The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parashat Tazria-Metzora
2oth Day of the Omer
 April 24, 2015  

Candle Lighting
7:50 PM

5 Iyar 5775

Shabbat Ends
8:59 PM
Dvar Torah 

Parashat Tazria introduces the laws of tzara'at, a type of skin-disease which renders the patient tamei (ritually impure). It is interesting to note the centrality of the role of the kohen throughout the tzara'at process. The kohen was the only one who could formally declare the presence of tzara'at and the kohen is the one who conducts the metzora's process of purification. Even if a lay-person is highly educated and qualified in the field of tzara'at, a kohen is still needed to declare a metzorah. The kohen's role is often seen as symbolic of the function served by the spiritual guides and leaders in "purifying" the community from their spiritual ills. In every generation, the role of the religious leaders is to identify any detachment of the community, and ensure that return to our tradition. 

This past week the Nation of Israel mourned the loss of one of our true visionaries and gedolim, Rav Aaron Lichtenstein, zt"l. While I personally only heard Rav Lichtenstein speak once, his Torah and legacy is one that I personally felt through many of my rebbeim and through his many written works. In the model of the kohen in the mishkan, Rav Lichtenstein had a keen ability of diagnosing the spiritual and religious state of the community and his insightful and powerful words brought inspiration to so many. 

This week was an emotional week on many levels. We transitioned from the individual loss of Rav Lichtenstein, to the collective mourning of Yom Hazikaron, to the communal celebration of 67 years of Israeli sovereignty. This year Yom Hazikaron seemed especially difficult. The three murdered teenagers, the war in Gaza, and the massacre in Har Nof, the sacrifice and loss seemed more painful than most years. 

In a sicha given on Yom Ha'atzmaut during the second intafada in 2001, Rav Lichtenstein gave words of inspiration to his Yeshiva:

We must [therefore] strengthen our awareness of G-d's constant providence and its significance. ...This is especially true regarding our attitude towards the State of Israel. Many young people relate to the existence of the state as a fundamental and natural given, and not as an awe-inspiring novelty. It is incumbent upon us to renew our "eye contact" with the providential eye. We must internalize the understanding that, without our connection to G-d who each day anew makes our existence and the existence of the entire world possible, our existence would have no foundation.

Unfortunately, it is precisely in times of trouble that we often learn to appreciate the enormity of the gift that we receive each day. At those times, we find ourselves more and more aware of the constant support and assistance that G-d heaps upon us.

As we celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, let us pray that G-d should spread over us His shelter of peace and remove from us all troubles and dangers. Let us hope that even when we are no longer threatened by enemies, we shall continue to appreciate G-d's providential eye, which oversees our actions, maintains the State of Israel on a daily basis, and watches over us each day, constantly from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

May G-d continue to watch over Israel, and each of us, and may we continue to celebrate and appreciate all of G-d's blessings.

Shabbat Shalom


Rabbi Sam Weinberg

Yom Haatzmaut


Yom Haatzmaut 5775 - Happy Birthday Israel!
Yom Haatzmaut 5775 - Happy Birthday Israel!


So much went into making the program an educational and exciting day for the divisions. Thank you to Yuval and Anat for the school decoration. Thank you Morah Tovi, Mrs. Tal, Rabbi Weinberg, Abe Silverman, Yaakov Kaminsky, and Morah Irit who made this all possible!

Special thank you to all the parent volunteers who helped with the lunch, and a special thank you to Linda Joshowitz and Lah Milch who continue to ensure that Yom Ha'atzmaut and Rosh Chodesh are special days of celebration for our students!




Yom Hazikaron 5775

Together with the rest of the Jewish Nation, this past Wednesday we mourned  those who have lost their lives in defense of our Homeland or who have been murdered in terror attacks over the years.

The girls division held a tekes in our library beginning with an introduction from Rabbi Weinberg, readings by our high school students followed by candle lightings, a documentary about those who have fallen during the past year, as well as a video message which was recorded the previous night from Sharin (Shlomit) Berman, a native Pittsburgher who now works for the Iron Dome unit in the IDF. The program concluded with a recitation of Tehillim. 

The boys division was had a similar program and were fortunate enough to have alum, Micha Stiebel and his roommate SKYPE with the boys.  Micha told his experience of being in the IDF and what the day meant to him. They both answered questions and helped the students understand the importance of this solemn day. 

