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 18, 2011


14 Adar 1 5771


Candle Lighting: 5:39 pm


Havdalah: 6:40 pm


 Parshat Ki Tisa

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In This Issue
Eis On Jewish History
Chizuk Corner
Good Grammar Guide
Yom Limud
Milky Way Special
Chinese Food
Did You Know
Food Zone
Pilates in Pittsburgh
NESM Fitness Group
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Chance for a Glance
Help Hillel by Shopping
Hillel Winter Hats are Here
Awesome Kippot Available
Mordy Brown Catering
Dvar Torah
Picture Day Reminder
Students Visit Chronicle
Rabbis in L.A.
Tu B'Shevat and Phipps
Siddur Party
Navajo Sand Art
Interview with Ms. Hartman
BHS News and Notes
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Hillel Pop Culture Grid
Production Update

Dvar Torah


Boaz Bachrach Dvar Torah 

Hillel Academy fifth grader Boaz Bachrach is so talented that he types his emails in Rashi script. To find out more about Hillel Academy's amazing students, please read this week's Dvar Torah. 

Eis on

Jewish History


Which of the 613 Mitzvos was performed only once in history?

The commandment to make the anointment oil (Shemos 30:25). Moshe produced it; it lasted for nearly 1000 years, and no more was ever made.


Want more Jewish History?
 Email Rabbi Eisen at 

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. 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.   


The weather has me thinking about how to get along. The frigid icy weather makes walking dangerous because of so many slippery spots. But then the temperature rises and walking is fine.  There are encounters that are icy and uncomfortable. If you put on a smile and warm up, things turn out well.  Think about this, "Warmth overcomes ice."


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

Syntactical Superheroes


The great minds behind Hillel Academy's exemplary English Department would like you to know: 


Commas and periods always go inside of quotation marks, not outside. 


For more on good grammar, please email [email protected] or [email protected]  

Teacher Feature


Magic Kingdom  

Ms. Hartman is a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World. For his eighth grade science fair project, Reb Shaw attempted to build a life-size replica of the Magic Kingdom.   

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.  

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.

Milky Way Special


Buy any large pie on Monday and recieve a coupon for the family deal on that following Wednesday.


The family deal consists of one large 18 inch pie, family plain fries, and a 2 liter soda for $20. 

Come get your pie today for your coupon!

Interested in Writing for the Jewish Chronicle?

Please speak to Mrs. Levari for more details.

[email protected].
Chinese Food Available

Royal Catering has chinese food available on Wednesday, February 23rd. Click "I could really go for some General Tso" for more details.

Did You Know?   


Blocking in the dumpsters in front of the school will result in a $95 parking citation from the City of Pittsburgh. 

Food Zone

February Menu

February Order Form
Pilates in Pittsburgh

Are you looking for a full body series of exercise which focuses on muscular strength, flexibility, and proper alignment? 
Well then, you should call Gabbi Corcos at 412-953-0760, or click "This flyer is going to provide all of the information that I need regarding getting healthy today." 
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

Dr. Bruce and Mrs. Miriam Cohen on the birth of a grandson


Mr. Jeremy and Mrs. Dahlia Simons on the birth of a son


Refuah Shleima 


Mrs. Marcia Zlochower


Masha bas Sarah Itka


Mr. Jeff Peters




Mrs. Marcia Zlochower on the passing of her father, Mr. Leo Hack


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

[email protected]

Around Town  

The 5771 Alvin Weinberg Father & Learning Program is having its grand finale this motzei shabbos at the Kollel. Learning is at 7:45 and Melava Malka is at 8:00. For more details, please click "I learned for 14 weeks, now I am going to celebrate with amazing food, singing, dancing, and unbelievable prizes."  
Snif will begin with mifkad after Mincha at Shaare Torah, 5:40, and will go till Havdalah.
Zach Shabbaton in Detroit, weekend of March 5th. 
Contact us for applications!
In-Pittsburgh Shabbaton, Shabbat, March 12th.
Sunday Bowling was amazing!
Good job to all who got strikes (whether you had bumpers or not).
Please contact us at [email protected] to RSVP and for more info. 


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.
Giant Eagle Apples for the Students
Do you want to help Hillel Academy? 
Hillel Academy receives bonus points when you sign up. 
Our code is 0454.   

Click here for more information.
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] for a sweatshirt. 
Go Heat!
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]llelpgh.org

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


Boaz Bachrach - Fifth Grade


In this week's parsha, Ki Tisa, we learn how to count the Jewish people. Two questions arise from the act of counting the Jewish people. First, why can't we count by going "1,2,3...?" Second, what would happen if the Jewish people were counted "1,2,3...?" In answering the first question, the meforshim (commentaries) explain that the Jewish people should not be counted like cattle, which are counted "1,2,3..." In answering the second question, we learn that Dovid Hamelech (King David), in Shmuel Bet, counted the Jewish people "1,2,3.." and what resulted was that the Jewish people were punished with plagues. The punishment happened because the pasuk says, "Do it so Hashem does not give you plagues." The story of Dovid Hamelech teaches us the lesson to always look closely and listen to pasukim. Hillel has taught me that you should always listen to the Mitzvos no matter how great and holy you think are. 


