Hillel Happenings Logo

Official E-Newsletter Text


Hillel Academy

of Pittsburgh


5685 Beacon Street

Pittsburgh, PA


P: (412) 521-8131

F: (412) 521-5150




September 9, 2011


10 Elul 5771


Candle Lighting: 7:23 pm


Havdalah: 8:21 pm


 Parshat Ki Teitzei

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Great Things to Read in this Week's Hillel Happenings:
Eis On Jewish History
Chizuk Corner
Hillel Gear Fall Line
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Awesome Kippot Available
Mordy Brown Catering
Dvar Torah
Letter From CEO
Gilad Shalit and Hillel Academy
Pre-Nursery News
Nursery Science
Sherut Leumi Update
7th Grade Gemara
After School Fun
Sounds of the Nursery
GHS Orientation
Strategically Speaking
The Hillel Minute
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Hillel Academy Dinner Video
Eis On Jewish History


Charlemagne the Great, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, wanted to establish a Torah community in his empire. He requested that the ruler of Babylon send him a great Torah scholar to jump start a community. The Babylonian ruler sent Rabbi Machir to France, and this was the beginning of Europe as a great Torah center. It's fascinating that a non-Jewish ruler would want Jews to be observant and Torah scholars!

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.   


Chessed (kindness) may be a small act of the doer, but it is so meaningful to the recipient. Moav did not not offer aid to their cousins, Bnei Yisroel, and consequently were forever banned from entering Bnei Yisroel.  This judgment was reached because Moav demonstrated a lack of an elementary character trait-kindness. During the month of Elul, it is certainly an opportune time to intensify and increase our acts of kindness.

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

New Line of Hillel Gear Available

More Reminders  


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

 Click here to read the entire Hillel Happenings 

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!
Quick Links
Mazel Tov

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


Ms. Louisa Brinn on her marriage to Mr. Rick Schindelheim 


Mr. Dovid and Mrs. Rebecca Knoll on the birth of their daughter Ayelet


Dr. Michael and Mrs. Atara Kentor on the birth of their granddaughter Ayelet 

Refuah Shleima

Fayth Aronson - Faygie Devorah bas Shulamit


Mr. Norman Tabachnick on the loss of his brother

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

If so, please email us at 

Around Town  

If you are new in town, we would like to include you in the 2012 edition of the Jewish Women's League Community Directory. Please contact Judy Mendelson:  
[email protected] or 412-521-6498. Similarly, if you are running a G'Mach we will gladly list your service in the 2012 edition of the Jewish Women's League Community Directory. Please contact Judy Mendelson for more details.

Get abuse is a growing problem in the Orthodox Jewish community. On Sunday evening (September, 11th) learn how to prevent this abuse. See flyer below for more details. 
The Hillel Minute 

You know that you want to see The Hillel Minute. Keep scrolling, it's all the way at the bottom (you might have to click one of those red boxes to open the whole email). 

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.

Box Tops for Education


Welcome back to school! Thank you to everyone for all you do to help our school. Together we can earn the much needed cash for our PTAO.

Now we have to gear up for a traditional campaign with the grand prize of tickets to Kennywood awarded at the end of the school year. If you would like your name to be entered in the raffle, please label your bundle/envelope/baggie with the last name. In the past we've received a lot of unsigned Box Tops. Remember that for our winter/spring campaign, every name is entered in the raffle.

Thank you to every family that is contributing.

