Outside of Hillel 

The Shmirat Halashon Issue
October 26, 2012                                                                                 
10 Cheshvan 5773 
Candle Lighting: 6:05
Havdalah: 7:13

Parshat Lech Lecha
Dvar Torah


Parashat Lech Lecha introduces us to the founder of monotheism, Avraham Avinu.  The story is striking in its abruptness: we are not told anything about Avraham's background, philosophies, or ideals, nor about the divine mission which he has assumed.  We are introduced to Avraham as if we know him already and are fully aware of his mission.  


Perhaps the verse is vague in order to teach us that like Avraham, it is our responsibility to follow our divine mission, no matter where we are coming from and what our background entails. But what is that divine mission?


According to Chazal, Avraham turned 48 years old the year of the dispersion. This was also the same year that he found G-d.  This teaches us that Avraham's mission was diametrically opposed to that of the tower builders.  According to the Ramban, the sin of the builders was that they gathered together in order to "create for themselves a name." This is in direct contrast to Avraham Avinu. At the end of Avraham's aliyah, the verse states, "He built a mizbayach there and called out b'shem Hashem, in G-d's name." (12:8) The Ramban explains that this meant that Avraham would go in front of the mizbayach and make known G-d's existence to all mankind.


Instead of creating a name for himself, Avraham focused on promoting G-d's name, and on creating a name for G-d. When Hashem chose Avraham he said,  "And I will make you a great nation ... and through you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (12: 1-3)


Our mission is the same as Avraham's. We must be great and do whatever we can to make a kiddush Hashem in everything we do.

One way we affect the world every day is according to how we interact and speak with one another. This month in school our focus is improving our Shmirat HaLashon, guarding our speech. The students have been learning about why this is so important and how harmful Lashon Harah can be.

When we choose to always speak positively about others, we come one step closer to fulfilling our divine mission -- and with it, the mission of our school. These two missions are in fact identical, as it says in our mission statement:

"We will reveal the vast potential and greatness of Hillel graduates such that all who interact with them will say, 'Blessed is their G-d; fortunate are their parents and teachers.' "

Have a wonderful Shabbat,




The Rabbi Benjamin Nadoff Middle School Student Government - Rosh Chodesh Activities  Wow, Slurpees are great, but how much better would it be if that

Hot Dog/Gyros stand were kosher!?
Lower MSG: Rachel Luzer -  President
After a yummy Rosh Chodesh lunch, Reb Shaw delivered an inspiring Dvar Torah about Shmiras HaLashon. The Lower Middle School Girls Student Government then shared the theme for the year. Afterward, everyone attended a middos play organized by their student government.

Upper MSG: Shira Itskowitz -  President
During the delectable Rosh Chodesh lunch, Shira Itskowitz gave a Dvar Torah about Migdal Bavel and overconfidence. Afterward, it was time to discover the SGO theme for the year -- Cars. The girls went to the Bartlett Street park for a scavenger hunt, which led to a 7-11 in Oakland and cool, refreshing Slurpees.
MSB: Jacob Wiesenfeld - President
Welcome back Rosh Chodesh football! This past Rosh Chodesh, the middle school boys experienced an exciting, classic game of football. It was an exhilarating game played on our very own Hillel field (both teams were at home). Everyone played hard, had fun, and left with smiles on their faces. After the football game, a delicious lunch was enjoyed by all. The Dvar Torah was great, too. Thanks to Reb Shaw, the "Rosh Chodesh Lunch Ladies"(Mrs. Milch and Mrs. Joshowitz), and all of the Hillel staff for a great Rosh Chodesh.

The Hillel Academy Bnot Sherut Update -  Shavua Ivrit is Coming!


The Ivrit program in Hillel got a great boost this year, with Bnot Sherut being here most of the week (every day other than Friday). Hadassah and Dalia are everywhere. Their presence is felt throughout the entire school -- always with a smile, always interacting with students and engaging them in Ivrit in an informal way. The girls make sure our students are surrounded with Ivrit the moment they enter school: in the lobby, in the hallways, on bulletin boards, and in the classrooms.
With the Bnot Sherut here nearly every day this year, they have become an extremely valuable resource. They tutor students under the close guidance of Mrs. Taasan and Mrs. Apfel, and provide enrichment in Ivrit for students in grades K-12.  The Bnot Sherut also daven daily with the middle school and high school girls. They will shortly join our lower grades' Tefila program as well.
As every year, the girls teach an Ivrit class or run a short program every other week for grades 1-4 and 5-12G, with additional special programs for all grades (K-12). These programs are educational, filled with ruach (spirit), fun, and are conducted in Ivrit. Coming soon is a very special program -- our first ever Shavua Ivrit, a week of Hebrew!


