A Publication of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition
The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
Squirrel Hill For more great content visit our website at www.squirrelhillmagazine.net!
In Every Issue
Serving Refugees from Around the Globe By Elizabeth Waickman
A Place for Meditation By Adrienne Block
Shop the World in Squirrel Hill By Kayla Washko and Adrienne Block
Japanese Culture Blossoms at Chaya By Chris Zurawsky
Treasures Dinner Compiled by Adrienne Block and Kayla Washko
Care Without Borders at the Squirrel Hill Health Center By Max Schlosser
In Squirrel Hill, Scholars Find a Place to Call Home By Christine Hucko
Gateway Project Update By Kayla Washko
SHUC President’s Message By Ray Baum
What’s New From Our Advertisers
6 8 25
This Just In
Good News from Our Schools Squirrel Hill Historical Society By Helen Wilson
Cover art: History of Squirrel Hill by Alan Thompson. Used with the permission of the United States Postal Service®. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Pittsburgh Filmmakers. Learn more about the Squirrel Hill Post Office mural on page 19.
Do you know someone who posed for the mural? Send us your information! Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/SquirrelHillMagazine Follow us on Twitter @SquirrelHillMag
From the Editors We’re very excited to bring you an issue that explores Squirrel Hill’s global community. Inside, you’ll find features about local organizations, business owners, students and residents, all of which make wonderful contributions to our neighborhood. We hope you enjoy the issue. Please send comments and suggestions for future issues to Adrienne Block at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interested in advertising, please email email@example.com, or you can call us at our new phone number: (412) 223-7584. Advertisers can now pay with Visa, MasterCard or Discover.
Murray the Squirrel
Murray is available free of charge for visits and events to local organizations and schools. Give SHUC a call at 412.422.7666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The World In Squirrel Hill Issue PAGE1
SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION OFFICERS: Raymond N. Baum, President Richard Feder, Vice President Lori Fitzgerald, Vice President Ceci Sommers, Vice President Francine D. Abraham, Secretary Chris Zurawsky, Assistant Secretary Peter Stumpp, Treasurer James Burnham, Assistant Treasurer Jennifer Nicholson-Raich, Assistant Treasurer Steven Hawkins, Immediate Past President BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Francine D. Abraham, Raymond N. Baum, James Burnham, Norman Childs, Vivian Didomenico, Andy Dlinn, Richard Feder, Lori Fitzgerald, Harry M. Goern, Ed Goldfarb, Barbara Grover, Steve Hawkins, Michael D. Henderson, Karen Hochberg, Ryan W. Hopkins, Lois Liberman, David Miles, Jennifer Nicholson-Raich, Gregg Roman, Tracy Royston, Ceci Sommers, Sidney Stark (Director Emeritus), Peter Stumpp, Erik Wagner, Roger Westman, Chris Zurawsky
Our Mission The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is a non-profit community organization dedicated to preserving, improving and celebrating the quality of life in the 14th Ward of the City of Pittsburgh. Volunteer-supported standing committees provide leadership to our community by studying, debating, and advocating positions on issues affecting our neighborhood’s vitality. Our mission is implemented through a long range planning process, which fosters community-based initiatives in the areas of education, public safety, transportation, parks and open spaces, and commercial, institutional and residential development.
Richard St. John, Executive Director MAGAZINE STAFF: Adrienne Block, Editor Kayla Washko, Assistant Editor Max Schlosser, Intern CONTRIBUTORS: Raymond N. Baum, Adrienne Block, Sharon Ciummo, David Frisch, Michael Douglas Henderson, Christine Hucko, Rob Imperata, Rick Lipa, Carolyn Ludwig, Rebecca MacNamee, Kristen Michaels, Max Schlosser, Elizabeth Waickman, Kayla Washko, Helen Wilson, Chris Zurawsky
Save the Date The Third Annual Squirrel Hill Treasure Awards, Honoring: Karla Boos Founder and Artistic Director of Quantum Theatre
DESIGN & PRINT: Patricia Tsagaris, Pinkhaus Design, Creative Director Knepper Press, Printer Printed with soy inks and 100% wind energy!
Rabbi James Gibson of Temple Sinai celebrating 25 years of service
Wendell Freeland, Esq. an original incorporator of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition and a revered Tuskegee Airman
Squirrel Hill Magazine, Vol. 11, Issue 3, is published through the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, 5604 Solway Street. Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Please direct any questions or comments to SHUC by calling 412.422.7666 or emailing email@example.com. To inquire about advertising, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please support our advertisers—their ads solely finance this magazine! Reserve your space today for the Winter 2014 issue!
PAGE2 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
The historic WPA era mural at the Squirrel Hill Post Office this year’s Place Treasure
bbb Thursday, October 17, 2013 Pittsburgh Golf Club Proceeds from the Treasure Celebration support the ongoing work of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition For further information call 412-422-7666 or email email@example.com
shuc presidentʼs message
Coalition Building By Raymond N. Baum, President, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition firstname.lastname@example.org
he Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition has taken a big step forward in building its capacity to serve all facets of our community. We have hired Richard St. John as our Executive Director. Rick will support, expand and empower the Coalition’s extensive volunteer base, work closely with all constituents, and expand our capacity to serve the community. Rick will focus on strengthening our working relationships with our members, community residents, the business community, commercial property owners, property developers and our many superb community-based institutions, as well as increasing our membership base and volunteer involvement. Rick is abundantly qualified by education, experience and temperament. He has a BA in English from Princeton University and an MA in English from the University of Virginia. He received a Loeb Fellowship for independent study at Harvard University. Rick has served as Executive Director of Autumn House Press, Conversations for Common Wealth, the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh, and Oakland Planning and Development Corporation. He has also served in various capacities for Community House Learning Center and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. Rick co-chaired the Mayor’s Zoning Advisory Group, helping to oversee the comprehensive revision of the City Zoning Code in 1998. He has served on the Board of Sustainable Pittsburgh,The Community Technical Assistance Center, Community House Learning Center, and other community and arts organizations. Rick joined the Coalition in late June, 2013, and has been at the center of a whirlwind of activity. He is making it his business to meet everyone he can in order to make the Coalition more effective in its ongoing mission to preserve, improve and celebrate the quality of life in the 14th Ward of the City of Pittsburgh. One of Rick’s first Coalition building efforts is the convening and staffing of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition Stormwater Task Force. Building on Chris Zurawsky’s extensive preparation, Rick and Chris recently convened the inaugural meeting of the Task Force.The initial focus of the Task Force is to help the Coalition develop a response to stormwater issues affecting Squirrel Hill, determine how to focus our organizational resources wisely, avoid duplication of efforts, create a process to comprise effective strategies, and provide opportunities for early success. To do this, the Coalition wants to foster communications among the community and the many organizations and individuals who are working to deal with the stormwater issues, and to help muster broad community understanding, support and action.
It is not an exaggeration to describe the stormwater situation as a crisis. Most of the buildings and businesses located in our Forbes Avenue and Murray Avenue business districts and many homes in Squirrel Hill and downstream are experiencing frequent dangerous and damaging flooding and sewage backups.This is a county-wide problem and while most of the big public works projects needed to comply with the EPA Consent Decree will be carried out by ALCOSAN and PWSA, there is still much that the Squirrel Hill community can do to help itself and those downstream.That will be a large part of the mission of the Task Force and the Coalition. Among those who attended the initial Task Force meeting were representatives of PWSA,ALCOSAN, City Planning, the Mayor’s office, the County Executive’s office,The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, Penn Environment,The Clean River Campaign, Councilman Peduto’s office, Representative Frankel’s Office, landscape architects, and commercial and residential property owners. Rick’s experience and professionalism will help Chris and the Task Force to keep moving and producing visible and meaningful results. Of course, while the Stormwater Task Force is a top priority, we will need Rick’s leadership and support of volunteers to continue to move forward on many other fronts such as: • completion of the Squirrel Hill Master Plan, • re-energizing our Education Committee in cooperation with our public and private schools and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, • public meetings to keep the community informed and obtain public input on all significant developments, • continued tree planting and expansion of our urban forest canopy, • promotion of and response to proposed real estate developments and residential quality issues, such as development of the final phase of Summerset at Frick Park and redevelopment of the former Poli Restaurant site and neighboring properties, • continuation of the splendid business district improvements being spearheaded by the Squirrel Hill Gateway Task Force, City of Pittsburgh and property owners, • work to insure the future existence and vitality of Squirrel Hill Magazine.
