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November 30, 2012                                                                                 
16 Kislev 5773 
Candle Lighting: 4:36 
Havdalah:  5:44

Parshat Vayishlach
Dvar Torah
After his climactic encounter with Eisav, Yaakov returns with his family to the site of his initial prophetic vision from G-d, Beit Kel, to erect a Mizbeach
and call out to
Upon his arrival, the Torah interrupts the narrative to inform us that, "Devorah, Rivka's nursemaid, died, and was buried beneath Beit Kel under an oak tree" (Bereshit 35:8). Devorah had not been introduced to us until this point. Why does the Torah feel the need to tell us of her death and burial right in the middle of this climactic moment in Yaakov's life?  
Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch points out numerous textual parallels between Yaakov's journey to Beit Kel and Bnei Yisroel's passage through the desert en route to Har Sinai. Rav Hirsch explains that the experience in Beit Kel served as a personal 
ma'amad Har Sinai
for Yaakov and his family. 
Perhaps by telling us of Devorah's death and subsequent burial, the Torah teaches us that even during an intense spiritual experience, we can never forget the basic concept of Hakarat Hatov, gratitude. G-d was about to reaffirm the name Yisroel upon Yaakov and thus endorse his role as the progenitor of the Jewish people. Yet even at this auspicious time, Yaakov was careful to tend to the very basic human needs of burial for this woman who had helped care for his children.
Unfortunately, we 
often too busy for seemingly mundane activities such as visiting the sick, taking care of the elderly, or caring for strangers. We really 
busy, and what we are doing
important. But if Yaakov could interrupt his personal
Har Sinai
to show appreciation for Devorah, we can certainly find the time for these essential pursuits as well.    


Rabbi Weinberg

Important School Announcements
  1. Family Chanukah Party - Tuesday, December, 11 - 6:00pm-7:30pm - details to follow
  2. Save the date: Mother/Daughter Melava Malka - January 5th; 7:30pm at Hillel Academy
  3. Save the date:  Alumi Basketball Game - January, 12 - 7:30pm at the JCC
  4. The Lost and Found box is now in the cafeteria Monday- Friday
  5. Click here to follow us on our newly revamped Facebook page ! Like us on Facebook 
Hillel Gear for Sale   
The 2012 Fall Line is here!
 New hoodies, long and short sleeved tech shirts, ball caps, winter hats, scarves, sweat pants, 
3/4 length sleeved shirts, and shower shoes are available for women, men and kids.
  • To order gear contact Mrs. Yael Henteleff at [email protected]
  • No order will be accepted without payment. Payments should be sent into the main office.
  • Please make checks payment to Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.
Next Week's Athletics & Club Schedule 

 Click CALENDAR to access the Hillel Academy Athletics and Club Calendar.   


Purim in Winter 
Let the production begin.


 As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, students of the Girls High School are busy preparing for one of their favorite holidays ... PURIM!  Yes, Chanukah is just around the corner (and don't worry - the GHS will not limit their Chanukah festivities in the least!), yet the girls' minds are on Persia instead of Greece, as they begin to prepare for this year's school production,

"Once Upon a Queen," a story based on the heroic and miraculous events of Megillat Esther.

Yesterday, the girls joined together to partake in a "Royal Persian Feast" and dined on delicacies while hearing about the recent appointment of Ilana Kisilinsky and Shayna Stiebel as Production Heads and details about upcoming auditions.  Full preparation and practice will begin very soon in the lower level - feel free to stop by to see the girls at work!  
Not only will the Girls High School focus on making this a theatrical masterpiece full of drama, music, dance with extravagant scenery and costumes, but they will also learn Megillat Esther in depth, and  study about the historical time period of Purim. This  will give them a complete understanding of the Megillah and make this dramatic production a fully co-curricular experience. The students of Hillel Academy Girls High School are ecstatic to begin working together in preparation for this play as it highlights a very exciting and inspirational story in Tanach.  "Its so unique and special to put on a play that is about heroes from our own people," said Ilana Kisilinsky. "Queen Esther is truly someone we can all try to emulate as we hope to teach everyone about the beauty in this miraculous story." Stay tuned for more details about "Once Upon a Queen" which will be coming to a theater near you in mid-February!

