The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parashat Vayikra
Shabbat HaChodesh
 March 20, 2015  

Candle Lighting
7:14 PM

 29 Adar 5775

Shabbat Ends
8:23 PM
Dvar Torah 


   In the onset of Parashat Vayikra, we are introduced to the requirement that any animal brought as a sacrifice must possess the quality of tamim - "completeness."   The Talmud in Masekhet Bekhorot (39a) concludes that the tamim requirement extends even to an animal missing a certain internal organ.  


     Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, in his Torah commentary, explains the symbolic significance of this requirement of tamim, which demands both external and internal perfection:


 "So that for each and every aspect of our relation to G-d which is to be expressed by an offering, "completion,"  is the first and most indispensable condition... Anything missing of the living creature which is to express our relation to G-d would give the idea of excluding this missing organ, and thereby the sphere of our life which this organ serves to represent, from our relation to G-d, and from our giving ourselves up to Him in that particular certain is it that the very smallest, the slightest keeping back of any part of ourselves and our lives as being excluded from our relation to G-d is a denial of His Oneness."


    The sacrificial offering represents the concept of our devotion to Hashem.  The absence of any organ,  whether external or internal, would imply that the aspect of our being which is signified by that organ is excluded from this devotion.  The requirement of tamim thus relates to the all-encompassing nature of avodat Hashem, the obligation we bear to devote ourselves entirely to the service of G-d.  Just as every part of the animal must be present and intact for it to qualify as a sacrifice, so must each and every part of our body and soul be included in our religious devotion.  


 We all have unique talents and traits that help us relate to our service of Hashem. For some of us, religion is intellectual, as we explore the depths of the Torah and nuances of Halacha with our brains. For others it is emotional, as we search for spiritual heights within the depths of our "hearts." And for others it is through our arms as they shake a lulav, our hands when they are used to save lives, or our eyes when they are used to seek out the the less fortunate among us. While all these strengths are necessary,  it is important that we focus on being well-rounded as well, to ensure that every part of our body and soul is included in our devotion to Hashem. 


Shabbat Shalom                          


Rabbi Sam Weinberg


Hillel Academy in the Local News  

Endowment for Hillel Academy to underwrite art, music teachers

Hillel Academy, a private Orthodox Jewish day school in Squirrel Hill, hasn't been able to afford a dedicated art or music teacher.

But in the fall, it will have both, thanks to an endowment of about $1 million created in memory of Joshua

Sindler, who graduated from Hillel in 1986 and died of cancer at the age of 45 last year.The endowment - which is the school's largest - will be used to create the Joshua Sindler Creative Classrooms Art & Music Program."It takes you from being a great school to a school of excellence," Hillel CEO Dan Kraut said. "One of the things parents are always asking about when they come to look at a school, and ours especially, is what type of art and music [is there]? How is the kid going to get to express his thoughts and his knowledge and his spirituality?"

Mr. Kraut said any art and music during the school day at Hillel is now done by the regular classroom teacher. Some students participate in after-school clubs in art, music and other activities.

He said the school is in the process of hiring an art teacher and a music teacher who will help develop the direction of the new program that will be part of the regular school day.

The school recently hosted a kickoff musical celebration, and Mr. Kraut said artist Burton Morris, a Pittsburgh native, will be creating a piece of artwork. He said Mr. Sindler loved Mr. Morris' artwork.

Mr. Kraut knew Mr. Sindler growing up because they went to the same camp and youth groups. "He was a quiet guy," said Mr. Kraut, who said Mr. Sindler expressed himself through leading religious services with his melodious voice and photography.

