The Hillel Happenings
The official e-newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh  

March 9, 2012 
15 Adar 5772 
Candle Lighting: 6:01
Havdalah: 7:02

Parshat Ki Tisa
Dvar Torah

.ועתה הניחה לי ויחר־אפי בהם ואכלם ואעשה אותך לגוי גדול



One can gain a remarkable insight into Hashem's love for B'nei Yisrael from the above passuk. B'nei Yisrael had just committed what seems to be an unforgivable betrayal of Hashem. A mere forty days after hearing the words, "Anochi Hashem Elokeicha," "I am Hashem your G-d" and the command against making and serving  idols directly from Hashem, B'nei Yisrael were involved in violation of those two commandments (exactly how and who was involved is discussed at length by the meforshim). Hashem is angry at B'nei Yisrael and is ready to wipe us out and start over again with Moshe, (Exodus 32:10). Yet, even as Hashem says that he is prepared to destroy us, he shows Moshe the escape hatch! In that passuk, Hashem says to Moshe, "leave me alone, stop davening for them, so I can destroy them." Rashi and Rav Saadiah Gaon point out that Moshe had not yet started davening for B'nei Yisrael, why is Hashem telling him to stop so he can destroy B'nei Yisrael!? Rashi explains that Hashem hinted something critical to Moshe. Hashem told Moshe that the survival of B'nei Yisrael was up to him. If Moshe would choose to daven for B'nei Yisrael, they will be saved, if not, then Hashem would destroy them. Moshe only knew that his Tefillos would make a difference because Hashem told him so. Hashem communicated this life saving point at the moment when His anger burned greatest against B'nei Yisrael. Hashem's love for B'nei Yisrael is so great that in the same sentence that he says he wants to destroy us, he hints to Moshe how to save us!


Have a wonderful Shabbos!


Rabbi Nimchinsky




Short Vort

Shushan Purim is amazing here at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh!  
In the tefilah of "Shushanas Yaakov" after Megila reading, it says, "Charvona zachor latov" and in bentching it says, "Eliyahu Ha'Navi zachor latov."  Why the name change? There are those who say that Eliyahu and Chavorna are the same person. 
Happy Shushan Purim and Good Shabbos!
Chana Yolkut and Rivka Kaminsky - 3rd grade 



Message from the Chief
Dear Hillel Academy Friends,


The Purim Committee and I would like to thank the following volunteers who helped make our Purim Basket project a success!  Gayle Kraut, Becky Weinberg, Heather Vidmar-McEwen, Cheryl Cohen, Amy Cohen, Stacie Stufflebeam, Faygie Marizan, Ronit Wiesenfeld, Shira Hazon, Shelly Itskowitz, Ali Tuchman, Maxine Kisilinsky, Yardena Smith, Rina Itskowitz, Shoshi Butler, Rabbi Daniel Wasserman, Danny Shaw, Marilyn Swedarsky, Michelle Winer, Anat Talmy, Nechama Sacks, and Chaya Gitty Morgan and her 7th and 8th grade girls for their production of the "Persian Press."


We also appreciate the support and hard work of Selma Aronson, Hadar Glazer, Adina Shayowitz, Sarah Hartman, Fred Davis, and Carl Wilson. We would like to thank the following sponsors for their contributions: Consumer Produce, Utz Snack Company, Murray Avenue Kosher and Giant Eagle. 

Have a Good Shabbos.      


Hillel Minute
We here at the Hillel Happenings have heard your voices!  Enjoy this new edition of the The Hillel Minute! 
The Hillel Minute (Clubs).wmv


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Werber's Words of Wisdom


We've all heard stories that are common knowledge, but may or may not be true. Call them old wives' tales, bubbe meises or urban legends, they are all around us, and all of us have accepted them as fact. In this article, I will discuss some common misconceptions and their interesting histories.


Mr. Werber


Everyone would swear this is true. Give kids sugary treats and they're bouncing off the walls. The trouble is, it turns out that sugar actually effect. This is a case of the placebo effect. If parents think their kids ate sugar, they will report them as being hyper, however, if they are told the kids ate vegetables, they will label their behavior as normal. This is not just true for parents. If you tell a child he has eaten a sugary treat, he is more likely to act hyper than if you give him the same treat, but tell him it is sugar free. It is amazing what the mind can do.



I know I am guilty of spreading this fact. We always tell kids to wear a hat to avoid this dreaded fate. The origin of this myth is an army training manual from the 1960's (apparently the hay day of misconceptions). It claimed you could lose between 40% and 45% of your body heat through your head. What people don't take into consideration, however, is that, as in this study, people are usually clothed and if outside usually bundled up as well. The truth is that you will lose the most heat through the greatest exposed surface area. Since your head makes up only 10 percent of the surface area of your body you only lose 10% of your heat through your head.



This is a favorite of mothers and grandmothers everywhere and like all good legends, it has a basis in fact. In 1967 General Electric released a TV that due to "factory errors" released between 10 and 100,000 times the x-rays that were considered acceptable. Instead of having a recall, GE simply advised people not to sit too close to the TV. Even though the problem was quickly fixed, and the worst that could happen if you sit too close to the TV, is temporary eye strain, the legend remains.


In the next Werber's Words of Wisdom, I will take on more misconceptions. Read them at the same Werber time and the same Werber place.