Please join the board of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition in welcoming Rick and making his efforts a success. Please also consider joining SHUC, volunteering your time on issues important to you, advertising in Squirrel Hill Magazine, and supporting your community.You can contact us at email@example.com or 412-422-7666 and join at www.shuc.org. You can contact Squirrel Hill Magazine at 412-223-7584 or by visiting www.squirrelhillmagazine.net. 3 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue PAGE3
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Contemporary Concepts Contemporary Concepts on Forbes Ave is a one stop shop for gifts and accessories for all ages. We carry designers like Vera Wang and Simon Pearce, glassware from Annieglass and object art and furniture from Sticks, as Handmade accent table by STICKS. Made in Iowa. well as Steelers gifts, tumblers personalized for college dorms and games.We offer a free gift wrap service and free local delivery, with a small charge for UPS elsewhere. A family owned and operated business, Contemporary Concepts works with many local charities and partners with Riverside Design Group to make functional gorgeous glass platters, trays and bowls to benefit numerous local charities. Come see our educational gifts for
kids by ALEX and Melissa & Doug, plush animals, book ends, tooth fairy pillows, monogrammable keepsakes and more.We also have a second location in the North Hills. For more information, give us a call: 412-521-2500 or visit our website at www.contemporaryconcepts.com. Come visit soon!
Ambiance Boutique Finding that coveted designer bag is something people brag about and others envy. For savvy shoppers who love luxury items, Ambiance Boutique is the place to shop. Ambiance, which opened in July, is a high-end consignment boutique where you’ll find only the hottest brands and musthave accessories. Is it Prada, Gucci or Chanel you’re looking for? Ambiance Boutique has those brands as well as Chloé, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin and Hermès. What’s better than finding that “must-have” pair of Prada boots? Knowing that you’re shopping with a purpose. For ten years, Bethlehem Haven has operated Ambiance Boutiques in Oakmont and Regent Square to help support its women’s shelter in Pittsburgh. “Profits generated from Ambiance Boutiques help us to provide women with more than just housing,” says Lois Mufuka Martin, Executive Director.“They allow us to offer medical, dental and even mental health services to help women get back on their feet and become productive members of society again.” Ambiance Boutique is located at 1722 Murray Avenue and is open 11 am to 6 pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday; 11 am to 8 pm Tuesday & Thursday; and 12 pm to 5 pm Sunday. www.ambianceboutique.org ph: 412-421-2100. The World In Squirrel Hill Issue PAGE5
fresh off the street
This Just In David Michael Slater’s Fun & Games Looking for a good read this fall? Check out the new novel Fun & Games from Squirrel Hill native David Michael Slater, published by Library Tales Publishing. Set in Squirrel Hill in the 1980s, the novel is a hilarious coming-of-age story that follows protagonist Jonathan Schwartz and his clan of dysfunctional family members. Slater is an author of books for children, teens and adults. His sixteen picture books include the award-winning Flour Girl, Ned Loses His Head and Cheese Louise! His acclaimed teen series, Sacred Books, is being developed for the screen by Producer Kevin Bannerman (Lion King) and screenwriter Karen Janszen (Dolphin Tale). For more information about Slater and to order copy of Fun & Games, visit the author’s website: www.davidmichaelslater.com.
Experience Great Music in Pittsburgh By Rebecca MacNamee For over fifty years, the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society (PCMS) has brought the world’s best chamber music to Pittsburgh. But what is chamber music anyway? It involves small ensembles, usually fewer than twelve musicians, whose heightened communication creates the intimacy which makes chamber music so powerful. And Squirrel Hill can’t get enough, representing the largest portion of PCMS’s audience. PCMS works hard to ensure accessibility to a wide audience, and as part of its outreach to Squirrel Hill, it offers discounted tickets to members of the JCC’s PAGE6 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
New Americans program. PCMS also provides Braille programs for subscription concerts, which are produced by Squirrel Hill resident Judith Meyers. PCMS’s 2013-14 concert season in Carnegie Music Hall begins October 1st with the nine-time Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet. Next, the Orion String Quartet, whose violinists Daniel and Todd Phillips are Squirrel Hill natives, makes its eleventh appearance on PCMS’s series.The season also features the Parker Quartet’s PCMS premiere, pianist Peter Serkin, piano quartet OPUS ONE, and the Berlin-based Artemis Quartet. Special concerts include a collaboration with Chatham Baroque Orion String Quartet. Photo by Andreas Hafenscher. featuring Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and an all-Mozart concert co-presented with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. For tickets and info: www.pittsburghchambermusic.org or 412-624-4129.
Rightfully Impatient By David Frisch
One local group of teenagers isn’t waiting for change; it’s initiating it. Rightfully Impatient is a social activism and volunteer group for teens founded by Allderdice student and Community Day alum, David Frisch. David and the 61 other members in the group, who come from a variety of schools and areas in Pittsburgh, start each month by voting to select an issue they greatly care about.Then they undergo a second round of voting to choose a specific project that addresses the issue at hand. One month the group voted to deal with litter as an issue and then got to work by organizing a cleanup in Squirrel Hill.With the help of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, the dedicated members covered over 40 streets! Other projects have included raising money for an animal shelter and organizing a community event for senior citizens.The group stays engaged and proactive by completing 12 average-sized projects a year, rather than just two or three, as is the case in many school clubs. Like its page on Facebook or to find out more go to www.rightfullyimpatient.com.
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good news from our schools Hometown High Q Champs By Kristen Michaels
Winchester Thurston’s Hometown High Q team took home their third consecutive title this past June. The winning team members are Nathaniel Brodsky (’14), of Point Breeze, Avery Feingold (’13), of Squirrel Hill and Andrew Linzer (’13), of Squirrel Hill.The boys defeated Penn Trafford and Baldwin in the championship round of competition, which aired on KDKA on June 15. Hometown High Q is a televised academic quiz competition where area high school students compete in teams of three for academic grants and recognition. Since they began competing in 2010, the Winchester Thurston team consisting of Brodsky, Feingold and Linzer has taken home $23,000 in winnings courtesy of KDKA and Westfield Insurance Company, which have been used to support local service projects and fund participation in academic tournaments.The trio has also set a new record for highest score, earning 875 points in their round against Taylor Allderdice and Bishop Canevin last year. The future is looking bright for this team of hometown brainiacs. Feingold and Linzer will begin college at Dartmouth and Yale, respectively, this fall, while Brodsky will complete his senior year at Winchester Thurston, a nationally recognized coeducational independent school with campuses in Allison Park and Shadyside.
Intergenerational Friends By Sharon Ciummo, third grade teacher (Alyssa Mahramus is the other third grade teacher.)
The 2013-2014 school year marks the seventh consecutive year that the third graders at St. Edmund’s Academy will participate in an intergenerational community service project with the residents at The Commons of Squirrel Hill. Each September, the students and their teachers walk the two city blocks from St. Edmund’s Academy to the Commons in order to meet the residents with whom they will remain in contact throughout the year. The initial visit is often filled PAGE8 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
with some apprehension on the part of the students, but it quickly fades as they begin interacting with those around them. The students visit the residents at the Commons at least three times a year to partake in crafts, sing songs, play Bingo or even share a Seder meal together. During the months when inclement weather or scheduling conflicts prevent a visit, the children create pictures, cards and/or banners to send to their friends. It is a wonderful opportunity for both our third grade students and the residents. As one student once stated, “The residents might not be able to tell us they are happy to see us, but you sure can see and feel their hearts smiling.”
Hurray for Colfax! By Carolyn Ludwig
Colfax, a K-8 Pittsburgh Public School in Squirrel Hill, began its 102nd school year with approximately 760 enrolled students. Colfax is one of the most ethnically diverse schools in the District – one of its biggest strengths! Throughout the school year, Colfax highlights and exhibits its diversity from month-long school-wide projects for Black History Month and Women’s History Month to annual days of celebration, such as Martin Luther King Day and Cinco de Mayo. All Colfax students receive Spanish instruction as part of their weekly curriculum. Our end of the school year celebration, Carnaval, includes Cultural Tents hosted by school families. These tents, showcasing countries from Israel to India, are always widely anticipated. Our Global Café – also a big hit - is a tasty potluck where families share wonderful recipes with our Colfax community. At the beginning of each school year, we have a kick-off party called Fiesta. Sometimes tapping to the beat of Latin music and toting a mix of everything – it’s a great evening to catch up with families, teachers and staff!
