Media Group
The Pfeffer Family
Pittsburgh Jewish Scholarship I, LLC
Karen & Tony Ross
Signature Financial Planning
S&T Bank
Robbin Steif
Town Development
Trumbull Corporation
UHS of Pennsylvania
UPMC Health Plan



In 2016–17, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s community-building efforts included planning, programming and service expansion.


AgeWell Pittsburgh is a joint program of three Federation beneficiary agencies: the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA), the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh, and Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JF&CS). By combining the expertise and connections of the three agencies, AgeWell Pittsburgh helps older adults and their caregivers maintain a healthy, independent life. The AgeWell Pittsburgh collaboration serves more than 8,000 seniors and 2,000 family caregivers in Allegheny County.

This year, the AgeWell Pittsburgh collaboration was nationally recognized by the Lodestar Foundation as the grand prize winner of the Collaboration Prize.

AgeWell Lodestar Award
President of the Lodestar Foundation Lois Savage (far left) and Chair of the Lodestar Foundation Jerry Hirsh (far right) presented AgeWell Pittsburgh represented by Chair of AgeWell Pittsburgh Advisory Committee Susan Berman Kress and President & CEO of Jewish Family & Children’s Service Jordan Golin with the Lodestar Foundation Collaboration Prize.

AgeWell Pittsburgh programs help senior citizens maintain their health, independence and spirit.

AgeWell Pittsburgh innovations included these service expansions in 2016-2017: 

  • HomeMeds™ program. Through a grant from the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging, AgeWell Pittsburgh has expanded the HomeMeds program, a computerized risk-assessment screening to help avoid medication problems, to local senior centers.
  • The Aging Mastery program®. Available through the National Council on Aging, this program combines education with goal-setting, daily practices and peer support. The purpose of the program is to help participants to make meaningful and enduring changes in health, finances and life enrichment and to increase advance planning.
  • Care Shared. A collaboration between AgeWell Pittsburgh, Family Services of Western PA, and the Community College of Allegheny County. This service provides respite care to caregivers of older adults.



In Pittsburgh, one in six Jewish households is home to someone with a disability. In 2016–17, the Jewish Federation continued to make inclusion of community members with disabilities — some 3,000 individuals — a focus by funding programs and projects like these:

Rosh Pina. Along with Jewish Residential Services and JF&CS, the Federation continued to work on Rosh Pina, a year-long fellowship to create a strategic plan to identify disability inclusion opportunities in Jewish Pittsburgh. 

The ReelAbilities Film Festival. The fourth ReelAbilities Film Festival, coordinated by Film Pittsburgh (formerly JFILM), drew more than 500 people. The festival offered four films and other programming that celebrated the lives and artistic expressions of individuals with disabilities. 

Digitization of the Connections newsletter. By helping to move the Connections newsletter to a digital format, the Jewish Federation helped to deliver the newsletter to more local Jewish organizations, building awareness of disabilities-related challenges and resources.


The Federation’s Annual Campaign supports the Israel Scholarship program which enabled 105 teens and their families to participate in educational trips to Israel with peers, including 27 who received additional need-based funding due to the generosity of the The Stanley and Flo Mae Moravitz Israel Scholarship Endowment Fund of The Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

The Israel Scholarship program helped teens from our community to go on summer youth movement trips such as NCSY, NFTY, and Ramah Israel programs; high school semester programs in Israel; year-long yeshiva and seminary programs, and local programs with an Israel trip component such as the Diller Teen Fellows, Emma Kaufmann Camp CITs, and the Community Day School 8th grade trip. 

In partnership with the Helen Diller Family Foundation, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, and Partnership2Gether, the Jewish Federation supported 40 Diller Teen Fellows in Pittsburgh, Karmiel and Misgav, guided by their junior counselors and coordinators, in learning about leadership, tikkun olam, Israel, and Jewish identity.  

Birthright Israel took local university students to Israel this year  

Onward Israel placed 34 young people in summer internships within Israeli businesses and institutions.

The Emma Kaufman Camp (EKC) CIT (Counselors in Training) Program of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh offers an extraordinary amount of life-skills and training, including a three-week long trip to Israel to create future staff leaders at EKC. Jewish summer camping and Israel travel are two of the most important factors in shaping children’s lives in a positive way through Jewish goals and values, ensuring that these children identify Jewishly as adults. In the summer of 2017, 22 Pittsburgh teens participated in the CIT program, spending three weeks in Israel, one of which was in Pittsburgh’s “sister city” Partnership2Gether region, Karmiel/Misgav.


In addition to the Israel Scholarship program, The Passport to Israel program facilitates Israel experiences for youth by enabling families to plan and to save — and to have the Jewish Community Foundation match their savings. 31 new children were enrolled in the program this year. 

