The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
 February 27, 2015  

Candle Lighting: 5:51 pm
Parshat Tetzaveh/Zachor
  8 Adar 5775

Shabbat Ends: 7:00 pm
Dvar Torah 

Parashat Tetzaveh continues to describe the commandment to build the Mishkan. One theme that underlies various aspects of the Temple service is the concept of "tamid," meaning constant or regular. In Parashat Terumah, this term was used in reference to the Lechem Ha-panim - the Show Bread. In this week's Parasha we see this term in reference to both the lighting of the menorah and also in reference to the daily sacrificial offerings called the temidim, and in the context of the incense offering on the inner mizbayach.  

The idea of consistency and regularity are central to our observance and religious outlook in general.  Judaism believes that worship of G-d is the job of every individual and that it should be done on a regular basis, not sporadically or only in emotionally charged times.  Just like a relationship between a husband and wife is not forged by the emotional rush of the wedding but by the constancy and commitment of the marriage which follows. So too, a person's relationship with G-d is formed by the devotion shown to Hashem every single day.  

Every morning, Hillel's students participate in age appropriate tefillot that give them the skills to continue to develop deep and meaningful personal relationships with Hashem. It is truly inspiring to hear them and to witness the kavana with which they approach this foundation of Jewish life and community. In striving to build the Jewish future, we are working to instill the understanding that consistency of worship and practice builds stronger individuals and a stronger community. 

Shabbat Shalom!


Rabbi Sam Weinberg

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.



Send a cheerful Pittsburgh Tomchei Purim Card to your friends and relatives in lieu of mishloach manot, and help needy families in Pittsburgh celebrate Purim at the same time! Help support our mission to provide Shabbos and Yom Tov food packages to those in need in our community on a consistent weekly basis, and in a discreet a respectful manner.


$4 each - stop into school or click HERE
Parshat Zachor Reminder 

We want to remind everybody that this week's maftir is Parshat  Zachor.  Parshat Zachor is read every year on the Shabbat before Purim which this year is February 28th on the English calendar.  In the Hebrew calendar,  it is the 13th day of the Adar.  This week's maftir Parshat Zachor is very important because it talks about the law to destroy Amalek.  Since we do not know who the people of Amalek are, we can't fulfill the mitzvah of destroying Amalek.  However, we can still fulfill the mitzvah of remembering Amalek.  It is a mitzvah for boys and girls  over bar/bat mitzvah and women and men to listen to Parshat Zachor.  Parshat Zachor is read at this time because it is the week before our ancestors started the job by destroying Haman and his sons who were from Amalek.  


We want to remind everybody that you NEED to listen to a reading of Parshat Zachor.  PZ has a extra Torah reading right after davening.  Shaare Torah has readings at about 8:15, 10:15 and an extra reading after the regular minyan which is about 11:25.  Kesser Torah has an extra reading at about 11:30 am.  And the Kollel has a extra reading at 2:00PM.  Young Israel's reading is at the regular time.  Again we'd like to remind you that you NEED  to hear Parshat Zachor.


Leora Goldberg

John McGlothlin

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

The "Eitan Katz Band"

Location: Shaare Torah Congregation
Time: 5:45PM

Location: Home of Rabbi Oren and Dr. Rena Levy, 6429 Bartlett Street (Between Shady & Mulhatton) at 8:30PM.
Time: 8:30PM


Location: Congregation Poale Zedeck
L'maancha- Eitan Katz Live in Jerusalem
L'maancha- Eitan Katz Live in Jerusalem
Time: Davening starts at 8:45am followed by Kiddush

Location: JCC Levinson Hall
Time: 8:00PM




Announcements and Reminders 

Click HERE for information and HERE for registration. 

Click HERE to start shopping                  Like us on Facebook     Follow us on Twitter    View our videos on YouTube    Visit our blog

Hillel Academy Student Blog 

 Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Student Blog.  GHS student Rivka has posted new topics, check them out and let us know what you think. [email protected]


Visit our blog 

Staff Interview: Meet Mr. Kevin Brown 
Welcome to Hillel Academy!  Tell us about yourself? I grew up in Sewickley and attended Quaker Valley High School. I graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Criminology in 1986.  I joined the Pennsylvania State Police in 1988 and retired in 2012 with 25 years of faithful service.  I presently live in McCandless Township (North Hills).

