Outside of Hillel  
February 17, 2012 
24 Shevat 5772 
Candle Lighting: 5:38
Havdalah: 6:39

Parshat Mishpatim
Dvar Torah

  ואלה המשפטים אשר תשים לפניהם


And these are the laws that you shall set before them (Shemos 21:1). 


It is important to realize that the verse does not state, "these are the laws you shall command them to fulfill." Instead, it says, "these are the laws that you shall set in front of them," putting the laws before the nation like a merchant who places his precious merchandise on the table and lets buyers examine them carefully before deciding whether to buy them. The wording of this pasuk teaches us that while the laws were given to us by Hashem, we were also given free will to choose to follow them or not. At Hillel Academy, we are taught to make good choices. Have a great Shabbos.


Aaron Kraut - 4th Grade


Purim Baskets
Purim is on its way and Purim Baskets are here! 


Follow these instructions to receive your Purim Basket: 
  1. Please click here or copy and paste http://hillelpgh.happypurim.com
  2. Login
  3. Order your basket today!

If you have any questions? Email [email protected] and we'll help! 


The deadline for ordering is Friday February 24!


Grandparents, would you like to send your grandchild(ren) a Michloach Manot package with a personalized note from you through Hillel Academy's Purim Committee? If so, please email [email protected] and let us know!


Please use the above image as an attention grabber and order your Purim Baskets today.


Message from the Chief
Dear Hillel Academy Friends,


Hopefully you noticed the giant red stop sign. Purim Baskets are now available. The deadline is Friday, February 24!  If you have any questions, please email [email protected].
Have a good Shabbos.      

A Message from Mrs. Ziff, MSW


After all the homework is done and the studying complete, sometimes it is difficult to get your kids to read for pleasure.  Reading  is truly a window to the world and the love of reading can open up so many doors to the past, present, and future.  If your child is a reluctant reader or already has the love of reading in their heart, here are some ideas to enhance the reading experience:
  1. Set up a reading calendar each month.  Make a total monthly goal...example 100 minutes for the month is a good goal for a first or second grader.  You can set these goals knowing how much your child likes to read...make it attainable.  At the end of the month, if your child meets the goal, a reward is in order.
  2. Make a trip to the Carnegie Library, (the one in Oakland is a wonderful field trip).  If your child does not already have their own library card, sign up for one.  It is an exciting responsibility to own your own card.
  3. Choose a magazine to subscribe to for your child.  Have the subscription under their name.  There are so many wonderful child centered magazines out there...even for 2-3 year olds.  There are themed magazines for every interest.  Call me for suggestions or "Google" children's magazines.
  4. Make bookmarks at home with your kids.  These can be made from old cereal boxes, cookie boxes, or even favorite fabric scraps.  Braiding, knitting, and crocheting even make fun book marks.
  5. Another crafty idea is to make book covers for the book your child is reading.  Not only does this lengthen the life of the book for younger siblings, but it is a fun way for kids to express themselves.
  6. Ask a few other moms or dads if they would be interested in joining a book club.  Not only is this great family time, it is a wonderful activity to strengthen friendships.  Book stores and libraries may also have book clubs for kids.
Ella Ziff
Mrs. Ziff wants to hear from you.
Please email her with suggestions for future messages.


Brachos Competition Fuses Learning and Middos


This year's Hillel Academy Brachos Competition is well under way. As opposed to other Brachos Bees, this year's Hillel Academy Brachos Competition features a class based program that enables students to learn about brachos and meet grade appropriate goals set by their teachers. The students' accomplishments combine with those of their classmates to gain recognition and points for their class. Classes gain points when 80% of the class meets one of their class' ten goals. The class gets bonus points if 100% of the class meets a goal. In keeping with the Tu B'Shevat theme, points are recorded as leaves and fruit, and then pasted onto each class' tree poster in the lunchroom (Special thanks to the B'not Sherut for making the wonderful tree posters, leaves, and fruit!). Each class will win prizes based on the number of points earned. The Hillel Academy Brachos Competition will continue until Rosh Chodesh Adar.


Rabbi Nim


Who Said What
This month, Ms. Clay posted ten quotes on a bulletin board in the hallway of the main floor of Hillel Academy. She also posted ten names. Your job is to match each quote to the person who said it.  Enter your guesses in the manila envelope on the bulletin board. At the end of the month, the student with the most correct answers will win a prize (a drawing will be held in the case of a tie). See Ms. Clay if you have any questions. Good luck!
In no way was this photograph staged. These actual Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh students were seen participating in Ms. Clay's Quotation Challenge conveniently when we realized that we needed a picture for this article.
   Ms. Clay 