Partnership2Gether brought 3 delegations to Pittsburgh this year: the HaZamir teen choir, the Diller Teen Fellows, and the Waldman International Arts and Writing first- and second-place winners. They were hosted by 35 host families. 250 people attended the HaZamir Concert at Rodef Shalom, and this year, Partnership2Gether added a concert in the South Hills at Mt. Lebanon High School, with nearly 100 people in attendance. The Waldman International Arts and Writing winners engaged with 600 teens from four Pittsburgh schools. In the summer of 2016, 18 Israeli campers from Karmiel/Misgav spent three weeks at Emma Kaufmann Camp, building relationships with American campers and providing our EKC campers with day-to-day interaction with Israeli peers.

Yom HaZikaron Observance. More than 400 people attended the annual Yom HaZikaron ceremony in memory of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. For the first time this year, the ceremony included videos telling the stories of fallen soldiers and victims of terror from Karmiel/Misgav.

Yom Ha’atzmaut Celebration. Over 500 people attended Israel’s 69th Independence Day. The celebration featured delicious Israeli food, Israeli dancing and children’s games, and was capped off with an incredible live and acoustic performance by Israeli reggae musician Matisyahu.

Yom HaZikaron
Directed by Molly May, the HaZamir Choir sings Nachamu at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Yom Hazikaron event.
Photo by Laura Schneiderman

Matisyahu performed for the community at Yom Ha’aztmaut.
Photo by David Bachman

Yom Ha'atzmaut
Children participated in Israeli dances in celebration of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Yom Ha’aztmaut celebration that featured Israeli artist Matisyahu.
Photo by David Bachman




An Annual Campaign allocation provides funds that are directed to Israel and overseas organizations. In 2016-2017, the Jewish Federation helped fund these efforts in Israel:

  • Economic Empowerment for Women, a business incubator for Israeli Jewish and Israeli Arab businesswomen in the Galilee. 
  • ELI (Israel Association for Child Protection), an organization dedicated to decreasing the number of abused children with special needs and to treating the emotional consequences of abuse.
  • Ethiopian National Project, an organization providing Ethiopian-Israeli students in grades 7–12 with scholastic assistance and emotional, social and nutritional support.
  • Kibbutz Eshbal, an educational kibbutz which operates a mechina – or an army preparatory program – for at-risk youth. Most of the participants in the year-long mechina program are Ethiopian-Israelis, and throughout the year they learn leadership skills that improve their prospects for a meaningful service in the Israel Defense Forces. 
  • Hand in Hand Galilee Bilingual School, a multicultural school where Jewish and Arab Israelis interact daily on the basis of equality and mutual respect, learning to appreciate each other’s culture, religion and history.

Krembo Wings
Established in 2002, Krembo Wings operates 19 branches across Israel, including the branch in Karmiel which is generously supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

  • Krembo Wings, the only inclusive youth movement in Israel for children and youth with and without disabilities, provides weekly activities for young people, increasing the self-confidence of the disabled children and fostering a sense of belonging for all the participants.
  • Leket Israel, Israel's largest food bank and expert leader in food rescue throughout Israel. The organization sources, collects and redistributes fresh, perishable, quality food which would otherwise be considered waste from farms, hotels, military bases and catering halls.
  • Israel Elwyn, an early-intervention program for children with multiple disabilities who are not independently mobile. The goal of the program is to enable children to use the innovative Wizzybug powered wheelchair. 
  • Kishorit, a home for life for special-needs adults in the Western Galilee. The Jewish Federation funded an organic garden, allowing residents to develop employment skills and join the Work on Organic Farming initiative. 
  • Orr Shalom, an emergency foster for children ages 0 – 5 who have been removed from their homes as a result of neglect and/or abuse. 
  • Yad Sarah, an organization that assists sick, elderly injured and special-needs individuals by providing the free loan of medical and rehabilitative equipment. Funding from the Jewish Federation helped establish Yad Sarah in the Karmiel area. 
  • Yemin Orde, a youth village and boarding school that helps immigrant and at-risk youth define their personal identities and integrate into Israeli society by deepening their connection to Judaism and Israel.

In 2016-2017, the Jewish Federation also helped to fund these overseas efforts outside Israel:

  • American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), providing elderly Jews in need in Moldova with hunger relief, medical care and winter relief.
  • Jewish Agency for Israel, helping to revitalize Jewish life in Moldova by providing meaningful experiences that help Jewish youth develop a sense of Jewish peoplehood and leadership skills. Programs include JAFI’s Jewish summer camp and an informal after-school program.
  • World ORT, developing and sustaining Jewish life in Moldova through investing in teachers and students at the ORT Herzl Technology Lyceum school, located in Kishinev.
  • WUPJ, helping 14 students enroll in the Institute for Modern Jewish Studies, Moscow, thereby cultivating a generation of progressive rabbinic leadership in the Former Soviet Union.


