Hillel Happenings
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Hillel Academy
of Pittsburgh

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


December 3, 2010

26 Kislev 5771

Candle Lighting: 4:36 pm

Havdalah: 5:35 pm

Parshat Mikeitz

Shabbat Chanukah
Shh...it's a Silent Auction


Do you want Steelers tickets? Well so do we. You can support Hillel Academy by donating tickets to sporting events, gift cards, and/or NEW ITEMS to the silent auction. For more information, please call the office at 412-521-8131.
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In This Issue
Food Zone
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Chance for a Glance
Help Hillel by Shopping
Did You Know
Mordy Brown Catering
Go to Israel with Hillel
Dvar Torah
Thanksgiving at Hillel
Interview with Rabbi Rosenberg
Hillel Highlights
Rabbi Greenspoon Visit
Upcoming Dates
Hillel Culture Grid
Library Wish List
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Dvar Torah

Phillip Stein

Are you ready for some Torah? Curious about the juxtaposition of Parshat Mikeitz and Chanukah? What does Pharaoh have to do with the Greeks? Well, courtesy of Philip Stein, these questions and more will be answered in this week's
Dvar Torah.
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]
Thank You

Hillel Academy would like to thank the following individuals for volunteering at the recent Scholastic Book Fair:

Aviva Kelsey
Rina Itskowitz
Miriam Kohane
Ethel Harmon
Amy Ratchkauskas

Thank you again to all of our volunteers.
Food Zone

December Menu

December Order Form
Music to Your Ears


Ever since 9th Grade, Reb Shaw's ringtone has been Raphael Ravenscroft's eight bar saxophone solo from "Baker Street." Despite playing the saxophone and serving as Reb Shaw's 9th Grade Rebbi, Rabbi Rosenberg was unaware of this prior to their recent conversation. To find out more, please read this week's teacher interview.

Quick Links
Mazel Tov

Dr. and Mrs. Robert and Marilyn Swedarsky on the birth of a grandson.

Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Mindy Swedarsky on the birth of a son.

Mr. and Mrs. Adam and Jackie Katz on the birth of a son.

Mr. and Dr. Aaron and Tali Marcus on the birth of a son. 

Mr. and Mrs. Marty and Jackie Stein on the upcoming bar mitzvah of their son Philip.

Philip Stein on his upcoming bar mitzvah.

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel and Gayle Kraut on the bar mitzvah of their son Jordy.

Jordy Kraut on becoming a bar mitzvah.

Mr. and Mrs. Stanley and Carolyn Greenfield on the bar mitzvah of their grandson Jordy. 

Mr. and Dr. Adam and Ariella Reinherz on the birth of a daughter.

Dr. and Mrs. Lee and Liora Weinberg on the birth of a granddaughter.

Dr. and Mrs. Richard and Sharon Reinherz on the birth of a granddaughter.

Would you like to share something with the Hillel Academy family? If so, please email us at [email protected]
Thank You

Thank you to the following individuals for their donations from the recent Scholastic Book Fair:

 Leora Kelsey for donating the book
The Slightly Odd United States of America

Wendy Levin Shaw for donating the book Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth

The Cooper family for donating the book
8 Spinning Plannets

The Weinberg Family for donating the book and cd set of Collection of Storytime Favorites

Avidan Ungar for donating a $10 gift certificate

If you donated a book from the recent Scholastic Book Fair please email us at [email protected]

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.

Don't miss this week's Oneg! Oneg is for all girls in grades K-7 every Shabbos afternoon from 3:15-4:15 at PZ. Come for some super Chanuka fun!

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

The Bnei Akiva Chanukah Chagiga is Monday, December 6th, at Shaare Torah from 3:45-5:00 pm.

NCSY Casino Night is
Saturday Night, December 11th.
Enjoy a fun night out while supporting a worthwhile community organization. To RSVP please contact Rabbi Goldberg at [email protected] gmail.com.
Chance for a Glance

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

Feast and Famine: Sobering details from the Girls High School's Hunger Banquet. 

Need Flowers for Shabbat?

The Boys High School can beautify your Shabbat experience by supplying you with gorgeous flowers. Click myrtillocactus for more details.
Did You Know? 

Not only did both Mr. Marcus and Mr. Reinherz's wives give birth to their third children on Thanksgiving Day at West Penn Hospital, but both women are residents at Allegheny General Hospital and both moved to Pittsburgh from Chicago in 2007 to begin their medical training.
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.
Want More Hillel News?

The Hillel Herald, The Boys High School's newspaper is now available.
Click here for more information.

