5685 Beacon Street
P: (412) 521-8131
F: (412) 521-5150
December 9, 2011
13 Kislev 5771
Candle Lighting: 4:35 pm
Havdalah: 5:35 pm
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.
B'nei Yisroel do not eat the "the vein that moved."
Daas Zkanim explains the reason for this prohibition is because had Yakov's children accompanied him when he went to get the jars he left, the angel would not have attacked Yaakov and Yaakov would not have been wounded. Therefore, we have this prohibition to make sure we remember to accompany others as they leave our homes.
|Werber's Words of Wisdom|
Everyone knows that Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh students are the brightest people in the world. Ever wonder why? There are so many reasons, one of which is certainly because Hillel Academy teachers are unbelievable educators. With this section of the Hillel Happenings, we are pleased to welcome the contributions of Mr. Steve Werber, educator par excellence. If you click here, you'll find a great game to reinforce Mr. Werber's wonderful lesson.
One of the strangest names for an empire was the Holy Roman Empire (HRE). It was so strange that Voltaire once quipped that "this agglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire." Well, it turns out he was absolutely right!
Why it wasn't holy: There have been many empires that have drawn inspiration from religion. The Ottoman empire, Shlomo Ha'melech's empire and the Persian empire are all good examples. The Holy Roman Empire, however, was a purely secular empire. Although
Charlemagne was crowned by the pope, it was purely politically motivated and he had no religious power.
Thus, his empire was not holy.
Why it wasn't Roman: This one is easy. It didn't include Rome. Not only that, Charlemagne wasn't Roman but German. Charlemagne's empire was supposed to be the new Roman empire so it was called Roman but in reality it consisted of Germany and France.
Why it wasn't an empire: This is more complicated. According to The Free Dictionary, an empire is "A political unit having an extensive territory or comprising a number of territories or nations and ruled by a single supreme authority." The HRE met part of this definition, it covered an extensive territory but it only had a supreme leader in name. In reality the HRE "consisted of
hundreds of smaller sub-units, principalities,
Free Imperial Cities
and other domains." Most of these areas had almost total autonomy and Charlemagne had little power over them.
So why was the Holy Roman Empire not called the Secular German Kingdom? Maybe it just wasn't as catchy.
New Line of Hillel Gear Available
Learning Program with the Bnot Sherut
Hillel Academy women are invited to a special learning event with Meira and Rivka, our Bnot Sherut. The event will occur at Dr. Tova Weinberg's house on Monday, December 19th from 7:30 pm until 9:00 pm. Please contact the office for details.
U turns in front of the school building are a No No and potentially very dangerous.
Mr. Murray and Mrs. Elvira Pfeffer on the celebration of their
Mr. Norm and Mrs. Marilyn Sindler on the celebration of their
50th Wedding Anniversary
Ms. Fayth Aronson - Faygie Devorah bas Shulamit
Rabbi Zvi Silver on the loss of his father
Mrs. Faithe Milch on the loss of her sister
Rabbi Nosson Adler on the loss of his mother
Would you like to share something with the Hillel Academy family?
If so, please email us at
Congregation Poale Zedeck is welcoming Rabbi Dr. J.J. Schacter, as scholar in residence, December 16-17.
Rabbi Schachter is University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Jewish Future at Yeshiva University.
Rabbi Schacter holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages from Harvard University and received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. He will speak various times throughout Shabbos - 8:00 pm Friday night -
THE MENORAH IN JEWISH HISTORY: SYMBOL AND
Shabbos Morning Drashah - LIVING AS A JEW IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY;
4:45 pm - Seudah Shlishit - ASHKENAZIM, SEPHARDIM AND THE HANNUKAH MENORAH: HALAKHAH AND HISTORY. Friday night dinner is available at the shul: $18 per adult, $12 per child 2-10
RSVP to (412) 421-9786 or email@example.com
The program supported by the Rabbi Akiva and Rachel Society and the Agency for Jewish Learning. Additional sponsorship opportunities available.
Bnei Akiva: There will be snif this Shabbos from 3:30-4:30 pm at Shaare Torah;
Zach: Movie Night at the Joel and Gail Ungar Home, 7:00-8:45 pm December 10th
Wednesday the 21st: Zach Boys and Girls Mini Golf - we leave from Hillel at 6:00 pm, pick up is at 8:00 pm
Wednesday the 21st: 2-6 grade boys and girls Chanuka activity, 6:00-7:30 pm at Hillel Academy
GIRLS ONEG: Al
l girls in grades K-7 are invited to join us in PZ from 3:00 - 4:00 every Shabbos.
