The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parashat Ki Tavo
September  4, 2015  -  20 Elul 5775

Shabbat Candle Lighting - 7:29 PM
Shabbat Ends - 8:36 PM     

Weekly Dvar Torah 

Parashat Ki Tavo begins by describing the mitzvah of Bikkurim, bringing the first of your fruits to the Beit HaMikdash. In the context of this commandment Moshe tells us that "Et Hashem he'emarta hayom...v-Hashem he'emirekha hayom...- " It is Hashem that choses you... and you chose Hashem [as a nation]" (26:17-18). Rashi explains the unusual terms "he'emarta" and "he'emirekha" in these verses to mean selection or designation.  On the surface these two "designations" do not seem parallel. G-d chose us from all the nations of the world, but there are no deities other than Hashem, the word "designate" not seem appropriate in this context. 

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Kol Ram vol. 2) explains that this verse does not mean to designate, as much as it means to prioritize. We have been chosen as a nation and as individuals to make our devotion to Hashem a priority over competing interests and ideas. According to Rav Moshe, this verse in not about a choice to believe in G-d, but rather our constant emphasis on Torah ideals amid all of life's distractions. This time of year, in the month of Elul, we are reminded to make sure that our energy is focused in the right direction. The sound of the Shofar acts as a wake up call to summon us to our greater mission.  

It is fitting that Elul always corresponds to the start of the school year.  Our existence as an institution is for the purpose of ensuring our students "choose G-d" in all aspects of their life. Whether in the science lab, on the basketball court, or eating lunch with their friends, we always have to ensure we react in a way that is consistent with Torah values. With G-d's help, this Elul will be a time where we can all refocus, and this school year be a time for continued growth and prosperity for us as individuals, families, our school, our community, and the world at large.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sam Weinberg
Letter to Our Readers from the Editor-in-Chief 
Dear Hillel Happenings Readers,

Welcome to another year of happenings here at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. The summer was exciting and went by quickly.  We are ready for another year of growth here at Hillel. 

The Hillel Happenings or the HH, features many different articles and updates from inside and outside of Hillel.  Including introducing our readers to our new faculty and staff and our new families.  We also interview our alumni and provide short updates on them.  You will notice at the end of the HH is a section for around town and flyers.  These submissions are due Mondays by 9 AM. Additionally, we charge $18 per flyer per week. 

Please take note of our special HYPE classes on the Yamim Noraim which begin September 10. You may RSVP HERE or below. Additionally, clubs begin  the week of October 12, however; registration will be open next week.  See below for a list of clubs.

This year, both our shachris and mincha minyanim will take place on the second floor of the JCC together with the BHS minyan at 7:45 AM and 2:24 PM respectfully.

Welcome to our new B'not Sherut, Avital Feldman and Avishag Siboni! (Avital is on the left, but we are hoping that we can just call them both Avi). 

Lastly, the 2015-2016 Hillel Academy calendars are here. Stop by the front office to pick up your free copy. 

Click HERE to view the YouTube from our first day. Also, here is the YouTube from the BBQ. Enjoy! You can view other YouTubes on our website - as well as other updates and information.
Reb Daniel Shaw
Alumni Spotlight -Jordanna (Zimmer) Ufberg
When did you attend school here?  I graduated in 1998 and went from Nursery-12th. 

Share a favorite memory or two with our readers? When I was in Kindergarten and Morah Nina Butler was my teacher we were all assigned to create an instrument. I got the Tuba. We then attended the Pittsburgh Symphony. I have a lot of Morah Butler memories!
Another memory from years later, was when my class of 15 girls was sent to have our classes in the upstairs room of Kesser Torah. We sure had some good times over there!

What organizations are you currently involved in? I always stay involved with the Jewish community; wherever I live (my husband and I have moved around a lot). We attend the local Orthodox Synagogue, Chabad of Maine, The Levey Day School, and the UJF.

How do you earn a living? I recently completed course study in the field of aesthetics or skin care (as many people know it). I am completing my state licensing requirements and plan on entering the field of medical Esthetics.

How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? Hillel Academy gave me solid Jewish roots, identity, knowledge, and confidence.

Share some information about your family. My husband, Paul Ufberg and I met when we both lived in Miami on Jdate. After Paul completed his Pediatric residency we moved back to Pittsburgh where he did a Gastroenterology fellowship and we had 3 awesome kids. Jack is our oldest (9 yrs) and twin 6-year-old girls, Charley, and Ella. We then accepted a job in Arizona where we stayed for 4.5 years and then moved to Portland, Maine. While in Portland, we added one more member to our family. She is an adorable Golden Retriever, "Mazel" otherwise known as "Maizy."  We just moved to Philly last week and are in the midst of unpacking and getting the kids started at the Perelman Jewish Day School. We have loved the adventure of being able to live in a lot of different cities and see many different Jewish Communities.

