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




March 25, 2011


19 Adar 2 5771


Candle Lighting: 7:18 pm


Havdalah: 8:19 pm


 Parshat Shemini


Parshat Parah

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In This Issue
Eis On Jewish History
Chizuk Corner
Good Grammar Guide
Kosher Food for Pesach Available
Furniture Repair
Did You Know
Food Zone
Pre-K Newsletter
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Box Tops
Help Hillel by Shopping
Apples for Students
Awesome Kippot Available
Mordy Brown Catering
Dvar Torah
Purim and the Nursery
2nd Grade and Nutrition
The Hillel Minute
Interview with Ms. Oz
Hillel Grid
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Hillel Academy Video

Dvar Torah

Rachel Wiesenfeld

 Are you looking to brighten your day? Do you need something to lighten your life? Are you reading this on a Kindle? Whether you answered yes or no to any of the above questions, Hillel Academy 12th Grader, Rachel Wiesenfeld, while highlighting the parsha, can illumine your understanding of Parshat Shemini. See for yourself by reading this week's Dvar Torah.  

Eis on

Jewish History


True or False: 

The State of Israel is the first independent Jewish country in 2000 years?

From the 700s to the 900s, a powerful Jewish kingdom known as Khazaria existed in the Caucasus and Central Asian regions of the former Soviet Union. Government officials were required to be Jewish!


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 has passed and we have the feeling of friendship with one another. Now is a good time to concentrate on V'ahavta L'reyachach Kamocha
(love your neighbor as yourself). One way of doing this is to follow Rebbe Akiva's teaching, "What you dislike don't do to others." Unity is what brings our redemption. Let us carry on the friendship of Purim in this manner and bring our redemption a bit closer.


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: 


insure vs. ensure

The difference between the use of the words insure and ensure can be very subtle. The main difference is that you insure something to be prepared in case something bad happens, while you talk about taking steps to

ensure that something will (or won't) happen.


For example:  




your house against water and fire damage, but you put snacks in your car to


that you will have something to eat if you get stuck in traffic.


The valuables are


The government


the safety of the troops during the airlift.


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

Teacher Feature




Last year, Ms. Oz wore a Cat in the Hat hat to mark the beginning of Book Blast. For the same event, Reb Shaw grew a mustache to look like the Lorax. To find out more fascinating details regarding Hillel Academy's talented faculty, please read this week's interview. 

Hillel Academy in the News


Hillel Students in the Library  

This week, Hillel Academy 10th Grader, Sara Nimchinsky, authored an article about students and technology in The Jewish Chronicle. Click "Hillel Academy students are the best" to see the article. 

Kosher for Pesach Food Available 

Creative Kosher Catering has delicious kosher food available for Pesach. To see a menu, please click, "two orders of cookies, but hold the chametz."

Furniture Repair   


 Are you looking for a convenient way to repair your furniture? How about if someone repaired your furniture right in your own home? Does this sound good? Well then, click, "The experts at Traveling Chair Repair are going to fix my furniture while I wait at home." Otherwise, you could call Shraga Lowenstein at 347-268-8289, send an email to [email protected], or visit a cool blog at http://t-c-repair.blogspot.com/    

Did You Know?   


 The entry code to the front door has been changed. Please buzz in at all times.

More Reminders  


 U turns in front of the building are a No No and potentially very dangerous. 


Please turn in your picture forms to the office..

Food Zone

April Menu

April Order Form
Pre-K Newsletter

 Page 1

 Page 2
Quick Links
Mazel Tov

Rabbi Ari and Mrs. Rachel Goldberg on the birth of a daughter


Mr. James and Mrs. Linda Joshowitz on the bat mitzvah of their daughter Leah


Mrs. Yetta Joshowitz on the bat mitzvah of her granddaughter Leah


Ms. Leah Joshowitz on her bat mitzvah


Dr. Michael and Mrs. Atara Kentor on the upcoming marriage of their daughter Ruth to Elli Himelstein


Ms. Ruth Kentor on her upcoming marriage to Elli Himelstein


Mr. Dave and Mrs. Amy Ratchkauskas on the bar mitzvah of their son Yoni


Mr. Yoni Ratchkauskas on his bar mitzvah


Refuah Shleima 


Mrs. Marcia Zlochower


Masha bas Sarah Itka


Mr. Jeff Peters




Rachel Rosenstein on the passing of her father 


Would you like to share something with the Hillel Academy family? 