Yom Hazikaron 5775
Yom Hazikaron 5775

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Did you read this year's Pesach Visions?
Click HERE to read inspiration 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]


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Hillel Grid - Mr. Werber


in the


What is your favorite thing to do outside?

What is your favorite picnic food?

If you could have anything in your backyard, what would it be?

Uzi J.

Play soccer


The Statue of Liberty

Elyara M.

Play on the playground

Ice cream

A swimming pool

Ari R.

Play with cards


A rock

Chaskie Y.

Go biking

A jelly sandwich with pickles

A log cabin

Yishai T.



A basketball court

Avi B.

Run around


A backyard

Josh S.

Play sports

A turkey sandwich

A trampoline

Geri P.

Pretend to fly

Ice cream cookies

The world's largest ice skating rink

Nechama R.

Bike in my neighborhood


A playground

Yoni K.

Play kickball


A statue of every Pokemon

David K.

Flying kites


A hockey rink

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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.  


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What Do You Miss Most?
Julie Sax - Hannah Ackerman as a classmate. 

Menachem Brodie - The atmosphere at Mesivta.

Rachel WiesenfeldI miss everything, but specifically the production- it was so fun being able to bond with all the students over something so awesome.

Jill (Joshowitz) Zisook - Definitely Mrs. Aronson's cookies!

*Awards Luncheon is June 4 at noon for grades 4-12 and their parents and new for this year our first annual Art Gallery Night on June 3 for grades 4-12 at 7pm. Invitations and flyers will be out next week. 

Middos Club
Middos Club

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.
Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!
It's a great day in Hillel Academy! Mazel tov to Coach Weinberg & Coach Kraut and to both the middle and high school basketball teams on their JCC Sunday Night League playoff victories! We put in a call to The Elias Sports Bureau to find out if the high school and middle school ever won playoff games on the same day. They are unsure. Either way, playoffs continue next week at 5pm for the middle school vs. Temple Sinai and 6pm for the high school vs. South Hills. Both games will be played at the JCC Robinson Gym. Come cheer on both teams!!


Aaron sinks a 3 in the first round of the playoff 2015.
Aaron sinks a 3 in the first round of the playoff 2015.


BHS Football Roster and Schedule 


TEAM 1 - Steelers
Moshe W.
Ezra K. 
Evan S. 
Efraim M.
Mike S.

TEAM 2 - Pirates
Eitan S., 
Akiva S.
Yosef CM
Phil S.
TEAM 3 - Penguins
Ben U.
Jacob W.
Daniel N.
Moshe Dovid L.
Avigdor F.

April 21, 28 

May 5, 12, 19 &  29 (championship game)
Games 1: Steelers 34 - Pirates 12
Game 2: Steelers 22 - Penguins 12

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 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 - 11 vs. Yoni's Yankees - 0

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   Efiam'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


Hilchot Shabbat projects.

2nd grade recites the Pledge at the Naturalization Ceremony at Federal Court House.
2nd grade recites the Pledge at the Naturalization Ceremony at Federal Court House.
Second grade finished Parshat Lech Lecha. Mazel Tov!
Second grade finished Parshat Lech Lecha. Mazel Tov!

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

Alumni Updates
Jill (Joshowitz) Zisook - Jill is finishing up her master's in ancient Jewish History at the Bernard Revel Graduate School at YU, and will be starting a PhD at NYU in the fall where she will be specializing in ancient Judaism and rabbinics. Jill works part-time at an Israeli art gallery in New York called Stein Rose Fine Art which specializes in contemporary Israeli painters. 

Julie Sax - Was just accepted as a P
alliative Care Fellow at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center (Bronx, NY) after completion of her PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency in July 2015.

Avrumi Kanal -  Was just accepted to the residency program in Internal Medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Rachel Wiesenfeld - Was just accepted to Drexel University Physical Therapy program. 

Who: Kindergartners
When:10:23 AM - 4.21.15
Where: ECC hallway - outside of the back office suit
These students walked into school carrying their classes ball basket.  Upon seeing me (Reb Shaw) they politely told me (with straight faces) they were carrying the mizbayach.  Obviously, I had to take a photo. I wish I had asked some follow-up questions. #Pricless #TorahisOrah

Alumni Spotlight  - Stephanie Davis
When did you attend Hillel Academy? 1970-1974

Share a favorite memory or two with our readers? Hillel high school was in a small 4 bedroom house. I just loved the closeness it gave all of us. We were like one big family. Also, I loved how my schoolmates would surround me while I played my guitar.