Picture Day is Wednesday and Thursday 
(2/22 & 2/23) 

Just a few details:
  • Picture People will take pictures of every student.
  • Parents do not need to order in advance.
  • Proofs will be sent home with an order sheet shortly after pictures are taken.

Hillel Academy and The Jewish Chronicle


Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]


Last week, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Girls High School students, Maia Wiesenfeld, Sara Nimchinsky, and Chasya Cowen traveled to the offices of The Jewish Chronicle. The students' visit was an outgrowth of a project underway at Hillel Academy. Over the past several months, Maia, Sara, and Chasya have worked diligently on various writing assignments with Angela Leibowicz, Community and Web Editor of The Jewish Chronicle. These tasks have resulted in several publications in The Jewish Chronicle. Collectively, this process has enabled the students to enhance their composition skills, while learning more about the journalistic field. Over the next several months, two more articles are scheduled for publication. To see the students' efforts to date, please click "Article 1 in 4-part student series" or "Article 2 in 4-part student series." 


Students Visit Chronicle

Aspiring journalists (from left), Maia Wiesenfeld, Chasya Cowen, and Sara Nimchinsky are seen touring The Jewish Chronicle offices.


Rabbis Attend Conference (in L.A.)   

Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]

Rabbis Weinberg and Sacks, recently returned from the 2011 North American Jewish Day School Conference. Held in Los Angeles, California, this conference welcomed more than

600 leaders of Jewish day schools from across the country. Participants examined issues and approaches regarding day school education, including the changing face and direction of Jewish day schools, efforts to prioritize special education, technology as a means of bettering curricula and classrooms, and maintaining financial sustainability. The theme of this year's conference - The High Performance, High-Tech Jewish Day School of the Very Near Future - underscored how Jewish educational professionals are transforming their individual institutions, and the day school movement itself, into inclusive venues of educational quality and value, utilizing proven, effective and emerging approaches. The North American Jewish Day School Conference is a joint initiative of the Solomon Schechter Day School Association, RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network, the Institute for University-School Partnership at Yeshiva University, and PARDeS: The Progressive Association of Reform Day Schools.


Avrumi and Sammy at Conference

Rabbis Weinberg and Sacks are seen during their keynote address

proudly displaying Hillel gear to the nearly 600 conference attendees.

Interdisciplinarity and Phipps Conservatory 

Rabbi Nimchinsky - [email protected]

On Tu B'Shvat, the 6th and 7th grade girls went on an interdisciplinary field trip to Phipps Conservatory. The focus of the trip was to combine lessons about the agricultural process and agricultural cycles, which are relevant to what is behind Tu B'shvat, and to the sciences of biology and ecology. The girls marveled at the variety of plants brought to the conservatory from all over the world, and were given a unique perspective into Hashem's Ko'ach (ability and might) and His Chessed (loving kindness). Mr. Garwood prepared an amazing Phipps Scavenger Hunt which had the three teams of girls exploring, investigating, and learning, while having fun with their friends at the same time! 

Phipps group

What's everyone looking at?  Your guess is as good as ours.

First Grade Siddur Presentation


Morah Chana - [email protected]


There have been many activities happening inside the first grade Judaic Studies classroom during the past few weeks. If you walked into the classroom, you could sense a feeling of happiness and excitement from the students. There is a good reason for this. The students have been practicing their parts and preparing beautiful songs for their Siddur Presentation. When the students walked into first grade on the first day of school, they knew they had to work very hard to achieve one of the highlights of first grade, receiving their first Siddur (prayer book). They knew they had a big job ahead of them. The students knew they had to continue to learn their letters and vowels on a higher level, master the reading of Hebrew words, and read with accuracy and fluency to receive their Siddurim. These students worked very hard to achieve their goal!

The excitement began the day they took their invitations home to their families for the big day! This was followed by receiving their parts and beginning to learn their songs. The students took a trip to Rabbi Nimchinsky's office to receive their brand new Siddurim. They showed extreme pride and happiness when Rabbi Nimchinsky gave them their Siddurim. You could see it in the expressions on their faces. Many students hugged their Siddurim with fondness. Then they took their Siddurim home to make beautiful covers.

As we got closer to the big day, the class started rehearsing in the Pfeffer Beis Medrash. It was very meaningful to have the program there. The weeks and days went by quickly and excitement grew and grew. As the students brought in their covered Siddurim, their classmates applauded the creativity and beauty of each Siddur.

