Outside of Hillel   
March 8
, 2013                                                                              
26 Adar 5773 
Candle Lighting: 6:01
Havdalah: 7:10

Parshat Vayakel-Pekudei - Shabbat Hachodesh
Dvar Torah
     Parashat Vayakel discusses the fulfillment of the earlier directive to build the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. After Moshe announced that the collection will be taking place, the Torah tells us (36:5) that Bnei Yisroel responded too generously, and they in fact had extra materials. This generosity is even more impressive when you consider the context in which it was donated. The Torah says in Devarim that it was an eleven day journey from Har Sinai to Kadesh Barnea. From there, Bnei Yisroel sent the spies and were supposed to enter the land forty days later. Instead, after the sin of the spies, they wandered the desert for forty years and ultimately had to conquer the land of Israel, and the Mishkan lasted 480 years. In reality, the Mishkan was originally only supposed to last a few months, not hundreds of years.  
     Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky points out that temporary nature of the Mishkan highlights the incredible gifts of the Jewish people at this time. They could have easily excused themselves from sizable gifts based on the temporary nature of the Mishkan. Instead, they gave in excess, never questioning the importance of their gifts. Bnei Yisroel realized that the Shechina resting among them in the Mishkan is of the highest priority, so they donated materials generously and enthusiastically, despite the temporary nature of the Mishkan. 
    With Pesach approaching and we begin our preparations, it is easy to wonder why we go through all this fuss for only eight days. In reality, even though Pesach is temporary, we must put forth our best effort to invite spirituality and holiness into our lives, even if it is only for eight short days. 


Shabbat Shalom                                    



School Announcements
  • Important reminder for all parents of current students in grades TT - 1: Please return your registration letter of intent form and tuition deposit to the main office by Friday, March 15th to register your children for the 2013-2014 school year! 
  • 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].
  • Winter Break 2013 Hillel Gear Contest
     is up on Facebook - click HERE to vote.
    The family(ies) featured in the picture with the most likes by noon on Monday, March 11 will win a family dinner by Mordy Brown. Good luck!


Snapshots from the Week 

              Ivrit time with the little ones.   
The ones at snack time.
Rabbi Smith's Gitin shiur.
Morah Devorah's class. 





Make sure to like this photo on Facebook. Click here to 
like the photo so we can win gym equipment.


Sports Club



Chess Club



Hillel alumi, Ephraim Weinberg, Jacob Brent, and Ben Kohane (l-r), at YU

 watching the Heat take on the M-Cats.

Senior Profile - Andy Joshowitz
Starting this week, and running for the rest of the academic year, we will feature one of our nine graduating high school seniors. Our objectives are to demonstrate how proud we are of them, for you, our readers, to get to know them a little better, and lastly, to offer them the opportunity to share some facts about themselves. Enjoy! At the end of nine weeks, you will be able to vote on Facebook for your favorite senior. (Relax, we are just kidding)!
 Andy can usually be found in the BHS bais medrash. 
Name: Andy Joshowitz (AKA, Andronson, AJ, Avrum J, Andronson, and Drew)
College he plans to attend: Yeshiva University, New York
Yeshiva he plans to attend: Yeshivat Hakotel, Jerusalem, Israel
Hillel Memory : In 10th grade dancing in the Auberle gym with Rabbi Smith and Mr. Garwood after the heat won their first game in over two years. 
Advice for underclassmen: Don't try to be too cool for school.
What is important in a shidduch: A mutual love for chulent.
Where do you see Hillel going in the future: The sky is the limit, bigger is better, but Hillel can't get any better than it already is!
Fun FactContrary to popular belief, when I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be  a police officer, not a steel recycler. 
Favorite Quote: It only takes a moment of courage to make a difference.   
    Last week, amidst the rigorous academic and extracurricular schedules of the high school girls, the students were engaged in meaningful and inspirational activities that differed from their daily normal schedules. In a culmination of the Better Lyfe program's theme of Emet and Sheker (truth and lies), the ninth, tenth and eleventh grade girls took part in a "silent conversation" where they discussed very deep and intense questions regarding truths and lies. When does one become a liar? Is it just after one lie?  Are "white lies" OK if they are to protect someone's feelings? How would you feel if you found out your friend had been lying to you? The discussion went on for over 30 minutes while the girls debated back and forth about the nuances of truth telling. They learned a lot about themselves and gained new perspectives on this topic.