If so, please email us at 

Around Town  

Haggadah Seminar at Poale Zedeck: Astound your friends and family at the Seder this year with fascinating insights into the Haggadah! Rabbi Yolkut will give you the tools that you need to understand the Haggadah like never before!  Sundays March 27, April 3 and April 10 at 9:30 AM


Children at the Seder: A Pesach Practicum. Learn both the halakhic requirements for children at the seder and a variety of strategies and games to keep your children and grandchildren engaged in the Seder.   Monday 

MARCH 28, 8:15 PM

Kashering Seminar

- Please submit your Pesach questions by Thursday, March 28to 

 [email protected] 

to have them addressed at this refresher course on preparing for Pesach! ---Monday April 4 at 8:15 PM

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 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]

Would you like to read all of the Hillel Happenings? 

If so, please click here. 

Dvar Torah


Rachel Wiesenfeld - 12th Grade, GHS


"The sons of Aaron, Nadav and Avihu, each took his fire pan, placed fire on it, and then incense on it. They offered it before G-d, an unauthorized fire which G-d had not instructed them to offer. A fire came down from before G-d and consumed them, and they died before G-d."

Shemini 10:1-2 


Rashi quotes R' Eliezer saying that the two men died because they made a halachic (legal) decision themselves in the presence of Moshe, their teacher. They did not hear the entire ruling that when bringing sacrifices it was necessary to bring a human fire in addition to the fire sent down by G-d. Although Nadav and Avihu ruled correctly and brought an additional fire, they should have consulted Moshe before acting. We learn from here about the inappropriateness of making halachic decisions on one's own in the presence of one's teachers without consulting them. Other commentaries disagree. They say that Nadav and Avihu did hear and understand the entire ruling about bringing a mortal fire; however, they simply applied it inappropriately. Since they did not consult Moshe, they did not realize that on this day of anointing the Mishkan (Tabernacle), it was fitting for only G-d's fire to be brought down, so that His greatness is shown publicly, and not accompanied by any man made effort. At Hillel Academy, students are taught from a very young age to treat others, especially teachers, with Derech Eretz (respect). We learn not to correct or contradict our teachers in a disrespectful way, especially in front of other people. By following this basic tenet of showing respect for our elders and teachers, we can be sure not to make the same mistakes as Aaron's sons.   


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

Purim and the Nursery


Morah Leah - [email protected]


Prior to Purim, the Nursery had been very busy preparing. The children worked with their 6th grade buddies to create puppets for a puppet theater. They made a puppet for Queen Esther, Vashti, King Achashverosh, Haman, Mordechai, and a horse. They even decorated a picture of Shushan. The puppets were used every day to reenact the story of Purim. Through this, the children became familiar with all the characters of the story. Additionally, the children had a wonderful time dressing up as the Purim characters and taking photos to recreate the story of the Megillah. Each child created a colored copy of his/her own Megillah starring him/her. They also decorated a fun Megillah holder. In addition, the students enjoyed making a bulletin board for Purim. They dressed up a large person cut-out in a costume that they would like to dress up as on Purim. Of course, it just wouldn't be Purim without a graggar! The children painted tin cans that we turned into tzedakah box graggars! Now, they can do two mitzvot at the same time! Finally, the children enjoyed making masks and crowns, singing and learning Purim songs and vocabulary, and dancing with the whole school on Rosh Chodesh!


Leah Brown Nursery Purim

Members of the Hillel Academy royal family are pictured above.