Click here to read the entire Hillel Happenings 

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

Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction, Grades K-12 

[email protected]


Rabbi Sam Weinberg

Assistant Principal

Grades 7-12 Boys and Girls

[email protected]


Rabbi Dov Nimchinsky

Judaic Studies and Educational Program Coordinator

Grades 1-6

[email protected]


Mrs. Yikara Levari 

Mashgicha Ruchanit

Grades 7-12 Girls

[email protected]


Rabbi Yisroel Smith

Masgiach Ruchani 

Boys High School

[email protected] 


Mrs. Phyllis Harris

 Director of Special Services

Grades K-12

 [email protected]


Mrs. Barbara Chotiner

Early Childhood Coordinator

[email protected]


Reb Danny Shaw

Coordinator of Athletics and Student Life 

[email protected] 


 Mrs. Selma Aronson

 Executive Administrator

 [email protected]


Ms. Hadar Glazer
Administrative Assistant
[email protected]

Mrs. Adina Shayowitz
Administrative Assistant
[email protected]

Mrs. Chevi Rubin

 Administrative Assistant to the Principal

[email protected]


Ms. Sarah Hartman
Finance Manager
[email protected]

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


Additional contact info for faculty and staff available by clicking here

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Dvar Torah


Tovia Jacobs - 6th Grade


In this week's Parsha, Chapter 22, Verse 1, the Torah says, "You should not see your friend's ox or sheep wandering around and ignore them, rather you should return them to your brother." In this pasuk, it says "your brother." However, in Parshas Mishpotim, 23:4, it says, "The ox or donkey of your enemy." What is the reason for the discrepancy between the pasukim?


The difference between the pasukim comes to teach us that even though someone may be your enemy, he is still your brother. Therefore, you must return the lost object to him. Here at Hillel Academy, we know that since we are family, we must be careful to return any lost objects. Have a great Shabbos!


If you're interested in writing a Dvar Torah for the Hillel Happenings, please email [email protected]
Message From the Chief


Dear Hillel Academy Parents and Friends, 


I trust that all is well with you. 


Allow me to call your attention to a critical day in the future of our school. On Tuesday, October 4, 2011, from 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time) the Pittsburgh Foundation will be holding its Day of Giving. Donations made to Hillel Academy, on this day, will be increased by the Pittsburgh Foundation based upon that day's total gifts and the size of the matching pool. 


In the following weeks, you will learn more about this important day. For the time being, please keep October 4, 2011, on your mind and in your calendar. 


Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh is committed to becoming America's greatest Jewish Day School. The fourth of October will be an important day along that journey. 


Wishing you all a great Shabbos, 


Dan Kraut


Gilad Shalit and Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh


Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]


Students at the Hillel Academy Girls and Boys High Schools spent their first day of class in an unusual location. As part of a unique program supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh's Community Relations Council, students from the Hillel Academy high schools traveled to the City-County Building to demonstrate support for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was captured nearly five years ago. Communal leaders, professionals, and students, gathered to participate in a ceremony declaring Gilad Shalit an honorary citizen of Pittsburgh. The impetus behind the students' participation was explained by Rabbi Weinberg, "So much of the students' education concerns the importance of Israel and the great risk that Israeli soldiers undertake on a daily basis. Having our students recognize that the soldiers are not much older than themselves, and that despite our distance we can advocate on their behalf is essential." 

Mrs. Levari agreed and explained that it was important for the students to support Gilad Shalit, "a fellow Jew, not much older than the students, who is suffering unnecessarily." Mrs. Levari added, "The girls have had many opportunities to learn about Gilad Shalit, and what happened to him, but traveling to the City-County Building for the city-wide program allowed our classroom lessons to become even more relevant and powerful. Our students were able to see the impact of their actions, and that it is important to stand up for their beliefs." 

The students were met warmly by the many attendees. Rabbi Weinberg noted, "This was both an opportunity to further our students' understanding of the Halachik concept of Pidyon Shvuyim (redeeming captives), and allow our school to serve as a Kiddush Hashem (glorification of G-d) throughout the City of Pittsburgh." Through this experience, the students of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh certainly achieved both objectives.

Group Picture at City-County Building

Hillel Academy students are joined by communal leaders and fellow advocates of Gilad Shalit's safe return. 


Parents, please return your outstanding paperwork/forms to the office. Thanks.

