The winners of the first, second, and third prizes at the 2010 Awards Night Dinner were:

Mr. and Mrs. Julian Falk - Four Round Trip Tickets to Israel
Mrs. Yetta Joshowitz - 40" Flat Screen Television
Dr. and Mrs. Manny Kanal - $500 Gift Certificate to Giant Eagle

Thank you to everyone who purchased raffle tickets.
Hillel Happenings
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Hillel Academy
of Pittsburgh

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

December 31, 2010

24 Tevet 5771

Candle Lighting: 4:44 pm

Havdalah: 5:45 pm

Parshat Vaeira
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In This Issue
Food Zone
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Help Hillel by Shopping
Did You Know?
Article Headline
Dvar Torah
Grandparents and Special Persons Day 2010
Chanukah Story Again
Extra Mitzvot in 2nd Grade
GHS Update
Climbing Wall is Here
Who Wore it Better?
Hillel Pop Culture Grid
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Dvar Torah

Mordechai Russell

What's Mordechai Russell cooking on a snowy Pittsburgh day? Perhaps it's a piping hot Dvar Torah on this week's Parsha. If you're ready to be served an amazing insight then read this week's Dvar Torah.
Teacher Feature

Norwegian Dolls

An avid collector of antique miniature Norwegian dolls, each winter Reb Shaw looks forward to his annual trip to Dagmar's Museum of Dolls and Toys in Sakris°y, Norway. Despite Reb Shaw's immense visibility among Hillel Academy constituents, this interest was largely unknown until Morah Ruth discovered a copy of Reb Shaw's upcoming itinerary on an untitled Google Doc. To discover whether Morah Ruth addressed this topic in her conversation with Reb Shaw, please read this week's teacher 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.
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

January Menu

January Order Form
Quick Links
Mazel Tov

Mrs. Gloria Muskat on the birth of a grandson to Jason and Bracha Muskat

Rabbi Moshe and Mrs. Hadassa Kamensky on the birth and bris milah of their grandson, Shalom Dov Ber to Chaya Rachel and Yosef Cohen

 Mr. Shuki and Mrs. Sharon Ifrah on the engagement of their daughter Deana to Ezra Weinblatt

Refuah Shleima

Mrs. Marcia Zlochower

Masha bas Sarah Itka


Mrs. Meira Sacks on the loss of her grandmother

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

Warm your body and your mind with a special program this Sunday, January 2, 2011, from 10:15-12:45 pm at the Kollel. Enjoy refreshments, Dunkin' Donuts coffee, and three great Torah lectures. Click "thirsty for great learning and coffee" 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; the community wide Tu B'Shvat Seder will be Tuesday, January 11th at Hillel Academy; details soon to come regarding Zach pizzza night, girls cookie night, and boys movie night.

Interested in some Shabbos afternoon fun? Oneg is for all girls in grades Kindergarten through 7th grade from 3:15 to 4:15 pm at PZ. Don't miss out!
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 Peters is a chosson

Mazel tov on his recent engagement to Christin Novak. 
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

Mordechai Russell - 4th Grade

In this week's Parshah we read about the four names of the redemption "Vehotzatzisi" (I will take out), "Vehetzalty" (I will save), "Vegaltey" (I will redeem), and "Velakachty" (I will take for me). We drink four cups of wine on Passover for the four names of redemption. However, there is a fifth cup of wine, as well, that is called the cup of Eliyahu. This cup is based on the fifth name of redemption, "Vehaivaise" (I will bring). The question is, why does the term "Vehaivaise" represent the cup of Eliyahu? My great grandfather, Rabbi Shlomo Margolis, currently living in Bnei Brak, in his sefer Darchay Hashlamus, poses this question. His answer is that in the pasuk of "Vehaivaise" it says that Hashem will give Eretz Yisrael an inheritance to the Jewish people. An inheritance is something that a person gets to keep forever. When Mashiach comes we will get to keep Eretz Yisroel forever. At Hillel Academy we learn to love Eretz Yisroel, and to look forward every day to the coming of Mashiach speedy in our days.