Tell us about being a State Trooper? I joined the Pennsylvania State Police to help people.  The job trains you to be professional and respectful to others while doing your job. I always liked to help people and not hurt them. I treated people the way I would want the police to treat my family. The job is filled with excitement and unfortunately danger.  I really enjoyed my career as a Trooper.


Tell us something about your cruiser that most people would not know. The State Police cruiser is an awesome vehicle.  It has an onboard computer system that is the state of the art.  The cruiser is an office on wheels. It also is an awesome interceptor vehicle.  There are some differences in the vehicle which make it go faster and maneuver in ways a regular passenger vehicle cannot. 

What's it like to go lights and sirens?  It is so exciting to turn on the lights and sirens and go as fast as you can. Usually around 140 MPH. 


They call me Maverick, what's your call sign? I don't have a cool call sign like you (Mr. Shaw), just call (on the walkie) Security and I will be there.

I went on a few ride-a-longs in my day when I was thinking about going into law enforce. My favorite story was chasing down a fugitive with the help of a chopper. What's your favorite one? I had many of memorable experiences while working at the State Police. I will share a positive experience with you.  I was assigned to protect/escort the Holiness Dalai Lama of Tibet for a day.  It was the most amazing experience to drink tea and talk with him about peace and understanding.


What has been most surprising to you about our school? I was pleasantly surprised how friendly the faculty, staff, students and the parents are at Hillel Academy.  It is truly appreciated.
What should parents keep in mind during arrival and dismissal? The most important thing for parents to keep in mind during arrival and dismissal is when their kids are getting into or out of the vehicle.  Parents need to make sure the vehicle is completely stopped and the vehicle placed in
park before their child approaches the vehicle. They also need to make sure the children are properly and securely fastened in their seatbelts, booster seats or car seats.

Why are U-turns so dangerous? U-turns are only dangerous when another car is coming the other direction.  When you are NOT in front of Hillel and you need to make a U, make sure it is clear of oncoming traffic before you attempt to a U-turn.


Rumor has it, you were a starting LB for the Steelers during the '90s, true or false? I was not a linebacker for the Steelers, however; I played receiver and running back up until college.

Favorite sport to watch/play? My favorite sport to watch is football.

Dogs or cats? I like dogs. Big friendly dogs.


Marked or unmarked cars? I preferred unmarked cars when I worked for the State Police because I was a supervisor.


Anything else you want to share? I am happy to be your Security Officer at Hillel Academy.  I will do everything I can to make your school safe and secure.


Student Awards 

Mazel tov 10th-grader Rivka Mandelbaum!

"I am pleased to let you know that your student Rivka Mandelbaum  has received third place in the creative writing category (in the high school division) of the 2014-2015 Waldman International Arts and Writing Competition.  

Please join all Competition winners, entrants, educators, and the community in attending the Waldman International Awards and Recognition Event at the Warhol Museum on Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 10:30am-2pm.  Please click on the following link to register for the





Mazel tov 12th-grader Daniel Nimchinsky!

"On behalf of The Comcast Foundation, we are pleased to inform you that you have been selected as a 2015-2016 Comcast Leaders and Achievers´┐Ż Scholarship Program recipient. The scholarship is an award of $1,000 and is not renewable. The scholarship must be used in the 2015-2016 academic year and applied to educational expenses at an accredited, nonprofit college, university or vocational/technical school in the United States. We are proud to recognize the efforts of young people who are helping make our communities stronger and applaud you for your achievements. We wish you the best of luck as you pursue your future goals."  



Weekly Photos

HS boys learn Ivrit with Monopoly & Taki.

Photos from the Pirchei syium Mishnyaos this past weekend. Most of our boys won sefarim for their
hasmadah in learning mishna, and Reuven Kanal finished two mesechtas of mishnayos and made the syium on one of them in front of the whole gathering! Thank you Rabbi Admon and Rabbi Berelowitz for taking the boys:
Pinny Brown, Aaron Kraut, Reuven Kanal, Tzvi Hirsch Russell, Yosef Kaminsky, 
Avi Admon, Yitzchak Berelowitz.

The Adar "Decorate your Door" contest. Mazel tov to the fourth grade for winning!

The Kindergarten through 6th grade entered a contest to decorate their classroom door for Purim. The winner was the 4th grade with their "no Haman crossing" theme. We did, however, have runner ups


K1 won the "Oh, so original!" award.

K2 won the "Best Clowning Around" award.

