Outside of Hillel  
December 16, 2011 
20 Kislev 5772 
Candle Lighting: 4:36
Havdalah: 5:36

Parshat Vayeishev
Dvar Torah


In Parshas Vayeishev, the Torah describes the conflict between Yosef and his ten older brothers. Yaakov sent Yosef to Shechem where his older brothers were pasturing the sheep. He wanted Yosef to inquire after his brothers' welfare. When Yosef arrived, his brothers were not pleased to see him. They decided that he wasn't really interested in their welfare. His brothers felt that he was coming to find ways to make them look bad in their father's eyes. Then, either their father would curse them or Hashem Himself would punish them because of their sin. Then only Yosef would be there to inherit Yaakov's blessings. The brothers believed that they were in danger. They also knew that one is permitted to kill somebody that's going to kill you. The brothers felt OK acting against him in order to save their lives. The brothers decided that they were going to kill their brother. The Torah tells us that the brothers changed the plans twice. Reuven said to the other brothers, "Let's not take a life. Instead of killing him, let's throw him into a pit." They all agreed to the plan and threw him inot the pit. Once Yosef was in the put, Yehuda asked, "What is the profit of killing our brother?" The Seforno explains the question as, "What will we accomplish if we will also suffer grief over his death?" After Yehuda's plea, the brothers lifted him out of the pit and sold him as a slave. How did Reuven's remark change his brothers' minds? It was obvious that Yosef would die if they killed him, but what new information did Yehuda give them? One must first understand the benefits of revenge.  The brothers realized that these benefits would not apply in the case of Yosef. The first benefit of revenge is satisfaction. This would not be present since they would mourn Yosef's death because after all, he was their brother. And the second benefit of revenge - that the death of an enemy would serve as a deterrent toward other enemies, would only work if people would know about it. However, in the case of Yosef, if he were to die in the pit, no one would know about it -therefore the second expected benefit would also not be realized. We learn an important lesson about making and revising decisions from Reuven's and Yehuda's statements. People have a hard time changing their decisions once they're made; so we must make them carefully in the first place. We also learn from Reuven and Yehuda the power of decision. When we realize that a friend is making a wrong decision, we should first get his attention and comment. Doing so may help him reconsider. We might say, "Hey, you're hurting someone," or ask, "What will you gain from this?"

Yehuda Russell - 6th Grade


Message from the Chief
Dear Hillel Academy friends, 
On behalf of the entire Hillel Academy family, thank you.
Monday night was a great success, thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers, staff, and supporters. To everyone involved, from our dinner chair to each person who purchased or sold a raffle ticket, thank you. Your efforts improve the lives of Jewish children every day. 
With great appreciation, 

Silent Auction Screams Success
This past week, over two hundred and fifty attendees gathered for the annual Awards Dinner and Silent Auction. Representing parents, donors, and communal dignitaries, guests of the evening enjoyed various delicacies prepared by Royal Catering. Apart from feasting, participants listened to remarks from Mr. Kraut (CEO), Rabbi Sacks (Principal and Educational Director), Steven Kohane (BHS '13) and Liora Posin (GHS '12). Each of the aforementioned speakers described the quality and character of the Hillel Academy experience. For those gathered, it was clear why Hillel Academy has become Pittsburgh's Fastest Growing Jewish Day School. While the Awards Dinner and Silent Auction have occurred previously, this year featured several innovations. Beginning with the locale, the event occurred at the Squirrel Hill JCC. This change was the result of a surge in attendees; a space with a larger capacity was required. Additionally, the Silent Auction boasted both a live and online presence. Items available for bid included a trip to Cancun, hot air balloon rides, gift certificates to local and national retailers, a year's worth of challah from Sweet Tammy's, tickets to local entertainment, and more. Collectively, the evening was an incredible success. Much appreciation to those involved in this year's event. 
Awards Dinner 2011

In a night filled with raffle tickets and bidding,
some things are truly priceless. 

Creative Construction and Chanukah
This week, students in 1st-5th grade gathered constructed menorahs. This activity enabled students to create kosher menorahs that are safe to use with proper supervision and placement. The students enjoyed actualizing what they've learned about Hadlakas Menorah. In conjunction with this activity, 5th and 6th grade girls assisted younger students with the design and completion of the menorahs. The older girls efforts were part of a Young Leadership Program that recently began at Hillel Academy. The aim of the program is to provide opportunities for student empowerment and personal growth.



