The Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement
Redefining neighbor from a geographic term to a moral concept


We strengthen the fabric of 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.

Program Areas

• Education/Exposure
Directed learning opportunities for teens and adults to interact with each other, reduce barriers and build connectedness.
• Civic Engagement
Intentional organizing and convening to augment the JCC’s role as the “town square” where ideas are explored with respect.
• Advocacy and Action
Finding new opportunities to become involved in movements beyond our current scope, including activating an East End ministerium that connects a diverse group of local clergy.
• Artistic Expression
Exhibiting supportive programming of the American Jewish Museum through publicly accessible visual arts, amplifying the moral responsibility of neighbor and convening artistic thought leaders in the community.
• Communications
Ensuring that the broad public at large understands the role of the Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement as a driving force for good in our community.

Highlights / Recent Events
LIGHT! An Interfaith Celebration Through Song
Sunday, December 2, 7-8:30 pm

Katz Performing Arts Center, 5738 Darlington Road, Squirrel Hill

Free and Open to All – RSVP 

Sing with us and shine light in the darkness as we bring our diverse faith traditions together. We will light candles for the first night of Chanukah

Music led by

  • Rodef Shalom Congregational Choir
  • Hillelujah—a capella group at Hillel JUC
  • Rodman Street Baptist Church Choir…and more!
  • Special video byTzohar Seminary for Chassidus and the Arts

Questions: [email protected]

Protecting Our Communities: Environmental Challenges from Fossil Fuel Extraction in SWPA
December 6, 2018
7-9 pm

PowerPoint presentations from this event:

Fossil Fuel Powerpoint Dec. 2018

JCC SWPA Environmental Quality DeMarco


Re-Imagine BC 

• Find out from our elected representatives what’s going on in city, county,
state and federal government to combat climate change and promote
alternative sustainable energy and other environmental initiatives
• Hear about local creative sustainability projects
• Learn from experts about the threats from fossil fuels
• Hear activists’ stories
• Learn more about and get involved in the local environmental movement

Doug Shields, Food and Water Watch
Matt Mehalik, PhD, The Breathe Project
Joanne Martin, Re-Imagine Beaver County

Elected Leaders Committed to Speaking
PA State Senator Jay Costa
PA State Representative Dan Frankel
PA State Representative-Elect Summer Lee
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald
Allegheny County Councilman Paul Klein
Representation from the Office of Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Conner
Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Erika Strassburger
Forest Hills Borough Councilwoman Patty De Marco

Tabling Organizations—Get Involved at the event!
ACCAN (Allegheny County Clean Air Now)
BCMAC (Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community)
Breathe Project
Clean Air Council
Communities First
Food and Water Watch
GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution)
League of Women Voters
Mom’s Clean Air Force
Bend The Arc
No Petro PA
North Braddock Residents for Our
Our Children Our Earth
Sierra Club
Southwest PA Environmental
Health Project
Sustainable Monroeville
Penn Future
Marcellus Outreach Butler
Re-Imagine Butler County

For more information:
Rabbi Ron Symons [email protected]

Clergy Coffee – “We Have to Talk”

Thursday, November 8.
9:45 – 11:30 am.
JCC’s Katz Performing Arts Center, Robinson Building,  5738 Darlington Road, Squirrel Hill
We are committed to fighting intolerance with the promise of love. As a community working together in solidarity, our resolve is strong and our voices loud.

Please join us at the JCC on November 8 for a Clergy Coffee. Spread the news to all of your spiritual leader networks. If ever there was a time for clergy to come together in and around Pittsburgh, it is now. As a community working together in solidarity, our resolve is strong and our voices loud.

Rabbi Ron Symons (JCC)
Rev. Liddy Barlow (CASP)
Josh Sayles (Director, CRC)
Wasi Mohamed (Executive Director, ICP)

BERNSTEIN: The Provocateur

November 10 & 11

JCC Katz Performing Arts Center, 5738 Darlington Road, Squirrel Hill

As a composer, conductor, educator and humanitarian, Leonard Bernstein shattered boundaries in his life and career. In 2018, performing arts organizations around the world are celebrating the 100th birthday of this iconic artist. From his controversial premier of Mass for the opening of the Kennedy Center to his bold statements about race in West Side Story, Bernstein has provoked us to think differently about the world.

Repertoire includes: selections from Mass, West Side Story, Missa Brevis, Candide and others.

