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 8, 2011


4 Nisan 5771


Candle Lighting: 7:32 pm


Havdalah: 8:33 pm


 Parshat Metzorah

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In This Issue
Eis On Jewish History
Chizuk Corner
Food and Non-Alcoholic Wine Expert
Owning Up
Kosher Food for Pesach Available
Furniture Repair
Did You Know
Hillel Gear Spring Line
Food Zone
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Box Tops
Help Hillel by Shopping
Awesome Kippot Available
Mordy Brown Catering
The Hillel Minute
3rd Grade Solar System
6th Grade Gemara
Interview with Rabbi Berelowitz
Hillel Grid
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Hillel Academy Video

Dvar Torah


Chasya Cowen

At Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, cleanliness is key. Twelfth grader Chasya Cowen understands this, as well as the notions of cleanliness and purity as mentioned in Parshat Metzorah. Would you like to learn more about an important concept in the Torah? Well, read this week's Dvar Torah. 

Eis on

Jewish History


Did Rashi and Rambam ever meet?

Rashi passed away in 1105 and Rambam was born in 1135.

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.   


We are approaching the holiday of Pesach - Zman Cheirusainu - the holiday of our freedom. The greatest freedom is the ability to learn Torah daily. This is truly the best deal ever. The Vilna Goan teaches us that we fulfill a mitzvah with every word of Torah we learn. Think about that, 60-100 words a minute = 60-100 mitzvahs a minute.
Celebrate your freedom by giving yourself an hour of Torah learning daily.  Good Shabbos.


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:

The difference between hanged and hung:

For centuries, hanged and hung were used interchangeably as the past participle of hang. Most contemporary usage guides insist that hanged, not hung, should be used when referring to executions: convicted killers are hanged; posters and pictures are hung.

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

Es Gezunterheyt!



As a special addition to the Hillel Happenings, we are pleased to feature the discriminating palate of fifth grader Boaz Bachrach. For the past several weeks, Boaz has been consuming Shaloch Manot, in an effort to help clean for Pesach. Reflecting on this task, Boaz shares with us his candid review of hamantaschen:


I know from experience that around this time of year, everyone is trying to finish up all of their Shaloch Manot. Inevitably, there are a lot of hamantaschen to be eaten. I admit that I love all hamantashen, but if I had to choose, I would choose raspberry; however, two close seconds are peanut butter (sometimes with jelly in it) and cheerio.

Teacher Feature




  Rabbi Berelowitz grew up in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. 

On a recent trip to Borough Park, Reb Shaw competed in a stick ball tournament. 

To learn more about the fascinating lives of Hillel Academy's talented 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. 

Owning Up


Last week, in an article describing music at Hillel Academy, we erred while describing reeds. Single reeds do have mouthpieces. Sorry for any confusion.

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?   


The 8th Grade Hillel Academy Pre-Peasch Interior Car Cleaning will take place at Hillel Academy on Monday and Wednesday, April 11th and 13th, from 4:30 - 7:00 pm.  

New Spring Line of Hillel Gear Available
Shira Day Camp


Yay! An extra week of day camp! Shira Day Camp is adding the week of June 27th - July 1st, making 7 weeks of awesomeness!!
There's only a few days left to vote on a t-shirt color on the SDC blog:


What was your favorite part of Shira Day Camp 2010?

Rachel Luzer - Color War!

Rachel Cohen - Balloon day!

Elisheva Unger - Color War!

Chana Kaminsky - Reily's Summer Seat Farm!

Nechama Rodkin - Kennywood!

Elisheva Rosenberg - Swimming!

More Reminders  


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


Last call for picture orders will be Wednesday, April 13th.

