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 16, 2011


17 Elul 5771


Candle Lighting: 7:11 pm


Havdalah: 8:09 pm


 Parshat Ki Tavo

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Great Things to Read in this Week's Hillel Happenings:
Around Town
Help Hillel by Shopping
Dvar Torah
Letter From CEO
Nursery Article
Worms Science
Hillel Herald
The Hillel Minute
After School Fun

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.   


Thinking aloud:   

Rosh Hashana is less than three weeks away. On R"H I will be davening and proclaiming hundreds of times, "Hashem is King." I imagine Hashem saying to me, "I am glad you are saying this, I have been concerned about you.  I need you to move forward on a number of items. Now that you are here, I need you to make a definite commitment to improve, and I am here to assist you."  
Guess what, it is still difficult at present to make this commitment.  Any advice? A. Brodie


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

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). 
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. Michael and Mrs. Danielle Greathouse on the birth of a son


Refuah Shleima

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  

Shalom Zachor for Baby Boy Greathouse is at the Ben Lapids house at 2304 Sherbrook St.
9 pm-11:30 pm on Friday and the bris is on Sunday, Sep. 18 following Shacharit at 8:30 am at Riverview Towers, 52 Garetta St.


Teen Mussaf and Lunch for Rosh Hashana. All teens are welcome to join a meaningful explanatory style service geared for teens on the first day of Rosh Hashana. Service will be held in Education Building of Poale Zedeck with a free lunch for all those who attend. Services will begin with shofar blowing at ~10:30am. Please RSVP to 
[email protected]


If you have anything you would like to lend for a G'Mach, or if you are running a G'Mach, we will gladly list it in the 2012 edition of the Jewish Women's League Community Directory. Please contact Judy Mendelson at [email protected] or 412-521-6498.

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


Yosef Cohen-Melamed - 6th Grade


(וירעו אתנו המצרים ויענונו ויתנו עלינו עבדה קשה ( דְּבָרִים ,כו:ו


And the Egyptians treated us cruelly and afflicted us, and they imposed hard labor on us (Deuteronomy, 26:6)


According to הרב אלשיך (Rabbi Moshe Alshich), grammatically, it should say וירעו לנו instead of וירעו אתנו, which teaches us that the Egyptians made us evil by influencing us with their habits and their beliefs.


Rabbi M. Bar-Ilan explains that the word וירעו (treat cruelly) comes from the word רעות for friendship. The Egyptians sought our friendship so that we would assimilate with them and become less devoted to our heritage. Here at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, we 

are taught how to live in a non-Jewish world while maintaining our heritage and growing in our relationship with our Creator. Being 

that the holy month of Elul is upon us, our relationship with Hashem is now key to doing teshuva (repentance) and ultimately being inscribed in the Book of Life.


Have a wonderful 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, 


Thank you to the nearly two hundred and fifty parents who joined us at this year's annual Meet the Teachers Night. From all accounts, this evening was a complete success.  


Regarding success, as I had mentioned in last week's article, the Pittsburgh Gives Day of Giving is approaching. On this day (Tuesday, October 4, 2011), all gifts to the school will be increased by the Pittsburgh Foundation based upon that day's total gifts and the size of the matching pool. This day will allow us to continue providing an exceptional education for your child(ren).  


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. 


Wishing you all a great Shabbos, 


Dan Kraut


9-11 Program Introduces and Inspires


Mrs. Levari - [email protected]


This week, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh students in grades 7-12 participated in an informational and moving ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. Following several weeks of consideration, Rabbi Weinberg, Rabbi Smith and Mrs. Levari determined that the program would largely serve not only as a memorial and tribute to the victims and heroes of that day, but as a call to action for the participating students. Levari explained, "We really wanted the students to walk away with something tangible and productive that they could do to preserve and honor the memory of those selfless and heroic individuals. Our hope is that this program extends throughout the year and provides further meaning to the student's educational and co-curricular experiences."

Occurring within the Garret-Bloom Library, the program utilized SMART Board technology as well as audio content. The program began with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, Star Spangled Banner, and Hatikvah. Following these activities, students watched a brief news clip outlining the events of 9-11. This clip provided many of the students (who were between the ages of 2 and 7 during the attacks) with the first opportunity to observe footage from that day. After watching the video, Tehillim was said in zechus (merit) of the victms. While biographies of many victims were read aloud by the students, the story of an Israeli man who fought against the hijackers particularly resonated with the attendees. Also of interest was a video describing the spirit of volunteerism that emerged throughout this country following the attacks. At the conclusion of the videos and presentations, Rabbi Weinberg shared a dvar torah and introduced the concept of a "Semester of Service." This initiative, which fosters service learning projects, is occurring within schools throughout the country. Details regarding Hillel Academy's service learning projects will follow in future Hillel Happenings.

Rabbi Weinberg and 9-11

Rabbi Weinberg and students are seen participating in a moving tribute to the victims of 9-11.