Good Shabbos!
Grandparents and Special Persons Day 2010

Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]

On Friday, December 24, 2010 nearly one hundred and fifty visitors gathered for the second annual Hillel Academy Grandparents and Special Persons Day. Beginning with a scrumptious breakfast served by Chef Mordy Brown, visitors were greeted by Hillel Academy's Principal and Educational Director, Rabbi Avrumi Sacks with a Dvar Torah on the importance of family. Following Rabbi Sacks' remarks, participants traveled throughout the building to witness the many educational lessons underway. Visitors observed student constructed scale models of urban communities, discussions regarding voting and democratic principles, and the manufacturing of mezonot necklaces - designed to accent any outfit, mezonot necklaces consisted of pretzels, tea biscuits, and string. Along with these observations, visitors noticed how teachers and students integrated the many new Smartboards and computers into each class' lesson plans. Following the classroom visits, everyone was invited back into the Hillel Academy Cafeteria to take part in an official Hillel Academy oneg. Under the direction of Rabbi Sacks, students and guests joined together for songs, solos, and smiles. The warmth and whimsicality of the oneg was a perfect cap to an incredible day. Thank you again to Mr. Kraut, Rabbi Sacks, Rabbi Nimchinsky, Mrs. Levari, Reb Shaw, Jackie Sax, Julie Sax, Chef Brown, Becky Weinberg, Mrs. Aronson, Mr. Davis, Achinoam, Ela, the grandparents, special persons, and many others who facilitated such a wonderful program. We look forward to seeing all of you again next year.

Grandparents Day
    "Grandparents and Special Persons around the room, put your hands together."

Modern Revisions to Chanukah Tale

Mrs. Brookman - [email protected]

On the last day of Chanukah, the 5th grade girls performed a Chanukah play for the second grade. "The play was about the story of Chanukah. News reporters reported what happened, and we played it as a flashback," said Tikva Goldstein. "The reporters said what happened in the time of the Beit Hamikdash while the Maccabim played out their story," added Liora Nimchinsky. Since the story occurred in Israel, Shira Nimchinsky noted "נס גדול היה פה." It was "so much fun," concluded Ayala Biton. Thank you to the students who worked on making this play such a success.

Fifth Grade Girls
Excited middle school girls are seen preparing for their Chanukah play.

Second Graders Do Extra Mitzvot

Mrs. Z - [email protected]

Recently, the second grade had a celebration and a chance to do a big mitzvah. The second graders had a siyum on Parshat Noach (This was a long-overdue celebration). But it was not just a siyum because Wednesday, Chet Tevet, was the yahrzeit of Mrs. Zlochower's mother. The children learned extra Torah as a zechut (merit) for Sarah Itka bas Avraham HaKohen. That night, when Mrs. Z. told her brother about this special tribute to their mom, he was so happy and congratulated the entire second grade. Thanks, kids, for a meaningful experience!
Girls High School Update

Mrs. Levari - [email protected]

In honor of their simultaneous completion of Parshat Noach, the Girls High School Chumash Levels 1 and 2 classes joined forces to have a massive siyum. Each girl was given the charge of both dressing up as an animal and bringing a snack that would be representative of the chosen beast, bird, or bug. Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Levari provided the ice cream and toppings, while the girls played an exciting game of "Fee Fi Fo Fum" using animal noises. Additionally, a representative from each class shared an interesting thought that she had learned from the in-depth study of the Parsha. Mazal Tov to both classes who are now "flooded" with information about Noach. And now off to meet Avraham....

GHS students as animals
                          Have we taken experiential learning too far?

Traverse Climbing Wall is a Success

Mrs. Stanley - [email protected]

The climbing wall is finally up and running! The girl's middle and high
school students have spent the last few weeks in Physical Education classes learning terminology, proper body, hand, and foot positioning, and how to develop coordination and motor skills with climbing movement. The students have climbed, spotted each other, and done various activities on the bouldering wall. A favorite of the girls was an activity called "Twister" where Mrs. Stanley used a twister game spinner and called out different colored hand and feet positions. The students have enjoyed spending the last several weeks using the wall, and have learned that climbing and bouldering have tremendous fitness value. Climbing requires a sense of balance, flexibility, muscular strength, and endurance.

Girls using climbing wall
                             "Whatever happened to dodge-ball?"

Who Wore it Better?

This week, both Mr. Kraut and Reb Shaw were seen wearing the same winter coat during dismissal outside of Hillel Academy.

Kraut and Shaw
Two much of a good thing?

Hillel Pop Culture Grid

Reb Shaw - [email protected]

Are you curious to see what's on the minds of Hillel Academy students? If so, check out this week's Hillel Pop Culture Grid.

