May 24,
15 Sivan 5773 
Candle Lighting: 8:19
Havdalah: 9:29

Parshat Beha'alotcha
Dvar Torah

Parashat Bahalotcha begins with the commandment for the Kohane to light the
Menorah in the Beit Hamikdash. The Torah refers to this kindling with the word
L'halot which can be translated as "raising." Rashi cites a medrash to explain that this word refers to a small step that was placed in front of the Menorah. The medrash elaborates that the Kohane would stand on this step when cleaning the Menorah. Rav Moshe Feinstein, z'l, in his work, Darash Moshe, points out that the Menorah was only 18 tefachim (about five feet) high. Why then was it necessary for there to be a step placed in front of the Menorah
Rav Moshe explains that the Menorah in the Mishkan and Beit Hamikdash symbolizes the light of the Torah. By extension, the step leading up to the Torah represents our ideal approach to Torah study. Even though there are many aspects of Torah and Judaism that seem to be easily accessible, we must still approach these areas with measured caution as if we were going up a step. In life, we often approach our daily routine with rote monotony. Unfortunately, most of our spiritual and religious practices fall into the category of routine. The message of the stair in front of the Menorah, explains Rav Moshe, is that we must approach even these routine efforts with meticulous thought and deliberation. 
With the observance of our daily mitzvot, it is all too easy to simply go through the motions without thinking, without kavanah. However, the aforementioned medresh reminds us to think about our daily mitzvot as we perform them, and not just "go with the flow."
Shabbat Shalom!
  • June 2- Sefer Torah celebration (see flyer)
  • June 4 - Annual Hillel Academy Dinner at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum. Call the main office for more information and to make your reservations, 412.521.8131.
  • Save the date -
    June 12 at 12pm - Sports/Club Bunch for grades 4-12, parents are welcome.  Invitations are forthcoming.
  • Graduation dates: 
    • 12 Boys - June 9 - 9:30am
    • 12 Girls - June 9 - 2:30pm
    • 8 Boys - June 16 - 6:30pm 
    • 8 Girls - June 17 - 7:00pm
Snapshots From the Week 

Elisheva prepares for Tennis Club.

Ms. Oz's fourh grade shows off their finished harp
pegboards that were designed using our new Assest Curuculum. 

Eighth graders, Avigdor, Nathan, Tovia and Ezra on their Washington D.C. trip sporting new swag on the corner of Constitution Ave. and 15th St. 

Singer, Benny Friedman will perform for our 
Hachnasat Sefer Torah on June 2, don't miss it!

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.

The BHS retreat was this past Sunday and Monday.  The HH staff took a tour of the 
Laurel Caverns in Hopewell, PA. We were attempting to build character.  At one spot we stopped and switched off our head lamps to enjoy the darkness. When we switched them on after about 2 seconds, it was really too dark for us, we were astounded to see Ben Ungar and his crew standing right in front of us.  Not only that, Ben was wearing a Hillel hoody and sweat pants.  Nice work Ben!

 Ben, Josh, Max and Reb Shaw enjoy some time underground. 


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 Senior Feature -  Maia Wiesenfeld

This is the ninth 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)!
NicknamesMaia- Maizi, Maiaface, Mayoosh
Seminary she plans on attending:   Midreshet HaRova 
University she plans on attending: We'll see...
Hillel memory:  My awesome class' presentations of a story and a song on our first two high school retreats. We were pretty creative and got lots of laughs.

Advice for underclassman: Take advantage of every opportunity- get involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities and study hard.

What is important in a shidduch: A mentsch who is an equal and supportive partner, and whose last name is not as easily misspelled and mispronounced as Wiesenfeld. (It's "i" before "e", and is pronounced like "wise")

Where do you see Hillel going in the future:  I see it moving in the right direction. With all the growth it has experienced, it will soon be a school for "Fetuses to Senior Citizens," not just Pre-Pre-Nursery to 12. You're never too old or too young to learn!
Fun Fact:   I've never had more than a few sips of soda in my life. 

Favorite Quote: "Develop a passion for learning. If you do,

 you will never cease to grow." Thank you Hillel Academy, my family, and friends for helping me learn and grow!

Yom Yerushalayim at Hillel

On Yom Yerushalayim,  the day we celebrate the reunification of the Holy city of Yerushalayim, the students in grades K-4 were treated to a special production. During the week leading up to Yom Yerushalayim, Rabbi Trachtman's 5th and 6th grade boys Ivrit class started working on a special project. They learned about the history of Yerushalayim and the Har Habayis (temple mount) and wrote a play designed to teach the younger students the story and history of Yerushalayim from creation through 1967. The play covered several important periods of history simultaneously educating and  entertaining younger students. After the play, the students participated in several human tic tac toe games to review  what they learned from the play.