How do you earn a living? I am an Insurance Specialist, specializing in Life and Health Insurance, but involved with all lines of insurance.

Please tell us more. I am the office manager and insurance specialist with Truschel insurance.  We are an independent broker for all lines of insurance and we represent many different insurance companies.  We are located at 1709 Murray Ave and welcome walk-ins. Ever since Obamacare started I've helped many people understand and enroll in health insurance on and off the marketplace.   I don't think people realize this, but we do not charge a fee for our services. If a customer buys an insurance policy whether life, health, auto, etc, we are compensated by the individual insurance company. We have a tab page ad in the Mikvah book! BTW, Teddy also works in the office part time. He's been in the insurance business a lot longer than I have!

How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? Hillel gave me the tools religiously and secularly to handle and overcome any situation, good or not so good.

Share some info about your family. Hmmm, where do I begin? My 3 daughters went to Hillel; Leora, Debra and Ariel, as did their father, my late husband Chaim Reichenberg, obm. And now we're 3 generations in Hillel thanks to the Kell twins and their parents! I have 2 grandsons: Chaim and Yitzy who live in Israel with Debra and her husband Ben. Leora is a high school English teacher and she runs Camp Extreme, a camp for teens at risk. She is also a Big Sister...she's an amazing young lady. B'H'', I was fortunate to remarry to my wonderful husband of 21 years, Teddy Davis. Or, as Chaim and Eli call him affectionately, "Grandpa Buddy!" They couldn't say Teddy and the Buddy just stuck. I have a stepson and a step-granddaughter too, Teddy's son and granddaughter. I could go on and on, but I won't bore you.

It's not boring we love the nachas. 

What do you do in your free time? Excuse me...did you say free time?!?! If I do find some free time I just love spending as much time as possible with the twins, Chaim and Eli. I also try and exercise as much as possible. Reading is another thing I enjoy when I'm able.

Hillel Trivia - How many combined wins do the middle and high school basketball teams have? I can't tell you this, but I can tell you that Chaim Reichenberg was the high school basketball coach back in the day!

Who was your first Hillel teacher? Oh gosh, there were several. Classes were set up different then. I honestly can't remember a "first" teacher.

What was your favorite class? Favorite class. You're asking me to go back like 45 years! I can tell you that after being in public school for elementary grades, I just really enjoyed being at Hillel. It made me happy.

Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why? Rabbi Rottenberg, ob"m was the Principal at the time and I always loved and admired him. Whether in class or at his house, when he spoke, you couldn't help but listen. He always made me want more. He actually was M'sader Kiddusha for Chaim and me. He and his wife were special people.

What's it like having your grandkids attend the same school you did?
Even having my children attending my school was cool, but to have my grandkids attend it is actually surreal. I sometimes wonder what Chaim would have thought about his grandchildren attending his high school.

What's the best part of Pittsburgh in the Spring?
Pittsburgh in the Spring? Pittsburgh is such a beautiful city. I'm born and raised here. When Spring comes there's so much beauty to take in. I love walking in different places whether it be the many parks, downtown, Station Square, the many trails.....I could go on.
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 Tova Weinberg, Elisheva Rosenberg and Deenie Wasserman!


"I know everyone in this photo because I was the one who took it. Class of '06," Deenie Wasserman

(Starting from top left clockwise)

Yehudis Rosenberg, Ariel Reichenberg, Gabi Corcos, Traci Levine, Sarah Lewis, Tziporah Kanal, Danit Pilch, Hannah Golden, Suzana Zlotnikov                                               

                                                                                                         This Week's Photo  


Last Week's Photo   





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 

Playoff victories this past Sunday. Come cheer on both teams, this Sunday at 5pm and 6pm in the Robinson Gym.  
Facebook "likes" of the Hillel Academy page. THREE 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.
Day of the Omer
Mazel Tov!


Mazel  Tov to Morah Gladys Margolis on the Bar Mitzvah of her grandson, Yitzi son of Sheri (Margolis) and Elchonon Kass. 

Condolences - Please send condolences to [email protected].

Marvin Newman ob'm


beloved father of 
Bruce Gelman

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 3:30 -4:30 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].