GHS Week in Review
  • GHS students helped spread musical cheer to the residents of Weinberg Village with professional musician Amy Schwartz
  • Students heard from Rabbi Daniel Yolkut about his inspirational and meaningful mission to Israel last week

Upcoming Events in the GHS
  • Tuesday 12/4 - Auditions for
    "Once Upon a Queen"
  • Thursday 12/6 - Second installment of the Career Lecture Series with a presentation by Rachel Mandelbaum about her work in physical sciences
  • Friday 12/7 - Friday night Oneg at the Wiesenfelds from 8:00pm-9:30pm

 Mrs. Levari
BHS Closing Ceremony
We don't like chairs.
This month's Better LYFE topic of Shmiras HaLashon, ended with engaging the BHS in a silent activity and conversation on the topic. For 15 minutes students wrote their reflections on four posters, each related to a different area of Shmiras HaLashon -- without saying a single word. Students had the opportunity to respond both to different prompts and to what other students had written. We concluded with a short, meaningful conversation about what we had learned from the exercise, and from our focus on Shmiras HaLashon over the past month.
For more information about this program, and other news in the BHS, check out this month's edition of the Hillel Herald!
Upcoming events in the BHS
  • Monday 12/3 - Hillel Heat's home opener against Project Destiny in the JCC's gym at 8pm
  • Tuesday 12/4 - Visit by representative from Yeshivat Migdal HaTorah
  • Wednesday 12/5 - Visit by representative from Yeshivat Shaarei Mevaseret Tzion   

  Rabbi Smith
Shavua Ivrit comes to Hillel: An interview with Morah Irit
Ah...How do you say chicken soup ingredients?
HH: Shalom Morah Irit!  What is Shavua Ivrit? 


Morah Irit: I am so glad you asked. Shavua Ivrit is the culmination of several weeks of  in-class lessons and  activities designed to get our students excited and involved with Ivrit. It is a week  filled with students speaking, engaging and having fun using Ivrit.  


HH: What are some of the activities the students engaged in?

MI: The kindergarten classes baked alef-bet cookies, the first grade had an art project with the Bnot Sherut, the second grade had an "art around the seasons" project using pipe cleaners, flowers, and cotton ball clouds, while the third and fourth grades created small backpacks with school supplies. 



HH: What did the older students do?


MI: The middle school (5-8) girls had an exciting dance competition set to Ivrit songs, and the 8th grade boys in Morah Orna's class  filmed short skits, acting out Ivrit Nivim and Bituyim (expressions). Each student prepared a presentation in Ivrit and English explaining his movie, and presented it to the middle school boys.


HH: What other activities were there?
MI: As the students entered the school building, they saw a big sign by the front desk with the Ivrit "word of the day." They earned points for using that word in class.  Ivrit classes that week  opened with a "Rega shel Ivrit" video - a short Ivrit video clip containing short skits and riddles, dramatized by our Boys High School and edited by Dalia, the very talented Bat Sherut.


HH: In what other ways could students earn points?


Wow, vegetables, cool!


MI: During the course of each day, students could earn points for greeting  a teacher in Ivrit, teaching a new Ivrit word to a teacher, getting "caught"  saying something in Ivrit to a friend during recess or in the hallways, or by sharing  Ivrit words or phrases with parents at home.


HH: The hallways were certainly well decorated for Shavua Ivrit! Can you tell me something about all that amazing artwork?



MI: The walls were plastered with students' Ivrit posters - and lots of riddles, activities and Ivrit assignments.  All were created by the talented ladies of the Girls High School. There were Ivrit learning activities as well, including Ivrit word jumbles, animal listings, find the missing numbers, and scrabble type games.


HH: What could the students do with all those points they earned?


MI: All the Shavua Ivrit activities led up to our Shuk Ivrit (Hebrew Market). Friday morning the shul was transformed into our own "shuk Machne Yehuda." Students could participate in Ivrit games at several booths --  find the fish in the fish tank, pin the iparon (pencil) on the luach (calendar) -- blindfolded, match vegetables to the Hebrew names  in the vegetable stand, guess the spice game, and play T-shirt word games. Finally, they could go to the shuk and spend the tickets and points they earned all week on cool prizes!


 Even more vegetables!


HH: Wow! Organizing all that must have been a lot of work!


MI: It certainly was! The Hillel Ivrit teachers together with Dalia and Hadassa, the Bnot Sherut, did so much to make this program a success. I would like to thank them all!


HH:  Sababa! Shavua Ivrit sounds like it was an amazing success and the kids were excited about learning and using a lot of Ivrit! Any chance we can see something like this next year?


MI: Betach! For sure! I am already planning new ideas and activities for next year! L'Hitraot!