Later in the day, Rabbi Trachtman gave a shiur to 7th and 8th  graders on the topic of "A Jewish perspective on Jerusalem, a divided city." Rabbi Trachtman used quotes from Tanach to explain both the current political situation as well as what Am Yisrael can do to merit a true restoration of Yerushalayim.


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The Ziff Corner - 

 As a parent, how many times have you heard that it pays to be flexible and go with the flow if you want to stay sane?  Well, I am here to tell you that as much as that is true, you also have to hold the word ROUTINE to the same level of importance.  Can you do both at the same time? Certainly, it is a delicate balance, but I am going to write about routines this week.


Children need routines and limits to do well.  Parents need to insert these routines as much as possible to help their children's day go well.  It starts from waking up in the morning at about the same time, sitting down and eating breakfast, and getting out of the door to go to school.  I remember when my younger son was 3, it was a fight every morning to get him dressed.  Once my late husband established a fun routine of tossing him his clothes, one by one down the steps and Micah had to catch each piece, getting dressed became a breeze. (This routine lasted for quite a few years!)  Routines don't have to be boring, they just have to be things that the kids can count on.  Sunday morning, helping mom or dad make Challah french toast is a great routine!


After school, homework and bedtime routines are just as important.  Children should have a regular place to put backpacks and coats and  know whether it is play time or homework time.  Of course, once in awhile a stop at Rita's on the way home won't hurt, but children truly need to know what is going to happen next.  Dinner should be about the same time every night.  Depending on your child's ages, evening routines should include relaxing time, baths or showers, reading and snuggling.  Lights out should also be consistent.  


You can make a small poster with pictures or words for kids to follow so they have some control of their routine.  The parents don't have to remind the kids to do step 1, 2, and 3.  The parent can say, when you finish #3 call me upstairs for your story.

Even though summer is around the corner, routines are just as important.  Getting up for summer camp requires a bedtime and even though there is no homework to do after camp, it is important to set aside some reading or math practice time.  If you don't have a day camp awaiting your child, make a weekly schedule of activities for your children.  Ask friends to get involved and form a co-op camp.  You and three friends can share the planning of activities for the kids. Split up the days and that way, each of you can have some "time off" from being totally in charge.  


As always, feel free to call or email me with any further questions or comments about creating routines in your child's lives. 



GHS Retreat


 Earlier this week, the girls high school trekked on their annual retreat for their final culminating trip of the year.  This year, we rented a cottage at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia and spent two days full of fun, bonding, and enjoyable activities.  We spent Sunday enjoying the beautiful resort at Oglebay and partaking of the manyof activities that they have to offer, including, a train ride at the zoo, pedal boating, swimming, and lots of long walks through the gorgeous trails.  The girls encountered many visitors at Oglebay - including dozens of deer and frogs -and were so inspired by their beautiful surroundings.  As the evening settled in, the girls enjoyed a BBQ dinner on the front porch of the cabin with a gorgeous view of several rainbows and the sunset that followed.  The night was filled with laughter, singing, talking, sharing, and fun.  The next day, the high school girls were treated to a gourmet breakfast of homemade waffles.  After breakfast, we split into groups and went to the art center of Oglebay Institute and made ceramic pieces on a pottery wheel. Following this artistic activity, the girls went on a nature hike and learned all about different types of indigenous plants and different bird calls. In fact, we were able to see many types of rare birds through binoculars and learned a tremendous amount from the nature guide.  On our way home from Wheeling, we stopped at Tanger Outlets in Washington, PA where the girls played a photo scavenger hunt, and of course, did some shopping as well.  Lastly, the girls also participated in a mini-shiur on Parshas Behaloscha and discussed why Bnei Yisroel complained in the desert even though they had nearly everything they would need.  We discussed at great length the importance of being happy and content with what we have.

The retreat was full of many different types of activities - natural, physical, artistic, spiritual, social, and aesthetic - and our theme of the retreat was that it is important to nurture all aspects of ourselves. The girls discovered that although each likes to do something different than another, it's still fun to try to do new things especially when surrounded by friends!


Thank you very much to student council members, Maia Wiesenfeld and Eliana Halley for planning this trip and to Mrs. Susan Finder and Ms. Dalia Auman for coming along to chaperone.  All in all, this year's retreat was definitely one of the best, and I am already starting to think about plans for next year's trip!


Pre-Shavuos Program at the BHS


On the last day of school before Shavuos, the BHS had a special learning program to help the students prepare to commemorate the day of Kabalas HaTorah. Each group participated in two special shiurim, one from Rabbi Trachtman and one from Rabbi Smith. Together with Rabbi Trachtman, students delved into the pros and cons of standing during the reading of the Aseres HaDibros, the ten commandments, and extended into a study of different customs in general. With Rabbi Smith, students began with a quick word association game which led into a class on Shir HaShirim. Using rashi's commentary, students learned how to  better appreciate our special relationship with Hashem and how through learning Torah we can recreate those original loving feelings that existed when the Torah was given.

