Hillel Happenings
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Hillel Academy
of Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh, PA
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December 17, 2010

10 Tevet 5771

Candle Lighting: 4:36 pm

Havdalah: 5:37 pm

Parshat Vayechi
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In This Issue
Food Zone
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Chance for a Glance
Help Hillel by Shopping
Mordy Brown Catering
Dvar Torah
Oneg on the Road
Model UN Update
Upcoming Dates
Interview with Mrs. Levari
Nursery Finds "F" Fun
Chanukah at the BHS
Chanukah Chagiga at Hillel
Hillel Pop Culture Grid
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Giant Eagle Box Tops
Dvar Torah

Jordy and Dan Kraut

The Hillel Happenings recently captured an exchange of talents between Jordy Kraut (8th Grade) and Mr. Kraut (Hillel Academy's CEO). While Jordy shared with his father some insights into this week's parsha, Mr. Kraut taught his son how to utilize a shredder for destroying classified materials. To learn more about the parsha, please read Jordy's Dvar Torah. To learn more about "losing" pertinent information, please see Mr. Kraut, Esq.
Teacher Feature

Honda Odyssey

Mrs. Levari drives an Odyssey. Reb Shaw drives an Odyssey. Several weeks ago, they competed in a non-sanctioned drag racing event at the Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. Whether this was addressed at a recent programming meeting you'll have to find out by reading this week's interview with Mrs. Levari.
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.
Double Dose of Torah

Evin Jacobs

Ever wonder when it is the right time to say something?
Well, thanks to Evin Jacobs, and his insights on the parsha, you can find this out and more by reading Evin's Dvar Torah.

Interested in Writing for the Jewish Chronicle?

Please speak to Mrs. Levari for more details.

[email protected]
Food Zone

December Menu

December Order Form
Quick Links
Mazel Tov

Gershon and Cindy Guttman on the birth of a granddaughter.

Rick and Linda Gershater on the birth of a grandson.

Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Kingman on the birth of their daughter Sidera.

Rabbi Moshe and Mrs. Shoshana Russell on the birth of a son.

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

Mr. Jordy Kraut on his bar mitzvah.

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

Mr. Art and Mrs. Marcia Kraut on the bar mitzvah of their grandson Jordy.

Mrs. Sharon and Mr. Jack Klein on the bar mitzvah of their grandson Jordy.

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

The 6th Annual Jewish Fest is December 25th from 6pm until midnight at Funfest. Click "fun" for more details.

Interested in attending Shira Day Camp this summer?
If so, click "camp" for an application.
Chance for a Glance

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

Awards Night 2010: A look back at an incredible event.

Middle School Basketball Update. 

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?

There were no awards given out at Wednesday evening's Awards Night Dinner. 
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.

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]

Dvar Torah

Jordy Kraut - 8th Grade

"Joseph's brothers perceived their father
was dead, and they said, perhaps Joseph will nurse hatred against us and he will surely repay us all the evil we did to him" (50:15)

Rashi kindly explains that the Hebrew word "lu" in this pasuk translated as "perhaps" usually is not used in this context. "lu" is usually used to translate an "expression of wishfulness." However, in this pasuk, it may also fit for then the pasuk would read "We wish that Joseph will repay us for all the evil we did to him." Joseph supported their families, and he told his brothers that without them he wouldn't be a viceroy in Egypt. This was after his brothers threw him in a pit and then sold him as a slave! Now that Jacob, their father, is dead it is the perfect opportunity for Joseph to get them back for all the bad they did to him. However, Joseph forgave them completely. For this reason, Joseph's brothers felt tremendous guilt. If Joseph would just punish them, then they would feel like their sin was atoned for, but since Joseph forgave them they felt like they had not expiated their sin. That is why they said "lu," hoping that Joseph would finally release their guilt.

We can learn a few lessons from here. The first one being, a person should forgive another with a full heart. As it says in Tractate Peah, "These are the fruits of which man enjoys in this world and remain with him in the world to come: honoring one's mother and father, deeds of kindness, and making peace between man and his fellow..." (1:1). The second lesson we can learn from here is that using kindness as a punishment can hurt more than lashes. If you are not getting along with someone, the best way to be vengeful is to be kind to them. Only then, can one achieve the status of a great tzaddik like Joseph.

Good Shabbos

* Sources from "Twerski on Chumash" and "Tractate Peah"
Dvar Torah

Evin Jacobs - 7th Grade

The Parsha opens with Yaakov gathering his sons one final time. One of the topics he had planned to cover during this meeting was the events that will occur in the times of Mashiach. Yaakov wanted to reveal this secret so his sons would stay strong in their faith. At the very moment that he was about to reveal this secret, the Shechina left him and Yaakov began talking about a random topic. Chazal teach us that the reason the Shechina left Yaakov was because at that time, unfortunately, not everyone was righteous enough to continue waiting for Moshiach. This was because if everyone who lived then knew that Moshiach would not come for a very long time, they would lose their faith. At Hillel, we are taught to always ensure that whenever we want to say something, we should make sure that it is a productive statement. This will ensure the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days!