Pre-Nursery Update


Morah Leah - [email protected]


In preparation of Shabbos, Hillel Academy Pre-Nursery students joined together to make challah. This exercise enabled the students to develop math skills (measuring, counting, sequencing), fine motor skills (pouring, mixing, kneading, braiding), and social skills (cooperation and sharing), all while utilizing their senses and engaging in a positive Jewish experience. The students' responses ranged from excitement and enthusiasm ("I want to mix!") to uncertainty and cautiousness (poking the dough). Some students even tried to ingest the dough - yuck! Hope that everyone has a good Shabbos and tasty challah!


Pre-Nursery Challah Making

Put your hands together for yummy and educational activities.


Color Mixing and Nursery Science


Morah Elaine - [email protected] 


During a recent science experiment, Hillel Academy Nursery students learned about color mixing. The lesson began by reading Mouse Paint, a book by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Afterwards, we observed what happens when you mix yellow and red paint together (you make orange), blue and yellow together (green), and red and blue together (purple). Through combining mixing bottles and spinning disks, we increased our understanding of how colors mix. Finally, everyone got to make Super Scientific Color Mixing Triangles by using a stapler and cellophane strips on the triangle. Now we can mix colors whenever we like. Everyone did a super job! See you all next week. 

Color Mixing - Science in Nursery

"Wow, this would be a great activity to do at home right before Shabbos."


Sherut Leumi Update 


Morah Irit - [email protected] 


  - השנה רק התחילה וכבר ידן המוכשרת של בנות השרות שלנו ניכרת ברחבי בית הספר. החל מהשלט הענק מעל

הדלת הראשית שקידם את כל התלמידים בבירכת 'ברוכים הבאים' כבר ביום הראשון, דרך לוחות הקיר בעברית, עד תוכניות מיוחדות בכיתות, שיעורים ופעילויות, ועוד ידן נטויה!

בשבועות הקרובים מאירה ורבקה יחלו בתוכנית מיוחדת לחודש אלול  ולחודשי השנה העברית בכלל. כחלק מהתוכנית, בימים הקרובים בנות השרות ישאלו את התלמידים באיזה חודש עברי הם נולדו, כדי להפוך את מעגל חודשי השנה לחלק מחיי היום יום של התלמידים, בשילוב עם תוכנית מעגל השנה של תלעם - תוכנית הלימודים העברית.


(Summary - B'Anglit)


We are so fortunate to have the Bnot Sherut (Meira and Rivka) in our school this year. The girls have already begun with special programming, instilling Ivrit around the school, and assisting with classes and tutoring. In the next few weeks, Meira and Rivka will launch a special program for the Jewish months. Students will be asked about their Hebrew birth month. Stay tuned for more information.

Bnot Sherut

"Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh is so great. We're the luckiest Bnot Sherut in the whole world!"

Welcome Back BBQ is Sizzling


Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]


Last week, nearly three hundred and fifty people people flooded the newly renovated Hillel Academy Playground and parking lot for the annual Welcome to Hillel Academy BBQ. This year's event surpassed all previous events in both attendees and awesomeness. While the usual inflatable bounce-houses and slides were present, organizers utilized the expansive Hillel Academy grounds to introduce both a petting zoo and pony rides. Participants at the event enjoyed perfect weather, great conversations, and exceptional food. Entrees included delicious hamburgers and hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, french fries and desert. A special thank you to the many volunteers who facilitated this amazing event: Shelly Itskowitz, Heather Vidmar-McEwen, Chaya Gitty Morgan, Elan Sokol, and Ami Marizan. We would be remiss if not mentioning Reb Danny Shaw, who ensured that everyone in attendance supported Hillel Academy by purchasing Hillel Academy Gear and Minutes in our "Minute to Win It" fundraiser. If you missed out on the party, it is not too late. You can purchase Minutes by contacting [email protected] (412-521-8131); and, you can get a really cool Hillel Academy car magnet (for free) by stopping in the office.


