The Hillel Happenings
The official e-newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
 Parshat Bamidbar
38th day of the Omer

  Candle Lighting: 8:19                                                                         Havdalah: 9:28
 May 23, 2014                                                                                   23 Iyar 5774
D'var Torah  
Parashat Bamidbar begins with Moshe taking a census of Bnei Yisroel. In the opening verse, the Torah states, "And G-d spoke to Moshe in the Desert of Sinai." The medrash notes the significance of the fact that G-d's commands to Moshe were issued specifically in the desert. The medrash notes, "Whoever is unable to make himself ownerless like a desert is unable to acquire wisdom and Torah." 


The image of the desert in this medrash is most often understood as a reference to humility. Just like a desert is regarded as barren, without many features to boast about, we cannot think too highly of ourselves when trying to acquire Torah knowledge. We must recognize that knowledge can only be attained if we understand our need for more knowledge. 


Additionally, the medrash challenges us to "make ourselves like a desert." This is a lesson that we must thirst for Torah knowledge like a desert thirsts for water. We must crave and cherish every drop of Torah that we come across.  As we prepare for the onset of Shavuot, and we remember our original acceptance of the Torah, we must keep these two lessons in mind. We must approach our Torah study with the humility to realize how much more there is to know, and with the thirst and desire to attain that knowledge. 


Shabbat Shalom!

                         Rabbi Weinberg

GHS Assists JFD Complete the Community Scorecard
Both the boys and girls high schools assisted our community seniors with filling out the Community Scorecard. Pictured is 9th grader Akiva Skaist. 
 The Community Scorecard Manager, Mr. Raimy Rubin, who was there to direct the students, said that the high-schoolers "handled themselves like menches as they assisted seniors in filling out surveys that assessed the quality of Jewish life in Pittsburgh." He added that "it is always a tremendous sight to see teenagers and seniors interacting together, bridging the generational divide."
When asked about the purpose of the survey, Mr. Rubin explained that the intent is "to collect as much information about our community members as possible and to track these attitudes over time... [to] make sure we're progressing as a Jewish community."
The students also enjoyed the interaction. Said one student about the activity: "I thought it was really cool to see how the people I helped felt about the Jewish Community in Pittsburgh, no matter how Jewish they considered themselves to be. Some said they didn't consider themselves at all Jewish but still felt tied to the community here, probably because they found it so welcoming. I think that's a very telling thing about our community."
Mrs. Levari, GHS principal, added that it was interesting to get to know people in this demographic. Interacting with the seniors was a nice way to get to know people who have been in Pittsburgh for a long time sometimes upwards of 60 years!
After this activity, the girls went to Rita's to get frozen treats. Thanks to Mrs. Levari, the girls were able to get whatever they wanted, which was a nice reward for the act of Chesed, although we all know that the true reward for Chesed is much better than ice cream!

Rivka Mandelbaum - 9th Grade

Eagle Watching in Pittsburgh...and Hillel?  

The third grade started watching the bald eagles' nest (located along the Monongahela River near Costco) in late March, in anticipation of the 3 eggs hatching. Experts say that it has probably been more than 250 years since bald eagles last nested along Pittsburgh's three rivers, so the class was excited to watch the live camera showcasing the eagle's nest and the activity in it. The class was thrilled to see many firsts while watching the nest: the first time we saw each of the eaglets after they hatched,  a parent on the nest, both parents on the nest, a parent fly into the nest,  feeding of the eaglets, etc. Enthusiasm and excitement abounded in the classroom as we began an Eagle Journal and did some research on bald eagles. The class even joined the family friendly 'chat' on a weekly basis and posed questions
In this frame grabbed from a live video feed provided by PixController, Inc. and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, two bald eagles sit in their nest, Friday evening, March 28, 2014, in the Hays neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The female eagle is at right. Bald eagle pairs are active on two additional sites in Allegheny County. More than 200 nests have been reported in Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/PixController, Inc. and the Pennsylvania Game Commission)
about the eagles. The website moderators and chatters were delighted to have our class join them, and answered all the students' questions. As a result, the students are slowly becoming bald eagle experts! The third grade had a special guest come to talk to students about the bald eagles. Annette Devinney, the 'face of the Pittsburgh eagles,' joined our class to answer questions, describe her experience of watching the nest last year (a camera had not yet been installed last year when one eaglet was hatched), and share some amazing photos of the eagles. Ms. Devinney is the primary eagle watcher of the nest, the Save the Hays Bald Eagles FB page creator, master photographer and videographer of the eagles, and an all around eagle expert. She is at the nest site most days for multiple hours. Eaglemania was present in the room with eagle headbands, eagle nameplates, 3-D eagles on the desks, and an eagle silhouette worn by each student with a three and a half foot wingspan (an adult eagle's wingspan averages 7 feet!) Ms. Devinney was with the class for almost 2 hours, engaging the students with her wealth of knowledge. The students were thrilled to receive one of her framed photos, and to present Ms. Devinney with a certificate that honored her as Eagle Ambassador! We look forward to seeing the next milestone for the eaglets, which will be branching, followed shortly by fledging. If you aren't familiar with these terms, or have any questions about our bald eagles, be sure to ask one of the third grade eagle experts!


