Outside of Hillel 

Remember to turn your clocks back one hour on Motzie Shabbat. 
November 2, 2012                                                                                 
17 Cheshvan 5773 
Candle Lighting: 5:57
Havdalah: 7:04  

Parshat Vayerah
Dvar Torah

Parashat Vayera opens with the well-known story of the three travelers who visited Avraham in the plains of Mamre. The Talmud in Shavuot (35a) teaches from this verse that, "Welcoming guests is greater than greeting the presence of the Shechina." This is derived from the fact that (at least according to one view) Avraham seemed to put his conversation with G-d on hold in order to greet these wayfarers.

Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (as cited in Rav Herschel Schachtar's Mi-peninei Ha-Rav, p. 271) explains this concept based on the Torah's view of kavod habriyot, human dignity. Taking care of the needs of weary travelers, even strangers, speaks to the importance of respecting humanity.

Rav Soloveitchik extends this comparison to the laws regarding Kriat Shema. The Talmud in Berachot teaches that one may interrupt his recitation of Shema in order to greet an important person such as a parent or dignitary. Rav Soloveitchik explains that Kriat Shema is our daily affirmation of G-d's kingship and divinity. This inherently includes kavod habriyot -- the respect and dignity given to all of G-d's creatures. Therefore, Rav Soloveitchik notes, it would be antithetical to the essential theme of this mitzva to ignore a person of distinction while reciting Kriat Shema.

Rav Soloveitchik continues that in the narrative immediately following the story of Avraham's guests, Avraham pleads to G-d on behalf of the people of Sodom. In this supplication, Avraham beseeches G-d with the phrase, "Anochi afar v-eifer -- I am but dust and ashes." (18:27)  Earlier, Avraham had shown so much respect for strangers that he disrupted a prophetic vision to greet them. How can he now speak so degradingly about a human being?

Rav Soloveitchik answers his own question the same way he did the last one, by comparing this situation to Hilchot Tefilah.  When we stand before Hashem in our silent Amidah, we are not allowed to interrupt our prayers for anyone, even a king. Prayer is a time of humility and submission.  Accordingly, while during Shema it is appropriate to interrupt for the sake of expressing the greatness and importance of the human being, the Amidah prayer is a time to focus one's attention solely on the greatness of G-d and the meekness of man.

It is important for us to realize that every human being is a lofty creature worthy of our honor and respect, and by accepting G-d as our king, we reaffirm this belief. However, we must also realize that when we stand before G-d in prayer, we should be reminded of our frailty in comparison to His power.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Weinberg

Important School Announcements -
  1. Due to changing seasons - please keep your child home if he/she is sick.
  2. Based on weather conditions, please send the proper outdoor attire (e.g. coat, hat, boots, and gloves) each day.
  3. Reminder - No school Tuesday, November 6, due to Yom Limud
  4. Reminder - November 14, Parent teacher conferences on for grades k-12. 2:15pm dismissal.  Click HERE to sign up for conferences.       
Next Week's Athletics & Club Schedule 

Kaleidoscope of Memories



Hillel Academy founding mother, Sylvia Butler invites girls' classes to be held in her home

during Hillel's asbestos removal, (circa 2000).   

Pictured left to right are: Shayna Sax, Rivy Ackerman, Chana Pliner, Shoshi Butler, Rachel Levine, and Devorah Abrams.


Throughout Mrs. Butler's many years of affiliation with Hillel, she was always happy to share her various areas of expertise with Hillel students. I, personally, have fond memories of learning to make challah from scratch, make the bracha on separating the challah, practicing several ways of braiding, as well as making rolls (of course with the birdie).  She also shared with us how she set her Shabbas table, the actual dining room table where Hillel's founders sat together to plan the very beginnings of our school.

s one of her elementary school students, I can attest to the dedication she brought to her Hillel classes. She was creative and innovative and her teaching methods were ahead of their time. Many hands-on projects put an end to the boring and mundane. Two favorites were drawing a

to scale map of a country and writing to state capital chambers of commerce, who in return sent us samples of famous state products.


