A Publication of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition
SEASON OF GIVING: TIME, TALENT, TREASURE
A lot of expertise goes into our therapies. A lot of laughter, too. It isn’t just world-class medical treatment that makes the difference. It’s our approach to caring. It’s finding joy in the journey. It’s combining elements of play with innovative physician and therapy services, including behavioral health, in an outpatient setting. At The Children’s Institute, every child’s care is family-centered and individualized to be as enjoyable as possible. The results we see are truly amazing. To learn more, call 412.420.2362 or visit amazingkids.org.
BRIDGEVILLE IRWIN PLEASANT HILLS SQUIRREL HILL WEXFORD
instagram.com/ squirrelhillurbancoalition twitter.com/ squirrelhillmag
in every issue 5 President’s Message 6 What’s New From Our Advertisers 7 Our Squirrel Hill Champions Valentina Vavasis Eleanor Hershberg By Raymond Baum 9 SHUC Snapshots 30 Book Review 29 Gifts by Cami Walker Reviewed by Shayna Ros
features 12 In Appreciation 16 Aiello’s Pizza By Rosemary Bernth 18 JFunds By Aviva Lubowsky 23 Small Business Shopping Guide
32 News from Our Schools
27 Sara’s Pets & Plants by Jenna Ammer
34 Squirrel Hill History Benefactors of Squirrel Hill By Helen Wilson
28 Milly Raccoon by Ian Rawson
36 Neighborhood Notes Safety Tips
37 Stitching History from the Holocaust Exhibit
38 Events & Happenings
SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION OFFICERS PRESIDENT Richard Feder VICE PRESIDENT Marshall Hershberg VICE PRESIDENT Lisa Crooks Murphy VICE PRESIDENT Joshua Sayles
SECRETARY Barbara Grover ASST. SECRETARY Cynthia Morelock
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.
TREASURER Gina Levine ASST. TREASURER Lisa Steindel IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Raymond Baum BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dalia Belinkoff, Vivian Didomenico, Lori Fitzgerald, Heather Graham, Michael D. Henderson, Martha Isler, Lois Liberman, Joseph Ott, Kathryn Schlesinger, Mary Shaw, Ceci Sommers (Director Emerita),
On the Cover: The exhibit “Stitching History from the Holocaust” at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh brings the designs of Hedy Strnad to life. See page 37 for more information. (Photo provided by Stitching History) For advertising inquiries Contact email@example.com. All other communications can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or (412)422-7666.
We welcome your letters.
Sidney Stark (Director Emeritus), Erik Wagner,
Please include your address and phone number for verification. Pseudonyms or anonymous letters will not be published. All letters are subject to editing. We ask that letters be exclusive to SHM. We regret that we can neither print nor acknowledge all the correspondence we receive. Letters accepted for publication will appear
Eveline Young, and Chris Zurawsky
in our print edition or on our website. E-mail: email@example.com Fax: (412) 422-7666 U.S. Mail: Letters to the Squirrel Hill Magazine Editor, 5604 Solway Street, Pittsburgh PA 15217
MAGAZINE COMMITTEE Raymond Baum, Harriet Baum, Dalia Belinkoff, Michael D. Henderson, Eleanor Hershberg, Barbara Rabner, Kimberly Saunders, and Helen Wilson CONTRIBUTORS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Jenna Ammer, Jennifer Bails, Raymond Baum, Rosemary Bernth, Richard Feder, Barb Grover, Marshall Hershberg, Marian Lien, Ian Rawson, Shayna Ross, Kimberly Saunders, and Helen Wilson EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Marian Lien OFFICE INTERNS Alana Dickey and Ruby Chen Squirrel Hill Magazine, Vol. 16, Issue 4, is provided by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition as a free service to the residents and businesses in the 15217 zip code. Subscriptions are available for $25/year. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without permission. Printed by Knepper Press.
4 | shuc.org
s this issue of SHM goes to print, we have just
Diocese of Pittsburgh created a program where rabbis teach
experienced the horrific atrocities in Squirrel Hill. Our
in Catholic schools and priests teach in Jewish schools about
hearts are heavy for those murdered while worshipping at
their religions and cultures. The program continues. It is
the Tree of Life Synagogue. We send healing thoughts and
effective and popular.
prayers for a full recovery to the injured worshippers and to
We at the Coalition are reaching out and working with
the law enforcement officers who risked their own lives to
the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Family
save those who were still inside the building.
and Community Services of Pittsburgh, congregations of all
This unspeakable tragedy has left our beloved Squirrel
denominations, and other organizations to expand existing
Hill and the Pittsburgh Jewish community shaken to its core.
efforts to strengthen our community as well as develop
We, as a community, as families, and as individuals, are
new strategies. We believe it is essential to invite and
struggling with how to heal a society in which anti-Semitic
befriend all individuals in order to build mutual respect and
acts and acts of intimidation and violence against others
based on religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual
SHUC has begun dialog with the U.S. Departments of
orientation, or any other rationales for demonizing people
Justice and Homeland Security; the City’s and Pennsylvania’s
have been dramatically increasing for over two years. Jews
Human Relations Commissions; local community leaders;
are in fear, as are our Asian Pacific Americans, African
and City officials. We have invited them to meet with our
Americans, Latino Americans, LGBTQ people, and too many
community in the following weeks to discuss ways to
others, who just want to be responsible, respected members
improve safety and security for all of our residents while
remaining true to our Squirrel Hill values of staying open and
What can we as a community do to prevent these acts of
welcoming. We are committed to finding the means
violence, intimidation and discrimination? Clearly, all places
to connect and humanize everyone in the eyes of all. We will
of worship, schools and other gathering spots will need to
share details of this evolving new initiative as it becomes
continue to improve security measures. We must persist in
our efforts to remove weapons such as those used at the Tree of Life out of the hands of people who intend to cause harm. But how can we in Squirrel Hill help root out the hate
We invite all neighbors to support and be a part of this initiative. If you are interested in getting involved, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. But you do not need to wait for
and other factors that have led to these increasing acts of
these meetings to begin. Get to know your neighbors, call an
violence against minority and marginalized people? It is a
old friend, visit and learn about any of the many faith and
question with which not only is our community struggling to
cultural organizations right here in Squirrel Hill.
answer, but so is the whole nation. We will mourn our dead. And to remember them, we
Squirrel Hill draws its strength from our diverse, welcoming, and close-knit community built upon the
pledge to counter this tragedy with action. Fortunately, we
foundations of solidarity, friendship, and respect. We
do not need to look far for examples. Many good programs
celebrate each other’s differences because we recognize our
and models have existed for years. One of the most effective
programs has been in place in Pittsburgh for decades in response to many centuries of “misunderstandings” between Catholics and Jews. The American Jewish Committee Pittsburgh Chapter and the Roman Catholic
Our community has weathered many challenges in the past. This, too, we shall overcome. To see our initial statement regarding the tragedy that took place at the Tree of Life, go to www.shuc.org
Winter 2018 | 5
SHUC President’s Message
Responding as a Community to Acts of Hate
What’s New from Our Advertisers
God’s Acre Tour at Homewood Cemetery William D. “Bill” Wade presented “God’s Acre and Other Stories,” a multi-media projection of photographs and video, that brought together the interests of art, history and health. Wade is best known for his photo-
projected. The production included music by Lisa Miles (http://lisamilesviolin.com). For more information, contact wbillwade@verizon. net or the Homewood Cemetery phone at 412-421-1822.
journalistic work with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette but has also exhibited his work internationally. This free one night event occurred on October 18, 2018, beginning with a cemetery tour. The rest of the program was held in the the chapel of Homewood Cemetery, at 1599 South Dallas Avenue in Pt. Breeze. Wade says,”God’s Acre uses my interpretive still photographs to explore mortality. I put a challenge to people’s notions of cemeteries of being only places of death, but also one of beauty, history, life and sanctuary.” The night started with a short tour of grave sites related to the arts, led by Homewood Cemetery historian Jennie Benford. In the chapel, art historian and Chatham University professor Dr. Elisabeth Roark presented a brief talk, after which Wade’s work was
You can visit more of Wade’s work on his website, www. williamDwade.com A sample of the God’s Acre project is available at https://vimeo.com/251429149. Homewood Cemetery will also be hosting a Pioneer Women cemetery tour starting November.