Welcome Back BBQ

Hillel Gear and Free Rita's are part of the reason why Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh is America's greatest Jewish Day School.

7th Grade Gemara Update


Michael Sohnen - 7th Grade 


In our 7th Grade Gemara class we are learning the Mesechta (Tractate) of Pesachim. This Mesechta consists of the laws and arguments on Pesach. The first Mishna of Pesachim starts by saying "or larba asar bodkin es hachametz," which means "On the night of the fourteenth we search for chametz."  From here we can go directly to the Gemara.  Although when reading the Mishna we translate the word "or" as night, in the Gemara, we can't get to that conclusion just yet. First, we must endure the process.


Our Gemara starts with a Machlokes (argument) between Rev Hunah and Rabbi Yehuda. Rev Hunah says that when the Mishna says "or" it really means "naghi" (daylight). Rabbi Yehuda says that when the Mishna says "or" it really means nighttime. The Gemara assumes that when Rev Hunah says day he means day, and when Rabbi Yehudah says night he means night. This will become significant later.


The Gemara continues by bringing a proof to Rev Hunah. It quotes a Pasuk, "haboker or vihaanashim shulchu." Rev Hunah translates this as, "In the morning when it was light and the men were sent off." This is a proof to Rev Hunah because that translation of the Pasuk would show that "or" is a part of the morning. The Gemara then has a disproof. Rabbi Yehuda says, "Does it say 'or haboker' or does it say 'haboker or?' According to grammatical law, the Pasuk must be translated this way, "And the morning was illuminated and the men were sent off." Meaning, that since Rev Hunah is trying to describe "or" as a noun, he should know that in this pasuk "or" is a verb.


Michael Sohnen

Hillel Academy is a great place to learn Torah and live Torah.


To find out more about our 7th Grade Gemara class, look for future updates in the Hillel Happenings. 




Morah Chana is happy to announce that she will be having her after school Mitzvos/Middos class again this year. The class is open to children in grades 1-4 on Wednesdays from 3:45-4:45 P.M. in room 206. The class will offer many new and exciting activities this year! Included in the activities are: Parsha, Mitzvos, Middos, acting, parties, stories, games, great healthy snacks, and much more! 

The first class begins on Wednesday, September 21. 

The cost is $3.00 per class. 

For information or to register your child, please call Morah Chana at  

412 521-7912 (evenings).    

Sounds Like Fun in the Nursery


Morah Devorah - [email protected]


Morah Devorah's Nursery class wanted to know which Shofar makes a louder sound. Would it be the great big Shofar or the little one? If you want to know the answer, ask any of the  nursery students. After hearing the Shofar, the children got a chance to blow the shofar by themselves. What beautiful music was heard!


Shofar in the Nursery

Now, this is music to our ears.

GHS Orientation is Epic or "Legendary"


Ilana Kisilinsky - 10th Grade, GHS


This year, the Girls High School orientation, to put it simply, was legendary. We started our journey by being greeted at the entrance of Hillel Academy by two white stretch limousines. We were then taken all around the city on a spectacular picture scavenger hunt. Overall, orientation was a great time for bonding and a great beginning to the school year. 


GHS Orientation

Goodbye yellow school buses. Hello white stretch limos.


Within this section of the Hillel Happenings, you'll find brief updates regarding Hillel Academy. These updates all have GRAVITAS. 


Meet the Teachers Night


Parents of students in grades K-12 are invited to Meet the Teachers Night at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh on September 14, 2011. The program will take place from 7-8:30 pm. Mincha will begin at 6:40 pm in the Pfeffer Beis Medrash.


Minute to Win It


The time is now to support the Hillel Academy Athletics Department. We are putting a wind-up clock in a locked box. At some point, the clock will stop. If you pick the time that the clock stops, you will win your choice of either a complete set of the Schottenstein Daf Yomi Edition of Talmud Bavli or $720 cash. Contact the office at 412-521-8131 or [email protected] to learn more. 