1st won the "Most likely to make you Happy" award.

2nd won the "Most Adarific" award.

3rd won the "Best use of the Theme" award.

The BHS created a Muktzah Fair was based on their Hilchot Shabbat shiur.  They prepared display boards and presentations and then presented to the middle school. 


It was moving day for the GHS, this past Wednesday which can mean only one thing, either the GHS is moving location or "A Night in Never Land" is right around the corner.  A few tickets remain.  Call 412.5218131.

Fifth Grade
The fifth-grade classes are studying the original thirteen colonies as part of their
 American History curriculum.  In order to have a deeper understanding of what it was like to live in the past, compared to modern times, students researched a specific job from the colonial era. Some of the questions they answered included: What did my job entail? What was a typical day in my life like? What difficulties might I face in my job? Students also had the opportunity to complete a project directly related to their job. As you can see from our photos, we had quite a wide variety of projects. Our carpenters made a mallet and a pump drill, the tailors made a colonial shirt and an apron, the doctor and merchant created 3-D models of their store, and another doctor made a diagram of the herb garden used in their practice, the tanner dyed fabric using traditional methods, the shipbuilder made a model of a colonial ship, the miller ground millet using a mortar and pestle to make flour which was made into delicious muffins, the glassblowers bent glass into the numerals from 0 to 9 and made water lamps, the gunsmith wrote a fictional story about his life, the chandler made candles, and the wheelwright created a Power Point presentation that walked us through each step in the wheel-making process. The projects were all amazing, and the students learned so much from their experience!

Alumni Feature - Remember Menachem Brodie?
Hi Menachem! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

When did you attend Hillel Academy? 1996-2001: 1996-98 Hillel Main Campus (Sq. Hill) -1998-2001

Share a favorite memory or two with our readers? By far it was getting the opportunity to represent The Mesivta of Greater Pittsburgh on the basketball court as a member of the Mesivta Magic.
We had some incredible guys on the team, and we all worked really hard to make the team happen- from going out and selling 50/50 raffle tickets, to working so we could get some really stellar uniforms, we all gave everything we could, on and off the court. The team did exceptionally well, thanks in part to our Coach, Jimmy Wedner, parent volunteer, John Earnest, and the Senior guys on the team- Yeshai Pliner, Solomon Horowitz, Eitan & Nissan Earnest, Sammy Weinberg, and Raimy Rubin. We were fortunate enough to travel to a few tournaments, and we did really well! The best times were when we traveled to HAFTR (Hebrew Academy of Five Towns and Rockaway) for our first tournament. It was such a great experience, across the board. HAFTR made a really nice shabbaton for all the teams competing, and the games were a ton of fun. I'll always remember the steal I had in the game moetzei shabbat - especially because I actually made the layup! (I missed two other layups off of steals earlier in the game). The Yeshiva University Tournament is also a great memory, although we lost in the championship game, the weekend at YU was an incredible experience!

The other memory is just from the day-to-day Mesivta life. Rabbi Weingot, Dr. Bruce, and Ms. Lavara (Spelling?). Especially Ms. Lavara's "Let's not play semantics!" The Mesivta really was a big family, and while we complained about the long days in school at the time, they are by far a favorite time of my life.

What organizations are you currently involved in? Currently I am involved with mostly professional organizations- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength & Conditioning Association, USA Cycling, USA Triathlon, and the like, but I am also fairly involved in the Breslov Yeshiva here in Israel (I attend Rabbi Lazer Brody's lectures- either in person in Yerushalayim, or via Internet, as well as some of their lectures on YouTube, and live internet feeds).  I'm still a new Oleh, so I am just learning the ins and outs of the organizations here in Israel.

How do you earn living? I am a professional Coach in the sports of Cycling, Triathlon, and Running, and am also working as a professional Strength & Conditioning Coach. Using the skills obtained through my schooling, individuals come to me to help them return from injury, prevent future injury, or to help them reach the top of their chosen sport. I coach athletes worldwide (Thanks to the internet!), from Pittsburgh to Israel, and Arizona to Italy.

Can you offer some healthy living advice?  Absolutely! But I want to make certain that each of the readers understands that there are two parts to living a healthy life.

The first is the physical side of life- and this is where everyone tries to focus all their efforts:
Make sure you're eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits- preferably those that are in season. Dark Leafy greens are most important, as they contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that we all need to stay healthy. Secondly, work on your posture, and keeping it healthy! There are so many individuals I see, that by simply correcting their posture , many of their musculo-skeletal issues either decrease in severity, or are almost gone!