See our blog for more infomation on the Pioneer Women tour: www.shuc.org/theburrowblog.
Preserving the past to ensure a better future... The Homewood Cemetery Historical Fund invites you to join our Capital Campaign with a tax-deductible financial contribution! Since 1870, The Homewood Cemetery has preserved the heritage of those who have passed before us. Today, Homewood is not only a place of remembrance but a treasured green-space, a sprawling park for family recreation, an outdoor history and art museum and a nationally accredited Arboretum. Your contribution to our cause today will help shape the East End of tomorrow! Donations may be mailed to THCHF, 1599 S. Dallas Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217, or you can contact the office by phone at 412. 421. 1822. www.thehomewoodcemetery.com
By Raymond Baum, SHM
he Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition and our community are fortunate to have so many generous people who are dedicated to the
wellbeing of Squirrel Hill. Here are two people we all should thank.
VALENTINA VAVASIS Valentina serves
Valentina has spent her life volunteering for nonprofit
on the Squirrel Hill
organizations, including The Ellis School, where her daughter
Urban Coalition Built
was a student, the Pittsburgh Girls’ Choir, Peoples Oakland and
the Design Center. She is a devoted citizen of Squirrel Hill. In
which serves as the
her words, “I cannot say enough good things about Squirrel Hill.
gateway to the SHUC
The sense of community here is incredible. ”
Board and facilitator to the larger community
for new development
Eleanor has dedicated her life to human and community service.
projects and for dealing
Eleanor grew up in New Orleans and finished a B.A. at Newcomb
with residential quality issues. Valentina is incredibly well
College of Tulane University after spending her junior year
suited to facilitate these community processes. She has a B.A.
abroad in Israel. She moved to Pittsburgh to earn her Master’s
in architecture from Princeton University and an M.B.A. in
in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. She worked at
Finance and Real Estate from Northwestern University. She
Montefiore Hospital and, later UPMC, devoting her professional
also is an adjunct professor in the School of Architecture,
career to helping patients and families deal with their illnesses.
teaching real estate design and development to graduate and
She worked on all the hospital services, the last ten years
working with transplant patients. But that’s only the beginning.
Valentina’s students are both undergraduates and graduate
Eleanor’s community work includes tutoring first and second
students and come from a variety of disciplines, including
graders at Colfax K-8; serving for four years as a social worker at
architecture, urban design, public policy, civil engineering and
the overnight Circle Camp for Grieving Children, helping girls
business. In addition to doing classroom work, her graduate
age 9 to 15 who have lost a parent; volunteering with the Israeli
students typically do real estate projects on behalf of nonprofit
Disabled Veterans who visit Pittsburgh yearly; and serving
or government entities, including SHUC.
as the Treasurer of the Friends of the Squirrel
Valentina and her husband have lived in Squirrel Hill since
Hill Library for over 30
1999. She has always been engaged in the community. She has
years. Eleanor has been a
worked closely with The Children’s Institute (TCI) to maintain
member of the SHUC Litter
good relations with the neighborhood, especially with the more
Patrol Committee for three
recent issues concerning the many school buses that serve TCI.
years and the Magazine
As she says, “Although our relationship started off contentious,
Committee for two years.
I feel as though TCI and we, as organized neighbors, worked to make some meaningful and effective changes to ensure that
Eleanor is a devoted
the buses had less of a negative impact on our daily lives. In
citizen of Squirrel Hill. As she says, “I love Squirrel Hill for its
many ways, that was one of the most satisfying community
people and its amenities: the library, the JCC, my synagogue,
efforts of my life, because it resulted in such positive change.”
Schenley and Frick Parks, its movies and businesses, its CONTINUED on page 8
Winter 2018 | 7
Meet Two of Our Squirrel Hill Champions
CONTINUED FROM FAMILIAR FACES, page 7 proximity to Oakland and Downtown, and the efforts of SHUC to make it a more livable place, including the annual Treasure Dinner, the Night Markets, and the Lunar New Year Celebrations. Eleanor is married to SHUC’s vice-president, Marshall Hershberg. Both are members of Steel City Ukuleles. She belongs to two book clubs, one of them for over 45 years. She is a student at CMU’s Osher Program for Life Long Learning and regularly makes time to swim, hike, bike, and travel.
English Lane Nursery
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8 | shuc.org
Contact Greg Esposito 412.654.5440
shuc snapshots Notes from your Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition Committees
Litter Patrol Committee By Barb Grover, Committe Chair
The Litter Patrol volunteers were active this summer at
Ped-Bike Committee By Marshall Hershberg, Committee Chair
The Ped-Bike Committee is excited to announce the
the Squirrel Hill Night Markets in June, August and September.
installation of the new HealthyRide bike stations in Squirrel
We removed litter from the street and sidewalks along Murray
Hill. One is located at the intersection of Wightman Street
Avenue between Forbes and Beacon prior to and following the
& Forbes Avenue. Another can be found on the corner of
market event. We also monitored the trash and recycling bins
Wightman Street & Hobart Street. We thank HealthyRide for
throughout the evening to be sure full bags were replaced with
including our neighborhood in its bike share program.
new ones. A shout out to all Night Market attendees for putting recyclables in the recycling bins without any contamination of trash. Your attention to that detail made it possible for us to send about 20 bags of recyclables to Waste Management rather than to a landfill. We supported a group of six students from the organization â€œ1000+ Volunteersâ€? from Carnegie Mellon University who removed litter from our business district and parking lots on October 6. We provided them with safety vests, bags, and gloves to do this wonderful clean up work. We encourage all residents to join our Adopt-A-Block program. By joining you simply commit to picking up litter in some area of your choice (e.g., the block you live on, a block in the business district) on whatever schedule suits your lifestyle (e.g., once a week, once a day, randomly). Trash and recycling bins are available throughout Forbes and Murray. Our new effort is a Good Neighbor Campaign. Local business owners are committing to keep their sidewalks 1) free of litter, 2) free of ice and snow, and 3) in good repair. All who commit to these principles will receive a window cling decal to advertise their being a Good Neighbor. Another opportunity to contribute to the cleanliness and
The committee meets on the second Thursday of every
aesthetics of our neighborhood is by investing in a Cigarette
other month from 6:30-8:00 PM, at the Jewish Community
Butt Receptacle. For a very economical $50, businesses can
Center in Squirrel Hill. The next meeting will be December
purchase a receptacle that will be installed by the city and
13. Residents are encouraged to attend any one of our regular
maintained by the Litter Patrol.
meetings and join our efforts to improve this key component
If you are interested in getting involved with the Litter Patrol or have questions about our projects, please contact us at email@example.com.
of life in Squirrel Hill. Contact: Marshall Hershberg, Co-Chair and Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter 2018 | 9
Gateway Committee By Mardi Isler, CommitteeChair O’CONNOR’S CORNER DCED Greenways Trails and Recreation Program (GTRP) awarded $75,000 to SHUC Gateway Committee adding to the already received CITF grant of $150,000 and the Colcom Foundation contribution of $25,000 for enhancing the Phillips and Murray corner. Plans are to capitalize on the building with an overly wide set-back from the curb to create a “gathering place” for shoppers, walkers and Squirrel Hill residents. The design includes tree pits to reduce storm water run-off, planters to protect the pedestrian space and absorb rainwater, the signature clock, a green bus shelter, a business directory, directional signage to two major parks, outdoor
The Remembered Garden is located by the Parkway East/West ramp off Forward Avenue. (Photo in SHUC archives)
restaurant seating and benches for walkers to pause in their uphill or downhill stroll on Murray Avenue. The property owner is cooperating, and tenants are
SCREENING THE DUQUESNE LIGHT POWER STATION Representative Dan Frankel and Senator Jay Costa have
looking forward to the improvements, particularly the storm
provided staff support to begin meeting with Duquesne Light
water retention and diffusion components. It is hoped that
officials to develop a plan to improve the aesthetics on Forward
all necessary permits and bids will be approved so that
Avenue as one enters Squirrel Hill by removing the macadam
construction can begin in early Spring 2019.
surface, building an attractive fence and adding trees and shrubs to the site.