In 2016-2017, the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard initiative, now in its fourth year, continued collecting data from more than 70 organizations throughout Jewish Pittsburgh, tracking progress in impact areas like Jewish education and social services. The data helps inform decision-making and exposes areas of need within the community. 


The Community Scorecard launched its first full community study of Jewish Pittsburgh since 2002 in order to provide relevant data and analytic frameworks that can support informed decision making by service providers within the community (in planning, service delivery, fundraising, marketing, and connecting people to Jewish community and life). 

The Study will: a) estimate the current number of Jewish individuals and households in the greater Pittsburgh community (including an understanding of the geographic distribution) and b) collect data on community members’ behaviors and attitudes as they relate to Jewish practice and the Jewish community. A basic report should be available by October 2017 with a full report available by December.


The Jewish Cemeteries Task Force, now in its second year, made great strides toward its goal of creating a plan for the short- and long-term future of Jewish cemeteries in Western Pennsylvania. With a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Federation engaged Stan Kaplan, Executive Director of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM), to analyze the current situation and to recommend an organizational structure that can meet the cemeteries’ needs. Preliminary results from his research were presented to the Task Force in March 2017, and a comprehensive study of the cemeteries’ current and anticipated needs will be completed in summer 2017. Additionally, over summer 2017, the Jewish Federation will create a business plan based on the consultant’s recommendations that will be used to transform the current community cemetery organization, the Jewish Cemetery & Burial Association, into a more robust organization that is capable of meeting the growing needs of Jewish cemeteries in the region.


Jewish Life and Learning
Under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, nine Jewish early childhood centers in the Pittsburgh area have worked together to create Shared Communal Goals for excellence in Jewish early childhood education.

The Pittsburgh Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI) and Bonim Beyachad: Building Together initiative draw inspiration from the fundamental values of the Reggio Emilia approach, an educational philosophy to teaching, learning and advocacy for young children which emphasizes learning through experience.

Building upon a community approach to Jewish early childhood education, the Jewish Federation secured strategy “buy-in” from 9 of the 11 local Jewish early childhood education (ECE) centers. The strategy defines shared communal goals for excellence in Jewish early childhood education (ECE) and the rubrics for measuring goal achievement. 

Bonim Beyachad: Building Together was launched at Community Day School several years ago and now serves five other ECE centers. Bonim Beyachad provides on-going, targeted and site-specific support helping each program to meet its own unique and customized goals, relating to our community’s shared goals for excellence in Jewish early childhood education, in providing quality early childhood experiences in our Pittsburgh Jewish community. The programs recently participated in a comprehensive baseline assessment measured against our shared communal goals. With support provided by a consultant through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, this information is enabling each school to build an individualized, multi-year growth plan.

Institutional and programmatic change continued at the three Pittsburgh JECEI sites, with emphasis on further development of the Reggio Emilia approach. The JCC Squirrel Hill and Temple Ohav Shalom completed their sixth year of Pittsburgh JECEI, and Temple Emanuel has completed its second year of participation. 

The Federation launched a new parallel ECE initiative intended to make our Pittsburgh JECEI and Bonim Beyachad: Building Together sites the preferred choice of early childhood education with Jewish families throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area. The Federation has retained the services of Market Viewpoint, LCC to conduct a year-long mystery shopping program that will position the sites to be more competitive when serving the educational needs of all families throughout the region. Mystery shopping is a way to gather objective feedback from prospective families and will measure how prospective families view the ECE Centers through web, telephone, and in-person interactions.


The Community Relations Council (CRC) promotes harmonious relations and mutual understanding within and beyond the Jewish Community and supports the State of Israel. This is accomplished with four areas of focus:

  1. Combating anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity
  2. Interfaith and intergroup work
  3. Government relations
  4. Social justice

Campus Ambassadors
Nine student leaders who were some of the top pro-Israel advocates on their campuses visited Israel for nine days on an intensive education and advocacy Campus Ambassador mission in December 2016.

