The Jewish Chronicle has been telling the story or how Pittsburgh’s community organizations, built on the service of professionals and volunteers, have been changing the quality of Jewish life in our city and building new relationships with one another (“PAJC closes, leaves behind storied legacy,” July 14). Few of those organizations have done more in its lifetime than PAJC, the Pittsburgh affiliate of the American Jewish Committee.
Your story underlined accomplishments of the post-war years as a chapter of AJC opening up employment, board rooms and social clubs to Jews, and promoting community relations. The more recent years as an affiliate deserve equal attention for defending the pluralism and religious heritage of American society — Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus and Jews — through interfaith dialogues, social action, speakers programs, awards for high school students who have defended and served underserved minorities, and face-to-face contacts with rabbis in Catholic schools.
Yes, PAJC is now closing its doors, as its most active members have aged with the organization. However, thanks to the efforts of Executive Director Karen Hochberg, and current and past presidents Michael Goldstein and Ted Goldberg, its key programs will live on in other Jewish organizations and agencies, and its assets have been transferred to funds at the Jewish Community Foundation. The responsible way in which this organization’s leaders have closed its books is a model for others in the competitive environment of Jewish community life.
Emeritus Board Member, Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee
Thank you, Rabbi Wasserman
As Adam Reinherz reported some time ago, Rabbi Daniel Wasserman initiated separate yoga classes for men and women at Shaare Torah Congregation (“All-male yoga and the quest for comfort,” June 9). The intention is to promote both physical and spiritual health for all those who attend; the classes are open to the community. I have attended four classes to date and am planning to continue to do so. Participants have reported that the experience has been a positive one. One young man spoke of loosening tight lower back muscles and another mentioned a welcome feeling of relaxation.
I want to thank Rabbi Wasserman for offering this unique opportunity and I encourage others to give it a try.
Licensed Massage Therapist
Dr. Shapiro in first tier of Pittsburghers
During my tenure at The Chronicle, I was privileged to meet most of the outstanding Jews of America. The late Dr. Zalman Shapiro belongs in the first tier of those people (“Zalman Shapiro, scientist and supporter of Israel, passes away at 96,” July 28). A fiercely committed Jew and Zionist, Zalman was also an extraordinary scientist and inventor whose work enhanced both life and security here and in Israel. A modest gentleman, he also possessed a wonderful but quiet sense of humor. No one is irreplaceable, but he comes close.
More memories of Dr. Shapiro
It was my great privilege to know Dr. Zalman and Evelyn Shaprio during my 10-year residence in Pittsburgh (“Zalman Shapiro, scientist and supporter of Israel, passes away at 96,” July 28). Zalman was like a second father to me — gracious, kind, wise, and supportive. Shabbat dinners at the Shapiro house were an evening of camaraderie, good discussions and, of course, delicious meals.
Zalman and I worked closely in rebuilding the Pittsburgh ZOA chapter. Although those were challenging times, Zalman’s steadfastness, optimism, and integrity inspired us all. He was a tireless guardian of Israel, and I will never fully appreciate all that he did to support Israel and its good name in the face of worldwide hostility and delegitimation.
Zalman promoted young people visits to Israel long before Birthright. He promoted tolerance by initiating trips to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. He promoted commerce and intellectual exchanges with Israeli businessmen and scientists. And I only got to know Zalman when he was in his 70s. I can only imagine what his boundless energy and enthusiasm and love for the people of Israel was like when he was a little younger.