Outside of Hillel   
March 22,
11 Nisan 5773 
Candle Lighting: 7:16
Havdalah: 8:25

Parshat Tzav - Shabbat HaGadol
Dvar Torah

     We have a tradition that says the ta'amei hamikra, musical notes, that we we use to chant the Torah, were given to Moshe at Har Sinai. One of these notes, the shalshelet, is found only four times in the Torah, once in this week's parasha. This lengthy note is often associated with struggle and tension. The first time this note appears is in Bereshit when the Torah describes Lot's inner struggle as he is urged to leave Sodom. The word "and he hesitated" is read with a shalshelet, drawing out the word as much as possible. Rashi explains that the thought of leaving behind material wealth gave Lot great pause and he had to be forcibly pulled away from his house.


     The shalshelet next appears in the prayer offered by Eliezer when he pleads with Hashem for clarity and direction as he chooses a wife for Yitzchak. Here, Eliezer is charged with finding a wife for Yitzchak from the family of Avraham.  However, having imbibed the practices and thoughts of Avraham Avinu for a lifetime, Eliezer would have loved Yitzchak for a son-in-law. His prayer was that of the person who knew with his mind what he should say, but felt something different in his heart.


    Yosef's refusal to comply with the advances of Potifar's wife are marked with the third shalshelet. Here too, chazal understands that a struggle took place in the heart of Yosef.


     Rabbi Yaakov Neuberger of Yeshiva University points out that the shalshelet of Parasht  Tzav also represents an internal struggle. The shalshelet appears as Moshe prepares the ram that will complete the inaugural service of the Mishkan. After this korban, Aharon will take over and Moshe will return to the role of a Levi. It was only during those initiating seven days that Moshe was allowed to do the avoda of Aharon. Moshe was conflicted because even though he was returning to the role of national leader, he was losing the privilege of performing the service in the hechel.  


    One might not think that this struggle of Moshe would be on the same magnitude as Lot leaving S'dom or Yosef's in Egypt. In reality, for Moshe's, the struggle was on that same level. In life, we do not always have the ability to devote enough time to our relationship with Hashem. While this can be frustrating, we must find solace in the fact that Moshe Rabbenu felt this struggle himself. Have a wonderful Pesach and Shabbat Shalom.



  • Click HERE to view the 2013-2014 Hillel Academy academic calendar
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - Better LYFE pin ceremony
  • Monday, April 22, 2013 - Last day for T.A.G forms
  • May 1, 2013 - Science Fair
  • Hillel Gear Pesach Break Photo Contest

Snapshots From the Week 
Prepping for Pesach 
Morah Ruth's class took a field trip to Egypt, thanks to a generous donation from Egyptian Air.

The ones prepare for Pesach with a little pre-Pesach group painting. 
Morah Leah's class crumby made matzah hats. 

The BHS waited months for this site, Rabbi Smith bringing the chulent to the tische. 

Here is something you never thought you would see, a jam session with Morah Elaine and Morah Devorah! Get ready for the single, "Morahs." 
8b hoagie sale, which one does not belong?
The name's "Ira Karoll."
Zev "Gittin" his siyum on, as he completed Gemara Gittin. 
Eighth grade girls sold flowers this past Friday. It was successful, 
so get ready for the next sale 
Friday, April 5. 

Rabbi Weinberg gave a current events class at the JCC. They must really like him, look how many people attended.
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.

Congratulations: Rob, Shelly, Nate, Yona and Ashy Itskowitz on winning Hillel Gear Winter Break contest. They won dinner from Mordy Brown. Are you ready for the next contest?....We are!

Announcing the Hillel Gear Pesach Break Contest!

1. Every family may submit 1 photo to be entered into the contest.
2. Families do not need to have kids currently enrolled in Hillel Academy to participate.
3. The Hillel Gear (pins and magnets included) must be obviously displayed.
4. The prize will only go to the family that submitted the photo (even if members of other families are featured).
5.  The winner with the most Facebook 'likes' will receive a family dinner by Mordy Brown!

How about this one! The Hillel Happenings were granted media passes to Pittsburgh Pirates, Spring Training in Pirates City. While there, we expected to see beautiful fields, blue skys and obviously lots of baseball. But we got a bonus, Hillel Gear! Posing for a picture with field 5 in the background was Rina, Aviva, Tali and soon to be Hillel student, Zach.  Aviva is sporting the Fall 2012 Hillel girls zipper hoody. Well, that just made our day and obviously we had to publish it.  Mazel tov Aviva and Tali on getting souvenirs. 


