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Center for Loving Kindness


All of Us are Pittsburghers: Immigrants, Refugees, Transplants and Yinzers – POSTPONED

Wed, Mar 18 6-7:45 pm
POSTPONED Dear Neighbors, Thank you for your planned participation in the March 18th Big Table All of Us Are Pittsburghers: Immigrants, Refugees, Transplants and Yinzers conversation. At this time we are postponing the event. We have full confidence that we will be able to reschedule this event and look forward to your participation. For the...
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Religious Freedom: A First Amendment Conference Follow Up

Tue, Mar 10 10:30 am– 12 pm
As the debate regarding religious freedom continues, we hope to strengthen the notion that we are each responsible for protecting each other’s fundamental rights through shared dialogue. Freedom of religion is an unalienable right that we share as American citizens, and it is our duty living in a democratic society to uphold and defend these...
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Partners in Torah – An Exciting Learning Experience

Wed, Feb 26 7:30 PM
Partners in Torah is an exciting learning experience that allows participants to study the Torah topic of their choice. The program features both chavrusa (same-gender study partners) learning as well as mixed-gender small groups. For information or to arrange a study partner, please email Rabbi Schon at [email protected] Presented by Kulam-Pittsburgh Community Beit Midrash in...
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Mar 30 – Apr


Passover Through Art, Jewish Values and Loving Kindness

11-11:20 am
Join Rabbi Ron Symons and Melissa Hiller from the JCC PGH Center for Loving Kindness in a dynamic exploration of Passover art, Jewish values and loving kindness.  In this celebratory season, when many of us are accustomed to sitting at large tables with family, friends, food and tradition, this year’s Passover Seder experience will be more...
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Mar 28 – Apr


Comforting Conversations

During this time of uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, the Center for Loving Kindness – JCC Pittsburgh presents a new series called “Comforting Conversations”. We invite you to listen and share your feelings, as members of our team talk with members of our community about topics we believe you and your family may be dealing with right now....
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Mar 30 – Apr


AJM: Passover Artwork and XOXO Activities

Melissa Hiller, Director of the American Jewish Museum, on her favorite Passover artworks   XOXO: An exhibit About Love and Forgiveness XOXO is an exhibit currently at the JCC’s American Jewish Museum. The exhibit’s hands-on activities are intended to help us process and understand different kinds of emotions…and are meant for everyone no matter our...
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During this time of uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, The JCC Pittsburgh Center For Loving Kindness presents a new series called, “Comforting Conversations”. We invite you to listen in and share your feelings as members of our team talk with members of our community about topics we believe you and your family may be dealing with right now.

Our next conversation is with Liza Baron, the Director of Early Childhood Development at the JCC. Rabbi Ron talks with Liza about having the kids at home, and the simple joy of a flower. We welcome your comments below.
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It's Census Day! The census is at the heart of the work that we do at the Center for Loving Kindness. We are committed to redefining neighbor from a geographic term to a moral concept. Making sure that every single neighbor is counted is at the core of acknowledging that every person counts and every person should be counted. It is a moral imperative. For more information about the census, go to

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Hanukkah celebration provides opportunity to observe similarities

Religious celebrations don’t have to focus on what sets us apart. They can also celebrate what we have in common. That was the message at the kickoff of Hanukkah at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill, as Jewish and Muslim members of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom shared similarities in their customs, beliefs and language. The similarities, they noted, far outnumber the …

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Do Jews in a synagogue have to arm themselves?

(translated from the original Dutch) In December 2015, Rabbi Ron Symons, director of the Jewish Community Center in Pittsburgh, called with representatives of various religious movements in the area. Whether they should not even get to know each other? "Because we are neighbors," Symons told them. "But also because I know for sure: there will come a time when we are all on a stage and we have to …

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On Yom Kippur, a Tree of Life shooting survivor grapples with forgiveness

Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism, centers on the idea of forgiveness. But what does forgiveness mean in the aftermath of a mass murder? On the first Yom Kippur after the Tree of Life synagogue shootings, what would a survivor say about forgiving the man who shot him and killed his friends? Hundreds of people -- overflowing the neat rows of chairs to sit …

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A new year’s resolution for justice at Jewish Community Center

With the long, drawn-out blasts from a shofar, or ram’s horn, more than 200 people ushered out the first day of Rosh Hashana on Monday, not with a traditional liturgy but with a practical guide to social justice at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. The JCC’s Center for Loving Kindness hosted the event at the Squirrel Hill center through programming designed to appeal to …

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Battle lines seen as hardening on religious liberty

A longstanding consensus on how to accommodate religious beliefs in government settings is breaking down as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn longstanding precedent and allow greater role of religion in public life. Those were some of the observations of Nina Totenberg, the longtime legal affairs correspondent for NPR, at a forum on “The First Amendment for the 21st Century,” held Monday at the …

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Daniel Tabares Wins First Annual Loving Kindness Award

Daniel Tabares, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was presented with the first Loving Kindness Award at the JCC's Annual Meeting. Read the featured article in his high school's The Eagle Eye newspaper.

