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




May 20, 2011


16 Iyyar 5771


Candle Lighting: 8:15 pm


Havdalah: 9:16 pm


 Parshat Bechukotai

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In This Issue
Chizuk Corner
Syntactical Superheroes
Article Headline
Did You Know
Food Zone
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Dvar Torah
Torah U'Mesorah Convention
The Hillel Minute
Science Fair
Food Zone
Hillel Grid

Dvar Torah


 Boaz Bachrach


Hillel Academy fifth grader Boaz Bachrach is seen studying his Wordly Wise. Want more proof of Boaz's tremendous vocabulary (and immense Torah knowledge), then read this week's Dvar Torah.

Eis on

Jewish History


Ever since the First Bais HaMikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed in 422 BCE, there has never been a majority of the total Jewish population living in the Land of Israel. Currently, 5.8 million Jews out of a total Jewish population of 15 million live there - approximately 40%.

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.   


The Sephardic Gadol, Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul, once encouraged a disheartened school bus driver by telling him that he drives a portable Aron Hakodesh with living sifrei Torahs. Children are our "living sefrei Torahs" to be valued as such, and cherished as such.  This motivates us to raise them on "Tahara Hakodesh," with a holy and pure education and environment at all times.


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:

Using apostrophes that indicate possession


To form the possessive case of a singular noun, add an apostrophe and an s. 


eg. a boy's cap or the baby's toy


To form the possessive of a plural noun not ending in s, add an apostrophe and an s.  


eg. mice's tracks or children's games


To form the possessive of a plural noun ending in s, add only the apostrophe. 


eg. cats' basket or the Carsons' bungalow


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

Teacher Feature



 Mrs. Z loves a good murder mystery. Reb Shaw was runner-up in the 1997 Western Pennsylvanian Clue Tournament. To find out more about Hillel Academy's talented teachers, please read this week's interview. 

Hillel Academy in the News


Hillel Students in the Library  

Recently, 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. 

Did You Know?   


Fire truck #18 (the one that would service Hillel Academy in the event of an emergency) is a quint (both a pumper and a ladder). Most trucks are one or the other.  

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. 

Help Hillel  


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

May Menu

May Order Form
Quick Links
Mazel Tov

Dr. Yehuda and Mrs. Ali Tuchman on the birth of a son

Dr. Jason and Mrs. Lisa Brookman on the birth of a daughter

Dr. Ziv Bar-Joseph on his completion of the Pittsburgh Marathon with a time of 2:52. He should be zoche for many more

Refuah Shleima

Mrs. Jackie Stein - Yetta Dina bas Rivka

Fayth Aronson - Faygie Devorah bas Shulamit

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

If so, please email us at 

Around Town  

Community Wide Lag B'Omer Carnival and Bonfire at Community Day School on Sunday, May 22nd from 12-3 pm. Everyone is invited to attend. There will also be a parade starting at the corner of Yeshiva Schools, at 11 am, on the corner of Wightman and Hobart. Everyone is also invited to attend.

NCSY Lag B'Omer Bonfire at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh on Motzei Shabbos, May 21st, at 10:00 pm. Food will be available for purchase.

Women and girls are invited to join Israeli dancing at Hillel Academy. The costs are $3 for adults and $1 student. Beginners are welcome. Classes do not meet every week - please email pittsburgh.israeli.dance
for more information.


NCSY Spring Regional Convention is for grades 8-12, and will occur May 27th-30th. For more information please visit www.ncsyce.com

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 Shabbat is at 4:30 at Shaare Torah!
Upcoming movie nights for Chevraya Aleph Boys and Girls!


Interested in attending Shira Day Camp this summer? 

If so, click "camp" for an application.

Check out Shira Day Camp's awesome blog

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]  

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Dvar Torah


Boaz Bachrach - 5th Grade

This Sunday is Lag B'Omer,the 33rd day of the Omer. The question arises, "What are we celebrating?" I have three possible answers to this question. One answer is that the 33rd day of the Omer marks the time when the plague of Rabbi Akiva's students ended. The second answer is that we are remembering Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochay's yahrtzeit (the day of his passing). But isn't a yahrtzeit sad? This brings us to the third answer; however, we must first backtrack to a machlokes (argument) between Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochay. The argument was about whether one should only learn Torah or should one be concerned with maintaining a living. On Lag Ba'omer we are celebrating our full respect of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochay's teachings and philosophies because he unveiled these teachings on Lag Ba'omer. Here at Hillel Academy, we will join the other two day schools in the community to celebrate with a parade and bonfire. This shows achudus brotherhood, which is ultimately what what Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochay would want. I hope to see you all there.  Have a wonderful Shabbos and a happy Lag Ba'omer!