Tu B'Shvat Program
This past Wednesday, students in Grades 1-6 participated in an exciting Brachos-themed Tu B'Shvat program. The program started with an update of each class' progress in meeting its Brachos competition goals, that were represented as leaves and fruit pasted onto each class' tree poster in the lunchroom. The students then got to do some creative Tu B'shvat planting! The B'not Sherut helped the students make their own Rosh Deshe or "Grass Head". Placed on a dish or bowl and watered daily (except for Shabbos!), the Rosh Deshe should sprout a full "head" of grassy hair in under two weeks! After the planting/craft portion of the program, the students participated in a special game of Brachos Bingo, a new twist on the traditional Bingo game developed by our 8th grade girls! Congratulations to Brachos Bingo winners Tovia Jacobs, Avi Ingber, and Talia Itskowitz!   
    Rabbi Nim 


טו-בשבט הגיע
In preparation for Tu B'Shevat, our students embarked on a great learning journey by studying the Shivat HaMinim. For three weeks, the Sherut Leumi worked with Grades 1-6, and Middle School Girls, learning about each of the species and the land of Israel. What Mitzvot are connected to them, how and where they grow, how our forefathers used Shivat HaMinim during the Tanach times, and how we use Shivat HaMinim today in Eretz Israel. Students found pasukim, meshalim, and midrashim about each species, and created a wonderful display on the upper level of Hillel Academy.
     Morah Irit 


And, Another Tu B'Shevat Article


With a variety of delicious fresh, dried, and frozen fruits, enthusiastic singing, and words of Torah, the Middle School and High School girls enjoyed a Seudat Tu B'Shvat together last week. The girls spent forty-five minutes eating lots of fruit, learning about what Brachos to say, and the order of when to say them. Afterwards, the students delved into the significance of the chag with Rabbi Baran, and sang lots of beautiful Tu B'shvat songs. The High School Girls welcomed the Middle School Girls into their lounge for the Seuda and treated them like honored gifts. A festive time was had by all.

(In case you're curious, had we printed four more articles on Tu B'Shevat, we would have included pictures of barley, grapes, figs, and olives.)  


I Had A Great Time (The Students Did Too) 
I am proud to say that yesterday's trip to the Peterson Events Center was a smashing success and it exceeded our expectations. Upon arrival, at a VIP entrance, we were warmly greeted by Meghan Bielich, the Director of Women's Basketball Operations. She led us through the back corridor of the arena right onto the main floor, where we were the only spectators. I explained a little bit about what was going on and let the middle school girls get acquainted with their surroundings. Ms. Bielich then passed out media guides and posters, while I gave out the statistic worksheets that we prepared for the girls. The girls got right to work following individual players and recording their stats. From time-to-time, Ms. Bielich and one of the team managers came over to explain things to us. What we learned was that Monday was a scout day. This means that the coaches scout Pitt's next opponent. Pitt's scout team, comprised of a few female players, men, and coaches, tries to mimic the opponent's tendencies and behaviors on offense and defense. The team then scrimmaged (blue vs. gold). At the end of the scrimmage, Coach Agnes Berenato and all the players came and introduced themselves. We then went on a VIP tour of the facility, which included the workout room, practice gym, training/medical room, whirlpool, locker room, and equipment area. We then returned to the court where we watched sprints and foul shooting. Next, "Coach B" called us onto the court and we all made a large circle with the Pitt players. One of the players introduced their team to us and Adina Kisilinsky introduced our team to them. The Pitt team was impressed that we had a .500 record. Then, we got into a tight huddle and they taught us their cheer. The session concluded with our girls mingling, schmoozing with players, and receiving autographs. To top it off, Ashton Gibbs came on the floor to say hi and sign autographs for us! What made this so beneficial and educational, besides the statistics and phys ed components, was the middos aspect. The entire Pitt staff and players were kind, hospitable, and welcoming. They made eye contact, smiled, and offered kinds words to us. Our girls learned a lot from the Pitt players and coaches. Thank you Rabbi Weinberg and Mr. Kingman for helping arrange the educational components of this program. Thank you as well to Mr. Kisilinsky, Mrs. Itskowitz, and Mrs. Joshowitz for driving. Last but not least, thank you to Pitt for making this happen.


Girls at Pitt Panthers Game
For those wondering, Reb Shaw took the picture. He's not dressed up as the Pitt Panther.


Chizuk Corner
Achuds (unity) earns divine favor and blessing. The Chafetz Chaim writes, "It is written in the Agada of our Sages: The Holy One Blessed Be He said to Israel, 'My beloved son, do I lack anything that I need to ask it of you? What do I ask of you? That you should love each other, you should honor each other and revere each other.'" The Chafetz Chaim concludes that with our effort to acheive this goal we will give nachas to our Creator and merit Divine blessings. The Chafetz Chaim sees a hint to this in the text of the mitzva "Love your neighbor as yourself, I am Hashem." "If you will love each other, then I Hashem am among you and I love both of you."
   Rabbi Brodie 


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. In 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! 
This Week's Picture:
Caption Contest 2-17-12
(Your caption could be here.)


Last Week's Picture and Winning Caption:

Caption Contest 2-10-12
Wow, he's mastered kabballah at such a young age!
Congrats to Zev Kraut for submitting last week's winning caption. 

Readers Respond


As the Hillel Happenings has grown, we have received some comments from our readers. We would like to say thanks and welcome any comments or suggestions to the Hillel Happenings.


