The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
 February 20, 2015                                                                                                        1 Adar 5775
Parshat Terumah 

Candle Lighting: 5:43 pm
Shabbat Ends: 6:52 pm
Dvar Torah 

 Many commentators are troubled with the fact that the construction of the Mishkan is defined by an inherent contradiction. On the one hand, building the Mishkan is mandatory and constitutes a Mitzvah. On the other hand, the Torah explains that contributions for the building of the Mishkan should be voluntary, an expression of heartfelt devotion.

     One of my Rebbeim in Yeshiva University, Rabbi Meir Twersky, used this paradox to explain a profound religious principle. We are commanded to seek holiness and to induce the Shechina to dwell in our midst. However, it is impossible to attain kedusha if we act merely from a sense of obligation. To achieve kedusha, one must yearn for it. We must be propelled by a spiritual volunteerism. Accordingly, the mitzvah of "let them make me a sanctuary" requires meaningful devotion.
    In education, it is so important that we ensure our students attain a personal yearning to bring G-d into their lives. At the same time we must be careful that they don't view Judaism as a list of obligations and requirements. If that is how we present Judaism, we will ultimately undermine our own efforts and have negative effects. Like the building of the Mishkan, we must navigate this paradox and teach our students to serve Hashem out of a sense of both obligation and genuine devotion. 

Shabbat Shalom!


Rabbi Sam Weinberg

Joshua Sindler, z'l Creative Classrooms Art & Music Program 


  • THE COMMUNITY-WIDE FRIDAY NIGHT ONEG AND KUMZITZ LED BY EITAN KATZ will take place at the home of Rabbi Oren and Dr. Rena Levy, 6429 Bartlett Street (between Shady & Mulhatton) at 8:30 PM. (The event was originally scheduled to take place at Hillel Academy but has been moved to the Levy's).

As each of us will benefit from this incredible endowment, let us show our hakarat hatov by coming out to each and every Shabbaton event. Please contact the office for Shabbaton information and concert tickets.


We look forward to seeing you there.

The "Eitan Katz Band"
L'maancha- Eitan Katz Live in Jerusalem
L'maancha- Eitan Katz Live in Jerusalem


Announcements and Reminders 
Click HERE to start shopping

The annual Purim Basket Project 2015 has begun! This fundraiser supports the Hillel Academy Scholarship fund. Please help us support the education and Jewish futures of all our students. Please login to with your personalized login that you received in the mail and by email. If you have any questions or need assistance, please email  [email protected] or call the main office at 412-521-8131.                  Like us on Facebook     Follow us on Twitter    View our videos on YouTube    Visit our blog

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 of interesting subjects with the Hillel Academy Nation. Topics ranging from human teeth to bio-luminescence.


Visit our blog 

Weekly Photos
The 5th Grade "Colonial Career" Projects.

Lentil soup from Parsha class combined with nutrition in our 3rd grade classroom. Decorating our door for Purim contest and learning megillah.

Production Photos - The Darling family and one of the many fight scene rehearsals

ECC Photos

Alumni Feature - Remember Louie Miller? - Part II
Welcome back Lou! Let's finish this. 
Tell us what you have done to help make baseball Israel's pastime too? I have tried to do my part. I have been coaching youth baseball for 15 years. Also have umpired in both the baseball and softball leagues. I was honored by getting to represent Israel as a member of the softball team in the past two Maccabiah's. I am currently the head coach of the 10-12 year old national baseball team.

The main issue's in Israel with baseball are:
a. Not enough facilities. 
We have very few real baseball fields. Many of our teams play on whatever patch of grass or dirt we can find. We are currently working to find land to build a field in Rehovot (my home town)

b. Recruiting Israelis to the program.
We're attempting to get into the schools in Rehovot. We show up with a bat, ball and a couple of gloves and try to get as many kids exposed to the game as we can. 

c. Making the game relevant and learn-able for Israelis. We put a huge emphasis and effort to make sure that our programs are coached in Hebrew. I have also realized that if an Israeli child does not begin playing before the age of 11-12, it is very difficult for him to walk onto a full size diamond and play baseball with MLB rules. I am now working on developing a slow pitch softball program for U-18s. I hope this will attract more Israelis to the sport.

Wow, you really are doing a lot. Good luck! Tell us more about your work as a Social Worker and Mental Health Officer in the IDF? I work for a nursing company based in Lod and Modaiin. We provide caregivers for the elderly and disabled. My job is mostly to do house calls and assessments. We have a variety of caregivers and are able to provide a wide range of services. In addition, we have 15 old age homes. My job is to find the best solution of care for our clients, and to make sure it's provided in the best professional way possible.

