Squirrel Hill Magazine Winter 2021 Issue

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A Publication of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition

Squirrel Hill Magazine

Vol 19 | Issue 2

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Winter 2021

BRING ON THE LIGHT HOLIDAY GIFT AND EVENT GUIDES NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS DOORS OF SQUIRREL HILL


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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.

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BRIDGEVILLE IRWIN PLEASANT HILLS SQUIRREL HILL WEXFORD

10/25/18 10:36 AM


Squirrel Hill Magazine

Our Mission The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition gives voice to the hopes and concerns of our residents, institutions, businesses and visitors and works to preserve, improve, and celebrate the quality of life in our vibrant urban Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Greetings! As the new editor of Squirrel

Hill Magazine, I am excited to share with you the good news, good deeds, and

ON THE COVER:

good people of our community. I hope

Neill Log House in

that this winter issue fills you with joy

winter, photographed

and excitement for the holiday season

by Tony Indovina as

and the months ahead.

he was snowshoeing through Schenley Park in December, 2020.

Many of the stories in this issue speak to the importance of being open to new ideas and opportunities. Squirrel Hill’s early Jewish organizations transformed

FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Contact marketing@shuc.org. All other communications can be directed to editor@shuc.org or (412) 422-7666.

existing structures for worship and community services. More recently, Lou Astorino designed an innovative, modern chapel for historic Vatican City. Today, the Center for Loving Kindness promotes

Vol 19 | Issue 2

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Winter 2021

SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION OFFICERS PRESIDENT Mardi Isler VICE PRESIDENT Marshall Hershberg VICE PRESIDENT Dalia Belinkoff SECRETARY Raymond Baum TREASURER Lisa Steindel ASST. TREASURER Paul Katz IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Richard Feder BOARD OF DIRECTORS Anna Batista, Raymond N. Baum, Jill Beck, Dalia Belinkoff, Guy Costa, Vivian Didomenico, Lori Fitzgerald, Sarika Goulatia, Heather Graham, Barbara Grover, Michael Henderson, Marshall Hershberg, Melissa Hiller, Martha Isler, Paul Katz, Joseph Ott, Mary Shaw, Lisa Steindel, Erik Wagner The Squirrel Hill Magazine is a publication produced by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC), a nonprofit organization. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, donations to SHUC are tax-exempt, and SHUC complies with all 501(c)(3) rules and regulations.

CONTRIBUTORS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Lena Andrews, Jennifer Bails, Maria Cohen, Melissa Eppihimer, Lawrence Gerson, Maanya Goulatia, Barb Grover, Marshall Hershberg, Melissa Hiller, Mardi Isler, Jim Rogal, Ron Symons, Helen Wilson

communication between different faith communities. All of these examples

EDITOR Melissa Eppihimer

involve people being adaptive and

DESIGNER Lynn Kawaratani

responsive to the world around them.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Maria H. Cohen

I hope to do the same here at Squirrel

Hill Magazine. Share your thoughts and feedback with me at editor@shuc.org. I look forward to hearing from you. Melissa Eppihimer Editor, Squirrel Hill Magazine

Squirrel Hill Magazine, Vol. 19, Issue 2, 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.


facebook.com/ squirrelhillmagazine instagram.com/ squirrelhillurbancoalition

WINTER 2021

twitter.com/ squirrelhillmag shuc.org/ the-burrow-blog/

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in every issue GREETINGS FROM THE SHUC PRESIDENT

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COMMUNITY CHAMPION: LYNETTE LEDERMAN

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STATE AND CITY COUNCIL CORNER

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NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES

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by Mardi Isler

features 11

DOORS OF SQUIRREL HILL

13 TREASURES DINNER REPORT

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BRING ON THE LIGHT: CENTER FOR LOVING KINDNESS

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BUILT FROM THE HEART: LOU ASTORINO’S VATICAN CHAPEL

GOOD NEWS FROM THE SCHOOLS

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HOLIDAY EVENT GUIDE

PET POINTS

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

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SHUC SNAPSHOTS

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YOUTH VOICES: THE STORY OF DIWALI

by Lawrence Gerson

SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY

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by Helen Wilson

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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

Greetings from the SHUC President By Mardi Isler, SHUC Board President THE HOLIDAYS ARE A TIME FOR REMINISCING, and probably never more so than after all the disruptions we have experienced over the past 20 or so months. I know I am not alone in thinking fondly at this time of year about “how things were.” For me, it’s not just about the pre-pandemic times. This year I find myself thinking all the way back to 1984, when I first moved into this neighborhood. Looking back on those early days I am reminded of all the reasons I love living here—the people, the community feel, and of course the lively center of activity on Forbes and Murray. I recall being amazed that almost anything I would want to buy was available within blocks of my house. I am and have always been a believer in buying local. Here, we get to see and experience directly how important that is.

our big Thanksgiving dinner. I was a regular in his shop and loved those visits all the way up until he closed in 2011 after 50 years. Mr. Engle and his daughter Claire sold delicious produce at Engle’s Market. I was a faithful customer and appreciated being able to taste what you were buying. The store closed in 2012 after 46 years. For furnishings and fabrics, Arthur Moser’s ever-changing display rooms lit up Forbes for more than 60 years. It finally closed in 2004.

Locally owned businesses support the local economy and cater to what Squirrel Hillers want. They help create the culture of our unique neighborhood.

Locally owned businesses support the local economy and cater to what Squirrel Hillers want. They help create the culture of our unique neighborhood. We get to know them, and we see our neighbors while in the stores and on the streets. Our businesses are uniquely invested in the well-being of our neighborhood, and they generously support our non-profits and community activities.

In the days when we were still getting dressed up for parties and special events, we had great shopping for that, too, on Forbes. There was Adele’s, a fabulous women’s store which closed in 2000, and Linton’s, another dress shop across the street that moved out in 2002. The Pussycat offered premier lingerie on Forbes from 1969 to 2013. Capriccio’s women’s attire closed in 2019 after 15 years.

And there is a personality to them, with entrepreneurs who are sometimes actual characters. I remember some of my favorites from days gone by. Our butcher Marvin, down on Forward, always supplied the turkey and other specialty meats for

For menswear, London Dock closed in 2008 after 48 years. Charles Spiegel for Men, a central meeting spot along Forbes, operated for 24 years up until 2017. And for children, Newman’s was a Squirrel Hill landmark for more than 50 years until 2004.

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Most of these shops closed when their owners retired or moved on. Life brings change, along with demand for new products, restaurants and businesses. “How things were” has changed, but not entirely. What never changed along the way was the dynamic business environment and the ongoing demand for places to shop, eat and connect. Today the old shops have given way to the new, and our business corridor has continued to be successful. Our Squirrel Hill merchants still believe, as I do, that our residents continue to want close, convenient shopping and a unique experience embedded in the character of our special neighborhood.

fresh

local

organic community owned since 1980 412.242.3598 7516 Meade Street www.eastendfood.coop Pittsburgh, PA 15208

Holidays help us keep track of what has changed and what has remained the same in our lives. We are reminded of special times, of our traditions and practices. During this season we can reminisce, take a walk around Squirrel Hill, on Murray, Forward, Forbes, Shady, Northumberland, Negley, and Hobart. It’s fun to ask yourself this time of year, what do you remember about the stores, salons and restaurants that used to be here? But remember to take note, too, of what you value and appreciate about what is here and now. The greatest gift of all at the holidays is that we are able to share in the festivities and to be grateful for all that we have. Wishing you Joyful Holidays and a Healthy and Happy New Year.

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COMMUNITY CHAMPION:

LYNETTE LEDERMAN By Jim Rogal

LYNETTE LEDERMAN RARELY TAKES NO FOR AN ANSWER. She works as an executive assistant to City Councilperson Corey O’Connor, as she did for former Councilperson Doug Shields. But in addition, and above all, Lynette Lederman is a volunteer extraordinaire. She has spent almost 50 years of her life volunteering for multiple causes, more often than not in a leadership position. And it’s all been in the name of helping people—especially kids. Want to provide clothes and supplies to disadvantaged children at the start of the new school year? Call Lynette; she’s done it. Think it would be a wonderful idea to give foster children essential items when they move into a foster home? Lynette’s got a program up and running. Believe that good and caring people should find and support like-minded candidates to run for office? Lynette’s been doing it for 45 years, in fact, as a member of the Democratic Committee from the 14th Ward. You get the idea. Lynnette Lederman makes things happen, things that help people. And she does it free of charge. Lynette is not a native Pittsburgher. She was raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the daughter of a union representative/truck-driving father and a police officer mother. She studied to become a nurse, then hitchhiked across the country. She met her future husband, Stanley Lederman, in Los Angeles. Stanley is an attorney who grew up on Pocusset Street, so when he came home, Lynette came with him and

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“married Pittsburgh,” as she says. She was 25, and her first job in Pittsburgh was as a nurse for the Allegheny County Health Department. “My volunteering was an extension of my job,” Lynette explained. “I was always good at helping people. It just came naturally for me.” That’s how running the concession stand at her son’s Little League games turned into serving as president of the PTA at Community Day School, then at Sterrett, then again at Allderdice. Throw in her work as Chairwoman of the Parent School Community Council. And that was just the beginning of her volunteer work in Squirrel Hill. “I really cared,” she said, “and I’ve always known how to get things done.” A considerable understatement. Lynette has served on the board of the JCC. She was President of the congregation at Tree of Life. She was a founding board member of Uncover Squirrel Hill, formerly the Squirrel Hill Business and Professional Association, where she was a long-time contributor. And those are just top of mind. Asked to explain her commitment to Squirrel Hill, Lynette said, “I was a transplant, so I was looking for community, and it just existed here. It was already in place. And it was a comfortable, nonjudgmental environment.” But her volunteer work has never stopped at the Squirrel Hill border. Far from it. She was Chair of the


Governance Committee of Pittsburgh Action Against Rape. She was Vice-Chair of the Jewish Association on Aging. She was Board Chair at the Federation of Independent School Alumnae Foundation, where she helped develop and run programs aimed at reducing domestic violence, coaching boys into men, promoting racial equity, and more. “All of my volunteer work is about equity, diversity, and inclusion.” Which brings us to the big one, “my baby,” Lynette said—the National Council of Jewish Women, for which she served as Board Chair for the Pittsburgh Section—of course—and where she’s also served as Vice-Chair of Community Services. “I worked on a whole package of community service initiatives,” she said, which included the aforementioned efforts on behalf of schoolchildren and foster children. But she is especially proud of establishing and chairing a

program called “Children’s Playrooms in the Courts.” It took her several years, but she convinced judges and officials at four Pittsburgh courts to provide a safe space for kids when a parent is involved in the legal system, thereby enabling them to avoid the courtroom during proceedings. Now in her mid-70s, Lynette has no plan to stop volunteering. “What would I do?” she asked. “Besides, I like to be in the middle of things, and there’s still so much need.” So what’s ahead? “We’ll never solve every problem,” she said, “but I’d like to still help move the needle for social change—for diversity, equity, advocacy, and community service.” A tall order, to be sure, but rest assured that Lynette Lederman will continue leading the charge for as long as she can. “Volunteerism gets in your blood,” she said. “Once you do something that you know is right, you want to keep doing it.”

