The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parashat Behar-Bechukotai
48rd Day of the Omer
May 22, 2015                                                                                                                                                  4 Sivan 5775

Shabbat Candle Lighting 

Shavuot 1 - Saturday
Candle Lighting 9:26 PM
Shavuot II - Sunday
Candle Lighting
9:27 PM
Shavuot Ends
9:28 PM
Dvar Torah 

Parashat Bamidbar begins with Moshe taking a census of Bnei Yisroel. In the opening verse the Torah states, "And G-d spoke to Moshe in the Desert of Sinai." The Medrash notes the significance of the fact that G-d's commands to Moshe were issued specifically in the desert. The Medrash notes, "whoever is unable to make himself owner-less like a desert is unable to acquire wisdom and Torah." 


The image of the desert in this Medrash is most often understood as a reference to humility. Just like a desert is regarded as barren without many features to boast about, we cannot think too highly of ourselves when trying to acquire Torah knowledge. We must recognize that knowledge can only be attained if we understand our need for more knowledge. 

 Additionally, the Medrash challenges us to, "make ourselves like a desert." This is a provocation that we must thirst for Torah knowledge like a desert thirsts for water. We must crave and cherish every drop of Torah that we come across.  As we prepare for the onset of Shavuot, and we remember our original acceptance of the Torah, we must keep these two lessons in mind. We must approach our Torah study with the humility to realize how much more there is to know, and with the thirst and desire to attain that knowledge. 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Samayach!


Rabbi Sam Weinberg

What's going on with our alumni you might ask? Well, check this...
Ben Kohane - He graduated Yeshiva University. Ben was one of the nine students honored valedictorian for outstanding academic achievement, Mazel Tov Ben! and to your parents,  Leon & Miriam Kohane, as well!

Shira  Saul - Presented at the AACE conference - in Nashville, Tennessee.
Book Blast and Kriah-A-Thon - We raised a lot of cash!


Reading is Music to Our Ears- k-4 Grade has read over 75 books this month!  Each musical note represents a book a student read.

The Kriah-A-Thon K-3rd grade raised $1035.46  The money will be sent to Keren Ha Sheviis to help the farmers in Israel who are observing the mitzvah of Shmita.  We are so proud to support these farmers and help them with their mitzvah.

Check us out on YouTube - here are a few of our more recent videos. 
The Mayor Was HERE!
The Mayor Was HERE!
Yom Shmita
Guess Who is Coming to Visit Hillel?
The Mayor
Lag B'omer - The Bnot's 3rd Video -You Know You Love It!
Lag B'omer - The Bnot's 3rd Video -You Know You Love It!
Yom Haatzmaut 5775 - Happy Birthday Israel!
Yom Haatzmaut 5775 - Happy Birthday Israel!



Our Blog

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


Visit our blog 

The Hillel Herald
What do You Miss Most?

From time to time, we list what our alumni, former parents, and teachers miss most about their time in Hillel Academy.



Danny Ackerman ('00)
- "I Miss, Ms. Oz. She was the best teacher and Mrs. Aronson. She was and still is the mother to all the Hillel students."


Jason Frumie Davis (BB) ('02) - "I miss the guys and our youth!"


Hillel Grid - Mr. Werber -What does the BHS think?

Students in the Mix

If you could go back in time and give kids older than you any advice, what would it be?

If you could change anything about the world what would it be?

What is your favorite place in your house?

Phil S

Always stay positive!

Everyone would be able to teleport so no travel would be needed.

My bed

Daniel N

Don't pick your nose (in public).

I'd make weather predictable.

My couch

Yosef CM

If you're ever cold, simply find a corner. It is usually 90 degrees.

Unlimited lives, like in video games

My porch

Ben U

You aren't born a leader. It's an acquired skill.

No wars

My desk in my room

Jacob W

Take full advantage of every opportunity!

I'd eliminate anti-Semitism.

The floor of my room

Max B

Seek shelter in the rain.

I'd give everyone care packages of toilet paper.

My dog's rug

Eitan S

High school will be better than Middle School.

The entire false logic of it.

