May 3,
23 Iyar 5773 
Candle Lighting: 7:59
Havdalah: 9:09

Omer 38

Parshiot Behar -Bechukotai
Dvar Torah
     Parashat Bechkotai begins with the phrase, "im bechukotai teileichu v'et mitsvotai tishmoru va'asisem otam- if you follow my statues and guard my Mitzvot". Based upon the Medrash, Rashi interprets this translation as follows: "if you toil  in studying My Torah in order to observe My commandments and actually fulfill them..." Understood in this vein, the  pasuk is instructing us that the essence of Klal Yisroel's religious life and observance is not only talmud Torah, but amalah b'Torah -toil in the study of Torah. This important point is one that our sages underscore throughout the Talmud and that is, simple Torah study is not enough, rather intensive Torah study is required of us. 


      This emphasis on Ameilut is one that still resonates in the world of education today. When we teach our children, it is not necessarily what we teach them, but how
we teach them. It is vital that we do not only focus on the product of their output, but the process of their input. But why does the Torah call this Ameilut - toil? The word toil implies a burden, hardly something that would make the Torah seem appealing to our youth.  


     In reality, this very dichotomy is the burden of parents and educators. The Torah is beautiful and its lessons are exciting. However, to appreciate its depth, one must learn it on a deep meaningful level. In addition, our relationship with the Torah must be a complex one. Relationships require time, they require commitment, they require a
meilut. Our burden is teaching our children, and ourselves, that this ameilut is not a burden, it is what ultimately gives us fulfillment and deeper understanding of the Torah.  


      With G-d's help, Rashi's understanding of the passuk will come true, and through our ameilut in the Torah, we will better our performance of Mitvot and build a stronger relationship with Hashem.




  • New Hillel Gear Website.  Click here to check it out! 
  • Click HERE to view the 2013-2014 Hillel Academy academic calendar 
  • Final Sifriyat Pijama will be on Sunday May 5th from 9:30 - 11:00. It will include Hebrew storytime, snacks, and crafts (see flyer below). 
Snapshots From the Week 
               The GHS, Mrs. Levari, Reb Shaw and the best closer in the game!     
Chaga chaga chaga chooo chooo!
Mrs. Morgan's Chumash class celebrated the completion of sefer Bamidbar with a BBQ at Frick Park. Afterward, Mrs. Langer served parve ice cream for dessert to celebrate learning sefer Melachim I.


 Spring has sprung and our flowers have sprouted.
 A happy Hillel student enjoys the amazing playground during the 
wonderful spring weather.
Hillel Academy welcomes, Dan Gilman, last Friday. 

Nedivus in the BHS

The boys enjoy a Friday famous oneg.   



Last week in the BHS, we kicked off the next Middah in our Better LYFE program, Nedivus (giving). We gathered in the SMARTBoard room and watched a short stop-motion video clip about helping others. Then we discussed the three types of Niduvus mentioned in the Sefer "Orchos Tzadikim" Giving of your money, of yourself and of your wisdom, and discussed opportunities to do each of those. We also spoke about an idea mentioned often in the "Sefer HaChinuch," that the more you do something the more it affects who you are. We gave examples of muscle-memory like driving a car and hitting foul shots. We concluded by encouraging each student to undertake the "29 day challenge." The "29 day challenge" is a program where every day, for 29 consecutive days, students strive to do one extra act of giving every day from the different ways we had discussed. Each student received a calendar to help him keep track. For more information about this program, check out


Upcoming events in the BHS:


Sunday 5/19-Monday 5/20: BHS retreat!

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.

Recently, Hudi Milch was married in NY.  Obviously, many of the Hillel family members were there, we expected this. We also expected, Hillel Gear. And we got it. We took this picture of Mrs. Levari with two of her famed alumni, Shoshana Bachrach (left, '10) and Robin Joshowitz (right, '10). They are all wearing GHS, Hillel Gear. 

