Outside of Hillel 

November 16, 2012                                                                                 
2 Kislev 5773 
Candle Lighting: 4:43
Havdalah: 5:51   

Parshat Toldot
Dvar Torah
In Parashat Toldot, we are told about the birth and upbringing of Yaakov and Eisav. The verse tells us, "The boys grew up, and Esav became a knowledgeable hunter, a man of the field, while Yaakov was a calm man who dwelled in tents" (25:27). Rashi, based on the medrash, explains, "As long as they were young, they were not distinguishable in their behavior and no one carefully discerned their behavior. Once they reached thirteen years of age, this one (Yaakov) turned to the study hall and this one (Eisav) turned to idolatry."  

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch views this medrash as a subtle rebuke of Yitzchak and Rivka. Rav Hirsch introduces his comments by saying, "Nowhere do Chazal avoid exposing the weaknesses in the actions of our great patriarchs; in this way they elevate and magnify its message for all times." Our sages here, says Rav Hirsch, find fault with the way Yitchak and Rivka raised their two children: in exactly the same manner. It appears from the story that no effort was made to discern between their different personalities. Eisav's skills could have been channeled in a different direction, and his talents could have complemented instead of conflicted with his brother's.

When educating our children, we can never forget the unique beauty of each and every child. No two children are the same and they can't be treated as if they are.  We must find out what excites every individual and do our best to harness that interest so they can achieve greatness.

Every day at Hillel I am reminded of this truth. Some students excel in Math, others Chumash, others recess -- and each one of them is valuable.  G-d willing, we will continue to watch our children find excellence wherever it is to be found.
Shabbat Shalom


Rabbi Weinberg

Message From The Chief


Dear Hillel Academy Parents and Friends, 


As many of you know, for the fifth straight year our enrollment has increased, we should all feel a sense of pride. There are so many people who have facilitated our growth. Our teachers, staff, volunteers, parents, students, and supporters all deserve a tremendous thanks.


Over the next few weeks, you will see a series of reminders regarding our Annual Raffle and Silent Auction. This event helps support various programming and initiatives throughout our school, including individualized and age-appropriate Judaic and General Studies instruction, innovative curricula, technological advancements, and a myriad of outlets for promoting the unique talents of each of Hillel Academy's students.


The Online Auction is scheduled to kickoff November 19, 2012 at 8:00am, and the raffle winners will be drawn at the Annual Award's Night Buffet Dinner, Wednesday, December 5, 2012.

I encourage you to support our raffle today. Let's continue growing and providing more students with the warmth and nurture that only Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh can provide.  


Call the office today at 412-521-8131  and be a part of our success. As in past years, your raffle purchase will entitle you and a guest to attend the Annual Awards Night Dinner, Wednesday, December 5, 2012. The event will take place at Hillel Academy, Beacon Street campus. 

Have a great Shabbos,


Dan Kraut


Important School Announcements
  1. Save the date - Mother/Daughter Melava Malka - January 5th at 7:30pm at Hillel Academy. 
  2. The Lost and Found box is now in the cafeteria Monday- Friday. 
  3. Toy Drive - see flyer below   
  4. Wed. November 21, grades K-6 will have a meat lunch as part of the Hillel Thanksgiving Luncheon. Please keep this in mind when packing snacks.   
Hillel Gear for Sale   

The 2012 Fall Line is here. New hoodies, long sleeves, hats, scarves 
and pants are available for women, men and kids.

To order gear contact Mrs. Yael Henteleff at [email protected].
Orders and payments are due by Tuesday, November 20. 

Thank you Macy's. 

Next Week's Athletics & Club Schedule 



  Click here to access the Hillel Academy Athletics and Club  CALENDAR


Winner, winner, Shabbos night chicken dinner.
Congratulation team captain, Moshe Wasserman and the 
Chimpanzees on winning the Fall 2012 Season  Hillel Cup!
Jack Kasaback, Isaac Brown, Moshe Wasserman, Seth Margolis,
Mordechai Russell, Binyamin Winer and Ezra Kraut (L - R)
New clubs this week....
BHS Shop Club with Mr. Jason Small  
Students learning to focus their minds to levitate a pipe. 

