Category Archives: News

Susan Stein and Joe Klee pay a visit

On Shabbos, Feb 9, we had two special visitors at the shul.

Susan Stein lives on the upper West Side of Manhattan, but she’s not home often. She travels the country and the world performing her play “Etty” about the life of Etty Hillesom. Etty was a Dutch Jew who was murdered at Auschwitz when she was 29. She left behind diaries that give a glimpse of the last few years of her life. Susan gave 4 performances of her play at Carnegie Stage, one of two live theaters we have in Carnegie. And while in town she also managed to conduct the play for over 300 school students. And come to shul on Saturday morning! We were delighted to have her. She participated in services and stayed afterward for Kiddush. If you missed her performance, you can take 30 minutes and watch this interview she gave to Lynn Cullen.

At the end of services a young man came into the shul just looking around (he didn’t appear dangerous). I introduced myself and he said he was Joe Klee. He was in town on business and his father had advised him to visit the Carnegie Shul while in Pittsburgh. Well, as Dr. Block would say, “there are no coincidences”. Just 10 minutes earlier, while announcing yahrzeits, I mentioned that on Tuesday we would remember Dr. Harry A. Klee who was the main benefactor for the construction of our shul. His name appears on the cornerstone of our building. Joe stayed for Kiddush and afterwards I showed him the plaques for the Klee family on our yahrzeit tablets. The Klee family was numerous and one of Joe’s forefathers, Selig Klee, was a charter member of the congregation 120 years ago. The following day, I spoke with Joe’s father on the phone, Harvey Klee. Harvey explained that his parents were Joseph Klee and Rose Nadel. His grandparents were Hyman Klee and Lena Wilk. I was not aware of the Wilk connection, and will be looking forward to comments from the Wilk family.

As a complete aside, I saw Ethel Sherman McCarthy at the Pour House on Saturday night. She was there celebrating the birthday and retirement of her best friend, Cheryl Riley. As some of you know, Jim and Cheryl have sold the Pour House and are retiring to Florida. Of course I told Ethel that we would like to see her more frequently at shul. Her grandfather Markus Sherman was the founder of our congregation. The minyan met in his house from 1896 until 1903 when they built the first shul on Broadway St.

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GetGo Project Underway

The Giant Eagle GetGo in Gibsonia

The Giant Eagle GetGo in Gibsonia

For many months we have been reporting that Giant Eagle was in the process of purchasing property across the street from the shul. Well, things are finally happening. On Friday, October 31, they completed the property closings. Last Monday, Borough Council approved the “vacation” of a portion of Williams Street that runs through the middle of the property. And yesterday, the demolition crew started razing buildings.

What does this mean for us? Firstly, it means some parking concerns that we will need to address. The parking lot directly across from the shul had belonged to the Fulton family. About 40 years Al Fulton, who owned the Buick dealership on Main St., had given us permission to use his lot on Saturday mornings indefinitely. Fulton Buick is now long closed. Al’s son Pete owned the property in recent years. Now it belongs to Giant Eagle. In that parking lot there will soon be a convenience store. Certainly, when they open we will approach the manager about using some spaces on Saturday mornings. But in the meantime we will need to use what we can. There are generally about 6 spaces on the street near the shul. And I have spoken with the manager of CVS. She has given us permission to use available spaces in the farthest row from the store (the row next to Lydia Street). That should take care of our normal Saturday morning minyan. But we will also be talking with the new owners of the Xytec building (the glass and aluminum office building on Lydia Street just past the shul). That company is called Heyl & Patterson. They purchased the building earlier this year.

The good news is that this vacant property will now be renovated and be an asset to our community. The long term viability of our congregation depends on us being in a healthy neighborhood. Having a new GetGo across the street will bring some new life to the area, just as the CVS did.

GetGo-3 18NOV2014

This is the lot where we normally park on Shabbos. We may still be able to park there for a few more Saturdays, but I can’t predict.

The J&L Travel building was right there, until yesterday. Blink, and it’s gone.

GetGo-1 18NOV2014

A backhoe razes the Fulton Buick garage in the background. That’s where the gas pumps will be located, adjacent to Main St. The convenience store will be located in the area where this pickup truck is sitting, adjacent to Lydia St.


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Klezmer in Carnegie?

phil-salvatoLocal Carnegie residents are well familiar with the 3rd St. Gallery.  It is owned and operated by painter/musician Phil Salvato.  Phil is not just active in the Carnegie arts scene, but he is a good friend as well.  He has been vocal, dedicated, and hard working.  He is a great asset to the borough and those who have been working to revitalize the town.

