Outside of Hillel  
February 3, 2012 
10 Shevat 5772 
Candle Lighting: 5:20
Havdalah: 6:22

Parshat Beshalach
Dvar Torah

פרק טו-פסוק-ד: ומבחר שלשיו טבעו בים סוף

"His elite officers were sunk in the Reed Sea"


The root of the word טבעו to drown or to sink is ט ב ע, the Hebrew word for nature. This is in order to remind us that G-d performs his miracles in a way that uses the natural world of which G-d is the master. 


This week we celebrate טו בשבט, the holiday that celebrates a new year for the trees and the corresponding glory of nature. As we start to move into the spring, and begin to see tree buds blooming and twigs extending to welcome the new season, take a moment and think about the power behind them, the power that continually regenerates them and makes them grow. Here at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, we are taught to appreciate nature and be thankful for all of Hashem's creations. 


Have a wonderful Shabbos and a special mazel tov to my friend and classmate Michael Sohnen who is celebrating his Bar Mitzvah this Shabbos at PZ!


Ezra Kraut - 7th Grade
Message from the Chief
Dear Hillel Academy Friends,


Winter Break is over and it already feels like Spring is upon us. On behalf of everyone here at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, welcome back. I hope that you all had a restful and enjoyable break. 


As many of you heard, I recently attended the North American Jewish Day School Conference in Atlanta, GA. While I was there, this photograph was taken. Pictured is Amy Katz, Executive Director of PEJE, and me, Dan Kraut, Chief Executive Officer at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. In this picture, I am receiving a Challenge Award for a grant submitted jointly by Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh and Community Day School. The grant was received after demonstrating a drive to increase revenue through innovation. Specifically, the grant was awarded for the Pittsburgh Jewish Day School's efforts to create the 1st Year Free Tuition Program. The $25,000 award will be split between Hillel Academy and Community Day School. 




In other news, Purim is on its way, which means that it's time to order Purim Baskets! Please check your regular mail and email for instructions on how to do just that! The deadline is Friday, February 24!  If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

Finally, you can help Hillel Academy win $10,000 by voting 5 stars for our video in the Avi Chai Video Challenge. You can only rate the Hillel Academy video one time, so please share the link with your friends, neighbors, alumni, children and as many people as you can, using Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, whatever it takes. All you need is an email address. If you have Facebook, don't forget to click like below the Hillel Academy video as well, so that we can gauge how many people we are reaching. This is the final week of voting. The voting period officially closes at 11:59 PM Eastern Time this Sunday, February 5th.


Welcome back, and have a good Shabbos.      

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Welcomes Mrs. Ella Ziff
This week, Ella Zeilinger Ziff, joined the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh family as the school's Special Services Coordinator. Mrs. Ziff holds a BA in Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in Social Work, and has spent her entire professional career as a Jewish Communal Professional. She comes to Hillel Academy with ten years of classroom teaching experience at Community Day School, and over ten years of working as a professional at the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Centers of Pittsburgh and Springfield Massachusetts. Mrs. Ziff has been a consultant with the AJL, where she trained synagogue Hebrew teachers, as well as worked with high school students who serve as classroom assistants. After completing a seminar at Yeshiva University, Mrs. Ziff has been a mentor to teachers in the area of differentiation for the past three years. She has also developed and implemented programs in character development and bully prevention. Additionally, Mrs. Ziff has presented workshops for various parent groups and the yearly conference of Independent and Private Schools on Attention Deficit Disorders. Mrs. Ziff is the mother of two boys, ages 12 and 14, and is married to Dan Ziff, a clinical social worker who is employed by the Veterans Administration.
Ella Ziff
On behalf of the Hillel Happenings, and the entire Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh family, welcome Mrs. Ziff.


A Message from Mrs. Ziff, MSW

How about this for hitting the ground running, the Hillel Happenings is proud to feature a special section with Hillel Academy's newest family member Mrs. Ella Ziff. In this section, Mrs. Ziff (Hillel Academy's Special Services Coordinator) will share helpful suggestions for students and parents. Please email Mrs. Ziff with suggestions for future messages. 
After school homework can be a struggle for some children.  To keep frustration at a minimum here are a few helpful tips:
  1. Be sure the student has a healthy snack after school...refueling is important!
  2. Allow time for a break if your child needs one.
  3. Have a quiet spot for work.  Be sure to have all the needed materials  handy: pencils, erasers, notebook paper etc. Keep in mind that quiet space for some kids is the dining room table where mom or dad is close by.  It doesn't have to be upstairs in their room.
  4. Give help when needed. Homework should not be a frustration, it is for practice. Please let the teacher know if your child had a particular problem with some work, but don't be afraid to help them...even middle schoolers and high schooolers need guidance sometimes!
  5. Check your child's work. They should know that work should be neat.  If you notice glaring errors, help them. By the time they get to school the next day, they will not be interested in fixing the work.
  6. If there is visible frustration with an assignment, do not make your child continue. This is especially important in the younger grades. Alert your child's teacher before school the next day, so the classroom teacher can make arrangements for the appropriate review. 