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 Elementary/Middle School

[email protected]


Mrs. Deborah Oz-Halbritter
General Studies Coordinator Elementary/Middle School
[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 www.hillelpgh.org or by clicking
Tickets may also be purchased by calling the office at (412) 521-8131.
Dvar Torah

Philip Stein, Grade 8

Often, the Shabbos of Parshas Mikeitz occurs during the festival of Chanukah. As a result, there have been many commentaries showing links between Mikeitz and Chanukah. I have learned in my reading that there is a simple connection as well - Yosef's and Mattisyahu's attitudes towards their success.

We read that Yosef is released from jail for a crime he did not commit (supposedly showing improper attention to Potifar's wife). Yosef was called out of jail to interpret Pharaoh's dream after having done a good job interpreting dreams for Pharaoh's butler and baker. Pharaoh says to Yosef, "I dreamt a dream, but there is no one who can interpret it. Now I heard it said of you that you hear a dream to interpret it." Yosef answered Pharaoh saying, "That is beyond me! Hashem will respond to Pharaoh's welfare."

This is incredible! Yosef has a chance to get real power. He is standing before the King of Egypt, ruler of the world's most powerful country, and this King needs him! Yosef could ask for almost anything he could want. Instead, Yosef risks everything by admitting that his skill is based on Hashem's strength and direction. Pharaoh could have simply answered Yosef by saying, 'Oh, well, if it's not you that does the dream interpretation, then you can go back to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200!' Pharaoh didn't react this way, but Yosef couldn't have known that ahead of time. Yosef wanted to give credit to Hashem, especially before the world's most powerful country and leader, in order to broadcast Hashem's authority and knowledge even if it meant the risk of being sent back to jail without receiving any benefit from Pharaoh.

Yosef's attitude was exactly the same as that of Mattisyahu and the Maccabees, during the time of the Chanukah victory. They could have simply looked at their surprising military victory over the Greeks as an indication of their skill.
But the Maccabees understood the true source of their strength and military victory was Hashem. They didn't react by establishing an annual parade so people could talk about how great they were. Instead, they started the holiday of Chanukah. They lit the Menorah which revealed Hashem's control over the world (in making the miracle of the oil lasting 8 days) and that only He could have allowed them to defeat the Greeks in battle.

This is reflected throughout the 'Al Hanissim' prayer that we add in the 'Shemoneh Esrai,' during Chanukah. The prayer explains the miracles that occurred in the war against the Greeks. It does not discuss the strength and power of our people but describes us as helpless against a great army -- Hashem delivered giborim beyad chalashim (the strong in the hands of the weak). We end this prayer by stating that the entire purpose of Chanukah is to express thanks and praise to the Hashem - lehodos u'lehalel LiShimcha Hagadol - "to express thanks and praise to Your great Name."

We not only overcame the Greeks in the physical battle, but we stood up to them spiritually as well. The Greek philosophy was to stress the strength and intelligence of man. This is why they wanted to defeat the Jewish people. Whenever the Greeks took over a country, they were known to be kind to their new citizens. They were proud of their new developments and spoke about their ideas of the supreme man with science, art, music and sports. Yet, in the Jewish nation, the Greeks saw a people that was not interested in taking personal credit for their successes, but only wished to thank Hashem for everything.  The Greeks could not accept this way to life. It put their whole philosophy into question. Therefore, they were determined to wipe out the Jewish people and their belief system.

So, Chanukah, is not really a commemoration of those who fought oppressors nor is it the celebration of the power of the Jewish army. Rather, it honors Hashem and His commitment to helping the Jewish People against her enemies.
Students Gobble Good Grub Thankfully

Ms. Oz - [email protected]

Students in K through 6th grade (along with the 7th grade girls), in keeping with our long-standing tradition, once again strutted to the lunchroom wearing this year's version of a turkey hat to celebrate Hillel Academy's annual Thanksgiving feast. The lunchroom was decorated with a Thanksgiving centerpiece on the main food table, complete with a variety of pumpkins, gourds, and fall leaves. The students' tables were beautifully set with Thanksgiving placemats for coloring and turkey drumstick centerpieces. Students were treated to Mr. Brown's special turkey roast, corn, mashed potatoes, applesauce, salad, pickles, and jello. After dining, the students enthusiastically decorated a sugar cookie with festive icings and sprinkles donated by Deena Ross. They were so excited to engage in this activity! Students then had the opportunity to share a poem or song with the other classes before returning to their studies. It is always a special time for our school when students are able to join together in such a meaningful way.