This year, CRC:

  • Hosted the Israeli Consul for Media Affairs on two separate occasions to provide broader education on Israel to the Jewish and non-Jewish Pittsburgh community.
  • Partnered with Israel & Overseas to organize a “Retrospective Evening on the 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War.”
  • Partnered with The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center to continue Israel Campus Ambassadors, a program that develops student leadership to support a pro-Israel climate on Pittsburgh college campuses. Nine undergraduate students were sent to Israel as part of the second cohort of ambassadors.
  • Convened the CRC Delegate Assembly, comprising representatives from more than 50 organizations throughout Southwest Pennsylvania, to educate the Jewish community on African American-law enforcement relations in Pittsburgh, and to agree on a policy in support of equal voting rights.
  • Continued the partnership with Vibrant Pittsburgh, distributing $50,000 to grassroots organizations that strengthen the region.
  • Hired an assistant director to grow CRC’s influence in order to more effectively fight BDS throughout Greater Pittsburgh.
  • Brought in experts on BDS to educate Jewish community lay leaders, staff, students and rabbis.
  • Organized approximately 100 members of the Jewish community to march together in the LGBT pride parade with the slogan “Love Is Kosher.”
  • Continued our support and partnership with the Black Political Empowerment Project’s CEIR (Corporate Equity and Inclusion Roundtable).
  • Absorbed the Catholic-Jewish Education Enrichment Program (C-JEEP) from the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee after it shuttered.
  • Engaged approximately 1,750 Pittsburgh public high school students through #BeOurVotePgh, a civic engagement program for Pittsburgh public high school students around the 2016 election (in partnership with the Volunteer Center, Pittsburgh Public Schools, City of Pittsburgh, B-PEP and Treehouse Media)


Be Our Vote
The students registered all 18-year-olds in their schools, as well as adults in the crowd during evening football games to vote. CRC and the Volunteer Center then organized a mock election for Pittsburgh public high schools.


  • Nearly 200 people attended two communitywide workshops on anti-Semitism, organized in partnership with South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh.
  • Combatted a number of anti-Semitic incidents behind the scenes in the Greater Pittsburgh area and provided support to the targets of those incidents.



2017 Good Deeds Day
Danny Gill, Dan Holthaus, Lynda Wren, Fred Newman, Ari Evans, Abbie Evans assembled green bean casserole kits that were donated to the Jewish Relief Agency for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s 5th Annual Good Deeds Day.Photo by Joshua Franzos

The Jewish Federation Volunteer Center engaged almost 2,750 volunteers in 2016-2017, including some 1,100 who have volunteered repeatedly through the center.

  • This year the Volunteer Center increased the number of customized volunteer parties, which are designed to suit a group’s specific interests.
  • VOOM! (Volunteer Opportunity of the Month!) took volunteers to several new sites this year.
  • I-Volunteer, a partnership with Friendship Circle, engaged circle alumni in meaningful service.
  • The ever-popular “mega events,” Mitzvah Day and Good Deeds Day, engaged more than 1,500 volunteers. Mitzvah Day drew a record 1,200 participants to 115 sites. Good Deeds Day more than doubled in size and drew more than 550 volunteers to 42 sites.



South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh (SHJP), a community engagement initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, continued to connect engaged, under-engaged and unaffiliated South Hills Jews during its third year.

Through community grants, innovative programming, social media and other communication platforms, SHJP strengthened their community through continued collaboration with their South Hills Jewish partners and Jewish agencies in Pittsburgh.

More than $51,000 in grant and programming allocations were approved by the 21-member SHJP Community Council, resulting in participation by more than 6,800 attendees collectively 60 individual events/programs in 2016-2017, reflecting an attendance increase of more than 35% and an event increase of more than 20% over last year. SHJP measured the impact of these programs and activities through its inaugural Community Engagement Survey, post-event surveys, and a host of other performance metrics 

South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh
A great group from the South Hills were joined by women from throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area to participate with No Crayon Left Behind and repurpose crayons left behind to be used by less fortunate children all over the world.



In the past year, the Holocaust Center has continued to truly grow in its new space. The Holocaust Center has increased its relationships with various communities – both Jewish and non-Jewish – and also secured more grant funding than the previous year to go toward funding operations, exhibitions, and educational programming. Foundations supporting the Holocaust Center include the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Grable Foundation. Additionally, the facility held five different exhibits in the gallery space. The Holocaust Center collaborated with a group of three Information Systems students from Carnegie Mellon University to implement a system for tracking gallery visitors and event attendees, as visitors and event attendance continue to increase. The Holocaust Center also rekindled its relationship with Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, the German organization that pairs young Germans with Jewish organizations in the United States. The Holocaust Center hosted Stella Thielmann, who has helped with programming, education, and outreach.

Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh
Father Patrick Desbois joins Seneca Valley Senior High School teacher James Lucot and class at Carnegie Mellon UniversityPhoto by Melanie Friend Photography.