 חדשות מארץ ישראל 


In an on-going effort to bring new sections to the Hillel Happening, thanks to our B'not Sherut, we are pleased to introduce a new section, "News from Israel."   


ביום שישי ירד שלג בצפון ובירושלים, עכב כך בוטלו הלימודים ואתר החרמון נסגר.  
בשנה הזאת כמות הגשמים בארץ ישראל הייתה הגדולה ביותר מאז 1995. אז תמשיכו עם התפילות.

 מאירה שה-לבן ורבקה הופמן 
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:



(your caption could go here)


Last Week's Picture and Winning Caption:

Congrats to Barry Faigen for submitting last week's winning caption.

When mom finishes cleaning for Pesach,
maybe she will let me out... 


The Hillel Grid  


This week, in the spirit of Purim, Reb Shaw looked beyond the hallways of Hillel Academy to find out what's on the mind of local Jewish leaders. Thank you to all of our distinguished participants for sharing their time with the Hillel Happenings.

Rabbis in the Mix

Hillel Academy is...

My Purim costume is...

My favorite hamentashen is/are...

Rabbi Wasserman

Shaare Torah Cong.

the school I attended from Kindergarten through 4th grade, albeit in zip code 07055, not 15217.

Purim is the one day a year that I get to take my costume off and wear my natural clothing - jeans, t-shirt, du-rag and leather jacket . my Bubby Dora's 4 dough Hamentashen (four different doughs combined and rolled together for each individual Hamentash). 

Rabbi Silver

Young Israel Cong.

Hillel Academy is the newly crowned world champion of the International Yeshivisher Beat-up Alternative-energy Go-cart Championship. The Hillel team, 'the gefilte fishes,' won with their patented five wheel go-cart powered by horseradish fumes, nicknamed 'the Beeter.' Mazal Tov!!!

my Purim costume is the extra sharp team rabbi, Rabbi O. FishelChraineman. 
my favorite hamantashen is chocolate.

Rabbi Langer

The Kollel

the place that stole away my wife so now I need to call the secretary whenever I want to talk to her.  But it's in a good cause!



gone, swallowed up somewhere in the attic years ago. Donations, anyone?

spinach. They're great. Drop in at my house on Purim night and you can have one too.

Rabbi Yalkut

Poale Zedek Cong.

whatever R' Shmuel says it is.

 a giraffe.

fleshing (they're hard to find).  

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 name of the Hillel Employee and his Yeshiva classmates celebrating the Chanukah Season with senior citizens (1981).  If you correctly identify the Yeshiva Ache Tmimim  alums photographed, we will print your name in next week's Hillel Happenings.


Congrats to Brian Goldwasser for correctly answering our last installment of Flashback Fridays.





Hillel Gear Spotted Here


As the Hillel Happenings Staff scoured the country (and at times the world) for Hillel Gear sightings, we stopped in Brooklyn for a wonderful meal of unleavened flour and water at the Charedim Matzah Factory. That is where we spotted seventh grader, Ezra Kraut working the Sunday day shift. Special for this edition, can you name the other Hillel Academy student in this photograph? 

Ezra Kraut is rolling in dough!
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Within this section of the Hillel Happenings, you'll find brief updates regarding 
Hillel Academy. These updates all have GRAVITAS. 


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.




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


Parking Lot Gates Close Monday: 

  • 7:50 AM - 8:10 AM (M-F)
  • 3:40 PM - 4:00 PM (M-Th) 
  • 1:40 PM - 2:25 PM  (Friday)



 Amy Cohen on the loss of her beloved aunt,
Elky Weinstein
Food Zone
Click here for March's Order From
Around Town
HILLEL INTRAMURAL HOCKEY LEAGUE: To view up-to-date scores and standings visit:


3/11 vs. Beth Shalom, 8:00 PM, 3/18 vs. BBYO, 8:00 PM, 4/1 vs. Temple Sinai, 8:00 PM, 4/15 vs. Rodef Shalom, 7:00 PM - All games are played at the JCC.
KOLLEL JEWISH LEARNING CENTER:  Pesach lectures on Wednesday, March 21 and 28. Call the Kollel for more information. 412.421.0220
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.


STEELTOWN ENTERTAINMENT PROJECT: The Steeltown Entertainment Project, a non-profit organization that is instrumental in bringing movie-makers to Pittsburgh, is running a film-making competition for middle and high school students. Students who submit a short video by April 30th will be eligible to win prizes of up to $2,500.  This is a great opportunity for students who are interested in film, photography, the arts, etc. Here is the link for the contest:

BNEI AKIVA: Snif this Shabbat will be at Shaare Torah from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm.  Zach Shabbaton in Detroit is from March 16-18. It is $130. If you are interested, contact us at www.[email protected] or contact Andy Joshowitz (412-527-3679) for any questions or for an application. Save the date: April 25th, 2012, Yom Hazikaron Tekes!

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


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 ttp:// Visit us online to learn more.


PZ:  Annual International Food Festival is back! This delicious, all you can eat event, will take place at Poale Zedeck Congregation, 6318 Phillips Avenue. Sunday March 11, 2012. 5:00-8:00 p.m. $20 adults, $10 children ages 3-11, take out available. Glatt Kosher under the supervision of Vaad Harabanim of Pittsburgh. Some Lubavitcher schita available. For information, email: [email protected]  



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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