The Hillel Happenings
The official e-newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
 Parshat Behar
24th day of the Omer
Candle Lighting: 8:05                                                                         Havdalah: 9:14
 May 9, 2014                                                                                   9 Iyar 5774
D'var Torah   


     Parashat Behar deals almost exclusively with the laws of shemitta and yovel. The final two verses of the parasha, however, appear to have nothing to do with this topic. The verse states, "You shall not make idols for yourselves, or set up for yourselves carved images or pillars, or place figured stones in your land upon which to bow, for I the L-rd am your G-d. You shall keep My Shabbatot and venerate My Mikdash; I am the L-rd." (26:1-2)


     It is puzzling how these laws fit into this context. What do these laws - idolatry, forbidden images, Shabbat and the Temple - have to do with the laws of
shmitah and Yovel 


     The Medrash in the Torat Kohanim explains that these verses refer to the situation described several verses earlier, of a Jew who was compelled by financial straits to sell himself into the service of a gentile. The Torah here warns the servant not to forsake his tradition despite his current residence in a pagan home. He must not adopt the ritual practices of his master, neither the idolatrous beliefs nor the mode of worship, which involved all types of monuments, statutes, mosaics, and the like.


     The Seforno explains that a Jew in foreign servitude might have thought to no longer observe the Shabbat. After all, Shabbat is about freedom, our emancipation from the shackles of the workweek and the opportunity to rest and engage in loftier pursuits. The Jewish servant might have therefore concluded that this mitzva does not apply to a servant, who is currently denied his freedom. The Torah therefore reminds  the servant that he, too, must continue observing the Shabbat, even when subjected to foreign rule. As for the mitzva to "venerate My Sanctuary," the Seforno boldly suggests that "Mikdash" here refers not to the Temple, but rather to the sacred institutions built in exile - the synagogues and study halls. Despite the absence of the Bet Ha-mikdash and our subjugation to foreign rulers, we may not undermine the sanctity of our holy institutions. 


     Chazal famously comment (Megilla 29a) that the Batei Kenesset and Batei Midrash built and sustained in exile constitute a "Mikdash me'at," a minor Temple, as it were, they are, to some extent, infused with the sanctity of the Bet Ha-mikdash.


     The establishment of houses of worship and religious study, and a commitment to make these institutions a national priority, help ensure our ongoing awareness of G-d's continued presence in our midst, that even in the darkest hours of exile, G-d has never left His people.


Shabbat Shalom! 


                         Rabbi Weinberg

Yom Hatzmaut Memories




Major League Ball Players Shares his Experiences with the High School

 Do you know Dana Williams?  He is Morah Jaz's father and a former professional baseball player and coach.  As part of the high school guidance program called Goals Planning Success (GPS), he spoke to our students about his story in baseball, overcoming challenges and making the most of yourself.



HYPE - Dr. Rhode 
This past Shabbos, on the eve of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut, we had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Harold Rhode, a former Pentagon official and expert on Middle East policy, speak about his perspectives on the Middle East and life in the Muslim culture. He explained the reasons behind the Arab-Israeli conflict and the efforts to resolve it. The talk was held at the home of Jimmy and Linda Joshowitz.

On Sunday, Yom Hazikaron,  Dr. Rhode presented his story on finding the Iraqi Jewish archives in the basement of Saddam Hussein's intelligence office. He provided photographs and vivid details on his miraculous journey to discovering and preserving these ancient Jewish artifacts while being stationed in Iraq during the war. Jonathon Bernstein described the talk as "fascinating" and the look on Dr. Jerry Parness' face during the talk definitely confirmed that description. Thank you to Rabbi and Mrs. Ari Goldberg and Mr. and Mrs. Yehuda Miller for sponsoring this amazing event! Stay tuned for more upcoming HYPE events! 