My room

Evan S

Ask your older brothers for more advice.

Diplomacy would always work over violence.

Wherever I can get food or sleep

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Alumni Feature - Marti Reinfeld 
When did you attend Hillel Academy? 1982-1991

Share a favorite memory or two with our readers. My memories of Hillel are so vivid and tangible. They're of the steps we'd sit on in Morah Butler's kindergarten class, the hard yellow plastic chairs of the auditorium, the tire swing on the playground, and the hallways lined with pictures of previous graduating classes. Two favorites: the 2nd grade bracha bee. Sadly, I got out on spaghetti and meatballs (mezonot, of course!), but I still remember that tingly, stomach-turning feeling of being on stage with the pressure on. Years later, I'd have a short solo in our middle school performance of Annie. I loved Hillel for the opportunities it gave me to shine.

What organizations are you currently involved in? My husband and I are active members of Ohev Sholom, an open orthodox community in Washington, DC. We are proud to be part of a community that is committed to halakha, intellectual curiosity, and spiritual openness. It is a truly welcoming place.

How do you earn a living? I recently started my own consulting firm, providing team facilitation and leadership coaching. I work primarily in the public transit industry, helping organizations define their vision and design a collaborative strategy to achieve it.

How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? The critical thinking skills I developed through Torah study have been a huge part of my success as an adult. Through the foundation laid at Hillel Academy, I've become adept at untangling complex issues, generating possibilities, and analyzing solutions to drive teams towards better results.

Share some info about your family. My husband Naphtali and I just celebrated our one year anniversary. He surprises me with his new learning and growth nearly every day. I am blessed with parents that were committed to providing me with a Jewish education both in school and at home. My brothers bring me more laughter than anyone in the world and they've brought wonderful sisters-in-law into my life. And, of course, my nephew - wow, more joy than I could have imagined possible.

What do you do in your free time? I am a terrible gardener, but I love growing my own vegetables. Most of my creativity comes through cooking these days. And nothing brings me peace like spending a few nights sleeping outdoors.

Who was your first Hillel teacher? Mrs. Heller (aging myself!)

What was your favorite class? Chumash

Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why? Doctor Morah Butler - her energy is still an inspiration for me!

Share something with our students you wish someone had told you when you were in school? It's ok if you don't love math, science, English and all those other subjects. One day something will click and you'll find your passion!

Hillel Trivia - Which current Hillel parent played on the 1993 Pittsburgh Maccabi soccer team? Rob Itskowitz

Thank you so much for your time and have a wonderful Shabbos and Chag Samayach!
*Awards Luncheon - Wednesday, June 3rd at noon for students in grades 4-12 and their parents. 
Lunch will be provided for all those in attendance - the Evite was sent out. 

** Art Galley Night for all Art Clubs and HS Art Elective students and their parents - Wednesday June 3rd from 7pm - 8pm crackers & cheese will be served - an Evite was sent out.

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Spring 2015 Hockey League  

Playoff Game - 1st seed Efriam vs. 4th seed yoni on Tuesday May 26 at 4:00 pm.
Playoff Game - 2nd seed Isaac vs. 3rd seed Eli on Thursday May 28 at 4:00 pm.
Championship Game - Winners of both playoff games on Tuesday June 2 at 4:00 pm. 

Weekly Photos
Student volunteers enjoyed the fresh air after IOWA exams and helped plant some flowers in the raised boxes at the front of the school.

3rd-grade sending messages with Morse code on a telegraph!

5th Grade Girls Art Museum Trip

INTEL ISEF Conference at the David L. Convention Center

Thanks to the Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets Donation program, 38 people attended the Bucs/Twins game.  The BHS was there for their davening trip, there were Hillel Happenings winners, art club winners, rebbes/teachers, and people who were lucky enough to get the left over tickets. Yes, they davened Maariv. 

Do you HYPE? Everyone is Doing It! You Should!

Next N'shei HYPE will be held on Sunday June 7th; at the home of Mrs. Debbie Eisner - 6344 Monitor St. Mrs. Ariella Wiesenfeld will be the guest speaker. 

