The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
5685 Beacon Street ~ Pittsburgh, PA 15217 ~ (412) 521-8131
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Parshat Vayetzei

November 20, 2015 1 Kislev 5776

Shabbat Candle Lighting - 4:41pm
Shabbat Ends - 5:48 pm
Weekly Dvar Torah 
This week's Parasha begins with Yaakov fleeing from his brother Eisav. Upon Yaakov's departure from home, he falls asleep in a place that Chazal identify as the future Har HaBayit. There, he has a dream in which he sees angels ascending and descending a ladder to the heavens. Along with this vision, G-d sends Yaakov the message that He will be with him on his journey and bring him back safely to his homeland. 
Of the many commentators who explain this dream, Rashi explains the dream in the following manner, "The angels that accompanied him in the land do not leave outside the land, so they ascended to the heavens, and the angels of outside the land descended to accompany him." Rashi here points out that a different set of angels was provided for inside and outside the land of Israel. Nechama Leibovitz suggests that according to Rashi, Yaakov's dream conveys the lesson that the challenges one faces in their homeland and familiar surroundings are different than the ones they face when they leave the familiarity and comforts of their own home. The obstacles that Yaakov will confront in the future will require a different approach, and the support that Hashem provides for him will adapt to the needs of each situation. 

Right now, we need the support of G-d. Israel is under attack and people throughout the world are living under fear and terror. We must prepare for an ever changing reality and remember that G-d will provide the unique support necessary for every situation. May G-d speedily grant his promise to Yaakov and bring safety to all of our family and friends in Israel and throughout the world.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Sam Weinberg
Hillel Academy Finch Robot Program

Finch Robots:
Snap! for the Finch Robots:  
Scroll down this page for information and some videos describing Snap! and the Finch.
This is the graphical programming environment that we'll be using for the Finches. Level II curriculum:

We will be using selected portions of this curriculum to teach a particular coding skill before using those skills with the Finch.
Unit 1 of Elementary Robotics - Programming and Coding introduction: CLICK HERE
Finch Unit #2 - CLICK HERE
Finch Getting Started booklet (for 4th grade's unit #2) - CLICK HERE
Follow along with us on this exciting journey!
Hillel Pop Grid - Liora Nimchinsky 

Faculty in the Mix

What makes Hillel different from other schools?
What is one of the most valuable lessons you have taught in a classroom?
What inspired you to become a teacher?
Mr. Massart
Teaching to a Jewish community is the best
That I learn along with my students
The paycheck
Mr. Garwood
Our incredible families
Learning is fun
The fun atmosphere
Mrs. Itskowitz
We're like a family not an institution
Respect for everyone and everything.
A teacher I had in highschool and my love for Torah.
Mrs. Finder
We're all one big extended family
Don't judge a book by its cover
I love working with young people
Mrs. Kurin
Wonderful students
Too many to count
The wonderful teachers I had in school
Mrs. Levari
It's the only one I work in
Geshmak lessons
My Teachers

Joshua Sindler, z'l Creative Classrooms Art and Music Program 

The 8th grade boys created unique paper-cut designs using complimentary colors, symmetry, and positive and negative space.
Third graders explaie their art projects. See all the projects on our Facebook page.
Third graders explain their art projects. See all the projects on our Facebook page.Like us on Facebook

Sixth grade art.
Sixth grade art.

Word of the Week                                                                                מילת השבוע : אָמָּנוּת 

מילת השבוע : אָמָּנוּת
אמנות: פעילות אנושית יצירתית , שתוצריה הם בעלי ערך אסתטי, ותוצאתה של פעילות זו - Art
אמנות - מילה שחודשה על ידי אליעזר בן יהודה על בסיס המילה אָמָּן המופיעה בניקוד זה בשיר השירים

('מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָמָּן. ( שיר השירים , פרק ז', פסוק ב

(אלא בכסף כתובת אמן פליגין. וכסף כתובת אמן. ( מסכת יבמות , פרק' טו

:כל המילים
.שְׁבִיל ,טִיּוּל ,תַּרְמִיל ,תֵּל ,שלג ,אֲגַם ,מַצְפֵּן

Do you HYPE?!


