Hillel Happenings 
Brought to you by Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh  
Outside of Hillel
Happy Purim!   

Hillel Academy

of Pittsburgh


5685 Beacon Street

Pittsburgh, PA


P: (412) 521-8131

F: (412) 521-5150




March 18, 2011


12 Adar 2 5771


Candle Lighting: 7:10 pm


Havdalah: 8:12 pm


 Parshat Tzav


Parshat Zachor



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In This Issue
Eis On Jewish History
Chizuk Corner
Good Grammar Guide
Did You Know
Chinese Food Info
Food Zone
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Help Hillel by Shopping
Apples for Students
Awesome Kippot Available
Mordy Brown Catering
Dvar Torah
Tzitzis Making
Food Pantry and GHS
Read Across America
The Hillel Minute
Interview with Avi Baran Munro
Hillel Grid
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Hillel Academy Video

Dvar Torah

Binyamin Skaist


 What's inside Hillel Academy ninth grader Binyamin Skaist's locker? We have absolutely no idea. What's inside Hillel Academy ninth grader Binyamin Skaist's mind? Torah, lot's of it. See for yourself by reading this week's Dvar Torah.  

Eis on

Jewish History


The story of Purim begins in 3393 (367 BCE), 2378 years ago, and the events in the Megillah occur over a 14 year period.
Chanukah happens 203 years later.


Want more Jewish History?
 Email Rabbi Eisen at 

Chizuk Corner


Through the Hillel Happenings, we try 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.   


Purim helps us realize that Hashem does everything for us. This is why we use the word  Megilla which comes from the term megaleh
(revealing). We read the Megilla to remind ourselves of the great miracles that Hashem did for us during the time of Purim. Similarly, we should be aware of the many miracles that Hashem does for us daily. Thus inspired, we have to do something to show our love for Hashem. We show our love for Hashem by being kind to His children.


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


Please remember that if your normal dismissal arrangements change, please notify the office by noon of that day, by phone or email.

Syntactical Superheroes


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


toward vs. towards

Students are often confused about when to use one or the other. 
Which is correct?
The geese walked toward the lake.
The geese walked towards the lake.

The answer is either one; the two words are interchangeable. In American English, however, it's more common to use "toward," while in British English, it is more common to use "towards." 

This explains why you may see both throughout literature, depending on the origin of the author. However, whichever you choose, be sure to be consistent throughout your writing.


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

Teacher Feature




Reb Shaw's initials are DSS. Avi Baron Munro works at CDS. To find out more intriguing information regarding Pittsburgh's Jewish educators, 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.  
Interested in Writing for the Jewish Chronicle?

Please speak to Mrs. Levari for more details.

[email protected].

Did You Know?   


Mr. Kraut was quoted in this week's edition of The Jewish Chronicle as saying, "We're on a mission from G-d, like the Blues Brothers." 

Chinese Food Available  


Royal Catering has Chinese and American food available on Wednesday, March 23rd. For more details, and a menu, please click, "I am going to order some of Royal Catering's delicious meals." 

Food Zone

March Menu

March Order Form
Quick Links
Mazel Tov

Sari Joshowitz on receiving a scholarship to college from the Carson Scholars Fund (details to follow in an upcoming Hillel Happenings) 


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 

Around Town  

Special learning opportunity at the Kollel on Purim for boys in 1st grade and up. Learning will be from 9:50-10:40 am, following 8:00 Shacharis. Prizes for all attendees. To learn more, and see a great flyer, please click, "This sounds like a great opportunity to learn some Torah on Purim morning. I'm going to the Kollel to take part in this great program." 

Girls Oneg at PZ

Come join us for an hour of Shabbos afternoon fun! Oneg is for girls in Kindergarten through 8th grade at PZ from 3:15 pm to 4:15 pm. Can't wait to see you there!


Snif this week is from 4:30-5:30 pm at Shaare Torah. Hope to see you there!
Great Glow-in-the-Dark Golfing and Purim Mesibah last week!

Tie Dying party for 5-6 grade girls - Sunday April 3, 3:30-5:00 PM at Shaare Torah- $5 members, $7 non members - call Leah Fuhrman at 412-421-3766 for more information.

Art Project + Movie for 2,3,4 grade girls - April 3, 3:30-5:00 PM at the Wiesenfeld home (2525 Beechwood Blvd.) $3 members, $4 non members. Call Maia Wiesenfeld at 412-422-1230 to RSVP!

Awesome Zach boys' activity and Chevraya Bet Fear Factor Night coming up!

