The Update | Pastor to Discuss Journey to Israel; Exhibit at KSU Fashion Museum

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Rev. Juan Rivera will lecture on his journey to Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7 terror attack.

The lecture will take place at 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Jewish Community Center, 505 Gypsy Lane, and via Zoom.

Rivera’s appearance is sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation.

Rivera, pastor of Victory Church in Coitsville, will describe his experiences meeting with survivors of the Hamas attack on an Israeli kibbutz.

The cost is $10 for dinner. Registration is required by Feb. 20 for in-person participation and by Feb. 26 for Zoom. RSVP to Nancy Sentelik at or 330 746 3250, ext. 108. The Zoom program will begin at 6:45 p.m.

Sukeina Exhibition at KSU Fashion Museum

KENT, Ohio – The first museum exhibition in the United States dedicated to the work of the Sukeina brand, founded by Omar Salam, will open Feb. 16 at the Kent State University Museum and run through June 2.

Salam was inducted into the KSU School of Fashion Design and Merchandising Hall of Fame in 2023. 

While his family’s origins go back to Senegal in West Africa, Salam lived around Europe before coming to New York City to study at Parsons School of Design for a degree in fashion.

Salam began his career working for Sonia Rykiel in Paris, becoming visual director for the New York office. He spent seven years with Rykiel before joining Christian Lacroix in 2010. Salam launched his own brand in 2012, which he named Sukeina after his mother.

Sukeina is driven by Salam’s commitment to make women look and feel special. His designs feature clean lines but also intricate hand crafting. Many of his pieces incorporate silk fringe tied by hand onto a ground of lace and mesh.

Fundraiser Event for Salem Theater

SALEM, Ohio – A gala fundraiser for Salem Community Theatre will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at Kast Iron Soda Works, 420 E. State St., downtown.

It will raise money for the theater’s upcoming production of “Mary Poppins, The Musical.”

Tickets are $50 per person ($85 per couple). The event will feature food and drinks (beverages from Kast Iron not included in price), with music by DJ Butch Hileman. Attendees must be 21 years old to purchase tickets. Go to

Sci-fi Author to Speak at YSU Event

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Science fiction author John Scalzi will deliver the keynote speech at this year’s History Across the Humanities conference at Youngstown State University.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 in the DeBartolo Hall auditorium. Its goal is to raise funds for the development of a science fiction museum in Warren.

For information, click HERE.

The conference is a collaboration of Christopher Barzak,YSU Poetry Center director; Amy Fluker, director of the conference; and Laura Beadling, Ruth Grace Memorial Endowed Scholar.

Scalzi, author of “Old Man’s War,” “Redshirts” and “Starter Villain,” is a former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Wall Street Journal Editor to Speak to Press Club

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The editor in charge of efforts to free a Wall Street Journal reporter from a Russian prison will address a Feb. 22 Youngstown Press Club gathering.

Paul Beckett, the Wall Street Journal’s assistant editor, will provide an update on what’s being done to secure the release of Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia since his March 29, 2023, arrest.

The “I stand with Evan” event will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Ford Family Recital Hall at the DeYor Performing Arts Center, downtown. A reception will follow in the Eleanor Beecher Flad Pavilion.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at

Pictured at top: The Rev. Juan Rivera will speak at the Jewish Community Center.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.