Richard C. Walters, Federal Administrative Judge says of Mrs. Butler, "She was my all-time absolute best elementary teacher bar none. She was always extremely supportive and encouraging. I had come into her class with a poor self-image. She restored my self-confidence, and straightened me out, so that by the end of the first quarter, I was getting A's again. We were treated to stories of her childhood experiences on the farm at Kiamesha Lake; she showed us how to make cottage cheese out of milk using cheese cloth. Our curriculum went way beyond the ordinary."


Selma Aronson recalls, "She was a wonderful teacher - very caring. Her main concern was that every single student would feel good about himself and be successful."


Without a doubt, the many students of Sylvia Butler over the years would all remember unique experiences and activities that this very special lady brought to Hillel Academy. 


Mother-Daughter Learning a Smashing Success!

There is nothing like a proud mother! 

This past Sunday featured a special morning of learning for mothers and daughters in grades 4-8. The morning included a breakfast and a fun charade game. Then we were ready for the core of the program: fifty minutes of chavruta learning with mothers and their daughters. Various sources that described the character traits of Rachel Imenu were used as points for discussion surrounding these topics. Perri Tuchman (5g) said  "I loved the program, since it had a great balance between learning and fun." Avital Segal (5g) enjoyed the fact that she was able to "learn with her mother and have discussions about many interesting topics." Thanks to Dalia and Hadassa for helping make this program a success!

Images of Students Preparing for Shavua Ivrit  
    As you can see, students in all grades enjoy learning and
preparing for Shavua Ivrit.

BHS - Guest Speakers from Israel   

Who would win the debate in Hebrew? We would hope our very own, Yitz!
Recently, the BHS had the opportunity to hear from speakers who are well-known around the world -- and in the BHS. The first speaker was alumnus Yitzhak Cohen (Class of 2010) who is currently serving in the IDF. Yitz described basic training and spoke about what it's like to be a Chayal Boded, a lone soldier, in Israel. Among the highlights of his presentation was a description of the exhausting obstacle course that he was required to navigate during his training.  His message: you can do anything you put your mind to!

We also heard from Doron Kornbluth, world renowned speaker and author who is also a tour guide in Israel. Mr. Kornbluth spoke about how the Jewish people are exceptionally unique. He emphasized the need to reflect on the unlikely history of the Jewish people: how we continue to exist, overcoming all odds. He also described the tremendous contribution of the Jewish people to the world.

For added information about these speakers and more interesting news in the BHS, check out this week's edition of the BHS's newspaper, the Hillel Herald.

Upcoming Events in the BHS:
  • Monday Nov 5 - Pre-Election Debate between Binyamin Skaist (President Obama) and Steven Kohane (Governor Romney)
  • Wednesday Nov 6 - Visit from Yeshiva University representative
  • Tuesday Nov 13 - Visit from Yeshivat Orayta representative
Fourth Grade Maps Rashi 
 Pictured around a map are Rabbi Lowy and his fourth grade class. The map is of Eretz Yisrael, not of a Rashi, although many Rashis are learned daily in Eretz Yisrael. 
Rabbi Lowy's fourth grade has started a new and exciting project called "Rashi Mapping." In addition to learning the content of the Rashi, Rabbi Lowy's class breaks down each Rashi into its individual components, identifying and understanding how they fit and work together. They also recognize the vocabulary associated with various components in Rashi. This is a very important skill set, as it will enable students to learn Rashi with greater independence and ultimately derive more meaning and understanding. 

GHS Speaker - Penina Taylor 
Mrs. Taylor saw our display case and asked for this t-shirt. It was a no brainer to give it to her, but first we asked her to strike a pose.  