Performance Times

  • Saturday, November 10, 2018 @ 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, November 11, 2018 @ 4 pm

Tickets and Information

We Strengthen the Fabric of Our Community

View more Center for Loving Kindness and JCC videos: JCC Vimeo

  • October 8, 2018 to November 12, 2018

    BECOMING AMERICAN is a six-week public program featuring documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions designed to encourage an informed discussion of immigration issues against the backdrop of our immigration history.
    WHO: Open to all members of the community. Free. No RSVP required.
    WHEN: Every Monday, beginning on October 8th through November 12th, 6:30-8:30 PM
    WHERE: The first three programs will be held in the JCC Katz Theatre, 5738 Darlington Rd., Squirrel Hill. The last three programs will be held in College Hall Room 104, Duquesne University, 600 Forbes Ave. Both locations are accessible by bus. Plan your trip and get bus fare information.

    Program One: The Century of Immigration with scholar Dr. Jennie Schulze
    October 8th, 2018 – 6:30pm @ JCC Katz Theatre
    Program Two: Promise and Prejudice with scholar Dr. Emad Mirmotahari
    October 15th, 2018 – 6:30pm @ JCC Katz Theatre
    Program Three: Between Two Worlds: Identity and Acculturatiom with scholar Dr. Jennie Schulze
    October 22nd, 2018 – 6:30pm @ JCC Katz Theatre
    Program Four: Help Wanted? Immigration and Work with scholar Dr. Emad Mirmotahari
    October 29th, 2018 – 6:30pm @ College Hall 104, Duquesne University
    Program Five: Family and Community with scholar Dr. Jennie Schulz
    November 5th, 2018 – 6:30pm @ College Hall 104, Duquesne University
    Program Six: Immigration and Popular Culture with scholar Dr. Emad Mirmotahari
    November 12th, 2018 – 6:30pm @ College Hall 104, Duquesne University

  • American Patriot: Photos by Charlee Brodsky, Poetry by Jim Daniels

    Artists’ Reception: Tuesday, November 13th, 6–8pm , Berger Gallery, JCC Robinson building
    Brodsky’s photographs of American flags and Daniels’ poetry responding to Brodsky’s images tap into how Americans interact with the flag as a decoration, a consumable object and as a signifier and pronouncement of our Americanism. Through the lens of this region and via the symbolism of the American flag, their collaboration wrestles with the complexities of life in 21st century America and the meaning of the flag. Importantly, the collaboration illuminates the drastically diverse ways in which patriotism is understood and expressed.

  • Hopeful Responses to Addiction

    Learn from local organizations about how we can be helped and how we can help others.If you think that addiction does not impact you, you need to join us. If you know that addiction impacts you, you need to join us.

    What Is Addiction?
    • Rich Lord, Reporter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • JoEllen Marsh, Opioid Community Response Manager, Allegheny County Health Department
    What Is The Impact On Our Community?
    • Rabbi Moshe Vogel, Executive Director, Aleph Institute
    • Dana Gold, COO, JFCS, Founding Director of Sojourner House
    • Community Member: My Story
    What Are Our Pathways Towards Hope?
    • The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL, 5th Bishop of Greensburg
    • The Reverend Canon Dr. Jay Geisler, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
    • Community Leader: Our Civic Responsibility

    Please RSVP to

Melton Pittsburgh: Adult Learning for the Wondering Jew

The premiere course of pluralistic, foundational learning returns to Pittsburgh

Wednesdays, October 10-May 22
9:30-11:45 am at the JCC in Squirrel Hill

Click here to learn more


High Holidays of Hope:

On Yom Kippur Find Comfort and Inspiration.
Wednesday, September 19, 2-3 PM

We will recite Yizkor and Kaddish memorial prayers for our own losses and our community losses.

Mourning is the Other Side of Love
David Silvasy
Doctoral Practicum Intern
Jewish Family and Community Services

My Life’s Work After My Two Sons Were Murdered by Gun Violence
Geraldine Massey MS PRC
Family Counselor/Outreach Specialist
Center of Life, Hazelwood

Rebuilding After the Trauma of the Franklin Avenue Massacre
Pastor Janet Hellner-Burris, Christian Church of Wilkinsburg
President, Wilkinsburg Sanctuary Project

Casual Dress • RSVPs requested

For Yom Kippur:

For more information contact Rabbi Ron Symons, [email protected] • 412-697-3235
To view event flyer please click here

On Rosh Hashanah Rededicate Yourself to Social Justice.
Monday, September 10, 2-3 PM

•The shofar (ram’s horn) will be our social justice call to action
• Be inspired by the
se community upstanders:

Zack Block, Executive Director, Repair The World Pittsburgh
Standing Up for Opportunity for All

Betty Cruz, Director, Change Agency
Standing Up for Immigrants

Jake Goodman, Executive Director, Opportunity Fund
Standing Up for Queer Rights

Jake Seltman, Executive Director, Grow Pittsburgh
Standing Up for Food Justice

janera solomon, Executive Director, Kelly Strayhorn Theater
Standing Up for Creative Community

We Invite You to Join With Your Neighbors….


