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




April 1, 2011


26 Adar 2 5771


Candle Lighting: 7:25 pm


Havdalah: 8:26 pm


 Parshat Tazria


Parshat HaChodesh

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In This Issue
Eis On Jewish History
Chizuk Corner
The Grill
Kosher Food for Pesach Available
Furniture Repair
Did You Know
Food Zone
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Box Tops
Help Hillel by Shopping
Awesome Kippot Available
Mordy Brown Catering
Dvar Torah
Bremen and Hillel
Shushan Purim at Hillel
Rabbi Yolkut and Hillel
Hillel Gear: Spring Line
Music at Hillel
The Hillel Minute
Interview with Morah Devorah
Hillel Grid
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Hillel Academy Video

Dvar Torah

Sossie Brown

  Always one to spell check, Hillel Academy twelfth grader, Sossie Brown understands the power of language. Similarly, she has a great message regarding loshon hara (gossip). See for yourself by reading this week's Dvar Torah.  

Eis on

Jewish History


Pinchas (Paul-Ludwig) Hirschfeld, an Orthodox Jew, served in the German Army during WWII. He received the following military awards:

The Wound Badge, War Merit Cross 2nd Class With Swords, and the Sharpshooter Badge.

Pinchas used his position to secretly save Jews as best as he could. His entire family was killed during the Holocaust.

(Taken from the book, 
Hitler's Jewish Soldiers.)

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.   


Regarding the topic of   V'ahavta L'reyachacha Kamocha (love your neighbor as yourself), the classical musar sefer Yesod Va'shoresh Ha'avodah teaches us that this mitzvah (commandment) can be done at any time and any place, even twenty-four hours a day. By just being happy for someone's good fortune or empathizing with their problem, we can fulfill this mitzvah. Let us be good business men for mitzvos and reap in this mitzvah 24/7.


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

Teacher Feature


Tiger Hug  


Morah Devorah loves to give students mitzvah hugs. Reb Shaw once hugged a tiger. For more on Hillel Academy's exceptional faculty, please read this week's interview. 

Hillel Academy in the News


Hillel Students in the Library  

Last 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. 

New Kosher  



Beginning April 7th, all of Pittsburgh will be going to The Grill. This is not Aaron and Ari's Grill. The Grill is a new kosher restaurant, located next door to Milky Way and will serve items such as shwarma salad and Chinese food. From April 7th until Pesach,  The Grill will be open from 4 pm for dinner hours. On Sunday, April 17th, The Grill will be open all day. Come taste for yourself; it's going to be delicious.

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?   


During the month of March, nearly 1300 unique visitors (individuals) checked out www.hillelpgh.org.  

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..

Help Hillel  


Cleaning out your house for Pesach? Hillel Academy would love to help. Please donate new items to Hillel Academy's Silent Auction. It is never too early to donate, and now is a great time to get it out of your house.  Please bring your tax deductible donations to Hillel Academy. 

Don't have the time, or need an item picked up in the Pittsburgh area?  Please contact Aviva Kelsey at 412-421-5589.  Thank you in advance for your support!
Food Zone

April Menu

April Order Form
Quick Links
Mazel Tov

Rabbi & Mrs. Kamensky on the marriage of their daughter Rivkah to Ari Kaplan 


Dr. Yosef and Mrs. Haia Zipris on the engagement of their daughter Esther


Ms. Batya Moses on her engagement to Rabbi Schemuel van Messel, of Washington Heights, NY

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

If so, please email us at 

Around Town  

Pre-Pesach Car Wash at Hillel Academy on April 10th. Bring your car, get it cleaned, support Hillel Academy - what could be better?

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, 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!