Please email Mrs. Ziff with suggestions for future messages. 



Stringing Together Mathematics
Students in Mr. Kingman's High School Geometry class used straws and string to simplify a mathematical principle. Aided by pastel colored straws, students discovered the side, side, side congruent postulate theory. Mr. Kingman explained that if three sides of a triangle are congruent, then the angles of a triangle are congruent. Ada Friedman (10th Grade, GHS) stated that is was "fun and easy to learn about congruent triangles in this way." Eliana Halley (9th Grade, GHS) added, "I tweeted about this and I got two retweets and a favorite." Mr. Kingman explained the Twitter buzz, "She has a lot of math teachers following her."
This project would taste better with milk.


Staying Safe in the Pre-K 

As part of our unit on Community Helpers, Pre-K has had many visitors from around the neighborhood. Recently, Police Officer White, from the Pittsburgh Police Department, visited the Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center to talk about the importance of his job. He told the kids about calling 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. He also explained that the best thing to do if a stranger tries to take them, or harm them in any way, is to yell "fire" as loud as they can. He then reminded us that guns are not safe, and if we ever see one, we shouldn't touch it, and should go straight to a familiar adult to tell them about it. Lastly, Officer White showed us the tools he uses to help keep us safe.
Safety in the Pre-K
Background checks on these students revealed no priors.


Caption Contest
Here's something for our loyal Hillel Happenings readers. So many of you comment on the great captions beneath (our also great) photos. Well, it's your chance to be a part of the Hillel Happenings success. Within this section, we'll post a random Hillel Academy picture. You email us in the caption. Our judges will determine the best caption, and in the next Hillel Happenings, we'll reprint the picture with the winning caption. Be creative, have fun, and enjoy!   
(You're caption could be here!) 

Werber's Words of Wisdom
If you asked a mathematician what the largest number is, he/she would reply that numbers are infinite and therefore have no end. This is what mathematician Edward Kasner told his 9 year old nephew Milton Sirotta. Unfortunately, this is not a very exciting answer for a 9 year old. Milton replied that there should be a name for a very large number, even if it isn't the largest. Milton called it a googol and told his uncle that it was a 1 with 100 zeroes. The name stuck and even has a search engine named after it, albeit with a different spelling. Whenever my students hear that one of the largest numbers (more on that in a second) is a googol, they always reply that it doesn't seem like such a large number. Scientists, however, state that there aren't a googol number of hydrogen atoms, the most common gas in the universe, so it is a staggering number indeed. Edward Kasner, however, took this a step further and created the googolplex, a 1 with a googol number of zeroes after it. This is actually the largest number that has a name. Famous astronomer Carl Sagan once quipped that he "estimated that writing a googolplex in numerals (i.e., "10,000,000,000...") would be physically impossible, since doing so would require more space than the known universe provides." Now that's an impressive number!

Are you looking for a fun way to reinforce Werber's Words of Wisdom?

Click here to discover what Mr. Werber and the educational masterminds behind the

Hillel Happenings have devised.

   Mr. Werber 

Graphing It with the Third Grade
The Third Grade has been studying tally graphs, pictographs, and bar graphs.  This week they took a survey in grades one through six. The classes and their teachers were given choices of favorite food, color, and game. In the food category, people chose from pizza, hot dogs, chicken, and macaroni and cheese. In the color category, they chose from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink. In the games category, the choices were Monopoly, Mancala, Connect 4, Guess Who, and Chess/Checkers. The results were as follows: favorite food- PIZZA, favorite color - BLUE, favorite game - MONOPOLY. Finally, the class will display their results in each of the three types of graphs.
Mrs. Lederer and Third Grade
Based on our measurements, paper trumps computers for recording data.

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 or Teachers  in the Mix

Where does Hillel Academy Middle School Basketball rank in sports that you love to watch?

The Hillel Academy Lower Level is being renovated to house the new GHS. What features would you like to see added?

Elisheva Rosenberg

If I had tickets to a Steelers game or a Hillel girls' game, I would definitely go watch the girls' game.

Larger bathrooms

Leora Kelsey

Basketball is less violent so I would go watch the Hillel Heat!

A large writing corner

Chana Kaminsky

No answer

Senior Lounge

Rachel Luzer

Go Heat! Basketball rocks!

Bean bags

Mrs. Z


From a teaching standpoint, classrooms with round tables.

Mrs. Langer

I don't watch sports, but if I did, I would go watch the girls play!

Soundproof walls

Do you want to be featured in an upcoming Hillel Grid? 
If so, please email [email protected] 
Second Grade Sings For The JAA
The second grade performed a special mitzvah on Chanukah by entertaining the residents of Charles Morris. Rabbi Sacks and the second graders performed beautiful songs, while Morah Chana led the students in singing Chanukah songs. The students felt a sense of pride as they performed this wonderful mitzvah. The residents were very happy and appreciated it very much. The students enjoyed doing this very special mitzvah.


