The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Parshat Lech-Lecha

October 23, 2015  -  10 Cheshvan 5776

Shabbat Candle Lighting - 6:10 PM
Shabbat Ends - 7:17PM  
Weekly Dvar Torah 

This week we read about Avraham's fulfillment of Hashem's imperative to uproot his family and journey to the land of Canaan. Almost immediately after he arrives in Canaan, a severe famine decimates the land and Avraham is forced to escape the drought and settle in Egypt. In a somewhat surprising comment, the Ramban explains that Avraham committed a grave sin in leaving Canaan and settling in Egypt, even if his stay was only intended to be temporary. According to the Ramban, after G-d had commanded Avraham to settle in Canaan, he should have trusted Him for sustenance regardless of the economic conditions, rather than leaving the land in which he was told to live.

The other day I stumbled across this picture on Facebook with the following caption (translated by Facebook):

"The Soldier in the picture is my best friend, Adam סטופלבים. Adam joined the army after a year at a university in the United States.... He didn't know a word of Hebrew before he came to Israel and yet became an outstanding soldier.  Last week, he gave his beret to his brother Ethan who also enlisted to the IDF...Their little brother, Jared, also signed up a few months later. They deserve so much respect."

Over the past few years, we have merited to have many of our recent Alum move to Israel, make aliya and join the tzava. Jared (class of 2014) will be sworn into the Army in a few months. While joining the Israeli army is never an easy decision, over the past few weeks we realize how truly heroic his decision is. Since Avraham's time, Israel has never been an easy place to live. I look at someone like Jared (and Shayna Stiebel, Sara Nimchinsky, Robin Joshowitz, Mendy Lilove, Yitz Cohen, and many others)  as a source of inspiration. Hopefully, like the famine in Avraham's time was only temporary, we will have peace and tranquility in Israel speedily and permanently.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Sam Weinberg
Shvil Yisrael 
We are excited to share with you some of the amazing activities and programs the B'not
Sheirut have planned for this year! Students in grades K-4 will experience a "virtual" tour of Eretz Yisrael called  שביל ישראל, the Israel National Trail. The Israel National Trail is a real hiking path that starts in Kibbutz Dan in northern Israel and ends at the beach in Eilat in southern Israel. It was inspired by the Appalachian Trail in the U.S. The trail combines the nature and culture of Eretz Yisrael with the rich history of the land

The students have already received a special דרכון, passport, which they will "use" on their travels. Every week the students will "walk" a part of the National Trail with their passport. They will learn about each place, the history of that place, how it connects to the
Torah, and some interesting modern facts about it. They will experience each place through pictures, videos, and for certain places they will be able to skype in and see the area live!

The first location the students visited was תל חי, Tel Hai, a community in the north next to Kiryat Shmone that lies in the foothills of Mount Chermon. They heard a story about the founding of the community and learned about the importance of the location in the Torah. The Torah describes the conquest of Eretz Yisrael by Yehoshua and included in the conquest was t he area " תַּ֖חַת הַר־חֶרְמ֑וֹן" the area around Mount Chermon.

This exciting program combines Ivrit, Judaic, and general studies into one lesson! Students will learn and converse in Hebrew, learn about the connection of each place to the Torah, and use their math and geography skills as they navigate through the land. 
Stay tuned for more updates and pictures and safe travels! 

Visit our blog
Tomchei Shabbos

This past Thursday night, we had a special edition of the Tomchei Shabbos Project part of the Fayth Aronson Berkowitz, z'l Chesed Society. Led by Fraidy Nadoff and Fayth's mom Selma Hillel Academy's GHS and GMS and a Mom or two gathered together to bake 75 kugels and tons of brownies and chicken soup which will be given out weekly as part of Hillel Academy's Tomchei Shabbos Program. This program teaches the incredible midda of Chesed (kindness) which Fayth will always be remembered for and ensures it will be instilled in our students. May it be an aliya for her Neshama.
Thank you to Fraidy Nadoff, Selma Aronson, Bryna Chinn, and all of the Girl's High School and Middle School Girls participants. 
If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in volunteering, please contact me at [email protected]. 
Debating Ethics 
Open Beit Midrash with Dinner for Teens at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Together with J'Line, Hillel Academy is proud to offer the second class in the series: The Criminal Agent:  What if someone tells you to do a crime for him and you do it - who is the guilty party? 

