Hillel Happenings
Brought to you by Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

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Hillel Academy

of Pittsburgh


5685 Beacon Street

Pittsburgh, PA


P: (412) 521-8131

F: (412) 521-5150




February 4, 2011


30 Shevat 5771


Candle Lighting: 5:22 pm


Havdalah: 6:24 pm


 Parshat Terumah

In This Issue
Food and Non-Alcoholic Wine Critic
Eis On Jewish History
Yom Limud
Did You Know
Food Zone
Moishe's Munchies
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Help Hillel by Shopping
Middle School Basketball
Mordy Brown Catering
Dvar Torah
Purim Prep and 5th Grade
Funky Functions
Full Faculty Meeting
Birds Nests Made and Eaten
High School Basketball
Interview with Mrs. Finder
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Hillel Pop Culture Grid
Dvar Torah

Moshe Grossberg with Soccer Ball

Wow! 8th Grader Moshe Grossberg is an unbelievable goalie. Think that's impressive? You should see him with a sefer. Read this week's Dvar Torah to find out more.   

Es Gezunterheyt!


Boaz Bachrach 

As a special addition to the Hillel Happenings, we are pleased to feature the discriminating palate of fifth grader Boaz Bachrach. After traveling through the Napa Valley of Pittsburgh (or aisle 2 of Murray Avenue Kosher) Boaz shares with us his candid review of grape juice: 


I have tasted almost all types of grape juice (unless you count the peachy stuff, but that's peach juice not grape juice, right?), and I have a favorite. My favorite is Kedem Sparkling Grape Juice. However, in my opinion, a close second is actual home made grape juice crushed in my house. 

Eis on

Jewish History


Strange but True:


Which country played the major role in bringing the State of Israel to reality?


The Soviet Union! (not the United States)


Do you want to know more about Jewish History?
 If so, email Rabbi Eisen at 
[email protected] 

Teacher Feature


Cambodian National Football Team 

Mrs. Finder's daughter recently returned from a trip to Cambodia. Reb Shaw is an honorary member of the Cambodian national football team. To find out more about the fascinating lives of Hillel Academy's teachers, 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.

Yom Limud is Approaching


Attention Hillel Academy Teachers, Yom Limud is scheduled for Monday, February 21, 2011, from 8:30 am - 3:45 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom. 

Please click "Continuing to Learn" for more details.

Interested in Writing for the Jewish Chronicle?

Please speak to Mrs. Levari for more details.

[email protected]
Did You Know? 

 Thanks to Morah Ivrit Achinoam, and Ela, almost every item in Hillel Academy is going to have a label with its Hebrew name on it. 


Food Zone

February Menu

February Order Form
Moishe's Munchies

Are you ready for another delicious trip to Moishe's pop up restaurant? 

Moishe's Munchies will be available on Tuesday, February 8th, from 5-8 pm at Poale Zedeck. 

Click "Those burgers taste great" for a menu and more details.  

Quick Links
Mazel Tov

Dr. Adam & Mrs. Chevi Aronson on the birth of a son. 

Mr. Bill and Mrs. Selma Aronson on the birth of a grandson. 

Mr. Martin Aronson on the birth of a nephew. 
Mrs. Fayth Berkowitz and the birth of a nephew. 

Dr. Abby and Mrs. Judy Mendelson on the marriage of their son Elie to Reina Eisner.

Mr. Elie Mendelson on his marraige to Reina Eisner.

Rabbi Daniel and Rebbitzen Judi Wasserman on the engagement of their son, Aryeh to Shoshana Blechner of Boston. 

Mazal Tov to the entire Levene/Wasserman family and Blank/Blechner families.


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

Bnei Akiva has some news regarding upcoming events: Snif, this week, will meet at the new Israeli-style time - 5:00 pm till Havdalah, at Shaare Torah! 5th-8th grade bowling will occur at Forward Lanes on Sunday, February 13th at 1:00 pm.

Zach Shabbaton will occur in Detroit the weekend of March 5th. In-Pittsburgh Shabbaton will be Shabbat, March 12th. Please contact us at [email protected] to RSVP and for more info.


All woman and girls are invited to Leah Kohanbash's Shabbos Kallah at 3:30 at Shalom and Leah's house, 5654 Hobart Street. 