Winter 2021 | 9


State and City Council Corner Fund to address security needs and improvements for facilities and to confront violence and intolerance against organizations whose membership is diverse and whose purpose is to serve our communities or to foster tolerance, respect and understanding. Senate Bill 228 would re-implement the temporary grant fund Representative Dan Frankel and Senator Costa were able to secure over the last two years to bring millions of dollars to our community on a permanent basis.

GIVING THANKS AND FAMILY-FRIENDLY CAMPAIGN LEGISLATION City Councilperson Corey O’Connor reports that as we’ve gradually emerged from the pandemic and are slowly returning to communal events, he has enjoyed seeing Clockwise, from top left: City Councilperson Erika Strassburger; State Senator Jay Costa; City Councilperson Corey O’Connor; State Representative Dan Frankel.

so many people in person. With all the obstacles we’ve faced, he thanks his staff for keeping the office going remotely and helping him attend to city business. He extends a special congratulations to Lynette Lederman,

STATE & CITY COUNCIL CORNER IS OUR QUARTERLY UPDATE of news and press releases from the offices of Squirrel Hill’s city and state representatives to keep you informed.

who has been named “Community Champion” by this magazine. A well-deserved honor! Shortly after City Council began to meet in person again, Councilperson O’Connor was especially pleased to introduce legislation

BILL INTRODUCED TO DECRIMINALIZE CANNABIS (HB 2050)

that allowed candidates to Pittsburgh office to use

State Representative Dan Frankel and State

more to come in the New Year!

campaign money for some childcare costs. Stay tuned for

Representative Jake Wheatley introduced legislation to decriminalize adult-use cannabis, expunge cannabis-

ELIMINATING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BAGS

related charges, and open licensing of growing cannabis

After many years of conversation, listening, and research,

to small businesses. House Bill 2050 would also establish

City Councilperson Erika Strassburger will soon introduce

multiple grant programs that benefit small, minority,

a bill at City Council that aims to eliminate single-use

and women-owned businesses, funded by revenue from

plastic bags in Pittsburgh. These environmentally harmful

cannabis sales taxes. In the end, this legislation would

plastics damage our waterways, clog our recycling

have lasting economic and social justice impacts in the

machinery, and contribute to the growth of our landfills.

commonwealth.

The legislation will ban single-use plastic bags at the point of sale (think grocery stores, retail stores, and

LEGISLATION TO CREATE A PERMANENT NONPROFIT SECURITY GRANT FUND (SB 228)

restaurants) and place a fee on paper bags to help. The

As we recently marked three years since the tragic

implement this program. The ordinance will go into

violence at the Tree of Life Synagogue, our work

effect 6 months after the bill passes, with a concentrated

continues to strengthen Pennsylvania’s anti-hate crime

effort to engage and educate the public and businesses

laws and protect at-risk populations. To that end, State

around this ordinance. According to Strassburger, this

Senator Jay Costa has introduced legislation that would

is an important next step towards a cleaner, healthier

permanently establish the Nonprofit Security Grant

Pittsburgh we can all be proud of.

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fee will then be returned to the retailer to help them


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Doors of Squirrel Hill

Behind these doors you’ll find friendly faces, essential services, and opportunities to learn and grow. How many doors have you gone through? And how many more will you open? (You can find the locations of the doors on page 38.)

Winter 2021 | 11


We congratulate all of the 2021 Treasure Award Honorees! You lead. You inspire. You change lives.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


TREASURING OUR

TREASURES

ON THE EVENING OF THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 11TH, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition proudly honored its latest Squirrel Hill Treasures at The Pittsburgh Golf Club. After a virtual event in 2020, we were grateful to be able to gather in person to honor our 2021 and 2020 Treasures. Although pandemic precautions restricted the number of attendees, the event remained true to its purpose: to shine light on and give thanks to the special people and places that make Squirrel Hill such an outstanding community. This year’s 2021 Treasures are Brian Lee (Allderdice Band Leader), Nancy Polinsky Johnson (Shady Ave Magazine and Community Leader), Kiya Tomlin (Designer and Community Advocate), and Wightman Park (where recreation and environmental stewardship come together). Last year’s 2020 Treasures are Norraset “Nor” Nareedokmai (Restaurateur and Cultural Ambassador), Jasmine Cho (Cookie Artist and Activist), Barbara Burstin (Historian and Community Leader), and First Tee Pittsburgh/Arnold Palmer Learning Center (where kids grow as golfers and individuals). We thank each of you for everything that you do to serve and improve our community. The Treasures dinner is a celebration of who and what is exceptional about Squirrel Hill, but it also helps sustain the activities and operations of the

Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition. We are extremely grateful for the generosity of our sponsors. Thanks to their support, we can look forward to celebrating Squirrel Hill Treasures for years to come!

THANK YOU TO OUR 2021 SPONSORS Platinum ($5,000+)

Ed Beachler Chatham University Katz Family/Brandywine Charlie and Franny Stewart Robert Levin and Dr. Kerry Bron UPMC Senior Communities and Heritage Place Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network

Gold ($2,500+)

Pittsburgh Steelers | Trulieve Walnut Capital & Bakery Square Jack McGinley and Judge Mary McGinley Raymond and Harriet Baum | Clark Hill, PLC Vivian and Rocco Didomenico/Rockwel Realty Carnegie Mellon University | Debbie Demchak Paul Peffer and Leslie Miller | Pittsburgh Promise

Silver ($1,000+)

McKnight Realty Partners | PNC Rubinoff Company | Little's Shoes Silk & Stewart Development Company First National Bank | Mardi and Bill Isler Board of Friends of Mellon Park Jim and Louisa Rudolph Family Foundation Representative Dan Frankel | Maxon Tower Ohringer Arts (Anna Hollis & Gregg Kander) Carol Kinkela, Carabella | Richard and Helen Feder

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WISHING YOU

I'm not just a

I'm also your

NEIGHBOR

This Holiday Season

Katelyn Gagliardotto REALTOR® 1028 S Braddock Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15218 Office: (412) 241-4700 Ext. 91

HAPPY 2022

Cell: (407) 437-2287 - Preferred Katelyn@NeighborhoodRealtyServices.net

STATE SENATOR JAY COSTA OFFICES TO SERVE YOU

FOREST HILLS 1501 Ardmore Boulevard • Suite 403 Pittsburgh, PA 15221 (412) 241-6690 • Fax: (412) 731-2332

E-MAIL costa@pasenate.com

BLOOMFIELD 4736 Liberty AveNUE • Suite 1 • Pittsburgh, PA 15224 (412) 578-8457 • Fax: (412) 578-9874 HOMESTEAD 314 East 8th AveNUE • Homestead, PA 15120 (412) 462-4204 • Fax: (412) 462-4543

www.SenatorCosta.com Paid for with Pennsylvania Taxpayer Dollars

One of three remaining treasures from the 1700's!

STATE AND CIT Y COUNCIL CORNER

REALTOR®


STATE AND CIT Y COUNCIL CORNER

Dear Neighbor, Despite there still being some uncertainty in our world, as we head into the winter holidays SHUC has remained flexible and true to our mission, which is to give voice to the hopes and concerns of our residents, businesses, and visitors, and to work to preserve, improve and celebrate the quality of life in our vibrant urban Squirrel Hill Neighborhood. We hope that one aspect of celebrating Squirrel Hill is enjoying reading our Squirrel Hill Magazine, that you find it interesting and informative, and that you feel more connected to Squirrel Hill after reading its contents. If you are able and would like to support the magazine, which we plan to publish three times in 2022, or to support SHUC in general, please go to shuc.org/ donate or call the SHUC office at 412-422-7666 to donate by credit card. Please leave a message for a return call.

We wish all of our community members a happy, healthy, and good rest of the year!

Together we are making a difference — one project at a time.


SHEAR VISIONS BEAUTY SALON A hidden gem in the heart of Squirrel Hill You’ll never feel more at home than here - Hair & Nails & Skin with European flair - Internationally trained stylists We offer a complete range of beauty services to fit your needs. From hair styling, color and highlights, to facial skin care, to face waxing, manicures and pedicures. - DESSANGE Haircutting & Style technique with our French Hairstylist Arnaud who was trained by worldrenown Jacques Dessange in Paris. Your new look is right next door: 1829 Murray Ave, 15217 412-422-0123 www.shearvisions.com

U sed y l t n Low C o s t , G e

p p l i u e s S t Art & C r a f

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NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES NEW BUSINESS NOTICES

served African food, she decided to open her own on Murray Avenue, adding to an already diverse restaurant scene. For generations, her family ran restaurants in Nigeria. Now, diners here can sample family recipes. If you don’t know where to start, try jollof rice, a classic dish of rice stewed in a spiced tomato broth, or Nigerian suya, grilled steak served with spicy condiments. “You can never have a dull moment; there’s always more to order,” said Lawal about the extensive menu, which includes options for vegans and vegetarians. In addition to dine-in and takeaway, African Cuisine offers catering services and will soon open a full-scale bar. Browse the menu atafricaneatscuisine.com.

