The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parashat Shemini
13th Day of the Omer

 April 17, 2015  

Candle Lighting
7:43 PM

28 Nisan  5775

Shabbat Ends
8:52 PM
Dvar Torah 

  On Thursday morning, I walked into school with my children and was greeted by the sobering display in our lobby reminding me that it was Yom Hashoa, Holocaust Remembrance Day. As a grandchild of survivors, this day has a lot of meaning for me, and I always hope that we remember in a honorable and meaningful way. The sign on the display reads "Yizkor." We must remember. We can never forget. But how do we remember? What are we remembering? With all of these thoughts running through my head, we quickly had to drive downtown for the zoning hearing for our new Bartlett street building. This hearing represents the beginning of our future and the much needed renovation of our entire campus. As I sat in the hearing, and saw the architects beautiful renditions of the new building, and felt the support and warmth of all the members of the Hillel family who came to show their support, I could not help but feel a sense of pride and Hakarat Hatov for all that we as a school and community have been able to accomplish. And then it was quickly back to school so I could attend our middle and high school Yom Hashoa program. At the program, Mr. Harry Schneider spoke to our students and told them his experience escaping with his family through Russia.

This week, in Parashat Shemini, we will read a description of the events that took place on the eighth and final day of the consecration of the Mishkan.  Moshe assembled the nation on that day and declared, "This is what G-d commanded of you. Do it and the glory of G-d will be revealed to you (9:6)." While the Torah seems to refer to the offerings which were now going to be brought on the Mishkan, the Torat Kohanim explains that Moshe told the people, " You shall eliminate that evil inclination from your hearts, and you shall all be united in fear of Hashem and with the intention to serve before the Almighty."


The medrash felt the need to deviate from the simple reading of the text and assumes that the Torah was not referring to ritual sacrifice. Perhaps, the medrash refers to a time when the Beit Hamikdash no longer exists and korbanot can no longer be brought. The medrash tells us that we will still be able to bring Hashem into our midst through serving Him even in the darkest of times.


At the Yom Hashoa program, a high school senior, Abe Silverman, asked Mr. Schneider if he ever lost faith in G-d, during or after the Holocaust. Mr. Schneider answered with a simple "No." He then elaborated that while he had no comprehension for why it happened, and he had many "conversations" with G-d about the Shoah over the years, the need to live his life kept him going. Perhaps this is how we remember the Shoah, we live our lives in an honorable Torah way. We build better lives, and make sure to shape a strong future.


In Parashat Shemini we are reminded that even when the Tabernacle or Temple no longer stands, the relationship between man and Hashem can still be strong. We no longer have those structures, but we have our shuls and our schools. Perhaps it was fitting that our hearing took place on Yom Hashoa. We can never forget what happened in Europe, and in that remembrance it is incumbent upon us to build a strong future. Hopefully, our new building and the learning that takes place in it will be a testament to our remembrance and zechut for the six million.


Shabbat Shalom


Rabbi Sam Weinberg

A special Israeli style lunch will be served to all K-12 students next Thursday, April 23.  

Chicken schnitzel
Tater tots
Pita bread
Rita's blue and white ice

If your child does not like the above menu items, you are welcome to pack a parve or meat lunch.  Don't forget to send in the regular snacks that day.


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

Did you read this year's Pesach Visions?
Click HERE to read insporasion divirei Torah from our teachers, administrators, students, parents and alumni. 

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 

8th Grade Raffle Winners
Pirates tickets  - Rob Itskowitz

Squirrel Hill Jewelry combo package  - Yehuda Rosenstein
Mini vacuum cleaner - Myles Neiman
$30 iTunes gift card - Rabbi Liebowitz
$25 Murray Ave kosher gift card - Benji Marcus
$25 Target gift card - Leah Brown
Spa Leah gift certificate - Yaaqov Abrams
Pizza pie from Mordy Brown catering LLC  - Rabbi Berelowitz 

Hillel Gear for Sale - The New 2015 Spring Line is HERE!


New Hillel Gear for Spring 2015  



Orders with full payment is due by Friday, April 24 to the front office.  


Please note: We are NOT taking order for ECC yet. 



Yom HaShoa 5775 - Mr. Harry Schneider 
Yom HaShoa 5775 - Mr. Harry Schnider
Yom HaShoa 5775 - Mr. Harry Schneider



Girls 2015 Spring Tennis Bracket

Rivka K.
Chaya S.
Shira S.
Elky I.
Michal A.
Chana Y.
Shira W.
Maya D.
Ariella C.
Aviva I.
Avital S.
Tali I.
Bracha B.