I currently work every other Friday as a Mental Health Officer (Kaban) in the IDF. I do this as part of my reserve duty. I serve at a military prison. There I am tasked with seeing every soldier who is on suicide watch. My job is to decide if that soldier can be removed from suicide watch or not. In addition, every soldier who arrives at the prison needs to be screened by a Kaban. It is illegal in Israel to imprison someone who has a major mental disability. I sit in on a talk they have with the commander and need to make sure they are mentally fit to be imprisoned.  

In addition, in the time of war, I would be attached to a base in the West Bank. My job would be to provide mental care to soldiers fighting in that area. Basically, we are trying to prevent PTSD. I train for that job about two weeks a year. 

What do you think about the Buccos? Man, I love the Buccos. I got all my Pirates gear, and follow all the games. I feel we are just one or two pieces away from being really good. We can't seem to beat the other teams aces. We could sure use an ace of our own.

Is it safe to say you watch Actually, not so much. The games are usually in the middle of the night, and I just don't have the time to watch the replays. I watch all the highlights, and when there's an afternoon game, I'll watch.

What is your favorite shiur to go to? A quick one:)  In Rehovot we have a group of guys who get together every Sunday to watch the early NFL game. During the off season, we meet and every week someone else brings another topic involving yahadut. It's just a great group of guys.

What do you and your chavrusa learn? We just finished the MLB rule book, and are beginning Softball:)
I actually don't have a full time chavrusa. I go over the parsha every week, and try to learn some gemara a couple times a week. 

Shawarma or falafel? Depends on my mood. I love both. I have a falafel probably once every other week. Shawarma is more of a treat, and I'd have to say I do prefer a good Shawarma.

INF or OF? I've always been an INF. I have played every position on the diamond, but I don't have the speed to be a good outfielder. I love the speed of the infield. I just feel you're more involved. Plus, you have a shorter run to the dugout.

What are your thoughts on the DH? Truth is I like it. I grew up a NL guy, so I was taught to hate it. The more I'm around the game and coaching it the more I like it. It allows the coach to put his best lineup forward. I feel that's the way the game should be. I feel it makes the game more fun. 

Mustard or Ketchup? I love both. Depends on the situation. On my hotdog, I'd have to go with Ketchup. In Israel I have learned to love sweet chili sauce. That is now my favorite.

Tell us about the alumni reunion. What was your favorite part? The food:) I really enjoyed seeing friends I hadn't seen in a long time. The Pittsburgh community is such a close knit community. It is unfortunate that those of us in Israel don't get to spend more time together. 

It was also great to hear about all the new and great things that are happening at Hillel. It was amazing to hear Rabbi Weinberg, who I grew up with, talk as the Principal of a school.

It stunk that the merchandise didn't arrive though:) I was looking forward to my Hillel sweatshirt.  

I heard you will still be getting the Hillel gear! Should MLB have a pitch clock? You mean a clock between pitches? No, I don't think they should. One of the basic principles of the game, is that the pitcher controls the speed of the game. Also, if there is a runner on base, things are happening. The rule now is that the umpire, as long as he feels the pitcher is not purposely wasting time, can take as long as he needs. I think that's an important rule. 

Thank you so much for your time and your thoughtful answers! Have a wonderful Shabbos!
The Hillel Pop Grid - by Mr. Steve Werber

Students in the Mix

What is your favorite sport to play?

If Pittsburgh had a basketball team, what would you call it?

Who is your favorite athlete/ team?

Yahuda S.

Ice Hockey

The Hawks

Rockets, James Hardin

Yaakov B.


The Nothings

The Braves

Nate I.


The Colts

Pirates, Andrew McCutchen

Dov S.


The Dragons

Bill Mazeroski

Gadalyah H.

Ice Hockey

The Eagles


Adar A.


The Falafals


Yoni K.


The Bluejays


Tahara R.


The Flags

The Lions

Tali K.


The Black N' Yellow

The Steelers

Kaiden M.


The Worms


Uzi J.


The Sinkers


Ari R.


The High Sky

The Steelers



What Do You Miss Most?
Sarah Tewner - I miss the incredible school community. It really felt like a family.

Ali Tuchman (former Hillel parent now living in Israel) - Mrs. Aronson....without a doubt. Current school office employees in Beit Shemesh do not give out pretzels.