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

Mrs. Shirley Dorsey on being selected as an Unsung Jewish Hero - more details to follow in the next Hillel Happenings

Mrs. Marjory Skaist on the engagement of her son Avi to Aidel Gross

Mr. David and Mrs. Beverly Brinn on the engagement of their daughter, Louisa, to Rick Schindelheim


Mr. Daniel Shapira on the loss of his father-in-law, Mr. Cuddy Briskin 

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

If so, please email us at 

Around Town  

Mr. Sid Silverman, a long time Hillel Academy volunteer, will be honored together with his wife, Gerry, at the Poale Zedeck Annual Dinner. Besides reading to Pre-K students once a week, Mr. Silverman brings the children treats for Rosh Chodesh and Yom Tov.

 If you would like to place an ad in the journal to be presented at the dinner, please contact Poale Zedeck at

412-421-9786 or [email protected] or Cynthia Abrams at 412-421-9017.

 If you would like to participate in a group greeting or ad from Hillel Academy parents honoring Mr. Silverman,

please contact Cynthia Abrams at 412-421-9017. 

The deadline for these ads is April 13.

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

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 Event: 
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].

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]  

If you are reading this in Gmail then you may not be receiving the entire Hillel Happenings.

Click here to read the entire  

Hillel Happenings.

Dvar Torah


Chasya Cowen - 12th Grade, GHS


This week's parsha, Parshat Metzorah, speaks about the process the Kohen Gadol goes through to purify the Metzorah, a person who has gotten over Tzaraas (a disfigurative condition). The parsha maintains that the person must wash himself, shave his hair, and clean his clothes. He then must bring a series of offerings. Tzaraas is not, however limited to humans, but can also afflict a home. The Kohen is supposed to check a home for Tzaraas and if there is a reddish-brown coloring on the walls, then he should close the home for seven days. He then must check the home again and if it is the same at the end of the week, it should remain untouched for another seven days. If the Kohen comes back and sees that the walls are completely taken over by Tzaraas, then he should take down the bricks, plaster, and anything inside the home and dispose of it outside the city. New stones should be brought in and if the Tzaraas does not come back again, then the house undergoes a similar process to the unclean Metzorah, to make it pure.

This process is symbolic of our struggles, our failures, and the chance we have to become pure again. It is important to know that just like Tzaraas can spread, so can the influence of Gashmius (materialism). When a person does even one Aveira (sin), it can make them prone to do more and more Aveiras until it becomes a part of them. Just like the home had Tzaraas and was completely destroyed and separated from the city, so should our bad habits and Aveiros be completely taken out of our existence. The home and the person, as we can see, can undergo a cleansing process and the same goes for us today. Even if we make a mistake, Hashem always gives us a second chance. By having the Kohen purify the person, it teaches every Jew to always give his fellow Jew the time of day. No matter how far a person may stray, there is always the chance to come back. Let us be mindful of our actions, so that the influence of the Aveira won't spread and overtake us. Neither should it spread to the external, the home, as well. May we all merit to see the coming of Moshiach, the ultimate second chance, today.
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 are largely unknown. 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 h[email protected]

Hillel Minute Rosh Chodesh Lunch.wmv

Click above to learn more about Rosh Chodesh Lunch at Hillel Academy
Watch them here or visit us online at www.hillelpgh.org 



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

Third Grade Sees the World and Solar System (in the Library and in Class)


Mrs. Lederer - [email protected]


The Third Grade worked with Ms. Morris in the library researching information about the various planets. The students constructed two solar systems, since we had two kits which contained styrofoam balls of various sizes. Each student painted the "planets" according to the facts that had been researched. Then, we placed the planets in "orbit" around the sun. With the help of Mr. Davis, we hung the solar systems from the ceiling in our room. Everyone then shared their facts about each planet with the class. We discussed the length of a day, month, or year on the various planets, their colors, and the reasons for their colors, the high and low temperatures on different planets, their distances from the sun, and many more facts. Thus, we concluded that Earth is the best place for humans to live. Finally, we learned one of several mnemonics for the order of the nine planets according to their distance from the sun - My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Now that the scientists have decided not to include Pluto as a planet, a new sentence will have to be formulated. Everyone enjoyed this project.