Experiences at Torah U'Mesorah    


Rabbi Sacks - [email protected]

I recently returned from the 55th Annual Torah U'Mesorah Convention. This four day national leadership conference featured numerous fascinating seminars on a wide range of contemporary issues affecting our schools in general and the education of our children in specific. It was an incredible experience to be in the presence of, and hear divrei torah and perspectives on contemporary issues, from some of the leading roshei hayeshiva of our time. Being able to share these experiences with colleagues and old friends, and especially getting the chance to meet Reb Shmuel Kamenetsky in person after having spoken with him numerous times over the past two years about issues relating to our school community, was an incredible privilege. A special thank you to Hillel Academy's long time friend, Rabbi Nosson Adlin, for arranging this meeting. I look forward to sharing further details about this wonderful experience at a future date.    

Rabbi Sacks and Rabbi Adlin

Rabbi Sacks and Rabbi Brodie

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 [email protected] . 

Meet the Mayor.wmv

Click above to learn more about 

Hillel Academy meeting the mayor. 

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.

Science Fair Invitation(s)


Mr. Garwood - [email protected]


The Hillel Academy Science Fair will occur next week, on 

Thursday, May 26th, from 6:30-7:30 pm. All family, friends, and community members are invited to the evening open house. At that time, we will view the students' projects and present awards. I'd also like to invite any interested community member to be a judge for the Fair. We can always use more judges. If someone is available for help, on Thursday afternoon on the 26th, please contact me by e-mail at [email protected]. Thanks for your support. 

Click here to read the entire    Hillel Happenings

Second Grade Explores the Dictionary


Ms. Morris - [email protected]


As part of their journey through the Dewey Decimal System, second graders explored The Dorling Kindersley Children's Illustrated Dictionary, this week in library class. They looked up nouns and verbs, wrote the definition, and used the word in a sentence.  Some students illustrated their work.  Shown here are "Angles" by Shira Weisenfeld and "Chess" by Yosef Karelfsky.Shira Wiesenfeld Angles


 Yosef Karalefsky Chess


Award for Hillel Academy Senior 


Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]


Benjamin Kohane, a graduating senior at Hillel Academy, has been named one of approximately 560 semi-finalists in the 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The semi-finalists were selected from more than 3,000 candidates on the basis of superior achievements, leadership qualities, personal character, and involvement in community and school activities. Semi-finalists were chosen by a panel of distinguished educators after a review of students' essays, self-assessments, descriptions of activities, school recommendations, and school transcripts. Mazel Tov to Benjamin and his family on this wonderful accomplishment.

Click here to read the entire    Hillel Happenings

Intramural Floor Hockey League Update

Boaz Bachrach - 5th Grade

Week three began this past Tuesday with a match-up of the undefeated teams, the Fairy Princesses verses the Bobcats. Anticipation was in the air as fans packed in to the gym (hockey court). The Bobcats were one man short for most of the game because of a doctor's appointment, yet they still pulled off, what seemed to be an easy victory. It started very close. The Fairy Princesses scored on a power play to take an early lead 1-0. But not to be deterred, Jacob Wiesenfeld and Moshe Dovid Luzer went on a 6-0 run. The Fairies went on a last minute charge by pulling their goalie, but came up short thanks to a brick wall named Ben Ungar. The final score, 6-1. The 3 stars of the game were: Ben Ungar  for outstanding goal play, Moshe Dovid for netting his 10th goal of the season, and Jacob for his outstanding all around play. Congratulation to Bobcats for winning the regular season.

The second game of week 3, played this past Thursday, was a game not to be missed! It was the battle of the beaten. Both teams were energetic. The stakes were high. The loser would play the mighty Bobcats (who earned the number one seed in the playoffs) in round 1 of the playoffs. Everyone was excited, even Mrs. Oz. Fans packed the gym. It started off 1-0 in favor of Fountain of Youth with a Tovia Jacobs goal. But his brother Evan (7th grade) came right back and scored. Going into the 3rd it was 2-1 Thunderbolts. Captain Yaacov Posin of the Thunderbolts scored to give his team some breathing room. In an attempt to rally his troops, the captain of  Fountain of Youth pulled his goalie. Posin took full advantage of an open net to bang one home sealing the deal and ensuring his team a #3 seed on the playoffs. Final score 4-1 Thunderbolts. The 3 stars of the game were: Boaz Bachrach( hint), Yitzchak Grossberg, and Yaacov Posin. See you in the Playoffs!

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Interview with Mrs. Z. 