Have a wonderful Shabbos!
Hillel Chanukah Oneg Hits the Road

Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]

Students this past week in both Kindergarten and First Grade traveled to various Pittsburgh sites to make this Chanukah a little brighter.  Beginning with the Kindergarten, Rabbi Sacks and students journeyed to Maxon Towers as part of a special Chanukah Oneg. Together, Rabbi Sacks, students, and the residents sang songs, ate cookies, and socialized. The nearly thirty residents in attendance were quite pleased with the talented group from Hillel Academy and asked that additional concerts be held in the Maxon Towers. Later, Rabbi Sacks accompanied the First Grade to the Jewish Association on Aging for another Chanukah Oneg. This concert welcomed nearly forty residents and staff, in addition to the Hillel Academy group. As a special treat, Rabbi Sacks performed a classical Yiddish tune for those in attendance. Much thanks to Rabbi Sacks, the Kindergarten and First Grade, and the many other parties who enabled these events to yield such great success.

Eliana Brookman
Kindergarten student Eliana Brookman is seen with one of her adoring fans.
Expert Provides Expertise for Model UN Team

Ms. Levine - [email protected]

Last week the Hillel Girl's High School Model UN had the opportunity to hear from Dr.
Haider Al-Hamoudi, Associate Professor of Islamic Law at the University of Pittsburgh. Professor Al-Hamoudi first gave the girl's an overview of the differences between Iraqi governmental law and Islamic law. He explained that similar to Israel, Iraq takes its religious codes into account when setting state laws. He then focused on the topics that the girls will be presenting at the competition in February. Throughout, the girls asked numerous questions. Professor Al-Hamoudi's visit provided a great opportunity for our girls to understand the Iraqi government's beliefs, devoid of media biases. Thank you to Professor Al-Hamoudi for coming to join us.

Prof. from Pitt
Upcoming Dates

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

December 24 - Grandparents Day, K-12 dismissal at noon, GHS Production Practice at PZ, Pre-K regular dismissal. 

Interview with Mrs. Levari

This past week, Reb Shaw sat down with trusted colleague Mrs. Yikara Levari. In addition to serving as a talented administrator and programmatic expert within the Girls High School, Mrs. Levari is a source of sagacious wisdom regarding Tanakh. This was made apparent to Reb Shaw after Mrs. Levari correctly recalled each of Caleb ben Yefune's children as listed in the second perek of the first sefer of Divrei Hayamim. Over the course of their conversation, Reb Shaw discovered that not only does Mrs. Levari possess an uncanny knowledge of Tanakh, but she's also a frequent shopper at Costco. For the benefit of our readers, these details, and other excerpts from Reb Shaw and Mrs. Levari's conversation, have been provided below:

Reb Shaw: Mrs. Levari, on behalf of all of Hillel nation, thank you so much for meeting with me today. First question is how long have you worked at Hillel Academy?

Mrs. Levari: This is my sixth glorious year.

Reb Shaw: Wow, other than Ms. Oz, your tenure at Hillel Academy outlasts any other member of the Hillel Academy Administrative team; any thoughts as to your successful longevity?

Mrs. Levari: First of all, I must correct you - Mrs. Langer has worked here longer than me. But that said, there are indeed plenty of administrative and programming meetings which I attend where I am the administrator that has worked at the school the longest....and coincidentally, I am also the youngest. Hmmm....but then again, half of the administrators came to Hillel as students so that must count for something! I definitely attribute my successful longevity to our amazing high school girls and the wonderful staff here at Hillel Academy!

Reb Shaw: Your office now has a splendid view of the new green and tan playground; has this made your day more productive?

Mrs. Levari: Again, I must correct you. My direct view is of a blank wall and the huge flat screen computer monitor I just scored from Rabbi Sacks! But, when I am holding meetings and teaching classes, I do look out at the playground longingly and wish that I too could hold a cool walkie-talkie like Reb Shaw and Mrs. Kirk.

Reb Shaw: You and Mrs. Langer are a one-two-punch. Speaking of boxing, would you rather train with Apollo Creed or Ivan Drago?  

Mrs. Levari: I would have to go with Apollo Creed. But ideally, I would want to train with Rocky Balboa himself and learn how to sprint up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in my home town of the City of Brotherly Love. Hmmm....that gives me an idea for a girls high school x-period activity.....