IVRIT WEEK -שבוע עברית  
We are very excited to announce the upcoming שבוע עברית during the week of November 12-16. The days will be filled with learning and fun activities in Ivrit, along with many surprises! Students will have opportunities to showcase their accomplishments and earn points for using Ivrit daily. The end of the week will feature Yom HaShuk, Market Day. Students' points will turn into shekalim, and they'll be able to buy all sorts of fun items. Of course, all transactions will be held in Ivrit!
In preparation for this very exciting week, each class has already begun working on a specific theme. Themes include letters, colors, weather, items around us, verbs, families of words, Ivrit expressions and more -- all of which are part of this year's Ivrit curriculum. Students will continue to work on their themes over the next few weeks with the Bnot Sherut and their Ivrit teachers.


Look for more updates in future Hillel Happenings!


         Morah Irit         


Feathers in the Wind 




While preparing  and planning for  X-period this past week, Student Council President Maia Wiesenfeld reflected, "Words are like feathers in the wind -- once you let them go, they are gone forever." In keeping with the school-wide theme of Shmiras HaLashon, the GHS participated in a series of thought provoking games and activities related to the concept of being careful about what comes out of our mouths -- because once it is said, it can never be taken back.
The girls in the high school are committed to improving their speech and being careful of what they say.  Under the guidance of GHS activities coordinator Hudi Milch, Student Council has initiated a long-term program to enforce these ideas.  Each girl has been given paperclips. Whenever they find themselves holding back from speaking Lashon Hara or saying something negative, they add a paperclip to their chains. The chains will be displayed in the student lounge as a reminder and encouragement to all students.


Upcoming events in the GHS:

  • October 26 - Friday night dinner at the Levari house with special guests Bnot Sherut and Hillel Academy alumni Rosie Lauer and Leah Rosenberg.  Student Council has prepared a thought provoking program on the theme of "Avraham's journey - what decision would we make?"
  • October 29 - Midreshet Harova Seminary representative visit
  • October 30 -  Presentation by Dr. David Luchins of Touro College - "Election 2012: What's Good for the Jews?"
  • October 31 -  MMY Seminary representative visit       
                            Mrs. Levari


Shmirat Haloshon - Boys High School Style


 Our students are always engaged in character development.


This month's focus on Shmiras HaLashon in the BHS is in full effect. It's evident as soon as you walk into the BHS wing of the JCC and pass the bulletin board. Each day, the bulletin board features a new page from "A Lesson a Day," which reviews the laws of Shmiras HaLashon and offers strategies to fortify us toward becoming vigilant in Shmiras HaLashon. After Shacharis, we usually conclude with a student delivering a two minute thought on Tefila. However, since the beginning of the Better LYFE program, students can also speak about the month's topic. We have heard students share inspiring parables and other ideas to help us focus on Shmiras HaLashon. In Halacha class this year, we are learning Hilchos Bain Adam L'chavairo. Right now we're learning Hilchos Lashon Hara. The students are really getting into the lessons and, G-d willing, will remain careful in Shmiras HaLashon long after the next topic begins. 

                                                                                                                                          Rabbi Smith
Shmiras HaLashon in Fifth and Sixth Grade
Just in time for the current middah in Hillel Academy's Better LYFE initiative, the 5-6 graders have started learning the practical lessons and laws of Shmiras HaLashon in a new and exciting way. Rabbi Brodie's 5-6 grade boys and Mrs. Zlochower's 5-6 grade girls are using a new curriculum from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, which teaches these halachos in a fun and entertaining manner. The curriculum presents short lessons with stories and activities to help the students connect to the  subject matter. The scenarios and stories are "real world situations for fifth and sixth graders. The materials are very well put together and the stories really engage and teach the students," said Rabbi Brodie. Mrs. Zlochower noted how much her students enjoy and benefit from the new curriculum.   

Elementary - Building a Neighborhood


Google Maps would be proud! 


First Grade concluded their Reading Street and Social Studies Units on "What is All Around Us?" by creating our own Squirrel Hill neighborhood. The students generated and created the buildings that are most important to our needs  in Squirrel Hill.  We placed our miniature versions on our map. Our important buildings included Hillel Academy, kosher dining, food and retail shopping, entertainment, banking, medical care, and synagogues. Our students included a shul from White Oak to represent how important this community is to us as well. We had a great time building our 3D map and learned a lot about what we need to live in a community and what it means to be part of a neighborhood.

Mrs. Heidish


Clubs, Clubs, Clubs!!!


 That's right, one of the Art Club leaders is our very own alum, Sossie Brown. 


