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

Parshat Tzav - Zachor
Candle Lighting: 7:07                                                                                                 Havdalah: 8:16
 March 14, 2014                                                                                                               12 Adar II 5774
Dvar Torah


As most divrei torah this week will concentrate on Parashat Zachor or Purim, I wanted to highlight my bar mitzvah
 Parasha, Tzav, which might otherwise be given short shrift. We have a tradition that says the ta'amei hamikra, musical notes, that 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, and 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 S'dom. 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 Parashat  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, 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 Purim and Shabbat Shalom.


 Shabbat Shalom,                                    


Rabbi Lowy's Purim Torah - Gemara on Red, Yellow and Green Lights


When a Jew is driving along in his Minivan or SUV, and comes to a stop sign, what is the appropriate action?  Come and Learn: "An erliche Yid must come to a complete stop, look both ways and only then hit the gas."  This is the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah Zev.  Rabbi In-Car-Phon says that a driver's actions should be determined by three Tenaim.

       (1) Is there traffic on  the road

       (2) Is there a Pittsburgh Police Officer present,  or

       (3) Is there one of those new and totally illegal red light cameras watching you 

      (Like Big Brother).

If none of these are true, it is permissible bidieved, to execute a rolling slide-through as long as you check carefully and no dogs, horses or goats will be damaged.

Once, Rabbi Yehudah Zev's sons (and daughters) were coming back from a chaseneh in the middle of the night.  They later admitted to their father that they had rolled through a stop sign on the way up Shady Avenue.  Their father, a good and holy Yid, said that they must forfeit the keys to the car for 30 days, stand and direct traffic during 4:00 dismissal at Hillel for 90 days, and each buy a new pair of glasses. 



From where do we know this (that one must stop at a red light)? For it says "...and he (Joshua) spoke before the eyes of Israel, sun in Gibon, stand!" Read it not 'dome' (stand), but rather 'adome' (red).


The Purim Rabbi taught: What do you do when you reach a red light? Rav Bigsan said: Stop immediately, but if the pedestrians start walking early, you can freak them out a little, for it says "in all cases, a person may not stand in a place of danger." Rav Teresh answers: Whether there are pedestrians or not, one must keep on going, for it says, "I shall go by clouds in the day and by fire in the night." Nothing is mentioned about pedestrians!


Rabeinu Haman answers: Here (in the beraisah), you are driving your own ride, there (in the mishnah), you're driving your Uncle Milton's clunker - and the Pittsburgh Police have a right to make their money too.

Or you can say; Here, the light is red when you approach the intersection, There, it's one of those really short yellows, where before you know it, the light turns red - these are the words of Rabbi Hank, son of Milton who used to be Miltonofsky.


The Purim Rabbi teaches: Rabbi Sore Head (Achashverosh) says: One must always drive with one's eyes on the road, for it says, "thou shall not stray after your hearts and after your eyes; 'hearts' - this refers to adjusting one's makeup while driving, 'eyes' - this refers to dialing your cell phone." However Rabbi Sore Head's wife says that this ruling only applies to male drivers and therefore 'hearts' - refers to digging under your seat for that  Chevra CD that you lost 3 years ago, and 'eyes' applies only to blue-eyed men with red beards.


The Rabbis taught: Fortunate is Israel, for they shall always be blessed with green lights, for it says " shall deliver the blessings on Mount Greezim..." do not read it 'Greezim', but rather Greenim-- that is  'Green lights.'


A Freilichen Purim!!!

Rabbi Lowy

Parshat Zachor

We want to remind everybody that this week's maftir is Parshat  Zachor.  Parshat Zachor is read every year on the Shabbat before Purim which this year is March 15 on the English calendar.  In the Hebrew calendar,  it is  the 13th day of the 2nd Adar.  This week's maftir Parshat Zachor is very important because it talks about the law to destroy Amalek.  Since we do not know who the people of Amalek are, we can't fulfill the mitzvah of destroying Amalek.  However, we can still fulfill the mitzvah of remembering Amalek.  It is a mitzvah for boys and girls  over bar/bat mitzvah and women and men to listen to Parshat Zachor.  Parshat Zachor is read at this time because it is the week before our ancestors started the job by destroying Haman and his sons who were from Amalek.  

We want to remind everybody that you NEED to listen to a reading of Parshat Zachor.  PZ has a extra Torah reading right after davening.  Shaare Torah has readings at about 8:15, 10:15 and an extra reading after the regular minyan which is about 11:25.  Keser Torah has an extra reading at about 11:30 am.  And the Kollel has a extra reading at 2:00PM.  Young Israel's reading is at the regular time.  Again we'd like to remind you that you NEED  to hear Parshat Zachor.

