News

Honoring Holocaust Victims, Fallen Soldiers, Israeli Independence, and So Much More

By Jeff Finkelstein | April 17, 2015

Passover ends and immediately the activity in the Jewish community starts to move at a frantic pace.  The number of events, programs and meetings is beyond belief and is a testament to the kind of engaged and interested community we have. I would only mention one such event from this past week, the Yom Hashoah…

We Do So Much, So Well

By Jeff Finkelstein | April 9, 2015

A quick story about something that happened to me this week… My daughter is participating in a teen trip to Israel this summer.  I called the office of the organization running the trip to let them know that our Federation subsidizes every teen going on a teen trip to Israel (when you have attended a…

Young Leadership and the Future of Community

By Jeff Finkelstein | March 20, 2015

Wednesday was a great day.  It started with a meeting and ended with an event. The morning meeting, a two hour gathering of a great group of committed lay leadership, engaged the group in serious discussion about our community and how to best address one of our communal priority areas in order to get the…

The Plight of Jews in Ukraine

By Jeff Finkelstein | March 13, 2015

I take much of the language in this week’s Shabbat message from a correspondence I received from our national system, the Jewish Federations of North America.  I know that for many of us our “Jewish attention” has been focused on our local Jewish community, on the Israeli elections and on growing anti-Semitism across Europe.  I…

Esther Did Not Sit Idly By

By Jeff Finkelstein | March 6, 2015

The buzz this past week has been about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech in Congress.  Admittedly, there is a divide both within and from outside the Jewish community as to whether the Prime Minister should have given the speech at all.  There is debate about the right way to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat.  One thing…

Donating for All the Right Reasons

By Jeff Finkelstein | February 13, 2015

In last week’s New York Times Magazine, “The Ethicist” had a question posed to him.  The question raised was, “During a pledge drive for a public-radio station, an on-air personality made an accusation I’d never heard:  that regular listeners who never contributed were behaving unethically.”  Is it unethical? The Ethicist responded that it was not…

Building Relationships, and Being a Mensch in Hollywood

By Jeff Finkelstein | February 6, 2015

Debbie Winn Horvitz, the CEO of the Jewish Association on Aging, spoke at a meeting of the Federation Beneficiary Agency Executives.  Debbie mentioned that at a recent session of the Wechsler Leadership Development Institute (Federation’s Young Adult leadership development program), one of the attendees was very taken by an aspect of the work of the…

The Foundation of our Foundation

By Jeff Finkelstein | January 30, 2015

A tremendous Fundfest took place this past week. Despite some tough weather, hundreds came to the Federation offices to get on the phones to reach out and connect with other fellow community members to ask for their support of our 2015 Campaign.  Fundfest has propelled our campaign to $6 Million and added many new donors to our…

Funding Great Things

By Jeff Finkelstein | January 23, 2015

The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, our Federation’s initiative to secure permanent endowment dollars to fund Jewish identity building programming, has had exceptional progress since its inception just five years ago.  To date, approximately $24 Million in commitments have been secured and with much of those commitments already being paid by generous donors, we…

Je Suis Juif

By Jeff Finkelstein | January 16, 2015

I had intended to write today about a visit during my family’s December vacation in Atlanta at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.  I wanted to tie that into this Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend when we recall King’s struggle for civil rights in this country.  However, recent events have unfortunately redirected my message. Nearly three years…

A Powerful Collective

By Jeff Finkelstein | December 19, 2014

Over the past few years, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has sent several missions to Cuba.  We witnessed a small yet vibrant Jewish community and saw the work our dollars make possible with our own eyes.  As part of those missions, we visited the American Intersection.  As you know, the United States has not…

What a Week!

By Jeff Finkelstein | December 12, 2014

Sunday night was the graduation of this year’s cohort of Diller Teen Fellows.  This group of 20, who have been together with a group of teens from our Partnership2Gether Region of Karmiel and Misgav as part of a leadership development program, will travel to Israel in a few weeks.  Their originally scheduled trip this summer had…

Our Jewish Future is Inevitable – Make it Bright!

By Jeff Finkelstein | December 5, 2014

I write today about our Jewish future and about two ways our Federation is looking and preparing for that destination. Monday was the first Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard Roundtable.  Approximately 65 volunteer and professional leaders in our community came together to review some of the findings in our first round of collecting data as part…

What a Men's Philanthropy Event! And Pittsburgh Jews in the National Spotlight – again!

By Jeff Finkelstein | November 21, 2014

Last night, we held an incredibly successful, first ever, Men’s Night Out event.  A crowd beyond our expectations came out to hear ESPN star Herm Edwards.  The evening was fun and inspirational as we talked openly and directly about the needs of our Jewish community and the ways that these men can make a difference.…

The GA – Our Impact in Action

By Jeff Finkelstein | November 14, 2014

In my message last week, I mentioned that I was going to be at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.  The GA made international news with a panel discussion with two Jewish Supreme Court Justices, a session with Marlee Matlin “speaking” about inclusion for individuals with special needs, a live video…

Sharing Pittsburgh with the Broader Jewish Community at the GA – Something to Be Proud Of!