Father Patrick Desbois Lecture and Exhibit.
 The Holocaust Center brought Father Patrick Desbois, director of Yahad-In Unum, to Pittsburgh in September 2016. Father Desbois is known for his work uncovering mass graves of Jews killed by Nazis in the former Soviet Union. He met with about 30 local survivors over lunch and then held a lecture at Carnegie Mellon University, which attracted over 450 attendees. In addition, representatives from Yahad-In Unum presented a training session for local teachers on the material. The Holocaust Center also displayed Father Desbois’s exhibit, The Holocaust by Bullets, during that month, attracting 1000 visitors. A robust docent and volunteer program was also formed in coordination with the exhibit.

Curriculum development and education in 2016-2017, the Holocaust Center reached:

  • 1,430 students who either heard from a local survivor, visited the Holocaust Center, or engaged in another program through us
  • 110 classroom teachers, 50 pre-service teachers, and 30 librarians who attended an in-service or continuing education program presented by the Holocaust Center
  • 1,200 students in 17 different schools who participated in the Surloff Virtual Seminar in April 2017
  • 500 students who have already participated in the Butterfly Project: painting butterflies for the display, and engaging in the educational component of the project.

Programs and Events in 2016-2017 at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh:

  • Hosted our annual Kristallnacht commemoration, which featured the Clarion Quartet of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and brought in an audience of close to 300 people; hosted the Yom HaShoah commemoration, which included various community and interfaith members and also had approximately 300 people attend
  • Opened four different original exhibitions, including:
    • Phase two of “In Celebration of Life: the Art of Lazar Ran”;
    • “The Warsaw Woodcut Series and Other Works by Bruce Carter”; and
    • “Through the Lens of Teenie Harris: Activism and Spiritual Resistance, 1940-1970”
  • Launched Chutz-Pow! Volume 2, our original comic book featuring the stories of superheroes of the Holocaust
  • Hosted a lecture and teacher training by Alan Rosen, a scholar on Elie Wiesel; also co-hosted a program with Aron (Bielski) Bell, the last surviving brother of the Bielski Partisans
  • Began painting butterflies in preparation for the Butterfly Project Exhibit (opening in Fall 2017). The Holocaust Center coordinated with various schools, social service agencies, community organizations, and Mayor Bill Peduto and Councilman Dan Gilman to paint ceramic butterflies, in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Shoah.


Classrooms Without Borders

Classrooms Without Borders (CWB) takes study of the Holocaust, Israel and culture out of the classroom to provide experiential learning for teachers and students.

Thanks to rich resources and robust pre- and post-trip mentoring, CWB helps educators create new and unique curricula gives educators the experiences they need to bring the curricula to life in the classroom. Most CWB alumni, both teachers and students, remain connected with the organization for years by attending CWB-sponsored lectures by world-renowned speakers, films, plays, and other professional-development activities.

Classrooms Without Borders
The Classrooms Without Borders crew participated in Rabbis Engaging with Israel a five day retreat that covered topics discussing Zionism to Tikun Olam.


2016-2017 Program Reach and Highlights
In 2016-2017, Classrooms Without Borders was able to serve our 78 partnering schools and educators by increasing our in-school programming and seminar offerings. 55 teachers, 26 students, 10 rabbis and 53 community members and young Jewish professionals attended 7 study seminars. We had a direct impact on over 10,000 learners with 16 visiting artists and scholars, 3 exhibits, 2 documentary films, and our “Letters To Sala” initiative. Most of our school programs are also offered to the community and serve to increase support of Classrooms Without Borders while furthering our mission.

2017 Study Travel Seminars: Poland, Germany and Israel
2017 travel seminars reached 55 educators, 26 students, 10 rabbis and 53 community members and young Jewish professionals.

CWB offered 7 study travel seminars including: “Rabbis Engaging In Israel,” “Children’s Village Teen Service Seminar,” “Inside Israel Arts and Culture Seminar,” “Poland Personally Holocaust Education Seminar,” 2 “Yad Vashem Holocaust Educators’ Seminars,” and "Germany Close Up for Young Jewish Professionals.” Educators meet for 10 hours of instruction before the trip, receive a source book and complete a follow-up project after the trip.

Play and Exhibit: Letters To Sala
The play about a Sala Garncarz Kirschne’s survival as a young girl during wartime Germany and the 350 letters she hid ran for 12 performances, impacting 18 middle and high schools and attendees at 2 university performances open to the public. The program reached 5,640 educators and students as well as 210 community members.

Classrooms Without Borders is proud to have hosted 12 in-school performances of the play Letters To Sala, as well as a travelling photo exhibit and time line of Sala’s journey curated by the New York Public Library. In order to maximize the number of students and educators able to attend the play, CWB commissioned the Little Lake Theater Company to take the play Letters To Sala on the road. CWB also shared a curriculum “kit” for educators to use in the classroom. Finally, CWB had the honor to host Ann Kirschner, Sala’s daughter and the author of Sala’s Gift, with Arlene Hutton, the playwright of Letters To Sala to speak at Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University performances. 

