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Official E-Newsletter Text


Hillel Academy

of Pittsburgh


5685 Beacon Street

Pittsburgh, PA


P: (412) 521-8131

F: (412) 521-5150




September 23, 2011


24 Elul 5771


Candle Lighting: 6:59 pm


Havdalah: 7:58 pm


 Parshat Nitzavim-Vayeilich

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Great Things to Read in this Week's Hillel Happenings:
Eis on Jewish History
Chizuk Corner
Food Zone
Syntactical Superheroes
Mazel Tov
Around Town
Help Hillel by Shopping
Dvar Torah
Letter From CEO
Hillel Herald
9-11 Program
7th Grade Gemara Update
Sweet Science
Nursery Article
The Hillel Minute
After School Fun
The Hillel Grid
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Eis on Jewish History 

Gedaliah was murdered the year the First Temple was destroyed. We observe the Fast of Gedaliah to mark the tragedy. Gedaliah's murder occurred on the 2nd of Tishrei, but we do not fast on that day, as it is the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah. Normally, the fast is observed on the 3rd of Tishrei, but in years when that day is Shabbos, such as this year, the fast is postponed to Sunday the 4th of Tishrei.

Do you want to know more about Jewish History? Is so, please email Rabbi Eisen (get it, it's a pun, Eis On Jewish History), at [email protected]  

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.   


 An article in the Hakhal Bulletin caught my attention. The author wrote, "Consider making a daily Torah study session of 7 minutes." Consider the great returns for this activity. If we learn 7 minutes a day, 30 days a month, then we will learn for 210 minutes a month. A person can speak 200 words a minute. The Vilna Gaon and the Chofetz Chaim teach us that there is a mitzvah for every word of Torah learned.  200 x 210 = 42,000 mitzvos a month for learning Torah. During the course of 12 months you half a million mitzvos. Have a good Shabbos.


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). 
Syntactical Superheroes
The great minds behind Hillel Academy's exemplary English Department would like you to know: 


principal vs. principle


Students often confuse the two words principal and principle.


Principal used as an adjective means "the most important."

Who knows the principal exports of Japan?


Principal as a noun means "the head of a school."

Rabbi Sacks is the Principal of Hillel Academy. 


One trick to remembering this usage is the word principal ends in the word "pal" - your principal can also be your "pal."


Principle means "rule" or "idea."

A principle of freedom is free speech.


To learn more about good grammar please contact [email protected] or [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. Michael and Mrs. Danielle Greathouse on the birth of their son Yaakov Shmuel


Dr. Paul and Mrs. Cynthia Rosenberg on the marriage of their daughter Talia to David Kaden


Mr. Stephen and Mrs. Amy Pincus on the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter Miriam 


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  

Bnei Akiva's opening activity + BBQ will be 4:00-6:00 pm on Sunday the 25th at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.


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 the Rabbi Joseph Shapiro 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


Boaz Bachrach - 6th Grade


In this week's parsha, Parshat Nitzavim-Vayeilich, the pasuk says, "When you enter the land, you will see abominations. Stay away from them.'' Why does Hashem need to tell us to stay away from abominations if we know that we need to stay away from sin? The Rebbe answers, when we first see abominations, we will be disgusted; but, over time, we will become used to them and eventually we will come to do them. For example, this week in our Shmuel I Navi shiur, Reb Shaw told us about Eili's sons sinning, but everyone eventually started doing the same thing as well. So, if we stay away from these despicable acts, we will never do them. Here in Hillel Academy, we learn to distance ourselves from poor decisions. Have a great Shabbos!


If you're interested in writing a Dvar Torah for the Hillel 
Happenings, please email [email protected]
The Hillel Minute (Parents)

Click the picture.

Watch The Hillel Minute. 
You'll Love It!
Message From the Chief


Dear Hillel Academy Parents and Friends, 


Over the past few weeks I have called your attention to the annual Day of Giving.  On this day, October 4, 2011, the Pittsburgh Foundation will increase all gifts made to Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. 


This is an incredible opportunity to make your gift more effective. 


Please take a moment and read more about this amazing opportunity by clicking on the image below (or to the left). 


Wishing you all a great Shabbos, 


Dan Kraut



Hillel Academy Thanks First Responders



Rabbi Nimchinsky - [email protected]


On Tuesday September 13th grades 1-6 participated in a program entitled, "Commemorating 9/11: A Thank You to First Responders."


