The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

November 28, 2014

6 Kislev 5775

Parshat Vayetzei
Candle Lighting: 4:37 pm
Shabbat Ends: 5:44 pm

Dvar Torah 
     This week's Parasha begins with Yaakov Avinu fleeing Be'er Sheva  en route to Charan. Upon Yaakov's departure from home, he falls asleep in a place that Chazal identify as the future Har HaBayit. There, he has a dream in which he sees angels ascending and descending a ladder to the heavens.  Along with this vision, G-d sends Yaakov the message that He will be with him on his journey and bring him back safely to his homeland. 

       Of the many commentators who explain this dream, Rashi explains the dream in the following manner, "The angels that accompanied him in the land do not live outside the land, so they ascended to the heavens, and the angels of outside the land descended to accompany him."  Rashi here points out that a different set of angels was provided for inside and outside the land of Israel. Nechama Leibovitz suggests that according to Rashi, Yaakov's dream conveys the lesson that the challenges one faces in their homeland and familiar surroundings are different than the ones they face when they leave the familiarity and comforts of their own home. The obstacles that Yaacov will confront in the future will require a different approach, one that will necessitate preparation. Also, the support that Hashem provides for him will adapt to the needs of each situation.


      Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Pilgrim's assimilation into this new world.  It symbolizes coexistence, harmony, and peace, while thanking G-d for his bounty and survival. When the Jewish communities in Spain, Portugal, and the rest of Europe, began to immigrate here, the groundwork was laid for what would prove to be a medinah shel chessed (a country of kindness) in which Jews could live and thrive like nowhere else in history. However humble our beginnings, we have relied on the help of Hashem to exist and grow. The help we needed was different than our forefathers in Christian Europe or Muslim Egypt, but it was necessary and vital.


    Right now, we urgently need the support of G-d. Israel and Jews are under attack physically and politically. Jews all over the world are being attacked and questioned for their beliefs and attitudes. We must prepare for an ever-changing reality and remember that G-d will provide the unique support necessary for every situation.


    May G-d speedily grant his promise to Yaakov and bring safety to all of our family and friends in Israel and throughout the world.  



Shabbat Shalom




Annoucments and Reminders 

1. Please don't park in front of the main building on Beacon Street, during arrival and dismissal times, including 5pm (club dismissal). 
2. No U-turns in front of the school.

Websites and Social Media 

 Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our videos on YouTube 
HYPE Challah Baking V
HYPE Challah Baking V
HYPE Challah Baking IX
HYPE Challah Baking IX
Hillel Academy Weather Report - Monday, November 24, 2014
Hillel Academy Weather Report - Monday, November 24, 2014

Hillel Academy students share what they are thankful for - Thanksgiving 2014
Hillel Academy students share what they are thankful for - Thanksgiving 2014
Hillel Academy Weather Report - Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Hillel Academy Weather Report - Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Hillel Academy's Aleph Bet Video
Hillel Academy's Aleph Bet Video
Kindergarten Community Project
Kindergarten Community Project
The Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Pop Culture Grid


What are you thankful for?

What would be the main course at your own personal feast?

What would a talking turkey say?

Yosef K.

Bruce Lee

Hamburgers and noodle soup

Meow. Meow.

Sammy B.

My family

Steak, shish kebabs and stuffed peppers

Happy Thanksgiving, Sammy Miami!!

Pinny B.


Cow stuffed with beef stuffed with chicken

Boy, you are one fine turkey!

Benji M.

Having a new roof over my head

Roast duck

Pilgrim don't kill me. I'm worth nothing.

Aaron K.

My toenails

Friiiiiied Chicken

Someone turn the fan on!

Yaakov B.


Mushroom barley soup

I volunteer as a tribute!

Mose Eli C.

My hair

Ice cream

Wake me up when it's Thanksgiving!

Rabbi N.

Having the best students in the world

Sushi followed by a corned beef and pastrami sandwich

Man, I feel stuffed.

Mr. Werber

Being able to do what I love for a living

Macaroni and cheese and  blintzes and pizza

Eat more chicken!

Mr. Werber
Alumni Spotlight -
Shauli Zacks- 1999

Q: When did you attend Hillel Academy? 


A: 1995-1999


Q: Share a favorite memory or two with our readers. 

A: My first day was also the first day of the Mesivta, I didn't know anybody and I can remember sitting in the cafeteria looking around wondering what the year would bring. Playing sports - whether it was football during recess or being on the basketball team. I guess if I had to pick a memory, it would be winning the championship when I was in 11th grade.

Q: How do you earn a living?

A: I'm an online marketer.


Q: How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? 


A: It really helped me mature. I was in Hillel (The Mesivta) when it was in White Oak and I lived in the dorms for four years. The experiences that I had, learning how to deal with different challenges are lessons that I still use today


Q: Share some info about your family. 


A: I'm married to a Hillel Alum, Natalie Martinez. We have 3 wonderful kids, Jonah (10) Sammy (7) and Kayla (5). We made Aliyah a little over 6 years ago and are living in Ariel.


Q: What do you do in your free time?


A: Last year I coached my oldest sons little league team. This year I'm teaching my kids about football. I enjoy going to the movies, reading a good book and hanging out with my friends.