Mr. Kraut Testifies


Reb Shaw - [email protected] 


This week, the Democratic House Policy Committee held a hearing at the University of Pittsburgh regarding SB.1 - the legislation that would increase EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit) to $100 million as well as create a low income scholarship program for students in failing districts. The OU submitted written testimony, and Hillel Academy CEO Daniel Kraut, offered oral testimony as well.  You can access both on the IPA homepage by clicking here.  

High School Student Wins Scholarship 

Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]


This week, Hillel Academy 11th Grader, Sari Joshowitz, received an award from the Carson Scholars Fund. As one of six hundred "Carson Scholars" from around the country, Sari will receive a $1,000 college scholarship and medal celebrating this accomplishment. Recipients of the Carson Scholars Award are determined based upon academic excellence and community service. When informed of the award, Rabbi Avrumi Sacks, Principal and Educational Director of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, said, "All of Hillel Academy is very proud of Sari's accomplishments. We wish her much hatzlacha in her future pursuits." Mrs. Yikara Levari, Girls High School Administrator, added, "Sari is a deserving recipient of this award. This is great news for Sari, her family, and all of Hillel Academy." In addition to Sari's prizes, Hillel Academy will receive a trophy from the Carson Scholars Fund marking this accomplishment.  


Sari and R' Sacks

Rabbi Sacks and Sari Joshowitz are seen here smiling upon receiving the great news. 

On behalf of the Hillel Academy Purim Basket Committee, 


We would like to thank the army of volunteers who made the Purim Basket fundraiser such a success! Thank you to the people who made it all possible:


Deenie Greenberger, Rachel Goldberg, Shira Hazon, Yael Henteleff, Miriam Ingber, Rose Joshowitz, Efrat Kagan, Maxine Kisilinsky, Gayle Kraut, Faygie Marizan, Chaya Gitty Morgan, Gladys Margolis, Meira Sacks, Jackie Sax, Chani Schwartz, Yardena Smith, and Naomi Wiesen, and Ronit Wiesenfeld.


In addition to the volunteers, we could not have done it without our superb Hillel Academy staff - special thank you to Mrs. Aronson, Mr. Davis, Ms. Glazer, Ms. Hartman, Rabbi Nimchinsky, Mr. Reinherz, and Mrs. Shayowitz.


Thanks to all of you,

Aviva Klein and Stefanie Small

Second Graders and Nutrition


Morah Chana - [email protected]


The second graders have been studying a unit on nutrition. This week, we visited Mr. Garwood in his lab. He spoke to us about the food pyramid and the healthy foods that we should eat. He also described different foods which have sugar. Mr. Garwood said that there are different kinds of sugars. For example, the sugar in an apple gives us energy. Candy gives us a lot of sugar, but it is not very healthful. To demonstrate how much sugar and energy is derived from candy, Mr. Garwood did an experiment with a gummy bear. He put a solution in a tube and heated it. Then he put the gummy bear in the tube. It was awesome to see how the gummy bear melted, and exciting to see all of the smoke come out of the tube! We found out just how much energy comes out of one gummy bear! The students had a wonderful time. As a special treat, the students were able to pet Zule, Hillel Academy's pet lizard, on their way out of the science lab. 


Mr. Garwood Science Lab

There have to be safer ways to heat your lunch.

Girls High School Production and JAA


Mrs. Levari - [email protected]


Last week, students from the Hillel Academy Girls High School traveled to the Charles M. Morris Nursing & Rehab Center for a special presentation. The students performed excerpts from their recent production of The Wizard of Oz. The performance was met with great applause and appreciation from the nearly 100 attending residents. Yasher Koach to the girls and thank you to the JAA for facilitating this program.


JAA Production

Hillel Academy students are celebrities whether in costume or uniform.


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Is there a lot of white space underneath this box? Are you reading the Hillel Happenings in Gmail? You might not be receiving all of the Hillel Happenings?
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 (The Library).wmv

Click above to learn more about the Hillel Academy Library

Interview with Ms. Oz 


This week, Reb Shaw returned to the readers with a simple request, "Who should we interview?" Well, you responded and we reacted. Per your request, Reb Shaw sat down Ms. Debbie Oz for a candid discussion on all things Hillel Academy. Over the course of their conversation, the two discussed building renovations, the villainous Bowser, and stylish vests. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of this conversation have been reproduced below:   


Reb Shaw: Hey, Ms. Oz, thanks so much for meeting with me today. First question, how long have you been working at Hillel Academy? 