Attention Boys! The Father & Son Program at the Kollel continues at our new time starting Jan. 29th, 2011 at 7:30 p.m-8:15p.m.  Mark your calendars - Melava Malka Feb. 19th!
Please contact Rabbi Morgan at the Kollel 412-421-5030 or Mitch Maizlech [email protected]
See you then for exciting learning, pizza & great prizes! 


February 11-12, Shaare Torah will host a weekend of song to celebrate the beginning of the month of Adar 1 and the commencing of the season of "Marbim B'Simcha" and Purim. The weekend will feature Yeshiva University's newest a cappella singing sensation - The Y-Studs. For more information click "Y Studs in Pittsburgh" or email [email protected] 


Interested in attending Shira Day Camp this summer? 

If so, click "camp" for an application.

Not eligible for Camp Shira? Click "I want to go to Camp Gan Israel" for more details.
Box Tops Flyer
Click "here" for information regarding Box Tops.
Hillel's Got You Covered 

Hillel Winter Hat
It's a cold wintery Pittsburgh day, but thankfully you're wearing a brand new Hillel Academy Winter Hat. This fine piece of cold weather gear will protect you from the elements, while ensuring that you're seasonally stylish and always equipped for an instant "Hillel Gear Spotted Here."  Want to learn more? Email Reb Shaw at [email protected].

Who Wants an Awesome Kippah?


Hillel Academy Yarmulke


Have you seen the new Hillel Academy


If you want one talk to Reb Shaw.

Support Middle School Basketball

Middle School Basketball Sweatshirts
 New hoody sweatshirts available!
Email Reb Shaw at [email protected] by Monday (2/7) for a sweatshirt. 
Go Heat!
Next middle school game: 2/7/11 @ Pittsburgh Urban Christan School at 4:00 pm.
Special Scholarships Available 

The Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service (CSLRS) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has scholarships available. 
Reminder that the deadline is February 8, 2011.

Click "scholarships" 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


Moshe Grossberg - 8th Grade 


"Put the poles in the rings on the side of the Aron to carry it."  (Shemot 25:14)


The gemara in Sukka says that the Aron (ark) would carry those who carried it. Even though the Aron carries the Levi'im, this only occurred when the Levi'im performed the physical act of carrying the Aron. The Yetzapen Leshirim Toshia explains that the Aron is compared to the Torah. We see that when we are careful about keeping Torah and mitzvos, the Torah guards us. When we keep the Torah, the Torah keeps us. Here too, the Torah, like the Aron only "carries" us once we are "worn out," once we are exhausted from a full day of keeping the Torah and performing mitzvos, the Torah then takes over and helps us complete the day. Hillel teaches us to fill our day with Torah and mitzvos so that at the end of the day the Torah will carry us so we can continue doing mitzvos until the end of the day!


Good Shabbos!  

5th Grade Girls Begin Purim Preparations


Mrs. Brookman - [email protected]


This week, we began preparing for our unit on Purim. After introducing students to the concept of mishehichnas Adar marbim besimcha (when the month of Adar comes we increase our joyousness), we began creating masks. This activity helped us get into the spirit of Purim. Tikva Goldstein explained, "When I think of masks, I think of Purim." Following this activity, our unit on Purim will include an in-depth look at Megillat Esther, learning about the halachot (laws) and minhagim (customs) of Purim, and the completion of another project. 

5th Grade Girls and Masks

No masks can hide the great learning that occurs at Hillel Academy.

Funky Functions with Mr. Kingman


Mr. Kingman - [email protected]


While studying functions, graphs, and rules, we asked a question: How does a bottle's curviness affect the rate that water rises within it? In order to determine this, we tested several bottles, each with different curves. We also made an input and output table to chart our findings. The students had a great time as we discovered some interesting features of bottles with curves. Yael Itskowitz said, "It was fun, but we need more curvacious bottles." 


Mr. Kingman with Students and Bottle

"Who knew funky functions could be so fun?"


