Outside of Hillel   
January 18, 2013                                                                              
7 Shevat 5773 
Candle Lighting: 5:03
Havdalah: 6:13

Parshat Bo 
Dvar Torah
      Immediately upon their triumphant exodus from Egypt the Jewish nation is given the Mitzva of Kiddush HaChodesh. The passuk states, "This month shall be to you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Shemot 12:2). The first thing G-d gives us as a nation is the ability to control our own time. A slave's time is not his, he must abide by the will of his master whenever that master desires. Now that we are free, we have the ability to control our own time, our own lives. The famed Italian commentator, the Seforno, explains that Nissan is the first month because our spiritual existence began in Nissan.He explains that bondage is not merely a physical blight, but a spiritual one as well.

      One of my Rabbeim, Rabbi Meir Twersky points out that we thank G-d daily for making us free because the gift of freedom is the gift of life. The equation is three fold time equals freedom which equals life. Rav Twersky points out that the truth of this equation is basic, that it seems superfluous to even mention it. And yet, in reality we often lose sight of the practical corollaries to this existential equation. Since we correctly, instinctively, cherish life and freedom, then we ought to equally cherish time. Since we appropriately zealously safeguard life and freedom, then we ought to be equally zealous in safeguarding time. 

      As we approach winter break we must remember this important truth. Everyone needs vacations once in a while, a chance to rejuvenate ourselves, a chance to spend time with our families, but it is important to remember that one's avodat Hashem is never complete, there is always more to do. Consequently, time is forever a scarce commodity. I hope everyone has a wonderful vacation. 


Shabbat Shalom!



Rabbi Weinberg

That's a Wrap
This past weekend proved to be a special one for the Hillel Academy family.  On Saturday night we welcomed back over 15 alumni to participate in our third Alumni vs. High School basketball game. The JCC was packed with children as well as adults.  Would Coach Alex Sax ('68), who had a 1-0 record as Alumni coach, be able to up his record to 2-0?  Was FBI agent, Jacob Goldberg ('99) as skilled and built as his Facebook page claims??  Could Rabbi Weinberg ('00) still shoot the 3 ball? 
Were the high school boys ready for the YU Red Sarachek Tournament? Together with the competitive 
basketball game, pizza, sushi, music, Gevura Man, and t-shirt toss all proved great factors in what turned into an eventful and exciting evening. "It was the best event I have ever been a part of," recounted Mr. Dan Kraut, CEO.  "It was the place to be Saturday night," exclaimed one satisfied fan.  During the game, both the boys and girls high schools ran fundraisers to subsidize their major programs. 
The BHS are gearing up for their trip to NYC in March to participate in the famed YU Red Sarachek basketball tournament. They are currently selling chocolate bars, Snapple, and ESPN The Magazine. See the flyer below, email [email protected] or call the school office at 412.521.8131.

As was recently announced, the GHS will perform Once Upon a Queen as this year's high school production on February 19 and 20 at CAPA's Black Box Theater. They are currently selling ads to help defray expenses.  Please see the flyer below or email [email protected] to purchase an ad. Additionally, tickets are on sale and going quickly. To reserve your ticket for this special event, please call the school office at 412.521.8131 or email [email protected] Please note, this show is for women, girls and boys six and under only.   
Lastly, we want to announce the Winter Break Hillel Gear contest.  Bring Hillel gear with you to all your vacation destinations and snap photos. Post them to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, but make sure to send it to us as well, [email protected]  We have two prizes up for grabs: Hillel gear and 4 school lunches from Mordy Brown.  So, get snapping. 


Sifriyat Pijama
Is that Kermit the Frog's cousin?
Sifriyat Pijama this past Sunday was a tremendous success.  More than 70 children with their parents gathered to hear the story "אמא ואני" and discuss כיבוד אב ואם with our very own Morah Danielle!  Chevi Rubin, one of the event organizers, described the scene as follows, "It was amazing to see so many different faces, both Hillel families and non Hillel families, native Hebrew speakers and non Hebrew speakers, babies and elementary school kids, all excited about reading, learning, and speaking Hebrew!"  Sifriyat Pijama distributes free Hebrew books to children ages 3-7 nationwide.  Join us for our next Sifriyat Pijama event on March 3rd! 
Alumni Game

 The two teams join together for a post game photo session. "Now I know what Lebron (James) feels like," said one alum.
This past Motzei Shabbos the Hillel Heat played before their biggest audience in years, as they took on the alumni in their third matchup. The game featured 12 minute quarters instead of the usual 8 minute quarters. The most significant change, however, was that the high school team was joined by alumni/staff members Rabbi Sam Weinberg (class of '00) and Coach Sol Horvitz (class of '00).