HYPE Mother-Daughter Challah Baking
This weekend's Annual HYPE Family Shabbaton was kicked off last night with Mother-Daughter Challah Baking at PZ, with over 120 Hillel mothers and daughters in attendance! Our evening started off with pairs of mothers and daughters mixing and kneading their challah ingredients. Then, while the dough was rising, we were treated to an insightful dvar Torah by 7th-grader, Shira Wiesenfeld, which discussed how the mitzvah of taking challah elevates the seemingly mundane activity of baking bread into an action with a greater purpose. Following the dvar Torah, all of the girls were able to make a special Shabbos craft to take home. We then did the mitzvah of taking challah, and braided the challos- one to take home and one which we will all get to sample at the HYPE Family Shabbos Luncheon! Each family also left with a cookbook of challah recipes from different members of our Hillel Academy Family.
Thank you so much to everyone who participated in this great event, and to everyone who helped out in the planning and preparation, including Kira Sunshine, Tovi Admon, Todd Stufflebeam, Tammy Berkowitz, Liz Greenfield, Selma Aronson, Rabbi Levy, Mimi Grossberg, Esther Rochel & Rivky Grossberg, Chana & Rivka Kaminsky, the Bnot Sherut: Avital & Avishag, and Reva Pfeffer.

Thank you to the following young ladies who came to help set up: Nechama Rodkin, Leora & Shira Nimchinsky, Chana Kaminsky, Rachel Luzer, Rachel Cohen, Mrs. Amy Cohen, Michal Turgemon, Adina Leibowitz, Tovi Admon, and Sygal Azaria

Chaya Berelowitz and Rena Levy

Debating Ethics - Session #5 - will be Novmeber 24, 2015
Open Beit Midrash with Dinner for Teens at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

Together with J Line, Hillel Academy is proud to offer the fifth class in the series: November 24, 2015
Osek Bemitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah
Multitasking Mitzvot
Should you ever stop doing one mitzvah to go do another?

Our generation has been branded "Generation M" - M stands for Multitasking. People seemingly manage to check their email and Facebook, follow a movie, eat dinner, and hold a conversation - all at the same time. What about mitzvot? What does the Torah say about multitasking mitzvot?
What are we to do if we simultaneously encounter more than one mitzvah opportunity? Can we drop one commandment to do another? Must we stay on task? Should we try to multitask?

Here are some of the key questions this class will deal with:

� If I am doing one good deed - a mitzvah - and another opportunity or obligation presents itself, how should I act?

� What are the principles and concepts underlying the prioritization of mitzvot?

� Does it make a difference which mitzvah I am doing and what other mitzvah comes up?

� What if I am learning Torah and the opportunity to do a mitzvah arises - do the same rules apply?

What: Study Texts Over A Great Meal with Your Friends
When: Tuesdays, 6:20 pm - 7:20 pm With Rabbi Akiva Sutofsky:
Who: Teens
Cost: FREE!

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

For questions please email [email protected]

Click 'calendar' for the Fall Club Calendar.

Please consider joining and/donating to the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Western PA. They are one of our generous donors who help make clubs possible.

HAIHLStandings - please note: games will now end at 5:15 pm
Team ~ Captain
Team A ~ Pinny Brown
Team D ~ Yitzy Berelowitz
Team C ~ Zalman Rodkin
Team B ~ Reuven Kanal

Alumni Updates

David Swedarsky -Mazel tov on the birth of a baby boy to David and Beth Swedarsky on Tuesday, weighing 8 lbs. 4 oz. and 21 inches.
Weekly Photos
Hillel Lawn Signs = 8-day-give-away Chanukah Contest, send in your photos!

We welcomed members of the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh today. They were treated to a tour of our building and experienced first hand our pre-school Oneg and the Finch robots, among other activies.  Thank you for stopping by and for all of your support!
In anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday, 3rd grade kneaded, shaped, and created their very own Thanksgiving serving trays. Each one is innovative and unique. Thank you Morah Alisa for your help and support.