     Additionally, the 12th grade girls were given the opportunity to transport, unload and weigh over 240 pounds of donated food from the Purim Baskets to the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. The girls are always grateful when given the chance to volunteer at the Pantry, as it is very clear that their hard work and efforts pay off in a big way. We also had a discussion with some of the pantry's directors and learned the way the pantry works as well as how important it is to donate food. Both these programs added a level of meaning and inspiration to an otherwise "normal" week and allowed the students to stop and think about the world around them. Yasher Kochachen!

Upcoming events in the GHS:
  • March 15-16 - Girls High School Shabbaton

This year one of the BHS students, Zev Kraut, came up with a very meaningful idea for commemorating Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron. The BHS has undertaken to complete the Mishnayos in Seder Moed in memory of those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and defending the land of Israel. Each masechta has been broken down by perek and students will sign up to learn as many perakim as they can, so that we can complete our learning in time for a siyum on Yom HaZikaron. Additionally, the BHS will learn a Mishna a day after Davening, following the daily 2 minute thought, and Rabbi Smith will give a 10 minute shiur at the end of lunch on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Stay tuned for updates on how our learning is progressing!

Upcoming Events in the BHS:
The Hillel Heat are competing in Yeshiva University's Red Saracheck basketball tournament. Visit http://www.macslive.com/sarachek/index.php for up-to-the-minute updates.

Teacher Interview - Morah Jessie

This week we sat down with one of our newest preschool teachers, Jessie Ackner. Jessie has spent many years caring for children of preschool age and is well known in our community. She and her husband live in Wilkins Township, she is an avid  Facebook poster, has a dog named Truffle and a cat called Tova. She loves to read and is a  huge Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter fan! To learn  more about Morah Jessie, read below. Enjoy!

HH: Hi Jessie. Thank you for taking the time to talk with the HH. You jumped on board this year, how did you hear about the fastest growing school in the country?
JA: Thank you Reb Shaw for inviting me to be interviewed. As a member of the community, I have known about Hillel for some time. My sister Leah came on board last year and informed me that Hillel was thinking about expanding to one year olds. I was excited by the prospect of being a part of Hillel's expansion.


HH: So, tell us about your position in Hillel? What's the best part?
JA: My position entails building, shaping, molding, and caring for young minds. You want to know what is the best part? There are so many benefits to my job it is hard to pick just one, but maybe seeing the world through their eyes. Everything is new and a discovery for them. It is exciting to see them figure things out for themselves. The absolute best part though is their unconditional love. Little children don't judge you by size, color, religion, or ability. They just see the love and attention you give them. We could all learn by the sheer acceptance of children.


HH: Does it get tough for you and your staff to keep the walkers from trampling the crawlers?

JA: No, the walkers don't really trample on the crawlers. It is more like getting them to realize that all of their friends may not be able to play the way they do or at the same level. We also have to learn about sharing and making nice to each other.


HH: Can you give us your philosophy on education?
JA: I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow. The early years of children's lives are the most critical when it comes to their development. They are growing at a phenomenal rate. I believe it is very important to have a child in an environment that is consistent and comforting. Children need to be able to form strong attachments not only with their parents but also with their teachers/caregivers. Simply being in a loving and nurturing environment forms these types of attachments. I want the children to feel as comfortable and safe as they would in their own homes.

HH: I think everyone needs to be reminded about sharing and playing nice. But there are a couple of aspects about working with this age group, as cute as they are, thatwould be very difficult for me. It would be very difficult for me to change diapers and wipe noses how do you stay sane?

JA: Honestly, no one enjoys changing diapers, but it is part of the job. I love my kids, so for me it is such a small part. I focus on the fun stuff, the activities and play we have throughout the day.

HH: Wow, good for you. I still would not be able to get past the diapers. But, I hear you. Do you ever feel compelled to eat the kids lunches when they turn their backs?
JA: All the time, lol. The parents do a great job of packing such yummy lunches, it is tempting to sneak a bite, especially since some of the kids try to feed me instead of themselves.  

HH: I will remember that next time I pack Miri's lunch. Do you ever feel like calling in sick so you could go hang out with the bigger kids?
JA: I would never call in sick to hang out with the bigger kids simply because it wouldn't work. Same building and all. The great thing about being in this community for some time is that I know a lot of the older kids and siblings. I usually spend my "break" going to the other classes and giving hugs and kisses to kids I have had or kids that have grown to love me. It is amazing and a blessing to see them grow up and still be a small part of their lives.