RIVERSTONE BOOKS (5825 Forbes Ave), an independent, local bookstore with a second location in the North Hills, has opened in the heart of the Squirrel Hill business district. In a renovated space formerly occupied by Classic Lines, readers can browse a wide range of general interest books and an expanded children’s section. They can also hear staff recommendations and submit custom orders. Barbara Jeremiah, the store’s owner, said that if Riverstone can find a book you need, “we’ll order it for you, tell you when we expect it to arrive, and let you know when it does.” As a further service to customers and writers, the store frequently hosts events with authors. For details, see riverstonebookstore.com.

AFRICAN CUISINE (2030-2032 Murray Ave) fills a gap in Pittsburgh’s dining scene. When Saudat Lawal realized that no restaurants in the area

Residents and businesses in Squirrel Hill can be thankful that ISHIP & PACK (5829 Forward Ave) opened late last year. When COVID-19 disrupted our normal way of doing things, iShip & Pack helped keep us connected through its packing, shipping, copying, and printing services. The need for a local store offering these services was clear to founder Aaron Gibson, Jr., who notes that customers also appreciate the convenience of the on-site Notary Public. As with last year, Gibson expects a busy holiday shipping season and advises mailing packages as early as possible to avoid delays. He and his team are offering extended holiday hours to make it all just a little bit easier. For more information, visit ishipnpack.com.

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NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES HOLOCAUST CENTER PARTNERS WITH CHATHAM UNIVERSITY The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh has returned to Squirrel Hill, with Chatham University as its host. Dr. Lauren Bairnsfather, Director of the Center, stressed her appreciation for the Center’s previous host community, the Greenfield neighborhood. “We enjoyed our time in Greenfield. It was such a great experience,” she said, “but it feels right to be so close to Wilkins and Shady, and a university campus opens so many opportunities that weren’t available before.” The partnership will engage Chatham University’s academic programs, including its minors in Jewish Studies and Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies, but the university’s president expects even more—and many kinds—of learning opportunities. Dr. David Finegold said, “I’m hoping that this will be an interdisciplinary and multifaceted partnership.” Its impact will extend beyond the university, too. Finegold emphasized that both Chatham and the Center are committed to outreach programs to K-12 schools that help students learn about identitybased violence and social justice. Most immediately, Bairnsfather is eager to fill an exhibition space in the Jenny King Mellon Library with art and artifacts from its collection. When

the exhibit opens (before the end of 2021), visitors will see, among other things, a Torah rescued from the Holocaust and art created by students in response to the attack on Squirrel Hill’s Tree of Life. Bairnsfather hopes that the exhibition will be a call to action. “There’s so much we can do when we see hate speech. It goes beyond antisemitism,” she said. A home base at Chatham brings the Center closer to Tree of Life, where it is collaborating on programing to combat antisemitism and identity-based hate. The Center is also working with the USC Shoah Foundation on a concert featuring music written by persons imprisoned in concentration camps during the Holocaust. The concert will take place on January 27, 2022, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. You can find information about the concert (including how to watch it virtually), other public events, and the Chatham exhibition at hcofpgh.org.

MOVING FORWARD ON FORWARD AVENUE FLATS ON FORWARD, the $25M affordable rental housing development by ACTION-Housing, Inc., at the corner of Murray and Forward is finally moving forward in a big way! After the former Squirrel Hill Theater was demolished in the early summer of 2021, financing was finalized in October and construction began. Foundation work will last through the winter and into early spring. In the

Melanie Wieland, courtesy of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh

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NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES spring and summer of 2022, framing work will start, with the elevator and stair shafts to follow. Construction is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2023. The final project will have 43 affordable apartments and 10,000 SF of commercial space on the first floor. Together, these will activate a block that sat vacant for 10 years since the theater closed. The apartments are income restricted, available to households making less than 60% Area Median Income (<$35,640 / year for a one-person household), and 25% of the units are reserved for people with disabilities. ACTION-Housing has a long waiting list for its affordable apartments next door at Krause Commons, so it is looking forward to bringing more units to Squirrel Hill. Applications will become available next fall, so keep an eye out for that announcement!

it had an in-store roaster in the corner. The smell on Forbes of coffee roasting was certainly inviting. As the business grew, a warehouse in West Mifflin was purchased to house a large coffee roaster. The small in-store roaster also moved to the warehouse and now roasts only specialty coffees. From the beginning, CTR supported improvements in the Forbes business corridor, Uncover Squirrel Hill, and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition’s Tree Care Days. Currently run by Jean Swoope, CTR is a Certified Woman Owned and Operated Business. It has grown to include five company-owned retail locations, multiple licensed stores, a thriving roaster, a wholesale division, and a full-service espresso equipment and repair company called Espresso Solutions. On the occasion of 28 years in business, Jean opened the roastery, warehouse, and offices for tours. It was fascinating to see the variety of products offered by CTR: teas, candies, syrups, baked goods, dairy products, and, of course, coffee. Congratulations and wishes for continued growth and prosperity!

BUSINESSES ON FORWARD STILL OPEN

COFFEE TREE ROASTERS CELEBRATES 28 YEARS Father and son Swoope team, fondly known as “The Bills,” opened The Coffee Tree Roasters (CTR) in Squirrel Hill in July of 1993. It was the first coffee shop in our neighborhood and was unique because

Despite the ongoing construction of Flats on Forward on the site of the former Squirrel Hill Theater, all restaurants, shops and businesses on Forward remain open. These include Balloonatics!, iShip & Pack, Ianni’s Tailoring & Cleaning, and New Young’s Oriental Grocery Store. Visit Balloonatics! for a wide range of balloons and balloon decor, iShip & Pack for your shipping and mailing needs, Ianni’s Tailoring & Cleaning for sewing, alterations, and dry cleaning, and New Young’s Oriental Grocery store for Asian goods. Construction will only occur during daylight hours, so please continue supporting these wonderful businesses!

Winter 2021 | 19


BRING ON THE LIGHT IN THIS CONVERSATION, Rabbi Ron Symons and Melissa

Marching through JCC. Courtesy of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

Hiller, Founding Director and Assistant Director, respectively, of

a community hub for convening, gathering, and forging

the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s Center for

bonds. From the beginning, we envisioned CFLK as a

Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement, reflect upon the history,

place where neighbors can live in community with one

philosophy, and activities of the CFLK.

another based on our shared humanity and through real and perceived differences. We amplify the long-held

MH: It’s hard to believe that the Center for Loving

values of ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ and ‘Do not

Kindness and Civic Engagement (CFLK), the Jewish

stand idle while your neighbor bleeds.’ We redefine

Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s social

‘neighbor’ from a geographic term to a moral concept.

justice arm, will celebrate its fifth year in 2022. Its seeds were planted even before 2017 as we

MH: These ideals are so intertwined with the JCC’s

considered how the JCC could respond to the widely

overall mission—Community is our middle name—that

reported public ambivalence towards participating in

it made sense to establish a formal civic engagement

civic life, loss of confidence in the future of the U.S.,

model within it.

and flagging trust in public institutions. At a hyperlocal level, even conversations at the JCC showed

RS: The launch date of CFLK is significant to us because

us that people were feeling alienated and deeply

certain August historical events are emblematic of

concerned about racial justice, equity, systems that

our highest ideals and our worst selves. On August

make it impossible for neighbors to thrive, and the

28, 1963, during the March on Washington, Rabbi

future of democracy in our country…and that they

Joachim Prinz, a Holocaust survivor, immigrant, and

want to wrestle with these pressing and complicated

civil rights leader, called on demonstrators with a

issues.

mandate that underpins our own mission: “Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept. It means

RS: When we launched CFLK in August 2017, those

our collective responsibility for the preservation of

concerns ignited us to draw upon the JCC’s history as

man’s dignity and integrity.” On the other side of the

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spectrum, August 11, 2017, was the Unite the Right rally

pandemic created opportunities for impact through

in Charlottesville, Va., that ended in deadly violence.

our UPstander volunteer program, a bright spot amid

Our first event, on August 28, 2017, was an interfaith

unprecedented uncertainties. During the rollout of

Clergy Forum of Social Justice Sermons inspired by

the vaccine in early 2021, communities throughout

the 1963 March. More than 150 local spiritual leaders

Pittsburgh, particularly neighborhoods with majority

convened at the JCC to unite as neighbors and agents

Black and Brown residents, experienced challenges

of love, not hatred, in the face of emboldened racism

communicating eligibility information and navigating the

and bigotry. We shared excerpts from the sermons of

appointment registration process. By late February, CFLK

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad, and Rabbi J.

UPstanders and AgeWell at the JCC volunteers were

Leonard Levy of Rodef Shalom (early 20th century). We

working with community leaders and the Community

then marched through the JCC ‘main street’ to join in

Vaccine Collaborative to share registration details with

spirit the thousands of others gathered in Washington,

eligible residents. By March, UPstanders were providing

D.C., at the same time.

onsite support at vaccination clinics throughout Pittsburgh.

MH: The deep work we did at the beginning prepared us. We were ready to have hard conversations and build authentic, ongoing relationships with community partners like Center of Life, the Christian Church of Wilkinsburg, and Christian Associates of Southwest PA, among so many others.

RS: When we think about the complexities of living in community in the 21st century, we know that being a change agent comes with articulating the theory behind change. Six principles articulate our beliefs: •

We break down geographic, cultural, economic, and racial neighborhood divides to build community

Upstander at Vaccine Clinic. Courtesy of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

connectivity.

Overall, more than 70 UPstanders made 3,000+

We ignite people of good will to action.

registration and reminder phone calls to people

We support neighbors on their journeys towards

without internet access and participated in more than

more open minds and new and different

20 vaccination events amid overwhelming feelings of

perspectives relating to living together in our diverse

isolation. One UPstander’s written sentiments summarize

community.

beautifully what it means to make tangible impact:

We inspire people to move beyond their interfaith

“We didn’t just help people navigate the complex and

differences.

confusing process, we touched them emotionally. We got

We create safe spaces in which Pittsburgh police

to talk about birthdays and grandchildren, we got to be

officers and spiritual leaders can build relationships,

human. We would do this again.”