Exhibit: Humans of Tel Aviv
The photo exhibit lectures visited 8 community centers and schools, was exhibited at 9 venues including 4 schools, and reached approximately 3,200 community members, students and educators.

In 2016, Classrooms Without Borders curated an original exhibit using pictures and text from the social media project Humans of Tel Aviv in order to bring its message of diversity and humanity to the U.S. Inspired by the widely popular blog Humans of New York, Israeli photojournalist Erez Kaganovitz founded Humans of Tel Aviv in 2012, currently boasting tens of thousands of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter followers from around the world. The CWB-curated exhibit strives to give a small glimpse into the diversity of Israel’s of political, religious, cultural and lifestyle perspectives in Tel Aviv in hope to have us see, without preconceptions, the humans behind it all.

Films: Denial and Son of Saul
CWB funded screenings of award winning films, Son of Saul and Denial, for educators and community members accompanied by an introductory lecture and discussion guides for educators. The films reached 324 educators and students.

Scholar: Andrew Nagorksi, The Nazi Hunters
Author Nagorski gave lectures in 3 schools, at 1 university and in 1 open community lecture, reaching 225 students, educators and community members.

Among the events that CWB sponsored in 2016-2017 was a lecture tour featuring noted journalist and author, Andrew Nagorski. Nagorski discussed his new book, The Nazi Hunters, which focuses on the small band of men and women who refused to allow Nazi war criminals’ crimes to be forgotten—and who were determined to track them down to the farthest corners of the earth. He spoke in-depth about the research involved in writing his book, the international justice system and the individual characters involved in this story. Andrew Nagorski is an award-winning journalist and author who spent more than three decades as a foreign correspondent and editor for Newsweek.

Other Scholars
The 16 additional artists, scholars and survivors reached approximately 3000 educators, students and community members.

In 2016-2017 CWB brought 16 artists, scholars and Holocaust survivors to Pittsburgh from around the globe to lecture and teach in CWB partnering schools and the community. Honored guests included authors Uwe and Gabi von Seltman from Germany; Israel Museum curator, Telma Schultz; Aron Bielski, the last surviving Bielski brother; renowned Israel Archeologist, Dr. Gabriel Barkay; American authors, Stephanie Feldman and Ann Kirchner; and more. 

Curriculum Support
CWB educators, scholars and educational advisors provide lesson plans, answer teachers’ questions and provide insights about classroom technique. Currently, the program has two specialists in Israel, and a network of educators in the US. Curriculum support reached over 500 educators.

For a full report on Classrooms Without Borders activities in 2016-2017, visit www.classroomswithoutborders.org. 


The Jewish Community Foundation enables donors to fulfill their philanthropic dreams and leave a legacy that will impact our community in the decades to come. Resources made possible by endowments, trusts, bequests and donor advised funds help address pressing needs, enrich our culture and strengthen our community. The Foundation, with more than $243 million in assets under management, encompasses 1,320 funds and reflects more than $20 million in new money added in 2016–17. The Foundation added almost 72 new funds, including six new Lion of Judah Endowment funds, for a total of $20.2 million in new dollars.

Foundation grants, from its unrestricted endowment, totaling almost $853,000. The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future distributed more than $681,000 to support Jewish learning and engagement. Taken together with distributions from restricted endowments, donor-advised funds, Campaign endowments, and synagogue and agency funds, Foundation distributions totaled $17.7 million.

Funding Highlights

In 2016–2017, the Foundation allocated grants totaling $853,000 to provide funding for:

  • One Table -Empowers local pre-family Jewish young adults in their 20s and 30s who are unconnected to Jewish institutions to create their own personalized, home-based Shabbat dinner experiences and build an enduring Friday night practice.
  • Grinspoon Life and Legacy Program - Participation in a 4-year partnership program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that assists communities across North America, through partnerships with Jewish Federations and Foundations, to promote after-lifetime giving to benefit local Jewish day schools, synagogues, social service organizations, and other Jewish entities
  • Yad b’yad day school psychological services -Deploying an AgeWell-like collaboration between all three day schools and a provider (JFCS) to have a full-time emotional support counselor on staff who can meet the schools' shared needs helping children, families and educators navigate increasingly complex social and emotional challenges.

