Outside of Hillel 

The Welcome Back Issue
September 28, 2012                                                                                 
12 Tishrei 5773 
Candle Lighting: 6:49
Havdalah: 7:48

Parshat Ha'aziu
Dvar Torah


 When the Torah first mentions the Mitzva of  arba minim (the four species), the verse (Vayikra 23:43) refers to the etrog with the term "pri etz hadar" (the beautiful fruit of the tree).  The Talmud in Sukka (35a) explains how this specific description relates to the etrog. The gemara suggests that by calling the fruit, the "fruit of the tree," the verse is comparing the fruit to the tree, thus the gemara  concludes that an etrog's bark must taste the same as the fruit itself. Secondly, in a play on the word "hadar," the gemara derives that an etrog must stay on the tree all year-round.

Perhaps these two descriptions of the nature of the etrog can help us better understand another medrash, this one found in Parashat Emor. In this medrash, our sages compare the four species to four different types of Jews. The etrog, which is both fragrant and tasty, represents the complete tzaddik.  It is possible that the aforementioned qualities of the etrog, can also fit in with the symbolism of viewing the etrog as the tzaddik. The requirement of a similar taste for the bark and fruit teaches that a true tzaddik is pious internally and externally. He serves Hashem with the best intentions and his actions match his inner thoughts. This genuineness naturally produces the second trait, consistency. One who is truly righteous will serve Hashem under all circumstances without condition.  Just like the etrog remains on the branch all year-round, Torah observance for a tzaddik is not a matter of convenience, but a lifelong commitment.


This lesson can also be understood in the connection between the Yamim Noraim and Sukkot. Sukkot finds itself at the end of of the "Tishrei" holidays. After we are judged by Hashem on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we bask in the glory of G-d by sitting in the Sukkah. Throughout our liturgy, Sukkot is described as "z'man simchateinu"- "our time of joy."  Even though there is an obligation of simcha on every holiday, the Torah places a particular emphasis of simcha in the context of Sukkot.  In essence, we transition from days of awe to days of joy. Perhaps the Torah is emphasizing an important lesson with the juxtaposition of these these two themes.  After Yom Kippur, we all feel like "etrog Jews." We have spent twenty five hours in shul, striving to reach the spiritual heights of the tzaddikim  among us. The Torah is telling us that like the etrog is consistent in its mission, so we too must be consistent and not only serve Hashem out of awe and fear, but out of joy as well. 


Hopefully, this will be a year of blessing and joy for all of us, and we will continue to find joy in all aspects of serving of Hashem. 


BHS Orientation

 Guys, watch this magic trick I just learned it. 


The BHS is off to a great start after a fun and informative orientation to kick off the school year. We started in the JCC with an ice breaker. We broke into groups of threes and each group had to come up with something unique they all had in common, they then shared with the rest of the school. (Try it -- it's harder than you think!) Before we got to the nuts and bolts (all the rules!) we read the mission statement. All of our school policies are in place to create a structure that allows us to fulfill our mission statement. 


After rules, schedules and ID's for new students, we were ready for our trek to Wightman Park. At the park we split up into small groups and each group was given supplies: a fork, a paintbrush, some newspaper and tape and a raw egg. The goal was to build a nest for the egg so when we dropped it from the top of the bleachers, it wouldn't break. The result: no broken eggs!


For the next event, each group was given a small tube of toothpaste and a newspaper. We needed to squeeze out all the toothpaste and then see who could get the most back in. Well, the creativity of the BHS came through -- all three groups came up with very different but very effective ways to get the toothpaste back in. Come to the JCC and check out the pictures on the bulletin board to see how they did it!


The day ended with a delicious BBQ and a great game of flag football. Stay tuned to learn about all the exciting events going on at the BHS this year!  Special thanks to Mrs. Aronson, Reb Shaw, and all the teachers for making the orientation such a success!  

For more information on the BHS please check out our newspaper - Hillel Herald.  


 Rabbi Smith

GHS Orientation 


If chilling were a subject, we would all ace it!


Picture this:

  • Groups of girls collaboratively brainstorming on how to design and furnish their student lounge and outdoor area. 
  • Teams of students rushing to stores to buy items they researched to create an area that is comfortable and welcoming for the whole high school.  
  • A student-created area that is suitable for studying and socializing alike,  where all students feel welcome. 
  • High school girls sitting around a Shabbos table late Friday night singing Zemiros and teaching each other new songs, arms around each other as they enjoy the Shabbos together as a unified student body. Sounds of laughter filling the house as they play one game after another. 
  • Grade barriers broken down as the students feel comfortable and accepted by one another. 
  • Students returning to school after a long day to attend an optional and incredibly inspirational learning program. 
  • Active participation in the Chabura demonstrates their thirst for Torah

    This is how the school year for Hillel Academy Girls High School has begun. Come downstairs to visit and you will see for yourself the extraordinary atmosphere that is shared among our students!  

 Stay tuned for more information about the first annual Aseret Y'mei Teshuva Yom Iyun with intriguing workshops given by Mrs. Judi Kanal, Mrs. Marci Bleicher and Mrs. Ali Tuchman.


