Outside of Hillel   
22, 2013                                                                              
12 Adar 5773 
Candle Lighting: 5:45
Havdalah: 6:55

Parshat Tetzaveh - Shabbat Zachor
Dvar Torah
We have a unique opportunity this year, to read the megila and pay close attention without worrying about when we can break the fast. 


There is a common misconception as to the length of the Purim events. Purim did not take place over a few days, a few months or even a year; it took years. Each year we have a mitzvah to listen to the megillah two times, once at night and once during the day. Depending on who lains the megillah, this could take anywhere from between 20 minutes to 45 minutes each time. It, therefore, does not really leave an adequate amount of time to truly pay attention to the details of the events described in the megillah. If you have time before Purim night to learn the midrashim and commentaries on the pesukim, you will find lots of interesting and meaningful information about the events of Purim. One thing that you will realize is that the events of the megillah took place over many years.

I have thought about this a lot over the years. I am a person who likes to find meaning in our fascinating religion. One thing we can learn from the fact that the megillah is so short, but covers such a long period of time, is that whatever we choose to do or say may not be such a big deal in the short term. However, the choices we make might have lasting effects which we have not intended. For example, we may make a rude comment to a certain person twice in one week. We may view those harsh comments as insignificant. For example, during a seven day period, we may only make two inappropriate comments. That might seem like an accomplishment, and for some I am sure it is. But regardless, from the other person's perspective those two words might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
In my high school gemara shuir, we always talk about not missing the 'forest for the trees.' Meaning, rude or insensitive comments may not be a big deal today, but if you look at how many rude comments we have made, it may be surprising what an impact our speech really makes. 
Reading the megillah can remind us to not only look at the details, but to also look at the big picture as well. The terrible things that Haman had planned and Achashevrosh was going to allow, accumulated over a period of years.  We must be aware not just of today's events, but also what kind of effect they will have on the future.
Good Shabbos and Freilichen Purim!


Reb Shaw

School Announcements
  • Remember to have your Emmet conversations with your children and fill out the Emmet sheets.  New pins will arrive soon. 
  • 7 days left to receive the 5% early bird discount on Infant, Tiny Tot and Toddler Tuition! Speak with Chevi Rubin for more information!
  • Remember, most if not all, of the club and athletic information is on our Google calendar located on our website. Click CALENDAR to view the calendar. If you have questions about a game location or start time email [email protected]
Thank You
We want to send a huge thank you to the Purim Committee Chairs- Aviva Klein and Stefanie Small as well as to all the volunteers who helped make our Purim 'basket' project such a huge success.  
Channa Gitty Leibowitz, Shoshana Russell, Dovid Knoll, Rabbi Daniel Wasserman, Shifra  Poznanski, Jill Braasch, Ariella Wiesenfeld, Shelly Itzkowitz, Chaya Gitty Morgan, Ronit Wiesenfeld, Baila Cohen, Yardena Smith, Efrat Kagan, Maxine Kisilinsky, Gayle Kraut, Sarah Hartman, Adina Shayowitz, Hadar Glazer, Selma Aronson, Fred Davis. 



Social Media

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We give out prizes, announce news and share photos of our rapidly growing school.  Additionally, our favorite posts and tweets will be posted in this section. #HillelAcademy1, #HillelGear. Click on the links below to follow us. 


Our favorite Tweets from the week:

I was wondering why there are so many garbage men on campus but then I realized they're Flyers fans wearing their jerseys. #Pens


From Dale Carnegie "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." Understanding that balance is difficult but imp.


Awesome Subs tonight from the @HillelAcademy1 Boys Basketball Team! Great Job Guys!!!!!  



A room full of teenagers 5 days a week? Many may run in horror but not high school teachers :) http://pinterest.com/pin/6966574395885026/ ...





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Snapshots from the Week

Adar Activities:

Yaakov squared prepping for their climb 
Esther Toby enjoying her hoagie. 