Dear Hillel Happenings, 


I thoroughly enjoy reading your weekly editions and hearing about all the great happenings at your fantastic school. 


Keep up the great work!  


Kol Tuv,
Dori Oshlag
Lead Educator
This is fabulous!  
Aaron Weil
Executive Director and CEO
The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh
Love the new format.
Charles Cohen, Esq.
Planning Manager for Jewish Continuity
Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh



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).


Meet the GHS Mock Trial Team of Pittsburgh's Fastest Growing Jewish Day School

The best part of Mock Trial is...

Thus far, I have learned from Mock Trial...

Mr. Garwood is...

Viti Felder

the turtle jewelry

confidence is key

da bomb

Sara Nimchinsky

Mr. Garwood taking us for ice cream

public speaking is super scary

the boss

Aviva Wander

the really long practices because you get so much better

how to be a better public speaker

the best coach ever

Tamar Wasserman

learning about the court system

if you have a roll to play then play it

a great coach and a great role model

Liora Posin

getting out of class to work on it

no matter how difficult a task may be, you could get really far

such an amazing advisor

Sossi Brown

pizza practice

how to use my persuasive skills that I have learned in the courtroom on a daily basis

coolest person ever - he goes above and beyond

Do you want to be featured in an upcoming Hillel Grid? 
If so, please email [email protected] 
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 Rob Itskowitz, Brian Goldwasser, Elan Sokol, Marilyn R. Swedarsky, Bonnie Morris, Naama Lazar, and Anita Kornblit for correctly answering our last installment of Flashback Fridays.



Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Once again proving that Hillel Gear is a global phenomenon, recent Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh graduates Libby Stein, Chasya Cowen, Dina Biton, and Ariella Pilato (from left to right), were spotted in Israel proudly clutching a Hillel Academy t-shirt. Way to go girls! 
Hillel Gear spreads smiles.


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! 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.


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]
Soles 4 Souls: 
Please bring in all types of shoes: athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance, flip flops, just as long as they are new or gently worn. These shoes will be donated to Soels4Souls, a non-profit that collects shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty. 
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. 


Parents, please remember to stay in your car during daily dismissal (3:50-4:00) to help us keep the line moving.


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.
Thank you to Dr. Elli and Mrs. Ilana Kanal for donating a set of Tanach to Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.



Mazel Tov
Mr. Yariv and Mrs. Marcel Ohayon on the birth of a baby boy


Mr. Phil and Mrs. Iris Samson on the engagement of their son Jeff to Ariella Senders


Mr. Jeff Samson on his engagement to Ariella Senders


Rabbi David and Mrs. Naama Lazar on the birth of grandson 


Dr. Menachem and Dr. Abby (Atlas) Lazar on the birth of a son
The Boys High School Mock Trial Team on defeating Shadyside Academy's Team last week
Food Zone
Around Town
PINSKERS JUDAICA: The long-awaited "Family Tehilim" book by local writer, Leah Shollar, in collaboration with Elky Langer has arrived. All women are invited to  join us for an author signing and presentation at Pinskers Judaica on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Stop by any time betweem 8 PM and 10 PM. Leah and Elky will give short talks on the collaborative process and history of tehillim. Singer Gila Moritz and others will set tehilim to famous melodies. Should be a lovely night for such a major accomplishment.


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 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 give them our support.


HILLEL ACADEMY: Jen Lipsitz has expanded her women only zumba class to two sessions a week, Sunday at 1pm and Wednesday at 7pm. Contact Jen at [email protected] with questions.


BNEI AKIVA: Snif this Shabbat will be at Shaare Torah from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm (the time will change in a couple of weeks). Zach Shabbaton in Detroit is from March 16-18. It is $130. If you are interested, contact us at [email protected] or contact Andy Joshowitz (412-527-3679) for any questions or for an application.

All girls in grades K - 7 are invited to join the fun at Girls Oneg in PZ from 3 pm to 4pm on Shabbos Afternoon! For more information: Devorah (412-867-7751) and Leah (412-586-8488).


HILLEL ACADEMY: Alan Goodkind will be doing his annual megillah reading for all at Hillel Academy on Purim day at 11:00am in the cafeteria.

February 25th at PZ, The community is invited to join Congregation Poale Zedeck for a special farewell Kiddush in honor of Dr. Michael & Mrs. Jody Steinberg. Michael Steinberg is joining the Army and will report to basic officer training on Purim day. Their many friends have decided to sponsor a Kiddush in their honor to wish them well as they prepare to move. The community is warmly invited to join us in sharing this very special, and regretful, farewell. We hope to see you for a beautiful Kiddush. 


JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH: At the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, We Heart Israel. And we know you do, too. That's why we're asking you to add your video to our library. Share what you love about Israel, your favorite Israel memory, or what you're most looking forward to on your next visit. Record/submit your video to YouTube and submit the URL to us at http://weheartisrael.blogspot.com. Visit us online to learn more.


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.