Mazel Tov to the newest members of the  Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Middle School 
Girls Student Council:
President - Riva Milch 
Vice-President -  Leah Joshowitz
Secretary - Liora Nimchinsky
No "I" in Team, but "Me" in Nursery 


Morah Leah - [email protected]


Nursery A just completed their unit called "All About Me!" The children heard stories related to this topic such as why Hashem created people with two arms, two legs, one head, two ears, two eyes, one nose, and one mouth. After this, the children's bodies were traced and each child painted his or her own body. A picture of each child was added to the face. Each child was asked what he or she likes to do with his/her body. One child likes to eat noodles with his body, while another likes to celebrate Shabbat with her body. Come see the bulletin board outside of room 109 and discover the students comments. Without the children even knowing, they accomplished the early learning standard for Social and Emotional Development 25.1.1: Self Awareness, and 25.4.1: Social Identity.

All About Me Picture

"I love Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh this much."


Worms Science


Morah Elaine - [email protected] 


This week, with Rosh Hashana just around the corner, everyone is learning about apples. When I think of apples and Science, I think of worms! So, I started thinking about apples and worms and wondering about how the worms get into the apples if they don't have any teeth. It turns out that worm-y apples are actually caterpillar-y apples. The Codling Moth lays its eggs on or near developing fruit. When the larvae hatch, the caterpillars tunnel to the center of the fruit and they remain there until they have fully developed. Then, they exit the fruit, pupate, and turn into moths. But, if we think about the original question - What do worms have to do with apples - it turns out, not much except that they'll eat pieces of apple in a compost pile.

Nevertheless, in Science, we learned all about worms. The first thing we did was meet a large, pink worm. The class did not believe that it was real - imagine that!The worm was hungry, so it wiggled up out of the ground, where it found a leaf. The worm pushed its throat out of its mouth in order to grab the food. Then it brought the leaf back down under the ground. Worms don't have teeth - which makes it difficult to chew food.

Instead, a worm has a gizzard. Worms swallow small rocks that they store in their gizzards. Here are the rocks: The rocks were stored in the 'gizzard.' Here is a leaf that the worm wants to eat. The leaf went into the gizzard, and the gizzard was passed around to everyone. A worm's gizzard is surrounded by very strong muscles. By contracting its muscles, the worm uses the rocks to grind up its food: After everyone had a chance to squeeze the bag, this was what we found inside: Next, we met the real Guest Worms.

We did a few worm experiments. Which do worms like better - a dry surface or a wet surface? Apparently, the worms liked the wet surface better. This makes sense, since they can't breathe if they are too dry.

Finally, we all had a chance to look at / touch / hold a worm (if we were so inclined): The worm that we held twisted into all sorts of shapes. If we waited long enough, we could probably have the worms form every letter of the alphabet. I went through all of my worm photos from today and came up with the following: Not bad, for a worm!


Some people like hands-on science, we prefer photos.

"A" is for "Awesome" Time in the Nursery


Morah Devorah - [email protected]


This week, we are concentrating on the letter A and learning about Rosh Hashana. Accordingly, what a perfect time to study apples. As part of our lessons, we compared different colored apples and determined which tastes better: apples dipped in honey or apples dipped in lemon juice. The objective of this taste test is that students learn the difference between sweet and sour. 


Also this week, we began working with our 5th Grade Buddies. These boys and girls take turns visiting our class, working with us in small groups, and making new friends. It's unclear who has a better time - we or the Fifth Graders.



A great time is always had in the Amazing Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center.

Parents, please return your outstanding paperwork/forms to the office. Thanks.
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 Hillel Minute (Hillel Gear)

Click above to learn more about Hillel Gear

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






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).    


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



Video Academy 


Mr. Reinherz recently participated in the Day School Video Academy, an initiative of The AVI CHAI Foundation. This program intends to assist Jewish day schools in using online video for recruitment, fundraising, 

and community development.


Kindergarten Invitation


Self-portraits created by the kindergarten students are hanging outside 

the kindergarten classroom. Everyone is invited to admire the beautiful artwork.  


Awards Night Raffle


As per last year, raffle tickets will be available both online and in the office. Information regarding this year's incredible prizes will be forthcoming. 


Girls High School Welcomes Special Guest


This week, Daniela Arreola Segrove, Admissions Counselor from Barnard College met with 11th and 12th Graders from the Girls High School. Ms. Segrove described the various study opportunities, as well as the vast social network and delicious kosher meals available for students. 


Annual Meet the Teachers Night 


Over two hundred and fifty parents joined Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh administrators, faculty, and staff for the annual Meet the Teachers Night. In addition to meeting with teachers, parents heard presentations regarding the school wide curriculum mapping project, communications, and the strategic plan. 


Now is the Time 


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. 

 Hillel Gear Spotted Here Text

Over the summer, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Girls High School Students, Liora Posin, Shayna Stiebel, and Sossie Brown traveled to Israel with the NCSY GIVE  program (speaking of give, the Day of Giving is October 4th, 2011 - donations made to Hillel Academy on that day will be increased by the Pittsburgh Foundation based on that day's total gifts and the size of the matching pool - please contact [email protected] for more details). 

Liora, Shayna, and Sossie quickly discovered that sharing a stylish Hillel Academy sweatshirt is the easiest way to make new friends. 

Way to go Liora, Shayna, and Sossie!


Sossie, Liora, and Shayna in Israel

"Shalom, where can we purchase such a fashionable piece of clothing?"


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

Mordy's Grand Cafe 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.