Last Wednesday, October 24, the Hillel Academy Girls High School had the privilege of hearing from Penina Taylor: author, motivational speaker, and lecturer. Mrs. Taylor shared words of wisdom about Ahavat Yisroel, focusing on how to love others despite our diversity, and the difference between approval and acceptance. Mrs. Taylor also spoke about how the Jewish nation are the "People of the Book," while noting that most Jews have not even read through the entire Tanach! She presented us with her "People of the Book Challenge," which entails reading the entire Tanach over the course of one full year, complete with a schedule for each day.  The students at the GHS really enjoyed Mrs. Taylor's presentation and several even exchanged contact information in order to stay in touch. Ninth grader, Chedva Silver described the speech as "really inspiring!" Junior Ilana Kisilinsky added, "she helped me realize the importance of accepting people, even if we don't necessarily agree with what they are saying or doing." Make sure to check out Penina Taylor's website, www.peninataylor.com, to learn more about her. Mazel Tov to the Taylor and Stein families on the engagement of Aaron Taylor to Hillel alumna Libby Stein!

Upcoming events in the GHS:
  • Monday Nov 5 - Pre-Election Debate between Ilana Kisilinsky (Obama) and Sara Nimchinsky (Romney)
  • Wednesday Nov 7 - Visit from Yeshiva University representative
  • Thursday Nov 8 - Visit from Midreshet Moriah Seminary representative
Helpful Advice from Mrs. Ziff - How To Love A Book 
Whether you are a beginning reader or more experienced; there are many ways to feel more engaged and excited when reading a book.  A second grader recently told me that she was so excited about reading "Little House On The Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, that she started a book club with a friend. The "Little House" books are a personal favorite of mine. For those families who have young boys, the "Little House" books include several dedicated to the boys in the Ingalls-Wilder family. 
When this enthusiastic second grader's mom told me about the book club, I immediately began to tell her some more fun book extension activities, e.g. cook on a fireplace like Laura did, make a bonnet out of fabric, make a log cabin out of pretzels and marshmallow fluff or icing. The ideas are endless!  

Here are a few more general ideas about Loving a Book or Learning to Love a Book more...
  1. Find favorite quotes from the book and make a bookmark or frame the quote.
  2. Write a review and give it out to friends.  You can email the review to out-of-town friends and/or relatives.  Ask the local library if there is a place to post a review.
  3. Give a copy of this favorite book to a friend as a gift. Write a note inside the book and tell the person receiving the book why it is so special.
  4. Donate the book to Children's Hospital or a shelter so others who may not have a chance to read it can have a copy.
  5. Make a scrapbook. If you were one of the characters in the book ... what would you collect or save?
  6. Write the next adventure for the character or place the character in a completely different setting.  What would happen if Cam Jansen, the young detective, lived in Israel? What mysteries would she solve? 
Mrs. Ziff
Middle School Learning Pays Off

Over Sukkos break, Hillel Academy seventh and eighth graders were given the opportunity to earn prizes for optional learning. The students were told to learn all of the sections of Chumash that were lained over Sukkos, Chol Hamoed,  Shmini Atzeres and Simchas To
rah, with all Rashis. After returning from Sukkos break, the students who chose to engage in this extra Torah study took a test on the material. Students earning a passing grade received an $18 gift certificate to the establishment of their choice, and those earning a 90% or higher received a $54 gift certificate.  

Congratulations to Meir Rodkin for earning a $54 gift certificate and to Moshe Wasserman, Jacob Weisenfeld, and Boaz Bachrach for earning $18 gift certificates. 

Werber's Words of Wisdom

We found this stashed in our archives and decided it was appropriate. 
A few more historical conundrums cleared up by the light of evidence!
The Emancipation Proclamation freed all the slaves, or did nothing at all: The Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves in the ten rebelling Confederate states. Unfortunately, since they were rebelling, those states were not eager to listen to the president's proclamations. But while the Emancipation Proclamation did not actually free any slaves, it is erroneous to say that it did nothing. Before the proclamation, the south had promised freedom to any blacks who fought for the south. The proclamation weakened this promise, since according to the proclamation, they were already free. It also prevented Europe from siding with the Confederates. Britain and France debated back and forth about recognizing the Confederates as a legitimate state. Once the war began to focus on the slavery in the south, Europe refrained from recognizing a country that enslaved people who would otherwise be free.