FORWARD MURRAY CORNER The Gateway Committee is pleased that Brandywine Agency has engaged Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects to
REMEMBERED GARDEN After 9 years, I am retiring as Western PA Conservancy
work on preliminary concept drawings that would include a
Garden Steward and am looking for a volunteer to take over
partnership with Action Housing for three floors within a nine
the responsibility effective Spring 2019. Activities include
story building that would also contain retail and offices.
recruiting volunteers in May for weeding, pruning shrubs, replacing perennials that didn’t survive the winter and
GATEWAY TREES The Gateway Committee supports and intends to
mulching. There is a water source that needs to be turned on during droughts (certainly no need this year) and cutting back
continue to advocate for planting trees in the “Public Right
border perennials and clean-up. If interested, please contact
of Way” because a walkable retail district is more than a
email@example.com for more information.
place where people run errands. Our business corridor is the heart of our Squirrel Hill neighborhood. People enjoy an appealing atmosphere with landscaping and shade trees and opportunities for friendly interactions. A TreeVitalize application was submitted in September for planting 18 trees at the Action Housing site (the former Polis) and 2 trees at the Friendship Circle site on Murray in Spring 2019.
10 | shuc.org
By Chris Zurawsky, Committee Chair On a muggy Sunday afternoon this past September, Sara
of childhood friends reconnecting, and neighbors who after
Melo de Weber hosted the first of what she hopes will be many
several decades only met for the first time at the party. That’s
block parties for her neighbors around Guarino Road, on the
what these gatherings are all about.”
edge of Schenley Park. Sara, the mother of two young children, moved to Squirrel Hill from Washington, DC, in 2014. Block parties are a Squirrel Hill staple, and this was a
Part of the goal of the gathering was to generate interest in Prospect Drive, a nearby underutilized section of Schenley Park. Sara and her husband, Jeremy Weber, a professor
good one: A live reggae band (Ras Prophet), a City of Pittsburgh
at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and
fire truck (Engine 18 – Squirrel Hill) with crew, a potluck
International Affairs, have drawn up a proposal to re-purpose
spread, swarms of kids, and tried-and-true picnic diversions
Prospect Drive as a biking and pedestrian byway. They hope to
like water balloon toss, soccer, bikes, scooters and skateboards,
raise awareness about the potential of the space to be a major
face-painting, tattoos and family pets.
community asset and have already seen greater use of it by
Attendees included families connected to the Yeshiva School on Wightman Street and neighbors Steve Hawkins,
parents with young children on bikes and scooters. Last summer SHUC and the Pittsburgh Parks
a former SHUC president, and Dan Bain, a professor in Pitt’s
Conservancy conducted a clean-up of the area. Located just
Department of Geology and Environmental Science who helped
off Hobart Street on a hill overlooking the Greenfield Bridge,
SHUC land a green infrastructure grant a few years ago from
Prospect Drive includes a picnic shelter, walking trails, and a
the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.
paved bike path connecting to Pocusset Street.
“What a joy to get to know so many of you on Sunday,” Sara wrote in an email after the festivities. “I heard stories
Your ArK CAN’t tALK So you need to speak for it.
Join the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh to talk about making city parks better for all. Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | 6:00 P.M. Frick Environmental Center | 2005 Beechwood Blvd | Pittsburgh 15217 For upcoming meeting dates and for more information, call 412-682-7275 or visit www.pittsburghparks.org/community *Light dinner and childcare will be provided
Let us hear your voice.
If you have ideas about how to improve Squirrel Hill’s parks and open spaces, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy 12/11/18 from 6-8 PM at the Frick Environmental Center as we launch our “Parks Listening Tour” to hear from Pittsburghers of all backgrounds about the types of physcial and programming improvements they would like to see in their local parks. Please register at www.pittsburghparks.org/community For more information please contact Gavin White, Community Projects Manager at email@example.com
Winter 2018 | 11
In Appreciation To our First Responders including Pittsburgh and Allegheny Police, Public Safety and the FBI: Thank you for answering the call. Thank you for running into the dangerous situation at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Thank you for being there when you were needed. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for keeping us safe. To all the medical personnel and EMS: Thank you for caring for our injured and saving lives. To the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Department of Human Services, and local organizations too many to name: Thank you for caring for the wellbeing of the survivors, families, and everyone else. To all our political leadership at the City, County, State and Federal level: Thank you for doing what needed to get done. And not least of all, to neighbors and friends: Thank you for providing comfort, food and other supplies to families, for feeding staff working diligently to help heal our community, and for showing your solidarity during this time.
Taylor Allderdice High School cheerleaders use their pompoms to create the Star of David, honoring the Tree of Life victims before the game against Westinghouse High School at the City League Championship.
12 | shuc.org
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CAMP PROGRAMS FOR ENTERING 2ND – 9TH GRADERS Check out our website to learn more about our different sessions for all ages! For more information, contact Robin Anderson, Director, at 224-235-4665 or Robin@cyjmid.org.