Upcoming Events in the BHS:

Davening incentive program trip!


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Werbers Words of Wisdom


  Last week, I gave the history of several famous DC superheroes. To be equitable this week, I will give the history of 3 of Marvel's heroes.
    Spiderman: Spiderman is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes. Stan Lee wanted to create a superhero based on insects, with which he was fascinated. He tried Flyman, Beetleman and Beeman before settling on Spiderman. Stan Lee (real name Stanley Leiber) and Steve Ditko created Spiderman who first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15. Until Spiderman, teenagers were always sidekicks and had adult superheroes to mentor them. Spiderman was the first teenage superhero who had no adult to turn to that had super powers like himself. He had to rely on his Uncle Ben and Aunt May for guidance, neither of whom had powers. Spiderman was also the first hero to deal with every day problems. He often had to deal with rejection, inadequacy and loneliness, not to mention money issues. People loved Spiderman because they identified with him and his problems. Spiderman's success set the blueprint for all other Marvel superheroes to come.

   Captain America: Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Captain America #1 in 1941. Although he wasn't the first patriotic superhero, he was the most significant having fought America's enemies all through World War II.  After the war, Captain America's popularity waned and the comic was discontinued in the 1950's. He was reimagined  in 1964 in Avengers #4. He was found in suspended animation and was, literally, a man out of time. The world had moved on, but he was still a man from the 1940's. Captain America is still one of Marvel's most
 iconic superheroes and was sixth in a poll of the top 100 superheroes of all time.
   The Hulk: The Hulk was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Incredible Hulk #1. He was based on
 Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Lee and Kirby thought it would be interesting to create a hero who would become a beast when he became angry. The Hulk was one of the first "anti-heroes." He would often be more destructive than the villains he fought. Bruce Banner's (the Hulk's alter- ego) struggle with his "darker" side makes the Hulk one of the most intriguing superheroes.
   Comic books are one of my passions and an important source of pop culture history. I hope you've gained more of an appreciation for these undervalued creations.


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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 Dr. Ed Ross who says, "After much thought, I think I would light the match first. "

This week's riddle:

A man is born in 1946 and dies in 1947, yet he was 86 years old. How is that possible?

Last week's riddle

You are lost and alone in the woods. You stumble across an old cabin, and decide to stay there for the night. You want some heat and light, but the only things you find in the cabin are a candle, an oil lamp, and a wood burning stove. You look in your pocket but you only have one match left. What do you light first?
The match! 


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. 

Mazel tov to 

Last week's photo:  



This week's photo:


Mazel Tov
Mazel Tov to Hillel Academy 
Family Members Arielle and Avi Avishai
on the birth of a baby girl,
Mazel Tov to big sister and brother Sarah and Naftali. 
Baruch Dayan HaEmet
With great sorrow, we regret to inform you 
of the passing of 
Anne Barash, z'l
Beloved Mother of Lisa Earnest

With great sorrow, we regret to inform you 
of the passing of 
Leah Altman, z'l
Beloved Mother of Morah Sharon Ifrah



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.

R u pumped?! Great home stand for @pirates. Time to do work on road. #stfd#SharkTank#buccos  



A #Whiff by @GrillCheese49 and you can #RAISEIT! Your Buccos win 4-2 today at PNC

Memorial Day weekend brings break from tunnel closures; 4 turnpike service plazas reopen: 

In case you missed it, the Buccos are traveling in #Pens gear this weekend. Grateful for the support @Pirates! #BurghProud#BecauseItsTheCup

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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 GEAR: You can buy Hillel gear at



 HILLEL ACADEMY 2013-2014 CALENDARClick HERE to view the 2013-2014 Hillel Academy academic calendar .

  Around Town


Jewish Women's LeagueCommunity Directory:

WE NEED YOUR HELP! We have a long list of potential advertisers, but we are in need of people to contact them about placing ads in the 2014 edition of the Jewish Community Directory. We also would like your help in asking your personal service providers if they would like to place ads. In addition, let us know of anyone new to the community. Please contact  Judy Mendelson, [email protected] or 412-521-6498.  As always, thank you for your continued support.


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].

Snif this Shabbat will be at Shaare Torah from 4:30-5:30pm. There are only a few more snifim this year. We hope to see you there!

  [email protected] ACADEMY:   Zumba with Ashley every Monday (7:30pm) and Wednesday (7:15) in Hillel Academy - $5 a session. Contact her for information   [email protected] 
NEW MINCHA MINYAN AT PZ: New Mincha Minyan on Shabbos afternoon at PZ at 3pm. Email [email protected] or call 412.728.2111 for more information.  


  • 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.     
Sefer Torah Flyer


Want More Hillel Happenings?


5685 Beacon Street 
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
(P) 412-521-8131 
(F) 412-521-5150
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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.