As always, please contact [email protected] for more information!


Interested in attending Shira Day Camp this summer? 

If so, click "camp" for an application.

Check out Shira Day Camp's awesome blog
Box Tops 

Our second collection period is coming to an end. Please drop off your  Box Tops in the school office now. We will be finish the tallying process by the end of the month. After a wonderful start in the beginning, our collection is nearing its goal.

As usual, our grand prize will be tickets to Kennywood awarded at the end of the school year. Please label your bundle/envelope/baggie with the last name. We will collect until the end of the year, so please remember to clip and save, and your name will be entered in the raffle. Thank you to every family for contributing to our campaign.

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.

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]

Mrs. Adina Shayowitz
Administrative Assistant
[email protected]

Ms. Sarah Hartman
Finance Manager
[email protected]

Mr. Adam Reinherz
Director of Community Relations
[email protected]

Click here to read the entire Hillel Happenings.

Dvar Torah


Binyamin Skaist - 9th Grade, BHS


In the Megillah, it says that the Jews risked total annihilation. When this occurred, Mordechai understood why Hashem put Esther in the royal palace as queen. Her purpose for being there was to stop this terrible decree from happening, a decree that would end all Judaism, G-d forbid. The events that transpired next are a bit perplexing. Esther decides to throw a party, and invited her nemesis, Haman, to attend. Why would Esther invite her arch enemy, one who wants to kill her, to a royal banquet? Why would she risk her life to validate Haman's quest for power?The Gemara (Talmud), in Tractate Megillah, offers three explanations. First, Esther wanted to know where Haman was at all times. Second, she wanted Haman not to be suspicious of her. And third, she wanted Haman to become overconfident. Through this, we see that Esther's plan was not arbitrary, but a calculated way to keep an eye on her enemy and ultimately bring him down. Esther teaches us how to deal with difficult situations. When we encounter a challenge, often we try to resolve it in the quickest way possible with the least amount of risk involved. Esther shows us that we must act calmly in the face of adversity. We must plan ahead and implement it without fear. As the story shows us, if we do our part and make the best plan possible, Hashem will take care of the rest and make sure that our plan comes to fruition.  

Tying Up Loose Ends


Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]


Last week, Hillel Academy eighth grade boys began a practical unit on hilchos tzitzis (the laws of tzitzis). After studying relevant halachos (laws) in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Rabbi Rosenberg and his students partook in a tzitzis making exercise. Daniel Nimchinsky explained, "It was fun and educational." Dovi Rosenberg added, "It was interactive and taught us skills we need for life." Rabbi Rosenberg was very proud of the students' efforts. When ordering from a tzitzis manufacturer in Brooklyn, New York, each of the students requested (and paid for) the best available components for the project. Upon completing the project, Jordy Kraut remarked, "It was a wool tweet." Jordy then followed his comment with an additional pun, "Even though this project had no strings attached, there were some fringe benefits." Yasher Koach to Rabbi Rosenberg and the Hillel Academy eighth grade boys on this wonderful endeavor.  


Rabbi Rosenberg Tzitzis Making

After a string of unnecessary puns, the project was over.

Trip to Food Pantry


Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]


This week, students from the Hillel Academy Girls High School traveled to the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry to deliver Shaloch Manos (Purim baskets). Thanks to a collaborative effort between the high school girls and the Purim basket committee, over thirty Purim baskets, totaling nearly 500 pounds of food, were donated to the Pantry. After delivering the baskets, the students met with Becky Abrams, Director of the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry, to learn more about the new facilities at the Pantry. While conversing with Mrs. Abrams, the students discovered various changes presently underway at the Pantry. The students' trip was an outgrowth of previous collaborations between the Pantry and Hillel Academy. Earlier in the year, students from the Hillel Academy Girls High School organized a hunger banquet, and invited Mrs. Abrams to discuss issues pertaining to local hunger. Additionally, this trip coincided with curricular units on hilchot tzedaka (the laws of charity) in Rabbi Rosenberg's halacha (Jewish law) class, poverty awareness in Mr. Marcus' history class, and understanding the plight of Japan in Ms. Whyte's social studies class. These classroom lessons, coupled with the trip to the Pantry, provided the students with an excellent educational experience.   


Food Bank

Members of the Hillel Academy Girls High School are seen here with Mrs. Abrams in the newly relocated Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry.


Click here to read the entire Hillel Happenings.