Save the date: Melava Malka December 17 at 7:15 PM in the PZ social hall. For more information, please call Devorah - 412-867-7751 or Leah - 412-586-8488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Wants an Awesome Kippah?
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
Box Tops for Education
Our first collection period has ended. Although we did collect an impressive amount, we have fallen short of our goal. However, the school year is just starting and collections are gratefully accepted. Box Tops for Education™ has a 13-year history of helping our school earn cash we need - from books and computers, to playground equipment. Take advantage of the bonus opportunities each month in Giant Eagle to earn extra Bonus Box Tops. It is not too late to use October offer (Buy 4 General Mills cereals - get 15 Bonus Box Tops) or you can just clip and save. Don't forget to send your collection to the office. Remember that our grand prize is Kennywood tickets, so although it is chilly outside, we can look forward to next summer.
Parents, please notify the office and teachers of any early dismissals as far in advance as possible.
Administration and Staff
Mr. Daniel J. Kraut
Chief Executive Officer
Rabbi Avrumi Sacks
Principal and Education Director
Mrs. Elky Langer
Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction, Grades K-12
Rabbi Sam Weinberg
Grades 7-12 Boys and Girls
Rabbi Dov Nimchinsky
Judaic Studies and Educational Program Coordinator
Mrs. Yikara Levari
Grades 7-12 Girls
Rabbi Yisroel Smith
Boys High School
Mrs. Phyllis Harris
Director of Special Services
Mrs. Barbara Chotiner
Early Childhood Coordinator
Reb Danny Shaw
Coordinator of Athletics and Student Life
Mrs. Selma Aronson
Ms. Hadar Glazer
Mrs. Adina Shayowitz
Mrs. Chevi Rubin
Administrative Assistant to the Principal
Ms. Sarah Hartman
Mr. Adam Reinherz
Director of Community Relations
Additional contact info for faculty and staff available by clicking here
|That's Daniel learning. |
That's Jerusalem in the background.
Our alumni are awesome.
Daniel Sax - Alum ('11)
Daniel Sax, a Hillel Academy alum, currently attends Yeshiva Derech Etz Chaim in Jerusalem (Israel). Because he loves Hillel Academy, and wanted to share some Torah knowledge with the Hillel Academy family, he graciously sent us this Dvar Torah.
In this week's parshah, Parshas Vayishlach, it says "Yaakov lived with Lavan." Rashi states the gammatria, the numerical value of "garti" is six-hundred thirteen. Yaakov says he lived with Lavan the rasha (wicked person) but still kept the six-hundred thirteen mitzvos and did not learn from Lavan's bad ways. There is an obvious question regarding Yaakov's statement; how can Yaakov have kept all six-hundred thirteen mitzvos? It is impossible to achieve such a goal, more than half of the mitzvos depend on the Beis Hamikdash and certain mitzvos only apply in certain circumstances, so how can Yaakov have said "yet I kept the six-hundred thirteen mitzvos?" Rav Moshe Shternbuch writes in his sefer Toam Vadas, instead of saying "shamarti" which means "kept," Yaakov should have instead said "keamanti" which means "fulfilled."
In Parshas Vayeishev, we see from the word "shamar" (which means "fulfill"), with the dreams of Yosef, Yaakov his father was waiting eagerly for the dreams to play out and come true. Rashi states that "shamar" means "waiting eagerly." Rav Moshe Shternbuch writes that here regarding the statement of Yaakov saying, "yet I kept the six-hundred thirteen mitzvos," that "shamar" does not mean "kept" rather that "shamar" means Yaakov was waiting eagerly to fulfill all six-hundred thirteen mitzvos.
We learn from here a passion for greatness. Just like Yaakov was wanting to fulfill all of the mitzvos, he was waiting passionately to fulfill the mitzvos. We learn from Yaakov the value and importance of wanting and having a passion for greatness. There is a famous saying ein hadavar omade bifnei haratzon (Nothing stands in the way of one's will/passion). If one has the will or passion towards a goal, one will achieve it. Not only does it mean nothing can stop your passion, it also means nothing can come between me and my passion for greatness. Nothing stands between the passion and actualizing the passion.
There is a story of a boy named Max from Portsmouth, Virginia. When Max was a teenager his parents sent him off to the Telshe Yeshiva. Unfortunately, Max had one of the weakest backgrounds of all the students in the yeshiva, but Max wanted to be great, he had a passion to be great. In his dorm room he had pictures on his wall of the greatest gadolim of the generation, but he kept one spot on the wall open. In that spot he had a paper with three words written on it, "Why not me?" That boy was Rav Mordechai Gifter, one of the greatest American born gadolim. He was on a mission and had passion to achieve greatness.
