The Hillel Happenings
The official e-newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
 Parshat Metzora
 Candle Lighting: 7:29                                                                                 Havdalah: 8:38
 April 4, 2014                                                                                            4 Nisan 5774
Dvar Torah   
The Parshiot of Tazria and Metzora deal primarily with laws of tumah and tahara, ritual purity and impurity. One passuk in Parashat Metzora (I know that this week we only read Tazriah, but my editors allowed for some leeway) seems to be totally unrelated to tumah: the verse that discusses the obligation to perform a brit milah on the eighth day. In reality there is one similar law that applies to Brit Milah and the laws of tumah and tahara. Both someone who is not circumcised and someone who is tameh cannot enter the Beit Hamikdash
We often view Brit Milah as the defining act of a young boy entering Bnei Yisroel. This law teaches us that it is not just about entering Bnei Yisroel, but about gaining the ability to serve G-d. A brit is not just about being a part of Am Yisroel, it is also about allowing us to be an active participant in our relationship with G-d. 
Our goal as educators is to help students, through both their Judaic and general studies, to learn about Hashem by engaging in His world.  A Jewish education is not just a completion requirement, but like the Brit it is the beginning of establishing their own individualized meaningful relationship with Hashem.


Shabbat Shalom!

                         Rabbi Weinberg

ערב נשים על עדות ותרבות בישראל
ECC art projects for the letter 'X'.





Here is a classic Purim photo we forgot to publish.  Macy dressed up as a BHS student while Maxine dressed up as a GHS student.
Guess what the 1st grade is looking at? Thanks to Dovi and Moshe Nadoff and Rabbi Admon, the children of Hillel Academy are about to bake some matzos in an outdoor wood oven. #18minutes 

Clay Models 

The fifth grade girls read a selection about Leonardo da Vinci, the famous artist, inventor, musician, astronomer, and engineer. Leonardo was once asked to sculpt a bronze horse for the duke of Milan, who wanted to honor his father with the statue. Leonardo completed the 24 foot clay model in 1493, but due to circumstances beyond his control, he was unable to complete the bronze statue.The students were able to experience the trials and tribulations of the artistic process first-hand with their own clay models. The girls were enthusiastically engaged with the hands-on activity and very pleased with the results of their hard work.

Family Feature - Yoni and Toba Auerbach
Our family feature interview continues this week with the Auerbach family. We discussed Squirrel Hill, Nagyvishno, Hungary, family heirlooms, and Rabbi Weinberg's HYPE Parsha class. To read more see below.

You arrived this past summer, what brought you to Pittsburgh? Yoni is doing a 2-year fellowship at UPMC in critical care medicine.


What makes Pittsburgh unique? Though we moved from NYC, we feel that we are part of a much more diverse Jewish community here in Pittsburgh. We enjoy going to events in Pittsburgh where there is representation from all facets of the Jewish community. And the people are so kind too! It is wonderful to be part of such a warm and diverse community.


How did you hear about Hillel Academy? Shoshi Butler.


Your son Aryeh is in preK. What is his favorite part of the day? Aryeh loves school, especially parsha time and play time. 


The HYPE events have really brought people closer together and offered some great learning opportunities.  What has your experience been? We had a nice time at Hillel's Purim party and I enjoy going to Rabbi Weinberg's Thursday Parsha class.


What was it like to co-chair the Awards Dinner? It was lots of fun. I enjoyed working with friends in order to help Hillel. We are already working on next year's Awards Dinner.


How is Pessach cleaning going? We will be in NY for Pesach, but I'm still trying to get rid of all the crumbs. It feels great when everything is clean and organized.


Share a special Pesach tradition in your family. An Auerbach Pesach tradition is that the Seder always ends before midnight. On the Baldinger side (my maiden name), my brother Shmuel always asks for the same afikomen present every year at the seder: a fridge in his room. More seriously, my parents do not eat any green cabbage, garlic, cauliflower or other white vegetables on Pesach because those items were kept in the cellar (back in Nagyvishno, Hungary), and they couldn't tell if flour spilled on them. Also, our anniversary is right before Pesach.