Reb Shaw: I had coffee with Mike C this week and he mentioned that he is in the process of remodeling your house. Where are your designs inspired from?

Mrs. Levari: Kitchen Stadium from Iron Chef of America. I am a Food Network junkie.

Reb Shaw: The high school girls have reported that you're a huge video game addict. Better Sega game: Sonic the Hedgehog or Mad Dog McCree?

Mrs. Levari: First of all, don't believe everything (or rather anything) that you hear from a high school girl. But, I would have to go with Sonic the Hedgehog.  But, really I would want to play Super Mario Brothers or Duck Hunt. My brother was the first on our block to get Nintendo when we were kids - and our house was the place to be! I spent many the hour "shooting" flying clay discs....(that might not be information that I should share with the public...)

Reb Shaw: This year, the Girls High School production features The Wizard of Oz.  In an artistic re-imagining of the script and a reintroduction of a new wizard, are you more likely to replace The Great and Powerful Oz with either Merlin or Gandalf?

Mrs. Levari: Leah Fuhrman is cast as Oz - she strikes me more as a Merlin type. But, maybe the Hillel Happenings team can take a survey.

Reb Shaw: In addition to your administrative responsibilities, what classes do you teach?

Mrs. Levari: I teach Level 2 Chumash in the Girls High School as part of our new and improved Chumash department. I am finishing up teaching Parshat Noach and have thoroughly enjoyed preparing for and teaching the course. I also have become quite the master at using the SMART Board to map out Rashis and Rambans - though nothing compares to Mrs. Langer's SMART Board skills! I also teach a second Navi course to the 11th grade girls. We are studying Sefer Shoftim and are currently learning about Devorah the Judge. I am hoping the girls will take away inspiring lessons and pointers from her and become strong leaders themselves!

Reb Shaw: You're a master programmer who injects incredible creativity to our weekly program meetings. Along these lines, you've designed amazing programs to accompany each of the chagim. The Mishna in Rosh Hashana records a dispute between the Tanna Kamma, Rebbi Elazar, and Rebbi Shimon as to the date of maaser behaima.  Even though maaser behaima is listed as a holiday, Wikipedia claims that it is no longer observed. With this information in mind, how do you plan on introducing this subject to the students of the Girls High School? 

Mrs. Levari: Well, my first thought would be to invite PETA, but maybe we should just pass this program onto Rabbi Nim.

Reb Shaw: Who's the last person you shared a Google Doc with?

Mrs. Levari: The last doc I shared was my lesson plans to Mrs. Langer and Rabbi Sacks. Though, through the course of the day, I have collaborated on many Google Docs, spanning from a programming spreadsheet for Grandparents Day with Rabbi Nim, a list of costumes for the play with Traci Levine, and GHS attendance spreadsheets with Rabbi Sacks.

Reb Shaw: Last week, Cantor Taube delivered an incredible performance before several hundred attendees at Shaare Torah. I've seen you watching portions of the concert on YouTube. I didn't know that you were such a huge fan.

Mrs. Levari: I am sorry I couldn't make it to the concert. I was partying that night at the Hillel Academy Family Chanuka Chagiga.

Reb Shaw: What should be on next month's Rosh Chodesh Lunch menu?

Mrs. Levari: Its a toss up between sushi or prime rib.

Reb Shaw: If you won the $4,000 raffle at Wednesday night's Awards Night would you be more likely to use the money as a down-payment towards a seat on the Galactic Spaceliner (the world's first spaceline) or the construction of a custom yacht?  

Mrs. Levari: How about it go towards my new kitchen?

Reb Shaw: What's your favorite thing about the Hillel Happenings?

Mrs. Levari: The interviews of course.

Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): What was the previous vehicle driven by the Squirrel Hill Locksmith?

Mrs. Levari: A squirrel?

Reb Shaw
If I borrowed your iPod, which song would I be most surprised to hear? 

Mrs. Levari: My father records himself singing songs for my children - so you might hear some of his songs in his smash hit, "Zaydie sings to Shoshana, Miriam, and Yosef." Maybe he should join Rabbi Sack's oneg next time he comes to town.

Reb Shaw: Last week, I saw you at Costco wearing the display glasses for the 3-D TV.  I don't know if you decided to buy them or not, but are you a bigger fan of the Costco Veggie Straws or Veggie Crisps?

Mrs. Levari: I don't care for either, but my kids seem to like the Veggie Straws. And stop spreading rumors about me.

Reb Shaw: How do I score an invite to Yosef's bar mitzvah?

Mrs. Levari: Well, nothing would make us happier than having him play on a soccer team like his daddy. So Coach Shaw, how about making a soccer team in the Middle School with cool uniforms and matching Kippas? Then we can talk.