Full Faculty Meeting Enjoyed by All


Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]

This past Wednesday evening, Hillel Academy faculty enjoyed their first post-break meeting. The meeting began with a welcoming address by Principal and Educational Director, Rabbi Sacks, in which he outlined current educational issues and trends. Girls High School Principal, Mrs. Langer, followed with a promise that more effort would be committed to professional development for Hillel Academy teachers. Following her comments, the staff divided into six groups. Within these groups, staff members utilized prompts and charted various methods for improvement at Hillel Academy. At the conclusion of this activity, the groups shared their thoughts with each other. In addition to the meeting, the staff enjoyed delicious pizza and salad prepared by Mordy Brown Catering. Thank you to all who facilitated this great meeting. 

Yummy Birds Nests


Reb Shaw - [email protected]


Ever want to eat a birds nest? Well neither did the fourth graders, until they saw what we were making for Shabbos Shira. Thanks to Morah Traci Levine, we made our birds nests out of Chinese noodles and melted chocolate. Each student used chocolate covered noodles to create the nest. After the nest cooled, each student placed jelly beans (which represented eggs) inside the nest. Finally, the high school girls helped make Origami birds. The nests looked amazing! During the construction of the nests, Morah Traci explained the significance of Shabbos Shira. She also handed out a Dvar Torah to be read at the Shabbos table. "We can't wait for more edible Parsha projects from Morah Traci. They tasted really good," said Zelig Langer. "I enjoyed making them," exclaimed Leora Kelsey.


Birds Nests Chocolate

At Hillel Academy a nurturing education is a nourishing education.

Hillel Heat Experience Win Streak

Rabbi Weinberg - [email protected]

At about 9:00 PM eastern standard time, Wednesday evening, the Hillel Heat varsity basketball team won their first game in 56 attempts. I am so proud of everyone on the team for never giving up and playing their hearts out.  It would have been very easy for the guys to stop caring, not practice, or switch to an easier league. Instead, they believed in themselves. A special thanks to Coach Earnest for putting so much of his time, energy, and heart into our boys.


The monkey is off our back, let the new streak begin!

Heat Victory

The Heat is On!

Production Update

Ms. Levine - [email protected]

Students from the Girls High School are working hard to prepare for the upcoming production. With practices taking place every night, and also over the weekends, this is sure to be a great show. Some highlights of practices include Choir Karaoke rewards, free dance, and improv for drama. On Tuesday night, there was a meeting of the great minds to discuss lighting, sound, and scenery. After discussing these issues, the team created an excellent plan for making this show Hillel's top production yet. However, we need your help. Please click on "playbill" and "props/costumes" to see how you can help. Can't wait to see you all (women only) at the show March 15th. Don't forget there will be a kid friendly show on March 16th. Tickets are on sale now. Call the office (412-521-8131) today. We're off to see the Wizard!

Production Flyer
Interview with Mrs. Finder

In an attempt to diversify his music listening experience, Reb Shaw recently began listening to WQED-FM 89.3, Pittsburgh's home of classical music. Entranced by its elaborate musical ornamentation, Reb Shaw instantly gravitated to Baroque music. His affinity for its functional tonality quickly developed into a virtual obsession with the entire Baroque period. According to various accounts, Reb Shaw was seen over winter break walking on Forbes Avenue dressed in a curly white wig and outfit resembling the style of a seventeenth century composer. In an effort to learn all things Baroque, Reb Shaw sat down with Mrs. Finder, Hillel Academy's English literature mastermind. While he did not remove the wig for the interview, he did use the words "delighted" and "Here Ye" twenty-two times. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of the interview have been reproduced below (with a modernization of Reb Shaw's vernacular).  

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


Mrs. Finder: I have been working at Hillel Academy as the high school English teacher for the past seven years. However, prior to becoming the English teacher, I substituted at Hillel for two years. In total, I have been working here for nine years. 


Reb Shaw: Why is Hillel Academy the greatest school in the world?


Mrs. Finder: The top three reasons that make Hillel Academy the greatest school in the world are first the small class sizes that allow teachers to help their students learn more effectively. Second, I just love the students! They are curious, intelligent, conscientious, eager to learn, and fun. Finally, where else could you get a copy of the Hillel Happenings? 


Reb Shaw: Over break you traveled to Costa Rica. The weather here is phenomenal. Why would you go?


Mrs. Finder: At first glance I know it might look like I went to Costa Rica because the average daily temperature is between 82-84 degrees and very sunny. But the truth is, I went so I could hike through the rain forest and see monkeys in their natural habitat. It was on my bucket list. If you don't know what a bucket list is, ask the 8th grade boys. 


