The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parashat Vayeilech
Shabbat Shuva
September  18, 2015  -  5 Tishrei 5775

Shabbat Candle Lighting - 7:06 PM
Shabbat Ends - 8:12 PM     
Weekly Dvar Torah 
The Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is often called Shabbat Shuva, or the Shabbat of  "return."  This Shabbat, we direct our thoughts and emotions towards Hashem through our actions, prayers, and learning. One prayer that marks the teshuva season perhaps more than any other, is the 27th chapter of Psalms, Le'David Hashem Ori, which it is customary to read from Rosh Chodesh Elul, until Shemini Atzeret. One of the most famous lines in the Psalm is Dovid Hamelech's request to Hashem in the fourth verse:
"If there is one thing I ask of the L-rd, this is what I would ask: that I sit in the house of the L-rd all the days of my life, to behold the tranquility of the L-rd and to visit in His Sanctuary."  
     The word "Le-vaker - to visit" in this verse is perplexing. Why does Dovid Hamelech request to visit the sanctuary of Hashem when in the very same line he also wants to "sit in the house of the L-rd all of the days of his life?" A common answer for this question is that Dovid aspired to dwell in the house of Hashem with the excitement of a visitor. He yearned for the excitement with the exuberance of a visitor experiencing something for the first time. 
    With the start of the school year and saying L'Dovid coinciding, I keep thinking about Dovid Hamelech's request. As I watch our students arrive every morning, go to daven and learn Torah, it is obvious that they truly approach life with the awe of a visitor. Their level of excitement as they approach school and learning is truly awesome and inspiring. Our mission is to ensure that they keep this awe and will continue to inspire others as well. 
On behalf of the entire Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Family, may this coming year be one of growth and success for our families, our school, and our community. Shabbat Shalom and G'mar Chatima Tova. 

Rabbi Sam Weinberg

Teacher Feature - Ms. Kimberly Adams - 1st Grade
Hi, welcome to Hillel Academy! How did you hear about us? I heard about the fabulous Hillel Academy through an advertisement for a first-grade teaching position. Immediately I went to the school's website to learn more and was even more impressed when I saw they had a very active Facebook page. After watching the comical, yet informative Hillel Academy Dinner Video, I knew I would feel right at home!

Where did you go to school? I attended Carlow University to receive a bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education.

Did you always want to be a teacher? Yes, my first-grade teacher inspired me to become a teacher, and it has been my goal ever since. I love being an integral part of the learning process for students, watching the students grow and progress throughout the course of the year. 

Do you plan to stick with lower elementary? Oh, this is a hard question to answer! There is always something different to enjoy about working with each grade level. I love working with younger students because their love for learning and high energy level is contagious!

Share your teaching philosophy with us? In short, my philosophy is that education should be a powerful experience that inspires students to become lifelong learners. The main focus of education should be to teach students authentic skills that they will be able to build on and develop throughout the course of their entire lives. All students can be taught regardless of ability level, socioeconomic status, or culture. As a teacher, I must act as a guide who will facilitate activities to help students progress further on their journey to gain knowledge. Along with academics, it is my duty to help my students become outstanding citizens by teaching them to be respectful to everyone and everything around them.

What makes you a special teacher? From former students' perspectives, most of them enjoy the creative games and activities I make to support the curriculum. Learning should always be fun!

What has been the best part of Hillel so far? So far, the best part about Hillel is getting to know all of the students, parents, teachers, and staff. Everyone has been so welcoming and kind!

How many new Hebrew terms do you know? I have been learning so many new things in the first few weeks of school; it would be difficult to list them all here. I love to study different languages on my own, so I will definitely be adding Hebrew to my list. I am not sure if this counts or not, but I was excited to attend the assembly on making a shofar for Rosh Hashana. The sound that it made was not at all what I expected. What a wonderful tradition.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy practicing martial arts, swimming, hiking, and reading.

Buccos or Steelers? Buccos, I love a good baseball game!

Pickup or sports car? Pickup for sure!

Dogs or cats? I wish guinea pigs were an option. I have two of them! I am more of a cat person I suppose, but my brother has a new bulldog puppy that is growing on me.

Water skiing or real skiing? I am probably not coordinated enough to do either, but I would like to try regular skiing.

Thank you for your time!

Editor's note: Last week's Teacher Feature was Mr. Ciotti. He is our physical education instructor and one of our many club coaches. 
Alumni Updates 
In this section, we provide short updates on our esteemed alumni throughout 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].

Amalia Levari - Mazel Tov on her 
Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for the show Over the Garden Wall!
HYPE - Hillel Youth and Parent Education - It's Never Too Late to HYPE
Click N'shei to RSVP                              RSVP to Family Learning by click HERE



Last year's  video tribute

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 past week former Hillel parent and current Hillel Heat fan, Tova Weinberg was spotted during her early morning workout at the JCC.  We are so proud of her for multiple reasons, one of which was that she was sporting her husband's 2014 Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh board t-shirt.  Well done Tova! And Shana Tova to you and your family! 

