Archive for : Pittsburgh

On first Shabbat after massacre, Pittsburgh’s Jews break challah together

This article originally appeared in The Times of Israel on November 3, 2018.

By Amanda Borschel-Dan

PITTSBURGH — On Friday night, over 300 Pittsburgh residents sat down together under a wide tent for a first Shabbat dinner following the mass synagogue shooting in which 11 of its community were murdered for being Jews.

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I pray that the same outpouring of support for Pittsburgh’s Jewish community be replicated for all marginalized communities

The following piece originally appeared on Public Source on November 1, 2018.

By Zack Block

I am reeling from the horrifying attack on our Jewish community this past Saturday during Shabbat services at Tree of Life synagogue, home of Tree of Light, New Light and Dor Hadash congregations. I was born in Pittsburgh and chose to make Squirrel Hill my home 18 years ago when my transplant-wife said it was “Squirrel Hill or bust.” Much like the majority of Squirrelhillians, after planting our roots here, we jumped head first into our community’s unparalleled Jewish life — both personally and professionally.

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Vigils scheduled to show solidarity with Pittsburgh

This article originally appeared in The Detroit News on October 28, 2018.

Vigils are planned locally to help “process the horrific act of violence” that left 11 dead at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

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Jewish Detroit Community Vigil For Pittsburgh

This article originally in The Jewish News appeared on October 28, 2018.

Tomorrow at 6 p.m., Hazon Detroit, The Well, Repair The World: Detroit, Detroit City Moishe House, Detroit Jews for Justice, the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, NEXTGen Detroit, the JCRC/AJC Detroit and the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit will host a vigil for the fallen victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

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Vigils held for Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims

This article originally appeared on Fox Detroit on October 29, 2018.

By WJFK

People around the world are praying for the victims of the tragic Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and their families.

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Repair the World Highlight: Nisha Blackwell of Knotzland

By Rachel Bukowitz

Nisha Blackwell is a self-taught seamstress and founder of Knotzland, a company dedicated to sourcing and rescuing high quality materials and repurposing them into unique, handcrafted bow ties. Born and raised in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Nisha now works with local women in the community by teaching them to sew and make bow ties for Knotzland. Nisha has created a business that supports people and the environment, all the while creating fabulous bowties!

What was your inspiration in starting Knotzland?

I love reuse and reclaiming. Essentially, I’m really passionate about using things that exist already to make things that we want to exist. I initially made a hair bow for friends daughter, and then one thing lead to another and now I’ve ended up in bowtie space.

Can you share a story or example of the impact that Knotzland has had?

There are so many stories, one of my favorite impact areas is working with local women in the seamstress industry. I train women [to make bow ties]. They come in and pick up their supplies and then do their pieces at their home and then they bring them back. The community of women is really special and has impact on the outside community.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in founding and running Knotzland?

It’s challenging to always be thinking about what growth looks like. People want to scale fast, but I want to scale intentionally and ethically. The bowtie world doesn’t mean scaling fast.

How has investing in sustainability been good for your business?

It’s refreshing for people to see and hear how impactful it is to reuse things that already exist. There has been a huge education component involved. This is slow fashion; it’s not at your doorstep like Amazon Prime. I usually have to have that conversation with customers, explaining why slow fashion is good for the environment.

What is something you are working on now that you are proud of or excited about?

My most recent project was commissioned by City of Pittsburgh through Innovation and Performance (IMP) Inclusive Innovation Week. On the project I was proud to continue working with Darrell Kinsel, a local artist from BOOM Concepts, to make bow ties that were very direct and powerful. We got together and made bow ties with words on them like “Collaborate”, “Peace”, “Equity”, “Innovation”, and “Inclusion” The bowties were then purchased by the City for the ambassadors to wear during Inclusive Innovation Week.

I am proud to make a statement with a brand. Knotzland focuses not just on environmental aspects of the world, but also on social good.

What was it like to be chosen for Facebook’s Small Business council?

[Nisha was chosen to be in the 5th class of Facebook’s Small Business Council which is a private group that consists of 60 members from all types of different companies]

It was a crazy experience! I flew to the Facebook headquarters in San Francisco and had two days of intensive training on topics ranging from creating great content, to advertising, to actually using products. They provided us with a lot of Instagram insight on how to capture audiences and create effective content. Overall, they advised us on tools that help small businesses. Since small business owners usually do a little bit of everything, there is not as much time to learn some of these things like there is in a large business where they can hire a person to do one thing full-time. They answered a lot of our questions and offered us amazing networking opportunities.

Is there anything else you (Nisha) would like me to know, or have included in Repair the World’s blog?

I would like to say that I really appreciate Repair the World. Repair the World provides a platform and space for social justice. Also, Fellows have been customers of Knotzland! Zack [Block, Repair the World Pittsburgh’s Executive Director] and the Fellows have been really supportive of Knotzland.

Who’s Next: Philanthropy; 17 people invested in making Pittsburgh a better place

This article originally appeared in The Incline on February 13, 2018.

By Rossilynne Culgan

For some people, helping others is their life’s mission. Every day, these 17 Pittsburghers work to make Pittsburgh better — both in the office and after work. From grant writers to development officers, volunteers to funders, these young people are molding Pittsburgh today and for the future.

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CMU to offer scholarships, merit-based aid to Repair the World fellows

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle on February 8, 2018.

By Toby Tabachnick

A new partnership between Repair the World and Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy has catapulted RTW into the ranks of such acclaimed social service groups as Teach for America and AmeriCorps.

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Service organization, Heinz College form partnership

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on February 5, 2018.

Participants in a Jewish-based community-service project will be eligible for financial and other aid in enrolling in graduate studies in public policy and related fields at Carnegie Mellon University. The organization Repair the World and CMU’S H. John Heinz III College of Information Systems and Public Policy recently announced the initiative. The college offers numerous master’s and doctoral degree programs in policy and information-related fields.

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Carnegie Mellon Pledges Partnership and Support for Repair the World Fellows

This post originally appeared on eJewish Philanthropy on January 28, 2018.

By EJP

Repair the World and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have initiated a strategic partnership to support alumni of Repair the World Communities fellowship who choose to pursue a degree in one of the 25 unique programs in CMU’s H. John Heinz III College of Information Systems and Public Policy. Repair fellowship alumni will receive financial support and more than usual flexibility in timing their start of the program, if they are accepted.

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