Reb Shaw: This year, with the help of Rabbi Sacks, Hillel Academy's English Department is being headed by you and Mrs. Tipton. What do you envision for the future of English studies at Hillel Academy?  


Mrs. Finder: I love working with Mrs. Tipton! With continued dedication, I see greater cohesiveness in the English curriculum K-12, and more emphasis on improving writing skills. 


Reb Shaw: If I gave you a ticket to the Super Bowl what would you do with it?


Mrs. Finder: Okay... so this whole football frenzy is kind of lost on me. However, my husband loves the Steelers. Ergo, he gets the ticket.


Reb Shaw: This past summer you were gracious enough to work with me on my writing skills, can you tell if they have improved?


Mrs. Finder: That was a win-win situation. I think both of our writing skills improved. Bouncing ideas off of another person and writing and rewriting something with two sets of eyes is the perfect way to improve. Plus, the coffee was good and the company was great! 


Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): How many times does Beechwood Blvd intersect Beechwood Blvd?


Mrs. Finder: Honestly, who designed that road? I have lived in Pittsburgh for almost 31 years and just recently I think I finally figured out all the intricacies of Beechwood Blvd. Therefore, I might be able to answer the question. It happens once - on the way to the Waterfront. 


Reb Shaw: Winter weather quandary: After coming inside my house, whenever I take off my boots I inadvertently step in a wet spot on the carpet (either from my own boots or someone else's). I am sure you can relate. How do I avoid the dreaded wet-sock-after-boot-removal syndrome?


Mrs. Finder: I think this is a common winter weather problem with an easy solution. Always leave a pair of slippers right next to where you take off your boots. Or, you could just stay inside until the snow melts. 


Reb Shaw: What would it take for you to answer these questions in rhyming pairs of iambic pentameter lines?


Mrs. Finder: It might be possible with extra time,
 But the evening is late; it's hard to rhyme. 


Reb Shaw: I'm getting bored of Oprah's Book Club. When are you starting yours?


Mrs. Finder: Some of Oprah's choices are really fine,
 From making my own club, I will decline. 

Finder and Hot Water

Mrs. Finder is seen retrieving piping hot water from Hillel Academy's futuristic urn.


Hillel Gear Spotted Here

Before Winter Break, we asked our readers to submit their best Hillel Gear Spotted Here photographs for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate to a Pittsburgh kosher eatery. We received numerous submissions, from winter break travelers who captured both their domestic and foreign journeys. After a rigorous selection process, we have chosen a winner. Congratulations to Isaac and Yaacov Brown. In the midst of the night, these fearless young men braved the arctic Iowan winter for a chance at glory. Now, victorious (and frozen) they return to Hillel Academy, still wearing their noble Hillel sweatshirts. Thank you again to everyone who submitted entries in our competition. We will feature your photographs in upcoming issues of the Hillel Happenings. 

Iowa is now the land of corn and awesome Hillel sweatshirts.

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


Reb Shaw - [email protected]

After a long winter break, I got a chance to catch up with the eighth grade boys at Hillel Academy. These talmidim (students) provided some great answers for this week's grid. Enjoy!  


Students in the Mix

What did you do over winter break?

Prediction for the Super Bowl

What masechta or sefer (tractate or book) will you be learning during halftime of the Super Bowl?

Moshe Grossberg

Took Farhars (oral entry exams)

Steelers will win


Jordy Kraut

I went to Baltimore and Cleveland

Steelers will win in overtime

Megilla with the Artscroll of course

Reuven Pfeffer  

I went to Seven Springs and Silver Spring, MD.

Steelers by 3


Simcha Rosenstein

I went to Boston, Lakewood and Scranton

I am going to go with the Sports Illustrated for Kid's prediction, 33-27.

Baba Maisus

Yaakov Posin

Went camping in Kooser State Park

Steelers 27-24

Steelers Digest

Daniel Nimchinsky

Thanks to Reb Shaw and the generous donors at Duquesne University, I went to the Dukes game

The Steelers will win

Probably reviewing Pesachim with my father

Readers, we want to hear from you. Is there a question that you want answered? Email [email protected] 

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