The Hillel Happenings
The official e-newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
 Parshat Acharei Mot
Candle Lighting: 7:37                                                                         Havdalah: 8:46
 April 11, 2014                                                                                   11 Nisan 5774
Additional Times:
April 14 - First Seder - Candle lighting - 7:40pm
April 15 - Second Seder - Candle lighting - 8:49pm - 1st day of the Omer
April 16 - Yom Tov ends - 8:50pm 
April 18 - Candle lighting - 7:44pm
April 19 - Shabbat ends - 8:53pm 
April 20 - Candle lighting - 7:46pm
April 21 - Candle lighting - 8:55pm 
April 22 - Yom Tov ends- 8:56pm 
Dvar Torah   

This Shabbat we find ourselves immersed in that tricky place between chametz and matzah. We have scoured our homes clean, removing all but a scant few boxes of cereal and some frozen bagels for the next few days as we cook and prepare for Pesach. While we are in the midst of the stress of Pesach, it is important to remove ourselves from the hectic nature of these days and focus on the symbolism of chametz and matzah.  Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch explains that the contrast between Chametz and Matzah relates to the idea of human creativity and innovation. Matzah is a crude and natural product, in contrast to Chametz, which is a more refined and developed version of flour and water. According to Rav Hirsch, Chametz represents the human ability to innovate and create, whereas Matzah represents the absence of human intervention. Chametz is forbidden on Pesach to underscore Bnei Yisroel's helplessness and passivity when G-d redeemed them from Egypt.  
Immediately after the celebration of the Exodus, on the first day of Pesach, we begin sefirat ha-omer which culminates on Shavuot, when we are obligated to bring a chametz offering in the Mikdash (Vayikra 23:17).  Shavuot is the celebration of our acceptance of the Torah - our human endeavor to fulfill G-d's will. Pesach celebrates G-d's achievement, whereas Shavuot celebrates our achievement - our lifelong, ongoing commitment to spiritual growth.  Pesach is represented by the haste of Matzah, whereas our achievements are represented by Chametz. This alludes to the gradual, step-by-step process of growth and development.  First we must humble ourselves and accept our passive role in the Exodus, then we can slowly grow and fulfill our role as partnering with G-d and his Torah. 


Shabbat Shalom!

                         Rabbi Weinberg

We have raised over $7600. Our goal is $10,000 by May 1. 

The Fayth Aronson-Berkowitz Chesed Society Fund has been established by her parents, Selma and Bill Aronson, in memory of their beloved daughter Fayth, Faygie Devorah Bas Zev, who succumbed to cancer at the young age of 27.

Fayth, a graduate of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, and a beloved Baltimore pre-school teacher, touched the lives of so many with her acts of kindness. A true Baalas Chesed (readily performing acts of kindness), Fayth's example of care and concern for others, her giving neshama (soul), and continuous drive to act on behalf of others, was an inspiration for everyone who knew her. A quiet and humble person, Fayth was a doer, always looking to help someone in need.

The Fayth Aronson-Berkowitz Chesed Society will ensure that every Hillel Academy Girl's High School and Middle School student develops Fayth's appreciation and desire to seek out chesed (acts of kindness) opportunities in their community. At the beginning of each school year, the students will study the different service needs in the community, and work together to create or adopt a Chesed project for the year. Each year on the 6th of Shvat, Fayth's yartzheit (anniversary of her death), Hillel Academy will hold a school-wide Day of Chesed. As part of the Day of Chesed, the students will prepare activities and materials in order to involve the entire school in their project. The Day of Chesed will include a lunch to remember Fayth and educate the community about the current year's Chesed project.

Five-percent of the Fayth Aronson-Berkowitz Chesed Society Fund's income will be used each year to assist with the chesed project's costs. In doing so, the Fund will endow a constant and permanent remembrance of Fayth's dedication to her community, and ensure that each of our graduates become the Fayth's of their community.