Can you name the players in the background?


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 Senior Feature - Rena Harman
This is the third week of a nine week feature where we showcase one graduating high school senior. 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)!
Nicknames:  Renis, Renwa, Greenbean, Macareena, Little Ish, Ira, ( That's only a few of them).
College she plans to attend: Muhlenberg in Allentown, PA
Seminary she plans on attneding: Midreshet Torta Chessed, with the help of G-d, it expects to open next year.
Hillel Memory: Mr. Garwood spilling toxic chemicals on his hand (very funny experience).
Advice for underclassmen: Do not block the sewer drain in the basement bathroom!!!!!!
What is important in a shidduch: My husband goes to college and has a successful job, so that my family will be supported financially. :)
Where do you see Hillel going in the future: Considering I've never seen a brick building get up and walk, it will probably still be at the same location, 5685 Beacon Street.
Fun FactI love to garden. 
Favorite Quote: Work hard in school, so that you can get into the National Honors Society. Really!!! And 9th grade counts!!! 
Three Kibbud Av V'eim Contests Over Peach!

As part of the Better LYFE Initiative, we are holding three Kibbud Av V'eim contests over Peach!

1. The Pre-Pesach Helper Photo contest is in full swing! Please send pictures of your child helping and prepareing for Pesach to [email protected]  for them to be eligible for the Kibbud Av V'Eim pin at the next pin ceremony that will be held after Pesach. Click here for the pesach photo contest entry form.

2. TAG is back!  Kibbud Av V'eim applies over vacation as well and is part of our TAG Pesach program! TAG Stands for Torah, Avodah, and Gemilus chassadim which are important every day of the year. When students learn, daven, and help their parents over each day of Pesach vacation, their efforts can be recorded and added up to help their class win a prize! Fill out the TAG forms over the break to help your class earn points! Click here for the TAG form. (Prizes for TAG Pesach 5773 will  be awarded to the classes with the greatest percentage of participation, not as individual prizes.)
3. Kibbud Av V'eim Essay Contest for grades 5-7 . Click here for the contest flyer. 

Hillel attends the Annual Midwest Siyum  HaMishnayos

Yitzchok Grossberg (center) is being presented an award. 
Rabbi Brodie is to his left at the table. 

Last week, with several other Hillel Academy students, I was privileged to attend  the Annual Midwest Siyum HaMishnayos held this year in Cleveland, OH. We joined together with about 250 other boys from around the US. After we arrived at the Telshe Yeshiva, we were treated to a scrumptious dinner followed by some masterful storytelling. After Maariv, we were introduced to our Mashpi'im, the bochurim who would learn with us over Shabbos. The next morning after Shacharis, we were welcomed  by the Rosh HaYeshiva. After breakfast, we learned  with our Mashpi'im and then went on an amazing trip to Fun N' Stuff where we enjoyed roller skating, laser tag, arcade games, and more. When we got back to the Yeshiva campus, we prepared for Shabbos and then gathered to be introduced to the Hasmadah contest. The contest awarded tickets to boys  for time spent  learning with their Mashpi'im. The Shabbos seudos were exciting and filled with learning and zemiros. The Oneg Shabbos was awesome! On Motzai Shabbos, we had a gala Melave Malka and enjoyed siyumim, raffles, music, and dancing. I would like to thank Rabbi Brodie and Rabbi Lowy for giving their time to chaperone us on this special experience.

Yitzchak Grossberg - 7th Grade


Heat Travel to NYC
At this point in the Heat's second game, they are ahead of Akiva 7-4. 
Last weekend, following months of practices, games and fundraising, the Hillel Heat, lead by coach Sol Horvitz, went to New York for the Red Saracheck basketball tournament at Yeshiva University. The team had a great time, staying at a beautiful hotel, enjoying delicious food, all the while meeting new kids from 19 other schools across the country. The Heat played three games in total and, while they didn't win any, the games got closer and closer and were capped off by a full-court shot that Andy Joshowitz hit with.4 seconds left in the game. But the weekend wasn't just about basketball. The team got to visit YU, enjoy delicious restaurants and check out Times Square. For more information about the trip, check out the latest edition of The Hillel Herald, the official newspaper of the BHS! Special thanks to Mr. Dan Kraut for chaperoning and to Coach Horvitz for all the great work he put in with the team this year.
Mazel Tov to Zev Kraut on finishing Maseches Gittin! 