What is the best part of the warm weather for the Auerbach family? It was a cold, difficult winter, especially since we walk a lot in Squirrel Hill. We look forward to visiting the parks and being outdoors even more. 


I have to ask: Do you feel the Bucco Fever or are you more, "It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh"? I'm more of "it's a yoga morning" or "let's try a new recipe" kind of person.


Share something unique about your family. Yoni has a very precious heirloom from his grandfather: the menorah that his grandfather made during the Holocaust. It is made from a bone, acorns and bullet casings, with the year 1941 etched in the bottom.


Anything else you want to add? We enjoy being part of the Pittsburgh and Hillel community very much. A giant thank you to everyone who helped orient and welcome us!


Thank you for your time!

Reb Shaw
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]org, and each week we'll select the best picture for inclusion in the Hillel Happenings.  
Next photo contest: Pesach Break
Hillel gear spotted in Mitzrayim - The Yolkut family takes a pre-Pesach excursion to the ancient Egyptian hall of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History #keiluhuyatzamimitzrayim. 
Faculty Feature - Morah Kim Shiring

How did you hear about Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh? I was browsing the Community College of Allegheny County's jobs website and came across a job posting that you were looking for qualified individuals to work in the ECC program so I applied and had an interview.

Where did you attend college? I attended Community College of Allegheny County where I received my associates degree in child and family studies (Early Education).

What's the best part of waking up?  The best part of waking up everyday is coming to work with such wonderful people and teaching the children in Nursery A.

How many Pirates games will you be attending this year? (Hint: It's Hillel Academy Day at the ball park on Sunday, May 25.) I plan on attending at least 5 Pirate games this year.

Kim, you work with Morah Leah in one of our three year old classrooms.   What is it like to be a part of all that energy? The best part of working in Nursery A and with Morah Leah is seeing how much the children have grown since the beginning of the year. Morah Leah and I work really well together as a team.

Share an interesting fact about yourself. I have lived in Pittsburgh, PA all my life with my mother,  father, and brother. I also have 1 niece (3 years old) & a nephew (5 months). I love to spend my spare time with them and to watch them grow.

Anything else? LET'S GO BUCS!!!!
Check Us Out On YouTube 
Final Karate Session
Final Karate Session
Book Blast Clip #1 - Steely Mcbeam
Book Blast Clip #1 - Steely Mcbeam
The Chicken vs.Steely Dance Off
The Chicken vs. Steely Dance Off
Book Blast Clip #3 - The chicken hatches
Book Blast Clip #3 - The chicken hatches

YouTube Archives
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Purim Rap 5774 - Rabbi Nim & The Nimets
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Purim Rap 5774 - Rabbi Nim & The Nimets

View our videos on YouTube 

The Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard

Are the enrollment numbers in our Jewish schools growing or declining?

How many people attend Kol Nidre services in Pittsburgh every year?

How many seniors live in a Jewish residential facility in the community?


To learn more about our community and to follow the trends, sign up for updates from the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard!


The Community Scorecard is a tool to focus the resources and energy of the organized Jewish community on actions that can help Pittsburgh become a more thriving, vibrant, and engaged Jewish community.


Sign up today!