                         Ms. Oz

Where are they now? - Leora (Ross) Elman  


How did you come to attend Hillel Academy? My dad attended Hillel Academy. We moved to Pittsburgh when I was 2, and I started in Tiny Tots.
What years did you attend Hillel?  I attended from Tiny Tots until 11th grade, 1989-2003. I graduated early and went to college as early admissions.
What advice can you offer a stressed high school student? Relax! Lots of things are more important in life than grades, and <shhh> no one figures out what they want to do the rest of their lives while still in school. Life is about experimenting and seeing what works. I still have no idea what to do if/when I 'grow up'! 
Where are you currently employed? Currently I am at home on bed rest 
for a high risk pregnancy, but I work in a biomedical supply company doing customer service.  
Leora is the far left student. 
What did you like best about your time at Hillel Academy? Definitely recess, and our science lab. Some of that equipment from the 1970s rocked! Production was great fun too. I love doing theater and continue doing amateur theater now. I've joined an amateur musical theater/opera group and we do two shows a year. I love being on stage.  

Leora's first grade picture. 
here did you go and what did you do after you graduated Hillel Academy? After 11th grade, I went to Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University early admission. I graduated with a BA in political science, and then I moved to Jerusalem and pursued a MA in International Relations. While I never planned on making aliyah, I met an Israeli guy who told me on our first date that living in Israel was non-negotiable to him. I was 17 and had never been on a date before, so I said, "Sure, why not?!" Turns out he was the guy for me and we got married in 2005. We've been living in Jerusalem since 2007 and I love it!

Which teacher(s) made an impact on your life and how? I loved Mrs. Shelly Ruggier, who taught history and social studies. She was definitely a big influence on my choice to study political science and economics.


Bucco Game...Last Call - the tickets are here
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. If you have any questions, please contact Dan Kraut or Dan Shaw.
 Spend 5 minutes using your mind for some holy purpose


R' Yosef Grossman underwent serious surgery Monday, May 19.  Since the surgery and illness that he is battling involves the brain, he has requested as a zechus that people commit to use their mind and brain for a holy purpose for 5 minutes a day 

for 1 month.


Please sign up using the link below to commit, bli neder, to spend 5 minutes using

your mind for some holy purpose. Some suggestions are to study 5 minutes of Torah, read Tehillim, read a book such as "Garden of Emuna" by Rabbi Shalom Aruch or "Orchos Tzaddikim." There may be some copies of Garden of Emuna available at a discount - please contact me ([email protected]) if you are interested.




Please pass this email onto anyone you know.


In the merit of this unified effort, may we see a refuah shelaimah for  

Yosef Yitzchock ben Yehudis Chaya  

among all those in need. 


 Chani Silver

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.
Binyamin Skaist shteiging away while sporting his customized 
BHS Senior class hoody.
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
Are you Graduating? 
Alumni, are you graduating or do you know someone from the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh family graduating from college, university, etc.? Please email us ([email protected]) their name and any relevant details. Next week we will be mentioning these individuals in a special section.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Thanks to the following people, we were able to reach and surpass our goal of $10,000. Thank you! You can still donate by clicking here.

Morah Chana Dorsey and Mrs. Shirley Dorsey 

National Honors Society: Jordy Zev Kraut
Eleventh grader Jordy Zev Kraut will be honored this coming week as the newest member of the Hillel Academy's National Honor Society.  Zev sat down with us to chat about this distinguished honor and a few other interesting topics. Enjoy!