Come join our team! The Squirrel Hill Magazine is looking for a part-time advertisement sales coordinator. Flexible hours! Commissionbased! All the nuts you can eat! firstname.lastname@example.org
Camp Young Judaea Midwest receives tuition assistance support from Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America
We are grateful to our latest donors! As a membership-supported organization, we rely on you and your contributions to continue our work of serving you and making our neighborhood an even more vibrant place to live, work and play! If you are not already, consider joining your neighbors below and become a SHUC member today! Or give a membership gift--an investment in the community we all love! $10,000 Proteus Foundation $5000-$9999 Brandywine Agency Inc. Robert Levine and Dr. Kerry Bron $2000-$4999 Harriet and Ray Baum Debra Demchak Vivian and Rocco Didomenico Leslie Miller and Paul Peffer PNC Bank University Of Pittsburgh, Confucius Institute $600-$1999 Nancy Bernstein Richard Feder Barbara and Dave Grover Natalie and Lawrence Kaplan James and Louisa Rudolph Mary Shaw and Roy Weil Solevo Wellness $200-$599 Lawrence Adler Anne and Alan Amster Dalia Belinkoff Anne and James Burnham Barbara Carpenter Grace and Mike Chen Rosalind Chow Community Day School Pittsburgh Betty Connelly Senator Jay Costa Marion Damick Andrew Eller Ilene and Jay Fingeret Aline and Jon Funari Ellen Teri Kaplan Goldstein Jewish Federation Of Greater Pittsburgh Strassburger Mckenna Gutnick & Gefsky Eleanor and Marshall Hershberg Donna and James Lenkner Cynthia Morelock Lisa and Rick Murphy Nancy and Maurice Nernberg Eugene O'Sullivan Joseph Ott Suella Pipal Jean and Brooks Robinson Lisa Silberman Loretta Stanish 14 | shuc.org Barry and Yvonne Stein
$200-$599 (con't) Erika and Jordan Strassburger Mona and Edwin Strassburger Lisa and Rabbi Stephen Steindel William Stevens Wagner Agency
$100-$199 Rebecca Acer Jean Binstock Barbara Burstin Judy and William Cohen Marian Lien and James Cook Georgia Davidson Debra Levy Green Michael Douglas Henderson Nancy Johnson Lois and Irving Liberman Rosanne and Clifford Levine Nicholas Lane Vivian and Alan Lawsky Sissy and William Lieberman Lester Nauhaus Elliott Oshry Katie Collins Parker Barbara Rabner Carolyn Russ A Citron and Bill Slivka Hilary Spatz Marcia and Dr. Mervin S. Stewart Mary Vandivier $60-$99 A+ Schools Marsha Aarons Marvin Dash Cornelius Cosgrove Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy ShearVisions Ten Thousand Villages
Up to $50 Peter Baum Marcia and Ron Bandes Anne Belser Charlotte Bluestone Alice Buchdahl Harry S. Davidson Helen Eaton Ivan Lee Engel Rachel Krasnow and Ed Fine Ann Giorgi Laura Quinn and James Hathaway Marlene Haus Nancy Hetzel Deborah Winn-Horvitz Nancy Johnson Barbara and Dave Kalla Arthur “Jack” Kerr Jr Stanley and Diane Kirshenbaum Ben Lecrone Kenneth Levin Kathleen Lokay Asatoshi Maeshiro Ryna and Herbert Meyers Lawrence Paper Rita and David Pollock Nancy Pulsifer James Reitz Barbara and Alvin Rosenfeld Ellen and Loren Roth John Soboslay Sheri Sable Phyllis Spatz Kate and Rick St. John Carol and David Steinbach Cheryl Teplitz Ashley Priore Irwin Wedner Patricia Weiss Liora Weinberg Barbara and James Weiser Helen Wilson Froimlee Wirtzman
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR MONTHLY SUSTAINING MEMBERS! Heather Graham Marshall and Eleanor Hershberg Ben Lecrone Kathleen Lokay Ashley Priore Deborah Winn-Horitz
Support Our Community By Becoming a SHUC Member today! Sure there are many who would like to build a community, but who wakes up every day with this task at the top of their list of priorities? A community needs a champion— an identifiable hero and inspiration—and that’s SHUC! From the Squirrel Hill Night Market and Lunar New Year celebrations to the beautiful additions in our commercial district—including more than $700,000 in commercial district streetscape improvements. From the Squirrel Hill Magazine—mailed free of charge to homes and business in 15217, connecting all of all neighbors to the community to Litter Patrol Committee, beautifying our streets, SHUC is here to make Squirrel Hill the best that it can be. We’ve been championing Squirrel Hill for the last 45 years and aim to prioritize this community for the next 45 and beyond. But we have to do this together! Support your community by becoming a member today! Name:
Address: _________________________________________ _________________________________________ Phone:
Membership levels: __ $500 Advocate __ $200 Neighbor __ $100 Friend __ $50 Family __ $25 Individual __ Other $_______ Payment Method: If check : Please make payable to Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition 5604 Solway Street Pittsburgh PA 15217
Consider becoming a Sustaining monthly Member with a recurring monthly gift that you can pay in a convenient, ongoing way! __Yes, please charge my credit card the monthly amount of __$5
__ $10 __ $15 __ $20
please name your gift $_______
or Credit Card:
a message of
5820 Forbes Avenue Mon–Wed–Fri–Sat 10–6; Tue–Thu 10–8 Holiday hours begin 11/25: Mon–Tue–Wed–Thu 10–8; Fri–Sat 10–6; Sun 12–4 412-421-2160 pittsburgh.tenthousandvillages.com
Offer valid at participating stores until 12/08/2018
Not valid with other offers or discounts, purchase of gift cards, Oriental rugs, or consumables. One coupon per customer.
SUPPORT SHUC and YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE by shopping for the holidays at CLASSIC LINES. SHUC MEMBERS and FRIENDS can shop MONDAY DECEMBER 3, 2018 5:00- 9:00 PM 10% OF EVERY PURCHASE made during this “private, after-hours” event will go to the SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION. Every item in the store is included. Free wine and gift wrapping will be provided.
Classic Lines books & more*
5825 FORBES AVENUE SQUIRREL HILL
*A Squirrel Hill Treasure
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or go to our secured website: www.shuc.org/donate
Winter 2018 | 15
Squirrel Hill Feature
Aiello’s Pizza: New Look, Same Great Taste By Rosemary Bernth, SHM
Aiello’s Pizza renovated its storefront for more space and an updated style. (Photo provided by Cathy Willis)
ven though Aiello’s Pizza has expanded its space
and gave its storefront a new, modern look, it still retains the same menu and values when it was founded. “Our menu has been the same for years,” said Cathy Aiello Willis, who works at Aiello’s Pizza to keep her father’s legacy
“We don’t cut corners,” said Cathy. “There’s a lot of hard work that goes into the product. We’re not getting the products in, opening a bag and throwing it on. We make our sauce and season it. I think that’s the key here.” With the variety of choices customers can make for
going. “It’s still the same recipe that my dad used. We just have
pizza toppings, it seems simplicity is what sells best— Plain,
a great product that sells itself.”
Pepperoni, and White sauce are the most popular orders.
In 1967, Giueseppe “Joe” Aiello moved from Sicily to the United States with only $13 in his pocket to fulfill his dream of making pizza. After working for a local pizza place,
Another product customers can’t seem to get enough of is the pepperoni roll. “We make them all day,” said Cathy. “It’s a constant that
he finally opened his own restaurant on Murray Avenue on
we’re always making. I don’t know if it’s a Pittsburgh thing,
April 5, 1978. He was owner of Aiello’s Pizza until his death
but it’s just something that stuck, and everyone likes it.”
in 2013. The business stayed in the family, with his wife
The one-year-old expansion to Aiello’s Pizza included
Madeline and his children running the shop – all of them
a bar, a simple change Cathy’s husband Travis was excited to
following in his footsteps.
One of those steps is using only fresh, quality ingredients,
“My husband has been working here for 15 years, and he
from making the dough every day to hand-grating the cheese.
enjoys it,” she said. “We support a lot of our local breweries,
Customers can watch their pizzas being made from start
like having all our drafts be local, so that draws in a whole
to finish, as well as pedestrians passing by the new, large
crowd by itself. He really takes time in making sure we pick
the right beers and listens to what people want.”
16 | shuc.org
Aiello’s Pizza prior to remodeling (Photo provided by Cathy Willis)
Like her father, Cathy loves building relationships with the community the pizza shop serves. She enjoys listening to the customers tell stories about Aiello’s throughout its 40 years. “They’re showing their kids where they used to come after the football games,” she said. “It’s nice to have that whole history with everybody, like the stories that I hear from when my dad used to be here. The stories are great, especially when customers come in from out of town.” Cathy said she also likes meeting the new faces who
Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh Join us! Call 412-697-3522 • JCCPGH.org
visit Aiello’s Pizza, no matter where they come from or what their favorite pizza place is. “We like to get to know our customers,” she said. “We’re a family establishment. It’s nice to go to a place that feels like home.”
Say Hi to Murray! Murray the Squirrel is available for events and visits to local organizations and schools. Call SHUC at (412) 422-7666 or email email@example.com to request a visit.
READY FOR A NEW JOB? Are you headed back to the workforce or looking for a career change? The Center for Women has resources to help you get the job that’s right for you.