 Yom Ha'atzmaut - The Story of Gidon

The GHS participated in this year's Yom Ha'atzmaut activities by preparing one of the seven stations for the K-4 grades.  We prepared the story of Gidon and taught them about Emek Yizrael of today. In order to properly teach them the story, we divided into groups, each with separate parts of the story, and each group made up a skit and a game.  

The kindergarten class listens to the Gidon story.


The first group taught the kids about Hashem choosing Gidon and the signs that Hashem gave to Gidon to show him that Bnei Yisrael would win. The students then played "Squeeze the Fleece," where the students transferred water from one bucket to another via a sponge (a.k.a fleece). They did this because two of the signs that Hashem showed Gidon involved fleece being wet/dry when naturally they should have been the other way around.


Then the second group taught the kids about the shrinking of Gidon's army. Since this involves Gidon giving orders to his army, we played "Gidon Says." Most kids made it through the whole round.


Finally, the third group taught about the dream that prophesized Midyan's fall. They then played "Barley Cake Bowling," where the kids threw a "barley cake" at the "Midianites tents" to knock them down, just like in the dream about Midian.


The preparations began straight after the delicious Yom Ha'atzmaut lunch. We hung signs, opened classrooms by moving aside the sliding walls, and set up the games. Then the kids came in. They watched the skits and played the games with much enthusiasm. Both the teachers and the young students reported it as a success. The high schoolers? They said that it was nice, but "the little kids are definitely tiring." It's easy to forget how much energy kids in K-4 have! 
                               Rivka Mandelbaum - 9th Grade


Navi News Report - 6th Grade Girls
Navi News
Navi News - Sixth Grade Girls 
Yom Haatzmaut greetings from Israel.
Yom Haatzmaut greetings from Israel.
 View our videos on YouTube


                    Rabbi Nim

Where are They Now? - Ms. Kayla Ross


I came to Hillel Academy because my parents lived in Pittsburgh. My father had grown up here and went to Hillel Academy. I attended Hillel Academy from the age of two until I graduated high school. Basically, too many years to count!


My advice to a stressed high school student would be-don't stress! Hillel is nothing compared to the big world. Enjoy your high school years! When you move out, you have to do your own grocery shopping! Tests are not nearly as hard as deciding what to eat for dinner...enjoy your time at home, you will wish the fridge was always stocked when you move out!


I plan on attending law school in the fall of 2015.


Where is Kayla Ross? Can you spot her?

The freedom is what I liked best about my time at Hillel Academy. I don't know I always felt as if they gave me the freedom to be and do what I wanted (except for uniforms, of course).  The teachers supported choices I made and were always there to listen.  In my senior year, when we were working on production, I was able to have liberty in the play to make it Hillel's own.   


Hillel taught me how to manage working with people who do not view the world the same as I do.  We may not agree, but we all have to work together.

After I graduated from Hillel, 
I went to seminary, then on to YU.  All of the teachers at Hillel made an impact on my life. Each made a difference in their own way.  I specifically remember Ms. Oz, Mrs. Finder, Mr. Spolar and Mr. Garwood.  Each had a completely different way of teaching and each showed me a different way of learning. I will always remember how each one showed me how to learn, how to study and how to pay attention.


While I was in Hillel, all I wanted was to get out. I counted down the days, starting in 9th grade, to when I would graduate. I wanted OUT! I wanted out of Hillel, out of Pittsburgh, out of my parents' house. After living in Israel and New York, all I want now is to go back. I realize how much Pittsburgh has to offer and after actually working at other Jewish Day Schools, how great Hillel actually is. I might not have enjoyed every moment of every day, but what teen likes school?  Hillel taught me to be a mensch and to me that is the most important thing to learn while growing up.


Yom Hazikaron - Experiences and Remembrances

Yom Hazikaron is a meaningful day for all of us. We commemorate the loss of thousands of soldier's lives, and the loss of civilian lives due to terrorism. Often it is hard for us to really think about the losses. We get lost in the numbers and forget to think about individuals. What better way to bring the message close to home than to have people who personally knew soldiers who lost their lives for Israel come and speak to us?


