Outside of Hillel   
March 1
, 2013                                                                              
19 Adar 5773 
Candle Lighting: 6:01
Havdalah: 7:03

Parshat Ki Tisa- Shabbat Parah
Dvar Torah


     In Parashat Ki-Tisa we read about the tragic story of cheit ha-eigel, the golden calf.  After Bnei Yisrael fashioned the golden calf and offered sacrifices to it, "the nation sat to eat and drink, and they [then] got up to revel" (32:6).


     The Midrash (Shemot Rabba 41) comments on the word "va-yeishev" ("sat") used by the Torah in this context. While this term makes perfect sense in this story, the Midrash observes a pattern of its usage in Biblical narratives involving sins. The story of Migdal Bavel began when the people "settled" ("va-yeishvu") in the Shinar Valley (Bereishit 11:2).  Likewise, in the story of mekhirat Yosef, we read that the brothers "sat to eat bread" ("va-yeishvu le-ekhol lechem" - Bereishit 37:25) just before they sold Yosef as a slave. The Torah introduces the tragic story of Ba'al Pe'or with the words, "Va-yeishev Yisrael ba-Shittim" ("Israel settled in Shittim" - Bamidbar 25:1). Here, too, in the context of the golden calf, we find the nation "sitting to eat" - "va-yeishev ha-am le-ekhol." The Midrash concludes, "Wherever you find 'sitting,' you find transgression."


            Rav Yehuda Leib Ginsburg explains that the Sages detected within this term a connotation of complacency. The Midrash warns that feeling too content with one's achievements and spiritual condition can often lead to wrongful behavior.  Religious devotion requires desire for growth and advancement. The Sages saw within the pattern of "va-yeishev," a warning against feeling too comfortable. While we must certainly take pride and satisfaction in what we've achieved, we must also be concerned about what we have yet to achieve.  If we fall into the trap of "va-yeishev," of staying comfortably in place without looking to grow and improve further, then we are prone to fall.  


As we advance toward Pesach, there are many opportunities for, in the words of Dr. Seuss whose birthday is this Shabbat, "biggering and biggering and biggering" (Lorax 49) our mitzvah observance.    


Shabbat Shalom                                    



School Announcements
  • Sifriyat Pijama (geared towards aged 3-7) is back! Please RSVP if you would like to attend! Sunday, March 3, 2013 from 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM.  
  • Today is the last day 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]






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. 


@AskDocG - "Do you want kids who can handle the tough stuff? Check out this book! http://askdoctorg.com/buy-doctorg-book ... #resilience"

@nprnews  - Daytona 500 Ratings Hit 5-Year High; Viewership Spikes In Cities 


@dovemerson - Let's teach Coding! Inspirational video by Zuckerberg, @BillGates@iamwill @Jack etc http://code.org  #CODE #edchat #edtech #jedchat


#Israeli students develop system that saves water in the shower. Via@NoCamelshttp://bit.ly/ZwV0kR   

@CDSPittsburgh - From the Nurse's Corner Strep throat is a bacterial throat infection that can make your throat feel sore and... http://fb.me/2Chwb2dGL 

@dovemerson - How to Be the Teacher Your Students Will Never Forget mick's leadership blog http://dov.li/WdfCRY  HT @FRMprincipal #edchat #jedchat



Like us on Facebook                           Follow us on Twitter
Snapshots from the Week 






Werber's Words of Wisdom

Welcome to part 9 of my series on the presidents. I'm making presidential publications permissible and historical happenings hip!

   Teddy Roosevelt: Books have been written on Teddy Roosevelt and anything I write will not be nearly as interesting as the man himself.  Roosevelt  helped found the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and is one of the reasons that football exists as we know it today. He began the Boone and Crocket Club, and the Long Island Bird Club; was one of the first fifteen people elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters; was President of the American Historical Association and a noted historian himself; read thousands of books; wrote thousands of letters to go along with his books and thousands of magazine articles;  established 150 National Forests, 51 Federal Bird Reservations, 5 National Parks, 18 National Monuments, 4 National Game Preserves; successfully negotiated the end of the Russo-Japanese War (winning him a Novel Peace Prize); reduced the National debt by about $90 million ($2.2 billion today or about 5% of the total national debt at the time); and oversaw the creation of the Panama Canal, among many other notable accomplishments.
    Roosevelt was shot by saloon keeper, John Schrank on October 14, 1912.  His life was saved thanks to a steel eyeglass case and his 50 page speech located in his jacket pocket, both of which the bullet had to pass through.  Amazingly, he chose to go ahead with his speech, rather than seek medical aid immediately.  This decision was chosen because he was not coughing up blood, so the bullet must not have penetrated that deeply into his chest.