Students in the mix
You know that you're in Hillel when...The 2011 NHL Winter Classic..
Where will you be Friday night, 12/31/10?
Daniel Sax
12th Grade
I wouldn't know, I'm in the JCC is featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the undefeated (0-0) Hillel Heat hockey team in the rain Oneg at Rabbi Weinberg's house being forced to eat his "wonderful" cholent
Yehuda Plotkin
7th Grade
You have the coolest basketball uniformsCrosby will be on the front page of this Sunday's Post-GazetteAt my house rock'n it up
Nathan Kelsey
7th Grade
When you see Rabbi Grossberg, my rebbeI will be interesting to see how the weather turns outDiscussing the parsha with my father
Issac Brown
4th Grade
You get the best hot lunchesthe coolest game on earthsleeping
Jordy Kraut
8th Grade
When you see the coolest yarmulkes being wornwill be better played in Heinz FieldUp learning Mishnayos until the big ball drops
Devorah Cohen Melamed
11th Grade
There is free food in the cafeteriacoolAt the Shabbos table

Interview with Morah Ruth

This past week, an overwhelming number of Hillel Happenings readers emailed requesting an interview with Morah Ruth Pohuly, one of Hillel Academy's renown Early Childhood educators. As Reb Shaw entered the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center at Hillel Academy he noticed the colorful pictures and happy students amid a sea of blissful sounds. Upon seeing this joyous sight, Reb Shaw began to grow nostalgic. Remembering back to his own early learnings of parsha, literacy, and basic mathematical principles, Reb Shaw decided to postpone his interview with Morah Ruth. Finally, after reading Lost in the Zoo on Erev Shabbos and completing a gluing collage with the help of Hillel Academy students, Reb Shaw sat down with Morah Ruth for this week's interview. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of their conversation have been reproduced below:   

Reb Shaw
: Hey Morah Ruth, thanks so much for meeting with me today. First question: How long have you worked at Hillel?

Morah Ruth: I first subbed in the 2 year-old classroom in the spring of 2009. I couldn't get enough of all the lovable kids so I signed on full time.

Reb Shaw: That's great. So what brought you here?

Morah Ruth: My car....or should I say...everyone's favorite accountant, Sarah, told me about the position.

Reb Shaw: Awesome. Where would you like to see Hillel gear spotted next?

Morah Ruth: If it's warm and I'm invited then just about anywhere.

Reb Shaw: Over the recent years, the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center has undergone several changes. You are privileged to work in its newest preschool classroom, what's it like?

Morah Ruth: Let me put it this way, I don't mind getting up in the morning to go to work. I have a wonderful classroom and a great group or kids. I'm thankful everyday!

Reb Shaw: Dunkin' Donuts offers several varieties of flavor shots to accompany its hot chocolate, which one do you prefer blueberry or coconut?

Morah Ruth: Can I choose caramel?

Reb Shaw: Will there ever be a remedy for dried out markers?

Morah Ruth: The garbage can is the only one I can think of. But maybe I should invent markers that never go dry so I can become rich and famous.

Reb Shaw: With the Winter Classic rapidly approaching, I'm totally loving hockey right now. If two four-year-olds dropped their gloves and started brawling, how would you resolve the scenario? 

Morah Ruth: Don't you know my kids are perfect? Nothing like this would ever happen!

Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): How many languages are primarily spoken by the staff at the Squirrel Hill Health Center?

Morah Ruth: This is amazing: Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, and American Sign Language are currently available at SHHC. They also have phone translation services for over 25 other languages. And in case you were wondering, I am a wealth of knowledge. I didn't even have to google the SHHC first.

Reb ShawAlthough the new dismissal procedures work well for the parents I know that it is stressful on the staff. Would a moving walkway be at all helpful in getting your students to their designated drop zone?  

Morah RuthA moving walkway would be everyone's favorite playground!

Reb Shaw: Speaking of playgrounds, for as long as I can remember the upper school has complained about not having a playground. Now that they have one, what is pre-kindergarten's reaction to this state of the art playground?

Morah Ruth
You mean it's not our playground? Who's going to break the bad news to the kids?

Morah Ruth
Morah Ruth was recently seen teaching eager students the differences between uppercase and lowercase letters.

Giving a Book its Proper Place

Mrs. Tipton - [email protected]

Mrs. Tipton's 9th and 10th grade English classes have been working on creating a map of Maycomb County, Alabama - the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Students finished reading the classic American novel last week. The project was designed to help students visualize the setting of the book, one of the most important aspects of To Kill a Mockingbird. As they read, students took notes that pertained to the setting and then worked in small groups to develop a blueprint and design for their maps.
Hillel Gear Spotted Here

As the entire community gathered at last week's Jewish Fest, Hillel Academy 9th Grader Shimmy Harmon proudly demonstrated his Hillel Academy kippah to all present. Way to go Shimmy!

                   Shimmy Harmon

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.
Camp Shira Flyer
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