Posts by Jeff Finkelstein

Jewish Moments, Courtesy of PJ Library

PJ Library Hannukah Storytime

A group of staff from the Federation and the JCC met this week to discuss our PJ Library program. PJ Library is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. The JCC, through Federation funding, carries out high quality programs to connect PJ Library families. Before I continue, let’s make…

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Where Do I Begin?

Riverview Towers Parking Lot Without Dirt Pile

I was trying to think about what I should write about this week. Should it be about the high level Federation Board informational meetings we are holding to delve into the approximate $17 Million in tax credits Riverview Towers has been granted? Should I write about the fact that a group of Israeli teens from…

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A Passion for Jewish Education

When the Agency for Jewish Learning decided to cease operations as an independent agency, the Federation divided the dollars being invested there into two parts: teen work for our community through the JCC and Jewish educational capacity building at the Federation. That led to the development of a new department for Jewish Education and Engagement…

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What Keeps You Up at Night?

Saturday night begins the holiday of Shavuot. I wrote about the holiday a few weeks ago in anticipation of tomorrow’s community wide Tikkun Leil Shavuot. My suggestion back then to attend our program has become even more amplified to encourage each of you to consider attending this unique to Pittsburgh Jewish experience. With 22 different…

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The Book of Ruth: Pittsburgh-Style

We are in the middle of a period in the Jewish calendar called the Omer when we count the days from the second day of Passover until the beginning of Shavuot. Yesterday was Lag Ba’Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer. Traditionally during the Omer we refrain from certain activities like listening to live music…

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Big News for Riverview Towers and Cheesecake Lovers

Volunteer at Riverview Towers

Often, the Federation has a hand in making important and historic things happen in our community and it goes unseen.  For instance, a news story in this week’s Jewish Chronicle highlights the tax credit financing granted to Riverview Towers.  As the article says, “In 2018, Riverview Towers accounts for about 10 percent of the total affordable…

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The Honeymoon is Never Over

I asked Rabbi Amy Bardack, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Director of Jewish Life and Learning, to write this week’s message about Honeymoon Israel. Please read through as you may know some couple that would be perfect to participate in this incredible opportunity.  As we have learned from the 2017 Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study,…

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CRC Leads Campus Ambassadors on Educational Israel Mission

I asked Laura Cherner, the Assistant Director of the Federation’s Community Relations Council (CRC), to write about her recent experience in accompanying our community’s Campus Ambassadors from our local college campuses. We equip a cohort of students to conduct pro-Israel programming on campus and prepare them to fight the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.…

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Pittsburghers Visit Jewish Communities in Morocco

This week’s Shabbat message is written by Becca Hurowitz, our Federation’s Senior Campaign and Mission Manager.  Photos by Joel Weinberg  The Jewish community of Morocco, at one time 350,000 strong, is now reduced to a mere 3,000 Jews throughout the country. In several mass migrations in the 19th and 20th centuries, this historic Jewish community fled…

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Houston Jewish Community was Hit Especially Hard

How many people remember that the city of Houston was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey in August? With our fast moving news cycle, it may seem like a blur in the past. That hurricane did major damage to Houston. As an email from our national Federation system stated: Harvey dumped a trillion gallons of water over…

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Jewish Community Study Results are Big News

I’ve written enough (for now) about the 2017 Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study funded by the Jewish Community Foundation of the Federation. Instead, I’ll let our local media share their insights with you: http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/13327741-74/pittsburgh-regions-jewish-population-is-growing-prosperous-and-moving-to-suburbs-study https://patch.com/pennsylvania/pittsburgh/pittsburghs-jewish-population-rise-study-says http://wesa.fm/post/researchers-say-pittsburghs-jewish-population-highly-educated-and-continues-grow#stream/0 http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2018/02/20/study-Pittsburgh-Jewish-community-growing-spreading-out/stories/201802200058 https://jewishchronicle.timesofisrael.com/jewish-pittsburgh-growing-but-denominational-affiliation-dropping/ WTAE-TV — https://youtu.be/qF5i3ZisJGU KDKA-TV — https://youtu.be/nJhIdkg3TjU In the words of Matt Boxer who is one of the key researchers…

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Spoiler Alert: Jewish Community Study Reveal

I am a bit obsessed. I have written multiple times about the release of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study, funded completely by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Foundation. Tuesday is THE day that our first data collection since 2002 will become public. This past week, two major U.S. communities released their own studies,…

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Moving Forward

Change is so hard. What one is accustomed to (a house, a building, a route to work, etc) becomes ingrained into our memories and into our actions. Yesterday morning, as an example, my intention when leaving my house was to stop to buy a cup of coffee on my way to work. Without thinking, I…

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Supporting Extraordinary Life-Saving Efforts

At a Federation program last night, Arielle di Porto, the Director of the Aliyah Division of the Jewish Agency for Israel, spoke about her work in helping Jews from areas of the world under distress and/or danger escape to Israel. The Jewish Agency’s efforts in this area are extraordinary and life-saving. They are monitoring the…

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Jewish Federation in the News

December 25, 2017 – A volunteer serves meals on Mitzvah Day at Riverview Towers so regular staff can be home for the holiday. – Photo by Josh Franzos Federation’s Mitzvah Day was an unbelievable success by all measures: number of volunteers, number of organizations impacted and numbers of people helped by our volunteers. For those that have…

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Help Guide Where Your Contributions Go

Last week, I wrote a “P.S.” to my Shabbat message and I want to reiterate it here as my main message. The tax plan has been sent to the President for his signature and he will sign it into law, according to news reports, in early January or possibly before. Whatever your politics and your…

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Interpreting the Future

This Shabbat we will read, Mikketz, my Bar Mitzvah Torah portion from 35 years ago. Joseph is asked to interpret to Pharaoh what his dream of seven fat cows eating seven lean cows and seven fat ears of grain swallowing seven lean ears of grain means. Joseph explains that there will be seven years of…

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Jewish Federation: Local & International

My message this week is in the form of a short video. Federation’s reach is both local and international. Too often, we lose sight of the kind of impact all of us has on the Jewish world outside of the 412 and 724 area codes. This video will highlight the kind of social service and…

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Finance and Audit Committee Members are Superheros!

Our Federation is so completely focused on having the kind of positive and transformational impact on our community and Jewish world that every one of our donors expects. At the same time, we strive to be a top functioning and highly effective nonprofit organization. This week, we held both a Finance Committee meeting and our…

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