Elementary and Middle School Fun in the Sun



 Wow, we knew that Hillel students learn so hard they are on fire, but we never meant to take it literally. For real, who can remember how Mr. Will created this huge blue flame?


Summer vacation may be over, but the fun is just beginning! On our first day back in school, students in grades K-8 slipped right back into learning with a full and exciting day of classes. By 8:10 in the morning the second floor classes were buzzing with learning and davening! Over the course of the day, the students learned about the new Middos program: the Better LYFE (Love Your Friend forEver) Initiative. Our overall theme is "Simu levavchem al darkeichem"  [Chaggai 1:7], reminding us to think before we act and create a plan that leads us to our goals. We will focus on a series of Middos starting with respect for other people's property as exemplified by the Mitzvah of Hashovas Aveidah (returning lost objects to their rightful owners).



 The afternoon featured a Mad Science performance. The students marveled at demonstrations of vacuums, air pressure, and the remarkable properties of dry ice -- giving them a taste of science learning fun to start their year. Grades K-3 are in the mist of their Mad Science club. Grades 5-8 girls and boys will begin after break. Keep posted and remember to always check the Hillel calendar on our website hillelpgh.org.  



Back to School BBQ



                              Animals and balloons made one fun-filled afternoon.


The new school year got off to a celebratory start with the Back to School BBQ on Wednesday, September 5. Hillel staff and students of every age - from Tiny Tots to high school seniors - joined their families for a fun-filled evening that included pony rides, a petting zoo, moon bounces, carnival games, a giant slide and balloon creations from Mike the Balloon Guy. Chef Mordy Brown and a team of volunteers grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, and provided other tasty items, including chicken nuggets, side dishes and Rita's ices.

The BBQ has become an annual tradition and gets better every year, with more activities for our growing student body. The festivities, which kicked off immediately after school dismissal, took place both outdoors and indoors. Activities were spread between the Hillel parking lot, basketball court and lawn, with a buffet and seating in the lunch room.

The event was also the first opportunity for many community members to meet this year's Bnot Sherut, Dalia Auman and Hadassah Bornstein. They infused the evening with a pro-Israel vibe, playing Israeli music from their booth and chatting with students about life in Israel.

Finally, participants had the opportunity to stock up on the latest Hillel gear, including hats and a variety of T-shirts with our stylish logo.

Altogether, the BBQ was a spirited and fun way to welcome everyone back for an exciting new year at Hillel Academy.



Mrs. Jablow

Mishna Club Begins!
Mad Science Anyone?! 
As the instructor looks away, Abigail Bernstein,  
Galya Belman and Tahara Reinherz practice some Mad Science of their own. 
HIHL is Back!
Yosef and Ezra battle it out while Isaac looks on from the side.
The 2012 Fall Hillel Intramural Hockey League is in full swing. This season there are four teams with a record total of 28 boys participating. Teams play every Tuesday and Thursday. Each team makes the playoffs and the winners of the playoff rounds meet in the Hillel Cup. Thanks to our sponsors, each player was given a jersey which they proudly wear even when not playing.  Check out our website for up-to-date stats and info on all of Hillel's athletics and clubs.  
A Message from Mrs. Ziff, MSW

Welcome back to school!  So far, the year has gotten off to a wonderful start.  There are many smiling kids at Hillel Academy, eager to learn and talk with old and new friends.  Getting back into a routine at home can be a challenge. Here are some hints to help you say so long to summer and hello to the school year.

  • Have a consistent bedtime. Although this can be difficult when it is still light at 8:00pm, it is important for kids to have consistent sleep.  Most young children need 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
  • Establish a good homework routine early on. Have a snack, let your child enjoy some outdoor play time after school, and then do homework.  Once the weather gets cold, it is easier to cut back the play time, but at least you'll have a routine established.
  • Try not to have too many commitments during the week after school and in the evening. Choose one, maybe two after school enrichment activities -- but no more. Having something programmed to do every day is too overwhelming for most children.
  • Take advantage of some review time. The curriculum in math and reading sometimes seem a bit easier at the beginning of the year. The first chapter or two are often review.  While the homework may be a bit "easier," use this opportunity to review math facts, sight words, and spelling rules.  If you are looking for some extra review ideas, please feel free to call me.
  • Remember to eat a good breakfast. Often in the summer, kids sleep in and have a "lazy" breakfast...graze all morning long.  Be sure to have easy but nutritious breakfast foods on hand.    
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]
Sometimes You Gotta Toot Your Own Horn

A belt sander is on our wish list.

Just before Rosh HaShana Hillel Academy 5th through 8th graders got to participate in a Shofar making workshop. Students were shown the horns and antlers of various animals and learned which are Kosher for making a shofar and which are not. After the demonstrations, the students got busy working on their own shofars. The sounds of sanding and the smell of shofar smoke and dust filled the lunchroom as each student produced his own shofar to bring home.

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

Who is your favorite president in US history?

If you could live in the world of any book, what book would you choose?

What is your favorite thing about Hillel Academy?

Ayala Biton

Abraham Lincoln

Harry Potter


Rachel Cohen

Teddy Roosevelt

Anything but the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games' world is scary.


