Temple Sinai Presents: Meet a Member
Few Pittsburghers are not at least somewhat familiar with Edgar Snyder. Founder and of counsel of the law firm that bears his name, Edgar was born in Connellsville to Meyer and Selma Snyder. Meyer, a Russian immigrant, was in the men’s clothing business and soon moved his family to Pittsburgh, Selma’s hometown.
Hard work and a good education were stressed in the Snyder family. Edgar was given two options for future employment by his parents: “Are you going to be a doctor or a lawyer?” Edgar’s knack for winning arguments, and his later success on Penn State’s debate team charted his course.
Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, this lifelong Nittany Lion entered University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law, graduating in 1963.
Having grown up in close proximity to Temple Sinai, the Snyders joined in 1951, with Edgar becoming a Bar Mitzvah, and later confirmed under the tutelage of Rabbi Levinson. Theirs was a culturally Jewish home, not overly religious. High Holy Days were observed, with Edgar recalling services being held at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.
After graduating from law school, Edgar opened his own storefront office in Duquesne, setting up shop across the street from the steel mill so the workers would see his light on after their shifts.
Ever the hard worker that his parents had raised, he was also serving as an Allegheny County assistant public defender. This budding attorney rose quickly among the ranks of regional criminal defense attorneys.
Edgar started his well-known advertising practice in 1983 and began TV advertising in 1986. As his practice grew, Edgar always felt a responsibility to give back to the community. His community involvements mirror his high profile within the legal profession.
Edgar Snyder has made a major difference to many worthwhile causes throughout the Keystone State. He has quietly given back to Penn State’s Hillel by enabling students to enjoy Shabbat dinners on campus. His involvement with Jewish Family & Children’s Services SOS program has helped to appreciably change the lives of those in immediate need. His leadership within the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is key, serving as both an officer and as co-chairman of the 2013 Mega-Mission to Israel. He is a past recipient of the Federation’s Emanual Spector Memorial Award.
Edgar has been to Israel twenty times, with many of these trips enhancing the partnership between Pittsburgh’s Jewish community and the Carmiel-Misgav Region. He has also travelled to Bialystok, his father’s birthplace. His Jewish involvements have further been reinforced through his connections to Temple Sinai and Rabbi James Gibson.
Edgar takes particular pride in supporting the music program at Temple Sinai, and in his “longstanding and valued friendship with Jamie. Jamie has made Temple Sinai a most special and meaningful place”.
Edgar Snyder’s community and philanthropic involvements are not limited to the Jewish community. This Pitt alum has been recognized by PNC with its Community Builders Award, and has been a significant advocate for Teen Driving Safety for many years. In addition, he is a Penn State Alumni Fellow, the highest honor given by the PSU Alumni Association, and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Edgar’s family includes his daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Alan Friedman, and their daughters Ally and Emma; son Andrew and daughter-in-law Kara, and their son Eli; and daughter Sara who lives in San Francisco and works for Google.
Now semi-retired, Edgar enjoys spending some of the winter in Sarasota, follows all of Pittsburgh’s sports teams, and still continues his volunteer activities in our local Jewish community.