Arts + Culture,

The Downtown Shul: A Hidden Gem

Jul 16, 2023 - Jul 16, 2023 | 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Synagogue
810 Fifth Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Richard Brean, a member of the synagogue, will lead you on a tour of the sanctuary, the fifth building that has housed the congregation since its founding in 1873. The oldest Orthodox congregation in Pittsburgh, the congregation will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2023, and Rich will explain its centrality to Jewish life in the Hill and the Americanization of its immigrant Jewish community.


Rich Brean received his MPA-UP from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs in 1973 and remained on campus for two years as an Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and a preceptor in the Politics Department. He entered Harvard Law School in 1975 and, upon graduating in 1978, began a forty-year career with the United Steelworkers International Union’s Legal Department in Pittsburgh, retiring as USW General Counsel in 2018. Rich has been active for a number of years in the Princeton Alumni Association of Western Pennsylvania and is currently PAAWP President and Co-Chair of its Alumni Schools Committee. He has twice served on the Alumni Council, initially as a member of CORA and currently as Chair of the Committee on Nominations. A proud alumnus of Kenyon College, Rich was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2019 by Kenyon for his contributions to the American labor movement and USW, as well as his efforts to increase the enrollment of students from public urban high schools at the College. Rich and his wife, Karen Markison Brean, an architect and planner, are proud parents of Molly Brean ’13, who, proving that miracles do happen, recently moved from London to Pittsburgh to accept a job at Duolingo. One of Rich’s many hobbies is lecturing about the history of the Jewish Hill District, and last year he delivered two lectures at Rodef Shalom Congregation, which are available at the Rodef Shalom website. Rich has been a member of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol since 1987.

Ira Frank, the president of  Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Congregation will be on-site as well to welcome you.

TOUR STARTS/ENDS: Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Synagogue, 810 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

  • Restrooms are available.

  • Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are available.

  • Photography is allowed .

DOORS OPEN Pittsburgh follows CDC guidelines for the safety of our ticket holders; in addition, we do require a mask for entry to any building that requires a mask be worn--regardless of vaccination status.

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