• •

seeing each other as human beings. •

We encourage neighbors to talk to each other

RS: When we conceived the UPstander program, we

through their different political partisan affiliations.

wanted it to provide acknowledgement, understanding, and support for neighbors facing challenges because of

MH: What runs through these principles is the ability of

hateful acts, natural disasters, violence, or intolerance.

community members to make an impact. The COVID-19

We’re now mobilizing to welcome and support Afghan

Winter 2021 | 21


refugees, as well as the resettlement agencies that meet

HOW CFLK STRENGTHENS

myriad housing and employment needs. These are our newest neighbors. Of course, we know there will be

THE FABRIC OF COMMUNITY

other emerging issues.

• 500+ faith leaders belong to CFLK’s ministerium; previously, there was no single organization in Pittsburgh that brought faith leaders together for conversation, relationship building, and action.

MH: The tenets of our origin story have been our North Star as we navigated through some profoundly dark days, sometimes leading and guiding when the tragedy was at our front door, other times showing up for our neighbors who needed us to stand with them. I still think about showing up outside the Islamic Center in the aftermath of the Christchurch, New Zealand massacre to

• 72 individuals participate in its UPstander volunteer program; they were actively involved in communitybased COVID-19 vaccination programs.

stand in solidarity, support, and protection of our Muslim neighbors. Our commitment to sharing experiences with people from different backgrounds also enabled us to celebrate wonderfully joyous interfaith occasions; we might be

• A vaccine clinic offered with Allegheny Health Network and 30 community organizations ensured vaccine access to frontline workers, immigrant and refugee communities, and community members from Black and Brown neighborhoods.

the only JCC to have organized a Social Justice Disco for Hannukah. This is all really about love and a conviction to shared belonging in a city, a community, we all call home.

• Parents, teachers and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland, Fl.) joined members of Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community for three days of healing, resilience, and community building via From Parkland to Pittsburgh in April, 2019. • In September, 2019, CFLK hosted a forum on religious freedom, The First Amendment for the 21st Century, featuring Nina Totenberg (NPR) and Michael McConnell (Stanford Law School) along with local leaders.

Social Justice Disco. Courtesy of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

MH: Speaking of the Disco—the holiday season is now upon us, and there is something about a holiday that sparks interfaith wonder and curiosity.

RS: It was so wonderful to gather in large and diverse community both in the audience and among those performing and sharing. We were blessed to witness the beautiful musical traditions and stylings of Native Americans, Cubans, Black Christians, Jews, Drag Queens

22 | shuc.org


and so many more in celebration of LIGHT. With thanks we illuminated ways that our collective light is brighter when we join together. Holding so many candles lit from the same original flame, we witnessed the truth that MLK continues to teach us: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” That is what this upcoming season is all about, too. Bring on the light in as many diverse ways as we have diverse neighbors!

false. witness. By Lucy Kirkwood

to Liz Berlin and Phat Man Dee, who helped us connect,

Nov. 27Dec. 19, 2021 Staged at The

Joyeuses fêtes.

Maverick Hotel (Former East Liberty YMCA)

Directed by Karla Boos Art Direction by by Susan Tsu

Q theater that moves you.

5837 Forbes Ave | Pittsburgh | 412.682.1966 435 Market St | Pittsburgh | 412.281.3818 Pittsburgh International Airport | Concourse A

Quantum Theatre Thirtieth Anniversary Tickets: 412.362.1713 quantumtheatre.com Winter 2021 | 23


BUILT FROM THE

HEART

SQUIRREL HILL ARCHITECT LOU ASTORINO’S CHAPEL IN VATICAN CITY By Melissa Eppihimer

THERE ARE MOMENTS IN LIFE when we are called to

hotel. For Astorino, the challenge

serve a higher power. For Lou Astorino, a Pittsburgh

became the inspiration. He asked,

native and Squirrel Hill resident, that call came in 1993

“What did God do with the

when a cardinal from the Vatican asked him to design

triangle?” He found the answer

a new chapel in Vatican City. The chapel was meant

in the repeating patterns of nature

for visiting clergy, including the cardinals who gather

and the Holy Trinity at the heart of

on rare occasions to elect the next pope. Awed by this

Christianity.

responsibility, Astorino set about designing a space suitable for this weighty purpose.

The triangle became the basis for the entire design, from the intricate patterns on the marble floor to the

The chapel also had to fit the landscape of Vatican City.

elegant lighting system in the ceiling. The building also

Located in the center of Rome, the Vatican is rich in

pays homage to the history that surrounds it. One side

architectural history. Its most recognizable landmark is

is made of glass to allow visitors to see the historical

the massive St. Peter’s Basilica. The land set aside for the

Leonine wall that runs beside it. Yet the chapel is

new chapel did not allow such a grandiose structure. Its

a thoroughly modern design that reflects modern

small, triangular plot was squeezed between an ancient

sensibilities.

stone wall and a brand-new building that served as a The triangle also reminded the architect of his hometown, where three rivers meet. Lou grew up in Pittsburgh’s Manchester and Brookline neighborhoods in a family of Italian and Serbian descent. He later attended Carnegie Mellon University and Penn State University. He and his wife, Jean, have lived in Squirrel Hill since 2005. They find much to enjoy in the neighborhood, but an architect’s eye leads Lou to appreciate its residential buildings. “I love the diversity of the architecture. Nothing is the same,” he said. Asked what he would build to make a mark on the neighborhood, he replied, “Nothing. I don’t know if I

24 | shuc.org


chapel. When those plans were not accepted, he was understandably disappointed. The invitation to build the chapel soon followed, though, and Lou experienced the familiar adage that ‘when one door closes, another one opens.’ The chapel was an unexpected opportunity that he wholeheartedly embraced. The Chapel of the Holy Spirit, as the building is named, officially opened in 1996. Astorino wanted visitors to experience a wave of emotion when they pass through its wood and stained glass doors. He hoped that the space would bring them closer to God. He did not expect that the pope would lead mass there on a daily basis, as Pope Francis has done since 2013. In addition, Vatican staff, whether gardeners or cardinals, pray in the chapel. Twenty-five years after its construction, the chapel stands as the only structure in Vatican City built by an American architect. In contrast, Pittsburgh is blessed could do anything so unique.” Considering the one-of-a-

with many projects that Astorino and his architectural

kind chapel he created in Vatican City, one might argue

firm designed, including PNC Park and UPMC Children’s

otherwise.

Hospital. But it is Astorino who feels blessed and humbled by the honor of designing the chapel. To him, it

Remarkably, Astorino began his work at the Vatican as

was never a business project. It was an act of faith, felt

a consultant on the neighboring hotel, rather than the

deeply in his heart.

BRING ON THE LIGHT PITTSBURGH CRECHE

During the holiday season, downtown Pittsburgh is home to another of Lou Astorino’s projects: the Pittsburgh Crèche. This more-than-life-sized Nativity scene has been adorning the plaza of the U.S. Steel tower in wintertime since 1999. After observing the crèche at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Astorino set about commissioning a similar one for Pittsburgh, turning to the Italian sculptor of the Vatican’s figures to produce versions for Pittsburgh. Closer to home, local nuns made the figures’ clothing, one of many ways that the crèche has become part of the community. Another is the annual installation by the Pittsburgh Carpenters Union. Each year, the dedication ceremony on Light Up Night brings together people from multiple religious denominations to usher in a joyous season.

Winter 2021 | 25


HOLIDAY

EVENT GUIDE Credit: Renee Rosensteel/Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

As always, schedules are subject to change, so confirm with your destination before heading to one of these festive events.

Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden

The Rink at PPG Place

Friday, November 19 – Sunday, January 9

Strap on your skates (or rent a pair) and take a spin

Friday, November 19 – Sunday, February 27

around the rink. Or just watch skaters whirl past the Whether you stay inside the almost tropical greenhouse

brand-new, 60-foot, LED-light tree. It will be grand no

or venture into the outdoor garden, the Phipps flower

matter how you participate. Reserve your time on the

and light show will dazzle all of your senses. This year

rink at ppgplace.com/directory/the-rink.

the outdoor lights return for the “Sparkle and Shine” theme. You can feel good knowing that the energy used to illuminate the displays is renewable. phipps.conservatory.org

Peoples Gas Holiday Market at Market Square Friday, November 19 – Thursday, December 23 Take a trip to the North Pole and visit its toy-making elves. Well, almost. Artisans and other specialty vendors make the unique goods on display in Alpine chalets at the Holiday Market. Be sure to check the schedule for seasonal performances. downtownpittsburghholidays.com

Highmark Light Up Night Saturday November 20 Head downtown to usher in the season on Saturday— not Friday as in past years. This change makes the food, shopping, and festivities more accessible and less difficult to navigate. We welcome this new tradition! downtownpittsburghholidays.com Credit: Renee Rosensteel/Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

26 | shuc.org


Open House. Virtual sessions will include seasonal recipes, cultural performances, traditional holiday crafts and ornaments, and storytelling and children’s stories. For schedules and information, visit nationalityrooms. pitt.edu.

Greenfield Holiday Parade Friday, December 3, 7 pm The Greenfield Community Association sponsors this annual event, which features bands, floats, and holiday cheer. Bundle up, grab a thermos of cocoa, and enjoy the parade. gcapgh.org

Holiday Wine Walk Holiday Lights at Kennywood

Saturday, December 11, 4 pm – 8 pm

Weekend evenings (Fri.-Sun.), November 20 – December 24 | Daily, December 26 – January 2

Join Uncover Squirrel Hill for a self-paced wine tasting excursion in the Squirrel Hill business district. Reserve

Experience Kennywood as a magical winter wonderland

your ticket at uncoversquirrelhill.com.

filled with more than a million lights and a gigantic Christmas tree. Special performances, light shows, and family-friendly activities brighten up the night and your spirit. kennywood.com

Zoo Lights Drive-Thru at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium Select evenings, Friday, November 26 – Thursday, December 30 Drive (or ride) through a wintery landscape brought to life by LED lights and an accompanying podcast. Although most of the real animals will be resting out

A N E V E N T WORT H WA I T IN G FO R

of sight, there’ll be creatures aplenty in the charming electronic displays. Reserve your timed entry at pittsburghzoo.org.

