The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parshat Noach

October 16, 2015  -  3 Cheshvan 5776

Shabbat Candle Lighting - 6:21 PM
Shabbat Ends - 7:27PM     
Weekly Dvar Torah 
These past few weeks have been very difficult for Am Yisroel. I am sure that I am not alone in that I have begun to dread checking facebook, or even turning on my phone in the morning. The news of the terror activities in Israel is devastating, and media's reaction to news has been  equally frightening. So many of us are left wondering, what can we do? How can we help our brothers and sisters in Israel during this trying time? Perhaps a lesson from this week's parasha can give us some guidance.

At the end of Parashat Bereshit, we are introduced to the main protagonist of this week's Parasha, Noach. The name Noach means rest or tranquility.  The verse tells us that Noach was given this name because, "This one will bring us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands" (Bereshit 5:28). Rashi, based on medrash, explains that Noach was given this name because in his lifetime the world saw advances in farming technology that freed men from their toil in the field. With better plows, irrigation, and other farming techniques, the world was brought a reprieve from their burden of working the land.

It is rather puzzling that the medrash cites this as a defining characteristic of Noach. Noach lived through the great flood. He saved his family and by extension all of humanity from destruction and devastation. And now he is known as the man who was alive during the invention of the plow? It seems to be trivial compared to living through the great flood.
Rav Avraham Pam zt''l, explained that Noach's name and the invention of the plow is an integral part of the story. Rav Pam explains that the reason the world fell into moral decay and corruption was because they had this advanced technology and they no longer had to work every hour of the waking day to provide food for themselves and their families, and this free time led to the downfall of humanity.   
Today, more so than at any other point in history does technology give us the ability to save time. Technology also gives us the ability to waste time. For every minute we save by using Amazon and not actually going to a store, we can waste with our cell phones and iPad's. Technology can also be used used as a medium to connect to people, and to spread information.  We can use technology to help spread the truth about what is going on in Israel to our friends and family who might be getting a biased report from the mainstream media. And we must use technology to come together in support of our friends in need. 

This past week a group of students in Yeshiva University started a social media campaign called the Shmirah Learning Project for Israel (see below). As a school we have signed up to spend an hour of learning so that Hashem will "Guard" our brothers and sisters in Israel. Please join us this coming Sunday from 10am to 11am  and join us in our effort. Stay for the whole time, or stay for ten minutes, every bit counts.  Have a wonderful Shabbat, and we hope and pray that our families in Israel are safe and secure. 

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Sam Weinberg
New Teen Class Geared for Public School Students Who Want Texted Based Study
 Together with J'Line Hillel Academy is proud to offer:

Open Beit Midrash with Dinner for Teens at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

Study Texts Over A Great Meal with Your Friends
Tuesdays, beginning with October 20th at 6:30 PM - First Session With Rabbi Akiva Sutofsky: "The Talmud on Modern Ethical Dilemmas" concerning the Conjoined Twins Dilemma.
Bring a Friend and Your Appetite!

For questions please email

Clubs got off to hot start this past week! Remember that Boys' Hockey and Tuesday Sports Club begin the week of October 26.




Thanks to the Joshua Sindler z"l foundation, our inagural Boys' Art Club!

Ms. Gauchman's 4-8 Grade Girls' Art Club also thanks to the Sindler Foundation.

Nate the Great sprints for the finish line in the Falk Invitational.

Avital, Batya, and Shoshana raced against 50 other young ladies their age in the Falk Ivitational.

The boys' start.

Do you HYPE?!


In light of the current situation in Israel, we at Hillel Academy have decided to join with thousands of Jews across the world in the Shmira Project. The goal of this project is to have Jewish communities join together to create a week of continuous Torah learning, accomplished by dedicating designated hours to Torah study. It is our hope that our unity and learning will help bring about a true salvation for our brothers and sisters in Israel.

We have signed up as a school to learn between the hours of 10 am -11 am this Sunday morning, October 18th. All members of the Hillel Academy family are encouraged to come to the Hillel shul to participate in this important endeavor. At 10:50 we will say a few paragraphs of Tehillim. Children who come and learn for at least 15 minutes will receive a small prize.
For more information about the Shmira Project, refer to the flyer or email Rabbi Levy at

for the Fall Semester Classes  

Alumni Spot Light - Kally Rubin  ~ 1986-1998 
 Hi, welcome back! Share a favorite memory or two with our readers. In 9th grade my class was frustrated that our Lag B'omer field trip was rained out. Instead of going back to class as we were told, we all decided to leave school. They suspended our entire grade, so we spent the afternoon at the movies. 