7/8 Grade boys Night Seder with Rabbi Lowy

Send your kids, plenty of space still available

Fall 2012 Board Meeting 

Dr. Harold Wiesenfeld checks his fantasy football team during the meeting.

Rabbi Yisroel Miller Speaks at the BHS

 SmartBoard Calgary style. 
The BHS had the privilege of attending a speech by Rabbi Yisroel Miller, the former Rabbi of Congregation Poale Zedeck and currently the Rabbi of Congregation House of Jacob Mikveh Israel in Calgary, Canada. Rabbi Miller intertwined inspiring stories and sources from Chazal as he shared three main ideas that he wanted the students to take home. The first was to reflect and internalize that Hashem loves us, and His love for us is never mitigated, no matter what we do. The second was that we have one Mitzvah to do -- we were put on this earth to do one Mitzvah right, and while we don't know what that Mitzvah is, it can happen at any time. The third was that we are part of the Plan. In addition to our individual mission on earth, I am also an integral part of Hashem's master plan. Rabbi Miller concluded by encouraging everyone to ask questions and be open to hearing the answers.

Upcoming events in the BHS: 

11/16: Friday  night learning at PZ followed by Oneg at Rabbi Smith's house
11/20: Visit from Mechon Yeud representative 
11/20: Hillel Heat vs Urban Pathways @ 7pm at the YMCA in the Hill District

Third Grade has the "Write Stuff"!
What goes, black, white, black, white, black, white? A panda rolling down a hill. 

Students in third grade wrote a description of an object very near and dear to their hearts - their favorite stuffed animal! The animals came to class ready to participate in this exciting writing activity. To begin the writing process, the students examined a sample description and discussed its key features: use of sensory language, inclusion of important details, and how vivid words create a picture in the reader's mind. Students also learned that the purpose of an author's voice, which shows a writer's style and personality, is to engage the reader. The class discussed the importance of organization and structure in allowing the reader to understand the description.

The class then embarked on a whole-group activity---a description of Lori the Lorax, Ms. Oz's favorite stuffed animal. Students were given a rubric with specific criteria for each trait and the potential score for each one. They then worked through the entire writing process, which included:
1. Using a graphic organizer (web) to describe how their animals looked and felt
2. Drafting their descriptions using sensory details and organizing theinformation into paragraphs
3. Revising the description by adding more vivid sensory words and details, and checking the organization
4. Editing with proofreading marks to correct mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and spelling
5. Publishing the final copy

After writing a group description of Lori from start to finish, the students worked independently through the writing process to describe their animals. Although this process took several days, the students were fully engaged and their enthusiasm never waned! They did an excellent job and were very proud of their descriptions.
Ms. Oz/Rabbi Nimchinsky

It's Time to Play
 Future Stomp stars!
Our preschool children are PLAYING every day! And there is a very good reason - for young children, playing and learning are one and the same. Our teachers provide a wide variety of play experiences and materials through which our children can try new activities, experiment, ask questions, talk, read, sing, dance, get messy at times, explore and listen. Their play fuels creativity, curiosity, and the desire to know more.  Valuable play touches on every area of a child's development: problem-solving, conflict resolution, understanding rules and limits, discovering talents, inspiring thinking as well as sorting out likes and dislikes.