     His opening line for the speech was, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."  X-rays later showed that the bullet had lodged three inches into his chest and was embedded in his ample chest muscle.


    How the Teddy Bear got its name was thanks to a specific hunting trip in Mississippi that Theodore Roosevelt took.  During the trip, Roosevelt and a group of hunters were stalking bear with little luck. After three days, their dogs found an old bear that they chased until exhaustion, then attacked.  The guides clubbed the bear, then tied it up, and called for Roosevelt to come shoot the old and severely injured animal.  Roosevelt refused, claiming that it would not be sportsmanlike to shoot an animal this way and in this condition.  However, because the bear was grievously injured, he did eventually have one of the guides kill it to put it out of its misery.  The story likely would have ended here, except for Clifford Berryman, who was a political cartoonist. Berryman made a cartoon depicting Roosevelt's refusal to shoot the bear.  Morris Michtom, a shopkeeper, saw this cartoon and wrote to Roosevelt asking his permission to call toy stuffed bears that his wife had made for selling in his shop "Teddy Bears."  Roosevelt agreed. This name later saw a surge in popularity when a different company, Steiff, produced stuffed bears that were used as wedding decorations at Theodore Roosevelt's daughter's wedding.  These were called, "Teddy Bears," both by those that covered the wedding and those who attended." 
   Theodore Roosevelt was the fifth cousin of future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  He was also the uncle of Franklin D. Roosevelt's wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, who was Teddy's brother Elliott's daughter.
   Roosevelt's wife Alice died of undiagnosed kidney failure shortly after giving birth to their daughter Alice, and on the same day and in the same house where his mother died of typhoid fever 11 hours earlier. He simply put a giant X in his journal and wrote one sentence under it: "The light has gone out of my life."
   William Howard Taft: Known for being overweight, Taft also once got stuck in a White House bathtub as he was too fat to squeeze out.  In order to get himself out, he had butter brought to him, which was smeared all over.  After he got out, he ordered a larger bathtub.

   Taft is noted as being the only President to also become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which was really his life's ambition.  According to his wife, "never did he cease to regard a Supreme Court appointment as more desirable than the presidency."
   Taft was one of the Presidents who was a member of the Yale "Skull and Bones" society, which Taft's father had founded.  Other noted individuals who were members of this society include President George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, John Kerry, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, Secretary of Defense Robert A. Lovett, Senator David L. Boren, and President Obama's economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, among others.

Purim at the BHS

How many Super Bowls have the Vikings won?

Purim 2013 was a blast for the BHS. It started motzei Shabbos at Rabbi Weinberg's house. Costumes, singing, gramman, and hilarious videos (including the BHS "Harlem Shake") together with great food made for a fantastic way to start Purim. The fun continued on Shushan Purim when the middle school joined us for a "Shushan Purim-palooza." We split everyone into four teams and the program began with Rabbi Brodie, Rabbi Rosenberg, Rabbi Grossberg, and Rabbi Baran giving each group a ten minute shiur on Purim (or Pesach), and each team got to hear three shiurim. Following mincha, each team split in half, with half in a gallows building competition and gramman making with the other half going to Giant Eagle where each team got $10 to spend in our Iron Chef competition. (The secret ingredient was lemon!) We all got back together and heard the creative gramman followed by each team creating a dessert that captured the essence of Purim. They were judged on presentation, taste and creativity within the theme. Ultimately, the winner went to the "Lemon-tashen," but it was delicious tasting everyone's creation. At that point, the middle school had to leave, so the BHS finished the program with an Apache Relay that featured wheelbarrow racing, somersaults, hopping on one foot, reciting the abc's backward, and a backward run.

A big thank you to Rabbi Nim and all the rabbeim who helped make the program such a success.    
Once Upon A Queen
      "Once upon a Hillel student"
 The reviews of "Once Upon a Queen" have been nothing but positive.  The girls did a great job, shared lessons about the Megillah, and clearly had a great time while performing.  The community were all so impressed by the talent of our students and could not believe the caliber of the performance given the small number of cast members.  The experience was nothing short of rewarding as we walked away knowing that people liked our play, we did a good job, and had a blast the whole way through.
One added perk of this year's production was our venue. It was our first year performing at Pittsburgh's School for The Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). 
The administration, staff and student body were so helpful and welcoming the entire time and helped us get a feel for the way real theaters work.
Lastly, as a treat on our last day at CAPA, some of our students and I were fortunate to meet the principal of CAPA, Melissa Perlman, who is a Hillel Academy alumna herself (talk about bashert!).  She was so friendly and welcoming and couldn't stop raving about her experience at Hillel.  She told us that some of her best friends are from her years at Hillel, including her husband, Josh Miller who also attended Hillel Academy. Ms. Perlman was equally happy that we chose to have our performance at CAPA and expressed interest in future collaboration between Hillel Academy and CAPA.