Ninth grade was an interesting year in general - I have a surprising amount of memories that take place on the roof of Kesser Torah.

What organizations are you currently involved in? My kids go to the Fuchs Mizrachi School in Cleveland, so we are very involved there. We're also involved in Bnei Akiva.

How do you earn a living? I'm a social worker at Jewish Family Services. I do mental health counseling and homeless prevention for the Jewish community.

How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? It provided me with a solid foundation in Judaism and Torah and secular studies. It prepared me for life in the real world and interacting with people and environments outside our community.

Share some info about your family. My husband, Barry, and I have four kids. Matan, Yair, Aviad, and Shefa. We feel blessed that they are all Steeler fans.

What do you do in your free time? I love hiking and exploring new places with my family. I also really like to eat ice cream.

Who was your first Hillel teacher? Morah Nina Butler

What was your favorite class? High school English

Did you have a favorite teacher? I was so lucky to have a number of teachers who were really invested in our education and overall happiness - I can't choose just one.

Pittsburgh or Cleveland? Cleveland has been very good to us, but I'm still a fan of all things Pittsburgh. My kids are proud Steeler fans, which is saying a lot considering we live in Browns country. 

According to your Twitter feed, you are making aliya, how did you come to that decision and what's it like preparing for that? We are planning to make aliyah this Summer. It's something that we've talked about for a long time, and now that our kids are getting so big we felt like we just couldn't wait any longer. It's exciting and terrifying trying to plan for so much change. We have a lot of good friends who have moved to Israel in the past few years, so we are using them as resources for everything. We're brushing up on our Hebrew and figuring out the best way to watch Steeler games at all hours of the morning, so hopefully we'll have a smooth transition.

Thank you for your time and have a wonderful Shabbos! 
Sukkot Learning Project - Grades 1-4
Mazel Tov to the following 70 students who completed the Sukkos Torah and Mitzvos chart over the recent Sukkos break.  These students scored at least 300 points and will receive a special prize from Rabbi Levy.  Tizku L'Mitzvos!

1st Grade: Elazar Apfel, Ezra Pollak, Mikey Karoll, Gabriel Elvgren, Ahuva Isenberg, Hannah Goldwasser, Sruli Leibowitz, McGradye Rock, Shlomo Aryeh Blalock, Yosef Levari, Chaim Abrams, Orli Abramowitz, Yehoshua Levy, Moshe Smith, Yitzy Bleicher, Raphael Belman, Coby Shaw, Hannah Swedarsky, Basya Senft, Kayla Goldwasser, Aharon Russell, and Gavi Poznanski

2nd Grade: Michoel Chapley, Sori Rodkin, Tamar Admon, Akiva Camp, Peri Berelowitz, Shimon Grossberg, Yoel Turgeman, Chana Katz, Akiva Sunshine, Yaakov Kaminsky, Yehuda Levy, Bayla Abramowitz, Sima Reinherz, Zish Sokol, Hilla Azaria, and Teresa Schachter

3rd Grade: Galya Belman, Sara Baila Lowenstein, Abigail Bernstein, Rami Shaw, Yehudis Kanal, Alex Small, Rivky Plotkin, Kayla Weinberg, Ezra Goldberg, Dovid Tzvi Blalock, Miriam Levari, Lillian Vidmar-McEwen, Zev Loring, Dov Gelman, Rena Goldwasser, Eliana Elvgren, Yitzchak Zev Chapley, Sonia Schachter, Yossi Cohen, Jacob Perlman

4th Grade: Leiby Rodkin, Avraham Kaminsky, Yaakov Berelowitz, Yoni Kanal, Yishai Turgeman, Geri Pollak, Tahara Reinherz, Chani Bleicher, Adar Azaria, Dov Smith, Josh Siebzener, Nechama Russell, and Yehuda Sutofsky. 

Teacher Feature: Mrs. Melanie Kupfer
Hi! Welcome to Hillel Academy!

Where are you from? I'm from a little state called New York, you might have heard of it. I'm originally from Brooklyn then moved out to Long Island. The first grade has definitely noticed I'm not from Pittsburgh. The biggest give away was when I asked the class to "get on line" to go outside. Other teachers have told me how "New York" that is of me and that here in Pittsburgh we get "in line." Some habits are hard to break!