Rabbi Nimchinsky/Morah Irit

Middle School Basketball
Team: Hillel Heat - Middle School

What they have:
A core of skilled veterans. The team will be led by veteran eighth graders including
Akiva Skaist, Ezra Kraut, and Evan Stufflebeam. With speedy guards in the back-court -- Akiva and Nathan Cohen -- the team is hoping to have an up tempo game style. They also have a strong bench from their seventh graders: Moshe Wasserman, Boaz Bachrach, Moshe Dovid Luzer, and Yosef Cohen-Melamed. On the JV team, in addition to the seventh graders, Aaron Kraut also has the benefit of experience.

What they need:
Their big men -- Jacob Weissenfeld, Yeruchum Kagan, Michael Sohnen, and Seth Margolis -- to play tough tough on both the defense and the offence side. They also need rookies Seth, Ephraim Marizan, and Eli Rosenstein to learn the Hillel offense.

Bottom line:
With those speedy guards and strong bench, the Heat could be a

Boaz Bachrach
Riddles -  Courtesy of Ms. Myers

What does man love more than life
Fear more than death or mortal strife
What poor do have, the rich require,
And what contented men desire,
What misers spend and spendthrifts save
And all men carry to their graves?

Last week's answer: Language

One of these kids is not like the others.
The children love to play outside in the fresh air! With colder weather on the way, please remember to
and have your child wear a coat, hat, scarf and mittens. When he/she wears boots, please send a pair of shoes to wear when inside, as this is considered a safety issue. 
Our pre-schoolers love to EAT! Eating habits established in early childhood contribute to eating  patterns later in life, so the quality of snacks and lunches is especially important to us. Healthy snacks include cut fruit, cut veggies, applesauce, and crackers. Hard candy, lollipops, fruit roll-ups, gum ... these are NOT so healthy, and may be a choking hazard. Please check with your child's teacher if you have any questions or concerns about snack and lunch choices.

Mrs. Harris
Chizuk Corner
Back by popular demand, the Chuzuk Corner.  Through the Hillel Happenings, we try to provide our readers with a sense of the exciting, engaging, and meaningful work that happens at Hillel Academy. Chizuk, which is Hebrew for strength, is vital to Hillel Academy. This section, thanks to the weekly insights of Rabbi Brodie, is intended to give our readers a little extra strength. 

The Chofetz Chaim writes: A major part of the population exert their intelligence and wisdom to accumulate wealth.  Every businessman uses his acumen to find new and exciting merchandise that will attract customers.  Inventors invest their time and energy to create machines and products through which they hope to make money.In the same manner, a person has to apply his mind to accumulate knowledge of Torah and fear of Hashem.

Mazel Tovs  
Mazel Tov to Hillel Academy Parents and Faculty Rabbi and Mrs. Avi and Rifky Apfel on the birth 
of a baby girl, Yehudis!

Mazal Tov to Zehava and Ovadia Tolbert on the engagement of their daughter, Hillel Academy alumna Sophia Ash, to Joseph Tawil!

Mazel Tov to Mrs. Skaist and her entire family on the engagement of her daughter, Hillel Academy alumna, Kayla, to Joey Gutmann from Washington Heights! 
Werber's Words of Wisdom
This is part two in my effort to help you know your presidents. I hope you'll learn some new facts and appreciate your presidents as people even more.

James Monroe: James Monroe was the third (and so far the last) president to die on July 4 (Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on this auspicious date as well). James Monroe nearly accomplished an impressive feat which was only achieved by one president: he received almost all the electoral votes. George Washington was the only president to actually do this, but Monroe came close -- Governor William Plumer of New Hampshire did not vote for Monroe, thereby costing Monroe one electoral vote. We don't know Plumer's reasoning, but he may have wanted Washington to be the only president with an untarnished electoral record.

John Quincy Adams: He was the first president whose father was also a president (his father was John Adams.) He is also the president whose name is constantly mispronounced. His middle name is pronounced kwin-zi, not kwin-tsi, as most people pronounce it. He is one of two presidents, along with Andrew Jackson, who served in Congress after being president. He served as a state representative for 17 years. John Quincy Adams also provides much of the information we have about the early United States. He kept a 50-volume journal, starting in 1779 and ending in 1848.

Andrew Jackson: Andrew Jackson is the only president to have killed a man in a duel before becoming president. Jackson killed Charles Dickinson for publicly calling him a "worthless scoundrel, a poltroon, and a coward." Andrew Jackson was also the first president to be assaulted in public -- twice! First he was punched by Robert B. Randolph, who quickly ran away; then he was almost shot by Richard Lawrence. Lawrence did not miss -- his guns actually misfired. Historians have set the odds that both guns would misfire at one in 125,000. Jackson then beat the man with his cane, not stopping even after Lawrence had been subdued. Jackson had to be pulled away from Lawrence to stop the beating.  

