Hillel Happenings
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Hillel Academy
of Pittsburgh

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


December 24, 2010

17 Tevet 5771

Candle Lighting: 4:39 pm

Havdalah: 5:40 pm

Parshat Shemot
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In This Issue
Penina Taylor at Hillel
Penina Taylor at Hillel
Penina Taylor at Hillel
Food Zone
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Chance for a Glance
Help Hillel by Shopping
Help Hillel by Shopping
Mordy Brown Catering
Dvar Torah
Dvar Torah
Oneg on the Road
Interview with Mrs. Levari
Chanukah at the BHS
Chanukah at the BHS
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Dvar Torah

Rosenberg Girl

What's Elisheva Rosenberg reading so intently? Perhaps it is some of the meforshim that she relied upon while writing this week's Dvar Torah. To find out more, please read this week's Dvar Torah.
Owning Up


Last week we erroneously claimed that the Dvar Torah was written by Evin Jacobs. Our bad, the Dvar Torah was written by 5th Grader, Tovia Jacobs (pictured above). Sorry for our mistake.

Teacher Feature

Romulan Senate Chairs

In 2006, Reb Shaw and Rabbi Weinberg traveled to Christie's auction house in New York. There, Reb Shaw and Rabbi Weinberg partnered to bid on  six Romulan Senate Chairs from the set of Star Trek: Nemesis. Following the auction's completion, in which they were not the highest bidders, Reb Shaw and Rabbi Weinberg agreed to never discuss this potential acquisition ever again. To find out what Reb Shaw and Rabbi Weinberg discussed more recently, please read this week's interview.
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.
Moishe's Munchies

There's a new place to grab some delicious kosher food in the Squirrel Hill area. Moishe's Munchies will be available at Poale Zedeck on Tuesday December 28th from 5-8:30 pm.

Click "yum" for  a menu and more details.
Hungry for Chinese Food?

Royal Catering has Chinese Food Available for Wednesday, December 29th.

Click "won ton" for more details.
Thank You

The following parents in Mrs. Lederer's class generously donated books from the recent Scholastic Book Fair:

Dr. and Mrs. Marc and Rina Itskowitz - Fairy School Dropout

Mr. and Mrs. Steve and Rose Joshowitz - Beezus and Ramona and The Puppy Place

Dr. and Mrs. Barry and Shelley Segal - Judy Moody Goes to College and Pet Trouble

Dr. Yehuda and Mrs. Ali Tuchman - Purple Princess Wins Prize

Dr. Ari and Mrs. Naomi Wiesen - Frankly Frannie
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

Rabbi Moshe and Mrs. Shoshana Russell on the bris of their son Eliezer.

Refuah Shleima

Mrs. Marcia Zlochower

Masha bas Sarah Itka

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.

Bnei Akiva has several upcoming events: Snif will meet this Shabbat at 3:30 pm at Shaare Torah; 3rd-4th grade movie night will occur Saturday night, December 25th at 7:00 pm at the Kraut's house (5517 Kamin); for details regarding zach pizza night please contact Adir Shimon; finally, the community wide Tu B'Shvat Seder will be Wednesday, January 12th at Hillel Academy.
Chance for a Glance

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

Full Faculty Meeting: An evening of special guests and great food.

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?

Mr. Kraut and Mrs. Levari were both born on December 21st. 
Special Scholarships Available 

The Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service (CSLRS) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has scholarships available.

Click "scholarships" for more details.
Tu B'Shevat Baskets 

Are you ready for some baskets? 

Click "yummy way to support Hillel Academy" 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.

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

Elisheva Rosenberg - 4th Grade

In Pasuk Vav of Perek Aleph in Sefer Shemos it says, "וכל הדור ההוא" - "And that entire generation."