The room was filled with excitement, with students selling Hillel Gear, candy bars for the basketball team, 50/50 raffle tickets, as well as Mordy Brown's pizza and sushi. The alumni team covered a good portion of Hillel's history and was coached by Dr. Alex Sax (class of '68). The halftime show was the Hillel Future Stars and featured the middle school boys teams. There was also a t-shirt toss, a half-court shot contest and a three point contest. Throughout the night, the crowd was treated to the school's new unofficial mascot, "Gevura Man." CEO Dan Kraut did the play-by-play and the bleachers were packed.
The game itself was a tight one throughout the night. The lead switched back and forth a number of times with Daniel Sax (class of '11) and Yochi Naiditch (class of '08) leading the alumni in scoring, and Steven Kohane (class of '13) leading the scoring for the Heat. In the last few minutes the alumni took the lead when Rabbi Weinberg and Coach Horvitz came in to help the Heat put it away. The final score was Heat 68-Alumni 60.
After the game, everyone gathered for hugs and pictures. Coach Sax said, "I wish I could have gone in, grabbed a few rebounds, and scored some points. It was a lot of fun and I'm extremely happy to participate." One of the alumni (who shall remain nameless) told me how impressed he was by this year's Heat, and how they really know how to play well together as a team.
All in all, it was a great night for players, families and friends, and left everyone anticipating the next Hillel event!

Click HILLEL HERALD to read the latest edition of the BHS newspaper.


Over the past several weeks, many different classes in the GHS have engaged in creative learning projects and assessments to enhance and showcase their studies.  In the Honors Chumash class, students were each assigned one of the Ten Commandments to research, organize into an essay, and teach to the class with the aid of a handout and visual element.  This project gave the students the opportunity to use Judaic resources, develop their independent learning skills, and present the information to their classmates.  While the students were originally overwhelmed by the project, they were all very pleased with the end result and kept thanking me for the assignment that allowed them the opportunity to discover the information on their own.  
In both Mrs. Itskowitz's Navi class and Ms. Myers's English class, students were given creative writing projects at the end of a unit.  Upon completing the fifth perek in Melachim Bet, the ninth grade girls were told to act as investigative reporters and "interview" three characters, real or imaginary.  Their task was to describe the incidents leading up to as well as explain how and why Gechazi was punished with Naaman's tzaraas, based on the real events of the Navi.  All of the students produced outstanding work that truly displayed their creativity and deep understanding of the material.
As a culmination to Ms. Myers's exciting unit on Captain Scott's expedition to Antarctica, students were charged with the task of keeping  a journal similar to the one the Polar explorer would have used. Ms. Myers explained, "One of the main points of focus in our Antarctica unit was to understand non-fiction more thoroughly as a genre. Instead of just reading non-fiction, we wanted to explore where it comes from - who writes it, and what they base their work on? In order to demonstrate this, the students kept journals for one week, pretending to be polar explorers 100 years ago. The journals were exact replicas of the ones Captain Scott used while sledging to the South Pole, and were completed in pencil, just like his. Researchers have a hard time deciphering what they say because the thin parchment allows one to see both sides of the paper at once. The students were able to see this phenomenon with their own journals.  The physical act of writing in the journal was an opportunity to re-enact the production of original artifacts. It's always rewarding to engage in creative writing assignments; this time, we took advantage of that to do critical work at the same time. "
These enriching and engaging projects have enhanced the learning experience in the girls high school.
South Pole  
This display case is in the front lobby, come check it out. And for all those wondering, yes, this was the display case outside of Very Cherry.
Ms. Myers has used events that happened at the South Pole exactly 101 years ago to introduce her students to the real work scholars do when writing non-fiction. Using scientific data, maps, and narratives of adventure they learned how Scott and Amundsen's Race to the Pole helped explain Antarctica's history. Students were presented with handmade replicas of Scott's sledging journals, complete with parchment, which they had to keep for a week, writing in pencil just like he did. They wrote last letters home to loved ones, and invented ways in which each of them might have met their untimely demise through misadventure on the frozen continent. The eighth grade girls created this museum display case to showcase their "literary expedition" and to mimic the way in which researchers have to utilize archives to study the real thing. 
Rivka Mandelbaum Shira Itskowitz
Nechama Rosenberg Leah Joshowitz

Next: The seventh grade and high school boys tell their stories!  
Ms. Myers
Regions Fair 
Hola amigos, Hillel es el más rápido del día escolar en crecimiento en los EE.UU. No podemos esperar hasta que estemos en la escuela de niñas de alto, para que podamos participar en la producción de mostrar nuestras habilidades. Un día vamos a gobernar el mundo y vende a los Piratas a alguien a quien le importa.