The program began with Rabbi Nimchinsky explaining that in order to avoid making children scared or anxious, the program's focus was to develop an sense of Hakarat Hatov (appreciation and thanks) for the men and women all over the country who risk their lives to help keep us safe. Although our safety and security is in Hashem's hands, there are many brave people on earth who act as His agents. To show our appreciation, we invited a group of first responders from our local Police and Fire departments to serve as representatives and accept our thanks on behalf of their fellow first responders throughout the country. Although the police officers were called away, four members of Ladder Company 18 joined us for the program.


In preparation for the program, each class came up with an age appropriate way of showing Hakarat HaTov to first responders. The first and second graders made personal cards for both the police and fire departments. The third and fourth graders made large poster sized cards signed by everyone in the Lower School. The fifth and sixth grade boys wrote and recited two tribute poems - one a tribute to police officers and one a tribute to firefighters. The fifth and sixth grade girls made fabric thank you banners to hang in the local police and fire station houses.


After making their presentations, the students stood out of respect and said "Thank You and Todah Rabbah," to our visiting first responders.


As they were about to leave, the firefighters invited the entire Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Lower School for an impromptu presentation of their ladder truck, which was parked in the spacious Hillel Academy parking lot. The students were treated to hands-on demonstrations of fire gear and equipment and were shown how some of the machinery on their ladder truck works. The high point was when first grade teacher Mrs. Berelowitz got to raise and extend the ladder so one of the firemen could climb to the top!


Student with Fire Hat and Hillel Magnet

Wow, these editors are great - here's a picture that conveys what happened and promotes Hillel Gear.


Hillel Academy and the Yiddisher Kop


Michael Sohnen - 7th Grade


In the 7th grade gemara shiur we are learning meseches pesachim. The first mishna begins by saying, "or larbaa asar bodkin es hachametz laor haner," which means "On the 'or' of the holiday of pesach we search for chametz with the light of a candle."The gemara tries to bring a proof to what "or" means. There is a pasuk in tehilim that goes, "Hallelu-hu kal cachvei 'or'." The gemara tries to bring a proof to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, who says that "or" means night.  He translates it as, "Praise him all the stars of night," implying that "or" is a noun and can fit into our mishna.  Rev Hunah tries to bring a disproof. He says that the word "or" doesn't mean night; rather it means "that illuminate," which is a predicate adjective, and cannot fit into our mishna. The gemara continues with a disproof to rev hunah, which is therefore a proof to Rabbi Yehuda.  If you say that "cohvei or" means the stars that give off light, what about the ones that don't; for it says further in the perek that "hallelu-hu kal tzivaaos," "praise him all the heavenly bodies?" Meaning, why does it single out "cochvei or" when it is included in "kal tzivaaos?" The gemara answers that it is true that "cochvei or" is included in "kal tzivaaos." The phrase "cochvei or" comes to teach us that starlight is indeed considered light. Why is this significant? It shows that when a person takes a vow against light, he is forbidden from starlight too.


Michael Sohnen

Learning Torah and attending Hillel Academy brings smiles to everyone's faces.


Sweet Science and Busy Bees


Morah Elaine - [email protected] 


With Rosh Hashanah coming up, we're thinking a lot about honey. We know that honey has something to do with bees. Do bees eat it or make it? Do bees get the honey from flowers? How does all that work exactly? Today we found out the answers. First, we met a bee and learned  what to do if we meet a real one in the future (stay still). The bee flew around the room looking for a flower. The bee collected nectar in its honey sack and stored pollen in its pollen baskets. The orange balls on its legs are full pollen baskets. Once our bee found a good food source, it flew back to the hive to spread the word. In order to explain the food's location with respect to the hive, the bee danced for its family and friends. If the food is close by, the bee does the Round Dance. We tried it too. The bee's relatives followed the directions and went to collect nectar and pollen. Meanwhile, our bee went out to look for more flowers. This time it found flowers that were much farther away. In order to explain where these flowers were, the bee did the Waggle Dance back at the hive. We were great wagglers! What do the bees do with the nectar and pollen once they come home? What's in the hive? That's what we learned about next. The class created a model of a honeycomb. A honeycomb is like a wax closet with many cubbies called 'cells.' All of the cells are hexagons. The cells in the middle are called brood comb - that's where the queen lays eggs. Larvae hatch out of the eggs. Bee larvae look like rolled up socks. Next, we placed blue hexagons around the brood comb cells. The blue hexagons represent cells filled with pollen.