Bnei Akiva Special Snif - 4:30-5:30 pm at Shaare Torah,

featuring guests from Israel!
Click here to see a flyer explaining more details.
Chevraya Bet Seudat Shlishit as well, 6-7:20 @ Bnot Sherut's
Upcoming Events: Tie-Dying for 5-6 grade girls, Sun. April 3, 3:30 @
Shaare Torah.
Art Project & Movie, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade girls, Sun. April 3, 3:30 @ Wiesenfelds.
Pre-Pesach Scavenger Hunt, Fri. April 15. Zach Pizza Night TBA.
Please contact

 [email protected]

 for more information or to RSVP!


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.

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 All of the Hillel Happenings

Dvar Torah


Sossie Brown - 11th Grade, GHS 


"Remember what the Lord, your G-d, did to Miriam on the way when you left Egypt"                                                                                (Deuteronomy 24:9)   
This week's Parsha, Parshat Tazria, talks about the intricate laws
of tzaraas (an affliction of human skin, garments, and houses). Tzaraas afflicted people as a consequence of having spoken Loshon Hara (gossip). We are reminded that even a righteous person such as Miriam contracted tzora'as as a result of speaking Loshon Hara about her brother Moses. Though her intentions were not to harm her brother in any way, she still had to suffer the consequences of her actions. The following story illustrates the widespread effects of Loshon Hara


A story is told about a woman who spoke Loshon Hara and wanted to do teshuva (repentance). The woman went to the Rav and asked him what she could do to take it back. The Rav told her to cut open a feather pillow and let the feathers go in the town square. She then returned to the Rav who told her to go back and retrieve every feather that she had released. The woman told the Rav that it would be impossible to collect all of the feathers because they had flown away. The Rav told the woman that just like all of the feathers were gone and irretrievable, once she had let them go, the same applies to Loshon Hara.

Once you speak Loshon Hara, your words are out there and you are not able to get them back. Seeing the detrimental effects of Loshon Hara, I am thankful that in my Halacha (Jewish Law) class with Rabbi Rosenberg we have learned all of the subtle nuances of the laws of Loshon Hara. The real test is trying to apply what we have learned to daily life. 


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

Bremen Comes to Hillel Academy


Ms. Morris - [email protected]


If you happened to pass our library during the Second Grade's class this week, you would have been treated to a wonderful sight and sound! The students performed the play, "The Bremen Town Musicians." Everyone recited his/her part loud and clear and enjoyed singing the song, "Off I Go to Bremen Town" with much enthusiasm! They even expressed a desire to do it in front of a larger audience! Noah Luzer said, "There were a lot of funny parts in the play." Rivki Grossberg added, "I liked the different places where the animals slept." Mendy Morgan remarked, "I liked being a robber." Chana Yolkut summed it up, "I cock-a-doodle-do think it was fun." Watch for The Second Grade Players coming soon to a location near you!


Students in Library
Happy students fill the hallways, classrooms, and library of Hillel Academy.
Shushan Purim for the Ages

Rabbi Weinberg - [email protected]

Last Friday afternoon started with a cryptic announcement after shacha'arit. The students were told that instead of last period we were to go to the Hillel lab for a special presentation by a renowned nuclear physicist who was going to speak about the crisis in Japan. I didn't know his name, what he was going to speak about, or why it needed to be in the lab. All I knew was that he was on a tight schedule, we couldn't be late, and his name had a lot of consonants and very few vowels. Upon our arrival to the lab the middle school boys were also on their way to lab for a presentation about science fair. Uh oh! A schedule conflict, what shall we do? After a fabricated argument between Rabbi Weinberg and Mr. Garwood, followed by an even more heated argument between Rabbi Weinberg and Mr. Kraut, we informed the students that it was color war! Spontaneous misha nichnas Adar dancing erupted as a sense of joy filled the lab. The teams where Purim vs. Chanukah and the Captains were Seniors Adir Shimon and Daniel Sax.