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Serving Refugees from Around the Globe By Elizabeth Waickman
rom stores specializing in international goods and the many restaurants offering global cuisine, to the foreign languages peppering conversations down Murray Avenue, Squirrel Hill is a perfect landing ground for Pittsburgh’s refugees. Speaking amongst each other in Nepali, interjecting a few newly-learned English phrases, a Bhutanese family gathers in the waiting room at Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS). They are recent arrivals to Pittsburgh from a refugee camp, and JF&CS is their first contact in their new city. It has been almost 20 years since refugees from the former Soviet Union flooded into Squirrel Hill, and like the refugees from the former USSR, many of the services new refugee arrivals depend on as they acclimate to their new lives in Pittsburgh are concentrated in Squirrel Hill’s diverse and vibrant community. “Right in our waiting room at JF&CS, someone could be sitting next to a refugee from across the globe who has just relocated to Pittsburgh after fleeing their home country,” said Leslie Aizenman, director of refugee services at JF&CS. “The Squirrel Hill community is so connected to the refugee experience, and it’s wonderful to see this kind of diversity in our own backyard.” As one of Pittsburgh’s four resettlement agencies, and the only one based in Squirrel Hill, JF&CS is the first point of contact for more than 200 refugees out of several hundred arriving to Pittsburgh annually.The refugee resettlement staff works to help facilitate their most basic needs of housing, employment, acculturation, overcoming language barriers, medical care and more, and also helps an estimated 300 additional refugee clients, many of whom have moved to Pittsburgh after being resettled in another American city. Susan Kalson, CEO of the Squirrel Hill Health Center (SHHC), estimates that in recent years, SHHC has seen more than 1,200 Bhutanese refugees, mostly referred by local resettlement
agencies like JF&CS. Conceptualized in 2006, SHHC serves the healthcare needs of unand under-insured community members, and has grown over the years to provide comprehensive initial, ongoing and preventaBenedict Killang of JF&CS speaks with a refugee who recently tive medical, dental arrived from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. and some behavioral (Photo credit: Elizabeth Waickman/JF&CS) health care for refugee patients ranging from Bhutanese, Burmese, Iraqis and some Congolese. “We want to provide comprehensive services to everybody, and that means we don’t just want to give a refugee a shot and send them on their way,” Kalson said.“We really want to become their health ‘home,’ and provide them with healthcare and other supports over time.” Other Squirrel Hill organizations are welcoming refugees and internationals to the community in many ways.The Jewish Community Center partners with JF&CS to hold socialization activities between neighborhood teens and local refugees. Refugee group meetings are held at the Christine Fréchard Gallery on Forbes Avenue. Free conversational English classes are offered weekly at the Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. “Squirrel Hill is such a welcoming community when it comes to embracing our city’s refugee and international populations,”Aizenman said.“And our community benefits tremendously – they bring diversity and new ideas, attract more young people to our city and enrich us with their culture.They’re paying taxes, rents and buying goods and services, and they go on to buy homes and open businesses and send their kids to college in our region.” Through partnership and collaboration between local agencies, community members and business owners, Aizenman said there is much potential to expand on these efforts for the continued benefit of the Squirrel Hill community. She encourages community members to volunteer or donate household goods, clothing or furniture for refugees, and encourages business owners to contact JF&CS to find out how they may be able to employ refugees, who are fully authorized to work in the U.S. Kalson, the great-granddaughter of immigrants, echoes the benefits of welcoming refugees to Pittsburgh and Squirrel Hill. “They enrich our community in ways that we can’t even imagine.They open the door to make it possible for others to bring all of their energy, enthusiasm and talents to our community, and it bodes well for the future of our community that we have these new waves of diverse populations coming in,” she said.“It’s incredibly important for Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh and the entire region.” 3 For more information about volunteer opportunities available at JF&CS, or to donate, visit www.jfcspgh.org or call 412-422-7200.
PAGE10 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
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A Place for Meditation By Adrienne Block
Draped in crimson robes,Tempa Lama sits cross-legged at the front of the room on a chair adorned with colorful Tibetan silks. Next to him, a stepped altar painted in the same crimson shade displays objects central to Bon ritual: copper hand bells, ceremonial drums, incense and bronze statues of deities. Colorful thangkas – religious paintings – decorate the saffron-colored walls, and brocaded silk banners hang from the ceiling.Tempa raises one hand and with his other hand strikes a small copper bowl with a mallet – one, two, three times.At the third strike, quiet descends over the room as members of the assembled group close their eyes and begin silent meditation. Similar scenes happen regularly across the world in India and Nepal – and all the places where Bonpos practice. But this isn’t the other side of the world; it’s steps away from the Greenfield Giant Eagle, at the Olmo Ling Bon Center. Tempa’s youthful face and easy laughter complement his extensive knowledge of the Bon tradition and the thoughtful, patient way in which he communicates this knowledge to members of his meditation groups. Bon is an ancient Tibetan religion founded by Tonpa Shenrab that is believed to be 18,000 years old. Recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as one of Tibet’s five main spiritual schools, its teachings and practices are very similar to those of Tibetan Buddhism although it is based on a different lineage.
at CMU, where she is now a research scientist working in geosciences.They began holding meditation groups and Bon workshops at their Greenfield home several months later, using a temple they set up in a spare room in their basement.At first only a few people came, but over the next two years the group continued to grow.Tempa and Iris increased the schedule to twice-weekly meditations, weekly Tibetan yoga, a children’s group, plus weekend workshops given by Tempa Lama and other teachers from the Bon tradition who traveled from India,Tibet and Nepal. By the summer of 2009, the group could no longer fit in the small basement temple, and Olmo Ling moved into its current space in a yellow-brick building at the corner of Loretta St and Greenfield Ave. In June 2011, Olmo Ling was honored to host the historic first visit of His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin, the spiritual head of the Bon tradition, to Pittsburgh. This was followed by a second visit in May 2013. During the evening’s meditation, which lasts for 15 or 20 minutes, the quiet in the Bon temple is broken only by the occasional muffled passage of street traffic and gentle noises of movement as people shift their postures.To the relief of beginners in the group,Tempa Lama emphasizes the importance of meditating in a comfortable position, and both chairs and floor cushions are provided.The group averages about 30 people for these Tuesday evening meditation sessions, which are followed by a short lecture about Bon teachings, and attendance is diverse in age, ethnicity, nationality and religious background.
Tempa Lama says that one of the first things he noticed about Pittsburgh was its abundance of churches and other houses of worship, and it struck him as a “spiritually rooted area” where Bon or Buddhist teachings would be wellreceived and have the opportunity to benefit communities. “My intention is not to make someone a Buddhist,” he explains.“This temple is a place where anyone can come. It is open to any faith, any individual who wants to try the practices and see if it is something that works for them.” Trained as a lama in the Bon tradition at a monastery in northern India,Tempa Lama spent his childhood in a small village in Humla, a remote region of northwestern Nepal. He came to the U.S. in 2000 and spent the next five years living and teaching at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, where he met Iris Grossmann, his future wife.The two came to Pittsburgh in the spring of 2007 when Iris found a position PAGE12 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
Tempa Lama with His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin and Iris Grossmann inside the Olmo Ling Bon Center in 2011.
Tempa welcomes diversity and chose the temple’s location based on its centrality and proximity to bus lines in hopes that all Pittsburghers would be able to access it easily. Walking past the Center, one would never guess that the inside approximates a traditional Bon space of worship. Panels of fabric cover the long, slender windows and glass door, blocking the passerby’s view from without and obscuring the view of the street from within. Newly renovated just before Olmo Ling moved in and freshly painted by the Center’s members, the internal space radiates a sense of calm and comfort that distinguishes it immediately from the world outside. In the deep quiet of meditation, one may cease to hear passing cars, fail to notice the delicate earthy scent of ritual incense, or lose track of time. Tempa strikes his mallet against the copper bowl three more times.The participants bring their hands together at heart-level and bow in silence before opening their eyes. 3 Tempa Lama is the author of several books about the Bon tradition including, most recently, Journey into Buddhahood. For more information, including a schedule of programs and classes, please visit www.olmoling.org. When she’s not working on Squirrel Hill Magazine, Adrienne Block is a freelance writer and editor. You can reach her at email@example.com.
squirrel hill feature
Shop The World In Squirrel Hill By Kayla Washko and Adrienne Block
Global Market Retail 2016 Murray Avenue Mexico Lindo 2027 Murray Avenue Established by JeanPierre Nutini and his wife, Lisa DiGioia-Nutini, in 2004, Mexico Lindo carries fine Mexican folk art and crafts.Among its most exquisite items are the intricately painted wooden Alebrijes from Oaxaca and beaded masks, jewelry and yarn paintings of the Huichol Indians. The shop also carries silver and gemstone designer jewelry from Taxco, selected by owner DiGioia-Nutini, a Graduate Gemologist. Clothing, blankets, rugs, pillows, wall hangings, baskets, ceramics and leather goods representative of various indigenous Mexican cultures can all be found at Mexico Lindo. Browse the store’s many treasures first-hand or shop online at www.mexicolindo.biz.