  • If you want to explore the foundations of western civilization at a time when they are being challenged, then join us for The Ten Commandments in The 21st Century beginning on May 1.  Click here for information.
  • If you care about #METOO, then join us for a modern rendition of The Book of Ruth on either May 3 or May 6.  Click here for information.
  • If you would like to study the night away on Shavuot, then join us for the TIKKUN on May 19.  Click here for more information.
  • If you want to explore how to share your values with the next generation, then join us for Let Me Write This Down Before I Forget beginning on May 23.  Click here for more information.
Phat Man Dee and Liz Berlin: Shine the Light with Social Justice Disco

Liz Berlin of Rusted Root and jazz singer Phat Man Dee recently created an outstanding collection of social justice songs. Recognizing the important role artists have in contributing to the global choir of change, the JCC hosted Phat Man Dee and Liz Berlin: Shine the Light with Social Justice Disco, on Thursday, December 14.

Read the Jewish Chronicle article about this event

Blog Posts
We strengthen the fabric of our community....
Immigrants, Refugees and Strangers

In November 2017, we hosted a Faithful Response to Immigrants, Refugees and Strangers.  While local clergy inspired us with their words, our neighbors who told us their immigration stories blew us away.  Please spend a few minutes watching their stories.

Our Local Environment

Read Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle article:

Growing crisis with climate, environment takes center stage at JCC

We care deeply about our local environment in Southwestern PA.  Inspired by the Jewish value to care for and protect the earth (sh’mirat adamah), we encourage you to get involved in issue related to the impact of fossil fuels on our local economy, health and climate.

In November 2017, we hosted 180 people and over 20 environmental organizations in a forum to learn more about the environment and in order to get involved in making a difference.  You can learn more by reviewing these slides from our presenters.

Big Problems Ketyer

City of Pittsburgh Kiernan

Environmental Hazards Fabisiak

Transparency Marcucci

Sustainable Future Part 1 Mehalik

Sustainable Future Part 2 Mehalik

Sustainable Future Part 3 Mehalik

Against Racism and Bigotry
Interfaith Clergy Gathering Against  Racism and Bigotry

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Partnership with Christian Associates Southwest Pennsylvania:
A Clergy Forum of Social Justice Sermons

Monday, August 28, 2017

With invitations to clergy across the faith denominations from across Greater Pittsburgh, this forum provided clergy with the opportunity to celebrate the anniversary of and the need to heed the message of the 1963 March on Washington by discussing great civil rights sermons from that march and beyond. They then signed a declaration to the community accentuating faith based unity in the face of racism and bigotry.

“We are living in very challenging times. Protesters, advocates, and politicians are trying to spin our moral compasses in such a way so that we have little sense of which way to step. But we know in which direction we should march: the moral direction that is taught by all of our faith traditions, the direction of “love your neighbor as yourself” and “do not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds.” Our fathers and mothers marched in this direction, and so must we, so that our children will in their day and so that we can create a world where hate, bigotry, racism and discrimination have no place in society, no matter the voice speaking them nor the unspoken words of those in power.”

– The Reverend Liddy Barlow, Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania and Rabbi Ron Symons, The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh

Get engaged

Rabbi Ron Symons, Senior Director of Jewish Life, 412-697-3235 or fill out this Contact Form and we will get back to you shortly.

Related Posts

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 a...
read more

Passover is All About Time Travel

Each and every year when we pull our wine stained haggadot off of the shelf and place them on our beautifully set Passover tables, we have tw...
read more

Tu B'Shevat - How can we celebrate nature and Israel in the cold of winter?

In Israel, another new year will soon be celebrated. Tu B'Shevat, the "New Year of the Trees," is observed on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of...
read more

People on The Fringes

For thousands if years now, Jewish wisdom has been teaching us that we are not permitted to ignore the needs of the most vulnerable among us.  The au...
read more