Special THANKS to everyone who worked tirelessly to make our event such a wonderful experience: Hannah Dorsey (luncheon coordinator), Fred Davis, Shirley Dorsey, Rose Joshowitz, Mimi Grossberg, Leah Milch, Chaya Gitty Morgan, Faygie Naiditch-Marizan, Deena Ross, Sarah Luzer, Amy Ratchkauskas, Lisa Brookman, Mr. Brown, the Hillel office staff the Judaic elementary staff for their flexibility in accommodating this special program, and last, but certainly not least, the general studies elementary teachers who worked relentlessly to ensure another successful Thanksgiving bash!

(Please forgive us if we inadvertently failed to include anyone in our thanks.)


Interview with Rabbi Rosenberg

In recent weeks, there has been a surge of reader emails suggesting an interview with Rabbi Rosenberg. Per your request, Reb Shaw eagerly sat down with the legendary Hillel educator. A dedicated rebbi, respected Mohel, and gifted musician, Rabbi Rosenberg has benefited the Pittsburgh Jewish community for over two decades. Over the course of the conversation, Reb Shaw and Rabbi Rosenberg spoke about dinim, federal informants, and breakfast offerings at the Hillel Academy cafeteria. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of the conversation have been reproduced below:

Reb Shaw: Rabbi Rosenberg thank you so much for meeting with me today. Where were you born?

Rabbi Rosenberg: Brooklyn, NY. Where else?!

Reb Shaw
Ok, so if you weren't born in Pittsburgh, what brought you here?

Rabbi Rosenberg: I came to study at the Kollel. Rabbi Kagan and Rabbi Nadoff, of blessed memory, made sure that I would stay.

Reb Shaw: How long have you been teaching at Hillel?

Rabbi Rosenberg: This is my twenty -second rewarding year.

Reb Shaw
For several of those years, you've chaperoned the 8th Grade trip to Washington. If I gave you an unlimited budget what would the itinerary look like for next year's trip?

Rabbi Rosenberg: Exactly the same. It's a great trip and the kids love it. Maybe a stretch limo.

Reb Shaw
Speaking of the DC trip, I was lucky enough to accompany you on the 8th grade DC trip a few years ago. When we were touring the FBI training facility in Quantico, Virginia, it made me want to change careers to become either an FBI MH-6 Little Bird helicopter pilot or a HRT (hostage rescue team) member. Am I alone on this or did you experience similar feelings?

Rabbi Rosenberg: I can only echo the pilot's sentiment, "I'd much rather be down here wishing I was up there, than being up there wishing I was down here!"

Reb Shaw: What I've noticed is that you seem to have many contacts at the FBI training facility. Anything that you'd like to share with our readers?

Rabbi Rosenberg: I believe a former student of mine may train there one of these days.

Reb Shaw: You're a noted musician who's performed at countless community simchas.  Who's a better saxophone player: Kenny G or Charlie Parker?

Rabbi Rosenberg: Kenny G on alto.

Reb Shaw: Favorite sif of shulchan aruch?  

Rabbi Rosenberg: Just start at the beginning, "Be strong as a lion to serve Ha-shem..."

Reb Shaw: Many students want to become effective gemara learners, how should they go about doing this?  

Rabbi Rosenberg: Be patient and don't give up. Practice each newly acquired skill until it is mastered and then go on to the next one.

Reb Shaw: Did the Paper Shop have any good deals for Black Friday or Cyber Monday that our readers can look forward to for next year.

Rabbi Rosenberg: There are great deals every day. Don't wait!

Reb Shaw
If given an iPad, would you be more likely to use it for reading Yated Neeman or Yeshiva World News?

Rabbi Rosenberg: Neither. Maybe check out the most recent Hillel Happenings.

Reb Shaw: If you could learn with anyone in the world, who would be your ultimate chavrusa?

Rabbi Rosenberg: My Rebbi.

Reb Shaw
Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): What else was Yaacov's Pizza Restaurant famous for besides its pizza?

Rabbi Rosenberg: Israeli salads.

Reb Shaw: For the past four years I have shared breakfast responsibilities with you. Each morning you eat one toasted, sliced bagel. What would it take for you to add some jam to your breakfast menu?

Rabbi Rosenberg: If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

Reb Shaw: Potential halachik shyla: You're called to do a bris on the first night of Chanukah.  Which mitzvah would you perform first bris milah or hadlakat neirot?

Rabbi Rosenberg: The Mitzvah of Bris Milah must be performed during the day!