Paititi 1823 Murray Avenue Named for the mythical lost city where the Incas secreted their most cherished gold pieces from Spanish conquistadors, Paititi offers Squirrel Hill shoppers a fine assortment of Peruvian treasures, from jewelry crafted with organic fruit peels to handmade bags, sweaters, pants and dresses. Owner Cessy Portuguez, a native of Peru, says the hottest items in the store this season will be sweaters, hats, gloves and socks made from alpaca, which is softer and warmer than wool. But by far the most adorable gift ideas for holiday shoppers are Paititi’s crocheted finger puppets and plush toys made with real alpaca fibers. Paititi is a fair trade retailer and all items are handmade in Peru.
PAGE14 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
Global Market Retail is proud to carry items from 22 countries. Shoppers will find an eclectic selection of gift ideas – horn jewelry boxes made in Thailand, antique glass perfume bottles from Morocco, wood carvings from Ghana, Moroccan-style lamps from India, and musical instruments from Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and Turkey, just to name a few. All items are handmade by communities around the world and hand-selected by the owner and his wife to guarantee quality. For more information about Global Market Retail, visit the store’s website: www.globalmarketretail.com.
Margaret’s Fine Imports 5872 Forbes Avenue Margaret Harris came to Pittsburgh from Poland 15 years ago and opened Margaret’s Fine Imports in 2002.The store sells products from nearly 20 countries including sweets, cosmetics, coffee, vintage tea cups and other tea accessories, but most of all specializes in tea. Margaret also offers tea classes focusing on topics such as tea history, tea types and health benefits.The store often holds sales and special events to celebrate holidays from around the world like the Queen’s birthday. Margaret says that Squirrel Hill residents from other countries are happy to see items from their homelands when they visit her store. Learn more at www.teapittsburgh.com.
Pinskers Judaica Center 2028 Murray Avenue
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Pinskers Judaica Center has been serving the Pittsburgh region for almost 50 years, and has continued to change with the times while still catering to traditional needs. Recognized as one of the great American Jewish Bookstores, Pinskers also features a wine room with a huge selection of kosher wines from around the world. Pinskers sells everything you would expect to find in a Judaica store and much, much more, from ritual items to gifts, games and music.You can learn more about Pinskers at www.pinskersjudaica.com and shop their extensive online store at www.judaism.com.
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Insuring our neighborhood for over 70 years Ten Thousand Villages 5824 Forbes Avenue Ten Thousand Villages celebrates its 15-year anniversary in October with an entire month of events. The Nativity Unveil on October 5 will offer a first peek at the new nativities, ornaments and decorations for the season.And on November 9, the One Big Holiday Bag Sale gives 20% off everything you can fit in one of the store’s Shopping Bags. Store manager Jenn Legler emphasizes that all purchases are “gifts that give twice,” meaning once to the recipient and once to the artisan who crafted it.All items in the store are purchased under fair trade agreements. For more information, visit pittsburgh.tenthousandvillages.com.
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squirrel hill feature
Japanese Culture Blossoms at Chaya By Chris Zurawsky
Fumio Yasuzawa dreams of creating a cultural center for Pittsburghers from Japan.“I would call it the Japanese Community House, like the Jewish Community Center,” he said on a recent August Sunday morning. Seated at a booth in Chaya, his Murray Avenue sushi restaurant, Yasuzawa, 61, shared green tea with a visitor, along with some of his life story and personal vision. Yasuzawa emphasized that his establishment embodies the historical function of its name, chaya, or “teahouse.” Hundreds of years ago in Japan, teahouses were meeting places where travelers rested, refueled and shared information. Since opening in 2001, Chaya has become a focal point for local Japanese culture and a gathering spot for the Pittsburgh area’s more than 2,000 Japanese residents. Yasuzawa’s journey here began in 1975 when he immigrated to the United States, working first at the Kitano Hotel, the only Japaneseowned hotel in New York City.Although he had a house in the suburbs and a “good position and good income,”Yasuzawa was dissatisfied with New York City’s pace.“I didn’t have my own time,” he said. Born in what was then farm country about 40 minutes outside of Tokyo,Yasuzawa's attachment to the land has remained strong.A visit in the early 1990s to a Japanese friend living in New Castle attracted Yasuzawa to the Pittsburgh area. During the trip, he saw Amish people for the first time and was struck by their simple lifestyle.After buying fresh brown eggs at an Amish farm,Yasuzawa returned to his friend’s house and prepared a Japanese dish that included rice and a raw egg.That was the turning point.“The taste of the fresh egg took me back to childhood and Japan,” he said.“Right then I decided to have this kind of life.” Yasuzawa bought a small farm in Cranberry Township where he still lives with his wife, Jackie, a number of dogs, many wild animals, and, at one time, 18 chickens. Building on his hospitality industry experience,Yasuzawa decided to open a restaurant in Pittsburgh. He said he first considered Cranberry and Wexford, but 2001 was “too early” for the suburban area to support a Japanese restaurant. Yasuzawa was attracted to Squirrel Hill in part because of the neighborhood’s preponderance of university employees and foreign residents. Such diners tend to be “open-minded” about their meals, he said, which prompts him to add new items to Chaya’s menu. Beyond the restaurant business, much of Yasuzawa’s time is devoted to spreading Japanese culture. His business card lists three local Japanese organizations: Pittsburgh Sakura Project, the Japan
Fumio Yasuzawa and his wife, Jackie, in front of Chaya.
Association of Greater Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Kojo Church, a Japan-based Christian denomination. Church member Akira Sekikawa, a Pitt associate professor of epidemiology, said that services used to be held in different locations, but that with members living in places like Monroeville, Carnegie and Fox Chapel, Chaya became a convenient central gathering place. Services are now held three Sundays each month in the restaurant’s back room. Sekikawa also noted that his friend was the catalyst for Pittsburgh’s celebrated Sakura (“cherry blossom”) Project. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you” quote, Yasuzawa said he wanted to do something for his community besides being a good taxpayer. Taking Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin cherry blossoms as a model, and with help from friends and the Japan Association of Greater Pittsburgh, he drafted a 20-page proposal for planting 250 cherry trees in North Park and submitted it to Allegheny County officials. Six months went by, but no answer. Then, true to Chaya’s roots as an information exchange,Yasuzawa one day told a regular customer about his plan.The customer, an attorney, called a county parks official that he knew, and the rest is history. Since 2009, 138 trees have gone into the ground. Chaya also hosts Japanese flower arrangement classes conducted by the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, Pittsburgh Study Group. Yasuzawa is now focused on building his Japanese book collection. Hundreds of volumes, along with Japanese movie DVDs, line rows of metal shelves in Chaya’s basement. He hopes to someday make the collection widely available, perhaps as part of a Pittsburgh Japanese cultural center. “What do first generation Japanese people in America need?” Yasuzawa asks. Friends and food, of course, he said, but something more: a connection to the home country. 3 Chris Zurawsky is a Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition board member. The World In Squirrel Hill Issue PAGE17
squirrel hill spotlight
2013 Squirrel Hill Treasures Compiled by Adrienne Block and Kayla Washko Mural article by Michael Douglas Henderson
Karla Boos founded Quantum Theatre in 1990 and serves as Artistic Director.The company creates adventurous productions of contemporary theatre from around the world or stages updated classics in innovative performance sites all over the city, and frequently makes original work. Boos often directs or acts for the company. She recently directed Complicite’s Mnemonic, Osvaldo Golijov’s Grammy Award-winning opera Ainadamar and Roland Schimmelpfennig’s The Golden Dragon, and appeared in Quantum’s world premiere translation of Jon Fosse’s Dream of Autumn. Her original texts for The End of the Affair (adapted from Graham Greene) and The Howling Miller (adapted from Arto Paasilinna) have been produced in recent seasons. Quantum has toured to the Festival de Otoño in Madrid, and its work has been featured in American Theatre, Live Design and Stage Directions magazines, and frequently earns distinction in local publications. Boos has won awards locally, including a Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Creative Achievement Award, Pittsburgh Magazine Harry Schwalb Excellence in the Arts Award, and a University of Pittsburgh Freddy Award. She is a past Women and Girls Foundation Women in the Material World designee and a New Hazlett Theatre honoree for Women in the Arts: Founders, Pioneers, Instigators. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum and the National Theatre Conference.