• Career Guidance • Resume Assistance • Mentoring Program • Internships • and more! Call today to speak to our Intership Manager!
www.centerforwomenpgh.org | 412-421-4400
Squirrel Hill Feature
Offering Families Easier Access to Funds By Aviva Lubowsky, Director of Marketing and Development, Hebrew Free Loan
ive entities are entering a formal partnership called
JFunds, aimed at offering holistic financial support to individuals and families in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. The Jewish Assistance Fund, Hebrew Free Loan Association, SOS Pittsburgh of JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, Jewish Scholarship Services (formerly Central Scholarship), and the Jewish Federation Israel Scholarships/Passport to Israel signed a memorandum of understanding at a launch party with its lay leaders on September 4, 2018. “There are times when we all need more money than
● Almost half of Jewish households earn $75,000/year or less
we have,” said Cindy Goodman-Leib, executive director of the
● 37% of Jewish households earn less than $50,000/year
Jewish Assistance Fund. “Rather than people feeling alone when
● 13% of Jewish households skipped a rent/mortgage/
grappling with their budgets, we embrace them. JFunds can be a partner.”
utility bill in the past year The new JFunds collaboration is a strategic opportunity to
Community members may use the resources of the five
increase awareness of the resources available in the community
JFunds entities simultaneously or at different times of need —
and offers a seamless referral system among the partners.
and multiple times over the course of their lifetime in Pittsburgh.
This paves the way for Jewish individuals and families to be
For example, if a family is trying to send a teen to Israel, has a bill coming for an older child’s college tuition, discovers their furnace needs to be
supported in a more holistic manner.
“We are all partners, on the same level, trying to have enough money to handle our financial responsibilities...”
replaced, and then
In September, JFunds has events for its lay leaders and an opportunity for professionals in the community to learn about JFunds at a JPRO event. The new JFunds website (jfundspgh.org), a
a few weeks later learns someone needs dental work, they
series of promotional videos on social media, and a bifold
could approach JFunds to access resources for each of those
brochure that will be available at area synagogues over the
items. This scenario may seem contrived, but it’s real. JFunds
high holidays. This winter, JFunds will offer the community
recognizes that the financial demands on even two-income
a mini-course on the foundations/principles of JFunds in
families are enormous.
Matthew Bolton of JFCS notes that data from the recent
“JFunds partner organizations reflect Judaism’s values,
Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study offers a clear
teachings, and traditions. We see in our texts discussion about
mandate for the provision of supportive financial services in
the responsibilities and opportunities Jews have related to
money,” said Goodman-Leib. “Also, the ways that we do our
● A quarter of Jewish households report that they do not
work are shaped by our tradition. In Jewish communities, there
have savings worth three months of income (ie, a job loss would
are not supposed to be two tiers of people – those who give and
be a nearly immediate financial emergency)
those who get. We are all partners, on the same level, trying to
● 13% of Jewish households would be unable to pay a $400 emergency expense
18 | shuc.org
have enough money to handle our financial responsibilities and do right by ourselves, our families and our communities.”
My back. My pregnancy. My solution.
Dear JAA and JCC, Thanks for the excellent, convenient physical therapy provided by JAA at the JCC. I started going last year when a back injury ďŹ‚ared up during my pregnancy. It would have been more challenging without PT/Clinic Director Scott Rosen. He adapted treatment as my body changed, even using JCCâ€™s pool for aqua therapy . . . amazing! My baby arrived and I still visit Scott. You could say he has my back!
No JCC membership or referrals required. Most insurances accepted. For hours & appointments: 412-697-3505 JCC, 5738 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh 15217.
Sincerely, Laura Ainsman Sohinki
Powe red b y the JA A
Winter 2018 | 19 JAA155_PTJCC-FINAL.indd 1
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Winter 2018 | 21
Support the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition Tuesday, November 20th 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
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l e r r i u q S l Holiday l i H ‘Tis the season to be giving! And we’ve some great gift ideas from our local shops right here in Squirrel Hill. When shopping for someone else, think about what they love--and what you love about them. Are they foodies and enjoy eating out? Pick up gift cards from one of the many authentic restaurants on Forbes and Murray Avenue. Are you looking for a hostess gift? Ten Thousand Villages has unique, hand-made, fair-trade
gifts including ceramic mini colanders and repurposed Sari table-runners. Classic Lines/ Books and More has both new and used books, knowledgeable staff, and great service. Whatever the purchase, remember that where you shop matters. Shopping at locally owned businesses means more money stays right here in the community. So give big this year, and shop small!
KIDZ & COMPANY www.kidzandcompanypgh.com
Find unique and designer children’s apparel for newborns to pre-teens. Accessories and fun toys for all ages are available, from plush animals to educational puzzles. Perfect for all the little boys and girls of Squirrel Hill!
TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES www.tenthousandvillages.com
Shop Fair Trade and support artists from around the world. Find artisanal, hand-embroidered products, like the Wonderful World Wall Hanging by fair trade partner St. Mary’s Mahila Shikshan Kendra, who uses the Kathiawad technique of accents embroidery with small mirrors. 24 | shuc.org
Gift Guide EARTH & ICE STUDIO www.earthandicestudio.com
Featuring handmade jewelry crafted using 100% natural crystals and gemstones that Val and Raymon themselves mine from all over the world. Our most popular item, our Boho bangles! You can purchase our items at on our website or visit our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
REGENT PARK NATURALS www.regentparknaturals.com www.pierogionarope.com
Check out Pierogi on a Rope a unique novelty soap, which is handmade locally by Regent Park Naturals, a farmers’ market favorite. It is perfect for yinzers of all ages, especially those who can’t make it home this holiday season. Makes every bathroom a Pittsburgh Potty!
INVITATIONS PLUS www.invitationspluspgh.com
Planning a holiday party? Invitations Plus specializes in all of your event invitation needs, offering quality products from companies such as Crane, Carlson Craft, Caspari, Michaels, Checkerboard and more. In addition, Invitations Plus features a large selection of greeting cards, stationery, gift items and in-store printing. Hours: Monday- Saturday, 10:00a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, contact us at (412) 421-7778 email@example.com Winter 2018 | 25
VE THE DA A S TE
LUNAR NEW YEAR KICK OFF | SATURDAY 2/2/19 HEINZ HISTORY CENTER
PARADE | SUNDAY 2/17/19 MURRAY AVENUE SQUIRREL HILL
26 | shuc.org
Sara’s Pets & Plants By Jenna Ammer, Contributing Writer
Alan’s Pets & Plants has passed the torch to Sara
pets a new home, rather than contributing to the pet
Smith for her to reintroduce the pet store to a new gen-
trade where people take animals from the
eration of animal lovers, and a new name: Sara’s Pets &
wild or are overbreeding them.” Her love and care of animals came from her parents,
Plants. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Smith.
who met at the Meadows Casino racehorse tracks. Her mother worked as a
“Alan is a long time friend of ours,” said Smith. “He’s just
groom for Smith’s father,
basically family. So when it
taking care of the family
was time for him to retire, we
horses. Smith said
started talking about things
she grew up on a farm
and here we are.”
around lots of animals and has traveled abroad
Smith has a Bachelor’s in
to study them.
Wildlife and Fishery Science
“I love elephants but
from Penn State. After graduation she moved to Dubai to
I hate how stereotypical
help open a zoo and had just
it seems that every girl
moved back to Pittsburgh in
loves them,” she said.