What does it mean it mean to you to earn this award? It means I get to join the famous alumni who have also earned this. 


Will you tell your kids about this? Yes! 
Tell our readers something about yourself. Whatever it was, I didn't do it. 
List as many nicknames for yourself as you can. Go! J- Rock Luva, Jay Z, Wolfman, Banksy, Lars Barnaby, Reb Velvel
Where will you be next year? In Yeshivas Yishrei Lev which is located in Telz Stone, Israel. 
Which college, if any, do you plan to attend? Lander College for Men, and the Beis Medrash L'Talmud.
What is your favorite Hillel memory? My classmates and I driving our teachers insane. (I'd like to ask public mechila for that though.) 
What is your favorite Hillel memory involving Rabbi Weinberg? Watching myself slowly get taller than him. But really, learning with him privately on Shabbos and seeing what foods he used to bring to mishmar. #lemonmeringuepie
What city do you want to live in, and why? Somewhere in Eretz Yisrael. There 
is no better place to serve Hashem than in His very own land. (score one for the sheirut leumi!)
Give current Hillel students some advice for their years here. Learn as much as you can and always dress properly. That means tuck your shirt in and wear a belt!
If I'm a hungry Hillel student looking for food, to whom do I go? Perry Sohnen. He will hook a brother right up!
I have $20 and I need to spend it in Squirrel Hill. Where do I go? Invest the money at one of the local banks and then spend the money when you no longer need to use it in Squirrel Hill.
What's your dream job? The opposite of your dream job? My dream job is to be the Kohen Gadol in the Beis Hamikdash. (Unfortunately, I am not a kohen.) The opposite of my dream job would be a priest of idol worship, which is frowned upon in Judaism.
Best Adar prank ever played on teachers/other students? The copying machine that reads peoples' voices. Shkoiach on that one. (This was done by a group of students in the main Hillel building.  Many teachers fell for that one.) I am thinking of trying it at Landers in two years, shhh don't tell, maybe even on Rabbi Smith because I can't contain my excitement.  



                                                                             Rivka Mandelbaum - 9th Grade

Club Updates  
Music Club Concert - each student performed in front of the audience. 
  • milchig lunch will be provided to all students in grades 4-12 during the Awards Luncheon on May 29
  • The Shop Club's projects will be on display at the Awards Luncheon on May 29 at noon. Please RSVP by clicking here
  • Please note that Middos Club's final session is June 9
  • BHS Intramural Football League Standings: 
Team Skaist 6-0, 
Team Ungar 3-3, 
Team Wasserman 1-5
Team Wasserman vs. Team Skaist in the Championship game this coming Tuesday at 5pm at the JCC Robinson gym. Come cheer on your favorite team.
Hillel Academy Pop Grid

Hillel Happenings readers, enjoy "The Hillel Grid," a regular window into the minds of America's greatest students (obviously we're talking about Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh).

 8th grade boys

If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors? (asked at Apple)


Are you more of a hunter 

or a gatherer? (asked at Dell)

If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children? (asked at McKinsey and Co.)

If you were to get rid of one of the U.S. states, which would it be and why? (asked at Forrester Research)

Moshe Dovid Luzer

To cut the pizza


Always love the Steelers

Rhode Island, because it's the smallest and most pointless state.

Jack Kasaback

I wouldn't benefit from the scissors at all


Watch Harry Potter

Ohio, because they have bad drivers.

Boaz Bachrach

Cut the pizza box

Hunter gatherer-awesome combo

You're standing on my food

Wherever Gotham City 

is because of all the 

bad guys.

Yosef Cohen-Melamed

For people who didn't give me tips


Get off my lawn

South Dakota, because it is useless.

Yitzchak Grossberg

Car keys

I'm more of a Jack the Ripper

Take a shower

New York, the Yankees are too good.

Mr. Logue

I don't know


Speak up

Texas, but only half 

of it so they can't say 

that it's big.




Aaron Kraut - 6th Grade

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.  
 Thank you Bonnie Morris for correctly telling us that middle student is Michael Welner and the right one is Gail Steinberg. We are still looking for the final name. 
 Last week's photo:

This week's photo

Mazel Tovs - Much Nachas to You All
Send Mazel Tovs to [email protected] 


        [email protected]

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. 
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 www.centraleast.nscy.  
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





for more Hillel Happenings   

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