On a regular basis, Phil hosts small jazz concerts in his studio.  I attended the Don Aliquo concert just last Sunday.  About 25 people showed up for the informal and cozy program.  Very enjoyable.  So, I was pleased to see Phil announcing that he is bringing an Eastern European ensemble to the gallery for a program.  The program titled “Furious Gypsy Jazz & Soulful Klezmer” should be quite a treat.  I hope you’ll take this opportunity to visit 3rd St. Gallery and enjoy Phil’s hospitality.  Click here for more info.

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Services at Chabad this Week

Rabbi Mendel and Batya Rosenblum

Rabbi Mendel and Batya Rosenblum

This Saturday, Feb 9, we will join Chabad of the South Hills for Shabbos morning service.  Service starts at 10:00AM and is followed by Kiddush.

This is not the first time that we have joined with Chabad for services.  In fact, we have stopped having Purim and Tisha B’av services in Carnegie some years ago and have invited our members to attend at Chabad since that time.  However, joint Shabbos services have been infrequent.  We have been reluctant to lock the doors for even a single Shabbos in Carnegie; the couple of times that we didn’t have services were due to severe weather.

Nonetheless, Chabad and Rabbi Mendy have always welcomed us and we enjoy their company.  So, we take a mid-winter break and join them for a Shabbos morning.  Services will resume in Carnegie on Feb 16.

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Carnegie: A Theatre Town!

If you are going to make a blog entry about live theater in Carnegie, what a better way to lead off than with a story about The Producers, a play about live theater!  The Producers debuts on Thursday, Nov 8.  Come see Mel Brooks’ famous story of Max Bialystock, the producer of the smash hit (?) Springtime for Hitler.  Stage 62 is one of three live theater companies based in Carnegie.  I saw their recent production of the Sondheim play Merrily We Roll Along and it was done with the usual high standards that Stage 62 is known for.  Earlier this year, Twelve Angry Men played to sold out audiences, and the recent Sweeney Todd received national attention.  All shows are performed at the Carnegie Carnegie (The Andrew Carnegie Library and Music Hall in Carnegie).

On the more whimsical side, Pittsburgh Savoyards has been producing Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for decades.  They are the longest operating theatre company in Pittsburgh, having been founded in 1938.  The group is based at the Carnegie Carnegie and performs classics like Pirates of Penzance and Ruddigore.  You just missed Yeoman of the Guard which ended its recent production on October 21.  Now you have to wait until spring for H.M.S. Pinafore!  I will certainly be there.  It’s my favorite G&S show.  The songs get stuck in my head, like “three cheers and one cheer more for the captain of the Pinafore” or “little buttercup”.  Watch this clip from the Madison Savoyards a couple years ago.

Lastly, we have a new group in town— Off the Wall Productions.  This group was formerly based in Washington, PA and has moved to Carnegie.  This allows them better access to their Pittsburgh customers, and yet gives them the freedom of not being downtown.  Owner Hans Gruenert says Carnegie is the place to be.  Easy access from all directions, ample free parking in the evenings, and an assortment of restaurants and taverns.  Hans bought an office building on Main St and remodeled it into a beautiful 95-seat theater.  I admit that I was skeptical but it turned out very nicely.  Debbie and I recently attended The Other Place, a story about how dementia destroys a woman’s family.  The unique thing about the play was that it jumped around between the present and the past, between reality and illusion causing the audience to be disoriented, but that was exactly the intent— to show how confused a person with dementia can be.  And in a small venue like this, the actors are literally right in front of you.  The Post Gazette said, “The Other Place” is a sobering experience, given capable life as directed by Melissa Hill Grande. A new theater in Carnegie, though — that’s exhilarating”.

The plays performed at Off the Wall are rarely performed elsewhere.  For example, The Other Place is being performed only in Carnegie and NYC.

And still further, you know that live theater requires lots of preparation and rehearsal.  Typical theater companies do 3 or 4 shows a year.  Hans knows that you can’t pay the bills with so few performances.  So, while Off the Wall is preparing for their next show, he has invited other Pittsburgh theater companies to rent his facility.  That means that you will be able to see something fresh almost every month at Off the Wall.

So much going on in Carnegie!  If you are interested in getting notification about upcoming productions, each of these theater groups has a website where you can add yourself to their mailing lists.  Here are the links:
Stage 62
Pittsburgh Savoyards
Off the Wall Productions


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