The long awaited day finally arrived! The students proudly dressed in their beautiful Shabbos clothes and walked into the Pfeffer Beis Medrash as everyone sang Siman Tov U' Mazel Tov to them. The students presented a wonderful program having to do with the words: Siddur, Simcha, and Todah. With big smiles on their faces, the first graders demonstrated how much they had grown and matured. They each showed a sense of pride, happiness, and excitement when they were given their first Siddur. They will always remember this very special day in their lives (I am delighted when a student who is in middle school or high school says to me, "Morah Chana, I remember the day I received my first Siddur!"). The students were attentive and respectful when Rabbi Sacks and Rabbi Nimchinsky congratulated them on this special Simcha. The presentation was followed by a beautiful party with many yummy treats! Morah Chana and Morah Dorsey are very proud of their students and wish them and their parents a heartfelt Mazel Tov. It was a very wonderful day to remember!


First Grade Siddur Presentation

Sidduch - first graders Dalya Kraut and Yitzy Berelowitz are matched with their respective siddurim.


The Legacy of the Navajo


Ms. Oz - [email protected]


The fifth grade girls recently studied the Native Americans of North America. From the Tlingit of Sitka, Alaska, to the Iroquois of New York state, Native American cultures stretched from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans. Their lifestyles were influenced by the local landscape and the natural resources available to them. The Navajo people of the Southwest have been master artists and craft workers for hundreds of years. From materials in their environment, the Navajo made blankets, baskets, pottery, clothing and other useful objects. They also created art for religious purposes. Navajo ceremonies often included the creation of a sand, or dry, painting. The designs are made by sprinkling powdered minerals or plants onto a blanket covered with clean, smooth sand. Each symbol in the design has a meaning. A sand painting can take 15 people and an entire day to complete. As a culminating activity to the Social Studies chapter, the students had an opportunity to choose Native American symbols to create their own sand art. They chose arrows (connote direction, force, movement, power), hands (represent the presence of man, his work, his achievements, and his legacy) buffalo (symbolize sacredness, life builder), and horses (connote stamina, mobility, love, devotion and loyalty). The project allowed the girls to show their creative sides. "It was very fun and exciting to learn about Navajo sand art, said Elisheva Ungar." Ayala Biton agreed, "It was fun and creative and we learned a lot about the Navajo." Liora Nimchinsky claimed, "It's a good way to remember about the Navajo." Shira Nimchinsky explained, "It's very colorful, creative and fun, but it was also a challenge getting the sand into the small areas." Finally, Tikva Goldstein added, "We learned about the Navajos' skill in art and tried it ourselves. It's hard and tricky, but fun at the same time."


Nimchinsky Navajo Art

Hillel Academy: Where culture and creativity come alive.

Interview with Ms. Hartman


Tax season is upon us, and no one knows that better than Reb Shaw. After purchasing tax preparation software, which he attempted to deduct as a business expense, Reb Shaw experienced a nightmarish battle with his computer. After a failed software installation, perhaps due to zombie cookies, super cookies, secure cookies, or Toll House cookies (which mistakenly dropped into the cracks between the keyboard), Reb Shaw watched in horror as the dreaded blue screen of death appeared upon his screen. Refusing to accept that this might be the ultimate end of his trusted G-Chat machine, Reb Shaw passionately disposed of his laptop in an environmentally friendly way. Depressed, dismayed, and disheartened, Reb Shaw aimlessly wandered the halls of Hillel Academy. He longingly looked into the library and watched happy Hillel Academy students enjoying the brand new computers (received by a generous grant, thank you), and said to himself, "Woe is my computer, woe is me." At that moment, Reb Shaw realized that he had still not completed his taxes. Too lethargic to go downstairs, he called Ms. Hartman, Hillel Academy's Financial Manager, from an office phone and began relating this story. Eventually, their conversation developed into an interview, which has been excerpted and provided below for the benefit of our readers:  


Reb Shaw: Hey, Ms. Hartman, thanks so much for speaking with me today. How long have you been working at Hillel Academy?


Ms. Hartman: Since March 2007.


Reb Shaw: Because of your professional responsibilities, and the location of your office, you never see Hillel Academy students. From what you've heard, why are Hillel Academy students the greatest students in the world?


Ms. Hartman: From what I hear they are very proficient in running, tricycle colliding, singing, and moving desks, all great skills that are often overlooked. But rest assured, Hillel students have mastered these tasks and I am sure they will continue to develop into the next generation of great leaders and noise makers.


Reb Shaw: You attended Chatham University, I completed my student teaching there in 2007. My favorite part of Chatham was the fitness center, what was yours?


Ms. Hartman: Oh, I think the best thing at Chatham was the electric 3 hole punch in the library.


