Dear Hillel Academy Parents, Staff, and Friends,

I invite you to join me for a special program occurring at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.
On Wednesday, November 3, 2010, at 7:30 pm, we will be welcoming Penina Taylor, noted author and speaker, for a special lecture titled "A Mine, an Island, and a Bundle of Sticks: Unity in Diversity." This lecture is the first in our new Hillel Academy Diversity Speaker Series.
Please click here to download a flyer for the program.
I look forward to seeing each of you here at Hillel for this extremely worthwhile event.


Dan Kraut
Chief Executive Officer

Penina Picture
Hillel Happenings
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Hillel Academy
of Pittsburgh

5685 Beacon Street
Pittsburgh, PA
P: (412) 521-8131
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7 Heshvan 5771

Candle Lighting: 6:24 pm

Havdalah: 7:22 pm

Parshat Lech Lecha
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In This Issue
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Chance for a Glance
Dvar Torah
Nursery Students
Getting to Know Mrs. Brookman
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Mr. Kingman, a Smartboard, and a Graphing Calculator
Boys High School Electives
Highlights of the Week
Girls High School and a Tower
Yoga and Kindergarten
What's Cooking?
News from Israel
Interested in Writing for the Jewish Chronicle?

Please speak to Mrs. Levari for more details.

[email protected]
Big Books:
Big Ideas
Yisroel Nemoy
Yisroel Nemoy has what to say about shteiging in this week's Dvar Torah. Check it out.
Quick Links
Feature Article
Mrs. Brookman has lived in California, Massachusetts, New York, Israel, and Pennsylvania.
Reb Shaw knows eight things that each of those places has in common.
Find out more in this week's conversation.

Who wants Rita's?

The Girls High School has quarts of Rita's.
Click here to find out more.

Food Zone

Do You Want Chinese Food?

October Lunch Menu

October Lunch Order Form

Mazel Tov

Rabbi Yisroel and Mrs. Chana Pfeffer on the Bar Mitzvah of their son. 

Mr. Reuven Pfeffer on his Bar Mitzvah.

Mr. Murray and Mrs. Elvira Pfeffer on the Bar Mitzvah of their grandson.

Rabbi Ari and Mrs. Rachel Goldberg on the Upsherin of their son.
Mr. Ezra Goldberg on his Upsherin.

Mr. Yosef and Mrs. Adina Shayowitz on the Upsherin of their son.

Mr. Ushy Shayowitz on his Upsherin.
Around Town

There is a community wide women's event on Monday, October 18th at 8 pm at the home of Dr. Jennie Lebovits.
Please click for more details.

Click here if you are interested in swimming lessons. The first lesson begins October 20th.
Chance for a Glance

Here's a peek at next week's Hillel Happenings:

Traversing Hillel Academy: How the installation of a rock climbing wall redefines physical education

Vayera: A Dvar Torah you won't want to miss

Want to go to Israel?  
Raffle tickets are now available for the upcoming Hillel Academy Awards Night Dinner. Prizes include four round trip tickets to Israel or $4,000 cash, a 37" flat screen television, or $500 in Giant Eagle gift certificates. Purchase tickets online at or by visiting
Tickets may also be purchased by calling the office at (412) 521-8131.
Dvar Torah

Yisroel Nemoy -7th Grade 

Who was Melchizedek?

In this weeek's parsha, Melchizedek abruptly arrives in the picture. Who is he and where does he come from? Rashi enlightens us, as usual, and explains that Malcheitzedek was king of Shalem (which nowadays is Yerushaliam). But why was Melchizedek so important that Hashem gave him the honor of being king of Shalem? The Chachamim inform us that the reason why Melchizedek was designated to become king of Shalem was because Melchizedek was really Shem, Noah's son. But, then why would Shem become the king of Shalem as opposed to Noach's other sons? Why weren't they deserving of this honor? The answer is because Shem was the biggest Talmud Chacham of all of Noach's children; because of this fact, Hashem gave Shem this honor.

We see from this that the bigger scholar you are the more honor you could receive. Here at Hillel, we are taught to honor those who possess great knowledge, in whatever field that may be.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!
Nursery Students Perform Hachnasat Orchim and Experience Life in a Tent

Morah Leah - [email protected]

This week, the students in Morah Leah's Nursery learned about Avraham Aveinu's tent firsthand when Morah Leah put up a real tent with four windows/doors in the classroom. The class practiced the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim by inviting Morah Devorah's Nursery class into their tent. The children shared their snacks with the "guests," and everyone made
a bracha together. They heard stories about Avraham and how he discovered from the time he was just three that Hashem is everywhere, and Hashem made the world.  The children sang songs about Hashem and about the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim. It was so much fun!

Students from Moah Leah and Morah Devorah's classes gather outside of a tent.
Outside Tent

Meeting Mrs. Brookman

This week, Reb Shaw sat down with Mrs. Lisa Brookman (Hillel Academy's newest Tanach teacher) for a short chat about Midrashim, the Hillel Academy hallways, and life in the 'burgh. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of this conversation have been reproduced below. 