Yikara Levari
Mrs. Levari was recently seen taking a break from an intense administrative meeting. Yasher Koach to Rabbi Sacks for not wavering focus as our photographer incessantly disrupted the severity of the discussion with requests for smiles.

Nursery B Learns Letter F

Morah Devorah - [email protected]

This week in Nursery B, as the children learned the letter F,  their friends in sixth grade joined them and helped them make Fantastic Funny snowmen. The children also worked very hard making their doll houses, each one fully equipped with their own family member puppets. As our picture shows, we had Fun, Fun, Fun!

Kids Hugging
Chanukah at the Boys High School

Rabbi Smith - [email protected]

The Boys High School started off Chanukah with a bang! We began the day with a beautiful Hallel, led by senior Ben Kohane who was careful to use specially selected tunes to get everyone in the spirit. The beautiful singing together with the Chanukah candles flickering in the front of the shul were truly a sight to behold. From there, we had classes as usual until noon when we all got on the bus to go ice skating at Schenley Park. Sports enthusiasts Daniel Sax and Ben Kohane went over to the main building at Hillel to prepare the hockey equipment for what was sure to be a fantastic match-up. Teams were quickly divided up as evenly as possible, but it was clear after a few minutes that this was not going to be a fair game. Freshman Shimmy Harmon ruled the ice, skating circles around everyone else and "Operation Stop Shimmy" was an utter failure as he ended the day with 6 goals and 11 assists. After we returned to School and davened Mincha, Rabbi Weinberg gave an interesting shiur on the historical events leading up to the Chanukah story in what was to be the first of a two-part Shiur. After the shiur, everyone indulged in jelly donuts and prepared themselves for the next part of the day: Nervous Numbers. Although sceptical at first, eventually everyone became excitedly involved with the game and didn't want it to end. To learn how to play Nervous Numbers, speak to your nearest Boys High School student. After a long enjoyable day we said goodbye and wished each other well for the long Chanukah break

Hillel Heat Varsity Basketball Schedule:

12/16 @ Northside Urban Pathways but Game to be played in JCC 8:30 PM
12/21 Vs. Career Connections in JCC Kaufman 8:30 PM
1/4 Vs. Winchester Thurston School in JCC Kaufman 8:30 PM
1/7 @ JCC in  JCC Robinson 8:30 PM
1/11 Vs. Urban Impact in JCC Kaufman Building 8:30 PM
1/13 @ Pittsburgh Project in JCC Kaufman 8:30 PM
1/20 Vs. Northside Urban Pathways in JCC Kaufman 8:30 PM
2/1 Vs. JCC in Kaufman Building @ 8:30 PM
Hillel Heat Junior Varsity Basketball Schedule:

12/20 @ Pittsburgh Urban Christian School - 5 PM
12/21 @ Community Day School  - 4 PM
1/3/11 @ Winchester Thurston School - 4 PM
1/4/11 @ Community Day School - 5 PM
1/6/11 @ St. Edmunds Academy 4:45 PM
1/20/[email protected] St. Edmunds Academy - 4:45 PM
1/31/[email protected] Falk School - 4 PM
2/7/11 @ Pittsburgh Urban Christian School - 4 PM
1/31/[email protected] Falk School - 4 PM
2/7/11 @ Pittsburgh Urban Christian School - 4 PM
2/16/11 @ Winchester Thurston School -  4 PM
Hillel Pop Culture Grid

Reb Shaw - [email protected]

During a recent visit to the Girls High School, I was stopped by a group of Eleventh Grade Girls who requested to be featured in the next installment of our Pop Culture Grid. Without any further delay, I present their responses:

Students in the mix
The Hillel Awards Dinner is...Lunchtime is a time for...The Show the Wizard of Oz is...
Maayan ShimonAn opportunity for Hillel to show off its stuffMilky way has three new Mexican dishesThat's what's up!
Sari JoshowitzGoing to be a great successGiving out foodRocks!
Leora PosinTotally awesome!NappingWill be amazing because we'll be in it.
Viti FelderI have to come because I am speakingCatching up on the newest Glee episodeWe  are charging $40 per ticket.
Tamar SkaistA great babysitting opportunityFood"Evil Laugh"

Hillel Gear Spotted Here

This week, on a recent trip to Dunkin' Donuts, Reb Shaw unveiled the new Hillel Heat basketball jerseys. The likability of these jerseys was clearly apparent as an unnamed employee asked to be photographed with an official Hillel Heat jersey. Way to go unnamed employee!
Dunkin Donuts Hillel Gear
While America may run on Dunkin', the Hillel Heat run on its great supporters. Let's go Heat!
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. Your efforts enable us to receive new gym equipment and computer supplies. 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:
Camp Shira Flyer
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.