SHUC will honor our 2013 Squirrel Hill Treasures on October 17 at the Pittsburgh Golf Club.
bbb To purchase tickets, call 412-422-7666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PAGE18 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
Wendell G. Freeland is winding down a private practice in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate levels. He graduated cum laude from Howard University in 1947 and with honors from the University of Maryland in 1950 where he was the first AfricanAmerican elected to the Order of the Coif. Freeland was a Tuskegee Airman, a bombardier, with the 477th Bombardment Group in World War II. He came to Pittsburgh in 1950 and was admitted to the bar here in 1951. Some of Mr. Freeland’s professional activities included being a member of the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania, the first president of the Neighborhood Legal Services Association, a member of the Appellate Rules Committee of the Supreme Court, member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association House of Delegates, chair of the Federal Court Section of the Allegheny County Bar Association, a member of the Executive Board of the Trial Lawyers in Criminal Court, a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association Committee on Opportunities for Minorities in the Legal Profession and a chair of the Homer S. Brown Law Association. He was a founding member of Hill House Association and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition. In community affairs, his activities include service as president of the Urban League of Pittsburgh, as senior vice-president of the National Urban League, as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pittsburgh, Westminster College and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He was recently awarded a Doctorate of Laws by Westminster College. He and his wife, Jane, have been married for 66 years.They have two children, Michael and Lisa, who live in Pittsburgh.
Mural photo used with the permission of the United States Postal Service®. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Senior Rabbi James A. Gibson has led Temple Sinai
Squirrel Hill Post Office Mural, History of Squirrel Hill by Alan Thompson (1942) As part of the New Deal
congregation since 1988. For more than two decades he has ignited the spirit of their unique Family of Families through his joyful spirituality, his learned teaching and his passionate commitment to social justice in the Jewish community and beyond.
effort to stimulate the economy, the federal government embarked on a massive program of public works construction. Across the country thousands of post offices, courthouses, bridges and dams were built. But by far the most visible and publically recognized of these constructions were the post offices. Often mistaken for WPA art, all of the Post Office art was commissioned by the U.S.Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts, whose primary function was to select art of high quality to decorate public buildings.Artworks were expected to reflect a town’s heritage in some way. Popular subjects included local industry, agriculture and history. Unlike the arts programs of the Works Projects Administration (WPA), the Section was not a relief program and commissions were merit based.The Section administrators hoped to create a uniquely American art via the mural program.Artists were requested to work in the “American Scene” style, which was only vaguely defined, suggesting a straightforward realism portraying subjects easily recognizable by every American.
Rabbi Gibson chairs the Jewish Unity Project for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and co-convenes the PriestRabbi Dialogue sponsored by the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He sits on many community boards and serves as co-chair of the JewishChristian Dialogue on behalf of the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee. He is adjunct faculty at Chatham University and also teaches Catholic high school students through their CatholicJewish Educational Enrichment Program (C-JEEP). Nationally, Rabbi Gibson serves on the Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Communities as well as on the Commission on Outreach and Membership of the Union for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Gibson is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in History with distinction. Ordained by Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, he studied in both Jerusalem and Cincinnati. He holds a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity as well. In 2010, he completed the prestigious three-year Rabbinic Leadership Initiative of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and is presently a Rabbinic Fellow in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.
b The Treasure Awards event will feature a raffle with three wonderful prizes: a pass for two to the Manor Theatre for a year, a fine collection of wines, and a sports package including Steelers tickets. Check out our website at shuc.org for further information. The drawing will take place on October 17 at the event and the winner need not be present.
Alan Thompson, born in England in 1908, attended Carnegie Institute of Technology and Pittsburgh Art Institute and was a member of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. He was an illustrator, and an artist well known for his paintings of the Pittsburgh area. In 1942 he painted History of Squirrel Hill, which employs a popular compositional technique in post office painting – a combination of past and present scenes. Bridging the past and the present is a Daniel Boone-like character, rifle in hand. He looks calmly on the bustling present of 1942, but is clearly part of the violent past, one replete with Indian attacks on European settlers. In the amusing tableau of the present one can see Squirrel Hill landmarks like Taylor Allderdice school and the storefronts and urban fabric of the neighborhood, peopled by a diverse Squirrel Hill crowd.A bearded Orthodox gentleman in black hat and coat dominates the panel deep in his own thoughts. More engaging is the screaming baby in a carriage, looking out toward the viewer, while his mother, cigarette in hand and engrossed in the local gossip, is oblivious to her child. Meanwhile a dog on-leash longingly eyes a nearby fire hydrant. This and more can be seen in this wonderfully entertaining work of public, government-funded art at the Squirrel Hill Post Office – a true local treasure! The World In Squirrel Hill Issue PAGE19
squirrel hill feature
Care Without Borders at the Squirrel Hill Health Center By Max Schlosser
Cross the Monongahela from the Waterfront heading north over the Homestead Grays Bridge and on the right after a minute or two sits the Squirrel Hill Health Center, nestled in a street side plaza in between a Wendy’s and, at least for now – go figure – some road construction. Push open the glass doors and it can feel like an Ellis Island-level assortment of languages is bouncing around.The SHHC is the city’s largest medical provider for international refugees and the staff speaks over eight languages. The Center is a lot bigger than it looks from outside. Concealed within the building are carefully sectioned-off cubicles of care for all types of medical, dental or behavioral needs. They also specialize in prenatal and geriatric care. The SHHC is a Federally Qualified Health Center, a home away from home for seniors in need of regular service, a comfortable haven for refugees and immigrants, a safety net for those with no health insurance and more. Among other conveniences, it keeps people from spending unnecessarily on emergency room visits or regular visits to the hospital. The SHHC was originally funded primarily by the federal government, which now provides about 25% of its income.The rest comes from Medicaid, Medicare, some private insurers and people who simply choose to go there. The SHHC also raises funds itself.Through this combination of income sources, the SHHC is able to provide free healthcare to those in dire financial straits due to, for instance, being a refugee or senior citizen on a fixed income. In the United States it is the law for an immigrant with refugee status to receive Medicaid for eight months, and by then they are expected to have landed a full time job with full benefits. That can be difficult, especially with no English language experience before the resettlement.The SHHC provides several interpretation services, and they have many bi- or multi-lingual staff members who speak Spanish, Russian,Arabic, Hebrew, Nepali,Tagalog, Swahili and American Sign Language.When they can’t find a translator to come in person, they use a phone service that has translators of 120 languages on call.To date the SHHC has had 48 different languages used under its roof. Their third most used language these days – behind PAGE20 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
English and Spanish – is actually Nepali, due to a recent surge of Bhutanese refugees freed from 20 years in a refugee camp.Also, lately many Congolese and Middle Eastern immigrants have requested their services. An integral part of caring for patients from such diverse backgrounds is a focus on cultural competency, meaning staff members try to understand the patient as a whole person and fit their practice into the patient’s way of life rather than creating cultural barriers.They are a patient-centered medical home that builds comfortable, long-lasting relationships and provides all kinds of aid, including food stamps, help getting into the SNAP Program and home health aid.They also have a mobile unit that brings an exam room straight to homebound patients.The Center employs a full time social worker and three members of AmeriCorps. Over the last three years the SHHC has grown 30% over the previous year in patient population. By the end of 2013 they expect to have seen 4,500 patients in about 15,000 visits. The SHHC recently received a grant from the government to hire navigators who will help people with the new upcoming insurance marketplace – the computerized network that is starting in January as a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.You do not have to be their patient to receive this help.The SHHC’s goal is to enroll as many people as possible and to find out who is eligible for subsidies.The new insurance aid program begins in October.The staff of the SHHC worries many don’t even know this fundamental change is coming, but in this and many other ways, they are here to help. 3 Thank you to Susan Kalson, CEO of Squirrel Hill Health Center. Max Schlosser is a journalism student at the University of Pittsburgh currently studying abroad in Costa Rica.
