News

Shabbat Shalom – Friday, March 11, 2016

By Jeff Finkelstein | March 11, 2016

Purim is one of the great celebratory holidays of the Jewish calendar. It rejoices in the victory of the Jewish community of Shushan over their planned destruction by the Evil Haman. What are our “Hamans” today? What or who is trying to destroy or endanger the Jewish people? One answer is that there are none…

Shabbat Shalom. Like….Totally.

By Jeff Finkelstein | March 4, 2016

Did you hear that the twins, Ben and Becca, had a B’nei Mitzvah party this past Saturday night? In an attempt to try something different for our young adult Federation donors, we overhauled what had been our Young Adult Main Event. Instead of a speaker, the Federation worked with a Hollywood writer and produced a…

Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Statement on Stereotypes, Prejudice and Discrimination

By Community Relations Council | March 3, 2016

Cosponsors: Jewish Community Center, Rodef Shalom, Temple Sinai, Community Relations Council Background If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, who am I? If not now, when? –Rabbi Hillel (circa 100 BCE). As Jews, we must be committed to combatting not only anti-Semitism, but also all…

Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Statement in Opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel

By Community Relations Council | March 3, 2016

Cosponsors: Hillel Jewish University Center, Panthers for Israel, Community Relations Council Background Israel today faces an intensive and increasingly sophisticated global assault on its right to exist as a sovereign, democratic and Jewish state. This is largely accomplished through the well-funded campaign of delegitimization that utilizes Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), among other techniques, to…

International Panel Will Present Second Annual Education Day- "Israeli Arabs and Jews: A Shared Society"

By Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh | March 2, 2016

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…

Returning from Israel Inspired

By Jeff Finkelstein | February 16, 2016

I spent much of this past week in Israel at the Board of Governors meeting of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Topics of Aliyah (immigration) from France and Ukraine, engaging our young people in Jewish life and using Israel as a prism to do so, engaging more Arabs and ultra-Orthodox in the workforce, discussions about the unity…

Challenging the Status Quo

By Jeff Finkelstein | February 5, 2016

I thought that I would let some press about the Federation speak for this week’s email. First, our Super Sunday had great successes in raising important dollars for the campaign, involving members of our community and by engaging donors in our powerful work.  Click here for the story. Second, my colleague Rabbi Aaron Bisno and…

Three Expert Panelists to Lead "Jewish Pittsburgh and the Refugee Crisis: A Community Conversation"

By Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh | February 3, 2016

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…

Super Sundays!

By Jeff Finkelstein | January 29, 2016

Last week, I wrote about Super Sunday taking place this Sunday (January 31st). Our turnout is looking terrific, but we still have some limited space in our afternoon and evening sessions. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do so here. Sunday, February 7th will be our first Snowbirds event of 2016 in Longboat Key, FL.…

Shed a Little Light

By Jeff Finkelstein | January 15, 2016

During the last week of December, my wife and I traveled to Washington DC with the sole purpose of being tourists for two days. I have been to DC countless times, typically for meetings or for lobbying on the Hill, but haven’t been a tourist there in over 20 years. We took time to walk…

A Tzedakah Story this Shabbat

By Jeff Finkelstein | January 8, 2016

On Wednesday, Cindy Shapira (our Federation Chair of the Board) and I experienced one of the most beautiful expressions of tzedakah in our recent memories. As Cindy and I were completing a meeting in our Federation offices, we walked into the lobby to see Erin from our accounting staff writing up a receipt for a short, Russian…

Community Day School's Eileen Freedman Named Recipient of Ira and Nanette Gordon Community Achievement Award

By Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh | January 7, 2016

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…

Federation Will Welcome Rabbi Amy Bardack as Jewish Education and Capacity-Building Director

By Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh | January 7, 2016

The 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…

Shabbat Shalom

By Jeff Finkelstein | December 25, 2015

I visited several Mitzvah Day sites all over town. Everyone, over 1,000 strong, seemed to  be having fun while making a difference in our Pittsburgh community. This was something special to experience. It’s important to remember that while the Federation has sponsored Mitzvah Day for 15 years, there are 364 other days that have the…

Highlights from Argentina, Volunteerism, the State Budget Crisis: Shabbat Shalom

By Jeff Finkelstein | December 18, 2015

I have three topics this week I want to highlight.  Please accept my apology for writing a slightly longer message than usual. 1. Last week, I joined a group of Jewish Pittsburghers on a mission to Buenos Aires.  I am not going to write a travelogue, but I do want to share some highlights and takeaways.…

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah

By Jeff Finkelstein | December 4, 2015

Sunday night, the Jewish world will begin the holiday of Chanukah. Our agencies have been and will be “getting their Chanukah on.” I know that the Chanukiah(some refer to it as a menorah) will be lit in the Jewish Association on Aging and Riverview Towers Facilities for the hundreds of our seniors who make their homes there.…

Channeling Outrage Into Productive Ends

By Jeff Finkelstein | November 20, 2015

A horrific attack in Paris. An attack targeting Jews in Marseilles. An inspiring Federation event for alumni of the Melton program with 150 in attendance. Several terrorist attacks targeting Jews in Israel. Our staff “mitzvah day” volunteering at the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. Other terrorist attacks in different countries. A great event sponsored by South…