Contributions to the Fayth Aronson-Berkowitz Chesed Society can be made payable to the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. Hillel Academy has a matching grant for money raised through social media, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000 from the AVI CHAI Foundation. Individual gifts of up to $500, made by April 15, will be matched. Spread the word to your fellow Hillel Academy alumni, their families, and parents, and all of your Facebook and Twitter friends through your page so everyone will give just like you.

Special Pesach Section   
Our students baked matzah in our own hand-built brick oven. 
The entire pre-k traveled to Egypt to check out the pyramids #LongBusRide.
The 5th grade girls "10 Makkos Carnival" which they presented to the first and second grades this past Friday.
Charoset making with Morah Leah Ackner's class. 



Orchatz towels made by Mrs. Yolkut's third grade. 








Pre-K model seder.
Pre-K model seder. 











Family Feature - Shira and Yehuda Abberbock 


What brought you to Pittsburgh? Yehuda Leib just started at the University of Pittsburgh's Ph.D. program in Bio-Statistics.
How did you hear about Hillel? My sister-in-law, Rifky Apfel, is a teacher at Hillel.  She sends her kids there and they are very happy there.  So when we were looking for a place for Avraham, it was an obvious first choice.
Did you bake your own matzah this year? We're leaving it to the pros this time.

Share a special or unique Pesach family tradition with our readers. At the Abberbock sedarim each year, there is always a very competitive matzah ball-eating contest. From the Apfel side, we have "the egg game," which involves pairing off and trying to crack your opponent's hard-boiled egg. Additionally, when it comes time for the recitation of  shfoch chamatcha, my father always brings out the original expulsion papers his great-grandparents received from Russia.

What was most surprising about Hillel Academy? Our first exposure to Hillel Academy was the big barbecue at the beginning of the school year, and we were just blown away!  We were not expecting such a huge party with so many great activities for the kids!

Your son, Avraham, is in tiny tots. Will he be staying up for the seder to share his Pesach knowledge? If we have it our way, then no.  If he has it his way, then yes. (Probably yes.)

What does he like best about Hillel?  He loves going to school, it's so hard to choose just one thing.  He loves the water fountain, pizza on Mondays, and of course all his Morahs.  When he comes home he likes to teach us the songs he learned in school and talk about science with Morah Elaine and library with Morah Bonnie.
Have you been able to get to PNC Park yet? Not yet, but we plan on going when the Mets are in town.  (Of course, we'll be rooting for the Bucs!)

Anything else you would like to add? Chag kasher v'sameach!
Thank you for your time and enjoy the break!


Reb Shaw
Hillel Academy and the Pittsburgh Pirates 

To the Entire Pittsburgh Jewish Community:
Everyone is 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  Dan Shaw.

Puppets in the Library

Recently, Morah Bonnie has begun adding puppets to the ECC story times. Some of the animal stories from past weeks included Curious George by H.A. Rey, The Happy Hedgehog by Marcus Pfister, and the ever popular Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. Future library classes will feature Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola, Skippyjon Jones by Judy Shackner, and the Gingerbread Boy (who may double as Matzah Man) among others. 
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 - Here are the rules: Take a photo with Hillel gear and connected to Pesach. Send the photo to [email protected]  We will post the photos on Facebook. The photo with the most likes on the Hillel page within the time period of the contest wins a chometz dinner courtesy of Mordy Brown. 

Raya Haya Reinherz might be too tired to put on her 
brand new Hillel Academy onesie, but she can still strike a pose. 
Where Are They Now? - Mr. Brian Cynamon 
Brian and Barbara Cynamon join Phil and Shawn Fink on "Radio-J on the Road at Kennywood."
When did you attend Hillel? 
I originally came from London, England where I attended a Jewish Day School. My parents and I then moved to Montreal, Canada where I went to public school and afternoon cheder. We arrived in Pittsburgh in early 1960 and I entered Hillel in the middle of 6th grade. I stayed more than 6 years until I graduated from Hillel High School in 1966.


What are some of your favorite memories? On my first English quiz in 6th grade, I was asked to "underscore" a passage. I begged my teacher, Mrs. Silverman, to explain what "underscore" meant as I had never heard this term before.