This Pasuk refers to all of the 70 people who went down with יעקב to Egypt. The Meforshim (commentators) explain that there were three levels of "Jewish Greatness:" the Avos, Yaacov's twelve sons, and the 70 people who descended to Egypt.  Once all of them were gone the spiritual connection between the Jews and Hashem was all but lost and the slavery process rapidly approached. We learn from here that having Gedolim and Tzadikim, Jewish leaders, alive is important for the Jewish people's connection to our Creator. These people share the responsibility of ensuring that we do not fall too far from Hashem. In Hillel we are taught that the performance of mitzvos, learning Torah, and davening to Hashem is not just because we need it but because all of Bnei Yisroel needs to bring us closer to Hashem which ultimately will bring Moshiach.

Have a wonderful shabbos!
Awards Night 2010

Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]

Last week, nearly two hundred and fifty Hillel Academy supporters attended the annual Hillel Academy Awards Night Dinner. While partaking in a delicious meal prepared by Deena Ross, guests of the evening enjoyed remarks from current Hillel Academy students, including Viti Felder, Yerucham Kagan, and Jarred Stufflebeam, as well as comments by both Rabbi Sacks and Mr. Kraut. Dr. Joel Weinberg interjected humor throughout the evening, while serving as the program's master of ceremonies. Attendees supported Hillel Academy and left with coveted items from both the silent auction and raffle. The biggest prizes included four round trip tickets to Israel, a 37" flat screen television, and $500 in Giant Eagle gift cards. A special thank you to Linda Joshowitz, Shelley Segal, Elaine Levine, Rose Joshowitz, Aviva Kelsey, Jackie Sax, Elana Bloom, Amit Ratchkauskas, and the many others for their tireless efforts to ensure the success of this enjoyable program.

Rabbi Kagan and Rabbi Yolkut
Happy attendees Rabbi Kagan and Rabbi Yolkut (left to right) are seen enjoying the Hillel Academy Awards Night Dinner.

English with Mrs. Finder

Mrs. Finder - [email protected]

In Mrs. Finder's English classes the students were assigned a creative writing exercise illustrating a memorable event in their lives. They were asked to describe the emotion they felt at the time of the event, using a combination of literary figures of speech - similes and metaphors. The students were instructed to not mention the actual emotion, but rather the reader must guess the emotion that the student was describing. So far, the assignment has surpassed even the teacher's expectation with the students' eclectic choices of events, and the amazing imagery depicted by their similes and metaphors.

Mrs. Finder with Student
Mrs. Finder is seen discussing the literary merits of English writings with 12th Grader Libby Stein.
Interview with Rabbi Weinberg

As a follow up to last week's interview with Mrs. Levari, Hillel Happenings readers requested more regarding Hillel's high schools. This week, in deference to our readers' requests, we present a candid conversation between Reb Shaw and Rabbi Sam Weinberg, Assistant Principal, Boys High School. Like a great episode of Masterpiece Theatre, readers will find themselves drawn in by the drama of Rabbi Weinberg's remarks. For the benefit of all, excerpts of this conversation have been reproduced below:

Reb Shaw: How long have you been working at Hillel Academy?

Rabbi Weinberg: Sixteen months, two weeks and 3 days. 
Reb Shaw: In addition to your administrative duties, what classes do you teach at the Boys High School?

Rabbi Weinberg: Chumash, Jewsih Philosophy, Bekiut Gemara, Yearbook, Art, and Parsha.
Reb Shaw: What would you like to tell our readers about the Boys High School?

Rabbi Weinberg: We have made a lot of strides in the Boys High School over the past few years. Many, such as our new facilities, new computers, and electives are easy to notice. Others are more subtle but have been no less impactful. We started a night seder program this year with Rabbi Berlowitz that takes place three nights a week in our building. While this doesn't have the glamour of our Project Braddok of last year I think it is tremendous that we have four or five students learning on their own time three nights a week. Also, every day we send one or two volunteers to assist seniors at the J-Cafe in the Kaufman Auditorium of the JCC - every time I walk down the halls of our building someone stops to tell me how wonderful our boys have been. Our students also always help out around the community in other subtle ways; they have helped make shiva minyanim throughout the community, helped out with various shul projects, and helped many people build succas over Sukkot. These are a few of the many exceptional things our students have done and will continue to do over the course of the year. I am very proud of them and applaud their enthusiasm.

Reb Shaw: Do you remember on our 12th grade bus rides to Mesivta we would plot how we were one day going to take over the school, were you serious then because I wasn't?