A Bonding Weekend

The BHS Shabbaton last weekend was so action-packed that a full article could be written about each part. But because we need to share the Happenings with the rest of the school, here are the highlights: The Shabbaton began on Friday morning when we went to work on the Auberle Challenge course in McKeesport. There we worked on different teamwork-building games like "That's Knot My Problem,""Chicken Baseball," and "2 Islands." We also had the opportunity to climb the "Giant's Ladder" and brave the cold to go 63 feet up in the air for the "Burma Bridge" and the Multi-Vine." It was "fabulous!" The Shabbaton continued a few hours later with mincha at Young Israel followed by a Shabbos meal at Rabbi Smith's house and the students enjoyed delicious food prepared by the Weinbergs, Shaws, and Smiths. Chicken soup, wings, roasted salami and cholent: the perfect menu for a boys' Shabbaton. After the meal, everyone went to PZ for learning, followed by an oneg which involved some food, singing and games. Shabbos lunch was at Hillel Academy, followed by Mincha. Motzei Shabbos, the Shabbaton continued with a trip to see the Robert Morris hockey team play against Niagara. The seats were great and many of the students stood right next to the glass! RMU won 6-5 in an exciting game that went into sudden death overtime. The students were so excited that one of them even called 93.7 to talk about the game. After the game, we returned to Hillel for pizza and a round of nervous numbers. The students all had a great time and couldn't stop talking about how much they are looking forward to the next BHS Shabbaton!

Click PHOTOS to view the photos from the 

Click Dvar Torah to read a dvar from BHS alum, Dan Sax. 

Upcoming events in the BHS:

Purim night 2/23: BHS Purim party at Rabbi Weinberg's house
3/6-3/11: YU Basketball tournament in New York  


The Second Graders Mow Their Lawns
The second graders have been studying a unit about plants. They planted Brassica seeds and watched their plants grow. Last week they planted grass seeds, cared for their plants on a daily basis, and recorded the plant growth in their science journals. The grass grew beautifully and got very tall. The big day had arrived for mowing their lawns. The students took their scissors and cut the grass! Everyone had fun cutting the grass and the students thought it was an awesome and cool activity!                                                                                                                                                    
                         Morah Chana
Once Upon A Queen
From intense moments backstage, to the thrill of performing, the Hillel high-school girls never cease to amaze. The moment Production 2013 was announced the girls were faced with a mountain of preparation - and fortunately they were up to the challenge. From directing and painting to choreography and costuming, they did it all. The Lower Level was transformed into production central. A glimpse into the lounge would allow a peek at the beautiful Persian-inspired backdrop. All through the hallway music could be heard as dances were practiced and songs were rehearsed. Led by their fearless Heads and with assistance from faculty, the high-school became a theater troupe ready to take on any play. Sunday morning only added to the experience as everything was packed and transferred to the Pittsburgh School For The Creative And Performing Arts (CAPA). There they met with Mr. Chris Howard and two of CAPA's students who helped hang the backdrop and design the lighting for the show. By the time Tuesday rolled around, the girls performance could not have been topped. After some powerful words of Torah from Mrs. Levari, the stage lit up to reveal Achashverosh's feast. As the first words were spoken, it was clear that this was no ordinary play about the Purim story, the girls had added their very own charm, humor, and exciting soundtrack to the story, not to mention a sprinkling of medrashim. When the play drew to a close, the audience was reluctant to leave, the girls however, had one more night to look forward to. Wednesday night was as much fun as Tuesday, but with half the nerves. The play closed with a list of thank-you's from the girls to all those who helped with the play including Mrs. Levari, Hudi Milch and b'not sheirut, Dalia and Hadassah. I would like to take a moment to thank the girls for putting on such a memorable and enjoyable performance and for never ceasing to impress, you are all truly amazing! A big thank you to everyone who helped. 
Upcoming Events in the GHS:
 2/23 - Saturday Night  - GHS Purim Chagiga 
2/25 - Special Shushan Purim Performance of "Once Upon a Queen" to the Early Childhood and Lower Elementary classes 


Teacher Interview - Mrs. Ella Ziff 
Mrs. Ziff, has two sons and lives in Fox Chapel (yes, for those wondering, very near to Mrs. Uebing). She joined the Hillel staff midway through last year. Mrs. Ziff has been instrumental in transforming our special services department and writes a weekly column in the HH which offers advice to parents. She has also brought her energy, enthusiasm, and love of the Pirates to Hillel.  To read more about Mrs. Ziff, please read below, enjoy!
HH: Hi, Ella, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today. You have been part of the Hillel family for just over a year now.  Tell us a little about your role at Hillel Academy. 
EZ: My official title is Director of Special Services.  Everything is so special at Hillel so I am fortunate to be involved in many different things. I work with students one on one, help out in classrooms, and work together with classroom teachers to make lessons and classrooms exciting, fun, and interesting places to learn. Mrs. Apfel, Mrs. Erskine and Mrs. Senft and I work together in all these areas.
HH: So, before you worked as a third grade teacher, why the change? 
EZ:  I was ready for a new challenge after working in the classroom for 10 years.  I could not pass up the opportunity to work at Hillel.  As soon as I walked in the building, I knew it was where I belong.