As I spend my year in Israel at Yeshiva Derech Etz Chaim, my first experience living away from home, I cannot help but reflect on how this message of aspiring for greatness was taught and inculcated into me by my parents as well as Hillel Academy. The lesson of aspiring for greatness should play a role in every facet of life, achieve for greatness in everything. Take the opportunity presented to you and reach for the stars; the sky is the limit.
If you're interested in writing a Dvar Torah for the Hillel
Want More Hillel Happenings?
Message From the Chief
Dear Hillel Academy Parents and Friends,
Am I going to Cancun? Is my lunch going to contain a Babka baked by Moishe Siebzener? Are you going to see me at work wearing a 1980 Miracle On Ice USA Hockey Team Hand-Signed Official White Olympic Jersey? These are things to consider while you try to outbid me in the silent auction.
Our annual awards night is rapidly approaching. Now is the time to get great items, win a raffle, and improve the lives of Jewish children right here at Hillel Academy.
We are Pittsburgh's fastest growing Jewish Day School. Be a part of our success. Call the office today at 412-521-8131. As in past years, your raffle ticket purchase will entitle you and a guest to attend the Annual Awards Night Dinner, December 12, 2011. To house our new families, this year, the event is taking place at the JCC's Levinson Hall.
Have a great Shabbos,
Click here to see the items available in the silent auction.
Hillel Academy is Great and Fine
The Hillel Academy Fine Arts Club began this past Wednesday. Clubs include drama and writing for both girls and boys. Over fifteen students in grades 3-5 attended the inaugural session of the Hillel Academy Fine Arts Club. Rivka Eilfort heads the Boys Drama Club; Rivka Levy and Miryam Kupfer lead the Girls Drama Club; and Rochel Goldsmith directs the Writing Club. Each of the Club Leaders is a student at the Tzohar Seminary, led by Amy Gutterson. The first session of the Hillel Academy Fine Arts Club will last six seeks. The second session will begin after winter break.
Not So Shadowy Shadow Lessons
Recently, both Nursery classes got together to investigate shadows as part of our Early Childhood science lesson. We began by reading the book Bear Shadow by Frank Asch. Afterward, we made our own shadows. To make shadows we needed three things: 1) a light source - we used an overhead projector (Note 1: In honor of the letter 'I' we took this opportunity to introduce the words incandescent light source.) (Note 2: Thank you to Mr. Garwood for letting us borrow his overhead projector!) 2) a surface (a wall will do nicely); and 3) something that will block the light when we put it between the light source and the surface. We made moving shadows, tall shadows, and shadows with moose antlers. We even practiced identifying shadow letters. We had a lot of fun!
|This might be the most gripping science lesson yet.|
Push here for the rest of the
|Middle School Students Share Scintillating Trip to Science Center for Sci-Tech Days
Our Middle School had the fun fortune to pay a visit to the Carnegie Science Center last week for the annual Sci-Tech Day's event. Arriving mid-morning by Yellow Limousine, our students were whisked away to several formal programs put on by the Science Center staff of trained interpretive scientists. The girls were treated to a program about GPS and watershed, in which the origins of water were discussed. Meanwhile, the boys participated in an informative and competitive program of jeopardy with the theme "It's Easy to Be Green." The students matched wits with another school on issues of conservation, green energy, and recycling. Interspersed were exciting interactive jeopardy questions that involved demonstrations of some of the scientific principles being learned. Next, both the boys and girls attended a packed house theatre presentation on brain surgery. Two of the boys were even able to join in on the surgical procedure - as participants, not victims. Following an exquisite brown bag lunch, the students broke into teams to roam the hallowed halls of Sports Works, the Exhibit Hall, and the Requin Submarine (very narrow halls) in search of fun and interesting science knowledge. Among the regular exhibits were many groups and organizations that engaged the students in games of skill and mental strength as they collected stamps for a passport to be turned in for a chance to win something. (We weren't quite sure what we were trying to win, but we gave it our all, anyway.) In the end, a great time was had by all, so much so that the students didn't even have time to realize they were learning great stuff. We're now waiting to hear what we won with our completed passports!
As much fun as the Science Center was, we're pretty sure that these students are racing back to Hillel Academy because they want to go back to school because it is amazing.
