Outside of Hillel 

May 11, 2012                                                                                 
19 Iyar 5772 
Candle Lighting: 8:07
Havdalah: 9:08

Parsha Emor
Dvar Torah

In this week's Parsha, Parshat Emor, the Torah tells us about the tragedy of the Mekallel (the one who cursed Hashem). The Jews at that time did not know what to do with him, so they put him in a prison cell until Moshe would talk to Hashem to find out what to do with him. Rashi makes a point of mentioning that although this took place in the time of the Mekoshesh Eitzim, (the man who violated Shabbos by gathering wood) they did not put them in the same prison cell. Why keep them separated? Rashi says that the Jews at that time did not know of the specific punishments for each of these transgressions. Even though both men clearly did something wrong, they could not be put in the same cell because of potential differences in the severity of their crimes.


We see a similar idea in the Mishna in Sanhedrin. The mishna tells us that each Beis Din (Jewish court of law) had two cemeteries. One for those who received the death penalties of burning or stoning (the two more severe deaths) and a separate one for those who were strangled or beheaded. We see from here that even for those who committed the worst of crimes and were put to death as a result, the Torah feels it is necessary to differentiate between those who have the most severe crimes and the others. The Torah respects the dignity of everyone even those who have gone against it. The Torah does not lump all "bad guys" together, rather it respects their individuality even if they deserved to die.            


We see from here that the Torah goes out of its way to care about the dignity and individuality of evil doers. We should learn from here that we must go out of our way to care about the individuality of evil people and good people alike.  


Good Shabbos!


Sarah Nimchinsky - 11th Grade


Day School Council - Lag B'omer



Can you find Reb Shaw?


Over 800 students in kindergarten through eighth grade and girls high school from Hillel Academy, Yeshiva and CDS celebrated the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer together on Thursday, May 10 at the CDS field.


The festivities included live music, singing and a trapeze artist. The three day schools each helped plan the event as part of the Pittsburgh Jewish Day School Council, a committee convened by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to coordinate shared resources amongst the schools. The Lag BaOmer program ended with a group photograph of the 800 students, the first such photograph in Pittsburgh's history.


"As Lag BaOmer commemorates the culmination of a plague that befell Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 students because of their collective discord, it is an especially important day to celebrate community unity and cohesiveness," said Daniel Kraut, CEO of Hillel. "It may not seem like a big deal to plan a program with three day schools, but this highlights a tremendous landmark for the community. Not all communities have such open dialogue."


 UJF Staff


"And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edge of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them to the poor, and to the stranger; I am the L-rd your G-d."  Why does the Torah mention this mitzva of giving the poor and stranger gifts, in connection with Shavuos? The Meshech Chachmah explains, it is to teach us that the giving of the Torah was not just for religious laws but for laws pertaining to caring for others as well. 
What a Blast


Book Blast 2012 was the most incredible Book Blast ever! Hillel students could not wait to begin their adventures with each of the special readers-boys and girls from the Hillel Academy High School. The students joined our guest readers on an exciting journey into the magnificent world of books! The sixth grade boys and girls served as gracious chaperones to kindergarten, first, and second grade students as each group traveled around the lunchroom and library to read with each of the readers. Some students wore costumes reflecting their favorite books, and many wore their slippers while gliding from reader to reader on their magic carpets. 


The centerpiece for this year's event, created by Mrs. Kirk and the 6th grade girls, was a magnificent apple tree, reflecting the theme 'Read for the Trees.' After the guest readers were finished reading, everyone gathered together to sing Hillel Academy's rendition of 'I got the whole world in my hands', written by the event's mascot, 'Douglas Fir,' (AKA Mr. Werber). 


Next, we gave our guest readers a huge round of applause for joining us for this special event, and finally, students were treated to apples, donated by Giant Eagle! 


The Bookmark Contest this year was very difficult for the judges to choose winners as there were many fantastic entries! However, after much deliberation the following awards were given to the top three winner: Bracha Berelowitz, Mendy Morgan and Yaacov Berelowitz.   

Congratulations to all the students who participated! 


Every teacher involved in this spectacular event is to be commended for their tireless dedication to this project which was in the works for months. In addition we would also like to thank the office staff, librarian, Bonnie Morris and Mr. Fred Davis for their help in making this event come to fruition. 


"Mazel tov," to everyone for a job well done!



