The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
    February 6, 2015                                                                                                        17 Shvat 5775
Parshat Yitro

Candle Lighting: 5:26 pm
Shabbat Ends: 6:35 pm
Dvar Torah 


       The beginning of Parashat Yitro tells of the arrival of Yitro, Moshe's father-in-law, to the camp of Bnei Ysrael. We are told that Yitro was inspired to join Bnei Yisrael after hearing about the recent miraculous events that had transpired: "Yitro...heard all that G-d did for Moshe and for His nation, Israel, that the Lord took Israel from Egypt."  Interestingly, however, when Yitro arrives, Moshe brings him into his tent and then tells him of these miracles: "Moshe told his father-in-law all that the L-rd did to Pharaoh and to Egypt on account of Israel..." (18:8). The obvious question arises, why did Moshe describe to Yitro the events that he had already heard?  


        One possible answer is that Moshe related the events to Yitro from a different perspective, and with a different focus. When telling us about Moshe's conversation with Yitro, the Torah adds a clause that does not appear in the Parasha's first verse that tells of the news that Yitro had heard before his arrival: "all the troubles that confronted them along the way, and how G-d saved them."  This phrase can explain the purpose of Moshe's conversation with Yitro after his arrival.  Yitro heard the dramatic reports of the miraculous downfall of the Egyptian Empire, how a sea  split to rescue Bnei Yisrael, how a slave nation defeated  Amalek, and how the two million refugees traversed the arid desert and survived.  But Yitro had not heard of the ugly details of Bnei Yisrael's experiences.  Nobody in Midyan reported about the people's minor uprising against Moshe at the shores of the sea, Yitro did not hear of those dire moments in Refidim when Moshe literally feared that the people would kill him since they were suffering from a drought.  The news of the miraculous salvation spread throughout the region, but it is unlikely that anybody had heard of the numerous travails and complex crises that sprang up along the way.


            In speaking with Yitro, Moshe wanted to ensure that his father-in-law did not think that being part of Am Yisrael was perfect and utopian.  Certainly, G-d's treasured nation earns a special degree of Divine assistance and protection.  But we also have our share of difficult problems and dilemmas, stressful moments, periods of uncertainty, situations of anxiety and fear.


            If, indeed, Moshe's purpose was to convey both the pros and cons of belonging to Bnei Yisrael, then it conveys an important lesson relevant to Jewish leadership. We have a miraculous and wondrous story, and G-d continues to perform miracles for us every day. Yet, at the same time, we must realize that there are also moments of despair and discord. Moshe was telling Yitro, that in order to help him lead, he must be ready for these moments as well. May we all continue to have blessed and miraculous lives and the strength to endure the more difficult situations that come our way.  


Shabbat Shalom!


Rabbi Sam Weinberg

Announcements and Reminders 
call the main office stop in or at 412.521.8131.
L'maancha- Eitan Katz Live in Jerusalem
L'maancha- Eitan Katz Live in Jerusalem
The "Eitan Katz Band"


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Hillel Academy Student Blog 

We recently launched the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Student Blog.  This project was designed to give Hillel Academy GHS student Rivka the opportunity to share a variety interesting subjects with the Hillel Academy Nation things, ranging from human teeth to bio-luminescence.


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4th Grade Navi - Yericho
Yericho 2015
"Yericho" in the Snow 

Rabbi Levy's 4th grade learned the perek in Navi about the city of Yericho.  In order to demonstrate to the students what this was like, and to enjoy the fresh snow outside, they went out and built a "wall" around the toy playhouse (Yericho). After circling the "city" 7 times, while "blowing" a shofar, the students made the walls come crashing down, all the while trying to keep Rachav's house intact!   

Pittsburgh Tomchei Shabbos Begins


WE STILL NEED 3 ADDITIONAL TEAM MEMBERS!! If you are interested in volunteering or donating, please click here: 



NSCY (Hillel and public school kids) came by Hillel this week to learn about all of the NCSY Summer camps and travel programs while baking brownies and challah for Hillel Academy Tomchei Shabbos.  They also repaired Tzitzit for PZ. Thank you Rabbi Goldberg and all the NCSYers!


A Day at Hillel Academy
A Day at Hillel Academy
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh presents
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh presents "Happy" Chanukah!
           View our videos on YouTube
4th Grade Mishna Project


3rd Grade Syium 
Third grade finished Parshas Chayei Sarah, and celebrated with a siyum.   When Yitzchak married Rivka, he was comforted for the death of his mother Sarah.  Rashi explains that there were three miracles that happened in Sarah's tent--her challah stayed fresh all week, her candles stayed lit all week, and there was a cloud, indicating Hashem's presence, over her tent at all times--and these miracles went away when she died.  When Yitzchak married Rivka, and brought her to Sarah's tent, the miracles returned.  The third grade made Challah and decorated candle-holders, in honor of the miracles of Sarah's tent, don't worry, we didn't forget about the cloud, there is a project in store for that, but it will have to wait till spring! We had lots of fun, and the finished products looked (and hopefully tasted) great!  Of course, our learning of Parshas Toldos is in full swing.  What will we do to celebrate finishing that?  Stay tuned!    