HH: Quick, what do you like better, Lions or Heat?  
EZ: Heat
HH: It's no secret you are a huge Bucco fan. You've been spotted at numerous games, you have a Pirates calendar on your office wall, and you're always making baseball references during meetings. How do you feel when you hear those infamous words, "Pitchers and catchers report?"  
EZ: I am counting down to opening day! My boys and I have followed all the new acquisitions and are making a prediction as to when Gerrit Cole will get a call up to the majors!
HH: How do you stay so positive when the upper brass does not seem in it to win it? And many of the employees here at Hillel are so down on the team as well? 
EZ: Being a Bucco fan comes from a deep place in my heart.  One never gives up on a family member, right? The Pirates are family! I want to continue to believe the best is yet to come, so when they win the World Series, I will be ready to celebrate!  Besides, I feel very dedicated to Neil Walker.
HH: Hillel trivia: There used to be a stage in Hillel, where was it?  
EZ: Where the kitchen is now?
HH: Close, but no cigar. The State of the Union was last week, did you watch it?  
EZ: My bed time is 9:00 so I missed most of it!
HH: One of our Twitter followers tweeted a picture of you in a huge pick up truck. Was that really you? Do you have a different wardrobe for when you decide to drive the truck?  
EZ: I drive the truck proudly...and safely (that truck is very big).  I do not parallel park it!  It was Mr. Ziff's pride and joy, so it has lots of sentimental value. I will tell you that I do not have a CB radio in the truck, just Sirius XM! That's 10-4 Good Buddy!
HH: OK, now for the tough one everyone wanted me to ask. Your son recently shadowed at Hillel. He is a big kid and athletic, what are our chances?  
EZ: Well, Sorry to say that he has decided to take his talents to South Beach!
HH: LOL, well done, nice way to avoid that questions (Lebron James). You have taken a liking to Hillel Gear as you helped design the Gevura pin.  What's your next big idea for Hillel?  
EZ: HMMMM...I do not want to reveal the next big plan until I am 100% finished with all the details.
HH: Fair enough. Let's move from Hillel gear to travel. There was a cruise ship stranded in the Caribbean last week. If you were on board what would you have done with the free time?  
EZ: I would have played cards, read some good historical fiction, napped in the sun and of course, start to plan the next big project for Hillel!  


The third grade recently read an expository text, 'How Do You Raise a Raisin?' Students learned about the raisin industry from the vineyard to the factory. Chava Rivka Russell wrote,"...It was full of information on growing raisins." Third graders were surprised to learn that almost 90% of the raisins sold in the US come from California, and it takes at least three years until a new vine, made from a cutting of an older grapevine, can make the first crop of grapes to produce the raisins. Did you know that most grapes are left to dry naturally in the sun for two to three weeks to make the raisins, and it takes about four and a half pounds of fresh grapes to make one pound of raisins?
The culminating activity for the students allowed them to enjoy the nutritious and delicious raisin by creating their very own Ants on a Log (celery, cream cheese, raisins) and Rats on a Raft (graham crackers, cream cheese, raisins). Noah Cooper wrote, "The third grade had a raisin party and we had a great time!" Chava Rivka also wrote, "The third grade knew they had a surprise but did not know what it was." We would like to thank Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Klein for preparing the ingredients that allowed each student to make their snacks! Hillel parents are the BEST!
The Ziff Corner

10 ways to be positive with your child (in no particular order!)
1.  Fantastic Thinking!
2.  That is a very interesting way to think!
3.  You are Unique!
4.  I love the way you.......
5.  You know the perfect way to.......
6.  Tell me more about....
7.  Wow!  I would like to try that, just like you did it.......
8.  I am so proud of you!
9.  You make me smile inside and out!
10. I am going to remember what you said.  It will help me next time I need to think of a solution.
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. 
Congratulations: Mitch Maizlech

This week's:

How many two-letter words are there in the English language? 
Which letters do none of them begin with? 