Color War continued Motzei Shabbat with Olympiada and relay races in the Hillel Gym. Team Purim took an early lead, but Chanukah was soon to close the gap. Color War continued with a beautiful shacha'arit and a gala breakfast in the Hillel main building Monday morning. The students then went to the JCC for shuirim and team meetings. As soon as the teams assigned roles for students, the competitions began. Competitions included, basketball, kickball, bracha bee, spelling bee, gaga, a science competition, an apache race, a team banner, song, and dance and many more. This was a great way for our high school and middle students to build bonds and work together in a fun and educational way. We are excited about having more collaborative programs in the future.  

Special for Hillel Parents and Staff Only: 


An evening of shopping that yields great fashion finds for you and a donation to Hillel Academy for every purchase.

Come and see Ensemble's new spring separates as well as year round favorites such

as shells and jean skirts.

Wednesday, April 13, from 6-9pm.

5871 Solway St.

If you cannot come on April 13th and make another appointment, remind us that you came to support Hillel Academy and your total will be added to the donation that we make to the school.

Any questions, please call
Leslie Itskowitz, Rina Itskowitz, or Amy Cohn at 412-422-8244.

Click Here to Read All of the Hillel Happenings

Inspiring Remarks for an Inspiring Seder


Mrs. Levari - [email protected]


This week, Rabbi Daniel Yolkut, Rabbi of Congregation Poale Zedeck, delivered a shiur (lecture) to students of the Hillel Academy Girls High School entitled, "Grabbing Matzos - What are We Really Supposed to Be Doing at the Seder?" Rabbi Yolkut began by asking the students to create shopping lists of items that would be found at a seder. Two lists were created; one list included halachic (legal) items, and the other list included optional items. Many girls included candy in the optional list; however, Rabbi Yolkut explained that candy is not actually optional at a seder. In fact, there is a halacha (law) in the Mishna Berura that children should be given nuts and seeds (aka, candy) at the seder. The reason for this is that by providing children with candy, it is easier for them to stay awake, interested, and positively associate with Pesach. Leah Fuhrman (12th Grade, GHS) explained that it is nice to "associate Pesach with something sweet." Rabbi Yolkut added, "We need to think strategically about the mitzvos we do so leading a Jewish observant lifestyle doesn't become too routine."  Rabbi Yolkut concluded the shiur by listing games and activities that could be built into the seder to foster positive association, while inspiring questions and participation in the upcoming seder.



Rabbi Yolkut

Rabbi Yolkut is seen answering questions in the Pfeffer Beis Medrash at Hillel Academy.

More Hillel Gear Available


Reb Shaw - [email protected]


A new Spring Line of Hillel Gear will be available soon. Pre-order your Hillel Gear today. These shirts can be worn during gym class. The text on the shirt will read, "Property of Hillel Academy EST. 1948." T-shirts cost $12. Baseball T's cost $14. Contact the office at 412-521-8131 for more details. 



Music at Hillel Academy



This week, as part of the ongoing music program at Hillel Academy, Ms. Oz introduced students to various instruments within the orchestra.  They are currently studying the woodwind family. While studying woodwinds, the class was excited by the visit of Hillel's own multi-talented Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg who played his clarinet for the students. In addition, under Rabbi Rosenberg's guidance, the class took apart the clarinet and examined the reeds. They discovered that single and double reeds do not have mouthpieces, and that glass makes the best mouthpiece.  Rabbi Rosenberg also explained that the clarinet is like a complicated recorder featuring an upper, middle, and lower register of range. Finally, the students listened as he played some live music, such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb," "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," (and the most requested), "Chicken Dance" were enjoyed by all. 


Rabbi Rosenberg

Rabbi Rosenberg plays a sampling from his Grammy winning album.