“But I studied them in
“This kinda kind of fell
Africa for months so I
into my lap,” she said. “It was
have a genuine love of
meant to be. Perfect timing.”
them. I also love big
Smith knew the store
lizards like Komodo
needed some updates, but was
dragons, alligators, and
happy to keep the store layout
crocodiles --the cool
the same. The store had its
crazy stuff.” When her friends
grand opening on October 1,
picked Europe for their
with a few of the rooms, like
study abroad programs,
the fish room, still under maintenance,
(Photo courtesy of Sara Smith)
“I want it to be nice from the beginning,” said Smith. “I wanted to make it mine, but keep the structure the same. I also want to hang some of Alan’s things around that I found while cleaning.” Smith plans to add grooming to one of the services she will offer pet owners. Another one she plans to start
Smith chose Tanzania to do wildlife research. One of her inspirations is Steve Irwin. “Everyone grew up with him and he’s the reason why everyone started to love all these animals,” she said. “I really do love animals. It’s almost an obsession. Now that I own a pet store, it’s something I can’t hide.”
is a re-homing program. “Some people buy reptiles and they get too big, so they don’t know what to do,” she said. “I want to be that place they can call and hopefully I can give
Winter 2018 | 27
Squirrel Hill Feature
Squirrel Hill Native is Fiddler in the Street By Ian Rawson, Contributing Writer In the late dusk of Squirrel Hill’s annual Night Market festival, a young woman introduced as Milly Raccoon had gathered a crowd. They were drawn by her grace and virtuosity and her violin spinning off danceable music from Appalachian to Zydeco. She and I met several days later at the Dobra Tea Room, sitting at a window table where we could see the street corner where she had performed. Milly (her real name is Amelia) told me of her childhood in Squirrel Hill, where her parents still live, and her education at Colfax and CAPA. “I used to buy old country and jazz disks at a store on Murray Avenue and and play my fiddle with them to learn the songs and rhythms.” Milly went to Oberlin College, she reported, “Not for the music, but for the creative energy in the visual arts. I
Photo courtesy of Milly Raccoon
actually took most of my courses in Political Science and Environmental Studies.” She explained that she was here on a short visit to her parents, to play at the Night Market, and would leave after a gig at the Beehive. “I have been living in New Orleans for the past several years,” she said. “I love the spirit there, especially the spontaneity and vibrant music scene. There are lots of opportunities to play there, and it’s a mellow environment.” Milly described the street music scene, saying that “I can make a living busking on the street with my fiddle and a cigar box.” She says that she avoids the convention crowd in the French Quarter and prefers other venues like Treme-Lafitte and near the Café du Monde.” I asked Milly about her stage name “Raccoon”. “The raccoon is sort of a spiritual animal for me,” she said. “They are creative and opportunistic, and they prosper in urban areas. I see them at night dumpster-diving and foraging in backyard compost piles. They are free souls, and I feel a communion with them.” Milly enjoys coming back to Squirrel Hill and being able to reconnect with familiar neighborhoods and the cultural diversity. “I reside in New Orleans,” she says, “but I feel that I live in Squirrel Hill.”
28 | shuc.org
Photo courtesy of Milly Raccoon
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Squirrel Hill Book Review
29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker By Shayna Ross, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill
hen the holiday season rolls around, we all start
gift giving? Are our actions more automatic, e.g., “I know
to think about the tasks we need to fulfill, friends and family
this person will like X,” or is it a thoughtful process? When
we will see, and the gifts we need to buy. Whether it is for
Walker starts discovering her true reasoning behind each
someone very close, someone we do not see often, or simply
gift before presenting it, she becomes empowered by the
respecting a request, the activity of gift giving is a part of
positive effect of the action for both herself and the recipient.
traditional customs for many families and quite embedded
As you read about Walker’s gifts each day, along with
into our culture. Often, the notion of gift giving can appear to additional contributors’ stories you will experience how she be a natural habit we perform throughout the year for various was able to constructively change her outlook on life while reasons. While we think about how the gifts will impact the
living with her disease while allowing for the emotional
receiver, we may not always consider the emotional impact of impact each gift to become an incredible experience. the gift for ourselves. This memoir explores this idea. Cami Walker lived an active and hectic life in California, working long hours in advertising, performing business consulting on the side, and getting married to her best friend. Suddenly, one month after her wedding, she was diagnosed with multiple-sclerosis and her life as she knew it came to a grinding halt. Throughout her endless pains, inability to physically function, and non-stop hospital visits, Walker found herself in contact with an old friend, Mbali Crezoo, who gave her a prescription: “I want you to give away 29 gifts in 29 days.” With a certain amount of hesitation and stubbornness, Walker started giving gifts and discovered an unexpected change in herself. What are the considerations we have when engaging in
Books make great gifts!
30 | shuc.org
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REASONS TO USE OUR CITY OFFICE
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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty City Office 1935 Murray Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 412.521.5100 • www.ThePreferredRealty.com
News from Our Schools
St. Edmund’s Learns about Hunger
Creativity Grows at Community Day School
By Sally Neidhard, St. Edmund’s Academy Director of Communications
By Jennifer Bails, Community Day School Director of Marketing and Communications
Based in the core value of the worthiness of service
With the season of giving upon us, there are many
to others, students participate in community service
opportunities at Community Day School to strengthen Jewish
throughout their time at St. Edmund’s. An annual project
education in Pittsburgh and build a stronger future for our
for fifth graders is participation in the Empty Bowls project
in partnership with Just Harvest, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and Rodef Shalom. Empty Bowls is a simple community dinner intended to
This fall, our 8th Grade kicked off the school’s first-ever Tikkun Olam-athon, where they will perform more than 400 hours of community service in honor of donors to an online
serve as a reminder of the one in eight residents of Allegheny
“Pay It Forward” campaign. Tikkun Olam is the Jewish value
County who are facing hunger. Each person who attends
of “repairing the world.” Over the next several months, the
Empty Bowls leaves with a ceramic pot created by local
students will complete projects that include caring for the
artisans, including local students. St. Edmund’s fifth graders
environment, spending time with the aging population, and
create pinch pots for the project with art teacher, Ms. Kate
working with underserved communities. All money raised
will help defray the administrative costs of their graduation
“We begin the project by journaling and learning
trip to Israel. You can support these inspired teen volunteers
about hunger in our region,” Ms. Mason said. “We spend
and their continued Jewish education at gofundme.com/
time learning about some of the realities of hunger and the
fact that all types of neighbors can face food insecurity.
After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s Giving
This gives students the chance to think about the purpose
Tuesday—a global day dedicated to giving back. It’s also a day
of their pinch pot. Not only will it help raise money for an
when you can experience what CDS students learn every day:
organization, but it will also serve as a symbol and reminder
the joy that comes from making a positive difference in the
for the person who takes it home.”
world and from helping others. Stay tuned for details about our
As part of the project, the fifth graders make two pinch pots – one that is contributed to the Empty Bowls event, and
Giving Tuesday celebration at comday.org/givingtuesday. Join us on the evening of Saturday, January 26, 2019 at
one that they keep as a personal reminder of the project.
Nova Place in the North Side for our annual gala fundraiser—
Additionally, many students attend the annual dinner with
the biggest CDS party of the year and an event you don’t want
their families, which helps further connect the project to
to miss. This year’s theme will be Jammin’ in the Jungle: A
Safari Adventure, and it promises to be a “roaring” good time. Honorees include Community Leadership Award winners Lester and Barbara Parker and Volunteer of the Year Derek Smith. RSVP at comday.org/gala to honor these extraordinary individuals and their high-impact work in support of our school and community.
Pinch pots created by St. Edmund’s Academy fifth graders as part of the Empty Bowls project. (Photo provided by Sally Niedhard)
32 | shuc.org
Allderdice Builds Community Outreach By Carolyn Ludwig, PTO Contributing Writer It’s never too late to join the Allderdice Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and get involved! Stay up to date on PTO news and volunteer opportunities for teachers, parents, and students by following Allderdice PTO on Facebook or by visiting our website at www.allderdicepto.org. Please note that PTO/PSCC meetings will start at 6:00 pm at the school this year. PTO will start things off and the Parent School Community Councils portion of the meeting will follow at around 6:45 pm. Families can enter directly to the library from the parking lot off of Tilbury. Refreshments will be provided. Here is a list of the dates and topics for 2018-2019: NOV 8, 2018 – Equity and Race in the Classrooms DEC 13, 2018 – Potluck and Winter Concert JAN 10, 2019 – Restorative Practices and PBIS FEB 14, 2019 – College Application Process MARCH 14, 2019 – Social Media APRIL 11, 2019 – Drug and Alcohol Use
OPEN HOUSE Saturday, February 23rd 11am - 2pm 5701 Fifth Avenue (at Negley) Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Allderdice Dragons raced to a 7th consecutive City League Football Championship on October 30th, beating Westinghouse 18-8.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412.228.7127
K-8 Winter 2018 | 33
Squirrel Hill History
Benefactors of Squirrel Hill By Helen Wilson, Squirrel Hill Historical Society Vice President Giving time, talent, and treasure to benefit Squirrel Hill
Stained glass window in Mary S.