Leora Goldberg

John McGlothlin

Akiva Moshe Silver

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 HYPE March Events 


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Purim Pics
View the entire alumni basketball gallery - HERE 
and the HYPE ice skating HERE    
Crazy hat day - teacher style 
The kindergarten made their very own hamentashen.
The Pre-K shows off their gears as they 
learn about the science behind a gragor with Morah Elaine. 
The GHS prepared for Purim. 


Mrs. Ziff and Mrs. Langer came dressed for Pittsburgh Sports Team Day (bet they can't wait for March 31st). 
The 1st grade crew shows off their Pittsburgh pride in honor of Adar.



Mr. Kraut get involved in Pittsburgh Day.
GHS students show their Adar pride. Can anyone beat this photo?

The Source of the word "dress up"                                    - גילגולה של מילה


תחפושת - להתחפש

הפועל הִתְחַפֵּשׂ מקורו בתנ"ך: "וַיִּתְחַפֵּשׂ שָׁאוּל וַיִּלְבַּשׁ בְּגָדִים אֲחֵרִים" (שמואל א כח, ח). מקובל לקשור אותו אל הפועל חיפש, שכן האדם המתחפש משנה את מראהו וגורם לכך שיחפשו אותו.

המילה תַּחְפֹּשֶׂת  נוצרה כנראה בסוף שנות העשרים או בתחילת שנות השלושים של המאה העשרים. היא חודשה במשקל המילה המקראית תִּלְבֹּשֶׁת, ודומות לה מילים נוספות ובהן תִּסְפֹּרֶת ותִּקְרֹבֶת (לשון .חז"ל) 




Book Blast! - Visits from an Author and a Reviewer


 As part of Book Blast, the Lower School students were visited by both an author and a book reviewer!

Mrs. Chani Altein met with the students and shared her experiences as an author of Jewish children's books. She explained how she got started writing, how she gets ideas for stories, and how she developed her writing process. After sharing her experiences with the students, there was time for the students to ask questions about the writing and illustrating of books. 

The Lower School students were also treated to a visit from our own Ms. Micki Myers (MS and HS English teacher) who reviews books for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Ms. Myers explained why book reviews are helpful to authors, publishers and readers. She explained the book reviewing process and what makes a good book review. She also showed the students what a blurb is and how they are used to attract people to buy books. 

Click SCHEDULE to check it. Remember, most clubs end at 5pm. 
Please note: Middos Club is cancelled Monday, 3/17
Ever wonder what goes on in Music Club?
Ever wonder what goes on in Music Club?

Faculty Interview - Morah Naomi Fuhrman


You have been on staff for over a year and a half now.  You have a variety of responsibilities. What's the best part of working at Hillel Academy? I prefer the title "WomanFriday" (as opposed to "Girl Friday"). There are two best things for me. 1. Working at Hillel gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of people in a new community very quickly. 2. I get to see my daughter Aviva every day at work - she's the cute one featured in last week's Hillel Happenings. :)


Obviously part of your responsibilities is to help our wonderful students with art projects, do you ever find yourself wanting to just make one for yourself? How did you know?! I actually made a project with the kids last week! Hopefully, it will turn out as nicely as their projects did.


I have trouble getting my own kids to sit more than ten minutes at the dinner table, but along with Morah Sharon and Morah Karen, you have all 19 kids seated for the entire lunch. What's the secret? Hypnosis. No. The real answer is that we work with them over the year to understand that mealtime is mealtime and playtime is playtime. We have the advantage that they get their wiggles out during recess right before lunch and then have playtime after lunch as well. And many of them do only sit for about 10 minutes (or less).


What college did you attend? I attended Mount Holyoke College. Before you ask, no, it's not a Catholic school, it's the name of a mountain in the Holyoke range in Western Massachusetts. Right now I'm enrolled in a Masters in Library and Information Science program through San Jose State University.


What brought you and your husband, Yakov back to Pittsburgh? Yakov went away for college and came back to Pittsburgh for a job after graduation. I lived in NYC while we were dating and engaged and as my career was more immediately transportable, I moved to Pittsburgh to be with him when we got married.


Are you a fan of NHL Stadium Hockey? Um, no. I am a 49ers fan though!


What made you go into education? I have done work that was in some way related to Jewish education since I was 13 years-old. I studied secondary education with the intention of becoming a secondary school social studies teacher, but have obviously found other audiences for my teaching.


What's your favorite lunch menu item? Leftovers. I usually bring lunch from home. From school, I would have to say the popcorn chicken.


What is your teaching philosophy? Show each child respect and appreciation coupled with the understanding that discipline is non-negotiable. I don't make rules that I think are silly, but do enforce the rules that I have.


If you had the opportunity to redesign the building, what would you your top three items be? I'm giving four. In no particularly order: 1. Build up 2. Fix the HVAC system so that the entire school has a fully operational and well balanced system 3. Lines in the parking lot with tickets for people who still fail to park straight - a very speedy fundraiser for Hillel! 4. Remake the Keser Torah building so that it is completely divided into two parts for the boys and girls middle and high schools (we have to find someplace to put all of these kids in the ECC as they get older!).