A bird's eye view of the Heat as they begin the second 
half at Max Stern Athletic Center.  
Rabbi Smith
GHS Shabbaton
It's like production all over again.
This past weekend was one of bonding and fun in the girls high school as they spent Shabbos and Motzei Shabbos together on their annual Pittsburgh Shabbaton.  The activities started on Thursday afternoon, as the girls split in two groups to help Mrs. Levari and Mrs. Morgan prepare for Shabbos. Through chopping, sauteing, baking, seasoning, and lots of laughing, a great time was had by all while excitement mounted for the fun weekend ahead.  As predicted, the Shabbos meals at the Levari's and Morgan's were filled with great food and even better company. The homes were filled with words of Torah, shmoozing among friends, last minute bonding with the bride-to-be Hudi Milch (who has become such an integral part of the girls high school), and the family-like atmosphere that has become the trademark of Hillel Academy.  In fact, several girls were not satisfied with just eating dinner and lunch together that  an improptu
Seudat Shlishet took place at the Levari's!  Following Shabbos, the girls quickly changed into costumes and ventured to school for a fairy tale themed mystery party.   
Organized by student council members, Maia Wiesenfeld and Eliana Halley, fun was h
ad by all while everyone worked hard as detectives and sleuths to solve the mysteries that had taken place in Prince Charming's palace. To top it off, the 8th grade girls joined the festivities and experienced their first high school event. They had a great time bonding with Rapunzel, Hansel, and Gretel (I mean the high school girls)!  
Congrats to Adina Kisilinsky and Nechama Rosenberg for being the only two students who solved the mystery!  

On behalf of Hillel Academy Girls High School, I wish everyone a Chag Kasher V'Sameyach and am looking forward to the last months of school after Pesach break!


Mrs. Levari
Morah Elaine - Preschool Science
Morah Leah's class.

This week, in honor of the letter 'V,' we learned about vibrating violins.

First, we read the book, Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin. Then, we talked about different string instruments. Next, we watched as the string on a matzo-meal-can instrument wiggled back and forth. 'Wiggle' is, of course, the super-scientific, technical definition of the word 'vibration.' We learned that when something vibrates, it makes a sound. Wiggling can be noisy. We looked at a matzo-meal-can harp. We noticed that each string was a different length. We also noticed that each string made a different sound when plucked.

The long strings made lower notes than the short strings.  (Long is low -- short is high!)

What if we have one string and change its length from long to short? The note gets higher and higher as the wiggling part of the string gets shorter. We listened to a few more homemade instruments...Finally, we discovered that guitars work just like the matzo-meal can instruments.  When you strum an 'open' string, it makes a sound.  When you pinch the string against the guitar neck, the wiggling part of the string becomes shorter, and the sound becomes higher. We played a little Pesach concert (which was quite amusing, because neither one of us had a clue how to play the instrument we were holding).  It was fun anyway!



Wishing all of you a Happy Pesach,      



Morah Devorah's class.

Kindergarten Travels to The Carnegie Library
Hillel students invade Murray Avenue. 

 The kindergarten classes won a trip  to the Carnegie Library for bringing in the most box tops. On Wednesday afternoon, they braved the snow and walked to the Carnegie Library  Squirell Hill Branch on the corner of Forbes and Murray. While there they were met by library staffers who showed them around the library before story time. The students sat down for story time with Ms. Rebecca O'Connell who read them The Squeaky Door and other stories.  Many thanks to the parent volunteer chaperones who helped make this trip a huge success.

Mrs. Uebing / Rabbi Nimchinsky

Teacher Interview - Steve Werber

Reb Shaw: Hi, Mr. Werber, thanks for sitting down with me. We have been trying to schedule this interview for a while, but according to your agent, you're a busy man. Over the years, this year included, you have taught a variety of grades and subjects. What do you currently teach and what subject do you most enjoy? 

Mr. Werber: I teach Math and English to the 7th grade girls, Math to the 6th grade boys, and English and Social Studies to the 5th and 6th grade boys. I love teaching Math and Social Studies. I have a real passion for history and read a great deal of Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction. I enjoy working surprising historical facts into my teaching. Social Studies text books never go into enough detail for me...