So the next time your child tells you about a day that he/she spent playing, know that it was a day filled with discovery, learning and growth! 
                            Mrs. Harris
Dates To Remember: 
  • November 20: Carnegie Squirrel Hill librarian comes to Hillel Preschool for Storytime
  • November 21: Thanksgiving Family events (details to follow) 
  • November 22-23: No sessions - Happy Thanksgiving!
Veteran's Day 

On their own initiative, the Hillel Academy Girls High School designed and created a thank you card for veterans, which they hand delivered and hung up at Weinberg Terrace. This project, spearheaded by Student Council President Maia Wiesenfeld, developed of an informal discussion among high school girls on how they could thank a veteran on Veterans Day. They were very excited to bring it to the veterans at Weinberg Terrace on Monday afternoon. The students took this opportunity to speak with the veterans on a very personal level in a way that made them feel special and appreciated. While bringing a card to veterans is by no means an original idea, this project was special because of the personal dialogue it created between our students and the veterans. The program also caused our students to reflect on how grateful and appreciative they are for the sacrifices these heroes made for our freedom and liberty. 

On their way back to school, many girls commented how great it is that Weinberg Terrace is right in our "backyard," and began thinking about different programs they could run there in the future. Chesed is such an ingrained attribute in the girls high school that they jump at any opportunity to perform an act of Chesed. We are very proud of them.

Mrs. Levari

Upcoming events in the GHS: 
  • 11/17 - Grades 9-11 will have Shabbos lunch at the Baran's house
  • 11/20 - Visit from a representative from Shaalavim for Women Seminary
Advice from Mrs. Ziff 

Here is my  list of important items a parent should have in the house to make homework proceed as smoothly as possible.  It is best to have a designated basket, drawer or area where these items are kept.

This list is not in any order of significance!

1. A pencil sharpener
2. Plenty of pencils with good erasers
3. Notebook paper
4. Colored pencils, crayons, markers
5. Various colors of colored construction paper
6. A few sheets of white posterboard
7. Sharpie markers
8. Dictionary and a  thesaurus
9. Stapler with staples
10. A hole puncher
11. Glue sticks and/or rubber cement (rubber cement is a wonderful item ... easy to clean up!)
12. A good ruler, easy to read; both metric and American Standard system
14. Scotch tape
15. Depending on the grade level, a good calculator
                                                                                                                              Mrs. Ziff
Werber's Words of Wonder

Presidential Postings
While I usually write about historical misconceptions, for the next several weeks I will write about our presidents. The presidents have always fascinated me. Only 44 men have held the office (one non-sequentially) and each one has been scrutinized, magnified and turned mythical. In this series, I hope to reveal some unknown presidential facts and trivia. I hope this knowledge will help make our presidents seem more like the humans they were.

George Washington: We all have fears, and the "Father of our Country" was no exception. George Washington was taphephobic -- afraid of being buried alive. He talked about it constantly and would not let himself be buried until three days after he died. He also ordered that after he died his body should be watched constantly for signs of life. This was not as unusual as it might seem. Until the invention of the EEG to monitor brainwaves, doctors would often feel for a pulse to determine death. Often, if the person was seriously ill, the pulse was difficult to detect. Historians estimate that 2% of the people buried in the 18th and 19th centuries may not have been quite dead at the time of their burial.
John Adams: John Adams was known for being rather pompous. When he became president, a deb  ate began about what the president should be called. Adams, who held both the presidency and himself in high regard, thought that the president should be called "His Majesty," "His Excellency" or "His High Mightiness." Congress settled on "President of the United States," but Adams's detractors never forgot his suggestions. Since Adams was vain, short and overweight, our second president was often called "His Rotundity" or "His Superfluous Excellency" behind his back.

Thomas Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson was an excellent president, but terrible with money. At the time of his death he was $100,000 in debt (2 million dollars in today's money.) Jefferson was a slave owner despite his lifelong opposition to slavery.  According to his writings, he planned to free his slaves upon his death. After his death, however, because of high debts, the family had to sell his slaves, as well as most of the items in his house. 

James Madison: James Madison was our shortest president and because of that he started a fashion trend. At 5'4" and 100 pounds, Madison was a very small man. He was ridiculous in the knee breeches that were fashionable at the time. He felt more comfortable in long legged trousers, and with that he started the trend that every president after him was followed.