Solar System

Heliocentric or Geocentric? It depends if the fan is on.


Read This  

For the seventh time this year, members of the Hillel Academy Boys High School have published their award winning newspaper, The Hillel Herald.
Complete with articles on nuclear science, the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry, genetics, and zebrafish, this incredible read will provide you with essential information, as well as a great interview and fascinating Dvar Torah.
Click here to read issue seven of The Hillel Herald.
Letter to Parents from Mrs. Z

Mrs. Zlochower - [email protected] 

As you know, I have recently returned to Hillel Academy after a three-month absence.  I have almost completed my third week back in second grade.  All the students in second grade have helped me come back.  They do acts of kindness for me every day, and this has made it so easy and wonderful to get back in the groove of teaching.  Let me give you a few examples.  Right now I walk up and down the stairs slowly.  Even though the second graders are very eager to go downstairs for recess they patiently wait until I get downstairs (or upstairs) safely.  This makes me feel very special and also very safe.  They are always eager to get something for me, whether it is my cane, a tissue or a book. The second graders are displaying a high degree of chessed, kindness.  Parents, I know you are very proud of your children.  They have wonderful middot.


I want to add that all the Hillel students, no matter what their grade are being very helpful to me.  They all wait patiently for me to go up and down the stairs, they open doors for me, smile, and make me feel so welcome.  Hillel students have great middot (qualities) and a wonderful understanding of Derech Eretz (respect)!


Mrs. Z with 2nd Grade

Welcome back Mrs. Z!

Click here to read the entire 

Hillel Happenings

Epic Book Drive

Ms. Morris - [email protected]

Hillel Academy has joined EPIC BOOK DRIVE in its endeavor to restock New Orleans School Libraries destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. We hope with your help to collect 50 boxes of books by May 15, 2011. Books must be suitable for age 12 and above. Please do not send in encyclopedias. The school donating the most boxes will receive $1000 for its school library. Think of us when doing your Pesach cleaning!


Moshe Luzer in the Library

Hillel Academy fifth grader Moshe Luzer is seen in the beautiful 

Hillel Academy Library creating a poster for the Epic Book Drive.

Ms. Morris would like you to know that the Hillel Academy Library Wish List 

is now online:


Click here for a link to our Pinsker's Wish List


Click here for a link to our Amazon.com Wish List  


Bonnie Morris 


Is there a lot of white space underneath this box? Are you reading this in Gmail?  

You might not be receiving the entire Hillel Happenings.  

Click here to remedy the problem.

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 suchas shells and jean skirts.

Wednesday, April 13, from 6-9pm.

5871 Solway St.

If you cannot come on April 13th, 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.

6th Grade Gemara Update 


Mike Sohnen - 6th Grade


The purpose of my article is not only to let our readers know the halachos (laws), but to understand the Mishna for later reference.


In 6th grade Gemara class, we are learning the second Mishna of  Eilu Meitzios. The first case is Peiros B'clei, or fruits in a basket. Unlike scattered fruits, you must return fruits in a basket. This same principle applies to the second case, Maos B'kis (money in a wallet). Unlike scattered money, you must return money in a wallet. The third case describes three coins stacked up on top of each other. This is not considered scattered money, because of the way it is piled. It goes along with piles of fruit or money which you also have to return. Another case is bundles of wheat in a place few people go. You must return these. The next case concerns loaves of a homeowner. Unlike loaves of a baker, you must return loaves of a homeowner. This case was also used in a past argument about Siman Asuy Lidarais, or a distinguishing sign that will soon be destroyed, between Rava and Rabba. Their argument goes as follows, "A loaf of a homeowner will get destroyed, yet you still have to return it. Therefore, a siman that is going to be destroyed is still a good siman." This is the opinion of Rava. However Rabba points out, "People do not pass by food without picking it up, so it is not a case of Siman Asuy Lidarais, and thereby not a proof." Next to last, are sheerings of wool from a craft worker's shop. Unlike raw sheerings of wool, you must return these. Finally, there are barrels of wine and oil. These too must be returned. All of these items, if found, must be returned to their rightful owner. Why? Because they all have a siman, or distinguishing sign.  