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www.englishlanenursery.com Thank you Squirrel Hill for the pleasure of serving you for 106 years!
squirrel hill feature In Squirrel Hill, Scholars Find a Place to Call Home By Christine Hucko
Hailing from the U.S. and from around the globe, specializing in everything from history to robotics, the academics of Squirrel Hill add to the colorful mosaic that is this community. With a host of universities located a stone’s throw away from the houses and apartments of Squirrel Hill, it’s no wonder that so many scholars choose to live in this neighborhood. But it’s not just proximity that draws people from the academic community to this one. Sebastian, who works at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, is originally from Lenggries, a small town in Bavaria. Since relocating to Pittsburgh, he has lived in Squirrel Hill, Shadyside and Bloomfield. When the time came for Sebastian and his wife, Hiroko, to plant their roots a little deeper, they moved back to Squirrel Hill, lured in by the neighborhood’s quality of life. Sebastian and Hiroko, who have two small children, delight in being able to “walk to most places where we want to go,” Sebastian told me. They also love the variety of shops and restaurants on Murray, and enjoy living close to Schenley Park. Plus, for the international couple, Squirrel Hill’s cultural diversity has major appeal:“There are a lot of different cultures that come together here, and since we are also not from here [the U.S.], it makes it more comfortable, I think,” Sebastian said. While Sebastian and Hiroko come from Germany and Japan, respectively, John is locally grown, hailing from across the Mon in Mt. Lebanon. John serves as both lecturer and advisor in the history department at the University of Pittsburgh, and he is thrilled about his easy commute to campus.“I like to joke with people that it’s ‘a walk in the park,’” he said about the quick trip to Oakland, a commute that stands in stark contrast to the one he made in New York for seven years: 135 miles in one direction. “The green space is amazing,” John added.“I think no other neighborhood in Pittsburgh has two such substantial parks on either side of it.” And while other communities have sidewalks, technically making them “walkable,” it’s hard to beat the ease with which residents can walk to places in Squirrel Hill, John observed. Out of milk? No problem. It’s a hop, skip and a jump to Giant Eagle. Bread? We’ve got Allegro for that.“It’s good the bakery isn’t even closer than it is,” John quipped. PAGE22 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
Speaking of shops, let’s not forget all the coffee shops in the area. When I went on a coffee shop crawl one morning, looking for students to chat with about the neighborhood, I met Kristy. I found her seated at a corner table at Crazy Mocha. Originally from New England, she moved here to study medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. When I asked her why she chose to live in Squirrel Hill, she said she wanted to live close to campus, but in a place that “felt a little more community-like than Oakland.” “The nice thing about Squirrel Hill is that you meet a lot of young professionals, you meet students, you meet older folks. My neighbors range from people my own age to people who are [around] 85,” Kristy said. Plus, she thinks “there’s a lot of convenience to living here,” pointing to the bus routes and to the fact that pretty much everything is within walking distance – something that appealed to everyone I spoke with. Jialiu, a computer science student at Carnegie Mellon, agrees that it’s easy to get around if you live here.“This is a safe neighborhood,” she said,“and the transportation is really, really convenient. There are a lot of buses passing by, and also there are many good restaurants, especially for Asian food,” which is important to Jialiu, who comes from China. While everyone agreed that there is a lot to like about Squirrel Hill, choosing one’s favorite thing about the neighborhood proved to be a challenge. When I posed the question, I could see by the look in my interviewees’ eyes that coming up with just one thing was like standing in a pastry shop full of delightful treats, having to choose just one. After giving it some thought, Sebastian said,“Murray.” John, remembering that long commute he used to make in New York, said he just loves the proximity of his home to his workplace. Kristy, who’s a runner, said she really likes Frick Park. And Jialiu? “Squirrels!” 3
Christine Hucko is a writer and editor living in Squirrel Hill. You can visit her on the web at www.christinehucko.com.
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squirrel hill historical society
They Came to Squirrel Hill By Helen Wilson Vice-President, Squirrel Hill Historical Society
The tombstone of Thomas Tomkins, A Native of Wales, in Turner Cemetery.
E Pluribus Unum – “Out of Many, One.” The motto on the Great Seal of the United States dates from the very beginning of America. Originally it referred to the thirteen colonies uniting under a central government, but the first design (later rejected) included six symbols for the “Countries from which these States have been peopled” – England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland and Germany.
Scotch-Irish was greater than that of any other ethnic group in Western Pennsylvania, extending from the earliest settlements of hunters, trappers and farmers to the enclaves of the upper classes in the 1900s. While the English tended to stay close to the East Coast, the Scotch-Irish settled throughout Western Pennsylvania.Their cultural habits and strong Presbyterian beliefs had a major effect on the development of Pittsburgh.
Early Squirrel Hill’s convoluted ethnic mixture reflected that of the new nation, as can be seen by a look at the tombstones in Turner Cemetery. The little graveyard, located at 3424 Beechwood Boulevard, contains the remains of some of the first settlers of Squirrel Hill. As expected, most of the names are British-sounding, including Turner, Clark, Castleman, Patterson, Little, Hackethorn and Redding. One large tombstone proudly proclaims,“Thomas Tomkins, a Native of Wales.”
The Pluribus of early Squirrel Hill was definitely not multicultural as we use the term today. No mention of Native Americans, Eastern Europeans, Africans, Asians or Jews. Diversity was not valued. It led to suspicion and sometimes violence as people came into contact with others who had a different culture, religion, level of education or skin color. Assimilation was an uneasy process.
Germans are also buried in Turner’s.The Schmeltz tombstone has disappeared, but those of Gruebaugh and Hoffman remain, and two small tombstones mark the graves of the Zschoegner infants. A few French, Dutch and other nationalities also likely lived in the sparsely settled area. “Dutch” was a derivation of Deutsch, which referred to all German-speaking peoples. As for the Irish, the term originally meant the Presbyterian Lowland Scots who had moved into Northern Ireland but were forced out by the English and came to America in the 1700s.They didn’t call themselves “Scotch-Irish” until the Catholic Irish came to the United States, especially during the time of the Potato Famine in the mid-1800s.The ScotchIrish even differentiated themselves from the Highland Scots, such as Andrew Carnegie, who came to America in the 1800s. According to Clarke Thomas in his book, They Came to… Pittsburgh, the influence of the fiercely independent
Native Americans were forced out of Western Pennsylvania by European settlers, who blazed claims for farmland. It took a lot of work to make a go at farming in the age of actual horsepower, and sometimes slaves were used.The 1800 Census for Pitt Township, which included Squirrel Hill, lists 40 slaves out of a population of 1,477. Slavery gradually died out in Pennsylvania because of pressure from increasing numbers of free African-Americans and whites, who felt the abhorrent practice was morally wrong. The Gradual Abolition Act was passed in Pennsylvania in 1780, and by 1840 slavery was gone from Pitt Township. Few Jews lived in Squirrel Hill until the early 1900s, when mostly middle-class German Jews from Allegheny City left its corruption, pollution and substandard housing behind and moved en masse to join the well-to-do Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in the northern half of Squirrel Hill. Another influx of Jews occurred a few years later, this time Eastern European, many Lithuanian, who came from the overcrowded and deteriorating Hill District and Oakland. They occupied smaller houses in the southern half of Squirrel Hill. Continued on next page The World In Squirrel Hill Issue PAGE25
squirrel hill historical society cont. It took a while for the newcomers to be accepted into the organizations the German Jews had founded, but eventually the ability of the diverse Jewish groups to work together led to the development of a vibrant Jewish community. As more Jews moved to Squirrel Hill from Europe during and after the two World Wars, Squirrel Hill’s Jewish population grew to be around 50 percent. An influx of Jews from the Soviet Union in the late 1900s added another dimension to the cultural mix. Squirrel Hill’s Jewish population now hovers between 33 to 40 percent. Today a stroll along Squirrel Hill’s business district shows the most recent influx of cultures.Although Italian pizzerias, Chinese restaurants and Middle Eastern eateries have been staples in Squirrel Hill for years, new restaurants are opening up, mostly featuring the cuisine of Asian ethnic groups. Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Indians and others are drawn to Pittsburgh for the city’s outstanding educational, technological and medical opportunities and drawn to Squirrel Hill for its proximity, good housing stock and safe and pleasant environment.The process of diversity continues. 3 Anyone interested in learning more about Squirrel Hill history is invited to attend the meetings of the Squirrel Hill Historical Society held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. Go to www.squirrelhillhistory.org to view upcoming lectures and events. Also, consider joining the SHHS. Membership is only $10 per year. There is no charge for attending the meetings.