The Hillel Pop Grid - by Mr. Werber


What is your favorite thing to do on winter break?

What is the one thing you'd want in a snowstorm?

What food do you crave when it's cold outside?

Irit T.


Cuddle up


Talia I.

Go someplace warm!

Lie in bed and watch tv.

Marshmallows dipped in melted chocolate

Naomi L.

Go on vacation!!

Relax and drink hot chocolate.

Pigs in a blanket.

Leora G.

Sleep in, preferably somewhere warm.

To wrap myself in a blanket.

Hot chocolate and popcorn

Shoshana L.

Go to a really warm place!

Watch a movie while eating hot chocolate and popcorn.


Ariella C.

Play in the snow.

Play on my tablet.

Anything hot

Mr. Werber

               Go to the movies.

Sit in my house and watch the snow from inside.



What Do You Miss Most?
Sol Horvitz - Living with the Weingot's for a few weeks was the best because I was never in trouble for coming
late to shacharis. Thursday mishmor and all the fun that came along with it. Saturday night Bball at Auberle, Dr. Bruce, living in the dorm.

Rachel Hirsch - The wallpaper in the front. Loved that! (Editor's note: that was removed a long time ago) It's from Tanach. Also Mr. Sarkany. We had a science teacher who taught us to hotwire a car.                                                                           


Do you HYPE? 















Email for more information on either flyer. 



Here are the HYPE Superbowl learning photos. #TorahisOrah



What do you get when you have two of the top teams in the NFL pitted against each other in a head to head matchup for the Super Bowl title? You get over 25 people learning Torah in Hillel Academy, that's what. If you think the game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks was exciting, you should have witnessed the excitement for Torah learning taking place at Hillel. Following the learning, everyone headed to the library to watch the second half of the game and enjoy some chili (cooked by Mordy Brown) and wings (Grilliance). But more memorable than the last 2 minutes of the game, was the camaraderie and Torah learning that made this event so special. Thank you to all those who participated and to those who sponsored! 


Clubs began this past week.
ColfaxTuesday, January 6,4:15 PM
WinchesterTues, Jan 13,4:10 PM
CDSTuesday, Jan 274:00 PM
St. Edmund's AcademyThursday, Jan. 294:00 PM
WinchesterThursday, Feb. 124:00 PM
CDSThursday, Feb 54:00 PM
St. Edmund's AcademyTuesday., Feb. 174: 00 PM
Wedn Jan 145 or 6 PM
Sunday Night LeageFeb 8-April 26

Ceramics Clubs
Karate Club with the Sensei from USA Pro Karate. 
Art Club with Mrs. Myers - Painting with scissors the way Henri Matisse did.
Chess Club

The BHS played Winchester this past Monday night. 

Alumni Updates
 We welcome any news from alumni; please send it to

Mazel Tov to Chana (Zecher) and Yanni Kranzler on the birth of Noam Lev Chalil!

Here are some photos from the 2015 Hillel Academy Alumni Reunion in Modin, Israel. 

Go Figure  - Hillel Style Baby!

Days from today until the Opening of GHS production of Peter Pan - A Night in Neverland. 
28 Days until Purim!
Facebook "likes" of the Hillel Academy page. One more than last week. We are pushing for 500.                          Like us on Facebook
Views of the Chanukah "Happy" video.
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh presents
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh presents "Happy" Chanukah!

Flashback Fridays Photo Challenge

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. 


Thank you Rifky Apfel, Sue Fuhrman,l and Daniella Kanal!
 This week's picture is: L-R: Fayth Aronson, z'l, Yehudis Adler, Shaina Hirsch, Leora Ross, Sonia Weinberg, Shalva Lichtenstein, Avital Balaban, and me (Daniella Kanal).


Last week's photo: L to R Debra Reichenberg, Gila Kanal, Katie Brinn.



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 

Well, Hillel Academy Nation (HAN) that's all she wrote! The votes have been counted! The Small family wins a pizza dinner from Mordy Brown! Mazel tov! Thank you for all who participated and thank you voters. 

Also, Rachel wins the celebrity Hillel gear Photo. Mazel Tov!