Last week's riddle and answer:
How many two-letter words are there in the English language?  

P.S. This is the time of year that serious gardeners start their seeds indoors. My 7th grade boys and 8th grade girls will have a germination race. Each student has been given a pepper seed planted in a plastic cup. The first student whose seeds germinate gets to allocate "seed letters" to the rest of the class. Every week, each student has to add two letters to this seed letter weekly to grow a word (mirroring the way each plant will produce leaves in pairs).  

Students in the Mix
If you could have a zoo animal as a pet, what would it be?
What's your favorite game?
Where is your favorite place to go for vacation?
Yosef SchwarzTigar
Dov GelmanWild DogComputer GamesNew York State
Sonia SchachterMonkeyQwirkleBoston
Lillian Vidmar-McEwenMonkeyChutes and LaddersErie and Medina
Noa DobzinskiDolphinFlip 6Deer Valley
Galya BelmanSealBingoThe Beach
Yehudis KanalKangarooBouncing a ball Vail
Rivka PlotkinZebraCandy LandNew York and Cleveland
Alex SmallLionHide and SeekThe Big Apple
Shalva CohenMonkeyLearning GamesNew York
Ezzie GoldbergGiraffeBlokusCleveland

Mazel Tov!
Mazel tov to Mordy and Leah Brown and the entire family on the bar mitzvahs of their sons, Yaakov and Issac.

Rosh Chodesh Breakfast
Grades 1 - 4 had a wonderful and delicious Rosh Chodesh Adar breakfast. Everyone had big smiles on their faces as they enjoyed this festive Purim mood. During breakfast, the students also had the oppertunity to sing Purim songs accompanied by Rabbi Lowy. The first grade was so happy, they spontaneously sang Purim songs they learned in class! Then Morah Chana played Purim Tic, Tac, Toe with the students. She asked them questions about Purim and the game ended in a tie. It was a very fun activity. Morah Chana would like to thank Mrs. Itskowitz for helping pour the cereal and the fourth graders for helping distribute the cereal.
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.



 Over break the Small boys (and the rest of their family) traveled to Houston to live out one of Alex and Gabe's bucket list activities, take a Hillel gear pic in front of a spaceship, check! Good work boys! Alex sports the retro 2011 adjustable cap, while Gabe is outfitted in the 2011 long sleeved-t. Boys, you are both so fashionable! 







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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  Dr. Tova Weinberg  on correctly naming last week's FF.
Aliza Riemer, Rivka Abrams, Shaina Hirsh, Elissa Brent, Sonia Weinberg, Jacob Fuhrman and Benj Samson 


 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



Our second collection period is coming to an end. Please drop off your Tops in the school office now. We will finish the tallying process by the end of the month. After a wonderful start in the beginning, our collection is nearing its goal. 


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 - 7 there! For additional information email - [email protected].

SHAARE TORAH CONG:  CHILI COOK-OFF March 2, 2013, right after Kiddush.  Price: Attendees- $15/adult, $8/child (3-12 years), $48 family maximum, children 2 and under are free.  Cooks- $20 entry fee plus the chance to be the winner of the first Annual ShaareTorah Chili Cook-off.   If you want to cook, please sign up by Wednesday, February 20. Please be in touch with Linda in the office to RSVP and arrange payment, and email Arielle Avishai at [email protected] for further cooking details. If you want to eat, please sign up by Friday, February 22.  Please be in touch with Linda in the office to RSVP and arrange payment.

BNEI AKIVA: Snif this Shabbat is from 3:30-4:30pm. Note: Snif time is changing to 4:30-5:30 in a few weeks!

[email protected] ACADEMY:   Zumba with Ashley every Monday and Wednesday night at 7:15pm in Hillel Academy - $5 a session.  Contact her for information  [email protected]
 ALEPH INSTITUTE:  Aleph needs your help as either a mentor or as a volunteer visitor to local prisons or mental facilities. It is both a huge mitzvah and this kind of activity has helped to lower the recidivism rate very greatly. Please contact ALEPH Director, Rabbi Moshe Vogel at 412 421-0111, or Volunteer Recruiter, Brian Cynamon at 412 491-1020, or e-mail Brian at [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










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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