DS: Last week, during shalosh seudos, at one of the local shuls, the topic of conversation
was your famed presidential column. How did you become interested in this topic?
SW: I think historical trivia is fascinating. I love that even simple questions, like who our first president was, have very complex answers. Our presidents tend to be very packaged. It's hard to see the man through the office. That's what I attempt to do in my column,  show our leaders as the ordinary/extraordinary people that they were.

DS: Where can our readers go for more information about these illustrious leaders?

SWThere are some amazing websites out there.... "Today I Learned," "Today I Found Out," "Cracked.com" and "Mentalfloss.com."There are also some amazing presidential books, such as "The President's Book of Secrets," "Don't Know Much About the American Presidents." and "The Big Book of US Presidents," just to name a few.

DS: As a second occupation you are part of an improv troupe, have you ever seen one of our Hillel parents in the audience?
SWWell, most of our shows are at restaurants, so it is difficult for observant Jews to see us. I have had various parents come to our shows and not eat, but it can be uncomfortable. We have performed at an NCSY fundraiser at PZ, a Jewish single's group, and Avigdor Felder's Bar Mitzvah, so that was a chance for people in the community to see us.

DS: And you preformed here at Hillel as well. Speaking of performing, there have been many sightings in the Squirrel Hill area of you walking while reading. How do you do it?

SWI've been reading and walking so long, that it comes naturally. I stop at streets automatically, without being aware I've done it, and I look up while crossing the street. I have bumped into people, though, when they move and try avoid me because once they are outside of my peripheral vision, I lose track of them.

DS: Wow, that's impressive. I know that you have been a central character in the Book Blasts, can you give us a hint as to this year's Book Blast theme?

SW: Launch into a Good Book. Look for our mascot Maj. Neil Armbooker, astronaut and book enthusiast.

DSYou have played many characters over the years, what's the secret to your success?

SW: I'm not afraid to make a fool of myself. People take themselves too seriously. I'm not afraid to commit to a character. At Bookblast alone I've been a cowboy, a bug catcher, a snorkeler, and The Cat in the Hat. It's all in good fun.

DSIt's no secret that Hillel basketball is struggling across the board, can you offer us some advice?

SW: Yes! First of all you need to adopt my chant...." The Hillel Heat. We can't be beat. When we're on the court you are dead meat. We're the Hillel Heat!!" Secondly, more nicknames. All the greats have had nickname and the lack of nicknames is holding Hillel back. I've been thinking of The Fisherman, who makes nothing but net, The Weaver, who makes baskets all the time, or Rabbi Dunkenstein...

DS"Poppa Bear is in the den," is one of my favorite QQ's of the day (editor's note quotable quotes). Who coined it?

SW: It's my own invention. I was jealous that you all had cool handles and I wanted one myself. We call the person who's directing our murder mystery shows Daddy Bear because he's in charge. So when I'm in charge of the Shul at dismissal I'm the Poppa Bear and it only makes sense that the Shul would be the den.

DS: Very interesting! I did not expect such reason behind the name. Speaking of dismissal, what do you think of the team's handles and can you suggest others for those who don't have one yet?

SW: "Maverick and Goose" are classics. We need a handle for Hadar and Mrs. Aronson. I'd never presume to give them handles, but I'm partial to Q for Hadar and M for Mrs. Aronson from the James Bond films.

DS: Classics! Thanks for your time. Keep up the good work!
SW: No problem, will do!

D. Shaw
The Ziff Corner
Many families are going to be travelling for the Pesach holiday.  Some vans/cars are equipped with video screens for the back seats, but some of us have to rely on good old fashioned homemade entertainment.  Even if you do have a video screen, here are some ideas to pass the time in the car while on your road trip.