Mazel Tov to Coach Kraut on two victories last week, one coaching the Boys HS and one coaching the Boys MS! Elias Sports Bureau was unable to confirm if that was a first in Hillel Academy coaching history. Regardless, Coach Kraut and Coach Weinberg storm into this week's playoffs with solid lineups and the confidence of more victories than previous years.  Come cheer on the team this Sunday (April 19) as the middle school team takes on Beth Shalom at 5pm and the high school team takes on BBYO at 6pm. Both games will be played at the JCC Robinson gym. 




 This week Ms. Myers Art Club began exploring the jewel-like magic of water colors! Each student illustrated their initials beautifully. 


Spring 2015 Hockey League 



Efraim's FannyPacks

1. Yitzy B.

2. Reuven K.

3. Amitai N

4. Aaron K.


Isaac's Turtles

1. Zalman R.

2. Ben VM

3. John M.

4. Zelig L.


Yoni's Yankees

1. Yehuda R.

2. Moshe Eli C.

3. Noah L.

4. Avi A.


Benji's Brits

1. Eli J.

2. Moshe N.

3. Tovia G.

4. Pinny B,.


Eli's Jaguars

1. Natan M.

2. Yosef K.

3. Akiva Moshe S.

4. Sammy B.





Thursday March 26

4:00   Benji's Brits - 2 vs. Yoni's Yankees - 3

Thursday April 16

4:00   Efriam's FannyPacks - 21 vs. Eli's Jaguars -2


Thursday April 23

4:30   Isaac's Turtles vs. Yoni's Yankees

Thursday April 30

4:00   Eli's Jaguars vs. Benji's Brits

Thursday May 7

4:00   Efriam's FannyPacks vs. Isaac's Turtles

Tuesday May 12

4:00   Yoni's Team vs. Eli's Jaguars

Thursday May 14

4:00   Efriam's FannyPacks vs. Benji's Brits

Tuesday May 19

4:00   Isaac's Turtles vs. Eli's Jaguars

Thursday May 21

4:00   Benji's Brits vs. Isaac's Turtles

Tuesday May 26

4:00   Efriam's FannyPacks vs. Yoni's Yankees



Thursday May 28

4:00   1st Place vs. 4th Place

Tuesday June 2

4:00   2nd Place vs. 3rd Place



Thursday June 4,

4:00 Winners of the playoffs rounds will play against each other.

Weekly Photos


1st Grade Social Studies Projects
1st Grade Social Studies Projects

What Do You Miss Most?
Josh Corcos (former student) -  I miss going to school with a class of 6 of my best friends. 

Edo Pollack (former student) - 
I miss recess, even adults need it! The comfortable chairs in the principal's office. Where can I get one of those?

Lisa Brookman (former teacher and parent) - I would have to say what we miss most about HA is Morah Devorah's big, beautiful smile. We still talk about her from time to time, and Nadav says that she was the best teacher ever. 


The Third Grade has been enjoying Ron Roy's Capital Mysteries during library class.
Here they are looking for the mystery message that can be detected by finding the letters hidden somewhere within 26 pictures - one for each chapter. In coming weeks, the class will take turns reading some of the other books in the series.

Staff Feature: What do you know about Liz Greenfield?

Welcome! What brought you to Hillel? When the position opened up at the Front Desk, I felt my previous work experience could be useful.

You are now one of our administrative assistants; tell us about the transition from stay at home mom to desk worker? It has to be a little less stressful, right? Not really. I was an Executive Assistant to a CEO in New York City before I became a mom, so I feel very comfortable working again behind a desk. I like routine and organization. I get both of these things working at Hillel. 

How is it having your Ella and Levi in school with you? It is the best gift ever. When I worked in NYC, my job kept me very busy, and very far away from my family. Now I get to see them and their friends, every day. The extra hugs I get during the day are priceless.

What have you found out about Hillel, now that you are an employee, that surprised you? It takes an army to run a school, or maybe just Mrs. Aronson, but Hillel is definitely a special place where a lot of surprising things happen every day.

What's it like having to call people you know and telling them, they made a mistake, i.e. no U -turns in front of the school or they have to sign their child in when they come late or they can't park in front of school during dismissal? I haven't had too many uncomfortable conversations, but hopefully, people would want to be reminded of the school's rules. They are there for everyone's safety.

What's next for you? Summer, Summer, Summertime....

My sources tell me that your husband, who is an alum, is interested in teaching a Real Estate course on the high school level. Is there any truth to that? He is a proud Hillel grad, but no truth in the teaching part.