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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 Color War2 HD

Click above to learn more about Color War at Hillel Academy

Watch them here or visit us online at www.hillelpgh.org 







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Interview with Morah Devorah 


Following your requests, this week, Reb Shaw journeyed down the hallways of the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center to interview Morah Devorah, nursery teacher extraordinaire. While waiting for Morah Devorah to arrive, Reb Shaw began rummaging through the various supplies in the nursery room. Always a lover of fine art, Reb Shaw decided to recreate the Mona Lisa's infamous stare while using colored construction paper, Elmer's Glue, and a pair of plastic googly eyes. Though impressed at his creation, Reb Shaw quickly restored the art supplies to their original state upon hearing Morah Devorah's arrival. Though fine art was never covered in the interview, Morah Devorah shared much on songs, tigers, and Hebrew and English literacy in the nursery. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of this conversation have been provided below: 


Reb Shaw: Hey, Morah Devorah, thanks so much for meeting with me. How long have you been working at Hillel Academy?


Morah Devorah: I stopped counting after twenty years.


Reb Shaw: Fair enough, but what's your favorite part of the day?


Morah Devorah: Walking to school. I can honestly say I walk to school each day smiling because I cannot wait to see my students.


Reb Shaw: Alright, but what's a better side dish: applesauce or a cup of peaches?


Morah Devorah: They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away,, so until I find out what a peach a day will keep away, I will stick to my applesauce.


Reb Shaw: Is it better to be a parent or employee at Hillel Academy? 


Morah Devorah: I feel like I am a parent to hundreds of kids here in Pittsburgh, so I would have to say a parent.


Reb Shaw: What steps are taken to promote early literacy in the nursery?


Morah Devorah: Sshh, don't tell the children....They think they are just playing, but throughout the day we are learning. Singing songs, rhyming games, and reading stories are just the beginning of what we  do. There are "A B C" puzzles, Aleph Bet magnets, "A B C" trains, Aleph Bet cookie cutters, "A B C" sand molds and so much more. We have also created a print rich environment in Hebrew and in English. But to me, what is most important is getting down on each child's level and letting each child have plenty of time to talk and to be heard. The children's words are often quoted and written down on their art work, graphs, and experience charts. We write stories together and make them into books. I am not sure who is having more fun, me or the kids, but I do know that we are all learning so much.


Reb Shaw: How do you respond when a child says, "I am a tiger today?" 


Morah Devorah: RRRooooaaaaaarrrrrrrr


Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): At 2345 Murray Avenue there is a public mural, titled "All In A Day," depicting various Squirrel Hill Scenes. What year did artists Monique Luck & Leslie Ansley paint this mural?


Morah Devorah: I would say it was  five or six years ago, but I wish they would have asked my Nursery class to make it. I could have shown them what really happens all in a day.


Reb Shaw: SMART boards and Google Docs have taken over the school. Not that we would, but would you rather see classrooms with overhead projectors or students using slide rules?


Morah Devorah: I prefer crayons and markers, but I might add that I would love to have a light table in my classroom (hint hint...).


Morah Devorah with Rami

Thanks to Reb Shaw, Morah Devorah is seen here with one of Hillel Academy's amazing students.


The Hillel Grid

After visiting with distinguished Jewish professionals throughout our city, and then following up with Hillel's talented faculty, The Hillel Grid finally returns to the minds who matter most: Hillel Academy students. This week, Reb Shaw caught up with members of the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. Find out more about America's greatest students by reading this week's grid.  

Students in the MixWho do you pretend to be during the day?Could you be the next Rabbi Sacks?What's the best part of Hillel?
Shalvah CohenA princessYesThat we eat snack
Jacob PerlmanA kingYesSnack with friends
Dovid Tzvi BlalockAn elephantYesGoing downstairs (to the Gross Motor Room)
Shayna WeissQueen EstherYesPlaying on the computer, playing games.
Matan HazonGoing to schoolYesFireman
Kayla WeinbergFrogYesCandy
Dov GelmanLionYesPlaying
 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

During a recent basketball game, lots of Hillel Gear was spotted at the Winchester Thurston Gymnasium. Way to go Middle School Boys Basketball Team!
Middle School Boys Basketball Team

Forget about March Madness. This is where the game is at.

  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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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.