Finally, make sure you're making time in every day for yourself, AND for your family. We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our days, and often we don't make the quality time we should for ourselves, and our loved ones. Be sure to put down the screens (Smart Phone, Tablets, Computer, Television), and spend 30 minutes with your husband/wife, kids, friends, or significant others. At the end of the day they are what matters! And don't forget to take time for YOURSELF! No distractions- just you, perhaps a cup of your favorite coffee or tea, and somewhere in nature (a park bench, a walk down a quiet street). Taking time for yourself- whether personal prayer (hitbodedut) or just a stroll on your own- can be a life changer! Even "only" 10 minutes!

And that leads to the spiritual side of things- where more focus should be spent:
Shacharit, Mincha, Maariv all are important, and allow us to stay connected with Hashem, and our communities. But what I've found over the years, is that the personal connection with Hashem makes such a huge difference! When I come back from my personal prayer, I feel so incredibly happy, and connected!

If hitbodedut (personal prayer) is a little too much for you at this point, at least make a point to work on your Emunah (total belief in Hashem, and that everything that happens to you/for you is out of Hashems love for you!). I felt silly the first few times I tried Hitbodedut, so I worked on my Emunah. It was a hard road, but especially through my Aliyah Journey, I realized that everything Hashem does is for our best. There were just way too many things that looked impossible, but somehow, SOMEHOW came to happen far better than the best scenario.

I'm not the best to explain the details, but Rav Lazer Brody has translated Rav Shalom Arush's book "The Garden of Emunah". I strongly recommend you read it- or any of Rav Arush's other sfarim!
Don't get me wrong- you won't see me jumping out of my car and dancing at red lights with long Peyus. Not everyone in Breslev is like that. But what we all are (if I may speak on their behalf), is happy with who we are, and what we have, because we see Hashem's hand in our lives, and know that it is all for our absolute good!

What will we most likely see you doing in ten years? That's a great question! I don't know. I honestly never imagined myself owning my own business & coaching endurance sports, let alone living in Israel! One thing is for sure, where ever I will be, it will be exactly where Hashem puts me, and where I need to be. I'm excited to keep on the path, and see where it is!

How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? Honestly, it was the education, and the people. Rabbi Pliner, Rabbi Adler, and Rabbi Weingot all did so much to shape us (sometimes with a carrot, and other times with a stick). Having the longer school days at Mesivta, I do believe, prepared me for the "long days" at work (which were nothing comparatively), and also allowed me to learn how to connect with people from different backgrounds, and with different perspectives.

Actually, I want to share something that I read in this week's mini-magazine that is distributed in the shuls here in Israel called, "Torah Tidbits". That is a weekly publication that talks about each weeks Sedrah.
This week's sedrah is Mishpatim (editor's note: this interview was done a week ago), and the article is by Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, and is called "Mishpatim: Responsibility". I think this excerpt says what I learned at Hillel Academy perfectly (This excerpt has been edited a little): "We were introduced to Talmud study with selected passages in the tractates Bava Kama and Bava Metzia. The passages we studied were almost exclusively based upon verses found in this week's Torah Portion, Mishpatim. And the single dominant theme of [Mishpatim] is unarguably, responsibility. I look back on my first exposure to Talmud and to Mishpatim as studied through its lenses, and remember the teacher admonishing us, 'a person is responsible for all of his actions, deliberate or unintentional, purposeful or accidental, awake or asleep.' It was a direct quote from the Talmud, but he emphatically conveyed to us that it was also a formula for life.

And, furthermore, it was a lesson derived from [the Torah Portion] Mishpatim. Read it, even superficially, and you will learn that we are all not only responsible for our own actions, but also for the actions of the animals we own. We are responsible for damage caused by our possessions if we leave them in a place where someone might trip over them and harm himself. We are responsible not only to compensate those whom we have harmed for the damages they suffered, but are also responsible to compensate them for lost employment or for health-care costs that were incurred by whatever harm we caused them.
What a revelation to a ten year-old boy! How many ten year-olds in other educational settings were exposed to these high ethical standards? Certainly not the boys in the park with whom I played stickball, whose parents had not opted for a day school education for them."

