Dear parents,
Do you have new items that you would like to donate to Hillel's silent auction? Perhaps you have gift certificates to local stores or tickets to the symphony or sporting events that you'd like to use to benefit Hillel?
Please send in these items to support the Hillel Academy Silent Auction.

Hillel Happenings
Brought to you by Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Hillel Academy
of Pittsburgh

5685 Beacon Street
Pittsburgh, PA
P: (412) 521-8131
F: (412) 521-5150

November 5, 2010

28 Heshvan 5771

Candle Lighting: 5:55 pm

Havdalah: 6:54 pm

Parshat Toldot
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In This Issue
Coffee Talk with Rabbi Sacks
Rosh Chodesh Lunch
Food Zone
Mazel Tov
Chance for a Glance
Artistic Offerings at the Chronicle
Help Hillel by Shopping
Volunteers Needed
Hockey Clinic
Mordy Brown Catering
Hungry for Chinese Food?
Scholastic Book Fair
Dvar Torah
BHS Chessed Program
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Teacher Interview
Around Town
Highlights of the Week
Penina Taylor and Hillel
Nursery and the Parsha
Coffee Talk

Parents of students in the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center (Nursery, Pre-K, and Kindergarten) are invited to attend coffee talk this Thursday morning at 8:10 a.m. in the Hillel Academy Library with Rabbi Sacks. Coffee and cookies will be served.
For more details and/or to RSVP, please email [email protected]

Support the Senior Girls

Need a quick batch of cookies? Support the Senior Girls by purchasing cookie dough.

Click "yum" to find out more details.
Interested in Writing for the Jewish Chronicle?

Please speak to Mrs. Levari for more details.

[email protected]
 Nursery, BBQ, and More
Car with BBQ
Ingenuity comes in many forms. Reb Shaw recently discovered the ultimate fusion of transportation and gastric delight. To find out more about the synthesis of creativity and barbecuing read this week's interview with Morah Leah Brown.
Quick Links
Rosh Chodesh Lunch Reminder

Rosh Chodesh Lunch will occur Monday, November 8th. 

Phys Ed Update

Phys Ed

Curious about what's going on in Physical Eduation? Read Mrs. Stanley's article for an exciting window into exercise and activities at Hillel Academy.   

Food Zone

November Lunch Menu

November Lunch Order Form

Mazel Tov

Mr. Yehuda and Mrs. Devorah Kohanbash on the engagement of their daughter Leah
to Michael Golfeyz of Baltimore. 

Mr. Ted and Mrs. Stephanie Davis on the marriage of their daughter Ariel to Jake Kell.

Mrs. Susan Kell on the marriage of her grandson.


Mrs. Ronit Wiesenfeld on the passing of her father.
Around Town

The Kollel is offering a women's learning class titled, "Decoding Rashi," on Tuesday nights from 8:10-9:00.
Click "learning" for more details.

Bnei Akiva snif this week is from 4:30-5:30 pm at Shaare Torah for grades 3-9.

Boys mark your calendars! The Father & Son Program at the Kollel will be starting again November 13, 2010 at 7:15 pm. Pleas contact Rabbi Morgan at 412-421-5300 or Mitch Maizlech at [email protected] for more details.

Camp Stone is having an open house on Wednesday, November 10th at 7:00 pm at the home of Mr. Jim and Mrs. Linda Joshowitz.
Click Torah V'Avodah for more details.
Chance for a Glance

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

"Houston, we have a point guard." - An update from the Boys High School Basketball Team's Tournament in Houston. 

 Nursery makes a parsha and literacy soup.

Wherever you are, just go out and read this Dvar Torah; it's going to be great.

Are You an Artist?

Whether you've got more Chagall or chagrin, this is definitely the contest for you.

The Jewish Chronicle invites students from day schools and religious schools to present their cover designs for a Chanuka edition, which will be published Nov. 25. The winning covers will appear in print and on their website at

A few guidelines:

The cover dimensions are 10 inches wide, 13 inches deep.
No black and white.
The deadline for submissions is Nov. 16.

Once your cover is done, the rest is simple:

Send your signed artwork submission, in JPEG format only, to
Angela Leibowicz 
Volunteers Needed

Hillel Academy is looking for volunteers for Pre-School vision screening. Training only takes a few hours and is free. If you are interested, please contact Rina Itskowitz by phone at (412) 422-1179 or by email at [email protected].
Interested in Playing Some Hockey, Eh?

Mr. Steve Berman and Dr. Harold Wiesenfeld will be offering a hockey clinic for boys and girls ages 6-12.

Sessions begin November 28th.

Please click "zamboni" for more details. 
Mordy Brown Catering

Every Thursday night, Mordy Brown Catering will be selling pizza for $16.00 a pie.
$1.00 of each sale will be donated to Hillel Academy.
Help support our school!