Mark Sindler of Squirrel Hill, his brother, said Joshua Sindler enjoyed singing as he read from the prayer book, Torah or at services at Congregation Poale Zedeck and Young Israel of Pittsburgh, both in Squirrel Hill.Joshua Sindler attended Hillel from kindergarten through 12th grade, going on to the University of Pittsburgh and then earning his bachelor's degree from Yeshiva University, his brother said. He had lived in New York City, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, holding various jobs, when he was diagnosed with cancer on Dec. 17, 2012. He died on Jan. 30, 2014, a week shy of his 46th birthday.Before his death, the family didn't discuss a memorial.
"Everybody who was involved in helping him had their eye on the prize, the prize being continued life," Mark

Sindler said. Later, the family realized the potential to make an endowment to the school.

 "It just seemed appropriate to honor him in this way. Here's a need the school has. Here's how we can overcome that need," Mark Sindler said."He so would have loved and so would have been taken aback by this and yet it comes about only because of his absence."

Family donors include his parents, Marilyn and Norman Sindler of Squirrel Hill; his brother Mark and his wife, Deb Press Sindler; and another brother, Ross, also of Squirrel Hill.In addition to family donations, the endowment received money from the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

To read the article in full - click here

Camp Hillel!
Click HERE for information and HERE for registration. 

At last, a 'mission-driven' summer camp with Hillel values in mind

For years, it has been a recurring phenomenon at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh: As summer ends and children file back to school, administrators of the Orthodox day school receive emails from several parents all asking for the same thing - a summer camp that reflects the values of Hillel, said Rabbi Sam Weinberg, the school's principal and education director.

This summer, that camp finally will be launched, he said.

The new camp, which will serve those in preschool through eighth grade within three separate divisions, "will be educational, but fun," Weinberg said. "It will provide a productive environment for kids to grow and to participate in Hillel-like activities."

The camp, which is open to Jewish children from throughout the community, regardless of whether they are enrolled as students at Hillel Academy, is "mission-driven," according to Weinberg.
"We want to provide Jewish camping experiences for all kids in Pittsburgh, including those in public schools," he said. "We want it to be an affordable camp that nurtures kids."

 To read the article in its entirety, please visit the Jewish Chronicle website. 

Reprinted with permission from The Jewish Chronicle. 

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8th Grade Raffle Tickets for Sale

Buy your 8th grade Raffle Tickets   - proceeds go to fund their Washington D.C. trip. 


1 for $2 or 3 for $5 - 4 tickets to a Pittsburgh Pirates game and various gift cards are among some of the prizes. 


Call the front office 412.521.8131 or email [email protected]



The Monday and Wednesday Ceramics Club finished their  first project - the pinch pot. Thank you Mrs. Fox! 

Mazel tov to the Mishna Club on completing Masechet Taanit! They will now begin Masechet Horayot. Thank
you Rabbi Berelowitz!

The New Drawing Club with Ms. Wontrop that began last week. 

The PG photographer takes some photo's for this past Monday's article. 

Drawing with pure carbon - the oldest drawing material known to man! Also using bread as an eraser. Yum!

Alumni Feature: Josh Weinberg
When did you attend Hillel Academy? 1987-2002

Share a favorite memory or two with our readers? Playing football in the oversized eighth-grade boys basement classroom and running down the super happy fun slide in McKeesport.

What organizations are you currently involved in? Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (Board member of NextGen division) and Akiva Hebrew Day School (tuition committee).

How do you earn a living? Real Estate Attorney

How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future?
By teaching me that you need to scrap for anything you get... no institution is a substitute for your own efforts.

Share some info about your family.
I am married to my beautiful wife, Julia, and I have, bli ayin hara, three awesome and amazing kids, Sultana, 3, Netanel, 2, and Benno, 3 months old.

What was your favorite class? Rabbi Lichtenstein's Bible class

Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why?
Rabbi Silver; a true mentsch

Most interesting person in your contacts?
Adam Reinherz

Share something with our students you wish someone had told you when you were in school?
Take advantage of everything possible to gain as much knowledge as you possibly can because once you get into the real world, there is simply no time; that being said, don't be consumed by education, make sure you make time for hanging out with your classmates and friends.