Reb Shaw: I forgot about that thing. It's amazing. Next question is a complex mathematical equation (because a financial manager should know these things): Jean is a U.S. citizen living and working in France for all of 2008. She received wages of $150,000, dividends of $10,000 and alimony of $20,000 in 2008. She decides to use the foreign earned income exclusion available to her and file Form 2555. What is the amount of Jean's foreign earned income before any limitations are applied?

Ms. Hartman
: Well, foreign earned income consists of salaries and wages, commissions, bonuses, professional fees, tips, and business profits. Foreign unearned income consists of dividends, interest, capital gains, alimony, pensions, social security benefits, and gambling winnings. Dividends and alimony are not considered to be earned income. Therefore, Jean's foreign earned income, before the maximum 2008 foreign income exclusion of $87,600, is her wages of $150,000. Just remember as of 2006, the remaining wages after her exclusions are calculated will be taxed at the maximum rate and not from the base tax rate of the lowered taxable income.


Reb Shaw: What's the code to make color copies?


Ms. Hartman: Wouldn't you like to know...... Here is a hint, take the year you were born, multiply that by the date, subtract your age then divide it by the number of teachers in the building then you will be close.


Reb Shaw: During a conversation with a prospective parent, which of these words are you more likely to use: takke, shkoiach, or zachin?


Ms. Hartman: Hmmm, not sure what those mean, but I'm sure one has to mean something like please make all checks out to Hillel Academy.


Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): How many hours a day can you find a crossing guard at the corner of Beacon and Murray?


Ms. Hartman: Not enough.


Reb Shaw: As opposed to paper checks, would you rather see payroll distributed through direct deposit or individualized pneumatic tubes like they have in the drive-through line at the bank? 


Ms. Hartman: I really like the swooshing sound those tubes make, so my vote would be for pneumatic tubes sent directly to the main office, direct deposit is just no fun.


Reb Shaw: Your downstairs office windows are about 8 inches by 12 inches. When you travel upstairs to meet with the staff, is the sun exposure trying on your eyes?


Ms. Hartman: I can honestly tell you there are days I have no clue what the weather is like until I leave, more often than not I am unpleasantly surprised.


Reb Shaw: Can I count on you to email this interview to five of your friends?


Ms. Hartman: As we know, using school computers to check and send personal e-mail is against our Internet policy, so at this time, I will give up my chance for fame and notoriety and keep this interview within the Happenings.


Sarah Hartman

Hillel Academy Financial Manager, Sarah Hartman is seen in her tax shelter. 

News and Notes from the Boys High School


Rabbi Weinberg - [email protected]


As part of "Operation Inspire," a davening incentive program underway at the Boys High School, the following students recently won a ski trip: Adir Shimon, Binyamin Skaist, Ben Kohane, Andy Joshowitz, Daniel Kohenbash, Steven Kohane, Daniel Sax, Asher Sohnen, Daniel Hertzberg, Yosef Kohenbash, Jarrod Stefflebeam, and Shimmy Harmon. These boys deserve much credit for their devotion and dedication to our teffilah (prayer) service. 

Separately, over the past few weeks, the following Israeli Yeshivot have visited the Boys High School: Derach Etz Chaim, Ohr Yerushalayim, Lev HaTorah, Shaarei Mevaseret Tzion, and Ohr Dovid. In addition to Netiv Aryeh, who visited before break, and a few other Yeshivot, which we are trying to secure for over the next few months, this doubles our total Yeshiva visits from last year. Thank you to Rabbi Smith for helping to arrange many of these visits.

Hillel Gear Spotted Here

While attending the Super Bowl in Dallas, Texas, Hillel Academy twelfth grader Daniel Sax kept stylishly covered in a Hillel Academy kippah. Though the Steelers failed to achieve their goal, Hillel nation scored another victory in its quest for global sightings. Way to go Daniel!  


Daniel Sax at Superbowl

Even a Hillel Academy kippah could not warm the heart of a disappointed Steelers fan.

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]  


With the warm weather upon us, Hillel Academy students have been more enthusiastic than ever. Check out these great answers in this week's grid.    


Students in the Mix

The company I am most likely to invest in is...

Bring back _____ to Hillel Academy.

When I see a stink bug I...

Issac Brown

4th Grade

Signing Corporation

More Hilllel gear


Leah Joshowitz

5th Grade

A fashion company

No uniform days




5th Grade

Shirt making company

More snow days

I normally bring it outside, and sometimes scream. It really depends on who is teaching.

Nechama Rosenberg

5th Grade

The Paper Shoppe

Snow delays

Hold my nose

Shani Naiditch

5th Grade

Accessory shop

School pets

"Oh no, it's a stink bug!"

Perri Tuchman

3rd Grade

Giant Eagle

An amusement park

Kill it!


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

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  
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.