Hillel Happenings
Brought to you by Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Outside of Hillel

Hillel Academy

of Pittsburgh


5685 Beacon Street

Pittsburgh, PA


P: (412) 521-8131

F: (412) 521-5150




February 11, 2011


7 Adar 1 5771


Candle Lighting: 5:31 pm


Havdalah: 6:32 pm


 Parshat Tetzaveh

In This Issue
Eis On Jewish History
Food and Non-Alcoholic Wine Critic
Chizuk Corner
Yom Limud
Did You Know
NESM Fitness Group
Around Town
Chance for a Glance
Help Hillel by Shopping
Hillel Winter Hats are Here
Awesome Kippot Available
Middle School Basketball
Mordy Brown Catering
Dvar Torah
BHS Answers the Call
Maccabeats and Hillel Academy
Name Poems
Mishmar at Hillel Academy
Winning Apples
Hillel Pop Culture Grid
Around Town

Dvar Torah


Daniel Nimchinsky 

 Hillel Academy students have such great midos (character traits). 

Look, Daniel Nimchinsky, 8th Grade, is simultaneously holding a door open for others while davening (praying) for the welfare of klal yisrael (the Jewish people). 


Hillel Academy students also have amazing insights on the parsha. Find out for yourself by reading this week's Dvar Torah. 

Eis on

Jewish History


Whose yahrzeit is the only one mentioned in Tanach?

The date of death of Aharon HaKohen - Rosh Chodesh Av - (Bamidbar 33:38). 


Want more Jewish History?
 Email Rabbi Eisen at 

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. For the past several weeks, Boaz has visited shuls, senior centers, and random s'machot (celebrations) to prepare for this week's article. Reflecting on his journeys, Boaz shares wth us his candid review of herring: 


I have eaten herring, but I have to admit I don't like it. However, if I had to choose which type is the best (or most edible), I'd have to say pickled herring. 

Chizuk Corner


Our intention with the Hillel Happenings is always to provide our readers with a sense of the exciting, engaging, and meaningful work that happens at Hillel Academy. This week, we are pleased to introduce the "Chizuk

Corner." Chizuk, which is Hebrew for strength, is vital to Hillel Academy. This section, thanks to the weekly insights of Rabbi Brodie, is intended to give our readers a little extra strength. Click here to send us your feedback.   


I have been thinking about the enormous amount of snow the east coast has received. My thoughts are, "Isn't it amazing there is so much snow in the sky?"  There is a message here. Hashem has unlimited resources ready for us. He is telling us, "Look at the snow I have brought on you. I am anxious to give you unlimited blessing, just live the life that brings about that lesson."  Living a Torah way of life, does bring untold blessing, even in disguise. Let us appreciate it.


Want more chizuk? Email Rabbi Brodie at [email protected]

Teacher Feature


El Al Logo 


Rabbi Brodie's brother recently moved to Israel. Reb Shaw considers himself a brother of all Israelis. For more information, please read this week's interview.   

Tweet Tweet from the BHS

Twitter bird

The Hillel Academy community is invited to follow the tweets of Rabbi Weinberg, Assistant Principal, Boys High School. His twitter handle (twitter username) is rsw_hillelbhs.  
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?   


The lunch menu has two pizza days this month. Usually there is only one.

Everyone is Invited  


The next Hillel Academy Mock Trial Competition is Wednesday (2/16/11) at 5:30 pm on the 8th floor of the City-County Building on Grant Street. Everyone is encouraged to attend. 

Food Zone

February Menu

February Order Form
NESM Fitness Group 


Women and girls, are you looking for a great exercise opportunity? How about a personalized trainer who understands your goals? NESM Fitness Group is just what you need. 

Hours are flexible, pricing is reasonable, and the first 15 minute consultation is free. 

To learn more about this great opportunity, please click "This is a great opportunity to get fit. I'm going to call now."

You could also call Shayna Marcus at 412-521-2455 or Naomi Eisenberg at 718-404-4383. You could also email them at [email protected]   

Quick Links
Mazel Tov

Leah Kohanbash on her marriage to Michoel Golfeyz


Mr. Yehuda and Mrs. Morah Devorah Kohanbash on the marraige of their daughter Leah.


Refuah Shleima 


Mrs. Marcia Zlochower


Masha bas Sarah Itka


Mr. Jeff Peters


Would you like to share something with the Hillel Academy family? If so, please email us at 

[email protected]

Around Town  

The Poale Zedeck Art Auction is this Sunday, February 13th. Preview is at 5:30 pm. Live auction begins at 6:30 pm. For more details regarding this event, please click "this Sunday I am going to Congregation Poale Zedeck (on the corner of Phillips and Shady) to buy some nice artwork."

Bnei Akiva Snif is going to be 3:30-4:30 this week only, due to Y-Studs weekend at Shaare Torah.
5th-8th grade bowling at Forward Lanes, Sunday, February 13, 1:00. Contact Asher Wiseman to sign up.
Zach Shabbaton in Detroit, weekend of March 5th. Contact us for applications!
In-Pittsburgh Shabbaton, Shabbat, March 12th.
Please contact us at [email protected] to RSVP and for more info. 