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squirrel hill update Gateway Project Update By Kayla Washko
Mardi Isler, Gateway Committee chair, says the location for the new mural was chosen because the intersection of Beacon Street and Murray Avenue is peoples’ first association with the Squirrel Hill business district when they enter the neighborhood from Schenley Park.The Committee felt a number of enhancements could be made at that intersection to improve the experience of both pedestrians and drivers passing through the neighborhood.Through the generous cooperation of property owner John Katz, the new mural is the first of those enhancements. The mural was designed by artist Edward Rawson, a Squirrel Hill native who also serves as Chief Operations Officer of MLK Mural, a 501(c)3 charitable organization that focuses on arts, youth development and education. Rawson estimates that MLK Mural has created 250 murals around the city of Pittsburgh, including the mural at Nicholson Street and Murray Avenue.That mural was later translated into a flag design which can be seen hanging from every light post in the Squirrel Hill business district. Rawson says that the murals at PAGE28 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
The nature-inspired mural will tie in nicely with other improvements the Gateway Committee plans to make at the Beacon Street and Murray Avenue intersection. New plantings, benches and streetlights will be added to create a space where pedestrians can give pause and take in the sights and sounds of Squirrel Hill’s thriving business district. The site plans for the Beacon Street and Murray Avenue intersection were prepared by landscape architect Sara Thompson of Pashek Associates, who has worked alongside the Gateway Committee on many projects, including O’Connor’s Corner at Phillips Street and the new welcome sign coming to the Squirrel Hill parkway exit this fall.The design for the new welcome sign was chosen at a community meeting held at the JCC in April, and will feature the text “Welcome to Squirrel Hill” alongside a depiction of the neighborhood’s namesake nibbling an acorn. Funding was made possible through a grant from The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA). In addition to the new sign, the Gateway Committee plans to spruce up the parkway exit by adding new plantings and streetlights next spring. The new welcome sign and the mural at Beacon Street and Murray Avenue are just two examples of ongoing improvements the Gateway Committee is working to bring to Squirrel Hill. Community input is always welcome, something that Rawson believes is very important.“It gives people some ownership,” he says.“When people see change and they see positive things happening in their community, they always feel better about their community.” 3
Sign design credit: Pashek Associates.
Winter may be just around the corner, but Squirrel Hill residents will be treated to a bit of greenery in their neighborhood year-round, thanks to the new mural at the intersection of Beacon Street and Murray Avenue.The mural features an abstract letter formation that reads “Sq H” to represent “Squirrel Hill” and is set against a vibrant green backdrop with a leaf pattern running throughout it. It is the result of collaboration between the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition’s Gateway Committee and Moving the Lives of Kids Community Mural Project (MLK Mural).
Nicholson and Beacon are “thematically similar” in that they use bright colors and fragmented lettering, but the Beacon mural was designed specifically with Squirrel Hill’s natural landscapes in mind.“[The Squirrel Hill community] is really proud of the fact that there are more trees per square mile in Squirrel Hill than anywhere else in Pittsburgh, so they really wanted to see a mural with plant life in it,” he explains.
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neighborhood notes Childrenʼs Institute/ Tree Pittsburgh Partnership
La Escuelita Arcoiris Teams Up with Beth Shalom
By Rob Imperata and Rick Lipa
This school year marks the start of an exciting new model for collaboration and cooperation for early childhood education in Squirrel Hill. La Escuelita Arcoiris, a Spanish immersion preschool for children ages 18 months through kindergarten, has relocated to the Beth Shalom preschool building at 5915 Beacon Street.
The Day School at The Children’s Institute and Tree Pittsburgh are teaming up to help care for the trees lining the streets of Squirrel Hill.The Day School provides educational services for students ages five to 21 with complex and severe disabilities. Students will be volunteering with Tree Pittsburgh to help plant trees, weed the tree boxes and prune the trees as part of an expanded 18- to 21-year-old transition program at The Day School. The purpose of the new transition program is to encourage students to participate in the community to his or her greatest potential.This particular opportunity will give Day School students practical experience volunteering, developing pre-vocational skills and interacting with community members. Both organizations are excited to begin this partnership.
A Squirrel Hill Story By Adrienne Block
At the end of a book review that appeared in the May 26 issue of the New York Times, some Squirrel Hill residents may have noticed a familiarsounding reference. The book was ’Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage Is Transforming America by Naomi Schaefer Riley, and the reference was to “Judy, a Jew who also married a Roman Catholic — in this instance in 1964, with disapproval from both families.”The review continued,“Their union lasted until her husband’s death.Their grown children include two who are religiously unaffiliated and a third who is a Roman Catholic priest.The cousins include Orthodox Jews.” A phone call to Judy O’Connor confirmed that indeed she and former Mayor Bob O’Connor and their families were the subject of this passage. Mrs. O’Connor had been interviewed by Ms. Riley several years ago, and her story clearly caught not only Riley’s attention but that of the reviewer Gustav Niebuhr as well. Following the passage about the O’Connors, the review concludes:“Is interfaith marriage good for America? To the extent that it dispels ignorance, punches holes in stereotypes and deflates bias, I would say it surely can be.” Many members of the Squirrel Hill community would certainly agree.
La Escuelita Arcoiris provides children with early exposure to a second language through immersion in the Spanish language, which will help them to develop skills that serve them well in the global community. Intellectually, culturally and emotionally, La Escuelita Arcoiris encourages Pittsburgh families to celebrate diversity in their everyday lives. Congregation Beth Shalom’s Early Childhood Learning Center provides a secure, warm setting for infants, toddlers and preschoolers where they learn invaluable social skills, get a jump start on core academic curriculum, and experience Jewish customs, celebrations and Hebrew language each day through stories, prayer, music and art. It is open to children of all faiths ages six weeks to pre-kindergarten. While the two schools are retaining their separate faculties, curriculum and identity, they will be offering some innovative joint programming for early learners in the fields of science, art and music.Young learners enrolled at both La Escuelita Arcoiris and Congregation Beth Shalom’s Early Childhood Learning Center will benefit by gaining exposure to different languages and cultures to create what Megan Rooney, Education Director at La Escuelita Arcoiris, describes as a “truly unique preschool experience in Pittsburgh.” For more information about these two early learning programs, contact Ellen Tafel,Administrative Director of La Escuelita Arcoiris,at 412-421-4787, or Jennifer Slattery, Director of Congregation Beth Shalom’s Early Childhood Learning Center, at 412-421-8857.