Big Night 2022 at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh Saturday, March 5

Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs Virtual Holiday Open House Sunday, December 5 – Sunday, December 12

After the 1918 influenza epidemic, America rebounded in the ‘Roaring 20s.’ The JCC takes up this theme for its annual fundraiser next spring. Grab your dancing shoes (T-straps? Mary Janes? Two-tone Oxfords?) and go back

Discover and experience holiday traditions from around

in time to support the future of the JCC. jccpgh.org.

the world with the 30th edition of the NRIEP Holiday

Winter 2021 | 27


a taste of france for your holiday

La Gourmandine bakery and pastry shop

REPRESENTING PITTSBURGH’S MOST COVETED ADDRESSES Melissa Reich REALTOR, GREEN 412-215-8056 rubinoffrealty.com


Wishing you a

Happy, Healthy & Safe Holiday Season

I Made It! Market

Mall at Robinson Pop Up November 4th - Jan 2nd Thu, Fri, Sat 10am-8pm & Sun 11am-6pm www.imadeitmarket.com

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2021 SQUIRREL HILL HOLIDAY

GIF T GUIDE FIVE POINTS BAKERY

THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO GET A HEAD START on your holiday shopping than by visiting Squirrel Hill’s shops and boutiques. Small Business Saturday, on November 27 this year, is an especially good time to begin. To help you on your way, we’ve listed some special finds here, but there are many more to discover. The ongoing impact of the pandemic on global and local supply chains may affect the availability of the items highlighted below. However, if they become unavailable, equally noteworthy products will surely take their place.

Holiday brunches taste better with pastries, tarts, and miniature pies from Five Points Bakery (6520 Wilkins Avenue.) Order ahead to make sure you get your favorites, like the flaky and buttery chocolate croissant. $3-4 each.

ARTIST & CRAFTSMAN SUPPLY If someone in your life wants to explore a new artistic hobby, Artist & Craftsman Supply (5603 Hobart Street) has the tools they need. Try a Royal & Langnickel Essentials starter set with pastels, watercolors, or drawing pencils; each comes in a convenient carrying case.

$32.99-37.19 each. INVITATIONS PLUS 3D pop-up cards from Invitations Plus (1406 S Negley Avenue) are messages of love as well as tiny sculptures. Locally assembled, these eye-catching greetings stand out on any mantelpiece. $9.95.

30 | shuc.org


RIVERSTONE BOOKS Ignite a child’s imagination by pairing a book with an adorable plush toy from Riverstone Books (5825 Forbes Avenue). New and classic characters will warm hearts and grow little minds.

Books shown here: $8.9918.99; Toys shown here: $18-28.

LITTLE’S SHOES Nothing beats the fuzzy linings and durable soles of UGG moccasins. With multiple styles and colors to choose from, Little’s Shoes (5850 Forbes Avenue) has got cold feet covered—and comfortably warmed! $100-110.

GABY ET JULES Treat someone to a selection of Gaby et Jules’ (5837 Forbes Avenue) allnatural confitures (or preserves, if you are not yet a Francophile). In strawberry, mixed berry, and other enticing flavors, they pair beautifully with the patisserie’s baguettes and pastries. $8 each.

CHEEKS AND GLASSWORKS A soft, cozy, cashmere sweater is a surefire way to pamper someone special. Cheeks and Glassworks (5873 Forbes Avenue) offers a premium selection from brands Kinross and Lilla P. Starting at

COFFEE TREE ROASTERS Who wouldn’t want a gift that keeps on giving? These reusable logo thermoses from Coffee Tree Roasters (5840 Forbes Avenue) keep drinks warm or cold and score coffee- and tea-lovers a discount on their in-house orders. 16 oz.: $28.99;

20.9 oz.: $30.99.

$165.

BLUE MONKEY TEA A six-piece tea set is the best way to serve the seasonal teas available at Blue Monkey Tea (5872 Forbes Avenue). One festive concoction includes miniatures snowflakes and trees in its flavorful mix! Tea set: $44.99.

AMAZING BOOKS & RECORDS Whether appreciated for their tunes or their extraordinary cover art, the records we found at Amazing Books & Records (5858 Forbes Avenue) are unexpected treasures. Surprise a person in your life with an old favorite or introduce them to something new. Starting

at $9.

Winter 2021 | 31


CHOCOLATE MOOSE Mirzam chocolate bars, in their frame-worthy wrappings, combine small-batch chocolate with Middle Eastern flavors like halva or dates and fennel. Find these imports from Dubai, and many other delectable treats, at The Chocolate Moose (5830 Forbes Avenue). $10.50

each.

GAMES UNLIMITED These games on sale at Games Unlimited (5876 Forbes Avenue) let bridge enthusiasts and card players try their hand at modern trick-taking games. You don’t have to save them for a snowy day stuck indoors, but they’d be a perfect way to spend the day. Games

shown: $11.99-16.99. GLOBAL MARKET RETAIL These hand-painted ceramic plates are a delight for the eye whether displayed on a wall, as at Global Market Retail (2016 Murray Avenue), or set on a table. The artists who paint them in Turkey choose their color schemes as they see fit, so pick the design that is your favorite.

Medium: $35; Large: $45.

2021 SQUIRREL HILL GIVING GUIDE

TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES Illuminate the world with these tea-light candleholders crafted in India and sold at Ten Thousand Villages (5820 Forbes Avenue). As the light glimmers through their gold and silver surfaces, they transform any space into a warm hearth. $14.99-24.99 each.

THE CHILDREN’S INSTITUTE provides expert care to families in need and their amazing kids. amazingkids.org/donate FIRST TEE — PITTSBURGH uses golf to teach young people from diverse

Finally, share the season’s blessings

backgrounds valuable life lessons. firstteepittsburgh.org/ways-to-give

with those in need. Giving Tuesday takes place on November 30, but

JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF GREATER PITTSBURGH offers a

your generosity can last the entire

variety of social services, educational opportunities, and community

holiday season. Here are several

activities. jccpgh.org/donate-support-jcc

local organizations that are ready to receive your gifts; find more at

JFCS SQUIRREL HILL FOOD PANTRY works to alleviate food insecurity

pittsburghgives.org.

and the circumstances that can lead to it. jfcspgh.org/foodpantry

32 | shuc.org


NOTES FROM YOUR SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION STAFF

Update from SHUC Executive Director, Maria Cohen

and plantings, will come together fully in the Spring, and neighbors will work together to maintain a beautiful place for respite. Residents on Mt. Royal again collaborated with Steel City Helping Hands and SHUC to contribute to Hazelwood Initiative’s Safe Halloween; they collected 250 coloring books and crayon sets for Halloween bags. Our regular litter patrol volunteers and a new group of CMU students all pitched in for clean-ups before, during and after our very successful October Night Market event. We also have many other

AS THE HOLIDAYS APPROACH,

volunteer groups and incredible organizations in our local

we hope to be able to safely

community who have gone the extra mile during some of

enjoy some much-needed fun

the most tumultuous times we have experienced in our

with our friends and family! As

lifetime. We thank all of you! When we ask, you step up,

we do so, we can reflect on 20+

Squirrel Hill. We can all be very grateful for that!

months proudly focused on the resilience, flexibility, kindness, and

We are also very excited to continue collaborating with

love for others our community

the Squirrel Hill Historical Society on several initiatives

has demonstrated while facing adversity, challenges, and

and projects. One notable and fun partnership is the

at times even hatred.

2022 Squirrel Hill Historic Calendar, which highlights several of our favorite landmarks and Squirrel Hill spots.

We were very happy and excited to have been able to

It is a fantastic holiday gift, especially for loved ones in

adapt (with safety in mind) our annual Treasures Dinner,

Squirrel Hill or Pittsburgh at large, or even for those

a very fun, in-person event celebrating both our 2020

far away who want to share the love of our incredible

and 2021 Treasures! SHUC board members and staff

Squirrel Hill community!

and The Pittsburgh Golf Club staff worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our guests—some of whom we hadn’t seen in a long time—so that we could enjoy the evening together. Special accommodations included limited seating, required vaccination for guests and staff, improved ventilation, all PGC staff masked, increased food safety precautions, and much more behind the

With resilience, strength, collaboration, perseverance, and love we will continue to get through this together.

scenes. We really hope that if you were able to attend you enjoyed it. We also hope that next year will be even

This continues to be a strange and challenging time

more spectacular, with more guests and community

for each of us and for the community as a whole. With

members celebrating with us!

resilience, strength, collaboration, perseverance, and love we will continue to get through this together.

One of our brightly shining beacons of hope is the

Please reach out to share with me feedback about

way our community comes together to improve and

what you would like the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition to

enhance our neighborhood and to support neighboring

continue, or changes that you would like to see in our

communities. Our neighbors on Guarino and Kamin

neighborhood. We welcome your thoughts and ideas as

reached out to request a beautification project, and

we work to preserve, improve, and celebrate the quality

SHUC worked with them to gain a Love Your Block

of life in our vibrant Squirrel Hill community. You can

grant. The project, which includes tree stump removal

connect with me at mcohen@shuc.org.

Winter 2021 | 33

SHUC SNAPSHOTS

shuc snapshots


SHUC SNAPSHOTS

New SHUC Website SHUC’s new website is now live! We are so thankful to the team at Saltwater Software, especially Vincent Drake, who led the site development, and Jason Gilbert, CEO. Both of them generously gave their time and significant resources to help us launch a new and redesigned website. In addition to designing our new website, the team at Saltwater Software developed the Squirrel Hill Rewards Program. Show your love to the businesses in the community by shopping using Squirrel Hill Rewards! You can rack up rewards, find promotional offers, and donate to some of your favorite local charities (through

urban development and design projects. This philosophy

rewards).

inspired the excellent work she did for SHUC. Among her many projects, she shepherded the Walk Squirrel

We love working with Saltwater Software and are very thankful for their continued generosity. Visit our new

Hill! walking tour from concept to completion. Thanks, Xiaoran, and good luck in the next stage of your career!

website (www.shuc.org) or sign up for Squirrel Hill Rewards (squirrelhillrewards.com) to see their amazing

Michael Rosenbaum continues to work his magic on our

work!