On Tuesday, January 8, the lunchroom was transformed with red, white and blue for the fourth grade's Regions Fair.  The fourth grade spent the last few weeks preparing for the Regions Fair. The students worked in five groups to create a Powerpoint presentation, a game, and a poster for each region of the United States. They also brought in a food that is produced in their region and dressed up in a costume representing their region. The first through fifth graders and the fourth graders' families enjoyed learning, playing and especially eating! The Regions fair was a fun way to experience America! 
9th Grade Girls Finish Parshas Noach

 We love cake, yes we do, we love cake, how about you?!
Mazal Tov and congrats to the 9th grade girls on completing Parshas Noach. We covered  many interesting and fundamental topics in depth. Our lessons included the Mabul, Dor Haflaga (generation of dispersion), and Avraham's quest to find Hashem. After much hard work, we finished the last pasuk and were ready to celebrate. 
And what a siyum it was!  Our first stop was Giant Eagle and the second stop Murray Avenue Kosher. The girls were divided  into two groups and given some money, they mixed their creative talents and love for good food to build their very own Tevah! They are now ready to move into Parshas Lech Lecha with a renewed enthusiasm for learning.

Mrs. Morgan
Melavah Malkah 5773
This year's Mother Daughter Melavah Malkah was a huge success.  The girls spent time practicing their songs and choreography for six weeks leading up to the Melavah Malkah.  "We worked hard practicing our songs and in the end it came out beautifully," said Chana Yolkut, a fourth grader.  The seventh and eighth grade girls collaborated with Mrs. Langer to write the narration for the program and created the decorations and centerpieces with Mrs. Morgan.  Their hard work was evident when you walked into the transformed Hillel lunchroom. 
  The first through sixth grades came out in their adorable, sparkly, sharp looking costumes (depending on the grade) and performed like professionals.  If you ask the girls what they enjoyed most, they might say the sparkly hats, like Shoshana Kisilinsky, or the cool dancing, like Dalya Kraut.  Tahara Reinherz, reported her favorite part was eating ice cream.  Thank you to all the people who made this a successful event and without whom it would not have been possible: Efrat Kagan, Chaya Gitty Morgan, Leah Milch, Reva Milch, Tzippy Rosenberg, Elky Langer, Naomi Popper of Tzohar Seminary, Mimi Grossberg, Amy Cohen, Mrs. Zlochower, Leah Rosenberg, Rachel Goldberg, Dalya Auman, Hadassah Borenstein , Rivky Nimchinsky, Rina Itskowitz, Maxine Kisilinsky, Ronit Wiesenfeld, Adina Shayowitz, Selma Aronson, and Hadar Glazer.  A special thank you to the teachers of the first through eighth grade girls who were so flexible and understanding.
Becoming a U.S. Citizen

The fifth grade girls were studying citizenship in their social studies class and were very fortunate to have Mrs. Ali Tuchman, born in Canada, as a guest speaker. Mrs. Tuchman had just received her U.S. citizenship and was eager to discuss the naturalization process with the girls.  Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Mrs. Tuchman talked about the many benefits of being a U.S. citizen, which included the ability to vote in federal elections, serve on a jury, obtain a passport, and run for federal office. Mrs. Tuchman also told the girls about some of the specific requirements for citizenship which include being able to read, write, and speak English. Candidates for citizenship must also demonstrate a basic understanding of civics and have good moral conduct.
The students were surprised to learn that the process can take many months to complete, as there are multiple steps involved: the initial application, fingerprinted, photographed, studying for the test, and the actual interview/test. Once a person is eligible for citizenship he/she is required to attend the oath ceremony,  and then officially becomes a U.S. citizen.
We would like to thank Mrs. Tuchman for sharing her journey with us and congratulate her for obtaining her U.S. citizenship!

                                                                                                                                                                                     Ms. Oz
Riddles Me That!
We know that our readers enjoy challenges. Thanks to Ms. Myers in our English department, we bring you the weekly riddle. Email us your answers and winners will be published in the following week's issue. 
Congratulation to Jonathan Kraut for correctly guessing one of the previous week's riddles. 

This week's:

Forward I'm heavy, but backwards I'm not. What am I? 

Last week's riddle and answer:
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?
Answer: Nothing
Box Tops Context Winner
After a tough competition the second graders won the December box top contest with 490 Box Tops!  They had four prizes to choose from, and the second graders chose ... a no-uniform day!  All the students are winners because we collected 1,349 Box Tops for Hillel Academy. Start saving those Box Tops for our February contest!
Mazel Tov!