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Interview with Rabbi Berelowitz


This week, Reb Shaw sat down with the driving force behind Hillel Academy Boys High School's successful Mishmar Program, Rabbi Shlomo Berelowitz. Over the course of their conversation, Reb Shaw and Rabbi Berelowitz discussed zumba, kosher for pesach products at Costco, and the incredible institution known as Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of this conversation are provided below:  


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

Rabbi Berelowitz: Six months, since the Night Seder program began.

Reb Shaw: Where do you foresee your talmidim (students) ten years from now?

Rabbi Berelowitz: As role models, contributing to their communities.

Reb Shaw: Gemara (Talmud) is the backbone of the Jewish people. Which sugya (section) is most relevant to today's students?  

Rabbi Berelowitz: Pick one! One of my goals as a teacher is to make every sugya relevant.

Reb Shaw: What do you miss most during sefirah?

Rabbi Berelowitz: Obviously the music, with apologies to the Maccabeats.

Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): Which Squirrel Hill coffee shops have adjacent parking lots?

Rabbi Berelowitz: I could tell you where to get an ice cold Dr. Pepper, not so much a hot coffee.

Reb Shaw: In many circles, it is customary to receive shiraim(leftover portions) from your rebbe. During Rosh Chodesh lunch, I tried to eat the crust off of your pizza. You didn't seem pleased; what's the deal?  

Rabbi Berelowitz: Sorry, the only shiraim I'm familiar with are the ones served in my house every Sunday night.

Reb Shaw: How has Mishmar made the Boys High School a better place?

Rabbi Berelowitz: Well, actually, it's transformed the JCC! You can get Zumba, karate, and night seder all under one roof. Seriously, chazal (our sages) tell us about the special power of learning Torah at night. Boys who start their day learning and end it with voluntary learning at night, show a serious commitment to their personal growth.

Reb Shaw: I remember when there were only three products available for Pesach: macaroons, coffee and mouthwash/toothpaste. What's your take on the prepared Pesach food available at Costco?

Rabbi Berelowitz: I grew up in a house where we didn't buy anything - we squeezed our own orange juice! So you won't see me searching the isles of Costco for Pesach hot dog buns or bacon bits.

Reb Shaw: What makes Hillel Academy so special?

Rabbi Berelowitz: Amazing dedicated teachers, and special students (especially ones in Pre-K, first grade, and third grade). 

Rabbi Berelowitz

Rabbi Berelowitz is seen in the gorgeous 

Hillel Academy Lobby.


The Hillel Grid

This week, The Hillel Happenings staff sat down with students from Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh (who are of course the brightest, wittiest, talented students in the world). Take a look at what our students have to say. 

Students in the MixI clean for Pesach by... I once found chometz in...Baseball season has begun and ....

Chana Yolkut

2nd Grade

watching the kidsa book (because I love to read)I couldn't care less
Avigdor Felder
6th Grade
staying out of the waybehind the TVI want to run the bases at PNC Park
Michael Sohnen
6th Grade
clearing out my candy drawermy pianoI should get cable TV
Ayala Biton 5th Grademy mother's rulesmy couchwe've been trying
Liora Nimchinsky 5th Gradecleaing off the tablesmy bedgo Bucs!

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

While venturing down Murray Avenue, Hillel Happenings readers discovered a Hillel Academy kippah on noted Squirrel Hill Celebrity, Alan, of Alan's Pet's and Plants. Way to go Alan! 

Alan Plant Shed Hillel Gear

There are two ways to avoid danger: 

1) Wear a Hillel Academy kippah; 2) Don't play with snakes.

  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.