The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, with $24.3 million in total commitments, funded these projects:

  • Honeymoon Israel - Honeymoon Israel works with local communities to form a cohort of 20 couples (at least one partner is under age 40 and Jewish) unconnected to institutional Jewish life, within their first five years of marriage, to attend a trip to Israel tailor-made to encourage reflection and discussion of Jewish identity. The program features pre- and post-trip programming, with the goal of forming a peer group who can support ongoing reflection about the role of Judaism in their family lives.
  • JCC Hiddur Initiative - Helping amplify the way the JCC "does Jewish" at camp and measurably demonstrate our ability to enhance the transmission of Jewish values, culture and tradition to over 800 campers and staff each year over a 36-60 month period.
  • Phase 2 funding for DVASH, the Dynamic Vision for the Active Study of Hebrew. DVASH is a multisensory, best-practices curriculum for teaching Hebrew. DVASH helps all students learn Hebrew and makes Hebrew more accessible for students with learning disabilities and other differences
  • Onward Israel summer internships for college students who build their resumes and their connection to Jewish life by working in Israeli businesses and organizations.
  • One Happy Camper, a program that provides incentive grants to children participating for the first time in a full session at Jewish overnight camp.
  • PJ Library, which provides free Jewish books to preschoolers. Since 2014, more than 450 young families engaged in Pittsburgh-area Jewish life for the first time through PJ Library.



Cynthia D. Shapira, Chair of the Board
Meryl K. Ainsman, Vice Chair
Charles Porter, Vice Chair
David Sufrin, Vice Chair
Louis B. Plung, Treasurer
Scott Tobe, Assistant Treasurer
Edgar Snyder, Secretary 
Ellen P. Kessler, Assistant Secretary 


Milton Eisner
Stephen Halpern
Judi Kanal
Eileen Lane



Charles Porter, Chair 

Audit Committee
Richard Guttman, Chair

Finance Committee
Gil Schneider, Chair

Foundation Investment Committee
Andrew Stewart, Chair


James P. Wagner, Chair 

Planning & Funding Committee
Scott Tobe, Chair

Foundation Grantmaking Committee
Woody Ostrow, Chair

Aging & Human Needs
Meyer Grinberg, Chair

Israel & World Jewry
Laurie Moser, Chair
Jeff Markel, Overseas Funding Chair
Debbie Resnick, Partnership2Gether Co-Chair
Joshua Resnick, Partnership2Gether Co-Chair
Jan Levinson, Israel Programming Israel Week Chair

Jewish Life & Learning
Scott Leib, Chair
Jan Levinson, Co-Chair

Community Relations Council
Cindy Goodman-Leib, Chair

Volunteer Center
Lynn Snyderman, Chair

Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh
Lori Guttman, Advisory Board Co-Chair
Barbara Shapira, Advisory Board Co-Chair
Dr. Tim Crain, Holocaust Education Committee Chair
Paul Guggenheimer, Holocaust Programming Committee Chair
Marc Friedberg, Finance Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Roy "Jake" Jacobson, Finance Committee Co-Chair
Harry Schneider, Holocaust Survivors Organization Co-Chair
Dr. Yolanda Avram Willis, Holocaust Survivors Organization Co-Chair


David Sufrin, Chair 

Woody Ostrow, Chair
Edgar Snyder, Co-Chair

Annual Campaign
Meryl K. Ainsman, Chair
Linda Joshowitz, Co-Chair

Men’s Philanthropy
Jan Levinson, Chair
Chuck Snyder, Co-Chair

Women’s Philanthropy
Ellen Teri Kaplan Goldstein, Chair
Shelly Snyder, Co-Chair

Young Adult Division
Randy Whitlatch, Chair
Marcie Solomon, Co-Chair
Kristin Keller, National Young Leadership Cabinet Chair
Becca Tobe, National Young Leadership Cabinet Co-Chair
Laura Pechersky, Shalom Pittsburgh Co-Chair
Aviva Rosenberg, Shalom Pittsburgh Co-Chair

Cardozo Society
Dodi Walker Gross, Chair

Lev Society
Mina Kavaler, Chair
Stanley Levine, Chair

Maimonides Society
Dennis Hurowitz, Chair

Shofar Society
David Steinbach, Chair
Todd Rosenfeld, Co-Chair

Marketing Communications Committee
Robbin Steif, Chair 

Super Sunday
Judi Kanal, Chair
Diane S. Samuels, Co-Chair



Jeffrey H. Finkelstein, President & CEO
Tracy Grandelis, Assistant to the President & CEO 


Milo Averbach, Chief Financial Officer 

Tracy Gressang, Controller
Linda Gordon, Financial Manager
Monica Waya, Accounting Associate
Erin Wyland, Accounting Associate

Community Security
Brad Orsini, Director

Human Resources & Office Operations
Deborah McGuire, Manager
Rob Dziekan, Maintenance Staff
Bryan Ellsworth, Maintenance Staff

Information Technology
Bob Ellsworth, Director
Bill Petro, Senior Technology Specialist