Mr. Garwood's Creative Inventions 

Creative Inventions
Creative Inventions

The 2nd grade had a second session with Mr. Garwood on creative inventions.  During the first session, he taught them about simple and complex machines.  This time Mr. Garwood taught more about complex machines and ended with Rube Goldberg machines which are complicated machines used to do simple tasks.  He even made one to show us!  Mr. Garwood challenged the students to create (and take a picture) or draw their own Rube Goldberg machine and show him after midwinter break for a prize. 
Weekly Photo Gallery 

Mr. Kelly from Steel City Reptiles stopped by for a few presentations with all of his amazing reptiles.  He also made a generous donation to our science lab, two baby, female RATS.

Third grade celebrated Tu b'Shevat with a variety of fun activities.  First, our very own Adar Azaria showed us some pictures of his hometown,a Yishuv  called Yizhar.  The pictures were beautiful, and it was inspiring to see things we have talked about up close and personal, like the grape vines and olive trees, which are some of the special fruits of Israel.  Speaking of the Shivas Haminim, we created a pretty sheet with the bracha ma'ein shalosh, (al hamichya, al hapeiros, and al hagegen), and a chart reminding us which foods they are used for.  The last activity that we did was a painting of a blossoming tree, using multiple media-- water-color and acrylic paint, not to mention different techniques--brushes, fingers, and most surprising of all--straws, to blow ink across the page.  So much fun! Now it's time to start looking forward to the next few busy and exciting months, with Purim and Pesach coming FAST!

Middle School

Tu B'shvat 

15 of Shvat - 12:38 PM

The Caf

Thanks to Mrs. Grossberg who led a program that taught the middle school how to design and construct their own flowers. And the best part was they were edible.

Mazel Tov!


Mazel Tov to Jennifer and Daniel Golovin and big brother Adam on the birth of a baby girl! 


Mazel Tov Rifky and Avi Apfel on the birth of a baby girl, and to new big brothers and sisters Elazar, Elkie, and Yehudis!

Mazel Tov to the Harold and Ronit Wisenfeld on their daughter, Shira becoming a Bat Mitzvah last on Shabbat Shira! 


Mazel Tov Shira on your Bat Mitzvah!


Mazel Tov Hirsch and Bryna Chinn and the entire family on Moseh Eli becoming a Bar Mitzvah!


Mazel Tov Moshe Eli on your Bar Mitzvah!

Please send any Mazel Tovs to
Condolences - Please send condolences to

Around Town 


  • MORDY BROWN CATERING: Grab and go lunches. See Mordy, proceeds go to After School Clubs.  
  • BNEI AKIVA: Snif this week is back at it's new time, 4PM - 5PM at Shaare Torah Cong. On Murray Ave. 
  • KESSER TORAH: Sunday mornings at 8:30am. Davening followed by learning, coffee and cake at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. All are invited!
  • NCSY: 1) This year's Senior NCSY Winter Regional Shabbaton will take place over the weekend of February 13th-15th. This event is open to all teens in 9th through 12th grade.  Visit to register for the event. 2) There will also be a Junior NCSY Shabbaton over the weekend of March 6th-8th.  This event is open to anyone in 6th through 8th grade.  Visit to register for the event.
  • GIRLS ONEG: Girls Oneg this Shabbos afternoon from 3-4 at PZ for all girls in grades K-6.
  • PZ Partners in Torah Recruiting Teachers and Students now. No cost - Contact Shmuel Angel 412-897-6888 or email

 Please send information by Sunday to

If you have seen the poster for "The Shot Felt 'Round the World," you may recognize the little girl in the photo. Her name is Marian Frankston, and the photo was taken at Hillel Academy, where Marian was a student during the testing phase of the Salk polio vaccine. Hillel was one of many Pittsburgh schools that participated in clinical trials of the vaccine. In a recent phone conversation, Marian said she remembered that she disliked getting a shot, but she understood the importance of being protected against polio because an aunt of hers was disabled by polio. 

Find out more about how Pittsburghers were involved in the history-making development of the polio vaccine Monday, February 8 at 3 p.m.

Shaare Torah will present "The Shot Felt 'Round the World," a riveting documentary produced by Carl Kurlander of the Steeltown Entertainment Project, about the historical events surrounding the vaccine. Carl will be present to answer questions about the film, which will be followed by a panel discussion about vaccines featuring Dr. Todd Wolynn of Kids Plus Pediatrics, Rabbi Daniel Wasserman, Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld and community member Tamar Hashimi. 
Older children and teens are welcome to attend. Babysitting will be provided for children ages 1-10. (Please notify the shul at if you plan to take advantage of the babysitting. Donations of $5 per child are requested.) There is no cost to attend the film and panel 

discussion. Refreshments will be provided.A trailer for the film may be viewed at


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

Please send condolence notices to