Upcoming events in the GHS:
  • March 7 - Career Lecture Series featuring Mr. Ira Karoll, Esquire.
  • March 15-16 - Girls High School Shabbaton

Teacher Interview - Rabbi Nimchinsky

HH: Shalom alechem Rabbi Nim, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We understand that over winter break you made your own Subway hoagies, what's the secret?

RN: Placing meat between 2 pieces of bread product.


HH: Hillel has gone through many changes since you arrived, what's your favorite change?


RN: I am too new to Pittsburgh to comment with any authority on an institution that has been around as long as Hillel. Hillel is a big change for me and my family. It is an awesome place for me and my kids to learn and grow. That being said, the Nim-quarium and getting to give a Gemara shiur in the BHS are both pretty awesome!


HH: Houston is known for oil, did you ever try drilling in your backyard?

RN: Yes, we did and found dirt. Then it rained and we discovered mud. My kids were absolutely thrilled. My wife, less so.


HH: Here at the HH we love baseball, Houston is rich with talent, who is your favorite baseball player to come out of Houston?

DN: The Killer B's (Bagwell, Biggio, Bell, and Beltran) 


HH: That was more than one play, but good call. When researching your interview questions, we found a former student who told us you used to cut your ties in half and wore the top half. How come that style has not made it to the fastest growing Jewish day school?

RN: In truth, I ran out of ties.... But who knows, a Pittsburgh version may be on the horizon....


HH: We can't wait. What new programs can students expect next year?
RN: What? And spoil the surprise! Tell your readers they should expect awesomeness!!


HH: Ok, we told them. Since here, at the HH, are a bit obsessed with Twitter, what's your handle?
RN: @Rabb_nim


HH: That is original. As the assistant principal of K-8, with what motto do you lead?

RN: Semper amplio, optimum esse.


HH: B"H I took Latin at Towson U. Speaking of Latin, many people think that since Purim is one day, that means one costume. We are of the opinion that means at least three costumes (motzei Shabbos, Sunday and Monday). What costumes did you sport?
DN: On motzoi Shabbos, I dressed up as President William Howard Taft, Purim day I dressed up as North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, and on Shushan Purim everyone saw me dress up as former Secretary of State Madeline Albright (truth be told, my wife and kids could not tell the difference between them).

HH: On the topic of clothes, what movie star or processional athlete are we most likely to see in Hillel Gear?

DN: Besides Antonio Brown? I heard Macklemore was interested in getting some used Hillel gear.

HH: Hillel Trivia (no Google allowed): When was the old GHS wing, the current preschool wing, built and who was the principal at that time?

RN: In my Jewish History class, we are about to learn about King Herod who was involved in building and renovation of some Jewish institutions, but I am not sure if he was a principal of Hillel Academy.  Are you sure I am not allowed to Google it?

Count to 22 using your toes and fingers.
HH:  Ok, so, just as a concluding question that has been bugging us for a week. Is it really true that you have six toes on each foot?
RN: No.
HH: OK, but, would you like to?
RN: Not at this time, but I am willing to keep an open mind.
D. Shaw
The Ziff Corner

Recently, a few parents have asked me some questions regarding the relationships of their children, how the siblings get along.  As we know, all kids go through different ages and stages, so be assured that nothing lasts forever. However, when you hear the constant sound of bickering between two sisters who have a difficult time getting along, there is nothing more that you want than a quiet and peaceful home.  

Here are a few ideas to try...

1. Have a jar ready to be filled with pennies, pasta or marbles or....(just about anything will do).  When you, or anyone in the house, sees an act of kindness going on between the two siblings, add an item.  When the jar is filled, then they reach their goal. Whatever incentive you promised them can be cashed in. Remember, you can manipulate the jar size and item size.
2.  Have the two siblings work on a project together.  Perhaps decorations for an upcoming holiday, a Lego village, a letter to send to bubbe and zaydie, or cards to give to residents of Weinberg Terrace.
3.  Suggest
Rabbi Brodie beard wigs were big sellers this Purim. 
they have a slumber party on the weekend. They can "camp out" in one room. If you have a small tent, set it up to add to the fun. Make popcorn, tell stories and have some fun.