HH: Of all the non-preschool teachers and staff who would be best suited to work as an aid in your room and why?
JA: Definitely Mr. Davis! He comes in everyday to take the trash out and the kids run to him. They love him. He is now not allowed to leave the room until he sits down and reads them a story. He is great with them.


HH: Do you ever catch yourself talking baby talk?
JA: No, but sometimes the pitch of my voice is higher than it should be.

HH: Since we know your nephew, Zev (kindergarten), is a hard-core Buccos fan, you must like the Pirates as well. What do you think of A.J. Bernett as the opening day starter and what one factor do the Buccos need to improve?
JA: Honestly, I and most of my family being New Yorkers are Yankees fans. We tried to instill this in Zev, but being born and raised in the 'Burgh,' he is in love with the Pirates. I love that he is a fan and I root for them because of him. I hope that Bernett can help them have a wining season so Zev is happy. The Pirates need another power hitter. I think that it would help if they could hold on to the talent they have.

HH: Since spring is coming, Pesach is too. Give us a hint to some of the Pesach projects please.
JA: Now, now, Reb Shaw you know I cannot do that. All I will say is that you will love them and you can use them for your Seder. :)

HH: Is there Anything I missed that you would like to share?
JA: I want to thank everyone at Hillel for being so welcoming to me this year. It is always a little scary starting in a new place. Everyone has really made me feel like I belong and an a part of the Hillel family. I am very lucky and blessed by this.

D. Shaw
The Ziff Corner

I am always reading and looki ng for good information. I often look online under a veriety of subject matter. Last week, I read the following article on the website offered by the US Department of Health and Human Services; Building Blocks for a Healthy Future.

Recent studies show that peers have a powerful influence on even the youngest children. If you've ever watched a baby concentrate on the next youngest person in a room, you know why. Kids learn how to get along by watching other kids. They learn new skills and information from playing with or alongside other children. They become better at communicating because they want to play with and be accepted by friends. In fact, the better they are at learning social and thinking skills from their friends, the more successful they will be later in life. The more comfortable and confident they are with peers, the more likely that they can choose friends wisely and resist negative influences.
You can do many things t o help children get along with and learn from friends:
 1. Play with your kids just for fun. You should play with them, letting
them take the lead and direct the play as much as possible. Keep the tone
2. Give your children many opportunities to play with friends. Friends don't have to be the same age as your child. Begin by inviting one child and his or her parent to play for a short time and extend the time and playgroup membership gradually.
3. Be sure you and your kids talk about their friends and the things
they do with their friends. When talking with your kids, you find
out information and help them learn to solve problems.
4. Support your kids' efforts to resolve problems with their friends.
Children can picture different ways to solve problems; be compassionate and
5. Throw your weight behind positive, appropriate solutions. Negotiation and a willingness to join in with others' ideas are always more acceptable than tattling, aggression, or vocal bullying.
6. Take an upbeat approach to setbacks or disappointments. About 50 percent of most encounters in preschool result in rejection. If kids respond to this rejection by saying, "Nobody likes me," they will drive away potential friends or withdraw from the group. Help your child understand that this is not a permanent situation. Ask your child to choose a schoolmate to invite to your home for a play date or role-play with your child ways to make friends.  
7. Unless necessary, don't interfere in your kids' ongoing play. Get involved when an argument turns into a fight or stalemate.

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 least possible score in Scabble with a two-letter word (assuming the word is the first one placed in a game)?

  Last week's riddle and answer:

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)?

                                          Answer22 points
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.


While patrolling in NYC for celebrities, we happened upon Dalia Auman and her father in Times Square. What's even cooler is they were sporting Hillel Gear! Nice work!  Dalia is wearing the retro Hillel Heat basketball jersey and her father is wearing the 2012 adjustable trucker cap (they made the sign - unofficial Hillel Gear). 


Keep checking Facebook for the winter break Hillel Gear contest. Start preparing for the Pesach break gear contest. 






