The Hillel Happenings
The official e-newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parshat Vayakhel

Candle Lighting: 5:44                                                                   Havdalah: 6:53
 February 21, 2014                                                                           21 Adar I 5774
Dvar Torah

Parashat Vayakel discusses the fulfillment of the earlier directive to build the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. After Moshe announced that the collection would take place, the Torah tells us (36:5) that Bnei Yisroel responded too generously, and that they had in fact more than they needed. It seems peculiar that too many materials were donated. Could they not find some other use for the extra gold or silver? The Seforno explains that in contrast to the Batei HaMikdash, no deviation from the precise measurements described by G-d was allowed in the construction of the Mishkan. Therefore, donations that exceeded the exact requirements were unnecessary.


    Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ginsburg (cited by Rav David Silverburg on explains that the reason for this was that the Mishkan was made to be a mobile Sanctuary. Out of consideration for the Levi'im, who were responsible for transporting the Mishkan, no extra materials, and therefore weight, were allowed.


    Rav Ginsburg adds that an important lesson emerges from this explanation. It is very praiseworthy to strive to act beyond the strict letter of the law and take on additional, voluntary measures of piety. However, one must take into account the effect these measures might have on others.  Hashem forbade additional beautification of the Mishkan if this would unduly intensify the Levi'im's workload. Similarly, we take into account


 Shabbat Shalom                                    


HYPE February Events 

Sicha and Sushi: Dr. Bechhofer lead a discussion Sunday night in the Bloom/Garrett Library. 
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2014 Alumni game 
HYPE Family Learning - Feb 2014
HYPE Family Learning - Feb. 2014

Did you miss our Flipgram, you can view it HERE

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Purim is Coming 

Deadlines are coming for the Hillel Academy Purim Basket orders! Log on to today and order yours! Remember, in order to receive one, you must order at least $54 worth of greetings. Any questions?Email [email protected]  or call the office at 412.521.8131.

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Understanding Your Child's Learning Needs 


A Jewish Parent Support Network to Enhance the Understanding Of Your Child's Learning Needs was a special program at Hillel Academy on Wednesday night.  This was a program jointly sponsored by Hillel Academy and the AJL's Herbert G. Feldman Jewish Inclusion Project.  The panel of professionals talked about helping parents cope with ADHD issues, childhood depression and anxiety, homework problems, challenges of children on the autism spectrum and coping strategies for parents and families with children who have special learning needs.  Parents in attendance were able to ask meaningful and personal questions as the presenters shared their wealth of knowledge. 


"We need to look at our child's school life and social life through our kids' eyes to truly understand what they are going through each day"- Terry Fineberg Steinberg L.C.S.W.
"The program was an opportunity for parents to meet with community professionals that they would not necessarily get to meet.  I am so glad I came.  The resources are wonderful," said a Parent. 
"Finding the successful formula for your child may take some time but once you do, the help they receive opens up a whole new world." April Artz L.P.C.
"Working with the parents and the child is the key to a successful outcome." Dr. Becky Weinberg.



Photos from the Week   
View the entire alumni basketball gallery - HERE
Yochi Naiditch ('10) wins the opening tip over twelfth grader Yoni C.M. to start the 2014 Alumni Game.  Alumni brothers, Rob and Marc Itskowitz get set to play. 
Some of our alumni who participated in the Alumni Game and their families. 
The BHS was zoche to celebrate Rabbi Brodie's syium on Mesechet Yoma at their Friday tisch last week. Mazel tov to him and anyone else who learns the daf and finished Yoma
Young artists in Morah Sharon's pre-k. 


ערב נשים בבית של חיה פולק. על מגילת אסתר ורעיונות למשלוחי מנות
The B'not Sherut led a program on Purim at Chaya Pollack's house. 
The kindergarten class, along with other class visited the Carnegie library this week




Alumni Reunion in NYC - March 27, 2014

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh invites Alumni - post college through age 40 - to join 
us at Gotham Burger in NYC. Catch up with classmates and fellow alumni living 
in New York. 