Ms. Oz: I've worked at Hillel for 21 glorious years.


Reb Shaw: That's great. What classes do you teach? 


Ms. Oz: I teach 4th grade and the 5th grade girls. Both are wonderful!


Reb Shaw: Where did you complete your educational training? 


Ms. Oz: Complete??? A teacher NEVER completes their educational training! I did, however, complete my 'formal' training at Southern Illinois University.


Reb Shaw: Fair enough, would you be willing to trade offices? 


Ms. Oz: Absolutely, just as soon as the third floor executive suites are finished I will be happy to 'move up'.


Reb Shaw: You've attended numerous in-services throughout the years. What's the recipe for a great in-service? 


Ms. Oz: A topic that teachers are interested in and can apply to the classroom.


Reb Shaw: How have Google Docs changed your life? 


Ms. Oz: They have simplified life in many ways, while also complicating it.


Reb Shaw: Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros. video game. Do I strike you as more of a Goomba or Koopa Troopa?   


Ms. Oz: Umm....I'm not familiar with video games unless we go WAY back to....PONG!


Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): When was the Squirrel Hill Baseball Association's Weather Policy last updated? 


Ms. Oz: May 18th, 2008. (I looked it up on their website!)


Reb Shaw: Can we talk about how you offered me $50 for the neon vest that I wear during dismissal? 


Ms. Oz: That was a one-time-only offer when it was brand new! If I recall, you said you wouldn't part with it any cost! It makes you 'cool.'


Reb Shaw: What can we expect from the upcoming Hillel Academy Book Blast? 


Ms. Oz: Students can expect another spectacular experience with another round of surprise guest readers. We're counting down the days!


Ms. Oz with Student

Ms. Oz is seen with a member of the Hillel Academy fifth grade in the Hillel Academy Library, studying music (a special at Hillel Academy) with a SMART Board (one of many at Hillel Academy).


The Hillel Grid

Everyone wants to be a part of the Hillel Grid. After last week's grid featuring distinguished Pittsburgh Jewish professionals, Hillel Academy teachers wanted back in the mix.  

Teachers in the MixWhen I was in school...When I grow up...Mr. Kraut ...
Mrs. Brookman
We didn't have snow days; we had heat days.I want to be a student at Hillel Academy.Should have worn a sign that says "sauer" for Purim.
Ms. Oz
4th and 5G
I lived in the shadow of my older brother. Everyone knew Michael (for better or worse!!!) and I was never sure if I should 'fess up' when someone asked, "Are  you Michael's sister?"
I want to own huge greenhouses filled with all my favorite plants where I can invite school students to explore horticulture in a fun environment. (Admission will be free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Is still waiting for his back-massaging chair pad.
Mrs. Greenberger
We didn't have school on Shushan Purim!
I'll wear a color other than black!
Is sending his daughter to Shira Day Camp, you should too!!!!
Morah Chana
1st and 2nd  
My classes were in a house where the playground is today! I want to be an assistant traffic controller!A very hard worker, but please give the Steelers a break!
Mrs. Morris
The closets had doors and they locked! Just ask my cousin...I want to be a librarian!Would have loved my father!
Mrs. Lederer
Elementary, I went home for lunch every day.I want to own a bakery.Is Hillel's fix-it man.

 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

After months of collaboration between Hillel Academy, Yeshiva Schools, Community Day School, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, an ad campaign promoting the Pittsburgh Jewish Day Schools was released. One byproduct of these efforts was the giant billboard on the corner of Murray and Forward. It's a great sign, but can you spot the Hillel Gear?

Shaw with Hillel Gear at Billboard

We tip our caps to Hillel nation.

 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

Haggadah Flyer Kollel

Camp Shira Flyer

Camp 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.