What do you do in your free time? Our free time is always spent as a family. Paul and I both enjoy running and exercising. And lately we have started bike riding more and we also enjoy taking our dog to the dog park. Whenever we get the chance we also enjoy visiting family in Pittsburgh, New York, and Philly. 
Who was your first Hillel teacher? Morah Gross

What was your favorite class? kippah making 

Did you have a favorite teacher?  Who was it and why?  Nina Butler. Is an explanation really needed?!  She is just the greatest!

Who is the most interesting person in your contacts? My mom, Barbara Zimmer Kann.

Share something with our students you wish someone had told you when you were in school?  Hillel (and the Pittsburgh Jewish community) is a great place. You may not realize it or appreciate it now, but one day you will. The people you meet at Hillel will be your family for a very very long time!

Thanks for your time and have a wonderful Shabbos!
Teacher Feature - Ms. Rita Gauscheman

We would like to officially welcome Ms. Rita Gauscheman. She is our new art teacher for grades 1-12 and she will teach two clubs.  If you want to know what she built out of Rice Crispies or what she thinks of Andy Warhol, you are going to have to read her interview! For the benefit of our readers, we included the interview in its entirety below, enjoy!

Welcome to Hillel Academy!  You are filling a much-anticipated position here at Hillel.  What can we expect from Art classes this year? Hi!  I am so honored and excited to be a part of this school and share my love of Art with the students.  The students are going to learn different art processes such as painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. We will also use a variety of materials such as colored pencils, charcoal, paint, clay, and recycled materials.  We will talk about famous artists and their styles and learn art vocabulary to help us talk about art.  It's going to be awesome! 

What will the curricular differences be between our older and younger grades? We will cover the same basic terminology and concepts, but the older grades will study these concepts in greater depth. For example, color theory for the younger grades will cover the primary, secondary, and complementary colors. The older students will apply this knowledge deeper by using tertiary colors, tints, and hues in their artworks.  

Where are you from? I am a native Pittsburgher. I grew up in the South Hills.  

Where did you receive your art training? As an undergraduate student, I studied Furniture Design at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I went on to earn my Master of Arts in Teaching Visual Arts from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. 

What is your favorite aspect of art? I am very fond of the creative process.  I love that feeling that comes with overcoming challenges and learning how to do something I never thought I would be able to do. 

How did you find Hillel? Well, I responded to an intriguing post for an art teacher position online.  It just said, "Private school in Squirrel Hill".  It wasn't until Rabbi Weinberg contacted me about my job application that I learned about Hillel and its awesomeness! 

What is the most surprising thing about Hillel? I knew that the Art program was new but when I met the faculty and staff I was blown away by the excitement and buzz about it.  I am so grateful to become a part of this educational community! I feel very welcomed. 

Paintbrush or charcoal? Both.

Canvas or sheet metal? Canvas is always great, but sheet metal is still on my "make something with this one-day" list. I might have to talk to my dad about that process. He is a retired Industrial Arts teacher. 

Share with us something about the art field that most lay people don't know. A lot of people think that they can't draw and don't bother trying.  The truth is that drawing is all about tips and tricks that anybody can learn.  Perspective is an example of this. Things get smaller as they get further away. Just as in sports, art skills come more naturally to some than others, but that doesn't mean people can't learn how a game is played.  Mostly people need to remember to have patience and persistence when learning something new. 

What's the first thing that comes to mind when I say, "Warhol"? Bright colors and repeated images.  Also, how cool is it that Pittsburgh hosts the museum for one of the world's most famous artists?!

In terms of a motorcycle, Harley or Honda? Recently a Hungarian man built a fully functioning motorcycle out of wood. Can I pick that one?

What do you say to students who tell you that don't like art or they can't do it? I tell students to not be so hard on themselves and to practice patience.  It's important to remember that everything will come together in the end, just keep working and you will see.  Also, there are so many different kinds of art!  Someone might not like drawing, but then find out that they are a whiz at 3-dimensional art. 

In addition to your daily classes, you will be teaching two art clubs this year, one for grades 1-3 and one for 4-8.  How will those differ from the regular art classes? In art club projects will be more "crafty."

Anything else you would like to share? One time I sculpted a 10" car out of Rice Krispy Treats.  Also, I have a cat named Tina.