$18/person, $25 at the door (spouses are welcome)
Light appetizers and half-price cash bar

RSVP or email Dan Kraut at [email protected] or Sam Weinberg at 
[email protected] for more information.
If you would like to join the Event Committee please let us know. The more the merrier.

Event Committee:
Ruth Himelstein (Kentor), 1998
Gavri Butler, 1999
Danny Reimer, 2000
Danny Shaw, 2000

 HH Staff
Family Feature - Fischbach/Silk Family

What brought you to Pittsburgh? 
Work, family, and Jewish community - the usual. We absolutely made the right decision!


How did you hear about Hillel? Honestly, our very good friends used to rent an apartment right next door. We walked by Hillel Academy at least 100 times before enrolling Natani.

What's your favorite Olympic event? We haven't watched so much, but with a new skier in our family, anything on skis is always fun.  
Have you heard about our new HYPE programming? Will we see you at the rink this coming Saturday night? We have not, but we are very unreliable sources of information. Too much multitasking has clearly taken its toll.

So what's your favorite part of Hillel? The staff is incredibly warm and professional - not always an easy combination to pull off and yet it appears effortless. Having the Hebrew we speak at home reinforced so well at Hillel has been amazing. Hearing Hebrew seems to calm Natani when he needs some extra love.

Are you guys the type who do Purim with family themed costumes or is it every man/woman for themselves? We like to mix it up. This year is definitely a fend for yourself year. 

Let's play the word association game. First thing that pops into your mind when I say "Spring Training". Go!  Yael: 7-minute workout anyone? It's become a family affair. Jordan: It's nice to move to town and root for a winning baseball team--we didn't miss anything before we came, right?

Last week, we learned about the Golden Calf in the parsha. The women were strong and did not give up their gold jewelry. How do women have such will power? We don't have enough space to fully address this issue. One of us went to Barnard. 

What's the first thing you guys are going to do when these cold temps break? Enjoy a more relaxed experience while waiting at the bus stop in the mornings.
Click SCHEDULE to check it. Please remember to be on time for pick up.
Intramural hockey began this week in the middle school. There are four teams this season, the Doctors, GrilledCheese, the Warriors and Brett's Bombers

Aaron Kraut drops the puck to start the Spring season of the HAIHL. 

Karate Club is in full force as they learned punching techniques this week. 

Remember the upper cut.
Remember the upper cut.

 2014-2015 New Student Enrollment Applications      
 We are now accepting new student applications for 2014-2015!
Follow the instructions by clicking below to apply:
For questions or to set up a tour please contact the main office at 
Faculty Interview - Morah Mardi Steinitz  

This is your first year as part of the ECC staff.  Tell us how you found our school?  I have always been a fan of Hillel because my mom went to school here.  Let's not ask her how many years ago that was though.  I found out about the ECC while I was working at another preschool and heard such wonderful things that I decided to check it out.  Boy, am I thankful that I did!

What makes working at Hillel Academy great?  Hillel Academy is such a wonderful, warm and welcoming place!  It's so nice to be greeted by happy faces from the staff and students everyday.  It really feels like I belong to a big family at Hillel.  It's a great feeling to have!

You work in the Teeny Tiny Tots room with Morah Hadar, what's it like to have so many cute faces around all day?  It's wonderful!  I love the hugs, snuggles and giggles that these sweet, cute faces bring me everyday.  I also appreciate having such an enthusiastic audience who loves listening to me sing off-key. 

How does lunch time work? Do the Teeny Tiny Tots feed themselves?  That's a great question!  My little friends can feed themselves solid finger-foods.  Sometimes they need to be fed if they have something that requires using a utensil.  We also try to let them figure out how to use the utensil themselves.  It's pretty messy, but adorable to watch a one-year old figure out how to use a spoon.

What's the most challenging part?  Nap time is definitely the most challenging part
of our day.  My little friends try to fight their sleep because they're afraid that they're going to
miss something fun.  It's also a pretty cute time because they like to try to pat each other's tushies to sleep!