4.  Have them write a "children's book" together. Maybe one is the writer and the other is the illustrator.  
5. They can also write a song together, or make up words to a familiar tune.  Perform the song for the rest of the family.
6. Make a paper chain together.  The links need to be earned with good deeds, kind words, and respectful choices with one another. 

Hillel Academy Does Purim! 
"Happy meal"
Starting on Rosh Chodesh Adar, Hillel began ramping up the excitement leading to Purim. Beginning with the hallowed Hillel tradition of "planned spontaneous dancing," the students started a series of activities, competitions and ruach days leading up to Purim. The day was made even more special by the Rosh Chodesh lunch provided by the incomparable Hillel Academy Rosh Chodesh ladies Linda Joshowitz and Leah Milch. On Tuesday, grades 1-4 enjoyed a Rosh Chodesh breakfast with a special program run by Morah Chana. Later in the day they began decorating the second floor hallway. Each class decorated a section of hallway according to their class' Purim theme. As part of the Better LYFE initiative, the 5th through 8th graders decorated their areas focusing on the themes of emmet and sheker. The 5-8 boys prepared short skits to illustrate their theme and presented them during a fun 'emet-vasheker black and white game. The 1st through 4th graders enjoyed a special mask making workshop and all enjoyed the madcap "pair day" activities. Many thanks to the K-8 teachers, Morah Irit and the Bnot Sherut for helping us plan and coordinate these activities for our students!
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. 
This week's:

What is the highest score in Scrabble you can get with a two-letter word (assuming the word is the first one placed in a game)?

  Last week's riddle and answer:

Which letters do none of them begin with? 

                                          Answer: C and V
Mazel Tov!
Mazel tov to Dr. Robert Lebovits and Dr. Jennifer Rudin and the entire Lebovits/Rudin family on the engagement of alumna, Chana. 


Mazel tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Grossberg and the entire family on the bar mitzvah of their son, Yitzchok.


Mazel tov to alumnus, Marty Stein and Jackie Stein and the entire family on the marriage of their daughter, alumna, Libby. 

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.



Ninth grader, Chaim Lauer was seen sporting his ringer -t this week at the Pete while  witnessing #23 Pitt beat South Florida by 20 points.  
Nice work Chaim! 
Can you name the other three Hillel family members (hint: parent, 
student, employee) who were also in attendance? 



   Go PITT!


Follow us on Twitter 





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:  
Last week's photo:


Hillel Gear for Sale   

Within this section of the Hillel Happenings, you'll find brief updates regarding Hillel Academy. These updates all have GRAVITAS.   
IN NEED OF DONORS: Adam and Jill Brufsky would like to encourage everyone to donate to the Central Blood Bank. Jill has been struggling with Leukemia. Your participation will benefit all cancer patients in need of blood and platelet donors. If you have not already been tested for the National Bone Marrow Registry, please do so to assist those in need of a marrow transplant. Click HERE for the sites available, please mention Temple Emanuel's code, 
G0020018 when registering. Thank you so much for your consideration and your action.

  • Buy a pie of pizza from Mordy Brown and $1 will be donated to Hillel.  

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


Grossberg Bar Mitzvah: 

Rabbi and Mrs. Grossberg would like to invite the community
 to their son, Yitzchok's bar mitvah. Davening at the Kollel begins at 8:30am and kiddish will follow. All are welcome.   
 - Join in on Good Deeds Day March 10th.  Good Deeds Day is an international day of community service taking place in Pittsburgh on Sunday, March 10.  There are over 80 amazing volunteer activities available throughout the Greater Pittsburgh Area.  Don't wait until the last minute, spots will fill up quickly.  Go to 
 http://jvcpittsburgh.org/good-deeds-day-events-alpha-order/ to register.
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].

Sunday, March 3 from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.  $20 adult, $10 child ages 3 - 11.  Featuring American, Hungarian, Israeli, Italian, Russian and a large vegetarian selection.  Take out available. Click FOOD for more information. 

BNEI AKIVA: Snif this is from 4:30-5:30 at Shaare Torah from 4:30-5:30pm
. Please note the new time!

[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 also a huge mitzvah. 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




















 Click here to print the Shira Day Camp registration from.    


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
UJF Logo
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.