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“Rabbi talks anti-Semitism, rebounding from tragedy”

An interview with Rabbi Ron Symons

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We strengthen the fabric of the community by amplifying the long-held values of
Love your neighbor as yourself and Do not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds
as we redefine Neighbor from a Geographic Term to a Moral Concept.


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Practicing Kindness and Social Distancing

I just finished editing our church’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. It has taken me awhile to complete it because I keep receiving one email and text after another canceling events and engagements. Our church members' responses range from extreme denial (“It’s a hoax”) to extreme concern. At this point no one is panicked – yet. But we are taking precautions as a congregation to …

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Coronavirus Has Not Reached Pittsburgh, but Fear and Racism are Spreading

Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched anti-Asian sentiment spike not just around the country as China fights to contain the coronavirus on the other side of the world, but right here in Pittsburgh, in the city I call home. The panic about a sudden, deadly virus can be understood and even expected. But this panic has exposed a deep-seated xenophobia in the West, and with …

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Campaigns, Civility and Conversation

First, a confession: I am a news junkie, a Twitter addict and a political wonk. It comes from my years of working in TV news in Washington, DC. It used to be part of my job. Now it’s just part of me. I left DC and moved home to Pittsburgh for many reasons. One being how difficult it was to have a civil discussion in what …

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We are still dreaming. Let’s ensure every person is counted

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” As we celebrate the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his dream that every person be judged for their character and not the color of their skin …

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Reflecting on World Kindness Day and Planning for February’s Random Acts of Kindness Day

Although I have only been in Pittsburgh for two years, I have come to identify with and take pride in being a Pittsburgher. When I first arrived in Pittsburgh, I was overwhelmed by the sense of community and openness as a new resident and college student. I am a Master’s in Social Work student at the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in Community Organizing and Social Action …

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Shining Light on that “They Lived”

I Lived, We Live: What Did We Miss? was an exhibit about the community of Hazelwood organized by Hazelwood residents and presented last winter here at the JCC's American Jewish Museum. While the origins of our relationship stem from loss and trauma, our two communities have forged bonds, shared experiences and built meaningful friendships. Center of Life’s Geraldine Massey shares her story about losing her …

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An Unprecedented Year

I distinctly remember two phone calls my wife and I received shortly before 10 a.m. that day. “Are you in shul? The street is blocked by police cars,” the congregant inquired. We replied that we were out of town and not at synagogue. A minute later the phone rang again. It was Sam Schachner, president of Tree of Life, who informed us of an active …

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The Concept of Forgiveness

When Rabbi Ron Symons invited me back to Pittsburgh for Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement, to worship with our Pittsburgh neighbors and to participate in a community event at the JCC, I did not hesitate to say yes. The slogan “From Parkland to Pittsburgh, Stronger Together” has heartfelt meaning for me, as our two communities forged an unbreakable bond when we first came together …

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As we turn the page on the calendar from Summer to Fall, from vacation to the academic year, from the old Jewish year 5779 to the new Jewish year 5780, the work of the Center for Loving Kindness are all the more relevant to the lives we lead in and around Pittsburgh.  Planned throughout 2016 and 2017 and launched on August 28, 2017, to commemorate …

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I Need Shabbat This Week

I need Shabbat this week because all I have heard is people talking over and through each other. I need Shabbat this week because all I have seen are images of children separated from their parents. I need Shabbat this week because all the values about family and human dignity I thought were foundational to our American way of life are being challenged. I need Shabbat this week …

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Shabbat is The First Labor Law

I was struck by this Samuel Rosenberg Image entitled 'Rest' in the spring when Melissa Hiller, Director of our American Jewish Museum, brought me to the Heinz History Center to see the exhibit "The Gift of Art". "For 100 years, the Friends of Art has purchased art to be given to the Pittsburgh Public Schools and enjoyed by tens of thousands of school children. Seeking to …

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Moral Compass

Elie Weisel taught us: One of the Just Men came to Sodom, determined to save its inhabitants from sin and punishment. Night and day he walked the streets and markets protesting against greed and theft, falsehood and indifference. In the beginning, people listened and smiled ironically. Then they stopped listening; he no longer even amused them. The killers went on killing, the wise kept silent, as …

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