Q: Who was your first Hillel teacher?  

A: I think it was Rabbi Weingot


Q: Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why? 


A: I always liked Mrs. Simmons, which is weird, because I never liked math. I think it was because she really cared how we did, and wanted to see us succeed. The fact that she also worked as a Ski Patrol didn't hurt either.


Q: Who is the most interesting person in your contacts? 


A: I have a friend who was part of an elite combat unit in the IDF and is now a weapons instructor for undercover guards at the Ben Gurion airport.


Q: Share something with our students you wish someone had told you when you were in school? 


A: Rabbi Weinberg is much stronger than he looks!

Q: You posted on your Facebook page the clip of  New York Giants receiver Beckham Jr.'s catch. Would that ever happen on the Mesivta playground?

A: We had some pretty good football players back in the day, but I don't think we had a catch quite like that. Beckham had the advantage of playing on a level, grass field. Our football field was on a parking lot where you literally had to run uphill regardless of which end zone you were going to. I remember when Aaron Siebzener broke his leg by running into a car parked on the field. Beckham may have been dragged down while making that catch, but he didn't have to deal with cars in the middle of the field.

Q: Best meal at the Mesivta of Greater Pittsburgh?

A: I'm definitely biased towards my class. After leaving Mesivta after the 11th grade, Asaf Geffen came back to visit and is, as far I know, the only player ever elected to the  Mesivta hall of fame. I left Mesivta as the all-time leader in TDs, no idea if that record fell or even what the number was, but I couldn't have done it without Jacob Goldberg as my quarterback.

Q: What would you do if 6 feet of snow fell in Israel? Would you be prepared?

A: Last year we had a few feet of snow in Ariel, and pretty much everything was shut down. I didn't go to work for a few days because they couldn't clear the roads, there are no ice trucks or snow blowers. There were trees all over that just broke under the weight of the snow. I had a lot of fun playing in the snow with my kids, but we didn't have waterproof gloves or boots, so we had to change a lot. My son Jonah (10) is convinced that we'll have more snow this year. If it does happen again, I doubt we'd be any more prepared. 
Q: Fellow classmate, Gavri Butler was last week's Alumni feature, what did you think about what he had to say about his relationship with Rabbi Weinberg? 


A: It definitely took me a minute to realize that Rabbi Weinberg and Sammy Weinberg are the same people. One of the things I always liked about the Mesivta was the friendships, it didn't seem to matter, for the most part what grade you were or what you did for fun. That's what I take away from Gavri's relationship with Rabbi Weinberg. I don't remember him being especially strong, but Gavri broke pretty easily.  


Apples for the students, Hillel Academy's First Period Points are: 132
Log on and review your progress and account information!

Do you HYPE? 



There's nothing like hot bagels on a morning combined with the beautiful sounds of Torah learning. That's exactly what we had this past Sunday, November 23rd, at Hillel Academy. The second HYPE family learning of the season saw us top our all-time attendance record as close to 100 people came to partake in the learning! Kol hakavod to everyone and stay tuned for the next HYPE family learning! (Around Chanukah time). 



 -Rabbi Levy   

October 2014 - January 2015 Clubs

Check the Google Calendar or the Website for the schedules.                     
  • Middle School Mishmar begins at 6:30pm; students may not enter the building before 6:25pm. 
  • When hockey or any club ends, students must exit the building. They may not wait for another club to begin. 
  • Hockey games take between 25-30 minutes to play. Please plan to pick up your children on time.
  • There are no Clubs on December 9th and no clubs for all of Chanukah. 
  • Middle School Basketball begins December 29 at the JCC Robinson gym. It is important for students to arrive on time and be picked up on time as well. More details to follow.   
                                                                           MSB Hockey League Standings  

Dark Wizards

















MSG Basketball League Standings...coming soon

Alumni Updates
 We welcome any news from alumni; please send it to [email protected]

Jake Sachs ('95) is coaching his son Izzy's baseball team, the Modiin Miracles. There are three teams in the minors and then comes juveniles. They play: Ranana, Bet Shemesh, Chasmoniam, Jerusalem, and Kibbutz Gezer. They are trying to raise money for a field in Modiin.

Avi Siebzener ('01) lives in Chicago with his family and works as an IT contractor for Make Corporation. Avi's primary focus is to design programs to run automatically instead of manually.

Daniel Sokol ('01) stopped by for a visit.  He is pictured here with his brother and fellow alum, Elan ('97). 

Go Figure  - Hillel Style Baby!

Productions Mrs. Levari has led led since beginning at Hillel Academy.  This year the GHS (and some middle schoolers) will put on Peter Pan.
Points scored  by  11th-grader, Ben Ungar in the season opener. 

Most Daf of Gemara that could possibly have been learned thus far by middle school boys when including Gemara shiur, Mishmar and Sunday school.

Flashback Fridays

We are so proud of our alumni!  We continue to strive to keep them current on Hillel news and we want to know what they are up to.  One of our more simple ways to do this is to post a photo from back in the day.  You think you know the people in the photo?  Great! E-mail us your guess and we will publish your name if you guess correctly. 