Top 10 Ways to Help Your Kids Do Well in Math 
by Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Mastering mathematics is absolutely essential for future opportunities in school and careers. Your children will need to reach a certain level of competency in math to take many advanced high-school courses, to be admitted to college, and to have a wide variety of career choices. Here's how you can help them maximize their math-smarts.
1. Make sure your children understand mathematical concepts. Otherwise, math becomes a meaningless mental exercise of just memorizing rules and doing rote drills. Have your children manipulate objects to figure out basic concepts. For addition, they could add one, two, or more blocks to a pile of blocks and then tell you how many blocks are in the pile.
2. Help them master the basic facts. Mastery of a basic fact means that children can give an answer in less than three seconds. Considerable drill is required for children to give quick responses. Use flash cards to help your children learn the basic facts. When they don't know an answer, have them lay out objects to solve the problem.
3. Teach them to write their numbers neatly. Twenty-five percent of all errors in solving math problems can be traced back to sloppy number writing. Improve your children's number-writing skills by having them trace over numbers that you have written. Suggest they use graph paper to keep the numbers in problems neatly aligned.
4. Provide help immediately when your children need it. Math is one subject in which everything builds upon what has been previously learned. For example, a failure to understand the concept of percent leads to problems with decimals. If a teacher is unable to help your children, provide the help yourself or use a tutor or learning center.
5. Show them how to handle their math homework. Doing math homework reinforces the skills your children are learning in class. Teach them to begin every assignment by studying the textbook or worksheet examples. Then have them redo the examples before beginning the assignment to make sure they understand the lesson.
6. Encourage your children to do more than the assigned problems. Considerable practice is necessary for your children to hone their math skills. If the teacher only assigns the even problems, having them do some of the odd ones will strengthen their skills. The more time your children spend practicing their skills, the sooner they will develop confidence in their abilities.
7. Explain how to solve word problems. Mathematicians have an expression: To learn to solve problems, you must solve problems. Teach your children to read a word problem several times. Also, have them draw a picture or diagram to describe it. Make it easier for them to understand the steps in a problem by teaching them to substitute smaller numbers for larger ones.
8. Help your children learn the vocabulary of mathematics. They will never get a real feeling for math nor learn more advanced concepts without an understanding of its vocabulary. Check that your children can define new terms. If not, have them use models and simple problems to show you they understand how the term is used.
9.Teach them how to do math "in their head."
One of the major ways to solve problems is by using mental math. Kids should use this method frequently instead of using pencil and paper or a calculator. When helping your children with a problem, help them determine when it would be appropriate to use mental math.
10. Make mathematics part of your children's daily life. Mathematics will become more meaningful when your kids see how important it is in so many real-life situations. Encourage them to use math in practical ways. For example, ask them to space new plants a certain distance apart, double a recipe, and pay bills in stores.

Alumni Reunion in NYC Recap

Over 55 alumni reunited last Thursday, joining together at Gotham Burger in the Upper West Side for the inaugural Hillel Academy NYC Alumni Reunion. The alumni were treated to appetizers and drinks,  a unique alumni hoodie, and lots of terrific memories. Alumni from 1995 through 2012 attended the event and shared their enthusiasm.   
  • "It was great to see so many Hillel alumni in one place outside of Hillel!"  Rosie Lauer, 2011
  • "It was super fun to see and catch up with people that I haven't seen in years, not to mention the great food and amazingly soft hoodies!" Viti Felder, 2012
  • "It was great to be reunited with old friends. and the reunion just goes to show how everyone still has their Hillel pride!" Sarah Levine, 2010
  • "I really enjoyed the reunion. It was great to have alumni from all over the city come together at a fantastic restaurant to enjoy great food and even better conversation. I hope that these kind of events can continue to happen, which truly enhance the connections I still feel to Hillel Academy!" Ben Kohane, 2011
  • "What a great night! It was really nice to see so many people come show support for the school. Big thanks to Hillel for putting this together. I'm wearing my sweatshirt right now. " Bobby Faigen, 2001 
With such great feedback, we are definitely looking forward to many more alumni events.  If you have information on one of our alumni, such as  accomplishments or mazel tovs, please email us at [email protected]. 
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.  

Club Updates  
Click SCHEDULE to view the schedule.
FYI- Ballet and Karate are finished for the year

MSG Basketball Intramural League Rosters - Championship game this Wednesday. 
BHS Intramural Hockey League playoffs and championship games this coming week at the JCC. 
Some of the Art Club 
members work on a 
Hillel Academy mosaic. 
Pittsburgh Pirates Fantasy Math Club has begun with Mr. Logue. 
Miera Yolkut performs at Ballet Club's recital. 
Mazel Tovs - Much Nachas to You All
Send Mazel Tov's to [email protected]
Mazel Tov to 11th grader Jordy Zev Kraut on his completion of
Mesechet Sanhedrin.
Mazel Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Ari and Rachel Goldberg and family on the birth of a son!

The Shalom Zachor will be this Friday night after 9:45pm at the Goldberg Home

6518 Darlington Road. The Bris, iy"h, will be Sunday morning at PZ after 8:30am minyan.


Mazel Tov to Daniel Hertzberg and Chasya Cowen, both members of the Hillel Academy class of 2011, on their engagement.