The Hillel Grid  

Students in the Mix -

3rd Grade

What is your least  favorite food?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What is your favorite game?

Dalya Kraut



Jungle Speak


Yosef Kaminsky

Bad flavored popsicles




Benjamin Vidmar-McEwan

Cooked cilantro

Robotics engineer



Chava Russell

Old cheese

A good person



Shoshana Kisilinsky


Sponge diver



Amitai Naiditch


Football player

2012 Football


Benny Biton

Mac N Cheese



Elky Ingber


Wonder Chef

My Grandfather's Big Toe!

Adina Morgan

Cooked vegetables

A member of Wonder Words

Chinese Spit


Noah Cooper


Baseball player

Settlers of Catan


Dovy Morgan

Noodles with blueberries

A Yankee Doodle

Cosh Cush


Nechama Langer

Used gum

A baker or a writer.



Gabe Small


A parent

Balloons T. D. 5


Yitzy Berelowitz

˝ eaten pizza

A bluebird

Catching Spiders


Yaakov Katz


A Sun inspector


Eli Jacobs


A Toilet Cleaner






Mazel Tovs 

Mazel tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Kagan and the entire family 

on Yeruchom becoming a bar mitzvah


Mazel tov to Dr. and Mrs. Kanal and their entire family 

on the birth on a granddaughter to Daniella and Zack Appel 



 Hillel Happenings  


 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 to Ben Kohane '11 and proud mom, Linda Joshowitz 
for correctly guessing last week's photo of Jill Joshowitz and Haviva Garrett.   

 This week's photo: 

Last week's photo: 
Hillel Gear Spotted Here
Efraim Marizan and Aaron Kraut were spotted in the Kollel (with many other Hillel Academy students) at the Avos U'bonim learning program learning Torah and sporting their gear!
Need more Hillel gear? Get ready for the Hillel Gear Fall Line display next week. 
Prepare to be awed!
 We counted 15 current or former Hillel students in this wonderful photograph of fathers and their sons learning after shabbos.

Hey, Hillel Happenings readers, we all know that Hillel nation extends well beyond Squirrel Hill. So here's our chance to prove it. Send a picture of yourself in Hillel gear (uniform, t-shirt, etc.) to [email protected], and each week we'll select the best picture for inclusion in the Hillel Happenings.



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


LAPTOP NEEDED: Morah Devorah is looking for a laptop with a working DVD player for her classroom.  Please email her at [email protected]org if you would like to donate one.


APPLE FOR STUDENTS: 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



message from Miriam Kohane, your Box Tops Coordinator.

Great job, everyone! Our Box Tops For Education® collection totaled $310 which is 33% of our goal. We're doing great! Keep the Box Tops coming in; we'll be submitting again in late February and we'll receive a second check in April. Remember to put your name on your envelope to ensure your participation in our June raffle. If you have any questions about Box Tops, please let me know. You can contact me at [email protected]. Many thanks to all who participated. Together we're ensuring our kids' success!


CANDY BARS FOR SALE: 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. 

HILLEL HERALD: 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


JEWISH WOMEN'S LEAGUE: Please mark your calendars for the Jewish Women's League annual event on Sunday, December 2, 2012, at Shaare Torah Congregation. Join us for a lovely boutique sale and delicious pareve buffet at 7:00 p.m., followed by a stimulating lecture from popular Chicago teacher, lawyer, and community leader, Judy Rajchenbach, at 8:00 p.m. No reservations are necessary; $36, payable at the door, includes the 19th edition of the Pittsburgh Community Directory. For women only.

BHS LEAF RAKING  FUNDRAISERIf 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: 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 Shabbat at Shaare Torah will be from 3:30pm-4:30pm. Note the time change! There will be no snif the Shabbat of Thanksgiving weekend.
    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 
    Pittsburgh, PA 15217
    (P) 412-521-8131 
    (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.
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