The high school divisions were lucky to have one such person, Dr. Isaac Levari, come and speak about his experiences. Dr. Levari spoke about soldiers and soldiers' families whom he knew that were personally affected by the tragic loss of the life of a soldier in the army. He

Part I
Video Part I

 spoke of individual soldiers that he knew: of their lives, their families, and their personalities. The high school students and the teachers who were present were very touched by this, saying that it was "moving because it was sincere and heartfelt" because he "knew the people personally." 

Part II
Video Part II

The presentation ended on a positive note, with Dr. Levari showing us pictures of him and his family during the time that he was in the army. Surprisingly to many of the students, he said that he did not feel as if he had lived a life of tragedy, but rather as if he had lived a "very blessed life."  


Rivka Mandelbaum - 9th Grade


Teacher Feature - Morah Abby Saxon 
Hi, Morah Abby. Did you know you're not the first Morah Abby to work in the ECC? Which preschool classrooms do you work in? I heard that. I work in pre-k B with Morah Sharon and Morah Karen and I work in Hadar's 1 year old room.

What's it like communicating with students who can't talk? It's really fun
and challenging at the same time. Usually you understand their facial expressions and then you're able to give them what they need.

What brought you to Pittsburgh? My lovely husband :).

What after-school club would you like to lead? If there were a drama club, I would like to do that or contemporary dance. I acted and danced all through middle school and high school.
What's your teaching philosophy? As long as the kids are happy, I am happy, they are always my number one priority.
What is your favorite Pittsburgh hang-out? Mt. Washington, it's where I got engaged :).

What item would you like to add to the Mordy Brown lunch menu? Sushi on a daily basis, it is so good, I can't get enough!
Anything else you would like to share with our readers? Yes! I enjoy teaching all the kids and watching them grow. It's the most fulfilling job I could ever have.

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. 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.
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.  
Photo contest: Pesach Break - LAST CALL. 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 dinner courtesy of Mordy Brown. 

This photo was taken of current and past Hillel Academy students. It's hard to see, but RSW is sporting his 2012 grey Hillel hoody. The crew saw a great Bucco game on Chol Hamoed. We need to give long time Hillel supporter and Hillel Happenings reader, Jesse Mendelson credit for getting the group together. They also davened Maariv at the top row of the stadium. #BucN #HillelGear #alumni #matza

New HYPE Classes - Register Here
New Jewish Philosophy class began last Monday night! Sign up now for any class; it's never too late to join in the learning! Click #TorahisOrah to register for classes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Rabbi Levy
Hello to Goodbye: Ilana Kisinlinsky 
A Perspective on the Senior Year at Hillel
Fourteen years ago, I was privileged to attend and graduate the Mesivta of Greater Pittsburgh, Hillel Academy's Boy's High School in White Oak, PA.  More so than any other year, I remember that one.  Maybe it was the friendships, maybe the teachers, I don't know.  But as many of you can relate, twelfth grade provides an incredible moment in the high school experience. All of a sudden, you start to hear, "This is my last..." more than any other phrase throughout the year.  Whether it's the last high school orientation, student council meeting, basketball game, or production, a little nostalgia creeps into all school matters.  In an effort to capture the uniqueness of the Senior Year, with the help of Rivka Mandelbaum, we interviewed this year's senior class. Each week we will feature one of our proud seniors. Enjoy! 
-DShaw ('00)

 List as many nicknames for yourself as you can. Go! Lanzel, Lanz, Iwana, Kissyface, Smush 


Where will you be next year? Sha'alvim for women


Which college will you attend? Stern College


What is your favorite Hillel memory? When the GHS did The Wizard of Oz for production.


What is your favorite Hillel memory involving Rabbi Weinberg? When he tried and failed to complete the saltine challenge.


What city do you want to live in? Why? Pittsburgh, because it's so great!