Advice from Mrs. Ziff, MSW 


The weather has been great, the porch furniture is ready for action and now you are most likely thinking about summer plans for your children.  Here is a list of some ideas.  Some you may already have been thinking about and some may give you a new spark of an idea.

  1. Local Day Camps are always a great idea for younger children.  Have you thought about stretching out into the wonderful museums we have in our area for day camp options?  The Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Art have fantastic options for kids of all ages, full and half day programs.  The Science Center also has wonderful opportunities.
  2. If you are looking for a special challenge for your child, Carnegie Mellon University has an outstanding C-Mites summer program.  I have information in my office if you are interested.
  3. Academic review is always an option for kids as well.  Duquesne University, and Pitt have excellent summer reading clinics.
  4. Sign up your child for a summer reading program  that offers incentives.  The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Barnes and Noble have fun and exciting programs.
  5. Offer your child to paint their bedroom.  With guidance, your older child and you can do it together. A younger child can help a bit, but it is mostly an adult job.  Be sure to make it a fun trip to the paint store to pick out colors.  Have you ever considered chalkboard paint.  It works just like regular paint, but when it dries it is like having a chalkboard in your room.  They also make a magnetic paint.  If you use this as an undercoat, your chalkboard can serve double duty to hang things with magnets and for drawing.
  6. Clean out desks, closets etc.  One idea is to remove EVERYTHING from their room and do a true cleaning.  Give away, throw out, or even have a yard sale pile.
  7. Older children can offer a neighborhood story hour to the younger kids.
  8. Organize a neighborhood cleanup up.
  9. Organize a block party...apply for a city permit to close off your street.  Every house could have a carnival type booth.
  10. Start a book club, crafts club, chess club, games club, etc...whatever your interest is, then a club will work.  Invite neighbors, old and young.  Invite friends, relatives or someone new who just moved in.  Put a sign up at your shul to advertise. 


The idea of summer is to have fun and to relax but to have enough structure to keep everyone busy and happy!

If you have any questions about how you can implement some of these ideas, please email or call Mrs. Ziff.  Also, if you have suggestions for future messages, please email Mrs. Ziff as well.  [email protected]


The Hillel Grid  


"The Hillel Grid," a regular window into the minds of America's greatest students (obviously we're talking about Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh).

Students in the Mix -

7th and 8th Grade Girls

What is your favorite book?

If  you could have dinner with any famous person, who would it be?

If  you could get a job doing anything, what would it be?

Batsheva Langer

The Hobbit

I prefer to eat by myself.


Chedva Silver

I read so much that I can't pick a favorite.

Kate Middleton

Movie producer

Yael Itskowitz

Hunger Games

Emma Watson


Adina Kisilinsky

Hunger Games

Betty White

The head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (The group that votes on the Oscars.)

Reva Milch

None, I don't like reading.

Any President

Clothes designer

Nechama Rosenberg

Autumn Rain

A person

Interior decorator

Shira  Itzkowitz

Hunger Games

Emma Watson

Host of a TV show where they prank people

Leah Joshowitz

Hunger Games

Emma Watson


Do you want to be featured in an upcoming Hillel Grid? 
If so, please email [email protected]  
Werber's Words of Wisdom


No historical figure has as many misconceptions built around him as Christopher Columbus. He wouldn't have even recognized the name he is most known by. By all accounts, Christopher Columbus was born in Italy as Cristoforo Colombo (although, there is also a school of thought that he was a Portuguese Jew born Salvador Fernandes Zarco). He spent most of his life in Spain where he changed his name to Cristobal Colon, possibly to sound more Spanish. He wouldn't have recognized Christopher Columbus at all, which is an anglicized version of his birth name. Whew! Now that we have that out of the way, let's look at some of the most common misconceptions about Columbus.

Columbus set out to prove the world was round.- The fact that the Earth is round had been proved 2000 years earlier by the ancient Greeks. Pythagoras  made the fact famous, Aristotle provided physical evidence, and Eratosthenes figured out the Earth's circumference using Geometry. Columbus actually set out to prove something false, that Earth was much smaller than it actually is. He thought Europe was wider than it is and that Japan was much farther from China than it is. Had he not bumped into South America, he would have been in trouble.

Columbus discovered America.-  Even ignoring the millions of people that lived in the Americas at the time, Columbus went to his death certain he had landed in Asia. Furthermore, although Columbus visited the Bahamas archipelago, Haiti and Hispaniola, and even sailed around Central and South America, he never came near the United States.