Deborah A. Baron, Chief Operating Officer 

Ilene Rinn, Director, Planning & Allocations
Raimy Rubin, Community Scorecard Manager
Kimberly Salzman, Director, Israel & Overseas Operations
Debbie Swartz, Israel & Overseas Planning Associate
Ateret Cope, Administrative Assistant
Joyce Hinnebusch, Administrative Assistant
Eric Probola, Administrative Assistant

Community Relations Council
Joshua Sayles, Director
Laura Cherner, Assistant Director

Jewish Life & Learning
Rabbi Amy Bardack, Director
Carolyn Linder, Director, Early Childhood Education
Shelly Parver, Planning Manager
Deb Taylor, Early Childhood Education Associate

South Hills Community Engagement Initiative
Rob Goodman, Director
David Rullo, Administrative & Communications Coordinator

Volunteer Center
Amy Cohen, Manager
Emily Bernstein, Program Associate
Joyce Hinnebusch, Administrative Assistant

Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh
Lauren Bairnsfather, Director
Shannon Phillips-Shyrock, Assistant Director
Christina Sahovey, Operations & Outreach Coordinator
Marcel Walker, Chutz-Pow! Program Coordinator
Zachary Zafris, Development & Chutz-Pow! Program Manager

Classrooms Without Borders
Tsipora Gur, Director


Brian Eglash, Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer
Jessica Brown Smith, Director, Campaign & Financial Resource Development
Emily Richman, Associate Director, Development Operations
Tiffany Babinsack, Administrative Assistant 

Annual Campaign
Joseph Enten, Senior Development Officer
David Guzikowski, Donor Services Associate
Rebecca Hurowitz, Senior Campaign & Missions Manager
Rachel Lipkin, Director, Women’s Philanthropy
Jessica McClelland, Database Administrator
Roi Mezare, Senior Manager, Financial Resource Development
Joel Schwarz, Development Associate
Carolyn Slayton, Shalom Pittsburgh Coordinator
Sara Spanjer, Young Adult Division Director
Sally Stein, Manager, Corporate & Government Relations
Mia Alcorn, Administrative Assistant
Kristen Brandt, Database Technician
Meryl Franzos, Administrative Assistant
Chrissy Janisko, Administrative Assistant

Jewish Community Foundation
Daniel O. Brandeis, Director, Foundation Resource Development
Sharon Perelman, Associate Director/Director of Planned Giving 
Jenny Kaplan, Senior Financial Analyst
Rabbi Danny Schiff, Federation Scholar
Patti Dziekan, Administrative Assistant
Patti Flister, Administrative Assistant

Adam Hertzman, Director
David Chudnow, Marketing Associate
Mihal Ehven, Digital Marketing Associate
Lori Judd Cohen, Events Coordinator
Toni Murray, Marketing Associate/Writer
Quito Ollero, Graphic Designer
Stacy Skiavo, Marketing Associate




Cynthia D. Shapira, Chair of the Board
Meryl K. Ainsman, Vice Chair
Charles Porter, Vice Chair
David Sufrin, Vice Chair
Louis B. Plung, Treasurer
Scott Tobe, Assistant Treasurer
Edgar Snyder, Secretary 
Ellen P. Kessler, Assistant Secretary 


Aaron Bisno
Judy Greenwald Cohen
Milton Eisner
Karen Wolk Feinstein
Jeffrey D. Freedman
Ellen Terri Kaplan Goldstein
Cindy Goodman-Leib
Meyer Grinberg
Lori Guttman
Richard Guttman
Stephen Halpern
Evan Indianer
Michael Jacobs
James Joshowitz
Linda Joshowitz
Judi Kanal
Kristen Keller
Eileen Lane
Scott Leib
Jan Levinson
Laurie Moser
Woody Ostrow
Mitchell Pakler
Nancy Rackoff
Debbie P. Resnick
Joshua Resnick
James Ruttenberg
Gil Schneider
Barbara Shapira
Robbin Steif
Andy Stewart
James P. Wagner
Amy S. Weiss
Randy Whitlatch



Barbara S. Burstin
David Burstin
Sidney N. Busis
Richard E. Kann
Douglas H. Ostrow
Louis B. Plung
James A. Rudolph
William C. Rudolph
Stanley C. Ruskin
Ruth G. Schachter
Daniel H. Shapira
David S. Shapira

Annual Report Archive

Please click the links below to browse past annual reports for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. If you have any questions about our Annual Campaign, please contact Jessica Brown Smith at jbsmith@jfedpgh.org. Thank you!



FED Talks: Ideas to Power an Inspired Community | August 30, 7:00-9:00 PM | Kelly Strayhorn Theater


Annual Meeting


2016 Annual Report