is a theme that runs through the community’s history. During
Brown MemorialAmes Church
the Revolutionary War, Squirrel Hill landowner Simon Girty opted to fight for the British because he thought they would
depicting Mary S.
treat Native Americans better if they won the war. Girty
Brown with a basket of bread for the
became notorious for attacking settlers’ cabins along the
frontier, but when he sneaked back to his family’s farm, it wasn’t to wreak havoc but to visit his beloved mother and half-
(Photo provided by Helen Wilson)
brother, John Turner. When the Americans won the war, Girty had to give up his farm on Squirrel Hill and flee to Canada. The land passed into the hands of John Turner. Turner buried his mother in the family burial plot in 1785. He allowed other settlers to bury their dead there as well. When Turner died in 1840, his will stated, “I do reserve, free of all incumbrance, the burying ground for the use of the public forever.” Turner Cemetery still
purchased by the Jewish Home for the Aged in 1933. The
exists at 3424 Beechwood Boulevard.
Home had been founded in the Hill District in 1906 and moved
John Turner was held in high esteem by his community.
to Squirrel Hill to serve the needs of the growing Jewish
He donated land for a public school and a church. A book about
population there. As time went on, its facilities grew in size
Squirrel Hill’s early years written around 1960 states, “Because
and function, and in 1993 the Jewish Association on Aging was
John Turner was always willing to share with others, he was
formed from both existing and newly created Jewish agencies
called the “Benefactor of Squirrel Hill.”
that served senior citizens. The old mansion was torn down,
Turner didn’t live to see the church built in 1843. It was the forerunner of Mary S. Brown Memorial-Ames United Methodist Church, located on Beechwood Boulevard
but people still remember visiting their elderly relatives there when they were young. The Girty/Turner/Brown/Jewish Home for the Aged/
beside Turner cemetery. The first church fronted on Saline
Jewish Association on Aging sequence illustrates the way
Street because it was the main road at the time. (Beechwood
altruism and generosity reverberate through Squirrel Hill’s
Boulevard didn’t exist until 1898.) That church was replaced
history from its early times to the present. Another sequence
by several others. The current church, erected in 1908, was
concerns the Jewish Community Center. It began in 1895 in the
originally named the Mary S. Brown Memorial Chapel. It
Hill District as the Irene Kaufmann Settlement (IKS), a place
was built by Samuel and W. Harry Brown as a memorial to
where recent Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe learned
their beloved mother. The wealthy Browns, whose property
how to adjust to life in America. The Center offered classes in
encompassed most of the land around Browns Hill Road,
English, citizenship, and work skills; help in finding jobs; a
were well known for their philanthropy. Like John Turner,
reading room; free baths; a “Milk Well” program to purchase
they knew the importance of education and donated land for a
affordable milk; and a “Better Baby” healthcare clinic. IKS also
school for the children of their miners and other workers. The
had a gymnasium, swimming pool, library, club room, and
school, now an apartment building, is located on Desdemona
school of music, theater and art.
Avenue on the bluff above the Monongahela River near the Homestead Grays Bridge. On the other side of Browns Hill Road is the Jewish
As Jews left the Hill District and moved to Squirrel Hill, the Irene Kaufmann Center decided to create a satellite facility there. It chose a storefront at 5832 Forward Avenue. The
Association on Aging. Its history ties in with the Browns as
building still stands, housing several restaurants and now-
well. The mansion and estate Sam Brown once owned was
closed Forward Lanes. But before IKS moved there in 1943, the
34 | shuc.org
2018-2019 Squirrel Hill Historical Society Meetings Tuesday, November 13: “Nine Mile Run” Wayne Bossinger, SHHS member and historical researcher, will talk about the convoluted history of Nine Mile Run valley, from its early days of primeval forest and salt licks to increasing use of the valley for salt The building at 5832 Forward Avenue that was the first home of the Irene Kaufmann Settlement in Squirrel Hill. (Photo provided by Helen Wilson)
production, gas and oil drilling, slag dumping, and finally reclamation and new uses.
wanted a place where they could relax and have fun instead of
Tuesday, December 11: “The Story of Roads and Bridges in Pittsburgh”
running around the streets causing trouble. A priest, rabbi, and
Todd Wilson, transportation engineer, bridge historian and
several community leaders worked together to incorporate the
author of Pittsburgh’s Bridges, will demonstrate how the
club, which lasted less than a year before the space was taken
development of Pittsburgh’s roads is linked to its bridges.
over by IKS. A Squirrel Hill resident remembers, “I think the
Through historical maps, photographs and other images,
entrance was where the sports bar is now. It was small and
Todd will show that when bridges were eliminated, valleys
narrow and had a basketball court at the end of the hallway.”
filled in, and streets rearranged when new bridges were
Since more space was needed, IKS moved to a large house
built, the results were irregularities in road alignments that
at 5738 Forbes Avenue in 1949. The organization continued
seem puzzling today. Todd’s presentation will explain many
to grow, and ground was broken for a larger building on that
of the city’s road inconsistencies and abnormalities that
site in 1958. In 1960, IKS merged with several other Jewish
make driving in Pittsburgh uniquely challenging.
space was used as the Boys’ Club, begun by a group of boys who
organizations to form Y-IKC. It officially adopted the name was expanded in 1977, it still didn’t have sufficient space,
Tuesday, January 8: “The History of Squirrel Hill’s Public Elementary Schools”
so it was torn down, and the current JCC building was built,
Helen Wilson, SHHS Co-Vice President, has found that people
opening in stages between 1987-1988. The Alex and Leona
who attended public elementary schools in Squirrel Hill have
Robinson Building on Darlington Road opened in 1997.
vivid memories of them. She will use photos, maps, and other
“Jewish Community Center” in 1974. Even after the building
The JCC is an overt manifestation of what makes Squirrel Hill continue to be a vibrant Jewish neighborhood after most
images to present a wealth of information about the history of those schools.
Jewish urban neighborhoods moved to the suburbs. The Squirrel Hill Project, undertaken by the Jewish Studies Department of
Tuesday, February 12: “The History of Allderdice High School”
the University of Pittsburgh in 2013-2014, concluded, “Jewish
Mina T. Levenson will discuss the history of Squirrel Hill’s
Squirrel Hill is the envy of other [Jewish] places because of
most illustrious public school, Taylor Allderdice High School.
the interconnectedness of the people and resources, and their
Generations of graduates have made their mark in the world
willingness to work together.” Simply put, Squirrel Hill was too
after spending their formative adolescent years at the grand
great a place to move away from.
old high school.
ThroughoutSquirrelHill’shistory,organizationswereformed to improve the neighborhood. One of the many was the Squirrel
Anyone interested in learning more about Squirrel Hill history is
Hill Community Club, formed by a group of women during World
invited to attend the meetings of the Squirrel Hill Historical Society
War I to aid the Red Cross. After the war, the club’s focus turned to
(SHHS), held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the
the Fresh Air School in Hazelwood. The club met in the meeting
Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. Go to squirrelhillhistory.
house near the corner of Hazelwood Avenue and Saline Street,
org to view upcoming lectures and events. Please consider joining the
where it provided services to the community, including teen
SHHS. Membership is only $15 per year ($25 for families). There is no
dances, Bible camps and educational programs for adults.
charge for attending the meetings.
Winter 2018 | 35
Zone 4 Safety Tips for the Holiday Season By David Shifren, Pittsburgh Police Zone 4 Officer
The end of the year brings family get-togethers, holiday
foyer by scheduling delivery when you’re at home, arranging
cheer and hearty meals, but to burglars, robbers, and criminals
for a trusted neighbor to sign for it, or collecting it at the
of other stripes, it’s prime time for thievery.