Read Across America 2011


Ms. Oz - [email protected]


Hillel Academy's elementary students are once again pleased to be proud participants in the National Education Association's Read Across America program. This event has become a national book celebration and an opportunity for both silly and serious reading events that drive home the message that children who read achieve more significantly than those who do not. This year's theme is REGAL READERS!


In anticipation of NEA's celebration of reading and books, last week's oneg had a special guest-Sir Ronald of Redding-who reminded everyone that Hillel Academy students will join in the festivities through a wide range of activities including DEAR (drop everything and read), special book reports, and the bookmark contest, just to name a few. (Please click here for complete details regarding the bookmark contest.) The celebration will culminate with our annual Book Blast on Wednesday, April 6th. Students are encouraged to bring slippers and book-related costumes to wear for the Book Blast. We are looking forward to another outstanding group of surprise readers. Who will they be? We will have to wait to find out!


Grades K-6 introduced Read Across America with a tribute to Dr. Seuss by honoring his birthday on March 2nd with a variety of activities geared specifically to each grade level: 


  • The kindergarten featured readings of Horton Hears a WhoSneetches (Mrs. Heidish brought in her Sneetch), and Mrs. Heidish's all time favorite, The Lorax! The students really enjoyed talking about rhyming! 
  • The first graders made red and white Cat in the Hat hats and proudly wore them throughout the day. 
  • Second graders listened to the story The Cat in the Hat and sang the "Happy Birthday" song for Dr. Seuss. They also made an edible art project of decorated cookies resembling the Cat in the Hat. 
  • Third graders read And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street. Afterward there was a discussion of what the children see on their way home from school. Then they each wrote sentences about what they see, ending each sentence with "...and to think that I saw it on __________ Street." Students then completed a Dr. Seuss maze. 
  • Fourth graders sang the "Happy Birthday" song for Dr. Seuss, took a survey of everyone's favorite Seuss book, and read a book from the beginner book series, Are You My Mother?, which is NOT a Dr. Seuss book but is often mistaken for one by many people! They also used the smartboard to visit www.seussville.com to play some interactive and fun learning games. 
  • The fifth grade girls sang the "Happy Birthday" song for Dr. Seuss, also took a survey of everyone's favorite Seuss book, played a few rounds of 'Seussaphone'-a knock-off of the old telephone game with a Seuss twist, and also visited www.seussville.com
  • Grade five and six boys enjoyed a surprise "stop, drop and read" session in honor of Dr. Seuss. 
  • The sixth grade girls read some Dr. Seuss books and continued their ongoing poetry unit which will include students writing a fun, nonsense poem. Everyone had a great time!
The Hillel Minute

With each section of the Hillel Happenings, we try to convey the excitement and energy that fills the classrooms and hallways of Hillel Academy. While we all know that Hillel Academy is the greatest school in the world, there are certain aspects of Hillel Academy that we are much less familiar with. In this section, titled "The Hillel Minute," we present a minute long video dedicated to a particular aspect of Hillel Academy. The objective of "The Hillel Minute" is to provide our readers/viewers an opportunity to enjoyably learn more about one component of Hillel Academy. If you would like to see something featured in an upcoming "Hillel Minute," please email us at [email protected]
Hillel Minute (GHS Production3).wmv

Click above to learn more about the GHS Production

Interview with Avi Baran Munro, Ed.M.


In the spirit of Purim, Reb Shaw decided to mix things up with this week's conversation. As opposed to interviewing one of Hillel Academy's talented teachers, Reb Shaw decided to broaden the pool of prospective interviewees to include members of other Pittsburgh Jewish Day Schools. While Yeshiva Schools respectfully declined Reb Shaw's request for an interview, Avi Baran Munro, legendary Pittsburgh Jewish educator and Head of School at Community Day School, graciously complied. Over the course of their conversation, Reb Shaw and Mrs. Munro discussed Purim costumes, day school collaborations, and CDS and Hillel Gear. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of this conversation have been reproduced below:  


Reb Shaw: Hey, Mrs. Munro, thanks so much for meeting with me. How long have you been working at Community Day School?

Mrs. Munro: This is my 7th year as Head of School. I was at the school in other capacities for six years in the early nineties. Nineteen nineties that is. Yes, I am that old.


Reb Shaw: Where did you receive your professional training? 


Mrs. Munro: My mother was an early childhood educator and was my best teacher. I attended a Solomon Schechter Day School for nine years in New York. Then I went to Brown University, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and UC San Diego for my professional training. But, I do have to say, I learned the most about education from my mother, my own children, and the hundreds of educators, parents, and kids I've known through my time with Community Day School!