Click here for a menu and more details.

Additionally, next Tuesday (November 2nd), Mordy Brown Catering will be selling Mexican food for dinner. 

Cick "burrito" for an order form and more details.
Hungry for Chinese?

Royal Catering offers many varieties of Chinese food.

Click "Kung Pao" for an order form and more details.
Scholastic Book Fair

Scholastic Book Fair will be held from Sunday, November 12th to Thursday, November 18th with morning, afternoon, and special evening hours.

Remember, books make great gifts! Even if you are not interested in shopping for your family, please consider stopping by and purchasing books for your children's classrooms. Thank you for your support!

Hillel Academy
of Pittsburgh
Administration and Staff

Mr. Daniel J. Kraut
Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]

Rabbi Avrumi Sacks
Principal and Education Director
[email protected]

Mrs. Elky Langer
Assistant Principal GHS
[email protected]

Rabbi Sam Weinberg
Assistant Principal BHS
[email protected]

Rabbi Dov Nimchinsky
Judaic Studies Coordinator K-8

[email protected]


Mrs. Deborah Oz-Halbritter
General Studies Coordinator K-8
[email protected]

Mrs. Yikara Levari
Administrator and Student Activities Coordinator [email protected]

Mrs. Phyllis Harris
Director of Support Services [email protected]

Mrs. Selma Aronson
Executive Administrator
[email protected]

Ms. Hadar Glazer
Administrative Assistant
[email protected]

Mrs. Adina Shayowitz
Administrative Assistant
[email protected]

Ms. Sarah Hartman
Finance Manager
[email protected]

Mr. Adam Reinherz
Director of Community Relations
[email protected]

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

Peri Tuchman - 3rd Grade

The Torah tells us that as Yitzchok advanced in age his eyesight dimmed. Why did Hashem make Yitzchok blind?
Rashi gives us three reasons, from the midrash to explain this occurrence: The first reason is that, in the previous pasuk, the torah told us that Eisav married two non-jewish women (Yehudis and Basmas) and that the smoke from their avodoh zara (idol worship) hurt Yitzchok's eyes. Separately, one might ask why didn't Rivka's eyesight also become dim.
Sifsei Chachamim explains that Rivka was used to the smoke because she grew up in a family which practiced Avodah Zara.

The second reason why Hashem made Yitzchok blind was that the tears of the melachim (angels) fell into the eyes of Yitzchok.

A third answer given by Rashi, is that Hashem wanted Yaakov to receive the first born bracha (blessing) instead of Eisav. Yitzchok did not know that Eisav should not receive the bracha. This was because Eisav showed respect for his father. Since his eyes were dim he was unable to see that it was Yaacov getting the bracha as opposed to Eisav.

Shabbat  shalom!                                                       
Boys High School Enjoys New Chessed Program
Rabbi Weinberg - [email protected]

At Hillel, we believe that Teffilah, Gemarah, and Chumash are only the beginnings of a complete and well rounded Jewish Education. We also try to inculcate a sense of strong Jewish values into our students. One of these very important values is the act of chessed (literally kindness, but colloquially translated as social action, community service, or doing kind deeds). While we know that it is important to teach students about chessed, there is no better way for them to learn and understand the true value of chessed than actually doing chessed. This year, in the JCC, we knew that we have ample opportunities to do chessed in a deep and meaningful way. One idea was to help out with the senior lunch program at the JCC.

After an introductory program led by Traci Levine, and an orientation led by Ms. Stephanie Small of JF&CS this week, the Hillel Boys, began a year long chessed program with the JCC and Age Well Pittsburgh. Everyday, hundreds of seniors from the Greater Pittsburgh area, gather in the JCC for a government subsidized lunch. The JCC Kaufman auditorium is transformed into the Jcafe as seniors have their choice of multiple entrees and even a complete salad bar. Unfortunately, not all seniors are able to get the lunch themselves and need assistance getting their food and finding a pace to sit. That is where our students come in. Everyday, two students sacrifice their lunch period and volunteer in the Jcafe. Shimmy Biton, a ninth grade student who worked in the Jcafe on Monday said, "It felt good helping people get their food who otherwise would have struggled, but the best part was meeting so many interesting people." Hopefully, our students will realize through this program that when they give to a cause they will often gain far more than they give, and this will be the beginning of long careers in chessed and community involvement.

Hillel Gear Spotted Here

This week, there's a double helping of Hillel Gear Spotted Here as Itskowitz sisters, Shira (left) and Aviva (right) were spotted all over Pittsburgh in their Hillel apparel. Way to go girls!

Itskowitz Girls for Hillel Gear
Whether you're toyveling in Pittsburgh or traveling to Australia it's best to wear your Hillel gear.