Reb Shaw: I once spoke with a Steeler about the intensity of playing at Heinz Field.  When performing a bris, where do you experience the greatest home field advantage?

Rabbi Rosenberg: Wherever it's performed, there's always someone breathing down your neck. It's best to feel comfortable anywhere.

Reb Shaw: Last week, Hillel alum Dovid Zimmer (now living in Israel) performed his first bris milah. Over the past several years, Dovid shadowed you to master your technique. What's your reaction to Dovid's success?  

Rabbi Rosenberg: I'm thrilled. There's no greater joy to a teacher than his or her students' success.

Reb Shaw: Do you have any advice to other aspiring mohalim?

Rabbi Rosenberg: Keep sharp!
Rabbi Rosenberg
Rabbi Rosenberg was recently seen in the spacious
Hillel Academy Cafeteria.

Highlights from the Week
  • Mazel Tov to the second grade. They have finished Parshat Noach! We are ready to begin Parshat Lech Lecha and plan a siyum.
  • This week, Nursery A enjoyed a Latke Palooza! The parents participated in a special latke gathering where the children sang a latke song and then enjoyed eating yummy latkes with their mommy's and daddy's. Thank you to Chef Mordy for donating the delicious latkes for the party.
  • Last week , Pre-K (B) learned about restaurants. After learning about the different parts of a restaurant, we walked to Milky Way and had our own tour of the place. Mr. Siebzener, Josh's father, showed us around, told us about Milky Way, and showed us how to make pizza. We had a yummy time. Thank you to Josh's father and the Milky Way family for having us. 
Rabbi Greenspoon Visits Hillel Academy

This past week, members of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh and Yeshiva Day Schools welcomed Rabbi Ben Greenspoon for a special lecture concerning challenges facing teenagers today. Rabbi Greenspoon, a noted expert on adolescent crisis management, conversed frankly with attendees regarding this critical and sensitive topic. Thank you to Rabbi Greenspoon, the numerous attendees, and the other collaborators who enabled this important event to occur.   

Upcoming Dates

December 7 - Rosh Chodesh Lunch for grades 6-12

December 8 - Chanuka Mesiba, Latkes, and Donuts for the entire school

December 8 - Kindergarten and 1st grade will sing Chanuka songs throughout the community

December 8 - Hillel Academy Family Chanuka Party, 5:30-7pm

December 22 - Full Faculty Meeting, 4:15-6pm.

December 24 - Grandparents Day, K-8 dismissal at noon; Nursery and Pre-K regular schedule; GHS no classes but production practice (location TBD)

The Hillel Culture Grid

Reb Shaw - [email protected]

Due to the smashing success of last week's Hillel Culture Grid, many students came to me begging to be included in this week's grid. Here are some of the fifth grade boy's answers.

Students in the mix
Last topic I GoogledI would like ___ for Chanuka.
The Steelers will...
Yosef Cohen-Melamed
Video game creatorsGeltWin the Super Bowl
Tuvia Jacobs
Who discovered New ZealandMoneyWin the super bowl by a lot
Moshe Dovid Luzer
Game showsCandyWin the super bowl four times in a row
Yitzchok Grossberg
QuotesWalkie TalkiesShut out the Pats
Boaz BachrachWhat's Google?People get Chanuka presents?Steal my $100 bill

Hey Hillel Happenings readers, we would like to hear from you. What questions should be asked in future Pop Culture Grids? Please email us at [email protected]
The Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Library wish list is now available online. You may access it by clicking "book."

Bonnie Morris
Hillel Gear Spotted Here

Last week, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Second Grader Chana Yolkut was spotted in New York City at the Macy's Day Parade wearing the Hillel Academy Polo Shirt. Way to go Chana!

Yolkut Girl Thanksgiving
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.
Giant Eagle and Box Tops

Our campaign has slowly but surely started. Please don't forget to drop off your Box Tops in the school office now. As usual, our grand prize will be tickets to Kennywood awarded at the end of the school year. Please label your bundle/envelope/baggie with the family's last name. We will be collecting until the end of the year so please remember to clip and save, and your name will be entered in the raffle. Did you know that Box Tops could be found not just on food packages but also on office supplies (Avery) and tissue and toilet paper wrappers (Kleenex and Cottonelle)? Keep on clipping!!!

Additionally, please register your advantage cards at:
UJF Logo
Create an everlasting legacy with a gift or bequest to the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Endowment Fund. The Hillel Academy Endowment Fund insures Jewish Continuity by providing a Jewish education to all children regardless of their financial capabilities. Additional dedications and opportunities are available.