This past Monday our popular Art Club began, thanks to Mrs. Amy Guterson and her students at the Tzohar Seminary - http://tzoharseminary.com.  Our lunchroom was packed with students engaged in art projects.  The older grades (4-8 grade girls) are learning the fundamentals of drawing, while the younger grades (2-3 grade boys and girls) are developing a basic foundation in a variety of art mediums (movement, music, and drawing, to name a few). This club will continue through January 7, 2013. The second Art Club, whose theme is drama, will start Monday, February 11, 2013. There is still plenty of time to sign up for this club - click Permission Slip to sign up!  


The popular Mad Science club has come to an end for grades 1-3.   Fortunately, Sports Club for grades 1-3 has begun! This club has become so popular that we had to break the year into four sessions.  If you were unable to join this session, you can send in the permission slip for the second session at any time.  Sports club is led by our very own Mr. Cain and currently focuses on soccer.  


The boys' high school basketball season began earlier this month.  They are practicing for four hours a week in preparation for their season opener at the JCC on November 29 against Project Destiny. Please come and support the Heat (and you never know, there might be a giveaway for the first 50 fans).  This year the team is coached by Hillel alum, Sol Horvitz. The Heat will play 14 games, excluding playoffs.  The season will culminate with the biggest Jewish Day School tournament in the United States: the Yeshiva University Red Sarachek Tournament. As a fundraiser, the team is selling candy bars (chalav stam) for $2 a bar. To help support the team, please stop by the office or email [email protected] 


The hockey intramural league is winding down. The Dragons are atop the league with ten points. While the Little Giants are a close second with eight points.  The playoffs commence November 1. We welcome fans!  As soon as the championship game is played, both the girls and boys basketball teams will begin their seasons.  Chess club and the 4-5 grade sports club will begin at that time as well. 
We will keep you posted as soon as the girls and boys learning programs start.

Team  Name     W    L  T   Points

Dragons              5     1   0     10         

Little Giants        4    1    0     8

Chimpanzees      1     2    3      5   

H. Llamas           1     4    0      2

Next Week's Athletics & Club Schedule 

Hillel Academy Athletics and Club Calendar - CLICK HERE

Hillel Academy Athletics and Club Website - CLICK HERE


 Hillel Athletics & Clubs

A Message from Mrs. Ziff, MSW
Each day we welcome students into the resource room, and the support staff enters the classrooms, to help students be the best they can be.  The support team looks at all children as individuals and thinks about how we can be examples for them. The LYFE program each month reminds us about what is really important each day ... how we treat one another, and what we each can do individually to make this world and our community a better place.  
 As parents, you can model good examples of what it means to treat others as you would want to be treated. Let's continue to help Hillel Academy grow with warmth  and love.  
  1. Share as much as possible ... even if it is the last cookie in the jar!
  2. Be kind to others, and give of yourself
  3. Invite someone new over for a meal or playdate
  4. Include your kids in decision making when appropriate
  5. Smile a lot
  6. Don't sweat the small stuff
  7. Take responsibility if you "mess up"
  8. Talk kindly of all ... not just your circle of friends
  9. Find many things to praise during the day
  10. Be an active listener to others


Lower School Rosh Chodesh Breakfast 

Got Middos?


The first through fourth grades had a delicious Rosh Chodesh breakfast. On the menu was more than just food -- we also introduced the new middah in Hillel Academy's Better L.Y.F.E. Initiative: Shmiras HaLashon. After breakfast, the second grade read a poem about middos. Morah Chana told a wonderful story about how a group of friends almost lost their friendship by not being careful about Shmiras HaLashon. Second grader, Kovi Biton said, "I love this program because they have my favorite cereal, Frosted Flakes!" A great time was had by all!  
Werber's Words of Wisdom    
I will do what I do best: Put historical facts to the test.

We know that colonial Americans must have been shorter because their beds are shorter: We have two questions here -- do short beds mean short people, and were the beds in fact significantly shorter in Colonial America? The answer to the first question is that it depends on how you sleep. Colonial Americans believed that lying flat was bad for circulation, so they would often sleep propped up. This means beds can be shorter. (Try it!) Were beds actually shorter, though? The answer is no! The way the beds were built often makes them look shorter, but if you measure them, they are not significantly shorter than modern beds.

Paul Revere yelled "The British are coming!":  In past articles I've talked about how Paul Revere must share the glory with Dr. Samuel Prescott and William Dawes. But did he yell the "British are coming!"? The notion that Paul Revere would have yelled that famous line is completely anachronistic. While the colonies were in revolt, most people, including Paul Revere, still considered themselves British citizens. Yelling "the British are coming" at that time would be like yelling "the Americans are coming" today. Paul Revere yelled either that the Redcoats or the Regulars were coming, which would refer to the British army.