Rabbi Weinberg: I am always serious.

Reb Shaw: You are a noted fish taco aficionado.  Following your recommendations, I just ate one for lunch.  Three hours later, my body is still lingering from fish taco residue.  What do I do?

Rabbi Weinberg: The problem with eating a fish taco in Pittsburgh is that we are far from both an ocean and Mexico. You want an authentic fish taco and you end up with some Yinzer pulling a Bass out of the Mon throwing it on some bread with sawrkrawt and calling it a fish taco. As for your dilemma, stop by my office later, I have some TUMS. I also can give you my father's cell phone number, but I myself am not a doctor. Where did you get a Kosher fish taco in Pittsburgh anyway? 

Reb Shaw: On my first visit to the BHS, I commented that the design was conducive to education. If you remember, you replied that you were a "driving force" behind the the JCC renovations that would become the current Boys High School. I had no idea you had architectural aspirations, where does the skill come from?

Rabbi Weinberg: The JCC hired an architect to design the space. I looked over the plans with Mrs. Tipton and Rabbi Smith and we made a few tweaks to allow for a greater level of supervision in our area of the building. I would love to say I got my inspiration from my grandfather Jake who was an architect, but I mainly remember him designing fire escapes. I think my main inspirations were watching my three year old daughter play with her doll house and HGTV.
Reb Shaw: Before a long day at the Boys High School, are we more likely to see you at the JCC partaking in Menachem Brodie's Indoor Cycling for Endurance Cyclists Program or healing your sore joints through the Yoga Therapy Program? 

Rabbi Weinberg: You are more likely to see me eating a bowl of soup at Sweet Tammy's talking to Mendel Marcus like he's my therapist. But if I had to be at one of the aforementioned places, it would be the Yoga. Again, "therapy" over "endurance."
Reb Shaw: What would Ramaz say if they saw you now? 

Rabbi Weinberg: Ramaz is an amazing institution with a lot of incredible people who work there. I learned a lot at Ramaz about quality control and demanding excellence from our students. I think many of my former supervisors and colleagues would be proud of the work that I am doing here (And then be very quick to point out where we can improve). 

Reb Shaw: What parts of your experience at Camp Moshava in Wild Rose, WI are most analogous to life at the Boys High School? 

Rabbi Weinberg: I am not sure why I went into education, but I know that the thirteen summers I spent at Moshava had a lot to do with it. I learned so much at camp about leadership, the importance of hard work, and teamwork. I also think camp really infused in me the importance of "Kol Yisroel Arevim Zeh L'zeh" - (that we are are responsilbe for one another), Ahavat Yisroel, and a love of Israel. At school we also try to have a sense of team work in everything we do. We clean up after ourselves at breakfast and cheer at our basketball games. We also try to always have fun no matter what we are doing. While our Friday Tisches aren't like they were in Wild Rose, they infuse a sense of spiritual energy into our entire week.

Reb Shaw: Where's your cell phone right now? 

Rabbi Weinberg: I am using it to respond you your questions, and for your information I haven't lost a cell phone in six years. Granted I've had three wedding rings and two wallets in that same time period, but your question insinuated that I lose cell phones, which just isn't true. 

Reb Shaw: You're the proud owner of a personal karaoke machine.  If I came by your house on a random weeknight around 1:15 am, what song would you be most likely providing the vocal accompaniment to?

Rabbi Weinberg: I usually sing Karaoke to an MP3 of Mrs. Levari's father singing to her kids. 
Reb Shaw: Researchers at the Hillel Happenings discovered that on August 22, 2007 you made a 31 minute phone call to the Mike and the Mad Dog radio show. Two days later, you drove to WFAN's headquarters in the West Village of Manhattan.  What prompted this series of activities?

Rabbi Weinberg: That is between me, Mike Francesca, Isaiah Thomas, and Stephan Marberry's second cousin who works in the mail room of MSG (and Ramaz).
Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): In 1993, the Squirrel Hill Fire Station had two rigs: a ladder and a truck. The ladder number was 18. What was the truck's number? 