By Jeff Finkelstein | November 7, 2014

Sunday is the beginning of the three-day Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly.  Volunteer and professional leaders from all 153 Jewish Federations and 300 Network communities from throughout North America, along with representatives of both national and international Jewish agencies, will be on site to learn, network and be inspired. We are really proud…

Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Policy Statement on Gender Violence

By Community Relations Council | November 3, 2014

Jewish tradition speaks to the importance of treating others with kindness, honor and respect and is clear that domestic violence is contrary to Jewish values. The Talmud speaks of this imperative directly in how men should respect their domestic partners and children. In the Talmud (B. Yevamot 63a; B. Sanhedrin 76b) the Rabbis say: “Of…

Outreach – Connecting to those who've left their native land

By Jeff Finkelstein | October 31, 2014

I am writing on Thursday night having just left Buffalo Blues in Shadyside.  Our Shalom Pittsburgh(the Federation’s outreach programming arm for 22-45 year olds) effort holds lots of bar nights for our young adults.  I have been to many.  This week, four of our community efforts to reach out and engage Jewish young adults joined forces…

Remembering Mollie

By Jeff Finkelstein | October 14, 2014

Sunday, I carried the coffin and helped fill the grave of my last remaining grandparent.  My father’s mother died at the age of 98 on Simchat Torah.  She was the youngest and the last living of 11 children born in Rumania.  She lived those early years without running water or electricity.  She emigrated to this country,…

Home Away from Home

By Jeff Finkelstein | October 3, 2014

Earlier this week, our Federation staff divided up and went to three of our local agencies:  Riverview Towers, the Jewish Association on Aging and the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry of Jewish Family and Children’s Service.  At each site, we volunteered our time to assist clients.  This was all part of our effort to kick…

What an Impact!

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 19, 2014

At the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday night, we announced our financial achievements for the year. Our Campaign goal of $13.5 million, the highest ever for our community, was attained. Our Foundation, now with over $200 million under management, added over $18 million. Our work to raise Educational Improvement Tax Credit…

A Sweet and Prosperous Time of Year

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 12, 2014

On Sunday, Shalom Pittsburgh will hold its Fourth Annual Apples & Honey Festival, in Schenley Park. Literally hundreds show up every year for this great program. If you have a young family or grandchildren in town, you don’t want to miss this. If you know of a young Jewish family that would like a Jewish program that…

Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Lazeh

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 5, 2014

A fabulous JCC with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, seniors playing mahj, a preschool with adorable children, and a memorial to the Holocaust. A day school with Hebrew words and Judaica covering the walls. A gorgeous facility for seniors, with shared kitchen facilities in every unit. I could be describing our Pittsburgh Jewish community’s renowned institutions. In…

Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Policy Statement on Price Tag Attacks in Israel

By Community Relations Council | May 13, 2014

The Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Condemns unequivocally the hateful “price tag”* graffiti and vandalism against Catholic and Orthodox Christian, Muslim and Jewish institutions and individuals in Israel as reported in the Israeli press. These vile acts do not represent the feelings of respect our communities have for each other. Urges Israeli authorities to…

Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Policy Statement on LGBT Discrimination

By Community Relations Council | May 13, 2014

Throughout the world, persons who are identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) often face pervasive discrimination which sometimes includes state-sanctioned violence and the possibility of execution. Laws that punish people for who they are or are perceived to be creating a deep culture of hatred that can place LGBT people and their allies…

Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Policy Statement on Senior Poverty

By Community Relations Council | May 13, 2014

Older Americans who are living in poverty often suffer in silence, living in the shadows while trying to make ends meet. A single life change—a costly illness, loss of a job, or death of a spouse—can quickly threaten the financial stability of seniors. This has become especially true during the most recent recession. In 2008…

Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Policy Statement on Food Insecurity

By Community Relations Council | December 3, 2013

Jewish tradition teaches us that we must feed the hungry. Hunger is a problem that affects people of all ages, but it is a particularly devastating problem for children. There is both a moral and an economic imperative to address this problem. “Food insecurity” is a new term in the American lexicon. It has replaced…

Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Policy Statement on Proactive Israel Support & Countering Anti-Jewish and Anti-Israel Activity in Pittsburgh

By Community Relations Council | December 3, 2013

Most Jewish students live and study on campuses on which they feel secure in their identity. However, especially during times of conflict between Israel and its neighbors, a disturbing anti-Israel climate can appear on Pittsburgh college campuses. This was evident during November 2012 when anti-Israel community members protested outside The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel…

Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh Policy Statement on Inclusion and Disabilities

By Community Relations Council | December 3, 2013

In Genesis 1:27, we read that Adam, and by extension, all people, was created in “the image of God.” This teaches us that there is holiness in all people, regardless of their physical, sensory, emotional or intellectual abilities. Everyone, therefore is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. All Jews can contribute to the…

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