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? No worries. Click "I want to go to Camp Gan Israel" for more details.

Camp Gan Israel of Pittsburgh

Registration for summer 2011 is now open!

The Camp Gan Israel Early Bird discount is being offered

 through February 13th, 2011 at 11:59pm.

Registering early and save

 $30 per camper per session.

Camp dates:

Monday, June 27th through Friday, August 5th, 2011.



for quick and easy online registration.

For more information, please email [email protected] or call 412-715-4883

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 click "I want an awesome kippah" or 

email Reb Shaw at [email protected].

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: 2/16/11 @ Winchester Thurston at 4:00 pm.
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


Daniel Nimchinsky - 8th Grade


In this week's parsha, parshas Tetzvah, Hashem tells Moshe to make special clothing for Aharon and the Kohanim (priests) for glory and for splendor. There is a machlokes (argument) between the Ramban and the Seforno regarding what glory and splendor mean. The Ramban said that the Bigdei Kehuna (clothes of the priests) resembled the clothing of ancient kings, and wearing those garments gave honor to the Kohanim. The Seforno said that the Bigdei Kehuna were not for the honor of the Kohanim, but rather for the honor of Hashem. When people see that those who are serving Hashem in the Mishkan (tabernacle) or Beis HaMikdash (holy temple) are wearing such amazing garments, that shows great honor to the one who they are serving. We learn from this, that it is important to make a Kiddish Hashem (sanctification of G-d's name) even with what we wear on a daily basis. Here at Hillel, I have noticed that the uniforms give the students the opportunity to make a Kiddish Hashem by wearing nice clothing for a good purpose. Thank you and good Shabbos.   

High School Boys Answer the Call at Fundfest 2011


Rabbi Weinberg - [email protected] 


This past week, the entire Boys High School participated in the Fundfest 2011, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh's annual phone campaign. The campaign runs for about a week and is one of the most important campaigns of the year for the Federation. This year, the Hillel Boys went to the Federation offices in Oakland to help make calls. The students were first given an orientation by Deborah Baron of the Federation, taught how to make "the ask," and how to fill out pledge cards. While making calls was intimidating at first, our students quickly got the hang of it. In about two hours, our boys received around $2,000 dollars in pledges, and a special Yasher Koach to Adir Shimon who secured almost $400 by himself. Mrs. Baron expressed that she was, "very pleased to have their [the High School Boys] participation and happy that Hillel is working to instill a sense of community involvement among your students."  We too were very grateful to participate in such a worthy cause. As one student noted, "Making those calls wasn't easy, but it is important for us to realize that there are people working very hard to fund the Federation, and to in turn fund Hillel Academy. Participating in Fundfest helped us feel more appreciative for everything that is done on our behalf." Hopefully, this will only be the beginning of a career in community involvement for our students.  


Daniel Sax at Fundfest 2011

By giving back to the community, Daniel Sax, 12th Grade, learned that Fundfest was really Fun Fest.


Life Science Dissects an Earthworm


Mr. Garwood - [email protected]


The Boys and Girls Life Science classes conducted their first animal dissection today. The dissection was of an earthworm belonging to the phylum Annilida. "The worm was very interesting and disgusting," noted Riva Milch. The worm has organs and systems the classes had to observe and describe. "We looked at its intestines and organs, but they were really small," commented Adina Kisilinsky. Yael Itskowitz added that "This dissection helped me learn and understand the worm's body function even though it smelled." Batsheva Langer's opinion was "the worm was very interesting. I thought it was amazing that even though everything was very small, it made the worm work."


Life Science Dissection

Even with dissections, Mr. Garwood makes science come alive.

Maccabeats Visit Hillel Academy

Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]

Several weeks ago, Hillel Academy students received a surprise visit from Jewish music's newest sensation, the Maccabeats.  Coinciding with Rabbi Sacks' weekly oneg shabbat program, students were able to enjoy such hits as "Candlelight," Mattisyahu's "One Day," and "Shabbos Medley."  Taking a page from Rabbi Sacks' playbook, the Maccabeats engaged the crowd with stories and wit.  The students greatly enjoyed the Maccabeats visit. Moshe Wasserman, 5th Grade, exclaimed, "They were so good that kids wanted their autographs." A special thank you to the Maccabeats and the many others who facilitated this great event.  


Maccabeats Visit Hillel Academy

After a failed attempt at crowd surfing, the Maccabeats join their fans by sitting.

Name Poems


Ms. Morris - [email protected]


In Library this week, 2nd graders used dictionaries to help them write their own name poems. The following name poem was written by new student Shira Bar-Joseph.

S pecial
H appy
I nteresting
R eally
A thletic

Shira Wiesenfeld Name Poem

Shira Wiesenfeld was overheard saying, "This is really fun, as she illustrated her poem."