Do you care to elaborate on your job? As a Detroit real estate professional, I am intimately connected with and taking part in, the current Detroit revitalization that is occurring and about which you may have read in various news outlets. It is just such a great opportunity to be a part of, and I hope that Detroit can continue its momentum. Something you should know... Detroiters often look to Pittsburgh as one of the model cities which successfully transitioned from heavy industry to a more diversified economy, something Detroit is in the process of doing. Pittsburgh is a true model of what Detroit hopes to emulate.

What would it take to bring you back to Pittsburgh? In Pittsburgh, I have really only known one home, and it would be awkward living anywhere else, so I'd have to buy my parent's house back from the current occupants. If that opportunity arose... who knows? 

What kind of Torah learning to you take part in? Not nearly enough... that being said, when I do learn, it's usually going through a random mesechta of gemorah that interests 
me at that time. 

You mentioned Rabbi Silver. I seem to remember you learning with him in the Mesitva Bais Medresh. Tell us about that.

Rabbi Silver is an incredibly erudite individual whose humility masks his true genius; he is patient, kind and slow to anger; I encourage everyone who has not had the chance to meet him to make your way over to Young Israel and sit in for a shiur or two. We did learn together at Mesivta; unfortunately I was too immature at the time to fully take advantage of Rabbi Silver's knowledge. He set me on the path of being able to read a page of Talmud. 


What made Mesivta memorable? MR. ISADORE JOSHOWITZ

Just so our readers are clear, you are Rabbi Weinberg's first cousin. What does it mean to you that he is leading the next generation of Orthodox Jews in Pittsburgh? I am so happy and excited for the Pittsburgh Jewish community. There were a lot of problems with Hillel when I was a student there, as is common in almost any Jewish institution, and Rabbi Weinberg is really taking the lead in tackling those issues and bringing excitement, innovation and love of learning to the school. I am so proud of him and privileged to call him my cousin. One of my regrets in living in Detroit is that there doesn't exist an up and coming Hillel where I can send my kids to and a growing and innovative principal, like Rabbi Weinberg, that my kids can learn from.

Any Pesach plans? We plan to be in the New York area, so if anyone wants to see me then, give me a ring


 If you had to choose between Mesivta Magic 2000 team and the current Akiva High School team, who wins? guess that depends if they were willing to put me on that Mesivta team... 

Josh, thank you for your time. Have a wonderful shabbos and if that house ever becomes available, let us know and we will hold three spots for you. 

Alumni Updates

Family Feature - Lauren (and Elan and Tamar) Noorparvar
Where did you move from? The Boston area but most recently Tel Aviv, Israel.

What's your favorite part of Hillel Academy, thus far?
 Meeting so many nice new people in the community.

What's the best-kept secret of Hillel Academy? The resource room!

Do you have any special family traditions you would like to share with our readers? We eat ice cream every night so long as it's above 15 degrees outside

Share something about your family that makes you unique. We have lived in eight different cities in the past year.

Can you name those 8 cities? What stands out about them? Ramat Aviv was awesome because a) it's in Israel and b) it's both a quiet community and it's in close proximity to downtown Tel Aviv (easy access to the shul and the beach!) and it has the best sephardi shul I've ever attended. Framingham, MA and Pawtucket, RI are where our families live. The Bronx in New York has the most awesome zoo, ever! Washington, DC is super expensive, but wonderfully clean. Baltimore, MD has one long street full of Kosher food.Queens, NY....I've got nothing. And Pittsburgh...I'm absolutely obsessed with Phipps.

What do you do with the projects your daughter brings home? Hang them on the fridge until there are too many - then put them in a folder...I can't throw anything away!

What made you choose Hillel Academy? Rabbi Weinberg bothered me until I came :)
Tell us more about your family? My daughter Tamar is 15 months old and she's in the Teeny Tiny Tots class at Hillel Academy.

What brought you to Pittsburgh? My husband Elan just started his residency in internal medicine at Allegheny General Hospital. We were so excited to find a shomer shabbat residency position outside the state of New York. Neither of us had ever been to Pittsburgh before but we were so pleasantly surprised by the amazing Jewish community here (and how nice people are here in general).