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. 
Congratulations to  Dr. Tova Weinberg on correctly naming last week's FF.
Gila Kanal, Jessica Angel, Aliza Steibel, Chana Fuhrman, Deborah Reichenberg, Tova Mendelson, and teacher Marsha Zlochower 
Congratulation to Dr. Shayna Shaw on correctly naming the past week's FF. 
Talia Rosenberg, Benji Shaw, Shayna Shaw 


 Last week's photo:  
This week's photo:


Werber's Words of Wisdom

  Welcome to the 10th edition of my ongoing series about the presidents who shaped our history.
Woodrow Wilson: Wilson was the first Southerner in the White House since 1869 and worked closely with Southern leaders. Since 1856 he and Grover Cleveland were the only Democrats elected president, so he felt a need to appoint Democrats to all federal positions.
 He held the first modern presidential press conference, on March 15, 1913, in which reporters were allowed to ask him questions. In 1913 he also became the first president to deliver the State of the Union address in person since 1801 when Thomas Jefferson discontinued this practice.
Woodrow Wilson holds the record as the president who played the most rounds of golf. Wilson played over 1,000 rounds of this sport while in office, so about one round every other day. He didn't play golf much before becoming President, but since he couldn't cycle any more, (former hobby), he took up golf instead.
Wilson was also the first sitting president to attend a World Series and the first to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a World Series.  He had been a center fielder in college.


   Wilson's second wife was a direct descendant of Pocahontas.


   Warren G. Harding:  Warren Harding often competes with James Buchanan as our worst US president. The term started out well for Harding and his running mate, Calvin Coolidge, as they defeated Democrat and fellow Ohioan James M. Cox and his New York running mate Franklin D. Roosevelt in the largest presidential popular vote landslide (60.36% to 34.19%) since popular vote totals were first recorded.


   However, his presidency took a down turn quickly. Harding initially desired to put the "best minds" in his cabinet, having appointed Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover and Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes. Harding rewarded his friends and contributors, known as the Ohio Gang, with powerful positions. Yet, cases of corruption, including the notorious Teapot Dome scandal, occurred throughout his administration. One of his own cabinet and several of his appointees were eventually sent to prison.

     Known for a bit of a gambling problem, Harding once lost a set of White House China in a bet. Before politics, Harding was a successful newspaper publisher.  He is also credited with coining the term, "Founding Fathers" in 1916.


   Calvin Coolidge: Calvin Coolidge was Ronald Reagan's favorite president because of his reputation as a small-government conservative, and as a man who said very little. Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity.



  During Coolidge's presidency, the United States experienced the period of rapid economic growth known as the "Roaring Twenties." He left the administration's industrial policy in the hands of his activist Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, who energetically used government auspices to promote business efficiency and develop airlines and radio. With the exception of favoring increased tariffs, Coolidge disdained regulation, and carried out this belief by appointing commissioners to the Federal Trade Commission and the Interstate Commerce Commission who did little to restrict the activities of businesses under their jurisdiction. The regulatory state under Coolidge was, as one biographer described it, "thin to the point of invisibility." 


   After Calvin Coolidge died, and upon hearing the news that he was no longer alive, Dorothy Parker stated, "How can they tell?"  Coolidge was known for his shy, quiet, and calm demeanor, offset by his wife's boisterous, friendly, and outgoing personality.

     I hope you'll join me next time for part 11 of my on-going series.


Mazel Tov
Mazel tov to Dr. and Mrs. Victor Stiebel and the entire family on the engagement of, alum, Moshe to Laura Barnett.

 HH Staff

To the entire Pfeffer family on the loss of their beloved, Zehava Unger, ob"m.

To Rabbi Eli Seidman and family on the loss off his mother, ob"m.  

HH Staff
Hillel Gear for Sale   

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:

Preview: #13 Maimonides Vs. #20 Hillel Pittsburgh http://bit.ly/Z9Z0FW #macslive #sarachek #sarachek2013



Take care the people who take care you !

17 #Israelis make @Forbes billionaires list. Via @Israel21c.http://bit.ly/ZkbCvt 


"Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day. Give a man two fish and he'll probably just sit around playing X-Box all day."




Like us on Facebook                           Follow us on Twitter
APPLES FOR STUDENTS: Thus far we have earned 376 points. Please ensure that your advantage card is registered for Hillel Academy to receive apples 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


 - 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 IS 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].

See you next week (3/16) at 4:30pm at Shaare Torah!

[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 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].
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.

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




This is an ongoing project. 



















 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.