It was Lillian's birthday this week, so she shared her favorite book with her third grade class. 

On Wednesday, an Alcosan Water Treatment Scholastic Center representative visited the nursery and Pre-K.  They featured the topic "Helping Frankie Put Garbage In Its Place."  The children had hands-on activities to explore recycling and the positive effects recycling has on the environment.  Alcosan will visit again in the spring to feature another unit with the children.

Direct from the Alcosan's Twitter feed: Justin Weaver with @AlcosanWWTP's Scholastic Outreach department and @HillelAcademy1 pre-k group. Really enjoyed it!

Students in Mrs. Wimer's 8th grade civics class compete to finish their Constitution Scavenger Hunt!

Second graders learn Ivrit vocabulary by playing a memory game. 


Second graders learn to ask questions in Ivrit. 

After learning about animal adaptations, the third grade explored the popular earthworm in a science class with Mr. Garwood. They sketched, investigated, and touched the earthworm and created a comfortable habitat.

Nursery students outside enjoy the weather and our wonderful preschool outdoor facilities. 

בּיום שני כיתה א' סיימה לכתוב ספר על הצבעים שהם אוהבים ועל הדברים בילקוט שלהם.
!הם קראו אחד לשני את הסיפורים וחגגו עם פרסים
Alumni Spotlight: Robert Itskowitz: 1981-1992

Share a favorite memory or two with our readers? 
Wow just 2. I have a lot more than that, however the first 2 that come to mind are: 1) Rosh Chodesh Kislev or Chanukah trips to Schenley Park ice skating rink. It was such a fun way to spend the day outside of the classroom setting. It also included the boys in our class checking each other into the boards of the rink to see who could knock the other person off their skates. 2) 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.,We had a great time touring all the historical sites that the area had to offer. We had a great time on the bus going to and from D.C. that included playing one of the greatest dice games ever, Statis Pro Baseball (1986 edition). There is also the Lag B'omer BBQ, baseball games, and Thursday night high school Mishmar/Jiu-Jitsu but wait, you said just two.
 What organizations are you currently involved in? I'm currently involved with a number of organizations locally including: Hillel Academy, Congregation Shaare Torah, Kollel Jewish Learning Center, and Squirrel Hill Little League. Always important to be involved in things that you are passionate about.
How do you earn a living? Currently, I'm the Director of Talent Acquisition for Brooktree Health Services. It's a fancy way of saying that I recruit/hire professionals to work in our various outpatient facilities.
How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? That's a fantastic question and to be totally honest from the moment that I wake up in the morning until the moment I go to sleep at night, there probably isn't a day that goes by where something that I learned at Hillel Academy didn't have an impact on my day. Learning from my rebbeim and teachers to be kind, go to shul and daven, give tzedakah, do what's right, get involved, make a difference in your environment, and have a positive impact on the people around you.
Share some info about your family. I have an incredible wife, Shelly, who is a middle school Judaics teacher at Hillel Academy and 4 unbelievable boys: Nate, Yonah, Ashi, and Kivi who are all current students at Hillel Academy.
What's it like to have your boys in your alma mater? It's exciting and truly rewarding. I value the education that I received at Hillel and blessed that my kids are afforded that same opportunity. Also, it's great to pop in once in a while and see them learning and playing.
Nate, Yona, and Ashi with the Steelers receiver and NFL's leader in receiving yards (1141), AB!
What do you do in your free time? I enjoy spending time with my family, learning, reading, traveling, as well as supporting our local sports teams Pens/Pirates/Steelers/Panthers.
Who was your first Hillel teacher? Nursery, Mrs. Beverly Gross and Mrs. Ethel Mangurten, z"l.
What was your favorite class? Probably a 4 way tie between 2nd grade with Morah Chana, Chumash with Rabbi Brodie, Chumash with Rabbi Adler, and French with Mr. Casorio.
Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why? These aren't such easy questions. As I look back now, I was really fortunate to have such a dedicated and passionate group of teachers.Two that happen to stick out are Rabbi Brodie and Rabbi Binny Friedman. Rabbi Brodie was so energetic and happy to be teaching and it wasn't just the 40 minute periods during the day. It was teaching us the correct way to act while outside the classroom, teaching us how to pronounce words correctly during davening in the shul, as well as the Shabbos afternoon classes at his house. He was able to "relate" to each child. It's funny because I often use the same techniques with my kids 25 years later when we are learning something. For example, "So you don't lose your place, keep one finger on the Hebrew and one finger on the translation. Rabbi Friedman was a dynamic teacher who really captivated the attention of the middle/high school students. He combined his love for Torah with other activities to keep the attention of the students.
Most interesting person in your contacts? It's a tie between Eddie Shaw and Barry Faigen.
Wow, great call! What's the tie breaker? Can we make that happen? Both Eddie and Barry tell great stories, so I guess the tie breaker depends on the day and who has a better story to tell.
Share something with our students you wish someone had told you when you were in school.  Your time in school may seem like an eternity, but in reality, it goes by in a flash. Continue to practice and review everyday what you've learned, and dream big, and you will achieve great things. #GoHardOrGoHome