Middle School Basketball Brings the Heat
and is the Heat
Last week, the Middle School Basketball Program held its first workout at Colfax School. The Boys' Basketball Program is comprised of a Sixth Grade team and a Seventh/Eighth Grade team. Practice began with a light jog around the gym, followed by a stretching session led by Coach Cain. Next came a heavy dose of suicide sprints. The players hardly had time to catch their breaths before the next array of running drills. "Thanks to this, it took me four days to recover," remarked Seventh Grader Jacob Wiesenfeld. The practice was a great wake up call that the team needed to get in shape. Coach Cain explained the importance of nutrition, especially when in training. He told the players what has now become a famous quote throughout the lower school, "No more pop!" If you see a Middle School boy who is on the team and has forgotten the rule, please kindly remind him about Coach Cain's rule. Mr. Cain's speech has become so popular that non-team members have come to join in the runs. The optional workouts have taken the players through Schenly Park, up and down stairs for a brutal stair workout, and on the track for interval work. "If we can keep up this practice regiment we will be ready to win some games," said seventh grader Nathan Cohen. The season kicks off with an away game for the Seventh/Eighth Grade Team against The Falk School on Monday, December 12 at 3:30pm. The Sixth Grade team opens its' season against Community Day School on Wednesday, December 14, at 6pm. Please refer to our website, or go directly to the team's schedule (by clicking here) for additional game information, Go Heat!
|Hillel Academy is awesome!|
|Tasting the Plagues: A Delicious Parsha Lesson
Mazel tov to the fifth grade girls on completing Parshat Va'Eirah! As a siyyum (celebration) activity, the class went shopping at Murray Avenue Kosher. The students bought candies and other treats that represent the seven makot in the parsha. Some examples were "Dum Dums," candy fish, and red sour belts for Makat Dam; tinglers (they tingle and jump in your mouth) and green appleheads for frogs, candy animals for makat arov, yummy bites for lice, giant gumballs to represent hail, Laffy Taffy as gravestones for the dead animals in Makat Dever, and white gumballs with hot tamales for Makat Barad (hail with fire inside). The girls had a great time shopping and were extremely respectful of all the customers in the store. We were determined to do a Kiddush Hashem by showing people on the street and in the store how well-behaved and courteous we are. Once back in class, the students set up their candy displays and explained them to the class. We can hardly wait for our next siyyum!
Hillel Academy is Pittsburgh's Fastest Growing Jewish Day School maybe because the lessons are so sweet.
Hillel Gives Thanks Every Day
Leora Kelsey - Fifth Grade
On Wednesday December 7, there was a Hakaras Hatov (Giving Thanks) Program. The program addressed being thankful, and why it is important to be thankful every day. The program featured a poem from Morah Chana, a story from Rabbi Nimchinsky, a funny skit by the 3rd grade and Mr. Werber, and last (but not unexciting) a raffle that Shoshana Levari won. The prize was an orange and black striped basketball.
The picture may be out of focus, but what's clear is that Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh is thankful for its students, teachers, staff, volunteers, and supporters. You're enabling us to become
America's Greatest Jewish Day School.
Epic Matchup for Hillel Hockey Players
Boaz Bachrach - 6th Grade
The Hillel Academy Hockey League playoffs began this past Wensday. Game one was between the 1st seed Beasties and the 4th seed Supersonic Bombers. The game was knotted up at 2 until the middle of the 3rd Period. Final Score: 3-2 Beasties. Game two of the day saw the 2nd seeded Vipers matched up against the 3rd seeded Flower Girls. The Flower Girls jumped to a commanding 4-1 lead by the end of the 2nd Period. They were able to hold it until late in the third period when team captain Jacob decided he and his boys were not going to lose this game. Jacob scored a goal, followed quickly by two quick goals by Seventh Grader, Akiva Skaist. Akiva's last goal tied the game with one minute remaining in regulation. The game went into sudden death overtime - the first time this happened all season. Akiva scored yet again, this one for the win, completing his hat trick! Final Score: 5-4 Vipers. The Vipers will play the Beasties in the The Hillel Cup (championship game) on Tuesday at 4:40 p.m. in the Hillel Academy gym. Fans are welcome to attend. Jacob Wiesenfeld will be looking to repeat, while Nathan Cohen will be looking for his first championship. It should prove to be an uptempo, exciting, high scoring game.
We will stop at nothing to win (and prove that Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh is America's Greatest Jewish Day School).
Within this section of the Hillel Happenings, you'll find brief updates regarding Hillel Academy. These updates all have GRAVITAS.
