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 Vayigash
December 18, 2015 - 6 Tevet 5776

Shabbat Candle Lighting - 4:37pm
Shabbat Ends - 5:45 pm
Special for Chanukah, this week's Divrei Torah are by our students. 
Here are the other Divrei Torah that were not inlcuded in last week's Hillel Happenings. 
        In the text of Al Hanisim we say, "The miracles you have done in those days at this time." Rabbi Shimshon Pinkus asks, "What miracles do we have in our days?" Reb Pinkus answers that in our days too, we experience many miracles, and he illustrates this with a story which took place during World War II. There was a boy who was hiding from the Nazis in a bunker in the ghetto with his younger sister. One day the boy had to go out to get something and when he returned his sister was gone. He asked the people there what happened to his sister and they told him that she was taken by the Gestapo. He ran to the police headquarters to get his sister back. When he arrived there and told the police what he wanted, they started laughing at him, so he began yelling and shouting. A high ranking officer who heard the yelling came out of his office and asked, "What is going on here?" They told him what the boy was yelling about, so the officer said, "When you grow hair on your palm I'll give you back your sister." The boy opened up his palm and hair was growing there. The officer couldn't believe what he saw; he screamed at them and said, "Take your sister and get out of here before I shoot both of you."

        The reason hair grew on his palm is because years earlier he burned his palm really badly and had skin grafted there which caused the hair to grow.  That was most certainly a miracle that things worked out that way. This story shows that miracles are things we experience even in our days; we just have to open our eyes and notice them. That is why we say, "Bayamim hahaim bazman hazeh - in those days in our times." 

Chava Rivka Russell, 6th grade

We all know the story of Chanukah is about the Jews defeating the powerful Greek army and recapturing the Beis Hamikdash. When they tried to light the Menorah, they could not find any pure oil. After a long search, they did find enough oil to last one night. They lit the Menorah and the oil miraculously lasted for eight days. To remember this great miracle, we celebrate eight nights of Chanukah. However, even though the Menorah stayed lit for eight days, the actual miracle was only for seven nights since they had enough oil for one night. So, why don't we celebrate seven nights, instead of eight?

One explanation is that we are really commemorating two miracles. The first day commemorates the miracle of the battle against the Greeks. The fact that Hashem helped us defeat the much stronger and larger Greek army is a good reason to establish a holiday. The other seven days represent the miracle of the Menorah.

Noah Luzer, 7th grade


"'I saw, and behold there was a candelabrum all of gold, with its oil-bowl on top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; seven tubes each to the lamps that were on top of it....Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,' says the L-rd of Hosts." (Zechariah 2:2,6)

Moshiach's duty to bring redemption will be as easy as lighting a Menorah. However, during the time of Chanukah, the Beit Hamikdash was in disarray and the Jews were being influenced by Greek beliefs. Right after the Maccabee's triumph in defeating the Greeks, it was hard to find oil, let alone light a Menorah. It used to be a normal thing, sometimes taken for granted, to have oil for the Menorah. There are things we take for granted, that we would not know what to do without. In Israel, for example, when there is a snowstorm, they do not know what to do and Yerushalayim is shut down. But here in Pittsburgh, whenever there is a snowstorm, we continue life as it is. A necessity to the Beit Hamikdash, the oil to light the Menorah, was gone, and what would have happened if they could not find any oil? The Beit Hamikdash would have been shut down until new oil was made. We take things for granted. We must remember to thank Hashem for everything, including those things with which we could not do without. The Menorah is a reminder that all things come from Hashem. 

Avital Segal, 8th grade

We hope you have enjoyed the HYPE Chanukah Divrei Torah written by students in grades 1-8. Thank you to the following students (and their parents!) for writing such beautiful Divrei Torah: 

Yehoshua Levy, 1st grade
Meira Yolkut, 2nd Grade
Alex Small, 3rd Grade
Adar Azaria, 4th Grade
Leora Goldberg, 5th Grade
Chava Rivka Russell, 6th Grade
Noah Luzer, 7th Grade
Avital Segal, 8th Grade


Click 'calendar' for the Fall Club Calendar.