When I was walking home from school on a particular Friday in November 1963, I heard, much to my dismay, that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. I still remember my shock and initial disbelief.


But some of my favorite memories were of field trips to attend plays, especially various Shakespeare plays at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, as part of my English class.


What has changed about Hillel since you attended? In my day we had a separate high school building, and for the secular subjects, boys and girls attended the same classes.


How has Pittsburgh changed? When I first arrived in Pittsburgh, I asked my mother to ride a couple of street cars with me, as the street car lines were in the process of being phased out. We had numerous working steel mills and noticeable air pollution. The city had more old buildings and cobblestone streets and many fewer bicycles, and certainly, no designated bicycle lanes. We were members of Shaare Torah, where I had my bar mitzvah a few months after we arrived in Pittsburgh.


Where do you see the city going in the next 10 to 20 years? I believe that we will have a still better and more livable city than today.


Who was your favorite teacher? For the religious subjects, Rabbi Benjamin Nadoff, z'l, (Chumash). For the secular subjects, Mrs. Elizabeth Stern (English).


You are a proctor for SATs; Any tips for our students who are planning on taking the test soon? Do study the format and content of SATs. Improve skills in English, Social Studies, and Math. When it's your time to take the test, get plenty of sleep the night before, don't worry too much, and do plan to take the test a second time.  


What about some general advice for all of our students? Remember that we are all responsible for each other and treat others the way that you wish to be treated.


Share some life lessons you took away form your years here. Pay attention in class, get rest at night, and don't procrastinate on assignments. You will never be the same age again, so do your best every day.


Thank you for your time!
                                                                                                                Reb Shaw
Baseball, Robot Style 
Click below to view Mr. Kingman's seventh grade robotics class. The first clip shows the robots in motion. In the three other clips, students explaining the project.
Robotics Pittcher/Batter
Robotics Pitcher/Batter
The Robotics Explanation - 3
The Robotics Explanation 
The Explanation - 1
The Robotics Explanation



The Robotics Explanation - 2
The Robotics Explanation 


View our videos on YouTube

                                                     Mr. Kingman 

Alumni Basketball Game on YouTube 
Full Alumni Basketball Game 2014
2014 Alumni Basketball Game

View our videos on YouTube                                                       Reb Shaw

Club Updates  

  • Ballet, Karate, Girls Basketball, Chess and BHS Hockey are finished for the year.
  • Girls Tennis (Wednesdays) begins after break with Coach Jaz 
  • Arts and Crafts (Thursday) make up sessions will take place in May   
  • GHS Running (Mondays) after break 
  • BHS Hockey (Tuesdays) after break 
  • For up-to-date club schedules please click HERE 
Congratulations to team captain Moshe Wasserman, Yeruchom Kagan, Phil Stein, Ezra Kraut and Yosef Cohen-Melamed on this past week's BHS Intramural Hockey League Championship victory! Next up after Pesach, flag football. 
Hillel Academy on YouTube 
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Purim Rap 5774 - Rabbi Nim & The Nimets
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Purim Rap 5774 - Rabbi Nim & The Nimets
The Chicken vs.Steely Dance Off
The Chicken vs. Steely Dance Off

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!


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.  

Rabbi Brodie leads a model seder back in the day. Can you name any of these former students?
Mazel Tovs - Much Nachas to You All
Send Mazel Tov's to [email protected]

Mazel tov to Coach Sol (00') and Gabriella (Corcus) Horvitz ('06) on the birth of a future power forward  this past Motzei Shabbat. 

        [email protected]

 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.

Follow us on Twitter 
Like us on FacebookView our videos on YouTube
Condolences - Baruch Dayan HaEmet

We are saddened to announce the passing of 

HaRav Chaninah Nadoff Z"L, beloved brother of Dovi Nadoff.

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.
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our videos on YouTube

Around Town
The deadline for announcement submissions is Sunday at midnight for the coming week. All flyers should be in JPG format please. 
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: We will have snif April 12 at 4. No Bnei Akiva on Shabbat chol hamoed April 19 April 26 snif will be at 4:30.
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



Want More?    


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.