For months, Hillel Happenings readers have requested an interview with legendary Hillel Academy instructor, Mrs. Z. Graciously, this past week, Mrs. Z. met up with Reb Shaw for what proved to be an enlightening discourse on matters ranging from knitting to raincoats and even Hillel Academy. Over the course of their discussion, much was learned, and Reb Shaw developed an even greater respect for one of Hillel Academy's favorite people. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of this conversation have been reproduced below: 


Reb Shaw: Hey, Mrs. Z., thank you so much for meeting up with me today. First question, how long have you been working at Hillel Academy?


Mrs. Z.: This is my nineteenth year at Hillel Academy. Can you believe it?


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


Mrs. Z.: Right now I am teaching second and fourth grades. However, in my many happy years at Hillel I have taught every grade, from first grade through twelfth grade. In fact, some years I went from teaching a high school class to a first grade class - I never understood why the first graders were so short.


Reb Shaw: What accident jokes are off limits?  


Mrs. Z.: Have you heard about Sam?  He was run over by a truck - broke his glasses and everything.


Reb Shaw: Over the past fifteen years, you've withstood blows from both a Nissan Pathfinder and a Toyota Tundra. You're obviously built of steel. In a head-to-head match, who would win: You or the Terminator?  


Mrs. Z.:  Obviously I would win - the Terminator has not had my experience in surviving freak accidents.


Reb Shaw: This year, Hillel Academy introduced intramural hockey and a hiking club. Which non-combative sport would you like to see offered next, competitive crocheting or tag-team Jenga?  


Mrs. Z.: I love crocheting and knitting. Would a competition consist of speed, neatness, or beauty of the finished product? That sounds like a nice competitive sport. The reason I didn't choose Jenga is because I am always the one to knock down the tower.


Reb Shaw: In a paper-less school, what use is there for staplers?


Mrs. Z.: There is no obvious use for staplers, but they serve a purpose in causing minor injuries and requiring a trip to the office for band-aids.


Reb Shaw: Fine, but why are most raincoats yellow?  


Mrs. Z.: The obvious reason, the peshat, is because yellow is easily visible on a cloudy day. I think a deeper meaning is that yellow, a happy color, cheers people up on a rainy day.


Reb Shaw: Squirrel Hill trivia (because our readers love this stuff): If I was walking from Hillel Academy to Get-Go (on the corner of Forward and Murray), how many cobblestone streets could I potentially pass?  


Mrs. Z.: I think the answer is two - Phillips and Nicholson.  Walk carefully on cobblestone streets - they get very slippery in the rain.


Reb Shaw: What would you like to see featured during the next professional development in-service?  


Mrs. Z.: Now this is a serious answer - I would love to see schoolwide Chumash learning standards developed, similar to the new Pennsylvania standards.


Reb Shaw: With the school year coming to a close, what message do you have for your departing students?   


Mrs. Z.: Have a happy and healthy summer and please spend some time learning Torah. We want you to come back in September with all the skills you gained over this past year.


Mrs. Z.

Mrs. Z. is seen preparing for class at one of the teacher workstations in the newly renovated Hillel Academy Library.



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The Hillel Grid

This week, The Hillel Grid took a look at the recent visit to the Mayor. The students and chaperone had much to say about this great trip. See for yourself.  

People in the Mix

Why did you want to meet the mayor?

What were you most impressed by?

What political figure do you want to meet with next?

Ben Kohane


To learn leadership skills from a young successful leader

His warm welcome and calm attitude

I already met Fetterman (Mayor of Braddock) and now Ravenstahl (Mayor of Pittsburgh), so maybe Bloomberg (Mayor of New York)

Jacob Wiesenfeld


To ask him questions and to learn about his office

I can't decide between the conference room and his office

The Prime minister of Canada

Sari Joshowitz


Not so many kids can actually say they have met their mayor, and I thought it would be an amazing experience. I also thought I could represent Hillel in a manner that would influence the mayor to fight for educational funding

The mayor's ability to think fast on his feet

The mayor of Munchkin City

Maia Wiesenfeld


I like American Civics and I thought meeting the mayor would be an interesting experience

The fact that the mayor took time out of his busy schedule to meet with us and share his knowledge

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

Reb Shaw

Rebbe/Athletic Director

Because I am inspired by successful people

His friendliness and willingness to do The Hillel Minute

Art Rooney  

   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

On a recent trip to the Scholastic Book Fairs Warehouse Sale in Homestead, PA, Eytan Ratchkauskas braved the cumbersome air conditioning with a stylish Hillel Academy sweatshirt. Joining Eytan was Hillel Academy's own Librarian, Ms. Morris. Way to go Etyan!  
Eytan and Ms. Morris

Eytan stays cool by staying warm.

  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.

Pittsburgh Jewish Day Schools Flyer  

YI Flyer

8 Over 80 Flyer



 Science Fair Flyer

Mordy Brown Subs Your Way 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.