Some of the worker bees mix the pollen and nectar to make 'beebread.' This is what they feed to the larvae. (Note: These hexagons are blue because I only had two colors to work with. Pollen is not actually blue.) Finally, we placed yellow hexagons around the outer edge of the pollen-filled cells. When a bee returns to the hive with nectar, it passes nectar to a house bee. The house bee mixes the nectar with enzymes and deposits the mixture into the honey cells (the yellow ones that we just added). House bees fan the cells with their wings to evaporate much of the water in the fluid. We tried fanning for a while. Eventually the nectar and enzymes thicken and form honey. The bees then cap the honey-filled cells with wax. The bees eat the honey during bad weather when they can't leave the hive. So, here are the answers to our questions: We know that honey has something to do with bees - but do they eat it (yes, in bad weather) or make it? (yes). Do they get the honey from flowers? (no - they get pollen and nectar from flowers). How does all that work exactly? (Bees add enzymes to the nectar and that is what eventually turns into honey). What a bunch of busy bees we were today! See you next week.


Student with Bee in Science

"Seriously bee, I'm going to get the honeycomb."

Parents, please notify the office and teachers of any early dismissals as far in advance as possible. Thanks.
"B" Prepared to Learn Something with the Nursery


Morah Devorah - [email protected]


This week in nursery  has been very  ''bubbly.'' We had so much fun using our silly straws to blow bubbles in our milk that we decided to see if we could make bubbles in chocolate milk as well...and yes, it worked so well that the children wanted to do it over and over again. We also tried to blow bubbles in water, but we learned that water does not work as well and it is just not as much fun. We then went outside and had more bubble fun. Next week we will learn the letter "C" and continue learning about Rosh Hashana. We will talk about Tashlich and how even though we try real hard to be super listeners, sometimes we make mistakes and then we say we are are sorry and try to do better. I can honestly say that so far, in such a short time, I have really seen the children grow so much. What a great way to start a new year.


Blowing Bubbles in the Nursery

Blowing bubbles is like Hillel Academy, it's awesome!


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

Click above to learn more about 

Hillel Academy Parents

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. 



Representatives from Jewish Federation Visit Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh


Last week, representatives from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh toured Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh to observe the new classrooms and exemplary education that is being provided within them. Raimy Rubin, Marketing Associate for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, remarked, "The Federation staff toured Hillel Academy to get a better understanding of the impact of the Federation's fundraising efforts. Seeing the renovations to the building and the immense strides the school is taking to improve students' experiences gave us a chance to see first-hand where  the community's money goes. But nothing was as impactful as participating in Rabbi Sack's oneg with the younger grades. Watching them sing excitedly and proudly was simply remarkable. We've felt the energy from that day back at the Federation building ever since. And I don't think it's going away anytime soon."   


Girls High School Students Complete Chessed Project


As part of their revamped chessed program, students from the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Girls High School traveled to the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry. There, students helped pack and organize food for the upcoming yom tovim (holidays). More details to follow regarding this activity. 


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. 

The Hillel Grid


Hillel Happenings readers, you wanted it and now it's back. Enjoy "The Hillel Grid," a regular window into the minds of America's greatest students (obviously we're talking about Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh students). 

Students in the Mix: 


6th Grade Boys

Apples to honey are like Hillel Gear...

What have you been doing to prepare for R"H

Were you disappointed with the Pirates poor play during the second half of the season?

Yitzchok Grossberg

to the coolest stuff on earth

Learing Kitzur Shulach Aruch

No, I am always happy with them.

Boaz Bachrach

to Reb Shaw

Eating Chametz with Etan Sanders

Who are the Pirates, all I know are the Red Sox?!

Jack Sacks


Learing with my father

What? No, I like Tigers, baby!

Moshe Dovid Luzer


to the best

eating apples and honey

They need to improve by getting pitchers who can go deeper into games.

Tovia Jacobs



practicing blowing the shofar


No, becuase it was not fair.

Moshe Wasserman

to the world

shtarking it up

They gave me hope and then they ripped my heart out.

Yosef Cohen-Melamed

is to parents

our parents are remodeling the kitchen

Yes, they disappointed me but they will always be shtark in my world.


 Do you want to be featured in an upcoming Hillel Grid? If so, please email [email protected]


Hillel Gear Spotted Here Text

On a recent trip to Philadelphia, PA (Pennsylvania's other major metropolis), Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh CEO Dan Kraut was seen sporting a child size Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh t-shirt next to the Liberty Bell. Way to go Mr. Kraut!  


Kraut and Liberty Bell

Freedom is great, but it is even better with a Hillel Academy t-shirt. Order yours today and enjoy the liberties that the Founding Fathers imagined.


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
Rosh Hashana Pick Apples 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.