What do you and your husband do for a living? Elan is a doctor at AGH and I have a Master's degree in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis and I currently work in the resource room as a student support teacher at Hillel Academy.

What's the best part of Spring?  Taking walks in the sun! 

When will you begin Pesach cleaning? Soon I hope!! 

How do you prepare for the seder? Our family has a custom to hit each other with scallions during Dayenu so the most important part of our seder prep is finding the biggest, most durable scallions!

Weekly Photos

The Banot's Latest Video -
The Banot's Latest Video - "Switch"
What Do You Miss Most?
Daniel Reimer ('00) - I miss the Turner Dairy Farm orange drink. In terms of the Mesivta of Greater Pittsburgh (MGP), I definitely miss the athletics. Mesivta set my career as an assistant scorekeeper in motion.

Jeff Peters (former PE teacher, who now works for Forbes Road CTC in Monroeville) - I miss walking into a gym full of smiling, eager faces, who were ready to participate and learn about physical education. Having the opportunity and challenge of teaching almost every student in the school; nursery -12th grade was a great experience that allowed me to grow as a person and educator. I am beyond grateful that Hillel gave me my first teaching opportunity. One last thing, I also miss the after school hockey club! Great times!! I hope all is well, Hillel Academy. 

Rabbi Admon

The Matzah Oven 

3.19.15 - 12:29 PM

Side entrance
Rabbi Admon prepares the matzah oven for the second year in a row.  Like last year, he will help facilitate  as many students as possible to have the opportunity to experience baking matzahs in a brick oven. 

Go Figure 

School days until Pesach Break.

Players in the 2015 Spring Intramural Hockey League. 
Facebook "likes" of the Hillel Academy page. NINE more than last week. We are pushing for 500. 
Who is going to be our 500th?!? 

                        Like us on Facebook

Bricks in Rabbi Admon's matzah oven, which will be used to bake matzahs with the students. 
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 flashback Friday's photo is of Ilana (Balaban) Kanal and Rena (Margolis) Apt.

Well done Rena (Margolis) Apt and Jesse Mendelson for correctly guessing the photo. 

                                                         This Week's Photo 


Hillel Gear Spotted Here
This one was taken over winter break.  It is unclear how Rabbi Ari Goldberg is wearing the 2015 Alumni Basketball Jersey, but it's still a good look.  Ezra, 2nd-grade is sporting the classic "Building tomorrow's leaders" tee. If only the giraffe was wearing a Hillel ball cap, it would be a perfect photo. 
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!


Rabbi and Mrs. Shimon Silver on the birth of a grandson to Yoseif Meir and Leeba Rich of Lakewood! 


Mazel Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Avrohom Rodkin on the bat mitzvah of their daughter, Bluma!


Mazel Tov to Bluma Rodkin on her bat mitvah!

Condolences - Please send condolences to [email protected].

Around Town 


  • NCSY - 1) Shabbat 100: Pittsburgh NCSY is partnering with multiple other Pittsburgh youth organizations in an attempt to gather 100 Jewish teens for a festive Friday night dinner. The event is scheduled to take place on March 27th at the Jewish Community Center.  For more information and/or to help sponsor the event, please contact Rabbi Goldberg.

    2) There will also be a Pittsburgh NCSY Chapter Shabbaton over the weekend of March 27th-29th. This event is open to all teens in 9th-12th grade. Come enjoy festive meals, great advisors and a fun Saturday night activity. If you plan on attending, please rsvp to

  • BNEI AKIVA: Snif this week is back at it's new time, 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM 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!
  • GIRLS ONEG: Girl's Oneg every Shabbos from 3-4 in the PZ Educational Building.  All girls in grade K-6 are welcome!  Join us for a special Pre-Pesach program, "Makos Madness" on Shabbos March 28th!  No Girl's Oneg on April 4th and 11th.
 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].