What brought you to Pittsburgh? My husband got accepted to CMU for his masters in engineering, so we packed our bags into a Uhaul and drove across two states for our newlywed adventure in Pittsburgh.

How has this Sukkos been different than previous ones? I loved being invited to everybody in the neighborhood. It was very different being away from home for the chagim, but the neighborhood has been so welcoming that it was an exciting change of pace.

What university did you attend? I attended CUNY Queens College for my undergraduate and masters program. I loved having a diverse campus so close to home!

Did you always want to be a teacher? I always loved teaching. As a teenager, I always worked in shul groups and camps over the summer. I found working in the early childhood years (birth to 2nd grade) the most exciting. I started teaching freshman year of college and have been in classrooms ever since.

Do you plan to stay in education? I plan to stay a teacher as long as I can. It keeps me moving, my mind active, and imagination growing. I love being surrounded by the children's energy and hope that the children will keep me young so I can keep teaching for many years to come.

What encouraged you to enter this profession? I first started teaching during my freshman year in college. I started out as an assistant in my old kindergarten classroom with my kindergarten teacher! I learned hands on how to connect with children, break down concepts, and make learning exciting. My mentor, who I still call Morah Goldie, saw how much I loved teaching and encouraged me to take charge in the classroom to build my skills. I love teaching and can't imagine doing anything else.

Did you get caught up in Buctober? No, but I may have just googled the term ;) Guess I should break out my Pirates hat for next year.

What is your teaching philosophy? I believe children should be excited to learn. Learning should happen through lively conversations and playful activities. I feel that learning should never stop just because students leave class. I hope to teach my students that learning continues outside the classroom and that they should never stop asking questions about the world around them.

Tell us about first grade, what are some projects we can look forward to? I am so excited to be teaching first grade this year! My mind is constantly thinking about projects the class can do. I'm looking forward to holiday projects and book reports that make the characters jump off the pages and into your child's hands. Puppets, dioramas, and more. I can't wait to see the children's creativity!

We have heard there are some amazing items in the first grade pom pom store. Please explain how the rest of us can purchase them. I'm so happy the students love shopping in the store! Watching the students work on their behavior and listening skills is such a treat. When a student finally reaches their goal of receives a prize, I'm practically glowing with joy. I'm sorry to say these prizes are for first graders only, but let's keep the encouragement going all year round! You never know what will be in the store next!

What are your hobbies? 
My current hobbies are reading all year round, snowboarding during the winter season, and scrapbooking photos of my adventures.

Where have you taught in the past? In the past, I've taught nursery thru 8th grade while working as a substitute in a yeshiva during my college years. After college, I had my own kindergarten classroom in a Hebrew Language Charter school and then a private school in Brooklyn, NY.

Anything else you want to share? I was a little nervous leaving New York and my family, but Pittsburgh has been so very friendly. Thanks for welcoming me into your neighborhood! I can't wait to discover what Pittsburgh has to offer!

Thanks so much for your time and we look foward to many more updates on your students' sucesses! 

Weekly Photos
Look at all those animals enjoying Oneg. That could mean only one thing...Parshat Noach! Noach even made a live appearance! Also, ask your children and about the "Green Story".

Hillel Academy fifth and sixth graders went on a guided tour of Christopher Columbus's ships in an experience that brought American History to life! Replicas of the Pinta and the Nina were docked at the Southside this past Monday. These ships, built by hand in Brazil in 1991, are floating museums which sail around North America with a crew of volunteers. Our fifth and sixth graders were privileged to learn firsthand about this fascinating era in history, to complement the American History they are both learning - fifth grade is focusing on early American History, while sixth grade is learning about the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries.

Hillel Academy kids are all smiles in their first full week of classes! 

Meet Hillel Academy's newest students!

FAB GHS Chumash!

Introducing the Middle School GO 2015-2016 Officers - this year's theme is Trains.

In honor of Rosh Chodesh, we held a special joint 3rd and 4th grade recitation of Hallel. After Hallel, led by one of our young Chazanim, Nate Itskowitz shared a dvar Torah. 

Go Figure

The highest cost for a prize in the 1st grade pompom store.
Students from grades 1-4 who achieved 300 points or higher on the Sukkos Torah and Mitzvah chart! (As of Tuesday 10/13).