Reb Shaw: Purim is rapidly approaching. Any hints as to your costume this year? 


Mrs. Munro: I was going to dress up as Rabbi Avrumi Sacks, but I can't sing or play piano, so I am still on the fence.


Reb Shaw: I don't know about you, but I often use my Purim baskets as a means of cleaning out for Pesach. If you happen to get a box of spaghetti, a can of frosting, and a half a quart of Rita's, please don't take it personally. To avoid any disappointment, if you had to chose from the items in my kitchen, what would stock your ideal Purim basket? 


Mrs. Munro: I am getting very anxious trying to imagine what else is in your kitchen.


Reb Shaw: Community Day School's basketball uniforms are blue and gold, while Hillel Academy's are blue and white. Which ones are we more likely to spot in the Style and Fashion section of the Post-Gazette? 


Mrs. Munro: Our Community Day School Lions uniforms, hands down, definitely. We take "pride" in sporting the Lion's share of stylish clothes. Puns intended.


Reb Shaw: Recent collaboration between the three day schools has been received positively by the community. Where do you foresee the relationship between the day schools headed? 


Mrs. Munro: Only in the right direction. We are learning a lot from one another and share a true passion for the same goal: Jews that can shoot hoops, obviously. Oh, and of course, lots of other things.


Reb Shaw: If I gathered the eighth grade classes at Community Day School, Hillel Academy, and Yeshiva for a competitive game of Jewish geography, who would win?  


Mrs. Munro: Because I know the education the students receive at all our day schools is superior, it would be too close to call.


Reb Shaw: When I was privileged to work at Community Day School, they called me "Rebbe." At Hillel Academy, they call me "Reb." I'm nervous to get a new job because my title keeps diminishing, any advice?  


Mrs. Munro: Just go with the flow; after all, "A rose by any other name..."


Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): How many combined slides exist within the Community Day School and Hillel Academy playgrounds? 


Mrs. Munro: Because I am doing this at the very last minute before deadline, I will guess five.


Reb Shaw: The official statistics from last week's faculty/student basketball game at Community Day School record you with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 steals in 16 minutes of play. As Athletic Director at Hillel Academy, I can easily detect raw talent. Any chance you'd be willing to run a summer clinic for our varsity team?  

Mrs. Munro: Unfortunately, I'll be participating in the Steel Man Marathon this summer. Perhaps next year?

Avi and Dan

Board Disclaimers: Reb Shaw and Mr. Reinherz put us up to this.

On behalf of the entire Hillel Happenings readership and staff, thank you to Mrs. Munro for generously sharing her time, expertise, and sense of humor with us all.  

Is there a lot of white space underneath the grid? Are you reading the Hillel Happenings in Gmail? You might not be receiving all of the Hillel Happenings? 
The Hillel Grid

This week, in the spirit of Purim, Reb Shaw looked beyond the hallways of Hillel Academy to find out what's on the mind of local Jewish leaders. Thank you to all of our distinguished participants for sharing their time with the Hillel Happenings.  

People in the Mix

Hillel Academy is...My Purim costume is...My favorite hamentashen is...

Dan Berkowitz, Owner of Sweet Tammy's Bakery

a critical institution for the long term success of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community....Support it strongly!
a delivery driver for Sweet Tammy's
a toss-up between apricot and poppyseed, but definitely NOT prune

Jeff Finkelstein, President & CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

is developing the future leaders of our Jewish people
not wearing a suit and tieis an apple, soft dough hamantaschen like I used to have growing up in Boston

Aryeh Sherman, President & CEO of JFCS

a great blessing to our children and our community
a hippy
peanut butter

Shlomo Perlman,

Owner of Pinskers

a great place to go to school!

my Pirate hat

Ari Guttman,

Owner of Milky Way & Royal Catering
a home away from home for our childrena successful businesses owner in Pittsburghcherry

 Do you want to see someone/something featured in an upcoming grid? Email Reb Shaw at [email protected] and let him know.
Hillel Gear Spotted Here

On a recent trip to Baltimore, Maryland, Hillel Academy CEO, Mr. Kraut, was seen loitering outside of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Though still two weeks away from opening day, Mr. Kraut remained fashionably dressed in a Hillel Academy Alumni Basketball Game t-shirt. Way to go Mr. Kraut! 
Mr. Kraut at Oriole Park

At Oriole Park, you can find kosher food, minyanim, and now Hillel Gear.

 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 Academy Pittsburgh 2010

Click above to learn more about Hillel Academy

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Camp Shira Flyer

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