Shira Nimchinsky

William Howard Taft

Percy Jackson


Liora Nimchinsky

William Howard Taft

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie


Rivka Mandelbaum

I don't have one

Click, Clack, Moo

Science lab

Shira Itskowitz

Teddy Roosevelt



Leah Joshowitz

Abraham Lincoln

Harry Potter


Nechama Rosenberg

George Bush

The Giver

The end of the day

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, here'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:



On Sunday, September 9, 2012 the community gathered at Schenley  Park for a varity of special events related to Rosh Hashana. People who attended were treated to the "Shofar Factory", fresh honey and apples and many arts and crafts. A special thank you to Aviva Klein, Morah Devorah Kohanbash, and Morah Leah Brown for arranging the Hillel Academy activities table for the day and to our Hillel Academy volunteers Elena Davis, Marci Bleicher, Malke Gutman, Peter Braasch, and Shayna Shaw. 


Mazel Tovs 
  • Ezra Kraut on the occasion of becoming and bar mitzva and to the parents Mr. and Mrs. Kraut and to the grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Greenfield, Mr. and Mrs. Author Kraut and ..... and aunt and uncle Mr. and Mrs. Eric Greenfield
  • Yehudis and Moshe Weiss on the birth of a son, Yisroel Zev, and to parents, Rabbi and Mrs. Rosenberg
  • Wasserman  on her marriage to Ari Gordon and to parents Rabbi and Mrs. Daniel Wasserman and Mrs. Elaine Gordon
  • Rabbi Shraga & Mrs. Leah Senft on the birth of a daughter
  • Board Member Barry and Debby Faigen on the birth of a grandson, to Ariella and Bobby Faigen.
  • Chuck and Judy Perlow on the birth of a granddaughter, Madison Ella, to Hallie and Gabe Perlow.
  • Dr. & Mrs. Jacob and Ruth Gordon on the marriage of their daughter, Nomi to Aryeh Ho and to grandparents Sherman and Arlene Elias and to uncle and aunt Mitch and Mimi Maizlech
  • Aron Pfeffer on his engagement to Gila Suissa and to parents Rabbi Yisroel & Chana Pfeffer and grandparents Mr. & Mrs. Murray Pfeffer
  • Rabbi Shimon Baruch & Chana Miriam Weiss on the marriage of their daughter Mushka to Danny Weiss and to grandmother Rebbetzin Miriam Weiss



With great sorrow, we regret to inform you 
of the passing of... 


Ann Herman, ob"m

Beloved Mother of Allen Herman 

Beloved Sister of Yetta Joshowitz

Matthew David Heiss, ob"m
beloved son of Ian and Saundra Heiss

Devorah Chana Silver, ob"m

wife of Yossel Silver

daughter-in-law of 

Rabbi Shimon and Chani Silver



 Flashback Fridays


Can you figure this one out? Email us the names of those in the picture, and we will print your name in next week's Hillel Happenings.   

This week's photo: 


 Check out the Hillel Academy Rabbi and the alumni drummer.



Gear Spotted Here

 Do you want to smile as wide as Michelle and Alyssa, then get ready to bid on this year's great silent auction prizes. (We know that there is no Hillel gear, but the smiles count - happy students, make happy parents which all equal the fastest growing day school in the country). 


What better way to spend the last days of summer than going to Rita's ices?  Alyssa and Michelle Joshowitz, who happen to be twin sisters entering fifth grade at Hillel Academy, were sighted at Rita's ices today at 11:15 AM (before the store's opening) taking a tour with Mr. Larry Maloney.  The girls were thankful to Mr. Maloney for giving them a tour, free samples and a quart of chocolate ice cream!! Wow!!  What a morning.  Cool ices were just the right thing after going to the dentist....
This past winter, the girls also had the opportunity to tour Dunkin Donuts as part of their winning auction bid. Who will be next year's lucky winner?  And what other tours are in store for the Joshowitz twins?                            


 Hillel Happenings


Within this section of the Hillel Happenings, you'll find brief updates regarding 
Hillel A
cademy. These updates all have GRAVITAS.   
If you would like to support the BHS basketball team, please buy a candy bar ($2 - OU, Chalav Stam). email [email protected] for more information or to buy a bar or two. 


"The Hillel Herald is a world-class newsletter produced by the Boys' High School. If you would like to receive the Herald via email, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact the staff at [email protected]."







Around Town
    Join the community at Hillel on Wednesday night, October 3 from 7:00-9:00pm - live music, dancing, sushi and soup

    Mishna Club will continue meeting over sukkos break in Rabbi Lowy's sukka, 5923 Hobart St. on Monday, October 1st at 3pm
     ZUMBA @ HILLEL ACADEMY : Wednesday, October, 17 at 7pm in Hillel Academy. Contact [email protected] with questions.
    Want More Hillel Happenings?

    Hillel Academy Thanks This Year's Athletic Sponsors   


    The Ratchkauskas Family - Reality Choice Investments

    Mark  Sindler, Criminal Defense Attorney 

    Dr. Jeffrey W.  Martz, DMD


    chas Bais Hashoava 


    5685 Beacon Street 
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    (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.