Martin Van Buren: Van Buren was the first president born in the United States, the first president not of British or Irish ancestry (his ancestors were Dutch), and the first person to be elected as a Democrat and not a Democrat-Republican. (Although Andrew Jackson later changed the name of his party to Democrat, he was elected as a Democratic-Republican.)

I hope you have learned more about the amazing men who have served as president. Tune in next week for four more fantastic figures!
                                                                                                                                              Mr. Werber

Shavua Ivrit B'Ivrit


מדהים איך אפשר להפוך לימודים לכיף!

רק לפני שבועיים סיימנו את שבוע עברית בהצלחה!

כל הלל כולו היה שותף להצלחה הזו. כל בית הספר, התלמידים, ילדי הגן, המנהל, המורים ואפילו קירות בית הספר - כולם היו שותפים לכיף שבעברית!

כל כיתה קיבלה נושא שעליו העשירה את הידע שלה בעברית. הנושאים היו מגוונים מצבעים לכיתה א', דרך  חפצים בבית הספר לכיתות ג' ו ד', עד לניבים לכיתה ח' ועוד...

בשבוע עברית עצמו נהנו כל התלמידים מפעילויות חווייתיות על הנושא שלהם. לבסוף ביקרו התלמידים ב'שוק מחנה יהודה', שהוקם על ידי בנות התיכון. בשוק זכו התלמידים להרגיש את חוויית השוק, להנות מדוכנים שונים ולקבל פרסים.

רצינו להגיד תודה רבה למורה אירית ולכל בית הספר, ששיתף פעולה ויצא יחד איתנו לפרוייקט החדש והייחודי הזה, שיהפוך ב"ה למסורת כאן בהלל.

תודה רבה!


.דליה והדסה בנות השרות
The Hillel Grid 

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

7th and 8th grade boys

What would your superhero name be?

What is the best book you've ever read?

If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be?

Boaz Bacharach

Dr. Middos

Dogs the Musical


Jacob Weisenfeld

Big Head Jake

The Far Side Gallery


Tovia Jacobs

Pie Consumer

Goodnight Moon


Nathan Cohen

Shark Boy

The Hungry Little Caterpillar

Loose papers

Jack Kasaback

Gemara Gritzer

The Hobbit


Yosef Cohen-Melamed

Cup Thrower

Green Eggs and Ham


Yitzchok Grossberg

Super Shtreimel Man

The Curly Payot Handbook.

Straight payot

Ezra Kraut

Great Looking Man

The dictionary

The Ravens

Avigdor Felder

Cat Man


Anti-semitic feelings

Evan Stufflebeam

Silent but Deadly

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Terrorist having access to weapons

Moshe David Luzer

Power Absorber

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Educational video games

Mendel Grossberg

Rabbi Grossberg

Johnny Tremain


Moshe Wasserman

Gummi Man

I don't like to read

The Ravens

Akiva Skaist

Power Spider Dude

Animal Farm


Michael Sohnen

Man Man

Phantom Tollbooth


Meir Rodkin

Superhero? I'm better the way I am.

I read too many books to pick a favorite.


                                                                                                                                                Mr. Weber

 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: Aaron Goldwasser
 This week's photo: 

Last week's photo: 




Starting front row on left is : Nathan Heiss, David Angel, Eric Riemer, Noam Pollack, George Risov, Morris Isacson is in the PITT sweatshirt. to his left is Marc Mann and Aaron Goldwasser.
Back row starting from left: Not sure of person in green t-shirt, next to him is Ronen Sokol, Michael May, Jordan Rosenberg, and Shmuel Aaron Adler.

Flashback Fridays

Hillel Gear Spotted Here

Rabbi Yalkut was spotted in Ben Gurion airport with a new Hillel adjustable ball cap.  

Do you think the guy on the left will end his conversation with "over"?   

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] 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.

GIRLS ONEG: There WILL be Oneg this Shabbos from 3:00pm to 4:00pm at PZ! We can't wait to see all girls in grades K - 7th there! For additional information email -  [email protected].

BNEI AKIVA: Snif this Shabbat will be from 3:30pm-4:30pm at Shaare Torah. 
[email protected] ACADEMY:  Zumba with Ashley every Wednesday at 7:15pm in Hillel Academy - $5 a session. Ashely will also be offering Zumba on a select Monday nights. Contact her for information [email protected]




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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