Editor's note: Non of these were answered yet. 

Last Week's Photo
This Week's Photo

Hillel Gear Spotted Here

Hillel Gear is back and better than ever! We are ready for our fifth year of bringing you Hillel Academy apparel from around the globe sported by people you know or maybe those you don't know. But we can't do it without you!  If you're going out of town, to a ball game, to learn, or maybe to a backyard BBQ, grab your shirt or a magnet and snap a pic on your phone and send it to [email protected]. Remember, we have the winter break Hillel gear contest among others, so get ready! We are also looking for #HillelGear to start trending, so feel free to post to social media and use the #HillelGear or any clever ones.

"Shadow, the Hillel mascot."
 Photo Gallery 

Family Feature - Mordechai and Mylynda Massart

Q: Where did you live before moving to Pittsburgh? 


A: Boise, Idaho


Q: What's the best-kept secret of Hillel Academy? 


A: That Hillel is like one big family, not just a school.


Q: Do you have any special family traditions you would like to share with our readers? 


A: For the last five summers, we have gone to a beautiful cabin in Donnelly, Idaho which we will miss. When we are there, we loved Lake Kayaking. We will need to find a similar place near Pittsburgh.


Q: Share something about your family that makes you unique. 


A: Our bubbie owns a sternwheeler riverboat on the Willamette River in Oregon. Also we are big rodeo fans! 


Q: What do you do with the projects your children bring home? 


A: Display them near the dining room and then save a few from each year in a special project box.


Q: What's the best part of Thanksgiving? 


A: The food of course!! I mean spending time with family :) 



Q: Share a family Chanukah minhag
with us.  

A: Lots of Latkes with homemade applesauce. Also, on that note, the Chanukah ham is what you get in Idaho at Walmart ;)



Boys High School

Chemistry 1
Tuesday October 21, 2014: 1:45 & 2:25pm.
JCC- Room Number 204

Mr. Finder's 10th and 11th-grade class Intro to Chemistry course, reviewed for their chem exam with Chemistry Jeopardy. Each category had to do with something they covered in the introductory unit. Daily doubles included! The boys partnered up to answer the questions faster.

Guess This!
Whose computer desktop is this? Next week we will include a few hints and the following week we will post the answers. 

Mazel Tov!
Mazel Tov to Drs. Tova and Joel Weinberg on the birth of a  baby grandson, and to Josh ('03) and Julia Weinberg on the birth of a baby boy. Much nachas to the entire Weinberg family.


Mazel Tov to alum Ari Zecher on his engagment to  Aurora Carlson! Much nachas to the entire family!



Mazel Tov to Dr. Ya'aqov and Cynthia Abrams
on the engagement of their son, alum, Moshe to Yocheved Tirschwell! Much nachas to the entire family!

Mazel Tov to John and Lisa Earnest on the birth of a granddaughter, and to the new parents Eitan ('01) and Tami Earnest.  Much nachas to the entire family!

Mazal Tov to new grandparents Asst. Principal Rabbi Dov and Rivkey Nimchinsky on the birth of a grandson, and to Yosef and Pessy Nimchinsky on the birth of a baby boy. Much nachas to the entire Nimchinsky family!

Please send any Mazel Tovs to [email protected]
Condolences - Please send condolences to [email protected].

Around Town 
  • Pittsburgh Teen Minyan: In a joint effort between Poale Zedeck and Shaare Torah in partnership with NCSY the Pittsburgh Teen Minyan will meet on December 6thParshat VaYishlach at Shaare Torah Congregation starting at 9:30am.  This is an opportunity to participate in a service run completely by teens.  
  • MIKVEH DINNER COMMITTEE: December 7th at Shaare Torah, 6:30 pm parve buffet and boutique sale, program begins at 7:30 pm, fee is $40 and community directory is distributed. 
  • MORDY BROWN CATERING: December Lunch Menu & December Lunch Order Form - Don't forget - daily grab and go lunches. See Mordy, precedes go to After School Club.  
  • BNEI AKIVA: Snif this Shabbat is 3:30pm at Shaare Torah. 
  • Kesser Torah Sunday mornings at 8:30am. Davening followed by learning, coffee and cake at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. All are invited!
  • NCSY: 1) NCSY Jewish Scholars Program starts on Monday, November 24th.  This event is for teens in grades 9-12 to come study interesting topics with an adult mentor and work on a long term community service project. 2) The Annual NCSY Turkey Bowl will take place this Sunday at the Allderdice field starting at 11:30.  After the game, pancakes and hot cocoa will be served at the NCSY Lounge.  This event is open to anyone in grades 6-12.
  • GIRLS ONEG: Girls Oneg this Shabbos from 3:00 - 4:00 in the PZ Educational Building for all girls in grades kindergarten through sixth.  Hope to see you there!

  • PZ Partners in Torah Recruiting Teachers and Students now. No cost - Contact Shmuel Angel 412-897-6888 or email [email protected] 

 Please send information by Sunday to [email protected].


Teacher Feature: 
5685 Beacon Street - Pittsburgh, PA 15217 
  (F) 412-521-5150

Please send condolence notices to [email protected].