He's building a menorah and a foundation for living a Jewish life. Find out more about Pittsburgh's Fastest Growing Jewish Day School by visiting www.hillelpgh.org
Lenticular Lessons

Today, we learned about Lenticular Images. The children sat in two lines, facing each other. A box top was placed between the lines. Those to the left of the box saw a tiger: but those to the right, saw a picture of a gorilla. How was that possible? The way it works is that two photographs were each divided into ten strips of equal width. The first picture's strips were labeled 1,2,3,...10, while the second picture's strips were labeled A,B,C,...J. The strips were cut apart, then glued onto cardboard in the following pattern: 1,A,2,B,3,C,... Next, the cardboard was folded like a paper fan. When the 'fan' is viewed from one direction, all of the first photo's strips are visible, and your eyes re-combine them into the first photo. When it is viewed from the other direction, all of the second photo's strips are visible, and your eyes only see the second photo. When you turn the fan from side to side, the photo appears to jump up and down. This is called a "lenticular image." In Israel, there is an artist named Yaacov Agam who is famous for his lenticular works. Some of his art is constructed in the same manner as our classroom examples. Using similar techniques, he has created sculptures and monuments around the world, including the 'Fire and Water' fountain at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv. To construct the fountain, he took a lenticular image and curved it around into a circle. Agam is also well known for the images that he screens directly onto lenticular plastic. This type of image is made by alternating strips of each image on a flat surface, then placing a bumpy clear plastic sheet over the top. The bumps in the sheet act like prisms, refracting the bifarious images in different directions. Next, we all played with some commercially available lenticular images, also known as "motion cards." These are sometimes found on store gift-cards, calendar covers, advertisements, and even in your mail. You can tell that they are lenticular images because they have a ridged plastic coating that makes a funny noise when scratched with a fingernail. Lenticular printing can be used to make portions of the picture appear to move and/or change, to make all of the picture appear to be 3-dimensional, or to make parts of the picture appear to change in size. We spent a long time looking at all of the cards. Finally, everyone got a lenticular image to take home. See you next week.


Lenticular images cast two pictures, but I only see one thing: America's Greatest Jewish Day School is right here at 
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.


Brokering Transactions from our 7th Grade Shiur
In our 7th Grade Gemara shiur, we are learning about Mekach taos. Mekach taos is literally, "mistaken transaction." A mistaken transaction occurs when you buy an object and assume certain components are included, but it turns out that is not the case. The ruling is that the transaction is not valid and it is as if you never purchased the item.  The case in our gemara is that if you rented a house on the 14th of Nissan, the previous owner must search the home before the transaction is complete. We assume that the previous owner performed the search, but the gemara questions, "What if you find out that the home wasn't searched properly, may you back out of the deal?" The gemara does not allow one to renege, reasoning that since a person is so willing to do the mitzvah of bedikas chametz, that even if the renter finds out that the house wasn't searched, he would still be willing to search it and he wouldn't back out of the deal. Since performing mitzvos is such a privilege, people are willing to overlook inconvenience, in this case the unexpected bedikas chametz, and not invalidate the transaction.


Michael Sohnen - 7th Grade
Learning Chumash
  "Hmmm, why would the Hillel Happenings put a picture of us learning Chumash when the article is about Gemara?"
Chizuk Corner
Parshas Vayeshev; The sons of Yaakov misunderstood their Father's favoring Yosef. They further misunderstood Yosef's motivation in telling their father that their actions that Yosef felt were wrong. Neither did they understand Yosef's motivation for telling them his dreams. Yaakov did not communicate his reasons, as he felt they were clearly understood. Yosef did not communicate concern to his brothers his concern about what he perceived as incorrect. Misunderstanding and lack of communication brought about the sale of Yosef as a slave and the families' eventual descent to Egypt. The message is clear. Avoid being misunderstood, communicate, communicate, communicate, and reap the reward of these efforts.
Flashback Fridays
Here's an easy one. This recent Hillel Academy alum just joined the Israeli Army. Email us his name, and show your support for this great alum. If you correctly identify the alum photographed, we will print your name in next week's Hillel Happenings.
I'll Take 'Innovative Learning Activities for 100'
This week, 1st through 6th grade students participated in Hillel Jeopardy Chanukah Edition. The game enabled students to learn, reinforce their studies of Chanukah, and demonstrate acquired knowledge. Questions concerned the story, halachos (laws), and minhagim (customs) of Chanukah. This enjoyable and competitive activity pitted the girls and boys against one another. 1st through 3rd graders utilized the SMART Board in the Hillel Academy Library, while 4th through 6th graders played in the Hillel Academy Cafeteria.

HIHL Championship Game  

This past Tuesday, the Beasties played the Vipers in the second Hillel Academy Intramural Hockey League Championship Game, the Hillel Cup. Similar to last season, a playoff style atmosphere greated the teams as they entered the Hillel Academy Gym. During pre-game warmups, music played as the teams were announced. The game began with a goal by Nathan Cohen, but Jacob Wiesenfeld quickly scored and kept the game tied at one. However, the score did not stay that way for very long, by the end of the second period the score was 4-2 Beasties. Jacob began the third period with a goal over Mendel Grossberg's left shoulder. Another goal scored again tied the game at four. Seventh grader, Akiva Skaist netted his third of the playoffs. This was followed by yet another Jacob goal, putting the game at 6-4. The Beasties tried frantically to score, and on several occasions came very close, but it was to no avail. After the game, I presented the trophy to team captain, Jacob Wiesenfeld. He then passed the trophy around to his teammates. Jacob won the MVP honors, but fourth grader Aaron Kraut was a close second. Aaron kept the game close by consistently making key saves on the Beasties' top shooters. The three stars of the game were: Jacob Wiesenfeld, Nathan Cohen, and Aaron Kraut. Stayed turned for more hockey during the 2012 spring season.