Give current Hillel students some advice for their years here. Make sure to treasure every minute because it goes by fast!


If I'm a hungry Hillel student looking for food, where do I go to? The GHS lounge.


I have $20 and I need to spend it in Squirrel Hill. Where do I go? Rite Aid, there's just so much great stuff there!


What's your dream job? The opposite of your dream job? [Best] To write the next New York Times best selling novel.  [Worst] A math teacher (sorry Mr. Logue).

  Best Adar prank ever played on teachers/other students?  I haven't pulled many pranks, so I guess the zoo prank that we did this year. [Editor's note: this good natured Adar prank involved transforming the Lower Level into various animal-themed rooms, including a jungle, aquarium, and the (most popular) polar bear exhibit.]


                                                                                       Rivka Mandelbaum - 9th Grade

Club Updates  
 Morah Jaz continues her athletic leadership with the girls tennis club at Davis Park.   


The Shop Club's projects will be on display at the Awards Luncheon on May 29 at noon. Please RSVP by clicking here

BHS Intramural Football League Standings
Team Skaist 4-0, 
Team Ungar 1-1, 
Team Wasserman 0-4

- Please note that Middos Club final session is June 9
Hillel Academy Pop Grid


If you had a country what would you name it?

If the government gave you something free daily, what would it be?

What gemara do you shteig in your free time?

If you traveled to the dark side of the moon what would you see there?

Yosef CM


Pool tables


Darth Vader

Benji Marcus


Video game console

Masechet television

President snow

Tzvi Russel

Pirate town

Free tuition

Bava Kama


Boaz Bachrach

Wait you don't have countries?

A coupon for a thousand free things a day

Parshas Breishis

I would see Russia

Zelig Langer

Dino world


Pirkei Avos

The dark side of the moon

MD Luzer


Reb Shaws

Baba nothing


Aaron Karut - 6th grade

Routines Reduce Stress

By ELLEN DELAP Certified Professional Organizer


Houston Community Newspapers


Remember those days in kindergarten when your day was brimming with consistency? You knew the day began with Circle Time, followed by Center Time, then Recess and Snack. With each day you anticipated what was expected and you worked hard at each activity. Having a schedule helps us be more productive with our time and energized in our efforts. There are many ways to implement structure in our day.


 Read the rest of the article by clicking here.  

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 Tovs - Much Nachas to You All
Send Mazel Tovs to [email protected]
Mazel tov to Hillel parents Uri and Molly Green and their entire family on the birth of a son, this past Thursday.  
 There will be a shalom zachor tonight at their home 6404 Forward Ave. From 9:30pm - 11:00pm. 
Mazel tov to Hillel teachers, Rabbi and Mrs. Admon on the bar mitzvah of their son, Yonatan. 


        [email protected]

Condolences - Baruch Dayan Ha-emet
Send information to [email protected]
With great sorrow, we regret to inform you of the passing of 
Gertrude Brog ,ob"m
A dedicated lifetime supporter, and beloved member of the Hillel Academy family,

beloved mother of Mrs. Rachelee Sacks, and Sandy Brog, and beloved grandmother and great-grandmother of Shimi, Avrumi, Jake, Shay and Faygie and their children.

Graveside services will be held today at 4:00pm 
Poale Zedeck Memorial Park, Richland Township. 
Shiva information will be updated when it becomes available.

Baruch Dayan Ha-emet


        [email protected]

Tweets of the Week 
@google are celebrating #Israel66 by waving their flags! Join them & many others! Tweet us your pics!
Hillel Announcements
The deadline for announcement submissions is Sunday at midnight for the coming week.


Pesach HYPE VISIONS Torah Magazine - click here to read the online version
2014-2015 School Calendar: CLICK HERE
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 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]. 
NCSY: Spring regional shabbaton for 8-12th grade from May 23-25. Register at Glow in the dark capture the flag on Saturday night of May 10th. 
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.