Columbus did nothing significant.- Some now wish to go in the other direction and say that since he didn't know where he was nor was he the first European to discover the continent, so he did nothing. This is disingenuous. He discovered the trade winds that people would use for years to sail back and forth from Europe to the Americas. Furthermore, Columbus started the first permanent European presence in the Americas and, is at least, partially responsible for all that followed from that.

Christopher Columbus, like most historical figures, was a complicated figure and trying to simplify the truth only leads to falsehoods and misconceptions. 
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 a 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)

Hillel Happenings  
Flashback Fridays
Can you figure this one out? Email us the name of the distinguished Rabbi and students in the picture and we will print your name in next week's Hillel Happenings. 

 Bookblast - 2001
Congratulation to: Avi Joseph and Marian Salamon for naming three out 0f the four gentlemen in last week's issue: Donald Butler, Abe Butler and David Horowitz


Breaking ground in 1957  





Hillel Gear Spotted Here

Zohar was seen running into the Hillel Academy lobby this week. We think he was aware that running is not allowed in Hillel, but we let it go this time to show you how exciting he was to come in the building to pick up his syblings and shoot this shot. 

Hopefully Zohar will be sporting this next 
year in his Chicago preschool. 

                                                                                                                      Hillel Happenings


Alumnus, Rabbi Barnea Levi Selavan refelcts on why Jewish education is so vital. 

Rabbi Barnea Levi Selavan_Hi Definition.mpg
Rabbi Barnea Levi Selavan 
Hillel Academy Middle School is Renamed
Rabbi Nadoff  beloved by his many students, was soft-spoken and gentle.  An accomplished Torah scholar, he had extensive knowledge of Talmud and Tanach, with a special gift for delivering clear, understandable and memorable lessons to his students. Through his teaching and quiet leadership, he helped transform Pittsburgh into a vibrant Torah community. In recognition of his contribution to Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, the middle school is hereby named The Rabbi Benjamin Nadoff Middle School of Hillel Academy.


Below is the video that was played at the dinner, enjoy! 
The Life of Rabbi Benjamin Nadoff, zt'l
The Life of Rabbi Benjamin Nadoff, zt'l


Mazel Tov - Much Nachas to you all! 


Ms. Nomi Gordon on her engagement to Aryeh Ho of Passaic, NJ



Condolences - Baruch Dayan HaEmet  

Helen Bachrach, on the loss of her beloved father, Rabbi Nathan Bryn 


May the Almighty comfort them among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.



Within this section of the Hillel Happenings, you'll find brief updates regarding 
Hillel Academy. These updates all have GRAVITAS. 


Pittsburgh 2012 Marathon

Congratulations Morah Ruth, Rabbi Weinberg and Reb Shaw on your races last Sunday! 


Postcard Project - 4th Grade
Thanks to everyone who sent us postcards we now have over 80 cards representing 49 states and Washington,D.C. We've almost reached our goal as we only need MAINE! We received postcards from students, faculty, staff, friends, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors of Hillel Academy, and alumni just to name a few! Thanks again to everyone for making our project a smashing success!

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


Food Zone

Mother's Day Buffet at Milky Way this Sunday.  


Click here for May's Order From 


Click here for  May's Lunch Menu


Around Town


HILLEL ACADEMY: Jen Lipsitz has expanded her women only zumba class to two sessions a week, Sunday at 11am -12pm  (note the time change) nand Wednesday at 7pm. Contact Jen at [email protected] with questions.

Snif this Shabbat will be at Shaare Torah from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm.  
Mark your calendars for our Yom Yerushalayim activity on Sunday, May 20th! High School: 1) Do you want to be a madrich (counselor) in Bnei Akiva next year? Talk to Andy Joshowitz or Maia Wiesenfeld. 2) Look out for more details regarding a lunch on Shavuot!  Zach Girls: Shabbat lunch @ the Bnot Sheirut's apartment (2200 Wightman Street) on Shabbat, May 19th. For more information, contact [email protected] 

GIRLS ONEG: All girls in grades K - 7 are invited to join the fun at Girls Oneg in PZ education building from 3:15pm to 4:15pm  For more information call Devorah (412-867-7751) or Leah (412-586-8488), [email protected].  



Want More Hillel Happenings?


Mother's Day Buffet at Milky Way

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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