Alumni Updates 
In this section, we provide short updates on our esteemed alumni through the city, country and the world.  We are always looking for more updates, including mazel tovs and career milestones. Please feel free to send us these updates to [email protected].

Here is a photo from this past June when we gave away Pirates tickets to the winners of the Flash Back Friday photos.
Paula Weisman - Here is a picture of my parents - Heather and Mel Stein as well as Lila Horowitz (Mel's sister) from the Pirate game last week. Mel was in the first (high school) graduating class of Hillel Academy (1962). Lila and her husband Lou sent their sons to Hillel as well -Alan and Howie Horowitz.

It was a very nice evening at the Park.


Julia Segal ('00) - Began University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine this past week.

Shoshana Bachrach ('00) - Started Cardozo Law School. 

HYPE - Hillel Youth and Adult Programming Edcuation - It's Never Too Late to HYPE

 Click HERE to RSVP

Welcome New Families!
Deborah and Peter AlpernAvi
Shimrit and Shahar YichyeRani 
Josef and Aviva FortDavid 
Erez and Moran Freud Gilad 
Yehudah and Chaya Glass Avinoam and Amichai 
Jesse Goldstein and Kurek KimberleyFrancisco 
Avital and Jason GoldwasserAviya 
Lisa Goodfriend  and Mark Cohen
Chana and Daniel Goodman Sarah 
Stacy and Daniel HIrstMcGradye and Izrael 
Devorah and Michael KurinHadassa 
Lauren Baldel and Geoffrey CampKatriel , Akiva  and Zev 
Roi and Nicole MezareEitan
Ari and Chava MillerJacob 
Sagi and Tal PerelMichal 
Ben and Rebecca PollackJacob 
Yaniv and Nirit ShiloMika 

Welcome New Teachers!
Rivka AbramowitzToddler
Kimberly Adams1st Grade
Mike CiottiPE
Sally ThorneToddler
Esty EpsteinInfant
Moran FreudIvrit
Rita GauschmanArt
Teyonta HudginsInfant
Ray JonesCustodian
Melanie Kupfer1st Grade
Devorah KurinScience, Judaics
Adina Lebovits2nd Grade
Erin McDougallMath
Sara RosenbergKindergarten
Eve SwearingenInfant
Daniel HertzbergJudaics
Grace FletcherToddler

Here are the lists of clubs for this semester (October- January).  Registration will open next week  and most clubs begin the week of October 12.

Grades K-3
Grades 4-8 Girls

ART - Wednesday or Thursday - Fee = $25  

BALLET - Tuesday (k/1) or Thursday (2/3)  - Fee = $80 

BASEBALL - Wednesday or Thursday - Fee = $55 - Grades 1-4 only - No bats or hardballs

CAFE IVRIT - Tuesdays- Grades k/1 - Fee = Free 

CERAMICS -  Tuesdays - Grades 3-5 - Fee = $25

MAD SCIENCE - Thursdays - Grades 2-4, FEE = $75  

MIDDOS - Wednesdays - Grades 1-4 only $3/per session- checks payable to Morah Chana Dorsey

SPORTS CLUB - Grades 1-3 - Mondays  or Tuesday - Fee = FREE.  

VIOLIN LESSONS/MUSIC READING - Mondays - Fee = Rental + $15 - Grades 3-5 Only 

ART 1 - Thursday - Fee = $25  - Ms. Myers is back! 

ART 2 - Thursday - Fee = $25 - Ms. Rita Gauscheman 

BASKETBALL - Wednesdays - FREE

CERAMICS - Tuesdays = Fee= $25 - Grades 3-5 

MAD SCIENCE - Thursdays - Grades 2-4, FEE = $75  

MIDDOS - Wednesdays - Grades 1-4 only $3/per session- checks payable to Morah Chana Dorsey

VIOLIN LESSONS/MUSIC READING - Mondays - Fee = Rental + $15 - Grades 3-5 Only 

Grades 4-8 Boys

ART - Wednesdays - Fee = $25 - 

BASKETBALL - Fee = Free - Travel Team

HOCKEY - Thursdays - Fee= Free- 

MAD SCIENCE - Thursdays - $75 - Grades 2-4  

MISHMAR - Tuesdays and Wednesdays 
3rd Perek of תענית

MISHNA - Mondays

VIOLIN LESSONS/MUSIC READING - Wednesdays   - Fee = Rental + $15 - Grades 3-5 Only

BASKETBALL - Sunday and Tuesdays -Travel team

LEAGUES - Mondays - 4

MISHMAR - Mondays, Tuesdays, & Wednesdays - Chagiga

MOCK TRIAL - Mondays & Wednesdays




CROSS FIT - Tuesdays

MOCK TRIAL - Mondays and Wednesdays 



* There will be other clubs which are still in the planning stages.
Last year's  video tribute

Weekly Photos

Go Figure


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Hot dogs grilled for the Back to School BBQ by Mordy

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Bags of 10-pound charcoal used for grilling

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Family Feature
Hello Pollacks and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

Rebecca, you worked here in a variety of positions over the past two years and Ben you are one of our famed alum.  What's it like to send a child here after being involved with Hillel for the past few years?