Do you ever find yourself making a tower that will not get knocked over?  Don't let the secret out, but usually I'm the one that knocks over the tower.  Watching it fall is too fun to resist!

The quad stroller barely fits in our halls, what's the secret to steering that rig?  I don't have my stroller driver's license yet.  Does the ECC offer stroller driver's ed? 

Anything else you would like to add?  I am so proud to be a member of the Hillel Academy family!

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. 

This was the TRUE winter break contest runner -up photo submitted by the 
Wiesenfeld family. Hillel gear and Israel was just not enough.  Throw in some Bucco 
gear and then you have a photo. 

Dr. Harold, we are sorry about naming the Small family the runner up last week when it was really your family. 

Think you have a better photo? 
Prove it by submitting your photo during our next contest, Pesach Break. 

Ninth grader, Jacob Wiesenfeld, fifth grader Shira Weisenfeld, and one of last year's
B'not Sherut, Dalia Auman.

Where Are They Now - Ms. Jessica Swedarsky

Hi Jessica. When did you attend Hillel? I attended Hillel from preschool through the 12th grade. 

You are the Product Development Assistant at Skip Hop. Tell us about it please? Skip Hop designs and manufactures products for infants, toddlers, kids and their parents like diaper bags, changing pads and other accessories. My job is to track the production of a new product as designed, through the production of a sample and on to manufacture. My goal is to be sure that the product we envisioned for our customers is what ends up on the store shelves.
What made you choose this position?
Skip Hop chose me, I think because I am organized, and in this position they needed someone to be on top of multiple projects at the same time. Being organized is the key.
How did Hillel prepare you for you this position and life in general? Hillel taught me to prioritize my tasks and organize my time due to the dual curriculum, useful skills in the workplace. Life in general? I made really good friends and learned good Middos. 
Who was your favorite teacher during your years at Hillel? I have to say my favorite teacher was Mrs. Rugg. She made history really interesting and entertaining.
What university/seminary did you attend post graduation? I went to Tiferet in Ramat bet Shemesh and then attended Stern College.
What do you ultimately see yourself doing? Too early to tell, I've just started my career. Ultimately I see myself with more responsibility at a company that allows me to grow and utilize my creativity and my organizational skills. 
Can you offer some advice to our current students? Work hard, there are no prizes for just showing up in the real world. Look for the satisfaction of a job well done in everything you do and enjoy it.
Anything else you would like to add? Hillel Academy High School was an amazing time in my life that I will cherish forever.
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100 Days Smarter 


We celebrated the 100th Day of First Grade this past week. We took a picture of ourselves and using an aging app, we aged ourselves 100 years. Then we wrote about ourselves being 100 years old. In science, we made hypotheses on tasks we could do in 100 seconds. (We figured it out to be 1 minute and 40 seconds).  We also donated 100 pennies in Judaic Studies to a special tzedaka box.  We learned that since there are 25 of us, we each had to donate 4 pennies to the special tzedaka box. We did many activities with numbers to 100 including listening to stories about the 100th day of school.  
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Tweets of the Week
@HillelAcademy1 Great win tonight Alumni!! 55-53!! Looking forward to next year already! #revengefromlastyear#winnerwinnerchickendinner

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Mazel Tov

Mazel tov to Mr. Danny Riemer ('00) on his engagement to 

Sheera Berkowitz of New York

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. 
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This week's entries come from our Facebook page.  Thank you Ina Gordon and Ann Greathouse!