The highest score by Adar Azaria in 4th grade for the Sukkos Torah and Mitzvah chart!
Percentage of the students in grades 1-4 that completed the Sukkos Torah and Mitzvah chart!!


 Word of the week - מילת השבוע
מילת השבוע: תֵּל  
;תל -  גבעה מלאכותית בעלת צורה של כיפה שטוחת ראש, שנוצרה מהריסות יישובים עתיקים שהתכסו בעפר

 Man-made hill - layers upon layers of old dirt 

וָאָבוֹא אֶל הַגּוֹלָה תֵּל אָבִיב הַיֹּשְׁבִים אֶל נְהַר כְּבָר ואשר [וָאֵשֵׁב] הֵמָּה יוֹשְׁבִים שָׁם וָאֵשֵׁב שָׁם שִׁבְעַת יָמִים מַשְׁמִים בְּתוֹכָם." יחזקאל: פרק ג' פסוק טו
מילות השבועות הקודמים: :   שְׁבִיל    טִיּוּל   תַּרְמִיל

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.  

The Sunshine kids (two of three) got together for this memorable summer Hillel Gear photo.  They are both sporting the kid's Hillel Tee, which happens to be available in this season's catalog and this year it is gray! Well done Sunshines!

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Mazel Tov!
Mazel Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Leah Senft on the birth of a daughter, Tzivia, this past week!  Mazel Tov to the big sisters and the entire family! 

Mazel Tov to Devori (nee Rosenberg) and Sholom Hirschman on the birth of a baby girl, Racheli. Mazal tov to the grandparents, Rabbi and Mrs. Mordechai Rosenberg!

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. 

The only person I recognize is my cousin, Janice (Margolis) Horowitz, second from the right in the front row, who now lives in Miami. - Rena (nee Margolis) Apt
This week's photo:
Around Town 
Please send information by Sunday to
    The Annual Rochel Emeinu Women's Gathering will be on Shabbos, Parshat Lech-Lecha,  11th of Cheshvan, October 24, 2015 Home of Shelly Itskowitz 6330 Bartlett St. 4:15 PM 
  • KETHER TORAH: Sunday mornings at 8:30 AM. Davening followed by learning, coffee and cake at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. All are invited!
  • GIRLS ONEG: Girl's Oneg: Come join us each week in the PZ Educational Building!  For all girls in grades K-5 from 3:30-4:30
  • TEEN SCENCE: Shabbos afternoon program, every other shabbos.  email for details.  The next time we'll meet is October 24th.  Stay tuned for other upcoming events!
  • J'LINE:  Jewish Life at the JCC New Six-Week Classes for Teens: Current Events, Yoga, Israel, Jewish Humor, Film and More Join us for fun learning and a bagel breakfast Sunday mornings at the JCC! 
    For more information, please contact Carolyn Gerecht, and also view our Facebook pageTo view our class guide, please visit 
  • BNEI AKIVA: SNIF IS BACK! Who: All 2nd-8th graders When: Shabbat Kodesh at 4 pm. Where: Shaare Torah
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 - 
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 

                                            of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
                                                                  Administered by:
                                                   Jewish Family & Children's Service
                               5743 Bartlett Street  Pittsburgh, PA  15217  (412) 422-5627  Fax (412) 428-8200
CONTACT PERSON:                       Alayne Lowenberger, Director
Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
Jewish Family & Children's Service
(412) 422-5627
Financial aid for 2016-2017 is available from the Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service (CSLRS) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. This program is administered by Jewish Family & Children's Service.  The funds are made available through the generosity of families who have established endowments through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Community Center, National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Women International of Pittsburgh (formerly B'nai B'rith Women), Jewish Home for Babies and Children, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Rodef Shalom Congregation.
Scholarships are distributed on the basis of demonstrated financial need.  Some funding sources also require high academic achievement.  In addition, the applicant must be Jewish, reside in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler or Washington County for at least two years, and need financial assistance to attend an accredited institution of higher education as either an undergraduate or graduate student.  For school year 2016-2017 Central Scholarship will again be using an on-line application process.  The on-line applications will be available at in late November.  For more information call JF&CS at (412) 422-5627 or write to:  Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service, 5743 Bartlett Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. 
First-time applicants must be interviewed.  All applications should be submitted as early as possible to ensure processing.
The deadline for 2016-2017 applications is February 11, 2016.



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

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