Rabbi Weinberg: 7. In honor of Daniel Sax, who was born that year, and his love of Ben Roethlisberger.
Reb Shaw: Rabbi Sack's Music and Movement video has received 1312 views on YouTube, how many of those viewings are you responsible for?

Rabbi Weinberg: Every Friday afternoon, when we make our final preparations for Shabbat, we throw on that clip for our daughter to help usher in the Shabbat spirit. But I am not sure on the exact count, I guess I can check my internet history when I get home, or should I go now? Let me know.

Rabbi Weinberg listening to Oneg
Rabbi Weinberg prepares for his solo as Rabbi Sacks musically entertains Hillel nursery students.

Middle School Basketball Update

Reb Shaw - [email protected]

The middle school basketball team's season kicked off this week with two games, one against Christan Urban Academy and the second against arch rivals, Community Day Lions. The Heat lost both games, but fought till the end. During our first game, Yehuda Plotkin, 7th Grade, led the team in scoring with 8 points, while Ben Ungar, 7th Grade, led the team in scoring during the second game with 12 points. Come support the Heat at their next game against Winchester Thurston School on January 3rd at 4 pm.
Middle School Basketball Uniforms
Members of the Hillel Heat Junior Varsity Basketball Team proudly display their new uniforms and shoes.

Family Fun with the Nursery

Morah Devorah - [email protected]

This week, Nursery A is concluding their unit on Families. The
children had a fun time learning all about the different dynamics of a family. They heard stories about all kinds of families and sang songs about families too. We learned about family celebrations, and even got to celebrate a birthday party with Dovid Tzvi's family. We made house models with rooms inside, and created furniture and puppets to play with. The students enjoyed looking at their own family portraits, and then made drawings of their families. Using their arms as tree trunks and their hands as branches, the students
painted family trees and glued on pictures of their family members. All this is hanging on a beautiful bulletin board, which you are welcome to come by and see. Of course, the highlight of the week (and unit), will be Grandparents and Special Persons Day. Everyone is looking forward to playing with their family members and singing with them at Oneg.
Nursery Family Trees
"Look at us, we're trees!"

Hillel Gear Spotted Here

After failing to win four round trip tickets to Israel in last week's Awards Night Raffle, Mrs. Aronson was seen trying her luck on the slots at The Rivers Casino. While Mrs. Aronson may not have taken the house, she stayed stylishly warm in a Hillel Academy sweatshirt. Way to go Mrs. Aronson!
Mrs. Aronson
"Winner, winner, gribenes dinner!"
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.
Hillel Pop Culture Grid

Here at the Hillel Happenings, we like to pay homage to those who matter most. This week, in honor of Grandparents and Special People Day, we found several grandparents (and special people) who generously shared their time and wisdom for the benefit of all of our readers.

Grandparents in the mix
Hillel Academy is...My first car was a...I want my grandchild(ren) to...
Mr. Murray Peffer
Great!1950 grey big Chevy.Be mentchim.
Mrs. Ilana LevariThe best place for my grandchildren.1985 Blue Taurus Station Wagon.Make their parents as proud as our children made us.
Mr. Stanley Greenfield

The most important teaching institution for my family in my lifetime.1950 Oldsmobile Rocket 88.Remember my mom and dad and their grandparents that went through the Russian revolution.
Mrs. Esther Kagan
A wonderful day school for my grandchildrenOld Jalopy.Be as big a mentch as they can possibly be and bring nachas to their family.
Mr. Iving LuzerThe best place for Jewish Kids to go to schoolGold Pontiac LeMans - black bucket seats with no AC.Be more in life than I am.

Mr. Mel Levin
A great school for young childrenChevy convertible 1946.Enjoy the best of health and happiness in their lifetimes.
Mrs. Faith Milch
A wonderful place.
1958 Oldsmobile with AC. But my husband remembers when cars had ice cubes for cooling purpose or cold Coke.Grow up to be as productive, vibrant, and supportive as their parents.

Mrs. Zipora Gisser

The best school in town.1967 Pontiac.Be happy and healthy and have a wonderful future.  

Camp Shira Flyer
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