What if we had that chandelier in the lunchroom, 
we could have formal lunches everyday. 
Who knows, maybe even throw an alumni ball. 



Follow us on Twitter 



[email protected] 


 Senior Feature - Shayna Stiebel
This is the sixth 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:  Shay Bay  

Seminary she plans on attending: Shaalvim for Women


University she plans on attending: I am enrolled in Stern College but most likely going to IDC in Israel. 


Hillel Memory:
There have been so many, I just want to thank Hillel for providing me with such amazing memories. 
Advice for underclassman: Cherish every moment they have in the GHS and be best friends with Mrs. Levari.  


What is important in a shidduch: Preferably that they are from England, own a private jet, love the Steelers, not be negative about the Buccos (they are doing the best they can) and have plenty of servants (obviously treated well). 

Where do you see Hillel going in the future:  Enrollment will climb to over 300 and there will be a wait list to get into the GHS because it will be so popular. 

Fun Fact:  I am a lifeguard. Also, since I am on record and this is my last shot at being quoted in the HH as a student I would like to to say thank you for everything!

Favorite Quote:
"Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." - Babe Ruth 

Faculty Profile - Reb Shaw

Agent of Change


by Shira Itskowitz




      Reb Shaw embodies school spirit. This makes sense because he is an alumnus of Hillel Academy. Hillel has changed so much for the better since Reb Shaw came here. As Reb Shaw put it, "It is a totally different school." Although Reb Shaw would never admit it, he played a significant role in helping the growth of the school in the six years he has worked here. Reb Shaw is Hillel's "agent of change." He has given students the opportunity to have an amazing athletic experience, teaches students, runs dismissal and is always improving "Hillel Gear."

                 Who can blame the students for idolizing Reb Shaw? After all, he is their superhero. He created athletic clubs such as hockey, sports club, tennis and basketball, as well as mishna club, mishmar club and chess and photography club.  Reb Shaw is always contributing to the extra-curricular programs and the students greatly appreciate him for that. He wants the students "To just have a good experience!"

   Every day we can see Reb Shaw dressed up in his florescent dismissal suit. He practically runs the whole show. When asked about dismissal, Reb Shaw said "I love the gear, but it does get stressful." He is glad that he now has many teachers to help him with the job. Not only does he rock the florescent suit, but he also makes the walkie talkie look cool. "I like the walkie talkie because it gives me the challenge of keeping it professional," Reb Shaw informed me.


Not only has Reb Shaw created so many clubs, but he is also a wonderful teacher. He teaches the ninth and tenth grade boys Gemara shuir. One of the best things about Reb Shaw is that he can turn a boring lesson into something that the students are interested in learning, he is not afraid to go off on a tangent in order to engage his students.  His students say that he is an amazing teacher who makes learning very enjoyable. "I like to incorporate learning activities into the curriculum to help the students," Reb Shaw said. When he teaches you can see  by their active participation that the students really enjoy his class. When students have a hard time grasping a concept, Reb Shaw helps them understand by relating it to their lives and to popular culture. The hard work Reb Shaw does shows each time he teaches a lesson.  


      In addition to all the other responsibilities Reb Shaw does, he is also the designer of the Hillel Gear. Every day he improves the gear. There are so many different types of Hillel Gear, I can't list them all. Reb Shaw wants to get Hillel Gear out in the world. When asked if more gear is coming out, Reb Shaw informed me that soon everyone will be able to order the gear on line and personalize it to fit one's needs! It will be "Revolutionized Hillel Gear," Reb Shaw told me.  (Editor's note: Since this article was written, the new gear site has been unveiled, 




Shira Itskowitz - 8th Grade

The Ziff Corner - 

The following was inspired by information from website.


    In the midst of worrying about our kids' academic success, it's easy to lose sight of their emotional development. But research suggests a child's emotional intelligence is every bit as important as reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic. Why? Because kids with a high emotional intelligence have mastered the other three Rs: responsibility, resilience, and respect.