Mazel Tov to  Hillel Academy Faculty Aidel and Avi Skaist on the birth of a baby girl!

We are pleased to announce that Steven Kohane has been selected as a recipient of the 2013-2014 Comcast Leaders and Achievers®Scholarship.
This award, funded through the Comcast Foundation, recognizes high school seniors from Comcast communities for commitment to community service, academic achievement, and demonstrated leadership. To acknowledge these accomplishments, scholarship recipients receive a one-time grant of $1,000.

With great sorrow, we regret to in form you of the passing of 
Evelyn Bloom OB"M


Beloved Mother of Dr. Elana Bloom
Hillel Gear Spotted Here

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.


Rami ('25) and Coby ('27) Shaw give their uncle, Dan Sax ('11) a pre game pep talk before the Alumni Game Saturday night. Coby is featuring a 2011 Hillel hoody, while Rami is sporting the classic 2010 Hillel ringer T and finally, Dan is geared up in his 2013 Alumni "jersey".   





Remember to take #Hillelgear on your vacations and send us your pics. Best ones win Mordy Brown lunches. #HillelacademyPGH





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. 
Congratulation to Jesse Mendelson for naming all the people in the picture below. 
Leora Reichenberg, Bonnie Morris, Ilana Weinberg, Ari Kanal and Aviva Gross.
 This week's photo: 
Last week's photo:



Hillel Gear for Sale   


APPLE FOR STUDENTS: Thus far we have earned 376 points. 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



Now that we are almost done with the first half of the school year, it is time to think about those Box Tops baggies sitting in your kitchen. Please drop them off at school so we continue to earn money for our PTAO. Imagine that each family has to clip only 4 Box Tops a month for us to meet our goal this year! Congratulations to second grade, the winner of the Box Tops Classroom Challenge and the extra recess prize.They will also receive a beautiful Scholastic dictionary for their classroom. Both the family collection and Classroom Challenge are ongoing projects, so keep on clipping ...

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


GIRLS ONEG: 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: No Snif this week or next week. 

 [email protected] ACADEMY:  There will be no Zumba over winter break. 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]



We are now accepting new student applications for the 2013-2014 school year!  Please contact Chevi Rubin at [email protected] for more information.    

hillel ad for 2013-2014








The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh's annual Fundfest is quickly approaching. As you know, Fundfest is the largest Federation Annual Campaign fund-raising event of the year.  Last year, more than 300 volunteers played a vital role in the success of Fundfest by helping us raise more than $300,000 to help Jews in Pittsburgh, Israel and around the world.

The theme for this year's event is 101 Solicitations, honoring our 101 years.Our focus is to involve hundreds of volunteers through our fund-raising efforts during this community-wide phone-a-thon in an effort to reach out to the entire greater Pittsburgh Jewish community. Together, we will continue the growth of our wonderful Jewish community today and for years to come.

Fundfest 2013 dates are as follows:
Sunday, January 27, 2013                         9:30 am - Noon

Sunday, January 27, 2013 (YAD)               5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Tuesday, January 29, 2013                            9:30 am - Noon

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 (Women's)    5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Wednesday, January 30, 2013                  5:30 pm - 8:30 pm 






     of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

    Administered by:

    Jewish Family & Children's Service

  5743 Bartlett Street · Pittsburgh, PA 15217· (412)422-5627 · Fax (412)422-9540


December 2012


Attention: Financial Aid Offices, Guidance Counselors, and Youth Organizations


Applications for need-based college scholarships for the 2013-2014 school year are available from the Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service (CSLRS) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.  This program is administered by Jewish Family & Children's Service.  The funds are made available through the generosity of families who have established endowments through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Community Center, National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Women International of Pittsburgh (formerly B'nai B'rith Women), The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Rodef Shalom Congregation.


All awards are distributed on the basis of demonstrated financial need.  Depending on the scholarship fund, other factors such as academic achievement, field of study, school attending, and community involvement may also be considered. In addition, the applicant must be Jewish, reside in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler or Washington County for at least two years, and need financial assistance to attend an accredited institution of higher education


We would appreciate your assistance in aiding local students by publishing an announcement about the work of the Central Scholarship committee. We are enclosing a brochure that explains our process. The 2013-2014 CSLRS on-line application is available athttp://www.centralscholarship.org.  All applications are due February 11, 2013.


If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (412) 422-5627 or e-mail me at [email protected]



Alayne Lowenberger, Director

Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service


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.