Rebecca: During the time I was working at the front desk, as well as when I was helping out with the GHS, I had the opportunity to get to know many members of the community. When I left to go back to school, I really missed the environment. So now that we are sending Yaakov to Hillel, I'm excited to be a part of the Hillel community again! 

Ben: I find it really cool that in a few years Yaakov could have some of the same teachers that I had. 

What made you choose Hillel? 
It's the best school in town! And we have heard so much praise for his teacher, Morah Rose. 

First things that comes to mind when I say the name "Pippin"? 

Ben: Scotty Pippin 

Rebecca: Who's that?

What are you both doing professionally? Ben works as a computer security analyst at UPMC and Rebecca is in her last year at Pitt, getting a Masters in Social Work.

Any Rosh Hashana plans? Daven, eat, spend time with family.

Will you be building  a sukkah this year or are you going out of town? We will be using Ben's parents' Sukkah!

Nice, what makes your sukkah unique? It's not ours!

This year is a shmita year, how will you be getting your esrog?  I know a guy if you need to buy one, ;). Through PZ.

Where you able to make it to the Squirrel Hill night market or the farmers market this year? We have made it to the Farmers Market, but we weren't able to go to the night market. 

Quick, Murray or Forbes?  Murray

Monongahela or Ohio? Monongahela

Trains or Boats? Boats

Rockies or Himalayas? Rebecca grew up in Colorado, so we remain loyal to the Rockies. 

What's the secret to a stress-free drop off in the morning? Leave yourself plenty of time.

Thanks for your time!  Have a wonderful 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. 

Thank you avid readers and responders, Allen Herman and Jackie Sax for identifying the men in the photo. 

The last issue of the year featured these photos:                                              

Mr. Allen Herman emailed us the answers to them:  Picture 1 is L to R Shelly Siebzener and Rochelle Morganstern.

Mrs. Amy Cohn also emailed us. She said: 

Photo 2: It's Mr. Forry. Best History teacher! We made a $.25 bet on every Penguin game.

Mr. Bruce Forry also emailed us about photo #2: The number 2 picture is one of the best history teachers ever!


  This Week's Photo
Hillel Gear Spotted Here!
Hillel Gear stretches near and far.  Each week we feature photos that families send into the Hillel Happenings with different items of Hillel swag.  If you are looking to purchase Hillel Gear, you will be able to during our Fall Sale.  

This week (and probably many others) we feature photos of the Yolkut family.  They traveled to the Holy Land and took every opportunity to capture their travels through Israel with Hillel gear!  Good job Yolkuts. 
Tomchei Shabbos



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

  • MIKVA BOOK - DON'T BE LEFT OUT - We are nearing the deadline for ads and information for the 2016 edition of the Jewish Women's League Community Directory. Be sure that you have made any changes to your information, that we have your contact information if you are new in town, or that we have your advertisement. Contact Judy Mendelson, 412.521.6498  - [email protected]
  • KESSER TORAH: Sunday mornings at 8:30am. Davening followed by learning, coffee and cake at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. All are invited!
  •  Please send information by Sunday to [email protected].
  • GIRLS ONEG: Girl's Oneg Opening Event This Sunday!! For all girls in grades K-6 from 1-3 at PZ.  Girl's Oneg will begin to meet every Shabbos from 3:30 to 4:30 on September 12th in the PZ Educational Building.  Hope to see you there! 
  • CUB SCOUTS: Cub Scout Pack 1818 will be having an information and sign-up on Sunday 9/20 at 5 PM at Shaare Torah for boys in grades 1-5 and their parents.

Hillel Gym Schedule 
There are many athletic classes offered in our gym, most are free of charge. They are not school sponsored so please contact the person in charge of that group with questions.  If you are interested in using our gym please contact Danny Shaw - [email protected]

Mazel Tov!
Mazel Tov to Morah Gladys Margolis on the birth of a granddaughter, Ayelet Meira,  to her son, alum, AJ and his wife Sara!

Barauch Dayan HaEmet


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

Please send condolence notices to [email protected].