To thwart those who view the season not as one of giving but taking, consider these safety tips:
Live in an apartment building or condo? Never buzz
in anyone unseen who claims to be a delivery person – and be alert to any loitering stranger who may try to enter as you
Street robbery: Street robbers welcome the
shorter days of winter: Darkness makes it easier to sneak
leave or come in. •
Especially around the holidays, on trash-night leave
up on people, to flee after robbing them, and less likely
no cartons or packaging curbside that announces you now
that victims will provide good descriptions to police. Cold
own a new big-screen TV, pricey sound system, or cutting-edge
nights also mean fewer people on the street, which means
laptop; burglars cruise the streets essentially “inventorying” the
fewer witnesses. If you absolutely must be out, don’t go
neighborhood to see which houses are worth visiting. Cut up
out alone, and know that robbers target pedestrians who
cardboard boxes and put them inside a garbage bag.
seem distracted: Talking on the phone, texting, or even just
Theft from Vehicle: Don’t leave wrapped gifts – or
wearing ear-buds make you easier to sneak up on. Keep alert
anything, really – on your back seat, the floor, or anywhere
and remember: Not everyone wearing a ski-mask is trying to
visible through the windows. Even a phone-charging cord
may prompt a criminal to break a window to check if there’s a
thousand-dollar smart-phone hidden in the glove-box. While
Burglaries: Use timer-switches to turn on household
lights at dusk and buy outdoor motion-sensing lights that
we’re on the subject, never leave a spare key in your vehicle –
come on briefly anytime they sense movement. Always
and never a firearm!
lock doors and windows, including windows on upper
Vehicle theft – yes, Pittsburgh winters are cold, but
floors especially if they can be accessed by a porch-roof or
resist leaving your car idling unlocked and unattended “to
warm up.” It may not be there when you’re ready to leave.
Pickpockets love crowds: Distracted shoppers with
wallets thick with gift cards and cash standing at close quarters in bus lines are a pickpocket’s dream. •
Going on vacation? Enjoy! But first ask a neighbor
to keep an eye on your home, and provide him/her a contact number. Ask also if he or she will collect your mail; if snow
If these don’t’s and never’s sound overly negative, here’s the same message with a more positive spin: Follow these tips to take proactive steps to protect yourself, your family and your property against crime. For free weekly crime updates of all Zone 4
falls, even if you’re reluctant to ask that neighbor to shovel
neighborhoods, sign up for the WEEKLY SNAPSHOT by emailing
your walk, their tramping up onto your porch will help make
the house look occupied. And no matter how much you’re enjoying the sun in warm climes, resist posting your adventures or itinerary on social media till you’re home. Do you really want everyone on Facebook to know your house is vacant? •
Theft of delivered packages: With countless gifts
crisscrossing the country this time of year, ensure yours don’t disappear from your doorstep or apartment building
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Exhibit at Holocaust Center Gives Life to Victim’s Dream
n the winter of 1939, Paul Strnad wrote his cousin
Through December 2018, the Holocaust Center of
Alvin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Desperate to obtain an
Pittsburgh (826 Hazelwood Ave) is proud to host the exhibit
affidavit to escape the onslaught of Nazi Germany, Paul
Stitching History for the Holocaust, on loan from the Jewish
sent Alvin sketches of his wife Hedwig’s designs. Paul and
Hedy hoped that these examples of her work would provide
Please note that admission to the exhibit is $5; the fee
evidence of their financial independence. Despite Alvin’s
is waived for students (with valid ID), student groups, and
best efforts, both Hedwig and her husband Paul were
murdered in the Holocaust. All that remains of their story are this letter and Hedwig’s sketches. In 1997, the Strnad family in Milwaukee discovered
Stitching History for the Holocaust will feature extended gallery hours beyond our regular hours on Monday/ Wednesday 10am-4:30pm and Friday 10am-2pm. These are:
the letter and drawings in their mother’s basement. They donated them to the Milwaukee Jewish Historical Society,
Thursday, Nov. 15 – 4:00-7:00
which became the Jewish Museum Milwaukee (JMM). Once
Thursday, Nov. 29 – 4:00-7:00
the Museum opened, these pieces became central to the
Thursday, Dec. 6 – 4:00-7:00
permanent exhibition. A visitor commented that JMM should
Sunday, Dec. 9 – 1:00-4:00
create these dresses, and this is the origin of Stitching History from the Holocaust. JMM worked with the Costume Shop of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater to create the dresses while the Museum
This exhibit was generously supported by the Jewish Women’s Foundation and a grant from the Mendel And Sylvia Solomon Charitable Trust through PNC Charitable Trusts.
researched the Strnad family. Six humanities scholars explained the primary resources from the diverse perspectives including fashion history, immigration history, and Holocaust history. Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s exhibit Stitching History from the Holocaust explores the life and work of Hedy Strnad before her murder. The main feature of this exhibit is the recreation of Hedy’s dresses from her sketches. It serves as an example of what happens when human suffering is ignored and is a testament to the incalculable loss of the Holocaust. The Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s costume shop meticulously created with historic accuracy the eight dresses and accessories from the original sketches by using period styles and techniques. The museum staff has collected years of research to give visitors a closer look into the lives of this couple — a story that represents one of the millions of lives extinguished by the Holocaust and the immeasurable loss of talent and creativity.
Mannequins show off the fashion designs made by Hedy Strnad, a Holocaust victim . (Photo provided by Stitching History from the Holocaust)
Winter 2018 | 37
Events & Happenings
Squirrel Hill Historical Society Program Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. November 13, 7:30pm
PGH Parks Conservancy Listening Tour December 11, 6-8pm Frick Environmental Center
Nine Mile Run
Join the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy at the Frick Environmental Center as we launch our “parks listening tour” to hear from Pittsburghers of all backgrounds about the types of physical and programming improvements they would like to see in their local parks. Please register at www.pittsburghparks.org/community.
December 11, 7:30pm The Story of Roads and Bridges in Pittsburgh
January 8, 7:30pm The History of Squirrel Hill’s Public Elementary Schools
February 12, 7:30pm The History of Allderdice High School (See Page 35 for more information on these meetings)
Literacy Pittsburgh Tutor Workshops November 17, 9:30am-4:30pm St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church November 27 & 29, 6-9pm Third Presbyterian Church Become a literacy tutor today. Literacy Pittsburgh is offering free training workshops. No teaching experience is necessary. Pre-registration is required at 412-393-7645 or email@example.com. For more details, visit www.literacypittsburgh.org/
Holiday Magic: Let it Glow! Opens November 23, 5-11 pm Phipps Conservatory Walk through new light installations to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
Make-It-Now Ornaments November 30, 4-9 pm Pittsburgh Glass Center, 5472 Penn Ave Create your own glass ornaments to hang on your tree. $40/blown ornament and $30/fused ornament and flamecicle.
Uncover Squirrel Hill Holiday Wine Walk December 8, 4-8pm Forbes and Murray Avenue Enjoy a variety of wines while exploring the Squirrel Hill Business District during the holiday season.
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Chatham Baroque presents Alegría: Christmas Music from Spain and the New World December 16, 2:30-4:30pm Campbell Memorial Chapel This holiday program of music will feature singing in Spanish to express that no matter the language, happiness of the season is felt by all. New Year’s Eve Family Celebration December 31, 6-9pm Phipps Conservatory Bring your family to Phipps for an early countdown to the new year at 8:45 pm. Destination Moon: the Apollo 11 Mission Through 2/18/19 Heinz History Center Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Devan Shimoyama: Cry Baby Through March 17, 2019 The Andy Warhol Museum First museum solo exhibition of this painter and CMU professor explores depictions of African American boyhood and masculinity.
For more event information, check out our Community Calendar on our website.
Winter 2018 | 39
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