Since they've developed more coping skills, these youngsters are more able to control their emotions and behavior when things don't go their way. This in turn makes them happier, more self-confident, and more respectful of others. Not surprisingly, children with a high EQ (or emotional quotient) also tend to do better in school. They pay attention, easily take in information, stay motivated, and get along with teachers and classmates.

Is this just a matter of inborn temperament? Perhaps in some cases, yes. But research shows emotional intelligence can be taught. As a parent, you can also teach your child to handle challenging emotions like anger, sadness, and frustration. From books and toys to family games, here are some ways to help your son/daughter become an EQ whiz kid.  


1. Read books together and talk about the different characters.  Explore why they made certain choices and why they acted in certain ways.  This can be done with the simplest to more complex books.  

2. Continue conversations and practice different scenarios.  Ask your child, "What would you do if?" or "Why would you do .....?"

3. Work on Playing.  In this busy life of ours, be sure your children have time to play.  Now that the weather is getting nice out, have dinner a bit later, take advantage of the late sunset and have your kids play!  If parents can organize cooperative games, even better!

4. Be Kind-Rewind.  Recognize that everyone loses their temper.  Give family members permission to rewind or have a "do-over."

5. Read it With Feeling.  Have books around your house that allow your kids to read about expressive feelings.  Have you ever heard of the book, When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry?  This is a wonderfully expressive book that makes it okay to be angry. It is what you do with the anger that matters.

Keep the lines of communication open and always remind your kids that love is unconditional!



Lower School - IOWA exams through the eyes of our students



Pencils scratching

Pages turning

No math

No language

No social studies

Just testing testing

Timer rings

Pencils down

Start again


Bracha Berelowitz (5th grade)

Last week was not a typical school week. Instead of learning new material in Math and English, grades 2-8 spent a lot of time taking IOWA exams. We were tested on skills in Math and Language Arts. We had much less homework than in regular weeks and most grades did not have tests in their other subjects. Overall, you can say it was an easier week because you did not have to worry about tests or homework. Some grades will finish their exams this week and things will go back to normal.


Aviva Itskowitz (5th grade)




[email protected]

Werbers Words of Wisdom


 Last week I ended my series about our presidents, but that isn't the end of presidential history. This week I thought I'd focus on three personalities that have made our political races so interesting.


   Thomas Dewey: Thomas Dewey was the governor of New York from 1943-1954. He ran for president twice. He lost to FDR in 1944, but that isn't the race that made him famous. In 1948 Thomas Dewey ran against Harry Truman. Thomas Dewey was seen as the frontrunner since Truman's popularity was declining. Dewey felt he had lost the previous election by saying what he felt and attacking FDR. This time Dewey was determined not to make the same error and decided not to attack Truman and to only speak in generalities. During this period he made the obvious statements, "Agriculture is important," " Our rivers are full of fish," "You cannot have freedom without liberty," and "Our future lies ahead."  The Chicago Tribune decided to use telephone polling, a new technique at the time, to decide who would become president. The people polled picked Dewey by a large margin. Also, the Tribune's Washington reporter was a major supporter of Dewey and predicted he'd win. In an attempt to get the news out before their competition the Tribune printed the headline "Dewey Defeats Truman." When all the votes were counted, however, Truman had won. It turns out that the people who were most likely to have voted for Truman were the least likely to have a phone in their house. Truman held up the famous headline when he declared victory shaming the Chicago Tribune for their inaccurate prediction.


   David Rice Atchison: Have you heard of David Rice Atchison? No? Well, he was president of the US for 1 day. Here's the story. James Polk's presidential term ended on March 4, 1849, a Sunday. Zachary Taylor and his vice president Millard Fillmore refused to be inaugurated on a Sunday. This left the next person in line, the President pro tem of the Senate, as president until Monday. Thus, David Rice Atchison was technically president for a day. What did President Atchison do with his day of power? He had stayed up late the night before and so he spent most of his day as president...sleeping.