Parkway entrance garden, and it has never looked more beautiful. Michael even arranged for the Western PA Conservancy to rebuild the side where railroad ties were rotting. We appreciate WPC and Michael for keeping our garden in such great shape. We also thank volunteers from Trulieve Pittsburgh for weeding and mulching our ‘Welcome to Squirrel Hill’ sign at the Parkway exit, which is often the first introduction to our neighborhood for visitors. John Katz and a team from Sestili Nursery beautified the plaza at Beacon and Murray by cleaning and mulching

SHUC Says “Thanks!”

the garden beds and planting mums for the fall season. Thanks for caring for this corner!

Visitors to this past summer’s Bach, Beethoven and

We appreciate our Mt. Royal Neighbors and Steel City

Brunch concerts in Mellon Park may have run into

Helping Hand (SCHH) for collaborating with SHUC to

Xiaoran Zhang, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition’s intern for

help Hazelwood Initiative give the Trick-or-Treaters in

the summer of 2021. Xiaroan is a graduate of Carnegie

their neighborhood a fun and safe Halloween! Neighbors

Mellon University, where she earned her Master of

collected 250 coloring books and crayon sets for safe

Urban Design degree. Through her professional work

Halloween bag distribution. Thanks so much to all

she hopes to increase community engagement during

involved!

34 | shuc.org


SHUC SNAPSHOTS

Experience Squirrel Hill on Foot with a New Walking Tour Squirrel Hill is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with many sights to see. To help people experience the community on foot, the Pedestrian and Bicycle committee of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition has developed a walking route that covers main streets and prominent locations. Walk Squirrel Hill! sends walkers to an array of community and cultural sites, parks, educational and religious institutions, and shopping and dining venues. A brochure (available digitally at shuc.org and in print copies at Riverstone Books and Little’s Shoes, which alongside Games Unlimited and UPMC, sponsor the walk) serves as a guide and provides additional historical knowledge. Beginning and

you’ve lived here all your life or are coming for the first

Remembrance of Bob “O’Connor’s Corner”

time. Join in the rhythms of young and old, sidewalk

This fall Mardi Isler presented to Judy O’Connor a

socializing, and the beautiful natural environment.

keepsake that represents the original concept for the

ending at Frick Environmental Center, the walking route invites you to explore more of the community whether

plaza from 2010 and a photo of the ribbon-cutting event that occurred in 2021. Following a series of community meetings in 2009 where improvements to Squirrel Hill’s gateway were proposed, one priority was a parklet at the corner of Phillips and Murray. Participants noted that, being just down the street from his house, the

Love Your Block Grant

corner was Bob O’Connor’s. He many times greeted constituents there. It was agreed that the corner would

SHUC and our neighbors at Guarino Rd. and Kamin St.

be the perfect place for a Squirrel Hill tribute to “the

were awarded a Love Your Block grant from the City of

people’s mayor.” And now it is.

Pittsburgh to beautify the hillside of the pathway linking Murdoch and Hobart streets. The goal is to transform it

from the more trafficked Hobart. We will be removing

Bike-Ped Committee Supports Infrastructure Improvements

the stumps, adding topsoil (and possibly birdfeeders), and

The Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee continues to work

planting flowering trees and evergreens. We are looking

with the City’s Department of Mobility & Infrastructure

for volunteers who would like to help maintain the

(DOMI), neighborhood residents, City Council members

landscaping, do some planting, add topsoil, and serve as

O’Connor and Strassburger, the Mayor’s Office, and

litter patrol. We would like to give a special thanks to our

regional bicycling organizations to enhance safety,

neighbors Sara and Jeremy Weber and Peter Cormas for

accessibility, effectiveness and enjoyment of our streets

their incredible effort!

and paths for all users.

into a more inviting space for our community members who prefer a quiet stroll down Guarino/Kamin, away

Winter 2021 | 35


SHUC SNAPSHOTS

Recently, we partnered with DOMI to conduct several community meetings and discussions on proposed bicycle infrastructure improvements in the area encompassed by Schenley Park, Forbes Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Beechwood Boulevard, and Beacon Street. We will continue to provide input and work with DOMI and residents as the design process for this infrastructure progresses. Further, we have requested support in the City’s Capital Budget for the required engineering study and design for a protected bicycle lane on Forward Avenue from the site of Truelieve Pittsburgh (formerly Solevo Wellness) to the Forward/Murray/Pocusset intersection. This lane would improve and complete the bicycle path that has been laid out from Monitor St./Beechwood Blvd. up to the Truelieve Pittsburgh property. We will continue these activities and others in the coming months as we look forward to ever safer and more enjoyable bicycling and walking in the special

Litter Patrol: Past and Future Services

environs of Squirrel Hill. In the meantime, we hope you will take advantage of the Walk Squirrel Hill! walking tour

We enjoyed two successful Squirrel Hill Night Markets

developed by our committee.

on August 28 and October 2. Mother Nature was kind enough to provide lovely weather both evenings while vendors and food trucks set up and attendees enjoyed all the amazing arts, crafts, and music. Before each evening began, our Litter Patrol volunteers removed litter from Murray Avenue and set up 40 trash and recycling bins, which they monitored throughout the event. Both nights, guests made a guess at how many items found their way into our Litter Bag. Norton Gusky won in August with a guess of 433, extremely close to the actual number, 437. Sue Belcastro was the winner in October, suggesting 423 for a correct count of 439. For the accuracy of their guesses, each won a $20 Gift Card to the Manor Theater.

A New Addition!

We want to offer a BIG THANK YOU to our wonderful volunteers: Ann and Ryan Posch, Leah and Jim Maretsky and their friend Steve, Barbara Jones, Becky and Mike

Congratulations to City Councilperson Corey O’Connor

Lindenberger, Kim and Bob Normann, Chris Niessl,

and Katie O’Connor on the birth of their daughter, Molly!

Erica Coffin, Michael Kirschenbaum, Martha Raak, Dalia

36 | shuc.org


Belinkoff, Gail Wilson, Lois Liberman, Geri Coffee, Jane

com; 412-521-9526). We can provide safety vests, gloves,

Desimone, and a group of CMU students from Partners

and bags. We also encourage everyone to sign up for our

Allied in Civic Engagement (PACE)—Nisha Fernandes,

Adopt-A-Block program so you can commit to picking up

Shilin Ma, Ruiqi Chen, Catherine Mathews, Lauren

litter regularly, on a schedule that suits you.

Pugeda, Jay Madan, Rachel Chen, and Ammu Anil. Their efforts help make Night Markets possible and, more

We also invite volunteers for our other activities: write

importantly, enjoyable.

articles about the environment for the SHUC newsletter, participate in our Elementary School Program, recruit

Our next major litter clean-up will occur in April 2022.

students from middle schools, high schools and colleges

In the interim, we encourage individuals, families,

to get involved, and help plan our Community Clean-Up

or small groups who wish to remove litter from our

in April 2022. Contact Barb Grover for more details and/

business district, playgrounds, parks, or any place of their

or to get involved.

choosing to contact Barbara Grover (barbgrover1@gmail.

IN MEMORIAM:

FREDDIE FU

An incredible man was lost to our community when Dr.

Tributes to Dr. Fu came in to UPMC literally from around

Freddie Fu died recently after a battle with melanoma.

the world. Locally, Dr. William Donaldson, a colleague

Freddie Fu, as he was fondly known, founded the

from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Pitt and

UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, the first of its kind

a close friend, when asked for a quote, said this: “One of

in the area and a program that is world-renowned. He

my favorites is ‘If you need a second opinion, ask Freddie

developed many surgical procedures for knees and other

Fu twice.’”

sports injuries that benefit not just athletes, but all of us. Not only was he a brilliant teacher, researcher, and

In Squirrel Hill, we were lucky to have Freddie Fu as

innovator, he was also a kind and generous man with a

Grand Marshall for the inaugural Lunar New Year parade

wonderful sense of humor.

in 2016, when he rode on the back of a Rolls-Royce with CONTINUED on page 38

Winter 2021 | 37


CONTINUED from page 37

his lovely wife Hilda. He said that he was filled with great joy that day, seeing his culture celebrated by such a diverse group of residents and visitors. He returned to walk with dignitaries in future Lunar New Year parades and enjoyed the visual, musical, and artistic symbols of his culture on full display.