Quick Pick:

Turkey Bowl or Super Bowl? Super Bowl- more relaxing. I usually have a pulled hamstring or pulled groin muscle within the first five minutes from the turkey bowl and feel the effects for at least three days.
A.J. Burnett's Ford 350 pickup or McCutchen's white Lamborghini? Ford 350 Pickup. Raw power- Go big or go home.
Tahini or Matbucha? Matbucha with the caveat that you take your shirt off first. Those red stains will generally never come out.
Push mower or gas powered mower? Have to go gas with a large bag. No way I'm waiting around and raking up the scraps.
Extra slim shirts or '90s baggy? 90's baggy all the way. Reminiscent of the 1992 University of Michigan Wolverines basketball team.

Thanks for your time, enjoy the HYPE Shabbaton, and have a great Shabbos!
Tomchei Shabbos

If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in volunteering, please contact me at [email protected].
Teacher Feature: Mrs. Erin McDougall
Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. When did you decide that you want to be a teacher? I originally majored in chemistry and got bored with it. During my sophomore year in college, I took Calculus 2 and a bunch of electives one semester thinking, 'if I do well in this class, then maybe I'll go into math! I ended up loving calculus 2 and started tutoring other students at my school's math tutoring center. That's really where I realized I liked teaching math, not just doing it!
What draws you to math? I really like the challenge of working on a problem and finding a solution. It's interesting to me to find multiple ways to do one type of problem, too.
You teach middle school and high school, what methods do you use to keep students engaged? I try to always be in a good mood when I'm teaching and be enthusiastic about the material. Relating the information to a real life example helps the students realize they may see it again after school, or how people use math in their jobs. Being upbeat and encouraging helps a lot!
What are your impressions of Hillel so far? I like the strong community that Hillel is. Everyone is very supportive of each other and helpful. If I ever need anything or have a question about something I know where to go.
Which university did you attend? I attended (and am a proud alum of ) Penn State, Erie, The Behrend College. It is Penn State University's largest branch campus in Erie, PA, my hometown. I also attended Bowling Green State University to work on my master's in math in Bowling Green, Ohio (it's just South of Toledo).
Did you major in math? Yes, I dual-majored in math and secondary math education at Penn State.
Did you have any experience in school that effect the way you teach? I had one really amazing calculus teacher in college whom I loved. She was able to explain math in a way that almost everyone could understand. She took the time to answer questions, was very open to helping students, and had a great rapport with her class. I guess I try to model my teaching after her. She went on to get her PhD in math education and worked with me throughout my time at Penn State while I was getting my degree in education.
Be honest, what was your first impression when you were hired and then told you have to walk back and forth between the main campus and the JCC?At first, I didn't know where the JCC was. I think I went there the day before classes started for the first time. I heard all these stories about how long of a walk it is and how terrible it is in the winter. It definitely helps with my daily workout!
In the past, teachers have found ways to cut the travel time in half, what are your secrets?I have no secrets, I just walk through the Hillel playground, down the driveway, up to Murray and over to Darlington. If anyone knows a shorter way, let me know!
What's your dream job? I think I would be really great at event planning!
What's your teaching philosophy? My philosophy is that the classroom is a working community where each student should feel comfortable to ask any question, whether they think it's a 'dumb question' or not. I encourage my students to speak up and let me know when they feel uneasy with material. I also believe students have a duty to help the other students in their class. One of the highest forms of knowledge and understanding is being able to explain and teach a concept to someone else. I try to have my students do this often. It helps with oral skills, forming and organizing ideas and explanations, and it forces them to think of others instead of just themselves. 
Quick Pick:
Laffy Taffy or Snickers? Snickers
Dogs or cats? Cats
Pizza or fries? Pizza
Zip lining or paintball? Zip lining
Go Figure