We declared independence and signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4: The United States declared independence from Britain on ... July 2, 1776, by passing the Lee amendment. Most historians don't believe the signing of the Declaration of Independence began until August 2, 1776. So how did July 4 become Independence Day? The Declaration itself is dated July 4 because that's when the final draft was accepted. Although John Adams and Thomas Jefferson  believed we would celebrate on July 2, history has proven them wrong.

Napoleon was incredibly short: Napoleon would have made a terrible center for a basketball team, but he wasn't as short as everyone thinks. He was reportedly 5 feet 2 inches tall -- but that was in French feet and inches which, because there was no standardized measuring system yet, were slightly longer than British feet. Thus, Napoleon was probably 5 feet 7 inches. Not a giant, but not terribly short either.

I hope you learned and had some fun. My historical journey, for this week, is done.



Mazel Tovs 

Hillel parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joaquin Espinoza and the entire family, 

on the birth of a baby boy!


Alum, Libby Stein and her entire family, 

on her engagement to Aaron Taylor from Israel. 


Alum, Coby and Jessica Pollack and the entire family,
on the birth of a boy, Yehuda Aryeh.  


Condolences - Baruch Dayan HaEmet  


With great sorrow, we regret to inform you

of the passing of:



Esther Clair, z"l, mother of alum, Ira Clair 


Fran Neuman, z"l, mother of Judy Mendelson and Jan Gross (alum mothers)


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



 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.   
Congratulations Shayna Shaw and Bobbie Faigen on naming
 Josh Weinberg
Shmuel Aaron Adler
Paul Kentor
Michael Ghanooni
Bobby Faigen 
in the last issue of Flashback Fridays. Good luck this week!  
 This week's photo:  

Hillel's newest club: Future Surgeons of America. 


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




Please ensure that your advantage card is registered for Hillel Academy to receive apple for students points. To register or check if you are registered call  1800.474.4777 or go to

http://www.gianteagle.com/schools/apples-for-students  The  Hillel code is : 0454




Welcome back to school! Thank you to everyone for all you do to help our school. Box Tops is such an easy way for you to get involved!

Now we are gearing up for a traditional campaign, with the grand prize of a Giant Eagle gift certificate awarded at the end of the school year. If you would like your name to be entered in the raffle, please label your bundle/envelope/baggie with the last name. In the past, we've received a lot of unsigned Box Tops and I would love to enter you in our raffle. 

We can earn cash for our school online too! There are two ways. One, you can shop online through the Box Tops website and earn eBoxTops credits on all your purchases. Just click the "earn" section at the top of the BTFE.com homepage and scroll down to "shop marketplace." Two, you can take part in any of the activities on the eBoxTops Click & Earn page. Again, click the "earn" section at the top of the homepage, then scroll down to "click & earn." Any eBoxTops you earn will be automatically credited to our school. Each eBoxTop is worth 10, just like a regular Box Top.

If you have any questions about earning eBoxTops, just let me know. I'm always happy to help you earn more cash for our school! Thank you to every family that contributes.
 [email protected]


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
BHS LEAF RAKING  FUNDRAISER: If you need help raking your leaves, please email Steve Kohane at [email protected] We are charging $18 an hour with a minimum charge of $18. 
  • GIRLS ONEG: REMINDER - New Time! Oneg will now meet every Shabbos from 3:00pm to 4:00pm at PZ! We can't wait to see all girls in grades K  through 7th there! We would like to form a list of the emails for Oneg, so that when we have information to share with you, we can easily reach you! Please email your address to [email protected].

    BNEI AKIVA: Bnei Akiva is Back!  First Snif of the year will take place on Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 4:30-5:30 pm for grades 2-9 at Shaare Torah.  There will be a 9th grade Shabbaton in Cleveland the weekend of November 10. See flyer for details. We're looking forward to seeing everyone next Shabbat!


    ZUMBA @ HILLEL ACADEMY:  Zumba with Ashley every Wednesday at 7:15pm in Hillel Academy - $5 a session. Contact  [email protected] with questions. 


    The annual event in honor of Rochel Emainu's Yarzeit will be Motzei Shabbat,  October 27, 2012 at the home of Mrs. Carolyn Greenfield 6315 Beacon St. at 8:45  PM. Included in the evening will be Tehillim, Tzedakah, speakers, and a women's choir. For more information, contact Elana Bloom: 412.216.1394 or Chanie Rosenblum 412.901.2004.

    Want More Hillel Happenings?

    Hillel Academy Thanks This Year's Athletic Sponsors    


    The Ratchkauskas Family - Realty Choice Investments

    Mark  Sindler, Criminal Defense Attorney 

    Dr. Jeffrey W.  Martz, DMD



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