Celebrating 20 years OF RESTORING & PROTECTING THE NINE MILE RUN WATERSHED

Freddie Fu was also connected to Squirrel Hill native and artist Burton Morris. If you have ever been to the Sports Medicine facility, you will see Burton’s works depicting every sport imaginable and many sports icons. Dr. Fu was an early believer in Burton’s Pop Art. Burton said, “I was grateful to know Freddie Fu, as a personal friend and proponent of my artwork over the years. He was truly one of the most dynamic and energetic persons I have ever known. The world has lost an amazing person, and he will be greatly missed by all.” Freddie Fu will be missed. But his legacy as a colleague,

Use code "UPSTREAM21" for 10% off bird feeders and bird seed in our online store.

husband, father, and grandfather is widespread, and he will continue to inspire through scholarships in his name via the Fu Family Legacy Fund, pae.pitt.edu/FuLegacy.

www.upstreampgh.org/shop

ANSWER KEY FOR

DOORS OF SQUIRREL HILL See page 11 for the corresponding photos. 1. The Children’s Institute, 1405 Shady Avenue

9. Sixth Presbyterian Church, 1688 Murray Avenue

2. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill

10. Jewish Community Center, 5738 Forbes Avenue

Branch, 5801 Forbes Avenue 3. Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Avenue 4. Zone 4 Police Station, 5858 Northumberland Street 5. The Friendship Circle, 1922 Murray Avenue 6. Mellon Hall, Chatham University, Woodland Road 7. Squirrel Hill Post Office, 1800 Murray Avenue 8. Wightman School Community Building, 5604 Solway Street

38 | shuc.org

11. Frick Environmental Center, 2005 Beechwood Boulevard 12. Congregation Beth Shalom, 5915 Beacon Street 13. Arnold Palmer Learning Center, 5370 Schenley Drive 14. Temple Sinai, 5505 Forbes Avenue 15. Colfax K-8 School, 2332 Beechwood Boulevard 16. Port Authority Bus, at your nearest bus stop


YOUTH VOICES

The Story of Diwali

By Maanya Goulatia, 9th grade, Shady Side Academy

DIWALI (DI-VA-LEE) IS A FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS that

for food. Sita breaks her promise and steps out of

celebrates the defeat of Ravana, a triumph of good

the circle to give food, but Ravana snatches her and

over evil. The Ramayana (RAH-MY-YOUN-A), the story

takes her to his palace. There he imprisons her, and

of the Diwali, started in the Kingdom of Ayodhya, where Rama, a strong warrior, was banished for 14 years by his father at the request of his stepmother so her biological son, Bharat, could be the king. Rama lives in the forest with one of his brothers, Lakshmana, and his wife, Sita, while Bharat, who received the throne, waits for him to come home. One day, Sita spots a golden deer

makes sure that she does not leave.

When Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana return to their home, Ayodhya, the people of the kingdom rejoice and celebrate by brightening the entire city with lights to welcome their rightful king.

and is mesmerized by its beauty

Rama realizes his wife has been abducted and takes help from the monkeys, specifically Hanuman, to build a bridge across the ocean to modern day Sri Lanka. After a long battle with the demon king Ravana, Rama finally defeats him. After 14 years of exile, when Rama, Sita and Lakshmana return to their home, Ayodhya, the people of the kingdom rejoice and celebrate by brightening the entire city with lights to welcome their rightful king.

and wants Rama to bring him for her. When Rama does not return quickly, Sita gets

Diwali, also spelled Deepawali, meaning row of lights,

worried and sends her brother-in-law, Lakshmana,

is a major holiday celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and

to find him and see if everything is okay. Before he

Sikhs. Every year it falls in October or November, the

leaves, he draws a circle around the hut and says Sita

date being based on the lunar calendar. The festival

should not go past that line. Ravana, disguised as an

generally symbolizes the victory of light over darkness.

old beggar, comes to the outside of the hut and begs

During the festival, diyas (lamps) are lit and placed in

Winter 2021 | 39


YOUTH VOICES

other ways of celebrating Diwali. This holiday is very important to Hindu, Jain, and Sikh culture because it symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, the victory of Rama over Ravana, and the return of Rama, the rightful king. To prepare for the celebration of Diwali at our home in Squirrel Hill, we bathe all the gods and goddesses, decorate them with flowers, and offer them incense, sweets, money, and water. On Diwali, we start the prayer by evoking Lord Ganesha (the remover of all obstacles), then we pray to goddess Lakshmi (the goddess rows. Homes are decorated, and floors are covered

of wealth) and wish for peace, wealth, and prosperity,

with drawings called rangoli, made of colored rice/

and we also pray to goddess Saraswati (the goddess of

lentils, sand, or flower petals. The doors and windows

learning) to enlighten us. Diwali is a time to meditate

of houses are kept open in the hope that Lakshmi, the

and turn inwards, and light the lamps of knowledge and

goddess of wealth, will find her way inside and bless

awareness in our hearts and minds so that we can banish

you with success and prosperity. Fireworks, giving

the forces of darkness and ignorance within us and allow

gifts to friends and family, and having a big party are

our innate brilliance and virtue to shine forth.

HOW WE EXCITE During our interdisciplinary Greek Museum project, our Junior School fourth graders pose as statues of gods and goddesses – until they spring to life and deliver an original speech in the voice of their mythical figure – applying skills in history, literature, public speaking and more. How will you give your child an education that excites and inspires?

BECAUSE “HOW” MATTERS PK-12 • Four Campuses

VISIT OPPORTUNITIES

40 | shuc.org

SHADYSIDEACADEMY.ORG/VISIT


COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL WELCOMED NEARLY 300 STUDENTS back to campus this August. While the challenges of the pandemic continue to shape the learning environment, the school is not letting these restrictions define its community or limit its vision. Toward that end, CDS introduced a new daily schedule with longer class periods; this allows for deeper academic inquiry and exploration and greater opportunities for social-emotional learning. For teachers, there is more time for collaboration, planning, and professional development. The school is also reaffirming and expanding its commitment to Jewish family life and engagement.

Jewish experiences and connection opportunities for

Allderdice Achievements and Awards

families. So far, events have included geocaching in

Students at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School have

Schenley Park (led by Venture Outdoors) with a Jewish

received a number of impressive accolades recently. City

reflection (led by Repair the World); a nontraditional

of Asylum named two students, Ekow Opoku Dakwa and

celebration of the holiday of Sukkot in Minecraft;

Shivani Watson, Youth Poet Ambassadors of Allegheny

mindfulness education for parents and caregivers; and

County. You can read their poetry at alphabetcity.org/ypl.

a career mentoring initiative that pairs high school

Four students were honored for their web and product

students with adult alumni.

design ideas at Innovation Works’ Startable pitch

The newly hired Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, Meredith Brown, is creating meaningful

competition: Abby Blank, Mya Goodnow, Jennifer Lin,

These initiatives come as the school celebrates its 50-year anniversary, with a school-wide “birthday”

and Lara Sherer. And Orelle Magnani was awarded a Kol Koleinu fellowship, one of only 56 recipients nationwide.

Winter 2021 | 41

GOOD NEWS FROM OUR SCHOOLS

CDS Reaffirms its Mission and Celebrates 50 Years

party on the 50th day of school (November 15). Throughout the year, students will engage in project-based learning about the history of CDS and the impact of the school on Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. The public can join in the celebration as well. The “Cheers to 50 Years” CDS Annual Party takes place on Saturday, January 29, 2022 at Nova Place (with a virtual option as well). This evening of dinner and dancing honors past school presidents and looks ahead to the future. (Sponsorship and ticket information is available at comday.org/ annualparty.) You can also contribute to a digital time capsule built to collect fondest memories, precious photos and videos, and personal anecdotes about the school. Finally, CDS has launched a 50th Celebration Campaign to ensure that the school can provide students with the best educational journey for generations to come. For more information, visit comday.org/50years.


GOOD NEWS FROM OUR SCHOOLS

The fellowship helps Jewish teens learn about the connection between feminism and social change.

PPS Appoints Interim Superintendent

Kudos are also due to several of Allderdice’s science teachers. Dr. Janet Waldeck is a recipient of the 2021 Yale Educator Award. Allderdice graduate and current Yale University student Hannah Barsouk nominated Waldeck for this award, which honors educators from around the world who have inspired high achievement among their students. Wendelyn Piquette has also had a positive impact in the lives of her science students. The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) recently named her a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction because of her passion for and devotion to helping students develop as scholars, leaders, and citizens. Congratulations to all of Allderdice’s award winners!

Minadeo Hatches a New School Year, and Chickens! This past fall, students and families at Minadeo PreK-5

Dr. Wayne Walters is now serving as the Interim

School enjoyed a number of activities welcoming them to

Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The

the new school year. As the summer came to end, a Back

PPS Board of Directors named Dr. Walters to the

to School Night distributed new school supplies. A PTO-

post after the previous Superintendent, Dr. Anthony

sponsored picnic in September brought families together

Hamlet, resigned at the end of September. Dr. Walters

in Schenley Park for activities, dinner, and sweet treats.

has worked in the district for more than three decades,

The school community then gathered in October for an

starting as a teacher at King Elementary before

outdoor Maker Night featuring crafts and pizza. October

transitioning to leadership roles. Most recently, he was

7th marked the anniversary of school namesake John

Assistant Superintendent of Professional Development

Minadeo’s heroism when he pushed his schoolmates out

and Special Programming. No matter his role, Dr. Walters

of the way of a truck that had lost its brakes. Students

adheres to a two-word philosophy: “students first.”

read tributes to John Minadeo and Ella Cornelius and then demonstrated kind acts to honor their memory.

Dr. Walters will continue as Interim Superintendent for one year, or until a permanent Superintendent is

In school, Minadeo students acted as temporary

hired. The selection process will begin after a slate of

caretakers for nine baby chicks. While the eggs

newly elected School Board members takes office in

developed in the incubator, students learned about

December. “The selection of the Superintendent is

the gestation process and developed vocabulary and

the most important function that an elected School

math skills. Once hatched, each chick received a name.

Board Director plays in the course of its duties,”

The students then raised the chicks until they were

said Pam Harbin, Board representative for District 4,

mature enough to be taken to a farm. During their time

which includes part of Squirrel Hill. The Board plans a

at Minadeo, the chicks were beloved—and adorable—

transparent recruiting process with many opportunities

members of the community.

for public input and feedback.

42 | shuc.org


A VETERINARY VIRTUE By Dr. Lawrence Gerson, VMD

employment, some staff have had issues with childcare, and others have left the profession for an easier way to make a living with much less stress. “In-office” visits have returned, but staff is stretched thin. As a result, many veterinary offices are not accepting new patients. Those that can accommodate existing or even new clients are seeing delays lasting many weeks just for a routine visit. Emergency veterinary and referral Winnie and Freya

centers are in a crisis situation with long delays and exhausted staff. When general practices are overloaded,

EVERYONE IS PROBABLY ANXIOUS for the upcoming

more pet owners are directed to the emergency room.

holiday season, anticipating all the joy that comes with

This causes very long wait times. Every veterinarian is

wonderful time spent with the family. Some may be

working overtime to keep up with the caseload.

looking forward to adopting new pets. Keep in mind that veterinarians do not recommend getting a pet as a

There are also changes within the profession that are

holiday gift. Instead, buy pet supplies as a gift now and

affecting the availability of care. Many new graduates

wait to get a pet until all the excitement and travel has

from veterinary school are seeking advanced training

settled down.

with internships and residencies. This trend limits the number of graduating students available to work in

For those with pets already at home, remember that the

private practice. Nationwide, emergency hospitals are

holidays are full of hazards to pets. Ribbon, tinsel, toxic

also experiencing a shortage of veterinarians for night

plants, bones, and fatty food scraps are just some of the

and weekend shifts. Attracting new veterinarians to work

potential risks that could harm a pet and ruin a holiday.

here in Pittsburgh can be difficult. Veterinary graduates

There is never a good time for a veterinary emergency,

from Pennsylvania are likely deep in debt, with loans

but it would be especially difficult right now because of

that are typically in the $300,000 range. Unless the

longer wait times for emergency and routine animal care.

graduates are from the area or have ties to Pittsburgh, making them a Steelers fan can be a challenge.