Sunday Evening June 7th- N'shei
Sunday June 14th- Family Learning and Breakfast Grand Finale 

Ongoing HYPE classes that people are still welcome to join #It'sNeverTooLateForTorah:

Rabbi Weinberg, Parsha (Thursdays 1:30-2:15PM)
Mrs. Lisa Cook, Pirvei Avos (Tuesdays 8:30-9:15AM)
Morah Irit Taasan, Ulpan Ivrit (Tuesdays 7:30-8:15PM)
Rabbi Levy, Talmud (Mondays 8:30-9:15PM)

Email Rabbi Levy for more information, sponsorship opportunities and to register:
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. 



Wow, Mr. Tomko is a popular guy! We received the most entries for his photo than ever before in the history of the Hillel Happenings. 


Well done, Dr. Ed Ross, Paula Weisman, Rena (Margolis) Apt, Mischa Gelman, Rob Itskowitz, Brian Goldwasser, Amy Cohn, Ranisa (Rubin) Davidson, Stephanie Davis, Allen Herman


Last Week's Photo   

                                           This Week's Photo  



Hillel Gear Spotted Here!
No one answered last week's Hillel gear video correctly. Try again. Name the former Bucco in this YouTube clip.

The GHS recently embarked on this year's retreat. Rivka is pictured here, sporting her Hillel GHS hoody at river's edge. Did you order Spring Hillel Gear? It's HERE!


Tomchei Shabbos



If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in volunteering, please contact Daniel Kraut at 
Go Figure!

Followers on Instagram.

View on Instagram
Facebook "likes" of the Hillel Academy page, TEN more than last week. 

We did it! Thank you all for helping us reach our goal of 500! We are now pushing for 550! Let's do it!

500 Facebook Likes!
500 Facebook Likes!

                        Like us on Facebook

Twitter followers,
obviously we are looking for more. Help us reach 200.
 Follow us on Twitter

Tweets we have tweeted. 
Mazel Tov!


Mazel Tov Rabbi Yisroel & Chana Pfeffer on the birth of a grandson, Shmuel!
Mazel Tov to Fishy and Leah Milch on the birth of a 
granddaughter to Yaakov and Tehila Milch! 

Mazel Tov to alum, Elie and Reina Mendelson on the birth of a daughter!

Mazel Tov to Mr. and Mrs. Abby Mendelson on the birth of a granddaughter!

Mazel Tov to Mr. and Mrs. Jefferey Ackerman on the birth of a grandduaghter!

Mazel Tov to alum, Danny and Tali Ackerman on the birth their daughter! 

Click HERE for information and HERE for registration. 

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Click HERE to start shopping

Do you Tweet? We do -  Follow us on Twitter

@HillelAcademy1 It actually makes perfect sense if you really think about it ... what is the
mayor if not a shaliachtzibur? #brilliantchild


Enjoying the Pirates game with the kids@HillelAcademy1 

(Editor's note - Rabbi Goldberg and his kids were really at a Pirates game even though they had their KC gear on, #Beblue)


Did you know we are on Instagram - View on Instagram

Condolences - Please send condolences to


Blanche Margolis, OB"M
Beloved mother-in-law of Gladys Margolis 



Around Town 


  • Through His Eyes: The Teachings of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein - Join Rabbi Daniel Yolkut for a new class, reading the essays of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt'l, - 1:30 PM Wednesdays at the home of Mrs. Chantze Butler. Tackle issues both timely and timeless, through the eyes of this recently deceased giant of Torah! 
    Classes begin Classes begin Wednesday, May 6.  
  • NCSY - Pittsburgh NCSY will be having a "Shavuoton" on the 22nd-25th of May. This event is open to all 8th-12th graders and will include amazing advisors, NCSY all-night-learning, ice cream, socializing, and more.
  • BNEI AKIVA: Snif this week is back at 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 3:30 -4:30 in the PZ Educational Building.  All girls in grade K-6 are welcome!  Girl's Oneg in the PZ Educational building for all girls in grades K-6.  

     Please send information by Sunday to




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

Please send condolence notices to