The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parashat Nasso
May 29, 2015  -  11 Sivan 5775

Shabbat Candle Lighting - 
8:23 PM
Shabbat Ends - 
9:32 PM
Weekly Dvar Torah 

This week's Parsha discusses the gifts that were brought by the nesi'im, tribal leaders, during the dedication ceremony of the Mishkan. In this section, the Torah details the exact gifts brought by each leader. This extensive description is rather puzzling since each leader brought an identical gift. Why did the Torah not simply describe the specifics of the gift one time, why go through the details of the entire gift for each Nasi?

One answer given, is that the Torah here is emphasizing the uniqueness of each gift, even though they all consisted of the same materials. The Torah is telling us that even though the gift was the same, each Nasi was able to imbue in the gift his personal feelings, emotions, and meaning. 

On the surface, one can look at Judaism as a conformist religion where everyone is taught to look the same, think the same, and act the same. The reality is, that this is not the case. While we have certain tenets of belief that are unwavering, and certain practices that we all do, the goal is to take those practices and imbue them with personal meaning and make them uniquely our own. At Hillel Academy, we may follow formal math and science curricula and teach Jewish texts that haven't changed in thousands of years, but our goal is to make each learner a part of the process of integrating the lessons into their everyday lives and persona.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Sam Weinberg

Alumni Updates
  • Former Hillel Academy teacher, Mr. Tomko has been in Montefiore Hospital since December recovering from surgery.
  • Mazel Tov to alum, Ari Zecher on his marriage to Aurora Carlson in Ein Gedi, Israel!
National Honor Society Induction Ceremony


On Tuesday, Hillel Academy held it's annual National Honor Society Induction Ceremony. This year's

 inductees were Joshua Hertzberg, Adina Kisilinsky, Daniel Nimchinsky, and Chedva Silver.  As is common practice, the administration along with the inductees and their families enjoyed a fresh breakfast.  All students in grades 6-12 were present as Hillel's principal and educational director, Rabbi Sam Weinberg began the ceremony with words of Torah and then introduced Mrs. Yikara Levari who is not only the assistant principal but also the National Honor Society Co-Advisor.  Mrs. Levari welcomed everyone by explaining about the society and how special it is to be inducted.  She also added words of Torah from the Navi and then introduced her mentor and key-note speaker, Dr. Geroge Szymanski who gave the charge to the inductees - "What Makes a Good Leader." 


As always the ceremony was meaningful and inspiring.  Mazel tov to the inductees and as Dr. Szymanski said, "to the families and teachers for helping the students achieve this milestone."


Former and current National Honor Society Inductees.

Former National Honor Society Inductees


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. [email protected]


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.


Steven Kohane - I miss the camaraderie that existed with my classmates, as well as with members of the other grades. I also miss the close mentorship and care of all of the Rabbeim and teachers. 

Alumni Feature - Mayer Seidman
 Meyer, welcome back! Thanks for taking time to chat with me.

When did you attend Hillel Academy? 1995 - 2001

Share a favorite memory or two with our readers?
My favorite memory would have to be Rabbi Adler's Junior Student Council. He turned unused time (Sunday mornings) and made it a terrific experience.

What was so great about it? 
Junior Student Council was a group that had activities for 6-8 boys. It elected a president, vp, treasurer maybe etc. On Rosh Chodesh, the council had a special lunch, speaker, and of course football. On Sunday mornings, there was a breakfast, learning, and football. It was a terrific and simple idea. 

What organizations are you currently involved in? - a startup

Can you share more about what you do there? Here at Learn2Earn we have a platform that allows kids and classes to log their reading. Students who log their reading have an avatar (we call them 
owlvatars) and get points when reading, answering questions, interacting with friends etc. There's a lot going on in the platform. We have lots of schools using our platform for Read-a-Thon fundraisers. Beit Raban in the Upper East Side had tremendous success with us. Kids read. School gets money. Win win. 

How do you earn a living?
I do Computer Programming and User Experience Design.

How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future?
Obviously, a solid education. But more importantly, the ability to make lasting connections with other people, is invaluable at all stages.

What do you do in your free time?
I spend time biking, reading, finding new coffee spots I haven't been to, and most importantly, surfing.

Share something with our students you wish someone had told you when you were in school? Don't focus on grades, as hard as that is to imagine. Focus on trying as many experiences as you can.

Hillel Trivia - Which current Hillel parent played on the 1993 Pittsburgh Maccabi soccer team? Danny Shaw

Who was your first Hillel teacher? I think it was Mrs. Zlochower

What was your favorite class?
It's a tie between English and Social Studies.

Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why? Mrs. Gail Wilson (8th grade-English). Between her book selections and questions, she taught me to think about books differently.

Where do you live and what are the best coffee shops? I live in San Diego, CA. My favorite coffee spot here is called Cafe Bassam-its basically a coffee shop in the middle of an antiques store.

Where did you learn how to surf? Can you give us a few basic tips if anyone wants to start?
I learned from a few friends. The best tip I can give is, don't give up on it. Eventually, you just have a feel for what you need to do, and it just clicks.

Great stuff! Thanks for your time and Shabat Shalom!
*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. 

** 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.

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Spring 2015 Hockey League  

Championship Game - Tuesday June 2 at 4:00 pm. 

Weekly Photos
1st Grade Cafe Ivrit
The first graders practiced their Ivrit skills by taking their parents breakfast orders and then serving them

Eli Ziff demonstration of how to play the cello.

As part of bring your pet to school, Rob Davis shows off the Davis family Guinea pigs.

Electromagnet pickup, motor rainbow spinning wheel, magnetic maze, magnetic race, fuzzy head, and magnetic treasure hunt - all part of third-grade activties.


Not only do we teach cow milking, we teach it at an early age.

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. Debby 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. 



Well done Mart Stein and Steph Davis on correctly naming the men in this photo. 


Jay Weiss, Ralph Schwartz, Jeff Gottesman, Bill Sax, Gary Coleman, Arthur Joseph, Stanley Fudor, and Alan Schabes


Last Week's Photo   

                                                             This Week's Photo  


Hillel Gear Spotted Here!
Thank you, Jackie Sax and Marty Stein, the only people to correctly identify the former Pirate catcher, Mile "Spanky" Lavalliere in last week's video.  
Morah Leah was spotted today at school sporting her brand new 2015 Spring Hillel long sleeve-t and of course it says "Ackner" on the back. #Schoolpride

Tomchei Shabbos



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

Goals allowed by Reuven this season. 

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Facebook "likes" of the Hillel Academy page, FIVE 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!

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Days left of school!
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Boys enrolled in the HTC (Hillel Travel Camp for boys).

Click HERE for information and HERE for registration. 

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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! 
  • 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 [email protected].




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

Please send condolence notices to [email protected].