Study Texts Over A Great Meal with Your Friends
Tuesdays, 6:30 PM - With Rabbi Akiva Sutofsky: The next topic is  

Bring a Friend and Your Appetite - this week we will be serving pizza.

For questions please email [email protected] 
Remember that Boys' Hockey and Tuesday Sports Club begin this coming week.

Click 'calendar' for the Fall Club Calendar.

Middos Club with Morah Chana is always popular in the elementary school!

Rivka, Yehuda, and Dov are three of six students who have joined our inaugural Violin Club.  Thanks to The Joshua Sindler z"l Creative Arts and Music Classroom Program, Hillel now offers violin lessons after school taught by Morah Eve Swearingin. We were also able to purchase many of the instruments necessary for the program.    
The Girls' XC team had three meets this week against a combination of the following schools; CDS, Ellis, Falk and Winchester.
Alum and marathon extraordinaire Dr. Alex Sax posed for a photo with the girls' team after the team "ran" into the running guru on the Oval kilometer track.
This is how to run a step workout!
Boys' Art Club with Ms. Myers studied watercolors this week and painted their names.
Nate and Natan (R-L) (A.K.A. The 'N' Squad) finished their rain-soaked race this past Thursday in 2nd (13:19) and 4th (14:19) places respectively. As the season comes to an end, the Nates were our most consistent runners and form a solid nucleus for next year's team. 
Club t-shirts were distributed to a few clubs this week.

The baseball club moved indoors this week because of the weather and worked on hitting.

Pop Culture Grid 

Students in the Mix
What should
be our
school mascot?
Peanut butter is to jelly like Hillel Academy is to
What's one thing you wish more people knew?
If only the world had more ...
Rachel Cohen
A panda bear
Pretzels and chocolate pudding
Rivky Sutofsky
 A banana
No snow days

That Texas is awesome! (Pittsburgh's cool too)
Shira Rivka Freidman 
My Little Pony
A building
Liora Nimchinsky
A baby duck
That twin telepathy is most definitely real
People accepting the deliciousness of pickles and marshmallow fluff together
Shira Nimchinsky
Great teachers
That twin telepathy is most definitely not real
Good Books
Rachel Luzer
My dog
Missing markers
How to speak the truth
Mrs. Wimer


Who REALLY discovered America

Mrs. Finder
Great students
How to have a more positive attitude
Kind people
Chedva Silver
Random food
The amazingness of peanut butter and chocolate
Rivky Saxon
A great white shark
I don't know...I hate jelly
Israel, music, and superheroes
Common sense
Chaya Sutofsky
A Hillel HYPEr Hippo
Sorry I'm allergic to peanut butter
That girls are good at sports, too
Batya Mandelbaum
Reb Shaw
A castle (I wanted to say a dungeon but..................)
Crumple-horned snorkacks (from Harry Potter)

Good kosher candy

Do you HYPE?!

November 20-21, 2015
  • Thursday Night Mother-Daughter Challah Baking (November 19)
  • Friday Night Family Kabbalat Shabbat at PZ
  • Friday Night Meal at Member of Hillel Academy Faculty
  • Shabbat Day Luncheon at Shaare Torah
  • Family Melave Malka/Kumzits/Let's Make a Deal at Hillel Academy
Over 100 people attended this special HYPE family learning and Tehillim session, this past Sunday.  

for the Fall Semester Classes  

Alumni Spot Light - Brian Goldwasser  ~ 1982-1991 

Do you have any favorite memories you would like to share with us? I remember dancing around the school on Rosh Chodesh Adar, mincha modification probation, and eighth-grade class trip.

What organizations do you belong to? I am on the PZ shul board and I like the Kollel.