Life expectancy was about 30 in the Middle Ages: While it is true that the average age of death in the Middle Ages was 30, this included children. Children under the age of three had a 50-60% mortality rate. Someone who made it to adulthood, however, could expect to live until 50 or 60 years old.

Slaves built the pyramids and rowed the Roman war galleys: A tremendous amount of skill was required to do these tasks. While slaves almost certainly made the bricks for the pyramids and the oars used to row the galleys, the actual work was done by skilled workers. The pyramids were a difficult piece of construction. Skilled workers, paid well by all accounts, were needed to construct the building. Regarding war galleys, the lives of Roman soldiers in the galleys would not have been risked on slaves manning the oars. While slaves almost certainly filled in where necessary, the typical rowers were highly skilled and were paid a salary.

Hitler was a vegetarian and loved animals: While Hitler did seem to avoid meat, it was not because of his love for animals. He had intense stomach pains and his doctors suggested avoiding foods that were difficult to digest. Hitler ate meat occasionally and showed no special love for animals -- in fact, he continued to experiment on them.

I hope the light of evidence has cleared up the murk of ignorance.


Students in the Mix -

5th  and 6th grade girls

If you could have dinner with any historical figure who would it be?

Where would you like to go on vacation?

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Rachel Luzer

George Washington

The Caribbean


Chana Kaminsky

Anyone as long as it's a girl

A cruise to the Caribbean


Elisheva Rosenberg

Abraham Lincoln



Nechama Rodkin

Abraham Lincoln



Bracha Berelowitz

No one



Esther Rachel Grossberg

No one

The bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains but only in the summer

Cappuccino and Cookie Dough

Perri Tuchman

My grandfather who passed away


Cookie Dough or Mint Chocolate Chip

Sara Hertzberg



Mint Chocolate Chip

Aviva Itskowitz

One of the presidents. Any would do.

San Diego, California

Cookies and Cream

Avital Segal

George Washington

South Africa

Vanilla with Hot Fudge

Michelle Joshowitz

I don't know



Alyssa Joshowitz

George Washington

I'd like to see the entire United States


Grace Kasaback

I don't know

Anywhere warm

Mint Chocolate Chip


Mazel Tovs 


Mazel Tov to Rabbi & Mrs. Levi and Elky Langer on the birth of a granddaughter, Leah.
Mazel Tov to Rabbi & Mrs. Zalman and Esty Dick (Langer) on the birth of a daughter, Leah. 


 Hillel Happenings  


Condolences - Baruch Dayan HaEmet  

With great sorrow, we regret to inform you about the passing of one of Hillel Academy's Founding Mothers, Sylvia Butler, Beloved Mother of Yale, Fayge, Danny, and Chana.


 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:  
Is that a garbage bag?
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 photo:  


Hillel Gear Spotted Here
In anticipation of the upcoming Hillel Academy basketball season, seventh grader Rivka Mandelbaum, was spotted in the athletic office picking out her new jersey
Interestingly, Rivka comes to us from Highland Park, New Jersey 
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 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: Snif this week will take place on Saturday, November 3, 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. Also, Sunday, November 11th, 2-8 grade boys are going bowling at Forward Lanes. More details to follow. 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. 


    LADIES WORKOUTFull head to toe workout for women including: cardio (aerobics and kickboxing combo), toning with weights, abdominal exercises, stretching and relaxation. Upbeat Jewish music! Monday nights - 8:30-9:30 pm. Start date - October 15thPrice - $28/ 4 classes. Pay per class - $9 per class. Location: 5824 Forbes Avenue. Bodiography, 3rd floor. Please let me know if you would like to come, as space is limited at this point! Shayna Marcus 412-521-2455 (h) 412-915-4379 (c) 

    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



    5685 Beacon Street 
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    (F) 412-521-5150
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