Last week's photo: 
     This week's photo:      
Ahh the days of MGP (for some it was even MAC - Mesivta of Allegheny County)  - Mesivta of Greater Pittsburgh.  
Share your memories with us. Either email [email protected] or post on our FB page. 
Hillel Announcements 
NYC ALUMNI EVENT: March 27, 2014 at 7pm email [email protected] for more info. 
MORDY BROWN CATERING: Pizza for dinner on Monday's call the main office at 412.521.8131.
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Around Town
 FYI: The deadline for submissions is Sunday at midnight for the coming week
 EXPO:March 9 at the Monrovile Convention Center. Reb Dan Shaw will be one of the presenters. He will speak on the topic of  "3 Ways to Get Your Elementary Schooler to Look Up From the Screen". Click here for tickets and more info
 SHAARE TORAH: Chili Cook-Off 2014: You came, you ate, you voted, and you asked for more! The 2014 chili cook-off will be on March 8, 2014. Email Arielle Avishai at [email protected] for further cooking details.
BLOOD DRIVE: Shaare Torah Spring Blood Drive - Sunday, March 9, 2014 
KT CARLEBACH MINYAN: Looking for a taste of Jerusalem this side of the 'Mon? Next Shabbos M'Vorchim (Feb 28) Beginning with Mincha at 6:00, please come join Kether Torah as we bring in Shabbos with the melodious melodies of Reb Shlomo Carlebach. Ruach will be provided free of charge.
PURIM CARDS: Would you be willing to ask Shaare Torah and Hillel if they'd be willing to put this in their announcements/send a mailer: Support JF&CS's Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry during Purim by making a gift in lieu of Mishloach Manot. You can choose from a package of 6 cards consisting of 3 different designs, for $18 or select postcards for $1.25 each (a minimum order of 10 postcards is required) to share with friends and family! Your generosity ensures we will be able to continue helping the many individuals and families who, without the support of community members like you, face food-insecurity and hunger. Click here to make your donation to SHCFP and order your cards or postcards today! The last day to order cards is March 10th. 
BOYS ONEG:  Boys for grades 1-4 in the PZ social hall from 3:00pm - 4:00pm.   
GIRLS ONEG: Girls' Oneg in the PZ educational building from 3:00pm - 4:00pm for girls K-8. There is no supervision until 3:00, so any parents who bring their children to Oneg before then should please wait with them until there is an Oneg leader to accompany them to their room.  For more information and to join our email list, contact Girls Oneg at [email protected]. 
BNEI AKIVA: Snif will take place at Shaare Torah from 4pm-5pm.
Purim Party Bus- On Purim. 
Pittsburgh Chapter Shabbaton- March 8th.
MEN'S FLOOR HOCKEY LEAGUE: Tuesdays @ 10pm and Saturday night @ 9pm, both in the Hillel gym. Contact [email protected] for more information. 
WOMEN'S PICK UP BASKETBALL: Ladies Basketball is in search of some more experienced and committed players. Please contact Shayna Creeger for more information- 
MEN'S PICK UP BASKETBALL:  Wednesdays from 9pm-10:30pm in the Hillel gym





of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh 
Jewish Family & Children's Service 
Administered by: 
5743 Bartlett Street Pittsburgh, PA 15217 (412)422-5627 Fax (412)428-8200

Attention: Financial Aid Offices, Guidance Counselors, and Youth Organizations
Applications for need-based college scholarships for the 2014-2015 school year are available
from the Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service (CSLRS) of the Jewish Federation of 
Greater Pittsburgh. This program is administered by Jewish Family & Children's Service. 
The funds are made available through the generosity of families who have established 
endowments through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Community 
Center, National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Women International of Pittsburgh 
(formerly B'nai B'rith Women), The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Rodef Shalom Congregation.
All awards are distributed on the basis of demonstrated financial need. Depending 
on the scholarship fund, other factors such as academic achievement, field of study, school 
attending, and community involvement may also be considered. In addition, the applicant 
must be Jewish, reside in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler or Washington County 
for at least two years, and need financial assistance to attend an accredited institution of 
higher education
We would appreciate your assistance in aiding local students by publishing an announcement 
about the work of the Central Scholarship committee. We are enclosing a brochure that 
explains our process. The 2014-2015 CSLRS on-line application is available at http:// All applications are due February 11, 2014.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (412) 422-5627 or e-mail me at 
Alayne Lowenberger, Director
Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service


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.