How do you earn a living? I work for Pittsburgh Medical Associates practicing internal medicine. I work to rid the world of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity one patient at a time. It's an uphill battle, but someone's got to do it.

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

Share some information about your family. My wife, Michelle, comes from a small Jewish community named Teaneck with no kosher restaurants. She works at Shadyside hospital as a physical therapist. We have four children: Rena (3rd grade), Kayla (1st grade), Tali (nursery), and Ari (infant). You might have heard that my brothers moved to town in our quest to have more Goldwassers in Hillel than Weinbergs.

What do you do in your free time? In my free time, I dominate my fantasy football league. I was also part of two championship softball teams this past summer. I play hockey at Hillel, enjoy following my black and gold teams, and local sporting events. I also like going to medical conferences in Las Vegas and  sometimes I can be found at the Kollel.

What was your favorite class? Science and Gemara

Did you have a favorite teacher? I had many great teachers over the years who inspired me, such as Rabbi Rosenberg, Rabbi Brodie and Morah Chana.

Who is the most interesting person in your contacts? Dov Dym (Minnesota shout-out) #roshhashanainuman and Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser

Share something with our students you wish someone had told you when you were in school? That your teachers are fountains of knowledge and you can learn so much from them.

Where did you receive your medical training? Thomas Jefferson medical school in Philadelphia. 

How did it feel when you were selected for your internship at AGH? I was really excited to return home after many years out of town for schooling; high school in Baltimore, college in New York, a year in Israel, and med school in Philly.  To come back as an adult to the community I was raised in was very special, and the Shomer Shabbos residency program at AGH was awesome in that I received great training and did not have to worry about working on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

Being on the PZ board, can you provide a hint to our readers as to what the next 
building improvement will be? You will have to ask third VP, Dr. Itamar Levari, I am not privy to that info bring only a regular board member, I did see Adam Schefter retweet something from Dr. Carey Balaban about a book in the library that when taken out revealed a hidden door for a secret kiddush club room which also has a hot tub and large screen TV.

Quick Pick: Sid the Kid or Big Ben? Tough one love them both,  I'll go with big Binyamin.

Schottenstein or Stone? Schottenstein

Rowboat or aircraft carrier? Rowboat - I love boating at Moraine State Park, rent the pontoon, and a grill on the boat too.

Mac or PC? PC

Gerbil or goldfish? Goldyfish

Favorite topic to learn? Medical reading, history, aggadita Gemara 

What do you think of Hillel now versus when you were in school? Hillel is so different now, with SmartBoards, after school clubs, and center-based learning. I am very impressed with all the changes and the individualized attention the children receive based on their unique needs. I am also impressed with the rewards like the first grade Pom-Pom store.  I really appreciate some teachers and faculty that are still there from when I was young:  Rabbi Brodie and Rabbi Rosenberg, Morah Channa and Mrs. Aronson and MORAH BONNIE
Thank you for your time and have a wonderful Shabbos! 
Family Feature: Deborah and Peter Alpern
Hi, and Welcome to Hillel! How did you hear about Hillel? We moved to Pittsburgh in May and signed up our son Avi for summer camp at Hillel. We instantly recognized what a great program Hillel offers and what a special community it is.

What's your favorite part? Seeing our son singing his brachot loud and enthusiastically, even while we are at the supermarket! The lessons he has learned about performing mitzvot have really resonated with him. In fact, he offers us the opportunity to do a "mitzvah," like cleaning up his toys and giving him ice cream.

What do you do with all of the projects? We proudly display them throughout the house and send them to his Nana and Papa.

Do you know who was dressed up as Noach in the video we posted on our Facebook page this past Friday? Wasn't it really Noach? According to our son Avi, it was "really really Noach!!!".

Tell us about your family? We have two children. Avi is in pre-K and Nomi is two years old. We are still getting acquainted with our new city and love the people, the parks, and the Pirates!

Are you ready for the HYPE Shabbaton?! Yes! We've been so struck at how the parents and the greater family are brought into the learning and community experience at Hillel.

Share some special family traditions with our readers? We enjoy going apple picking every autumn and introducing baking to the kids. We love being outdoors and savoring every second of warm weather that there is to be had.