Now that you are in the building, do you find yourself gravitating to Rabbi Weinberg's HYPE Parsha class? Not quite yet.

Ice cream or Rita's? Ice cream

What flavor ice cream? Mint Chocolate Chip

What's your goal when answering the phone? My goal is to be helpful. I also try to speak as friendly and respectfully as possible. You can "hear" a smile, you know?

What can you tell us about the 19 new cameras? Not much, but it is nice to have the extra eyes everywhere.

Are they always on? I would hope so, but speak to Officer Brown for further details.

How pumped are you about Bucs baseball? RTJR

That has to be one of the best answers we have ever gotten here at the HH, thank you!

Give us a prediction? Hopefully, they will make it to the playoffs.

What's it like be married to the winning pitcher on the defending PZ/ST softball team? I will admit, I was very impressed by his skills, and super happy for the entire team's winning season.

Well, thanks for your time and all you do for Hillel! Good Shabbos!
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. 


Well done Rob Itskowitz on naming Adam Brustein and Rabbi Brodie in this photo!


Last Week's Photo

                                                         This Week's Photo 




Teachers Take Part in a Dyslexia Simulation
On Wednesday March 25th, several teachers participated in a Dyslexia Simulation, hosted by the  Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.  The workshop allowed the teachers to participate in 6 different activities that allowed the teachers to feel and understand what it feels like to try a task as if you had a disability. The teachers also had an opportunity to share ideas with other educators and parents from all over the Pittsburgh area. The workshop was an important opportunity for teachers to participate in professional development that is timely and helpful to their teaching everyday.  There is another professional development being offered on Understanding Dyslexia and Making Accommodations in the Classroom.  I am certain there will be a group of us participating. Thank you to Alisa Fox, Leah Brown, Barb Uebing, Michelle Bleil, Jules Heidish, and  Katie Erskine for participating in the workshop.

I want to share some recommended readings that were provided by the International Dyslexia Association.  This is a very short list.  If your are interested in the complete list, please let me know.
Understanding Dyslexia
1. Parenting a struggling reader-Hall, S.L. & Moats, L.C. (2002)
2. The Many faces of Dyslexia-Rawson, M. (1998)
3. From ABC to ADHD-Tridas, E. (2008)

General Understanding of Dyslexia
1. To read or not to read; Answers to all your questions about dyslexia-Hurford, D. (1998)
2. Understanding learning disabilities: A parent guide and workbook, Trusdell, M.L. and Horowitz,I.W. (2002)

Personal Stories about Learning Disabilities in Children
1. What's wrong with me? Cicci, R. (1995)
2. A Walk in the rain with a brain.  Hallowell, E. (2004)

As always, please feel free to contact me with any of your questions regarding learning disabilities, and your child's strengths and/or challenges.  I am here to help.

Mrs. Ella Ziff

Director of Special Services
Grade Level Coordinator K-3

Hillel Gear Spotted Here!




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.
Go Figure 

Days until the intramural hockey playoffs.

The time for the Middle School basketball playoff game on Sunday in the Robinson Gym. 
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

School days until final exams.
The time for the High School basketball playoff game on Sunday in the Robinson Gym. 
Day of the Omer
Mazel Tov!


Mazel Tov to alumna Shira (Balaban) and Aaron Breen on the birth of a baby boy, and to grandparents 
Dr. Carey and Naomi Balaban, and to the entire Balaban and Breen Families.

Mazel Tov to alum, Benji Garett on his engagment to Marisa Galbut of Miami Beach, Florida.

Mazel Tov to Elana Bloom and Jeff Garrett and the entire Garrett/Bloom and Galbut families!

Hillel Twitter Feed - What you missed while you were gone. Follow us on Twitter
@HillelAcademy1 this was hands down the best tweet I have ever received. #BestSchoolEver #WeAreSoBlessed #HillelFamily

Today my students explored watercolor @HillelAcademy1

Julian H. Preisler @Researcher25419 
Happy 2 post the cover of my new book on Pittsburgh & PA synagogues & history now avail. @HillelAcademy1 

Julian H. Preisler @Researcher25419 
@HillelAcademy1 Thanx 4 the FAV & RT re: my new book. Much appreciated
Condolences - Please send condolences to [email protected].

Around Town 


  • NCSY -
  • 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. April 22 @ 6:30 PM Tekes & Carnival 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!
  • GIRLS ONEG: Girl's Oneg every Shabbos from 3-4 in the PZ Educational Building.  All girls in grade K-6 are welcome!  Girl's Oneg in the PZ Educational building from.  For all girls in grades K-6.  PLEASE NOTE NEW TIME!
 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].