Do you HYPE? 



Third-grade Basketball Club and Karate Club. The karate members just earned their white belt. 

The Wednesday Ceramics Club

A Peek into Ceramics, Karate & Basketball Clubs
A Peek into Ceramics, Karate & Basketball Clubs

Alumni Updates
Menachem Brodie  - Has recently become the head coach at Human Vortex Training LLC & a USA Cycling Coach & a USA Triathlon Coach. 

Moshe Abrams - Mazel tov to Moshe, who recently married Yocheved Tirschwell from Florida!

Jared Stufflebeam - Toured Israel with Rabbi Admon. 

Daniella (Kanal) Appel- Mazel Tov on the birth of Maya Aliya this past week, Mazel Tov to Grandparents Dr. Manny and Judi Kanal, and to the entire Kanal and Appel families.

Dr. Adam Aronson - Is Maya Aliya (Kanal) Apple's doctor. 

 We welcome any news from alumni; please send it to. [email protected]
Go Figure  - Hillel Style Baby!


Number of BHS alumni in Israel who joined Rabbi Admon for lunch and video conferences with the BHS. 

Facebook "likes" of the Hillel Academy page. One more than last week. We are pushing for 500.  
                        Like us on Facebook
Thanks to a government grant Hillel had these new phones installed in all the rooms. 

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 Rabbi Joshua Musicante for sending in last week's FF!


Front row: Nathaniel Schuster, Reuven Garrett, Josh Weinberg

Back row: Ephraim Weingot, Shalom Dovid Kohanbash, Michael Greathouse, Jason Goldwasser, Sammy Joseph



Last Week's Photo 

This Week's Photo 

Family Feature - Meet Heidi and Nizan Leibovich & their three children

Hi, welcome to Hillel Academy! Your three children (Amital - 6g, Naomi - 4, Yinon, pk) are enrolled here. What's your favorite part of Hillel Academy, thus far? A friendly atmosphere, caring teachers, and the welcoming administration that made the transition to Hillel easy for us. Not to mention, pizza on Mondays, colored leggings and polo shirts. Who knew how great that would be!?

What's the best-kept secret of Hillel Academy? The wide variety of after school clubs and activities, both for students and families. 

Do you have any special family traditions you would like to share with our readers? We just discussed trying to establish a Sunday family movie night.

Share something about your family that makes you unique. We make an extremely mean BBQ in any weather.

What do you do with all of the wonderful school projects? We provide objective feedback and attempt to save those that are worth saving.

Where did you move from? We moved from Wendover St. to Douglas Street in 2007. But our kids have been at Yeshiva Schools until this year.

What made you choose Hillel Academy? It was the absolute right academic and social environment for our kids. Plus, we really can't understate the importance of being able to wear fun leggings and polo shirts. It has revolutionized our lives on so many levels. 

Are you ready for Eitan Katz? We understand that he is coming for a very special program to celebrate the newly endowed Joshua Sindler, z'l Creative Classroms Art and Music Program, and we think that is fantastic! 

Arrival or Dismissal? Can you choose to do only one? 

Will you be at the Production? Without a doubt!

Thank you so much for your time! Good Shabbos!

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]

Zev and Hal Richman - the creator of Stratomatic. Zev is sporting his 2013 pom winter hat!  Nice work Z!

Parsha Class Syium
Thursday, 2/19/15 - 10:43 AM
The girls just finished learning about the Plagues with their rebbe, Rabbi admon.  Each student made a PowerPoint presentation of all ten Plagues. Each student matched food to a plague.  
Pittsburgh Tomchei Shabbos 


WE ARE LOOKING FOR INDIVIDUALS, COUPLES OR FAMILIES THAT WOULD BENEFIT FROM THE TOMCHEI SHABBOS PROGRAM! If you are interested or know someone who might benefit from the program, please contact Rabbi Wasserman at [email protected].
All inquiries are strictly confidential.
Mazel Tov!


Mazel Tov to Dr. Yoni and Toba Auerbach and the entire family on the birth of a baby girl!


Mazel Tov Rabbi & Mrs. Daniel & Anna Yolkut on the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter Chana! 


Mazel Tov Chana Yolkut on her Bat Mitzvah!


Mazel Tov to Dr. Manny and Judi Kanal on the birth of a granddaughter Maya Aliyah.

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

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 [email protected].

 Please send information by Sunday to [email protected].



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

Please send condolence notices to [email protected].