  When he was 22, his business failed. When he was 23, he lost a bid for U.S. Congress. When he was 24, he failed in business again. The following year, he was elected to the state legislature. When he was 26, his sweetheart died. When he was 29, he was defeated for the post of Speaker of the House in the state legislature. When he was 31, he was defeated as Elector. When he was 34, he ran for Congress again and lost. At the age of 37, he ran for Congress yet again and finally won, but two years later he lost his re-election campaign. At the age of 46, he ran for a U.S. Senate seat and lost. The following year he ran for Vice President and lost. Finally, at the age of 51, he was elected President of the United States...Who was he? Abraham Lincoln!


  I hope you enjoyed this article on the presidency. Whenever, you feel like you can't win, just read that last article on President Lincoln! There's always hope.



[email protected]

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. 
Mazel Tov to Rabbi Baran for correctly answering the riddle question. 


This week's riddle:

Q: Billie was born on December 28th, yet her birthday always falls in the summer. How is this possible?

Last week's riddle

Q: Parents with two children - a son and a daughter - came to a wide river. There was no bridge there. The only way to get to the other side was to ask a fisherman if he could lend them his boat. However, the boat could carry only one adult or two children. 

First go the children. Son comes back, and father goes on the other side to his daughter. Then daughter goes back to pick her brother up and they both go to the other side to the father. Son comes back to give the boat to mother who goes to the other side (to father and daughter). Daughter jumps in and goes to her brother so they can both return to their parents. Daughter gets off and son gives the boat back on the first side of the river to the fisherman, who goes on the other side. There the daughter jumps in and goes to her brother to take him back to parents where she (where the whole family meets at last) returns the boat to the fisherman. 
The boat crossed the river 13 times.

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. 

Last week's photo:  



This week's photo:



Mazel Tov
 Mazel Tov to Hillel Academy family members
 Kira and Josh Sunshine
on the birth of a boy on Monday morning, 
Mazel Tov to big brother and sister Akiva and Elisheva, 
Mazal Tov to Miriam and Bruce Cohen on the birth of their granddaughter, Rachel Maayan, to Michal (alumna) and Isaac Manaster. 
Mazel Tov to Etai Noam (Ty) Shaw on his bris this past Wednesday.
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.
"Hate sibling bickering? Watch and be happy! #parenting

What a weekend to be in the Burgh. Sid returns for Pens/Isles GM2 tonight, Bucs/Nats 3 GM Home stand, Marathon - WOW.  


Do what you know and perception is converted into character. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson  


Is that me with Pirates closer and tied for the Major League lead in saves Jason Grilli? Yeah it is!  

Like us on Facebook                           Follow us on Twitter



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. 



Around Town
RABBI PAYSACH KROHN: Tuesday, May 8, 2013 at Shaare Torah. See flyer below. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 is Yom Yerushalayim.   Come celebrate with us as we welcome Cantor Moshe Taube in concert starting at 7:00 pm. There will be refreshments and a short break in between musical sets. Reservations are being taken by e-mail [email protected] and phone 412-421-8855. Tickets are $10, but all Holocaust survivors and those who served in the IDF are our guests.  This concert is sponsored by the Olender Foundation, Jack and Lovell Olender, founders.

BOYS ONEG:  Boys Oneg, grades 1-3, this Shabbos is from 3:00pm to 4:00pm at PZ! For additional information email Zev Kraut, [email protected].
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 Shabbat will be at Shaare Torah from 4:30-5:30pm. See flyers for all the upcoming programs. 
[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]
HELP MAKE A MINYAN AT PZ: Your help is needed to make a minyan at Congregation Poale Zedeck the morning of Sunday, May 5th, at 5:30 am.  Whether you're an insomniac, early riser, or unfortunately addicted to running marathons, your help is really needed.  Please contact Adam Reinherz at [email protected]
 for more details.   


  • For the May and June menu and order form please email
  • Buy a pie of pizza from Mordy Brown and $1 will be donated to Hillel.     

Want More Hillel Happenings?


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.