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.

Interview with Leah Brown

Following up on our readers' suggestions, this week, Reb Shaw met with Leah Brown. Morah Leah is a Nursery teacher at the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. In but a few months at Hillel, the effects of Morah Leah's vision and creativity are sensed throughout the school. Reb Shaw and Morah Leah spoke about her orientation to Hillel Academy, as well as other matters. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of the conversation have been printed below:

Reb Shaw: How have the first few months at Hillel treated you?

Morah Leah: Great! These first few months have been exciting and very enjoyable. They have also done a great job at building up my auto-immune system!

Reb Shaw: What's been most surprising about working at Hillel?

Morah Leah: Based on past experiences, I am most surprised at how quickly it took for me to feel at home and at ease. The administration, staff, and parents have made the transition of moving to a new city and teaching at a new school very smooth.

Reb Shaw: So much of your classroom instruction incorporates experiential learning. Is this something that you've always relied upon as a teacher?

Morah Leah: Yes! I believe learning hands on, and experiencing the learning is very important in early childhood. According to research, a play-based
environment is the most natural instructional context for young children.  It is the basis of many early childhood theories given by the great early childhood philosophers such as Lewis, Dewey and Piaget.

Reb Shaw: What's the next big thing going on in the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center?


Morah Leah: A Thanksgiving luncheon, Chanukah, and a grandparent/special visitor Day!

Reb Shaw: Last week, you facilitated a mock wedding between Yitzchak Aveinu and Rivka Eimaenu. Perhaps, the highlight of the entire program was a BBQ lunch. What will it take to feature more BBQs at Jewish weddings?


Morah Leah: I think it will take a lot to convince most brides to agree to a BBQ wedding. The grooms on the other hand, well, they would probably be thrilled (as would the parents).

Reb Shaw: Last week the Hawkeye's crushed the Spartans unbeaten season. What's Kirk Ferenz's following like in Postville?


Morah Leah: With a record of 83-38 since 2001-including two Big Ten Championships and two BCS bowl berths, who wouldn't be a follower?

Reb Shaw: Being married to the Hillel Lunch Chef, do you have any insider information about next month's menu?


Morah Leah: As a matter of fact, I do, but it will cost you.

Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia: How many homes were torn down in order to erect the 5859 condominium complex on Beacon?

Morah Leah: I believe it was four older houses.

Reb Shaw: I'm thinking about ordering Mexican Food from Mordy Brown Catering. What's the best dish?

Morah Leah: Enchilada or Fajitas. He makes a mean guacamole.

Leah Brown
Morah Leah was spotted in the Teachers' Room while preparing for class. 

Update from Phys Ed

Mrs. Stanley - [email protected]

Franklin P. Adams quoted, "Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year." All of our bodies, whether we are young kids or grown adults, naturally crave health and fitness as a daily ingredient.

Hello, my name is Stephanie Stanley and I am extremely excited and thankful to have started in my second year at Hillel Academy. This year, I was greeted with a very similar jam-packed schedule as last year. On Monday's and Wednesday's my teaching schedule consists of the Nursery and Pre-Kindergarten students, as well as, the 4th through 12th grade girls.

Now that I have a full Hillel school year under my belt, my overall focus for this year shifts from becoming familiar with the staff and students to building upon the successful foundational learning objectives from last year.

The Nursery and Pre-Kindergarten students were re-introduced to the loco-motor movements that we focused on a great deal last year, including running, skipping, hopping, and galloping. Consistent with a teacher's greatest reward, these young students not only improved educationally last year, but retained their skills as evidenced by their performance at the beginning of this year. Using traditional objectives as a foundation, implementing activities such as gymnastics, safety precautions, and teamwork activities build upon that base knowledge from last year. To familiarize you with the activities, the gymnastics unit consists of the following: tumbling, log-roll, forward roll, bear crawl, and frog jump and even as a "retired" gymnast herself, Morah Stanley demonstrated a handstand and front walkover! The safety activity uses a game called 'Safe Stop' in which the students practice a way to brace and cushion themselves to prevent an injury if they should fall. The team building activities incorporate relay races using a combination of beanbags and scooters. Additionally, the class participates together, incorporating listening to directions and color recognition, to activate the parachute.