1. Books on tape/CD.  The local libraries have lots of great books on tape/CD to lend. Whether your kids have their own listening devices or you put the book on the car's system, it is a great way to pass the time. 
2. Pack each child with their own "Bag of Goodies". This can include snacks, books, legos, etc.  Dollar Stores are great places to find good items to put in the bag. Each bag will be revealed only when they get in the car. Packing snacks for each child individually makes it easier for mom or dad doling out food for the whole drive. (Hint: if you pack oranges, peel them first and wrap in foil before you put it in a baggie). Choose snacks they have to eat one at a time..busy hands are good!
3. Play car Bingo.  There are many sets to buy, download, or you can make one.
4. Dry erase boards are good to keep hands busy. 
5. Remember these car games....The alphabet game (Pick a subject and try to go through the whole alphabet with that subject), 20 questions, I spy (I spy with my eye, something that is green...then those around you guess what you are looking at), and you can't forget the favorite license plate game...trying to find all the states. You can also play the alphabet game as you try to find the whole alphabet on license plates.
6. Before you leave, brainstorm a song list with your kids.  Have a song session!
7. Pass a story..one person starts a story and passes to the next, and the next, etc. 
8. Try to get the person next to you to smile or laugh without using any words or touching each other.
9. A good game for older ones is to count but deciding what numbers you are going to leave out...for example, before you start to play you decide you will not say multiples of 3 and any number that has an 8.  When you have to skip a number you say "Beep." 
10. Have you ever played the quiet game?  See who can be quiet the longest!

I wish everyone a joyous Pesach and safe travels if you are leaving town and I look forward to seeing everyone back on April 4.
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: Ed Ross and Stefanie Small

This week's:
How is the letter T like an island?

  Last week's riddle and answer:
Two girls were born to the same mother, on the same day, at the same time, in the same month and year and yet they're not twins. 
How can this be?
                                          They are triplets. 
The Pop Grid

Students in the Mix: BHS

As of now, what are you doing this summer?

What is more important, quality or quantity?

What is your dream job?

Steve Kohane


Quality, otherwise BHS is deficient

YU B-ball Head coach

Andy Joshowitz

Working at Camp Stone

Quantity, because everyone else is gonna say quality

Working at the Hillel office

Josh Brent

Going to Europe

The reason isn't allowed in the HH

Wall Street, baby

Binyamin Skaist

Chilaxin. Reb Shaw thinks NCSY Kollel

Quantity, the more the merrier

Working at

Zev Kraut

Going to the Morasha Kollel

Quantity. you have to cover ground b4 the ground covers you.

Teaching Torah to the masses

R. Smith

Taking care of my kids

Quality. I once had too much candy and it made me sick

Ast. Principal of BHS?, Sour worm taster


Zev Kraut - 10th Grade
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: Menachem Lazar, Dr. Tova Weinberg, and Mischa Gelman


Sarah Sewald, Gail Joseph, Eric Riemer, Kally Rubin, Rocheli Hirsch, and  Shira Weinberg 

 Last week's photo:  
Jews have won 38% of all US National 
Medal of Science awards, did any of these students win? 


This week's photo:



Mazel Tov


 Mazel Tov to Hillel Parents, Dr. Kara and Jonathan Bernstein, 
 big sister Abigail, and big brother Noah on the birth of  Talia Ilana! 

 HH Staff

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.

Some of our favorites:


President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu walk together after watching a demonstration of the Iron Dome.


The Pens are now 7-2 when I am in attendance and 3-0 when my wife is in attendance this season #LetsGoPens


The Jewish News has 10 Haggadah #Ipad #Apps to give away for #Passover! Just 1 day left to tweet us with #ilovepesach and enter the draw!

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

Is Robert Morris' NIT win vs. Kentucky the most impressive upset you've seen? If not, what is? Use #BestUpset to respond; select tweets air!



Great picture! @JewishFedPGH


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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


NEW BALTIMORE BAIS MEDRESH YESHIVA: Click YESHIVA to be taken to the brochure.  

FOOD & CLOTHES PICKUPPassover Cleaning? Spring Cleaning?During March and April, Yoni Ratchkauskas will be collecting food and clothes. He will pick up from your house and will deliver to the kosher food bank and goodwill. Email: [email protected]

BOYS ONEG:  Boys Oneg, grades 1-3, this Shabbos is from 3:00pm to 4:00pm at PZ!  For additional information email Zev Kraut, burghboy97@gmail.com.
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].

BNEI AKIVA: Snif this Shabbos is at 4:30pm - 4:30pm-5:30pm at Shaare Torah! There will NOT be snif next Shabbat (March 30th)
[email protected] ACADEMY:  Zumba with Ashley every Monday and Wednesday night at 7:30pm  on Monday and 7:15 Wednesdays in Hillel Academy - $5 a session.  Contact her for information  [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







Click HERE for the SDC link. 



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 
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(P) 412-521-8131 
(F) 412-521-5150
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