In the veterinary profession, we are still reeling from the changes experienced during the pandemic. Hoping

Pet owners should keep in mind that veterinarians have a

to protect staff from COVID-19, most veterinary offices

very difficult and emotionally draining profession. Every

initiated a drop-off service. This process slowed the

case we treat has the potential for a complication. We

appointment schedule, as everything took more time

deal with life and death daily. After euthanizing a favorite

with clients not in the office. Like other places of

pet from a longtime client, we wipe our tears before CONTINUED on page 46

Winter 2021 | 43

PET POINTS

PATIENCE


SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY

The Orpheum Theater Building is on the far right side of this 1926 photo of the Forbes/Murray intersection. Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System.

Form Adapted for Function in Squirrel Hill’s Jewish Architecture

By Helen Wilson, Vice President, Squirrel Hill Historical Society SQUIRREL HILL’S MANY JEWISH SYNAGOGUES,

As the Squirrel Hill Congregation grew, it changed its

SCHOOLS, AND ORGANIZATIONS share a common

name to Beth Shalom (“House of Peace”). In 1919, it

heritage but not a common architecture. That’s because,

purchased property on Beacon Street, where it erected

ever since Jews began moving to Squirrel Hill in the early

a synagogue four years later. The growing congregation

1900s, they have adapted existing buildings for their

needed still more space, so it built a larger synagogue

own uses.

next to the original one in 1931, enlarged it in 1933, and did so again in 1970. A devastating fire in 1996 was the

A good example is Beth Shalom Congregation,

impetus for the most recent major building expansion by

which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. The

the Jendoco Construction Corporation.

congregation wasn’t always located at the corner of Shady Avenue and Beacon Street. It began in 1917 above

Temple Sinai has a different architectural history. In

a theater near the southeast corner of Forbes and

1946, several Jewish community leaders organized a

Murray Avenues. When Jewish families who had moved

Reform Temple in Squirrel Hill, first meeting in two

to the neighborhood (mostly from the Hill District)

local churches before purchasing the elegant Jacobean-

formed the Squirrel Hill Congregation, they rented a

Revival-style Worthington mansion at 5505 Forbes

“large, airy hall in the Orpheum Theater Building to

Avenue. The mansion was designed by architect Louis

hold Rosh Hashana services” (Jewish Criterion, 1917).

Stevens around 1909 for John Worthington, a Welsh

The theater had opened around 1916 and showed silent

immigrant who was a superintendent for an oil company.

films on the ground floor. The services were held on

The mansion is still part of Temple Sinai, but the

the second floor. Today, the red-brick exterior of the

growing congregation, like Beth Shalom, soon needed

building looks very much as it did in 1917. The original

more space. The Falk Auditorium and Religious School

entrance was where Uncle Sam’s Gourmet Subs is now.

wing was constructed adjacent to the mansion in 1957,

44 | shuc.org


Sinai celebrates its 75th anniversary.

UPCOMING 2021 PROGRAMS

SQUIRREL HILL HISTORICAL SOCIETY The Squirrel Hill Historical Society’s programs are held on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 pm. Everyone is invited to attend. SHHS members will be sent the link to the program. Registration is required for nonmembers; email the SHHS at sqhillhist@shhsoc. org to register. December’s program will be held on Zoom, but the SHHS hopes to return to in-person events at the Church of the Redeemer (5700 Forbes Avenue) in January 2022. Learn more at squirrelhillhistory.org.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14 (Virtual) Reflections on Keeping Tabs: A Holocaust Sculpture Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System.

On the other side of Squirrel Hill, overlooking the Monongahela River, is the campus of the Jewish Association on Aging. In 1903 the John Eichleay Jr. Company moved a mansion owned by Capt. Samuel S. Brown (the namesake of Browns Hill Road) from its original location on the riverbank to a location higher up the hillside—an incredible engineering feat at the time. After a fire in 1913, Capt. Brown’s nephew, James Ward rebuilt the mansion to even grander proportions. It passed through several owners before being purchased in 1931

BILL WALTER, a retired social studies and history teacher at Community Day School (CDS), will talk about his role in creating the Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt Keeping Tabs: A Holocaust Sculpture on the CDS campus.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 Welcome in the New Year If all goes well, the SHHS will welcome the New Year with an in-person gathering at the Church of the Redeemer. SHHS Vice-President HELEN WILSON will give a presentation about how Squirrel Hill celebrated the occastion through the years, with games to follow.

by the Jewish Home for the Aged, which followed its clientele as they moved from the Hill District to Squirrel Hill. The mansion remained part of the Home until 1967, when it was demolished to make way for the new JAA campus. The Jewish Community Center grew out of the Irene Kaufmann Settlement, another Jewish institution originally located in the Hill District. Like the Home for the Aged, it moved with the people it served as they relocated to Squirrel Hill. In 1943 it established a Boys’ Club in a storefront on Forward Avenue, probably where the Squirrel Hill Sports Bar is today. The small, cramped space proved unsuitable, so the Center purchased land near the southwest corner of Forbes and Murray in 1949. The house that stood there served as the Center for a short time until a new facility was built. When membership

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8 The Chinese Laundrymen of Squirrel Hill TAMMY HEPPS, a Homestead Jewish historian, will discuss the traumatic dispersion of Chinese laborers after the transcontinental railroad was built, examining their lives as laundrymen in the context of the microcosm of Squirrel Hill and Homestead.

TUESDAY, MARCH 8 Perseverance: One Holocaust Survivor’s Journey LEE GOLDMAN KIKEL, author of Perseverance: One Holocaust Survivor’s Journey, will discuss her book, which one reviewer described as “the testimony of a Holocaust survivor and his daughter to one man’s journey and spirit.”

CONTINUED on page 46

Winter 2021 | 45

SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY

and a new sanctuary was built in 1969. This year Temple


CONTINUED from page 45 increased and outgrew that facility, the Center replaced

the ground floor of the automobile showroom of the

it with the present Jewish Community Center, in 1987-88.

Morrowfield Garage. Murray Avenue Kosher is in a space

I have been told that the colors of the JCC building—red

that had been a bowling alley in the West Building at

brick, buff trim, and blue accents—were chosen because

1916 Murray Avenue. Some Squirrel Hill houses even hold

they were the same colors as Black’s Gulf Station, which

vestiges of local Jewish history. The Squirrel Hill Historical

sat next to the building, at the southwest corner of Forbes

Society has a House History Project where people send us

and Murray. It was felt that using the same color scheme

stories about their homes. One person submitted a story

would cause the gas station to “disappear” visually.

about finding the remains of a mikvah (ritual bath) in his basement.

Attention all lovers of history and Squirrel Hill! The Squirrel Hill 2022 Calendar, produced in collaboration with the Squirrel Hill Historical Society, is now available for purchase at shuc.org.

Say Hi to Murray! Photo courtesy of Patricia Hughes

Community Day School today resides in the old St. Philomena’s Church and School building. The architect for this stately Gothic-Revival structure, erected in 1922, was

Murray the Squirrel is available for events and visits to local organizations and schools. Call SHUC at (412) 422-7666 or email info@shuc.org to request a visit.

John T. Comès (1873-1922), renowned for his ecclesiastical buildings all over the United States. The building resembles many in eastern Pennsylvania because it is built

CONTINUED from page 43

of mica schist, a sparkling metamorphic rock found there

entering another exam room for the next appointment.

but nonexistent in western Pennsylvania. The church

We often see neglected pets and demanding clients

operated in the building from 1923 to 1993. CDS, which

but just try to make it through the day. Social media

was founded in 1972, moved there in 1996. Before this,

can create further stress for veterinary staff. One-sided

the school operated out of the Hebrew Institute building

reviews disturb many new and experienced veterinarians

at the corner of Forbes and Denniston Avenues, a building

because we are always trying to do the right thing. Over

now home to Yeshiva Girls School and The Early Learning

time, the stresses of veterinary medicine take a toll.

Center. The Institute had opened in 1916 on Wylie Avenue and Green Street in the Hill District. Around 1944 it

What can pet owners do to help? Patience is critical.

moved to two stately stone mansions on Forbes. When

Appointments are precious and hard to come by, and

these were demolished to make way for the construction

the office staff cannot give you appointments that are

of Maxon Towers, the Institute constructed the building

not available. Call in advance if you can. Before bringing

across the street on Denniston.

a new pet into a home, pre-arrange for veterinary care. Waiting until after a pet joins your family puts the office

Many more examples of repurposing exist. Friendship

staff in a difficult position. A new puppy or kitten takes

Circle is located in the old Guild Theatre, more recently

a series of appointments to vaccinate properly. Above

Gullifty’s restaurant. Hillel Academy got its start in

all, be kind. After all, it is the holiday season.

46 | shuc.org


Thanks to the support of our community, for 50 years, CDS has inspired students with learning that is joyful, engaging, and enduring

COMDAY.ORG/50YEARS Honor our past and join us in creating the future of Pittsburgh's co-ed independent Jewish day school

Learn where Core Values matter. PRESCHOOL THROUGH 8TH GRADE COEDUCATIONAL INDEPENDENT SCHOOL

Proudly in the heart of Squirrel Hill | 412.521.1907 | www.stedmunds.net