What do you plan on ordering from the Fall 2015 Hillel Gear catalog - click here to browseDefinitely the beanie hat and hoodie to keep warm this winter.

Quick pick:

Ritas or Luigi's? Rita's

The Point or the Aviary? The Point

Hockey or Football? Hockey

Big Ben or Sid the Kid? Sid the kid, are you kidding?

Chulent or roasted salami? Chulent  - always!

House salad or grilled chicken salad? Grilled chicken salad

Pick-up or motorcycle? Neither. Bicycle :)

Thanks for your time! And have a wonderful shabbos!

Weekly Photos
This past Friday both high schools participated in the Worldwide Shmirah project, Tizku L'mitzvto!

Middle School GO activity with the Bnot.

The students played two games showing how we are all connected to the people in Israel and how we have to feel for them and do things for them during this hard time. 

Alumni Updates
 Elliot Joseph:  Mazel tov to Elliot Joseph and his wife Shari on the birth of a baby boy. Mazel tov to alumni Jeff and Elaine (Riemer) Joseph on the birth of a grandson!

Eli Greenfield: Mazel tov to Eli and his wife on their marriage this past week.  

Go Figure

Facebook likes 
Like us on Facebook

Packs of Torah Cards
distributed to those students in grades 1-4 who scored 300 points or higher on their Sukkos learning program. 
Books checked
 out of the school library this week.

Site visits
 on our new blog for the  
Shvil Yisrael program.
Visit our blog
Avital Segal's race time, this past Thursday. The fastest this season and best on the team!


Torah cards now available to trade thanks to the great Sukkos learning prizes distributed on Thursday. 


 Word of the week - מילת השבוע


הַנֹּתֵן שֶׁלֶג כַּצָּמֶר;  כְּפוֹר, כָּאֵפֶר יְפַזֵּר.  (תהלים קמז טז)
מילות השבועות הקודמים:  שְׁבִיל  טִיּוּל  תַּרְמִיל  תֵּל

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.  

Chaskie Yolkut was spotted in a bakery in Geula wearing his 2013 Hillel Club shirt this past summer. 

Find us on Social Media

Like us on Facebook

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

View on Instagram

Mazel Tov!
Mazel Tov to Dr. and Rabbi Miriam and Yaakov Trachtman on the birth of a baby girl, and to big brother Shalom.

 Shira Sutofsky on her Bat Mitzvah! Mazel Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Akiva Sutofskyand the entire family! 

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, Amy Dubin for correctly naming the students in the photo below!

Lenny Plotkin (Back Right)
Bruce Gelman (2nd from right)
Michael Melnick
Esther Shkop (teacher)
Alex Tucker
Raquel Rosenthal
Janice Margolis
Holly Nord
Susie Darling (front left)
Circa '77

This week's Photo:
Notice the background, no playground. But, even more, that building won't look like that much longer.

Last Week's Photo:

Around Town 
Please send information by Sunday to [email protected].
  • GRAND OPENING: Save the date forA Community Celebration for men and women in honor of
    The Grand Opening of our New Mikva, Tuesday, Nov. 24--13 Kislev, 7:15pm- Hors D'ouevres
    8pm- Program followed by dessert reception 
  • APPLES FOR THE STUDENTS: Please ensure to register your Giant Eagle Advantage Card by clicking HERE and enter our school ID - 0454. 
    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 
  • GIRLS ONEG: Girl's Oneg: Come and join us each week in the PZ Educational Building!  For all girls in grades K-5 from 3:30-4:30
  • TEEN SCENE: Girls in grades 5-8,  join us for Glow in  the Dark Mini Golf!  Sunday, November 1st meet in the Hillel parking lot at 1pm.  Cost: $5 You must RSVP to [email protected] if you want a seat!  Shabbos afternoon groups for grades 6 and 7 meet October 24th at the Milch's house and November 7th at the Lebovits' house.
  • 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, [email protected] 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 - [email protected]

                                            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

Please send condolence notices to [email protected].