Reb Shaw: Mrs. Brookman, thank you so much for meeting with me today. You know, I grew up in Pittsburgh, moved back here, am raising a family here, and support the Pirates. How did you end up in Pittsburgh? 

Mrs. Brookman: My husband is doing a fellowship at UPMC, and I've always wanted to work at the world famous Hillel Academy.
Reb Shaw: What are you teaching this year?

Mrs. Brookman: We are learning Sefer Shmot, Sefer Shoftim, Ivrit, Halacha, Parashat Hashavua, and much more!
Reb Shaw: You had previously mentioned to me that you received your Teaching Certificate from Pardes. Could you tell our readers a little bit about the experience?

Mrs. Brookman: Pardes is a unique community. Living in Israel is something special. It was, however, a trying time to be there during the Intifada.
Reb Shaw: When you walk in the building, you're both a parent and teacher at Hillel Academy. What is that dynamic like? 

Mrs. Brookman: It's great! Sometimes I pass my kids in the hall, or I see them through the window during their library time. It's fun for all of us. Likewise, I like bumping into my students at drop off.
Reb Shaw: What are your goals for the fifth grade girls?

Mrs. Brookman: I want them to learn a lot, love what they learn, and most importantly practice being good people.
Reb Shaw: Are you more likely to post this interview on Facebook or Tweet it to your friends? 

Mrs. Brookman: Facebook, of course.
Reb Shaw: Who's your favorite Rishon and why? 

Mrs. Brookman: Wow, nobody's ever asked me that before. I would say Rashi. He is able to present the "basic" or "simple" meaning of the text in a concise and very clear way. His commentary is virtually inseparable from the text. He is the undisputed "father of all commentaries." There are more than 300 "super-commentaries" written on Rashi!
Reb Shaw: Tell us something about Navi that our readers don't already know.

Mrs. Brookman: Devorah, the Judge, is said to be married to "Lapidot" meaning "torches." That name is not found anywhere outside of the Book of Shoftim. Some think that "Lapidot" was a description of Devorah's "fiery" character.
Reb Shaw: Most Hillel teachers are multi-lingual, please translate: "On Sundy wir gowen dahntahn to watch da stillers and eat ice cream wit jimmies."

Mrs. Brookman: "On Sunday, we're going downtown to watch the Steelers and eat ice cream with sprinkles." Hey, we moved from Boston. I know what "jimmies" are.
Reb Shaw: You have a five hour stopover in Israel, where are you going?

Mrs. Brookman: The Kotel, the Israel Museum, then out to eat at the Ticho House.
Reb Shaw: iPhone or DroidX?

Mrs. Brookman: Droid.
Reb Shaw: How does your fantasy football team look this week?

Mrs. Brookman: What's fantasy football?
Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): You're walking up Murray Avenue. You start at Murray and Forward; you finish at Murray and Hobart. Are there more barbers or pizza shops along the way?

Mrs. Brookman: Um...I'm going with pizza shops.
Reb Shaw: How do you like the new shopping carts at Giant Eagle?

Mrs. Brookman: I've yet to use one. I'm a Giant Eagle stroller shopper, i.e. pile the groceries in/on the stroller and the kids.
Reb Shaw: Where does a marathon rank on your bucket list?     
Mrs. Brookman: Dead last. 

Mrs Brookman is seen at the brand new Hillel Academy copier as she prepares for class.

Do you know of a Hillel teacher or staff member that should be interviewed for an upcoming Hillel Happenings? If so, please email Reb Shaw at [email protected]

Hillel Gear Spotted Here

This week, Nate Itskowitz (below) was spotted in a Hillel Academy t-shirt, while reading books at the Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Library. Great job Nate!

The only thing better than a library card is a Hillel Academy t-shirt.
Nate in Hillel T-Shirt

Hey Hillel Happenings readers, we all know that Hillel nation extends well beyond Squirrel Hill. So here's our chance to prove it. Send a picture of yourself in Hillel gear (uniform, t-shirt, etc.) to [email protected], and each week we'll select the best picture for inclusion in the Hillel Happenings.
Mr. Kingman Uses Huge Calculator to Teach Big Lessons 

Mr. Kingman - [email protected]

I have been using the Smartoard in an interesting way in my girls' pre-calculus class. I have a digital version of the TI-84 calculator on my laptop. I plug it into the Smartboard and I have a three foot tall calculator. I go up to the Smartboard and press the keys of my digital calculator, and it is as if I have a great big physical calculator. This is great because a lot of what I have been teaching is how to use some of the more sophisticated features of the calculator like linear regression and partial sums sequences. Performing these operations on the calculator may involve dozens of keystrokes, and if any one of them is wrong, the operation will result in an error. It is a great benefit to be able to show students exactly where the key is that they need to punch and what its result will be on the screen.
Boys High School Begins Electives Dramatically with Mr. Werber

Every Thursday, at 3:30 pm, students at the Boys High School gather for an exciting new course: Drama with Mr. Werber. This idea, developed last summer by Mr. Werber and Rabbi Weinberg, enables students to concentrate on improvisational acting exercises. Following the initial course, Mr. Werber stated that he was extremely impressed with the students, "I've taught hundreds of improv classes over the years, and this group from the Boys High School easily ranks in the top five. Not only are the students talented, but they are extremely excited." The goal of the course is that students should be ready to perform a collection of comedy sketches for a school wide assembly.