b Welcome SHUC’s new and renewing organizational members! These generous institutions recognize the importance of working with the Coalition to make our community a better place to live and work in. • Bethlehem Haven • First Commonwealth Bank • Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh The World In Squirrel Hill Issue PAGE31
events & happenings
Calendar b Squirrel Hill Treasures Awards Dinner Thursday, October 17 6:00 pm Pittsburgh Golf Club 5280 Northumberland Street, Squirrel Hill, 15217 Join the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition and your neighbors in celebrating the following honorees as community treasures: Karla Boos, Founder and Artistic Director of Quantum Theatre; Rabbi James Gibson, celebrating 25 years at Temple Sinai; Wendell Freeland, Esq., an original incorporator of the Coalition and revered Tuskegee Airman. The Place Treasure is the WPA era mural at the Squirrel Hill Post Office. Strolling buffet, music by The Joe Negri Trio and more. For ticket information and other inquiries about this event, call 412-422-7666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill Branch 5801 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill (412) 422-9650 or www.carnegielibrary.org email@example.com Genre Book Club Meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. October 16 – Historical Fiction, Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani. November 20 – Humor, Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. No meeting in December. Author Talk with Dan Rooney and Carol Peterson Thursday, October 17 at 6:30 pm Rooney, Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Peterson, local historian, will talk about their book, Allegheny City: A History of Pittsburgh’s North Side. A book signing will follow the program, with copies available for purchase. (No Steelers memorabilia, please.) Seating is limited and registration is required. Please speak with a librarian, call 412-422-9650, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Career Planning in Your Twenties and Thirties: Beyond Just Paying Off Your Loans Speaker, Karen Litzinger Wednesday, November 6 at 6:30 pm PAGE32 The World In Squirrel Hill Issue
No matter where you are in your career, it's always a good idea to think about your next steps for greater career satisfaction and success. Use a career model to evaluate your current role and plan for the next rather than just “ending up” somewhere. Get tips on the job search so your resume doesn’t land in the black hole of the Internet. Homemade Holiday Gifts with Cynthia Hill Monday, November 11 at 6 pm Looking to make homemade gifts this holiday season? Cynthia Hill will help you create a holiday gift basket filled with natural beauty products like lotion, sugar scrub and soap bars. Seating is limited and registration required. Please speak with a librarian, call 412-422-9650, or email email@example.com to register. For Kids & Families Our Weekly Storytimes: Family Storytime (babies – 6 yrs.) Share stories, songs and movement activities with us with a half hour storytime that engages the whole family. Saturdays at 11 am Baby & Me (birth – 18 mo.) Snuggle up together with your baby for songs, rhymes and books especially for our youngest patrons. Thursdays at 10:30 am and repeats at 11:30 am Terrific Tales for Toddlers (18 mo. – 3 yrs.) Wiggle with us as we share stories and songs perfect for active toddlers. Tuesdays at 10:30 am and repeats at 11:30 am Pre-K Storytime (3 – 5 yrs.) Explore longer books and songs and maybe even a short puppet play. Mondays at 1 pm School-age Fun (5 – 12 yrs.) Each month has a different theme and target age, check out our website or call 412-422-9651 to find out what our themes are.Wednesdays at 4 pm
Squirrel Hill Active Senior Network Connecting Seniors to Great Social/Civic Destinations Squirrel Hill Library, Meeting Room C Fridays from 3 – 4 pm, beginning October 4 Social/civic destinations will be generated from the calendars of sharing active seniors. That’s what makes them so great! Come to give or get information. It’s that easy to make plans to get out more and build your friendship network. The program/events are neither sponsored nor endorsed by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Continued on page 34
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BREAKING THROUGH: â€œBarriersâ€? - Workshop I An Intensive Weekend of Creative Writing November 9, 9:30am-5:30pm & November 10, 2013, 10am-4:30pm Tuition: $225 (includes snacks and a healthy lunch on both days) Facilitator: Rebekah Delling, MFA Are you a writer who struggles with writerâ€™s block, time management, or the fear of the blank page? Join Rebekah Delling, writer and owner of the Hampton Holistic Center, for a unique weekend of creativity and writing. The â€œBarriersâ€? workshop is the first in a series of four workshops and is designed to help you conquer obstacles through a variety of holistic exercises like journaling and guided imagery. Youâ€™ll learn new techniques and establish better writing habits. Successful writers write every day. You can, too!
Register online at www.hampton-holistics.com or by calling 412-486-1829.
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Jewish Community Center
Squirrel Hill Historical Society
5738 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill For more information, please call (412) 521-8010 or visit JCCPGH.org
The Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Avenue Events are held on the second Tuesday of each month FREE at 7:30 p.m.
Finnish and Jewish: Photographs by Dina Cantor American Jewish Museum Exhibit runs October 14 through December 29
Tuesday, October 8: Getting to Know our Neighbors: Tales From Our Towns-People, Places & Events Forgotten By The History Books
New York based photographer Dina Kantor explores ways photography contributes to the fabrication of individual identity and collective community. Her mesmerizing portraits register the cultural signifiers and traditions of Finland’s small Jewish communities. In a nation of only 5.3 million people and two Jewish synagogues, the photographer employs portrait photography to consider how 1,500 Jews maintain cultural their identity.
Speaker: Gary Rogers, President of the Oakmont Historical Society
Workshops for Interfaith Couples Mondays October 28 and November 4, 7 – 8 pm No fee; free babysitting available
Frick Park 412-422-6538 http://pittsburghpa.gov/citiparks/fec
Join the rabbi in an open, inclusive environment designed to help couples where one partner is Jewish and the other is of another faith. Examine identity, child-raising, holidays and interaction with other families and the community. Strengthen your communication and visioning skills that support your relationship as challenges surface. Kid Stuff Swap & Shop Sunday, November 17 10 am – noon Levinson Hall, open to the community $5/dump your stuff, $5/shop Bring your gently used toys, books, clothes and kids gear to swap with other families who are looking for what you may have, OR just come and shop for gently used kids items. Contact Lauren Goldman at 412-521-8010 ext. 852 for more information. Family Winter Wonderland Saturday, December 21, 4 – 6pm $10/person For families with children in grades K-5. Join us at the Schenley Park Rink for ice skating, hot cocoa, cookie decorating and crafts, followed by Havdalah.
Tuesday, November 12: History of Coffee Tree Roasters and Commentary on Coffee Speaker: Bill Swope, Jr., Co-founder and Co-Owner of Coffee Tree Roasters
Fall Events at Frick Environmental Center
Bump in the Night Families, scouts and youth organizations enjoy this fall evening of experiencing the shadowy sights and sounds of nature at night. Fridays & Saturdays, October 11, 12, 18 or 19, 7-9 p.m. $11 fee/adults ages 12 and up ($10 adult fee for FEC family-level member) $9 fee/children ages 3-11 ($8 child fee for FEC family-level member) Mail-in registration is required. Night Explorers Kids ages 10-14 and their parents learn about life in the woods at night as we hike on the trails during this night exploration. Friday, November 15, 7-9 p.m. $10 fee per person ($9 for FEC family-level member). Mail-in registration is required.
Oakland Farmers’ Market Schenley Plaza in Oakland http://oaklandfarmersmarket.org Fridays 3-6 pm, through the last Friday of October Continued on page 36
“Squirrel Hill Magazine is a great vehicle to reach our audience, and on a personal note, I also like to support the community where I do business.” — Norman Childs, Eyetique
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(412) 363-4000 x503 BUSINESS (412) 512-0414 CELL (412) 363-7551 FAX
Fifth Annual Turner Cemetery History Walk
REALTOR® Million Dollar Producer SELLING & LEASING AGENT
Sponsored by Mary S. Brown Memorial-Ames U.M. Church 3424 Beechwood Boulevard, Pittsburgh, 15217, Squirrel Hill Saturday, October 26, 11 am – 3 pm REAL ESTATE SERVICES 5996 Penn Circle South, Suite 301 Pittsburgh, PA 15206 Owned and operated by NRT, LLC.
Come and tour Pittsburgh’s second oldest cemetery and learn about the earliest settlers of Squirrel Hill. Schedule: 11:00 – 3:00, Self-guided walking tours of the cemetery. 11:30 – 12:30, Presentation in church meeting hall, “Steel City Cemeteries: Turner Cemetery in Context,” by Dr. Elisabeth Roark, Associate Professor, Chatham University. 12:30 – 3:00, Soup and dessert sale. Researchers and reenactors will be on hand to talk about the cemetery and what life was like in Early America. For information, go to www.brightredfence.org or www.turnercemetery.org. Parking is available along Beechwood Boulevard. Church meeting hall is handicap accessible, but the half-acre cemetery is a grassy slope without paths.
First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh 605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213 Saturday, November 16, 7:30 pm SongSpace – Zoe Mulford and Brad Yoder A set by songwriter Zoe Mulford is like a small volume of short stories—evocative, beautifully crafted and endlessly varied. Mulford intersperses her own songs with American and British folk ballads and Appalachian banjo tunes for an evening of entertainment.With special guest Brad Yoder. Suggested admission donations $15/general admission, $10/student. http://uusongspace.com
Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society – Fall Concerts Emerson String Quartet Tuesday, October 1, 7:30 pm Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland Orion String Quartet Monday, October 28, 7:30 pm Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland Parker Quartet Monday, November 18, 7:30 pm Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland Bach Brandenburg Concertos Co-presented with Chatham Baroque Monday, December 2, 7:30 pm 20th Century Club
Meals on Wheels Peter J. Stumpp Office Manager Squirrel Hill Office PStumpp@fcbanking.com 5847 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 P 412.422.2901 D 412.422.2904 F 412.421.1061
Squirrel Hill - Shadyside - Greenfield 605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213 We prepare kosher style meals in Temple Sinai's kitchen.We are in need of volunteers to help prepare and deliver these meals. We need volunteers on Mondays,Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 – 9:00 am for food preparation and 8:45-10:30 am (approx.) for driving and delivering. Please call 412-521-6178 if you are interested.
Your Squirrel Hill
You Asked For It, Weâ€™ve Got It!
Kosher Pareve Pies!! Baked Fresh Daily, For Your Enjoyment
Apple, Cherry & Apple Crumb
Pumpkin Pies Available for the Holiday Season! Kosher Pareve Bakery on-site for special orders Store: 412-421-8161 Fax: 412-422-3128 1901 Murray Ave. Pgh. PA 15217
NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID PITTSBURGH, PA PERMIT NO. 2796
The World in Squirrel Hill Issue PLUS the 2013 Squirrel Hill Treasure Awards!