 Boaz Bachrach - 6th Grade

While everyone is a winner at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, here is a picture of the two teams that made it to the HIHL Championship Game, "The Hillel Cup."
The Heat Simmers at PUCS  
This past Wednesday evening, the Middle School Girls Basketball Team began their season against Pittsburgh Urban Christian School (PUCS). In addition to their competitve play, the Heat proudly displayed their their new uniforms, courtesy of Mordy Brown Catering (this year's Hillel Academy Athletic Department sponsor). Yael Itskowitz described the rapid pace of the game, "They scored the first two points, then I scored four straight points, then they scored a ton of points, and then we lost. The first quarter was really close." Adina Kisilinsky added that it was "exhilarating and nerve racking at the same time." Reva Milch said, "It was really fun." Despite the Heat's hellacious play, PUCS secured the win with a 48-16 score. During her post-game press conference, Coach Dayna explained, "They [PUCS] would not have scored so much if we did not turn over the ball so much. On the flip side we scored more points than anyone imagined." As the season develops, the students aim to improve their ball possession and establish an offense.

8th Grade Girls Basketball Team Picture
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh values and promotes the individual talents of each student, carefully nurturing each child through an array of academic, social, and athletic offering unlike any other in America. Be a part of our success and join the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh family today. 
The Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Middle School Students are running a Holiday Toy Drive beginning this Monday, December 19, in partnership with JF&CS and the Squirrel Hillel Food Pantry. Please bring a new or lightly used toy to school on Monday. There will be a collection box for toys in the main lobby of our Beacon Street campus. 
Rabbi Felberman from Sha'alvim for Women met with students from the Hillel Academy Girls High School. He shared a Dvar Torah, as well as the various opportunities available at Sha'alvim for Women.
Mr. Rafi Katz from Yeshiva University spoke with students from both the Hillel Academy Boys and Girls High Schools. In addition to sharing a Dvar Torah, he described the various opportunities available for students at Yeshiva University.


Mazel Tov
Dr. Itamar and Mrs. Yikara Levari on the birth of a son. There will be a Shalom Zachor at 8pm, Friday December 16, at 6351 Douglas Street. The Bris will be Monday morning, December 19, following the 6:45am minyan at Poale Zedeck
Dr. Itzchack and Dr. Ilana Levari on the birth of a grandson
Dr. Frank and Mrs. Joy Schwartz on the birth of a grandson
Dr. Ziv Bar-Joseph on completing the ING NY Marathon in 2 hours and 49 minutes
Everyone is invited to kiddush this Shabbos at Young Israel to wish the Wiseman family farewell as they leave Pittsburgh for New York 
Around Town


CONGREGATION POALE ZEDECK: Welcomes 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 SIGNIFICANCE;  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 protected] The program is supported by the Rabbi Akiva and Rachel Society and the Agency for Jewish Learning. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.
HILLEL ACADEMY: The Hillel Academy Chanukah Program will will occur on December 27th, from 6:30pm-7:30pm at Hillel Academy's Beacon Street campus. The program is open to students of the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood through Hillel Academy 8th Graders (and families). The program will include a comedy improv troupe, sufganiyot, music, songs, arts and crafts, a holiday toy drive, and more. 


HILLEL ACADEMY: Coming in 2012, Power Yoga during the week at 7pm for women at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh's Beacon Street Campus. Yoga will be taught by our very own Elizabeth Clay on Tuesdays. Participants will be required to bring their own mats. Sessions will last 45 minutes and cost $5 a session. Be sure to bring water for each class and wear comfortable clothing. Please click www.hillelpgh.org for Ms. Clay's bio. Contact [email protected] for questions about Power Yoga.


BNEI AKIVA: There will be snif this Shabbos from 3:30-4:30 pm at Shaare Torah; 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: All 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 [email protected]

Want More Hillel Happenings?


Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh 

would like to thank 

Leah'Spa and Salon and Mordy Brown Catering 

for being this year's Athletic Department  

Major League Sponsors.


Thank you as well to: 


Mark  Sindler, Criminal Defense Attorney 
and  Dr. Jeffrey W.  Martz, DMD
for being this year's Athletic Department 
Minor League Sponsors. 
Please Patronize their businesses.

- Leah'Spa and Salon - http://leahspa.vpweb.com
- Mordy Brown Catering - 651.558.1725
- Mark Sindler - Criminal Defense Attorney
310 Grant Street, Suite 2330
Pittsburgh PA  15219-2264
- Dr. Jeffrey W.  Martz, DMD - Dental Anesthesiology - (724) 939-7024

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh 
5685 Beacon Street 
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
(P) 412-521-8131 
(F) 412-521-5150
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