Total amount the 2nd grade collected for Tzedaka by bringing in a coin or two each day!

Mothers and daughters registered for the HYPE Shabbaton Thursday Night Challah Baking led by Mrs. Chaya Berelowitz and Dr. Rena Levy! 
People registered for the HYPE
Shabbaton lunch at Shaare Torah!
Pieces of garbage collected by the 2nd-grade in order to keep a clean Hillel Academy playground!
Total number of Tweets we have tweeted.
Follow us on Twitter

Facebook likes, one more than last week.
Like us on Facebook

Instagram Followers - View on Instagram

Mazel Tov 

Mazel Tov to Miriam and Michael Kaminsky on the birth of a baby boy yesterday! Mazel Tov to all the siblings: Chana, Rivka, Yosef, Avraham, Yaakov, Yocheved, Devora, and Sara Leah! 

There will be a Shalom Zachor at the Kaminsky house 5812 Hobart Street tonight starting at 8pm. Details about the bris will be forthcoming.

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.

Thank you Cook family for sending this photo from Down Under during their summer vacation! The Hillel magnet with the Kangaroo crossing sign, good thinking. Is that like our deer crossing signs?
Pop quiz: If this is during summer break, why are the Cook's wearing winter coats?

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.

This week's Photo:

Last Week's Photo:

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].
Around Town 
APPLES FOR THE STUDENTS: Please be sure to register your Giant Eagle Advantage Card by clicking HERE and enter our school ID - 0454. 
BNEI AKIVA:Who: All 2nd-8th graders When: Shabbat Kodesh at 3:30 pm (note the time change). Where: Shaare Torah
TEEN SCENE: Shabbos afternoon groups for grades 6 and 7 meet from 3 pm - 4 pm November 21st at the Admon's and December 5th at the Berelowitz's.
GIRL'S ONEG: Come join us each week in the PZ Educational Building! For all girls in grades K-5 from 3-4. Please note the new time! 
MIKVAH: We hope that you have received your invitation to the Community Celebration for the New Mikvah, which will be taking place in conjunction with our annual Mikvah Event. This occasion, which will be open to men and women, will celebrate the FUTURE opening of the new Mikvah, which will be B"EH in several months. We look forward to seeing you on November 24 that the JCC. For more info, to donate, or to make a reservation, click here.
GYM & SWIM FOR BOYS: The program will begin this week on Motsoei Shabbos at Allderdice High School.The pool will be open for all students the entire time.The gym will be assigned as follows:1stGrade through 4thGrade: 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.5thGrade through 8thGrade: 8 p.m. - 9 p.m.The cost of the program is $4 per student. There is a family maximum of $12.Please note the program will take place on the following dates: November 14,November 21, December 5, December 19, January 9, January 16, January 23, February 20 and February 27.

Bake Sale!
The 8th grade girls are selling fresh and yummy Challah and Chanuka cookies!
Perfect for the Chanukah rush!
1 for $5.00
2 for $9.00 (that's $1.00 off!)
Sugar Cookies:
1 for 0.75¢
Dozen for $6.00  (that's $3.00 off!)
Pick-Up Times:
Thursday ,December 10th @
2:00pm-2:30pm or 3:45pm-4:15pm
To Order:
Call: 412-521-8131
*Orders must be placed by December 6th*


5685 Beacon Street - Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Please send condolence notices to [email protected].