Mazel tov to their parents, Shmuel and Leah Chava Hertzberg and Rabbi Yitzchak and Tzipka Cowen, and the entire Hertzberg and Cowen families.


Daniel and Chasya will be joining a special group of Hillel Academy Alumni who have married each other. This group includes:


 Matthew Faigen & Elyssa Brent

Rabbi Sam Weinberg & Dr. Becky Brent

Dr. Elli Kanal & Ilana Balaban

Danny Shaw & Dr. Shayna Sax

Rabbi Eric Wasosky & Shana May

Jeffrey Joseph & Dr. Elaine Riemer

Ari Gordon & Bobbi Wasserman

Sol Horvitz & Gabi Corcos

Avrumi Kanal & Sara Shaw

Daniel Sokol & Aliza Stiebel

Rabbi David Zimmer & Rachel Levine

Ari Kanal & Danit Pilch 

Stephanie Sedaka & Chaim Reichenberg, z'l
Arielle Reichenberg & Jacob Kell
Sharon Schwartz & Alan Horowitz   

    [email protected]


Our Bloom Garrett Library has recently received donations of books in memory of Fayth Aronson Berkowitz ob"m. One group of books in the Judaic section includes the Savta Simcha series, Kidspeak 7, and Rabbi Wein's Commentary on Pirkei Avos. Other books include cookbooks for children, teens, as well as adults. Some of the titles include A Taste of Pesach, The Joy of Kosher, Kosher by Design, Matzoh Meals, Kids Cooking Made Easy, and Kosher by Design: Teens and Twenty-Somethings. These books are flying off the shelves! There are waiting lists! The donors chose these titles based on Fayth's love of teaching young children, her beautiful middos, and her affinity for cooking and baking.
Tweets of the Week 
MLB '14 picks: NL Div Winners: WAS, STL & LA NL WC Winners: PIT & SF AL Div Winners: KC, OAK & BAL AL WC Winners: BOS & DET WS: STL/BAL

The Pittsburgh Kid put the team on his BACK. What an #OpeningDay. @NeilWalker18#BUCN#RAISEIT

 HYPE April Events - HYPE joins PZ and the community Pesach project!

This year, Hillel Hype is excited to partner with other institutions in our community in sponsoring the Pesach project, a 30 day journey to a more meaningful Seder experience. Join your friends and neighbors in a daily exploration of the Haggadah through very short daily videos by leading Rabbanim and educators in our community, including Rabbi Smith, Rabbi Levy, and Rabbi Weinberg. Available daily on PZ's website:
 Please explore the many links available there to help deepen your understanding of the haggadah.

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Condolences - Baruch Dayan HaEmet

We are saddened to announce the passing of 

Yitzchak BarLevav, ob'm

beloved father of Ilana Levari, loving grandfather of Itamar Levari, and great-grandfather of Shoshana, Miriam, Yosef and Yaakov Levari.

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


Hillel Academy Goes to the Pirates game - May 25 - CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS 
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 announcement submissions is Sunday at midnight for the coming week. All flyers should be in JPG format please. 
KINDER KLOSET: PRE-PESACH DROP-OFF SCHEDULE 2014 - KINDER KLOSET will be accepting donations and drop-offs until  Sunday April 6th,  9pm. Drop-off location at 5658 Melvin Street 15217 is on my porch by the round TABLE. The schedule for drop-offs is as follows: Sunday through Wednesday 9 a.m to 9 p.m. Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. NO Friday, Shabbos, Yom Tov, or Chol HaMoed drop-offs accepted. Donations will be gladly accepted again on Sunday April 27th. Sorry, any and all donations left on the porch between April 7th and April 26th will be immediately discarded. I thank you for your kindness and understanding. Wishing the entire community and Klal Yisrael a Chag Kasher V'Sameach. Sheila Ghanooni-Posin and K.K. Volunteers.
BOYS ONEG:  NO ONEG this week.    
GIRLS ONEG: Girls' Oneg in the PZ educational building from 3:00pm - 4:00pm for girls K-8. There is no Girls' Oneg on Pesach,  April 19. 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.
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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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.