Making a Difference, One Person at a Time

By Jeff Finkelstein | November 13, 2015

There is so much I could write about this week since a great delegation participated in the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Washington DC that had many memorable moments. Pittsburgh was in a position of prominence as many of our Federation’s initiatives were highlighted at several sessions.  To get a taste of…

Weathering the Storm until a Budget is Passed

By Jeff Finkelstein | November 6, 2015

There has been much in the press about the lack of a Pennsylvania state budget and the impact that has on the nonprofits that serve some of the neediest in our midst.  This budget impasse impacts many of our Federation agencies that work in the social service area.  Our Federation made an offer to all…

Shabbat Shalom

By Jeff Finkelstein | November 2, 2015

“Talk the talk and walk the walk”.  This expression is used to say that if you are going to say something you actually have to believe and do it.  Our Federation leadership has been talking about our commitment to Jewish identity building and Jewish education for many years.  And, I think we have done some…

Shabbat Shalom

By Jeff Finkelstein | October 23, 2015

It’s hard to pick just one memorable moment from this frenetic week to highlight.  There was the opening of the new Holocaust Center space on Sunday with a huge crowd in attendance including, most importantly, our local Holocaust survivors.  The first session of this year’s Wechsler Young Leadership program began with an overview of the…

A Hope for Quiet in Israel

By Jeff Finkelstein | October 9, 2015

The news from Israel has been so disturbing this past week.  I kept reading about each terrorist incident targeting Israelis and Jews.  This violence has shaken all of Israel.  Our national organization, the Jewish Federations of North America, sent an update yesterday to the Federation system reporting: In one tragic attack, gunmen shot and killed…

Supporting Our Survivors

By Jeff Finkelstein | October 2, 2015

A news story came out in the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Association) entitled, “Obama Administration Earmarks $12 Million for Holocaust Survivors”.  The article goes on to say, “The allocation from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Jewish Federations of North America, to be disbursed over five years…” I invite you to click here to read the…

Shabbat Shalom

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 25, 2015

While sitting in my synagogue during Yom Kippur services, I reread the “Al Cheyt” prayer in English. As you probably know, during this prayer we ask for forgiveness for the transgressions WE have made. They are recited in the plural, not the singular. It is done so because we are a community apologizing for our…

Break Your Fast and Bridge the Future

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 18, 2015

On Wednesday we fast for Yom Kippur.  On Thursday at our Annual Meeting, our Federation will celebrate accomplishments for the past year and look towards the challenges we hope to conquer in the coming year.  And the only comparison I’ll draw between the two is that, in a sense, Yom Kippur is the Annual meeting…

Thinking about the New Year, Remembering 9/11, on this Shabbat

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 11, 2015

9/11, Shabbat and Rosh Hashana are all smooshed together in my mind. I’m thinking about the New Year with new possibilities.  The apples and honey and my wife’s honey cake will all be devoured starting on Sunday night in the expectation of a sweet year.  But today, hours before the restfulness of Shabbat settles in,…

Looking at all sides of the Iran Deal

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 4, 2015

Iran.  The last month and a half has all been about how to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  Our Federation has taken a very deliberate approach to provide information representing all sides around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to the community.  We do so within the following context that was established…

Over $25 Million is quite a feat in a single year. But, those four young people are what we should be celebrating.

By Jeff Finkelstein | August 28, 2015

At our Foundation Annual Meeting this week, we announced the most successful year in our history, adding over $25 Million to our assets under management.  We distributed more than $13 Million back to the community from our Foundation.  By all accounts, this was a truly remarkable year of success. While the announcement of this record…

We Can Be Smarter!

By Jeff Finkelstein | August 21, 2015

I was so upset when walking to Jewish Heritage Night at PNC Park on Tuesday night to see the Jews for Jesus group on the Roberto Clemente Bridge (on what would have been Roberto Clemente’s 80th birthday).  I wasn’t that upset that they were there.  What makes America great is that they have the freedom…

The Far-Reaching Legacy of the Grinspoon Foundation

By Jeff Finkelstein | August 14, 2015

Brian Schreiber of our JCC and I were truly blessed to take part in a retreat sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation during the last week.  Approximately 40 professionals, mostly from Federations and a few JCC’s, all of whom lead organizations involved with PJ Library, participated.  The purpose was to brainstorm ways that each of…

Getting Schooled

By Jeff Finkelstein | July 31, 2015

I have the title of President/CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.  I want to admit something.  I don’t know everything happening in our community where Federation has a hand in it.  This week, I “got schooled” about some of our communal impact. Tuesday night, the Federation distributed checks to college students to assist…

Our Work in Israel is Strong – See For Yourself in 2016!

By Jeff Finkelstein | July 10, 2015

I know I haven’t written in several weeks.  My lack of authoring this weekly piece is not a reflection on the quantity and quality of work being done by our Federation. During the last few weeks, I was in Israel as part of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Assembly and Board meeting.  The Jewish Agency…

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