Where Are They Now - Judah Hirsch


What are you up to? I am currently living in Manila with my wife and two daughters. I have been running a corporate services firm here for the past couple of years and now I have just started a software company.  

When did you attend Hillel? I went to Hillel Academy from 1990-1996.

Can you offer some advice to our current students? If I had to give advice to a Hillel student, I would say-always be yourself and move to Israel as soon as you can!

Can you share your future plans with us? In terms of my future plans, I see myself continuing what I do now for the next couple of years.

What's your favorite Hillel Academy memory? My favorite Hillel memory is of Shmuel Aaron Adler laughing until milk came out of his nose-that memory will always have a special place in my heart. And of course, Rabbi Adler was my favorite teacher. 

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.  

 Next photo contest: Pesach Break
Some of middle schoolers attended the Siyum Mishnayot along with Rabbis Lowy and Admon in Detroit. Moshe Eli Chinn is sporting the basketball kippa while Aaron Kraut is sporting the basketball warm-up jacket. 

Purim Pop Grid - Elisheva Friedman - 6th Grade  



What is your favorite Purim costume?

What would be the pet accessory to you costume?

Favorite "Nosh"/Treat

If you dressed up the Hillel Happenings, what would it be?

What do you want in your shalach manot?

Avital Segal-6th grade girls

Being a real working computer

A mouse (get it?)


A pretty princess

Taco stuff with chips and coke

Elisheva Friedman-6th grade girls

A witch with a working wand


Cherry Dr. Pepper

I would dress it in a tuxedo

Dr. Pepper and smoked turkey sandwiches

Eli Berelowitz-Nursery


A puppy


A doggy

A Picture

Shoshana Kisilinsky-4th grade

A mime

Snow tiger

Smart puffs

A snow man

Drink and a lot of choco

Tali Itskowitz-3rd grade


A goldfish

Chocolate Wafers

A Tuxedo

A chocolate wafer

Chana Yalkut-5th grade girls

Underwater explorer


Anything with potatoes

The Yolkut Yapnich

A wand that takes me to a calm place in Eretz Yisrael and a Coldstone soda


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Purim Baskets Information

Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped make this the most successful year yet!

Our 2014 Pruim Basket chairs, Stef and Jill
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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Last Week's Photo:                                  
This Week's Photo:  
Back, L-R: Daniel Lowengrub, Chaim Moshe Miller, Ilya Udler, Yakov Fuhrman 
Front, L-R: Avromi Kanal, Benj Garrett, Ross Gusky

- Yakov Fuhrman
HYPE is Going to the Pirates Game 
  All Hillel Academy Families, Grandparents, Administrators, Board Members, Faculty and Staff, Supporters and Friends are invited Sunday, May 25 at 1:35pm for a Sunday out at the Buccos game, as they battle the Washington Nationals! 
It is also a Kid's Day at PNC Park, so all kids age 14 and under will receive free Andrew McCutchen N.L. MVP Wristbands. Stick around after the game when all kids are invited to "Run The Bases" down on the field (weather permitting). Sure to be a great time for all. Don't forget to bring your hats and sunscreen!  
A limited number of tickets are available. To reserve your discounted Grandstand $15 tickets for the specially designated Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh section, please click below:



Or you can call the Hillel Academy Office at 412-521-8131.


Your tickets will be available for pick up a month before the game at Hillel Academy.  We will notify you as soon as they are available for pickup. See you at the game!


If you have any questions, please contact Dan Kraut or Reb Shaw.


Alumni Reunion in NYC - March 27, 2014
Check Us Out On YouTube
DSC 0965
2014 Alumni game 
HYPE Family Learning - Feb 2014
HYPE Family Learning - Feb. 2014

Did you miss our Flipgram, you can view it HERE

View our videos on YouTube 

Mazel Tovs
Mazel Tov to Gavi (Hillel Alum) and Moussia Kohanbash on the birth of a baby girl, and to grandparents Morah Devorah and Yehuda Kohanbash and Hadassah and Rabbi Moshe Kamensky, and the entire Kamensky and Kohanbash families.

Hillel Announcements
The deadline for submissions is Sunday at midnight for the coming week



PICTURE DAY: Picture day will be March 25 and 26, 2014!

NYC ALUMNI EVENT: March 27, 2014 at 7pm email [email protected] for more info. 
MORDY BROWN CATERING: Pizza for dinner on Monday call the main office at 412.521.8131.
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Around Town
 The deadline for submissions is Sunday at midnight for the coming week.
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.
NCSY: NCSY Chapter Shabbaton- March 23rd (Note: the date has been changed). If you have any questions please e-mail [email protected]
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






















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