Pop quiz: 

1) How many of Tova and Joel's children attended Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh? 

2) By'h, how many grandchildren do Tova and Joel have? 

Top three winners receive prices ranging from Bucco tickets to Hillel Gear to flowers for Sukkos (All Weinberg family members are ineligible for this contest, sorry). Winners have to answer both questions to win. Contest ends Monday, September 21 at 9 AM.


Editor's note: Chaskie and Rafi were never actually in the same class. 
Go Figure


Facebook likes
Like us on Facebook

7 more than last week. 
People RSVPed for this Sunday's HYPE Family learning. 
 signed up for clubs, it's not too late (see above)

Weekly Photos

The GHS went to Charles Morris to brighten up the residents' day before Rosh Hashana. 

The students in the BHS took part in a Pruzbol ceremony this past week. 

They also had a Pre-Rosh Hashana Tisch

Fourth-grade is learning about Ancient Egypt and made a water clock which was one of the ways they would measure time in Ancient Egypt.

First-grade apple and honey party!

Find us on Social Media

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
Visit our blog
View our videos on YouTube

View on Instagram

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, Naomi and Yakov Fuhrman, for correctly naming the past two week's photos.  Last week's picture is Ms. Oz, Elie Fuhrman, Joe Segal, Ephraim Weinberg, Jeffrey Samson, and Leon Fischer. This week is Haviva Garrett and Robin Joshowitz (I knew Haviva and Elie and Ms. Oz, Yakov got the rest).

As always, thank you Morah Bonnie, for helping put this section together and naming the people that are left out. 

Last week's photo:

This Week's Photo:

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]
  • KETHER TORAH: Sunday mornings at 8:30 AM. 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 begins this week!   For all girls in grades K-6 in the PZ Educational Building from 3:30-4:30.  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.

Mazel Tov!
Morah Jesse Ackner on the birth of a baby boy! Mazel Tov to Morah Leah, Zev, Meira, and the entire Ackner/Loring family! 

If you would like to help Morah Jesse by making a meal, you can do so by signing up here

Mazel Tov to alumni Matthew and Elyssa Faigen on the birth of a son this past week!
Mazel Tov to the entire Brent and Faigen families!

May we always share smachot!
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]

Tomchei Shabbos


Dear Friends:

We really need additional volunteers for the Tomchei program, I urge you to please contact me to join a team. We really need your help! Thanks.
If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in volunteering, please contact me at [email protected]. 

Old SAT v. New SAT v. ACT: Which is Right for Your Student?
Changes are coming for the class of 2017!  Next year the College Board will be revising the SAT, offering both an old and new version.  The Old SAT will be offered in October, November, December and January, while the New SAT will be offered in March, May, and June.  Colleges will accept scores from either exam.  Meanwhile, in the past two years, more students nationwide took the ACT than the SAT.  The ACT is now accepted at all major colleges and universities and can be submitted in place of the SAT. 
Come learn about the differences between the Old SAT, New SAT, and ACT, and which one might be best for your student.  We'll be providing free SAT/ACT Information Sessions at the Hillel Academy Library on the following dates: 
  • Monday, October 12, 7pm 
The presentations will cover:
  • Major differences between the Old SAT, New SAT and ACT
  • How to determine whether your student may do better on one test or another
  • A detailed comparison of Old SAT, New SAT and ACT sections
  • If preparing for both the SAT and ACT, which test to try first
  • Any other questions you may have during our Q&A session
If you'd like to attend, please RSVP via email to [email protected] or call 412-521-8131. You can also learn more by viewing the SAT v ACT Comparison page on our website,  Please contact us with any questions, 412-874-7645.
All attendees will receive free full-length, authentic practice tests.  Old SAT, New SAT and ACT practice tests will be made available!
About Goldstein Test Prep
  • Elite Teachers - Goldstein Test Prep teachers have scored in the 97th percentile of test-takers and have attended an Ivy League or equivalent undergraduate program.  Teachers on staff have attended local schools such as Shady Side Academy, Fox Chapel, Pine-Richland, North Allegheny Oakland Catholic, Vincentian, Quaker Valley and Allderdice. 
  • Accolades - Goldstein Test Prep was recently selected by CBS Local as one of the top SAT/ACT preparation programs in the region.  
  • The Right Program - We offer SAT classes, ACT classes, combined SAT-ACT programs, and private tutoring that can be tailored to any student's particular needs.  
  • More Information - To learn more about one of the most recommended programs in the Pittsburgh Area, visit our website at


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

Please send condolence notices to [email protected].