I believe that Hillel Academy offered me, and my fellow classmates, the opportunity to learn the principles of responsibility, to be honest, and to know that we are responsible for the actions of ourselves (consequences), and that we should not only be careful not to harm others, but also that we need to be careful to cherish and care for each of our possessions- that they last us a long time, and that they don't hurt others (specifically I recall learning about if an ox falls into a pit that I dug in a public area, lol).


The Hillel Pop Grid - by Mr. Steve Werber

Students in the Mix

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What would you do with a million dollars?

If you could change one rule your family has, what would it be?

Mordy R

President of Gemilas Chesed

Buy THE red pen!

What rules?

Aaron K.

An NBA agent

Put a hot tub in my bathroom

I'd like to watch TV as late as I want.

Moshe Eli C.

A billionaire

Purchase every video game

I'd eliminate electronic limits

Isaac B.

Work for Google (but realistically I'll probably sell sock monkeys)

Buy sock monkey supplies

I'd like to be able to sell my sock monkeys

Noach M.

Nuclear Engineer

Buy every Apple product

There are no rule.

Zelig L.

A firetruck

Buy gumballs

I'd avoid walking my sister home

Reuven K.

A bomber pilot

Buy the Hope Diamond

I make our rules!

Noah L.


Buy a bomber plane for Reuven

More face time with electronics

Eli R.

The last human on Earth!

Buy a golden toilet

I'd like to be the head of our house!

What Do You Miss Most?
Brian Ungar - (former Hillel parents who now lives in Israel). I miss the way Morah Abby always greeted my kids with a huge smile every morning. Put me in a good mood too.

Ross Sindler (former student)- I miss the friends that I made over the years of being there. 
Thank You Bnot!

משנכנס אדר - מרבים בשמחה

תודה רבה ליובל וענת, בנות השרות המדהימות

שעבדו וטרחו וקישטו את בית הספר לקראת חודש אדר.

תודה גם לבנות חטיבת הביניים

שעזרו וציירו וצבעו.

תודה מיוחדת לתלמידי התיכון הבאים שעזרו לתלות את כל הקישוטים ערב ראש-חודש:

עזרא, יעקב ו. משה ו., משה-דויד, אביגדור, מיכאל, אוון.

כל הכבוד!

Thank you to our amazing Bnot Sherut, Yuval and Anat, for decorating and transforming our school into a colorful Purim carnival.

Thank you to MSG (5-8) for painting and coloring.

A special thank you to the following BHS students who came and help hanging all the decorations:

Ezra, Jacob W, Moshe W. MD, Avigdor, Michael, Evan

תודה רבה! 


Do you HYPE? 



Mazel Tov to the high school basketball team on their victory this past Sunday night, and to Dan Kraut who filled in as coach for Rabbi Weinberg!

Art Club self-portraits are coming along. 

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

Alumni Updates
Mazel Tov to alumna Shoshana (Rosenstein) Zimmerman on the birth of a daughter!

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

Points scored by 10th-grader, Moshe Wasserman, leading scorer. 

Set pieces moved by the GHS from the main campus and to the JCC's Katz theater. 
Facebook "likes" of the Hillel Academy page. TEN more than last week. We are pushing for 500. 
Who is going to be our 500th?!? 
                        Like us on Facebook

Margin of victory for the BHS basketball team. 
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. 




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]

Mazel Tov to Mrs. Levari on her brother's wedding this past week! No, this mazel tov is not misplaced, we are putting it in the Gear section because while the Mrs. Levari and her daughters went to hair and makeup they also caught a photo of two Hillel gear pieces. Can you find them?

Elementary School
Spontaneous Dancing

Friday, 2.20.15 - 10:01 AM 
The infamous - spontaneous dancing. 

Mazel Tov!


Rabbi Yaakov & Mrs. Rochel Rosenstein on the birth of a grandson to Daniel & Shoshana Zimmerman of Lakewood, NJ!

Rick and Samantha Moritz on their marriage!


Reuven and Michal Garrett on the birth of a daughter, and to grandparents Drs. Elana Bloom and Jeffrey Garrett. 

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: The Junior NCSY Regional Shabbaton in Toledo, Ohio, will be on the weekend of March 6th-8th.  This event is open to anyone in 6th through 8th grade.  Visit to register for the event. The Senior NCSY Purim Party Bus event is scheduled for Purim day (March 5th). Come enjoy the festive atmosphere and help bring the joy to residents at the Jewish Association on Aging. 
  • 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].