The older elementary, middle school, and high school girls started out the year with the Presidential Physical Fitness Testing (PPFT). A multiple-skill test (shuttle run for endurance, push-ups, sit-ups, and stretching for furthest reach) was performed for each student to establish a fitness and skill baseline. Months from now, at the conclusion of the school year these same skills will be re-tested and re-evaluated to directly compare the new scores to the baseline scores. This school year's focus is to creatively develop each of the skills in the PPFT. Interval, circuit training, and fitness dodge ball activities have been implemented. Jillian Michaels Fitness videos consisting of short, high-intensity movements also have been utilized and are identified as a 'fan-favorite'. They are a fun way to get a quick dose of the body's craving for those essential ingredients of health and fitness. Finally, The Jump Rope Bingo Game is incorporated into the physical education classroom to establish cross-curricular developmental skills of mathematics. Some upcoming events include cooperative games that promote teamwork and collaboration to complete a goal, the softball throw relay game, and Track and Field events (sprinting games, long jump (hop step and jump), standing long jump).

The start of this school year has been terrific. I am at a significantly higher confidence level and more comfortable this year. My initial thought would be that it is due to my ten months of experience; however, as I evaluate my situation, my confidence and comfort is stronger because of the relationship that I was able to build with these wonderful students. It has been and continues to be my pleasure to be a part of Hillel Academy. In closing, my goal is that by the last day of school, EVERY student can successfully say the "NOW" is the best time of the year!
Highlights from the Past Week
Over the past week, several exciting programs, lessons, and activities occured throughout Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.
  • The Girls High School announced that this year's production will be The Wizard of Oz. The heads have begun working hard, and auditions will be in two weeks. The play will take place March 15. 
  • Mrs. Greenberger's 6th grade girls had a siyum this week on Parshat Bamidbar.
  • Rabbi Sacks held a Coffee Talk for parents.
  • Nursery students at Hillel Academy completed an exciting and delicious parsha project - more details to follow next week.
  • This past Wednesday, Sheirut Leumi Girls Achinoam and Ela, gave their weekly news broadcast. They started with the news about the Israeli army in which a spy completed a mission out of the country; accordingly, the spy was awarded with a prize, however the details of the mission were very vague. In other news, Ehud Barak reported on the war, Tzahal created a weapon that does not violate Shabbat, and the Israeli government is trying to shorten summer vacation by two weeks, but is being opposed by the fact that it is hot in the summer. In sum, Yehuda Russel said of the program, "I like it because of the army news."
  • Mrs. Berelowitz's first graders enjoyed an activity connected to the book The Five Senses. Five tables were set up with a hands-on activity to explore each of the senses. At the smell table, students were given 8 different covered cups to smell and try to guess the contents of. At the hearing table, the students played a matching game by shaking film containers, trying to match the sounds, and guessing what was making each noise. At the touch table, students put their hands into a bag and tried to guess the item by feeling it. At the sight table, students sprinkled different colored Kool-Aid on a paper and then sprayed it with water for a beautiful effect. It smelled good too! At the taste table, students experienced different tastes, like lemon, apple, orange, pickles, and potato chips. Thank you to Mr. Werber and the Sixth Grade Boys for their help!
  • Second Graders in Morah Chana's class wrote beautiful persuasive paragraphs using a writing web. Additionally, students discussed this past week's election by holding their own election. Students decided to elect their favorite pet, flavor of ice cream, and kind of book they like to read. The winners were: favorite pet - cats and dogs tied; favorite ice cream - strawberry; and favorite kind of book - mystery!
  • In the library, first grade students utilized illustrations as a means to improve literacy; third grade students, in conjunction with a unit, researched inventors; sixth grade students learned about paraphrasing within research papers.
Penina Taylor Visits Hillel Academy
Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]

Noted author and speaker Penina Taylor visited Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh this week. First addressing a group of parents and community members Wednesday evening, and then students from the Girls High School Thursday morning, Taylor praised the merits of ahavat yisrael (loving all Jews) while telling her journey to observant Judaism. Taylor's remarks are the byproduct of a year long strategic planning session in which the subject of diversity was addressed. Taylor was the first speaker in the new Hillel Academy Diversity Speakers Series. Much thanks to the many collaborators who facilitated Mrs. Taylor's visit. 
Bringing Science Home


When the light bulb at Alyssa Joshowitz's house when out, she informed her mother that in science class she learned that it is a parallel circuit and that when you have parallel lights they all stay on except for the burnt out bulb. She continued to explain that the series circuit is a different type of electric setup and in this scenario all the lights would have gone out and caused a blackout. She was glad that her family possessed a parallel circuit in their house. Alyssa's twin sister, Michelle, concurred with Alyssa's analysis of the light situation.

Alyssa Joshowitz
Nursery Students Experience the Parsha

Students in both nursery classes learned about the parsha through puppet making and rhyming this week. A portion of the rhyme included the following (which was sung to Mary had a Little Lamb).

Rivka and Yitzchok
they had twins (3X)
Rivka and Yitzchok
they had twins
Their names were Yaakov and Esav

Yaakov liked to
cook and learn (3X)
Yaakov liked to cook and learn
But Esav liked to hunt.

Puppets in Nursery
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