Mishmar at Hillel Academy

Rabbi Nimchinsky - [email protected]

Mishmar for 8th grade boys meets after school on Mondays and Wednesdays. Mishmar provides students the chance to cover ground at an accelerated pace, while balancing comprehension with coverage of material. Students in Mishmar are now learning Perek HaMafkid in Masechet Bava Metzia. A sense of excitement and enthusiasm exists in Mishmar, both because of the material, as well as several incentive systems. While there are no formal grades in Mishmar, positive participation and accomplishment are recognized and rewarded.

Mishmar is just another great way that students enhance their learning at Hillel Academy.

And The Winner Is...


Morah Chana - [email protected]


The second graders were curious about the favorite apple of the students in grades 1-6. They created an apple survey with the six most favorite apples and went to each classroom to survey the students. If the students had a favorite apple that did not make the list, they were encouraged to add the name of that apple. After counting all of the votes, the winning apple is: the Granny Smith! Happy Munching and Crunching!

Here's How You Can Help Our Production

Ms. Levine - [email protected]

This year we are performing The Wizard of OzPlease 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, but are going fast. Call the office (412-521-8131) today. For more details, please email Ms. Levine at [email protected]

Production Flyer  

Interview with Rabbi Brodie


For almost a half a century, Rabbi Brodie has taught students not only to study the Torah, but how to live it. Nearly every graduate who calls the office asks about Rabbi Brodie. As was apparent at the recent alumni weekend, Rabbi Brodie is a beloved figure. Reb Shaw took note of this and decided to decipher what it takes to become beloved, not just at Hillel Academy, but in life. In the process, Reb Shaw studied the intricacies of ice cream trucks, sunny days, and little babies. His discoveries were mind blowing (For anyone interested in Reb Shaw's findings, feel free to email him). Reb Shaw learned much from this ordeal, but even more by speaking with Rabbi Brodie. For the benefit of our readers excerpts of this week's conversation have been reproduced below:       


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


Rabbi Brodie: This is my 44th year here.


Reb Shaw: Why are Hillel Academy students so happy?


Rabbi Brodie: Kids are happy; they are good kids who learn Torah.


Reb Shaw: I have been privileged to work with you for four years, and it is no secret that you are always looking for innovative teaching methods and ideas. What keeps you so motivated?


Rabbi Brodie: What motivates me? Im ain kemach ain Torah (If there's no flour there's no Torah). Produce or perish.


Reb Shaw: In your free time, besides learning, what are your hobbies?


Rabbi Brodie: Something that relaxes and is enjoyable? Believe it or not, getting to sit down and learn musar. I encourage everyone to do it.


Reb Shaw: I went through a strange phase a number of years ago where I collected etrogs. I now have over 230 in my house. I got to get rid of them. Any ideas?


Rabbi Brodie: Over 230 esrogs, you lost your golden opportunity,  You could have offered them to pregnant women as it is a segulah (good luck) for having a boy, if she bites off the pitom (the top of the etrog). It's not guaranteed, as I have twice as many girls as boys, but even if it works one third of the time you could have had 80 boys in Hillel and we would have our own basketball league.  Stop hoarding the esrogs.


Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): Murray Avenue used to be a dirt road. When was it first paved?


Rabbi Brodie: When I moved to Pittsburgh the streets were paved, but there were 13 kosher butcher stores on Murray Ave.


Reb Shaw: Potential halachik shaila (question of Jewish law): I lucked out on an ebay purchase and got a yacht for really cheap. I have nowhere to presently store it, but in the event that everything goes according to plan, I'll be detailing the rudder this week.  Regardless, do I need to put a mezuzah on the cabin?


Rabbi Brodie: Yacht - if you aren't sleeping there 30 consectutive days, you don't need a mezuzah. If it's 30 days or longer, ask Rabbi Langer.


Rabbi Brodie in Lunchroom

Rabbi Brodie is seen in the Hillel Academy cafeteria (where Hillel Academy students eat lots of delicious and nutritious food).

Hillel Gear Spotted Here

On a recent trip to Jordan, Hillel Academy graduate Jill Joshowitz, brought along the essentials: sunglasses, sunscreen, and a Hillel Academy t-shirt. Prior to this trip, the yellow Hillel Academy intramural t-shirt had only traveled as far as the JCC. Thank you Jill for taking it the extra mile. 

Jill Joshowitz in Petra

Thanks to Jill Joshowitz, Hillel nation's middle eastern presence has been secured.

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]  


Hillel Academy students are the smartest kids I know. Take a look at their answers in this week's grid.    


Students in the Mix

Next week's lunch should include?

I would take this as an elective at Hillel

I want to invent...

Tovia Jacobs

5th Grade



A flying bowling ball

Yitzchok Grossberg

5th Grade

Pizza bagels


A talking clock



4th Grade



A device that would shoot mail so you don't have to wait for it, because I want my report card

Evan Stufflebeam

6th Grade

Pizza and soda


A way to go into video games



5th Grade

Fish sticks

Additional history courses

Heated boots

Batsheva Langer

7th Grade



A robot that does my homework

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

Camp Shira Flyer
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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.