Rabbi Visits Hillel Academy to Speak
Recently, R' Moshe Meir Weiss from Staten Island spoke to the Middle School and High School Students. He addressed several topics, including: Why we go to school (to learn Midos - measurements of behavior); That we need to have some measurement of all behaviors - but not too much; The reason why the middle finger is the biggest finger is because its the best to be in the middle - aka normal - as opposed to the smallest fingers on the outside - aka extremes; That women have 9 measures out of 10 of speech - power of Tefillah; That we must not listen to Loshon Hara, and the single strongest protection against being spoken badly about is if you yourself restrain from listening to Loshon Hara; That we are taught how to daven from a young age, but takes a while to figure out that someone is listening; And that the Jewish people are called "Yehudim" because we constantly give thanks throughout the day - must start off our day with saying thank you.
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@example.com to learn more.
Students should not arrive at school before 7:50 AM as per our school policy outlined in the student handbook:
- Arrival for Pre-Nursery, Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Grades 1-5, and Grades 6-12 Girls is from 7:50 AM-8:05 AM
- Children should not arrive at school before the assigned arrival time, as there will be no adult supervision
Student safety is our priority. We appreciate your cooperation in this important matter to ensure the safety of your children.
Interview with Mrs. Chotiner
Led by a fresh aroma wafting from her office, the Hillel Happenings staff enchantingly arrived at the entryway of Mrs. Chotiner's workspace. There, surrounded by a colorful array of blossoms, the conversation began. Such an experience for the senses to encounter this magical environment of herbal furbelows. After discussing sandy beaches, memoirs, and dry cleaners, we bid Mrs. Chotiner adieu. For the benefit of our readers, excerpts of this conversation are provided below:
HH: Good day Mrs. Chotiner. Thank you for meeting with us. Your office is always filled with beautiful flowers. What would you give to have a Middlemist's Red?
Mrs. Chotiner: Even though the Middlemist's Red is very rare, and over two centuries old, I'd much prefer daisies or Alstroemerias.
HH: Ah yes, daises and Alstroemerias. Other than the character of the students, commitment of the parents, and dedication of the volunteers, what's the best thing about Hillel Academy?
Mrs. Chotiner: The staff.
HH: That's so true, which leads us to wonder if the Hillel Academy staff performed a reenactment of the Chanukah story, would you rather play Judah the Maccabbee, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, or the jar of uncontaminated oil?
Mrs. Chotiner: I'd love to play Judah, after all he was the hero.
HH: Any plans for winter break?
Mrs. Chotiner: My husband & I are getting out of the cold and going south to the beaches of sunny Florida.
HH: Squirrel Hill Trivia (because our readers love this stuff): How many dry cleaners are located in Squirrel Hill?
Mrs. Chotiner: Are you limiting it to cleaners on Forbes & Murray? I can only think of three.
HH: If Rabbi Sacks abandoned the keyboard and adopted a new musical instrument, what would it be?
Mrs. Chotiner: Guitar.
HH: If a saltine is unsalted is it still a saltine?
Mrs. Chotiner: Salt makes it a saltine, otherwise it's just a cracker.
HH: What do you wish that every Hillel Academy parent knew?
Mrs. Chotiner: That we have a wonderful staff.
HH: Here's a tough one, what's the best item available at Hillel's silent auction?
Mrs. Chotiner: Escape to Cancun; I love being at the beach with a good book.
HH: Speaking of books, if you wrote a memoir, what would the title be?
Mrs. Chotiner: Failing at Retirement is a Good Thing.
|"I love the new industrial decor of Hillel Academy's basement."|
We are looking for at least one new talis for our shul. Call the office if you can help.
New and Gently Used School Uniforms are Available at Hillel Academy.
On your next trip anywhere, make sure to bring Hillel Gear. Recent Hillel Academy graduate (and current Baer Miriam student) Libby Stein ('10) understands this principle and decided to pack the essentials before leaving for Israel. Follow Libby's example - before you go anywhere, pack Hillel Gear, sport Hillel Gear, and get spotted in Hillel Gear. Way to go Libby!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and each week we'll select the best picture for inclusion in the Hillel Happenings.
Parents, please call the office by 8am if your child(ren) will be absent or late. Thanks.
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.
Hey readers, let the Hillel Happenings take you back to a previous time when glasses were thick, collars were crazy, and everyone looked super groovy. If you can name all of the people in this picture, we'll print your name in the next Hillel Happenings. Email us at email@example.com with your guesses.
Congrats to last week's winners:
Aliza (Steibel) Sokol, Sue Fuhrman, and Chani Silver
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
This is not a Hillel Academy event.