This elective is part of a series of diverse course offerings available to students at the Boys High School. Rabbi Sam Weinberg asserts, "Our goal is to continue to meet the diverse needs of our student body. Our students have academic interests that we often don't have time for. These electives give our students the chance to pursue those interests, while creating a positive and enjoyable educational environment." In addition to Drama, electives including Computer Science and Creative Art will be offered.
Highlights from the Past Week
Over the past week, several exciting programs, lessons, and activities occured throughout Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.

  • Morah Rosenberg's Pre-K(a) students began the letter bet, made an Aleph Bet chart to take home, and learned about the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim by reading a book and making cards for sick friends.
  • 10th and 11th Grade students took the PSATs.
  • Students in Grades 1-12 prepared for the Stash the Trash Program.
  • Morah Chana's Second Graders began learning how to write their letters in cursive.
  • 9th and 12th Grade students from the Girls High School completed a chessed project at the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry.
  • Students at the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center began the Chalav U'Dvash Hebrew program with Morah Danielle and Benzi the turtle.
  • 9th and 10th Grade Students in Mrs. Tipton's English class are reading Beowulf. Students are learning about epic poetry, heroism, and the Anglo-Saxon Earthly Virtues, which are bravery, loyalty, generosity, and friendship.
Girls High School Learns Parsha by Building Towers

Sari Joshowitz - 11th Grade, Girls High School

Last week, during the Girl's High School X-period, Student Council challenged their fellow classmates to build a unique tower of Bavel using various objects, including a box, q-tips, pipe cleaners, and balloons (amongst other things). Each grade made its own tower in an effort to try to make the best one. Here is a picture of the 11th Grade tower that we made.

11th Grade Tower

Yoga and Kindergarten: Stretching Minds and Bodies 

This past week, Ms. Roz Becker visited the kindergarten to teach a special lesson about yoga. Ms. Becker is an occupational therapist who received her training at Boston University, a masters in education from Harvard University, and a bachelors of science in liberal arts from Barnard College.

Over the course of nearly an hour, Ms. Becker and the kindergarten students discussed the practice of yoga in a Jewish framework. Additionally, Ms. Becker and the students played games, payed attention to breathing, and focused on creative movements. Ms. Becker later explained that the students responded quite well to the lesson and that one of the Kindergarten teachers claimed that the exercise helped many of the students increase their focus. Kindergarten student Nava Sacks said, "It was fun because I liked the snake and and the people who did the snake." Zalman Rodkin eagerly stated, "I liked making the tunnel." Fellow student Devorah Weiss offered this quote to sum up her yoga experience, "It was fun because we did a lot of stuff that was good and relaxing. We had a good time and heard music, and we got to be a rainbow." Thank you again to Ms. Becker and the many collaborators who enabled this great program.

Yoga and Kindergarten
What's Cooking:
News from Chef Brown 

Mordy Brown Catering is proud to announce catering services for all
There is no job too big or too small!
Dinners for two, or Bar Mitzvahs too!
Don't have time to cook?
No need to look!
Conveniently located in Hillel
One bite and your under a spell!
Kashrus is registered by the Vaad
Rabbi Wasserman gave his nod!

Call Today
Don't Delay!

Mordy Brown

[email protected]

Hot Lunches serviced by Mordy Brown Catering
For the future, please make checks payable to Mitchell Brown (not Hillel)

Carpool Dinners will be regular!
Please have orders in by designated date!

Chef Brown
News from Israel from Hillel

Wednesday began a little more different than usual for the first though fifth graders. As they sat in the lunchroom waiting to be picked up by their teachers, they were greeted by our local Sherut L'eumi girls, Achinoam and Ela (who are also our local Israeli newscasters). This morning, Achinoam and Ela mimicked an Israeli news broadcast. The broadcast included current events in Israel and what happened today in history. Achinoam read the news in Hebrew, while Ela translated it. A special report on Israeli sports focused on soccer star Benayun, who is unfortunately injured. Another sports report revealed that there is a fitness competition taking place among the aluphim (generals) of ZAHAL (IDF).
The news concluded with the weather forecast. Even though the yore (first rain) already came, the next few days are going to be very hot. The broadcasters recommended a visit to the Golan, which is a bit cooler, and to the Hexagon pool, 'Brechat Hameshushim.'

Stay tuned till next Wednesday for our next news broadcast, live from the Hillel Academy Chader Ochel (cafateria).

Achinoam and Ela in Cafeteria
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