Chizuk Corner


The Rebbe of Moditz who was famous for the inspiring melodies he sang, was asked, "From what does song come?" He replied, "When the heart is full of happy emotion that it can't contain, it bursts forth in song." The Children of Israel, when witnessing the great hand of salvation that the Almighty did for them at the splitting of the Red Sea, were filled with great joy and burst out in song. In each of our lives, the Almighty does so much; we, too, should be in a constant state of happiness, even song.

 Rabbi Brodie


Flashback Fridays
Can you figure this one out? Email us the names of these former Hillel Academy students. If you correctly identify the alums photographed, we will print your name in next week's Hillel Happenings.
 Congrats to Elan Sokol for correctly answering our last installment of Flashback Fridays.



Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Former Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Principals (for a day), Alyssa and Michelle Joshowitz, were sighted in Magic Kingdom and Kennedy Space Center in Florida during the recent Winter Break. In addition to sporting Hillel Gear, the Joshowitz sisters were mailing postcards to their fourth grade class as part of their postcard project with Ms. Oz. Way to go Joshowitz sisters.
"Forget the postcard, let's bring this back to our fourth grade classmates!"
Within this section of the Hillel Happenings, you'll find brief updates regarding 
Hillel Academy. These updates all have GRAVITAS. 


New Club: 


All 4th-6th Grade Boys are invited to join the Mishna Club. Meetings will be held on Mondays, from 3:55-4:30 pm at in the Hillel Academy Library, beginning Feb. 13th! Earn Points and win prizes for learning mishna! Its a win win win! E-mail Rabbi Nim at [email protected] to sign up your son or for more info.


Help Hillel Academy Win $10,000:


You can help Hillel Academy win $10,000 by voting 5 stars for our video in the Avi Chai Video Challenge. You can only rate the Hillel Academy video one time, so please share the link with your friends, neighbors, alumni, children and as many people as you can, using Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, whatever it takes. All you need is an email address. If you have Facebook, don't forget to click like below the Hillel Academy video as well, so that we can gauge how many people we are reaching. This is the final week of voting. The voting period officially closes at 11:59 PM Eastern Time this Sunday, February 5th.


Purim Baskets:

Purim is on its way, which means that it's time to order Purim Baskets! Please check your regular mail and email for instructions on how to do just that! The deadline is Friday, February 24!  If you have any questions, please email [email protected]
Parents, please remember to stay in your car during daily dismissal (3:50-4:00) to help us keep the line moving.

Apples for the Students:


$1.1 million dollars in educational awards are available from Giant Eagle. From October 1, 2011 through March 17, 2012, you can earn points for Hillel Academy by registering your Giant Eagle Advantage Card and shopping at Giant Eagle, Giant Eagle Market District, Giant Eagle Express, and GetGo. If you have any questions, please call 1-800-474-4777.


The new date for ice skating is February 23, 2012. 


Thank you to all of the contributors to the Box Tops for Education program. 
We are 25% away from our yearly goal. Remember that lots of participating products carry the Box Tops logo including Ziplock, Scott's, Hefty and Avery brands. Please think of Hillel Academy the next time you plan your shopping, and take advantage of the promotion. Remember to put your name on your submission in order to be added to our raffle for Kennywood tickets.


Mazel Tov
Dr. Adam and Mrs. Priscilla Sohnen on the upcoming bar mitzvah of their son Michael


Mr. Michael Sohnen on his upcoming Bar Mitzvah
Rabbi Levi and Mrs. Elky Langer on the marriage of their daughter Esty to Zalman Dick 
Ms. Esty Langer on her marriage to Zalman Dick 


Food Zone
Around Town
POALE ZEDECK: Ramban: Commentator. Physician. Posek. Mystic. Defender of the Faith. Lover of Zion. Join Rabbi Daniel Yolkut in exploring the turbulent time and profound teachings of the Ramban, Rabbenu Moshe ben Nachman (13th century Spain and Eretz Yisrael). We will examine the methodology of his classic commentary on the Torah, his defense of Judaism in the Debate of Barcelona, and his role in battling the flames of debate raging over the heritage of Maimonides. Mondays: February 6, 13, 20, and 27, 7:15-8 PM in the Rabbi Joseph Shapiro Educational Building at Congregation Poale Zedeck.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH: The Jewish Federation's phonings are taking place on Sunday, Feb. 19th from 9:30 am - Noon. Sign up and make some calls! The Federation is the largest supporter of Hillel Academy, and we need to show our support of them.


HILLEL ACADEMY: Coming soon, 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: Snif this week will be at Shaare Torah from 4:00 - 5:00 pm (NOTE NEW TIME)


Want More Hillel Happenings?

Hillel Academy Thanks This Year's Athletic Sponsors   
Leah'Spa and Salon and Mordy Brown Catering  


Mark  Sindler, Criminal Defense Attorney 

Dr. Jeffrey W.  Martz, DMD



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