Pittsburgh Gives Day of Giving


The Pittsburgh Foundation will hold the Day of Giving 2011 on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 from 12:00 a.m. ET until 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Donations to Hillel Academy on that day will be increased by the Pittsburgh Foundation based upon that day's total gifts and the size of the matching pool. Learn more about supporting Hillel Academy through Pittsburgh Gives by clicking here.

Hillel Academy Library is now accepting volunteers for the 2011-2012 school year.

No previous experience necessary.

Please respond to the school office for more details - (412) 521-8131. 

Strategically speaking


A Section of the Hillel Happenings 

That Looks at Our Strategic Plan 


Mr. Reinherz - [email protected]


Dr. George Symanski, educational consultant, explains, "Strategic Planning is the means by which a community continuously creates systems to serve extraordinary purposes." As reported in last week's "Strategically Speaking," and by spending any amount of time in the building or on a volunteer committee, it is evident that Hillel Academy's Strategic Plan is achieving its purpose. Initiatives are underway and objectives are being met. 


Action Item 4 in the 2010-11 Operational Plan and Evaluation called for reestablishing the school's web presence by providing "pertinent information for teachers, parents, and students." Hillel Academy's commitment to this action plan is easily observed by visiting www.hillelpgh.org Each month, the website receives thousands of hits from teachers, parents, students, and other guests. Teachers, parents, and students rely heavily upon the rebuilt website, as previews of lessons and homework assignments are regularly posted by teachers for parents and students to observe. The Hillel Academy family also benefits from the website's inclusion of both the Hillel Academy calendar, faculty, staff, and administrator's contacts, and the school's Google dynamic calendar. More broadly, the website has allowed visitors to learn more about Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh by providing links to our digital and video newsletter, student handbooks, admissions documents, and general information about the school and various programs. 


Charles Cohen, Planning Manager for Jewish Continuity at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, reported, "In my short time working with Hillel Academy's leadership, I have seen truly amazing progress. Learning that the school has reached and exceeded so many of the goals set out in last year's strategic plan is not surprising, but it is inspiring. I was honored to be a part of the process, and I cannot wait to see what's next." Mr. Cohen's sentiments are shared throughout the community, as people are marveling at Hillel Academy's successes. Be a part of Hillel Academy's growth and learn more about the Strategic Planning Process today.    


We will continue to update you regarding Hillel Academy's ongoing efforts to implement the Strategic Plan. 

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] 

The Parking Lot.wmv
Click above to learn more about

The Parking Lot

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




Hillel Gear Spotted Here Text

Having recently left the rolling hills of Pittsburgh for the sweeping valleys of Eretz Yisrael, Hillel Academy friend Jake Sacks was recently spotted wearing the fashionable Hillel Academy Alumni Reunion t-shirt. No matter how far we travel, Hillel Academy is always in our hearts and on our gear. Way to go Jake! 



Jake Sacks in Israel - Hillel Gear

Hillel Gear - Stylish on all continents.


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 Gear Text2
Hillel Gear Models  Email [email protected] to get your Hillel Gear today!


Please remember that if your normal dismissal arrangements change, please notify the office by noon of that day, by phone or email.
Hillel Academy Dinner Video 2011

Originally airing at the 64th Annual Hillel Academy Dinner, which honored Dr. Robert and Mrs. Lillian Brent for ensuring the future of the Boys High School, this video demonstrates how Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, an Orthodox Jewish Day School, is at the forefront of the battle against intermarriage, instills its students with a love of Torah, and ensures a future for the Jewish people. Watch the video that captivated a dinner by reminding people that Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, with its Jewish Day School education, is the guarantor of a successful Jewish future.

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh:A Blueprint for a Jewish Life

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh:

A Blueprint for a Jewish Life

Creative Kosher Catering Menu

Women Unchained Flyer

Swimming Flyer
Wig Shoppe Ad
Kollel Fair 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.