Second semester club registration will open during the first week of January and will stay open for two weeks. Most clubs that were offered during the first semester will again be offered during the second semester. Clubs that will be added are tennis, additional art for younger grades, music, chess, and a few others.

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

Violin club. 


The BHS Hillel Heat (1-3) had a rough week with two losses against the JCC and Urban Pathways. They look to rebound against Auberle on January 5 at 8:30 pm in the JCC Kaufmann gym.

The MSB Hillel Heat basketball team was all smiles after their win over Winchester Thurston this past Thursday.  The win brought their record to 1-1.  
Josh Sindler, z'l, Creative Classroom Art & Music Program 

The 4th-grade is making paintings of Greek vases inspired by the Greek Geometric period.  These will become a part of a display with columns they made in Mrs. Berelowitz's class. 
Here is a video report by Shoshana. 
Alumni Updates
Mazel Tov to alumni Shuli and Natalie Zacks on the birth of a baby girl!
What do you miss most?
Hakaros hatov to the teachers. I miss basketball games in the gym before Mr. Tomko's 6 pm science class.
-Adam Aronson 

The thing I miss the most about Hillel is the sense of family that permeates the school and the Pittsburgh community!
-Micha Stiebel  

I miss my friends. I only had 2 or 3! But in such a small environment you build extremely close bonds. I'm referring to Michael Feldman & Ari Goldberg.
-Shani Pelled 

We miss the people quite a bit!
- Winer family
Go Figure

48Families donate to Tomchei Shabbos.

Points scored by 9th grader Aaron Kraut against Winchester-Thurston!
Followers on Twitter.
Follow us on Twitter

Points scored
by 8th grader Benji Marcus,a new personal best!!


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

Instagram Followers - two more than last week View on Instagram

Teacher Feature: Reb Dan Hertzberg 
Hi, welcome back to Hillel, Reb Dan!

What brought you and your wife Chasya, (alum) back to Pittsburgh? Well, besides for the awesome community Pittsburgh has to offer and the chance to work at Hillel Academy, my wife and I were expecting our first child, Aviva Shifra. We wanted to be near our families for that really exciting change in our lives.
Reb Dan during his time with the Hillel Heat!

Where were you guys before you moved to Pittsburgh? We were lucky enough to be in the Holy Land. It was an awesome experience and I don't go a day without missing the Yeshiva I worked in and the rigorous Torah learning schedule I had in Israel.

Where did you attend yeshiva and university? I started my college adventure at CCAC during the summers in between my high school academic years. Upon graduating from Hillel Academy I flew to Israel to learn in Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim (OJ) where I learned for two years before going to the Mir Yeshiva for a semester. I finished up my bachelor's degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University while attending a morning yeshiva called, Yeshivat Ohel David in Monsey, N.Y.

Who do you teach?. I start my day in the boys high school where I daven and have the pleasure of teaching a senior Gemarah Kiddushin. I then make my way over to the main building where I teach various third graders Chumash Bereishis. Throughout the day, I also provide support in the 6th and 7th grades. When I am finished with those grades, I support the Judaics teachers in other clases as well.

You are one of our esteemed alumni, what's it like to be back as an employee? It's awesome, really love the experience I'm having. Although it's familiar, it's definitely different and I love the change. It's not surprising, but Hillel Academy really treats their employees great!

What's most surprising about the school? How many exciting extracurricular activities they offer here. I didn't hear much about that when I was a student in the boys high school.

What do you bring to the table that others don't? What I really try to bring to the table is a unique and tangible excitement. I believe all of my students can relate to me easily because I come off as a fun, young guy. I'm still able to accomplish what we need to in class even though it's a fun and relaxed environment.
When the BHS was in Beth Shalom the boys had to wear ties.

What's your favorite part of the day? Going home, just kidding. I really enjoy my 12th-grade Gemarah class because it's challenging. It doesn't hurt that Gemarah is my favorite subject;)!

You had great times while a member of the BHS, part at Beth Shalom and at the JCC. Tell us about those times. I find myself often reminiscing of my days as a Hillel Academy student. It was fun. We learned a lot, yet kept it lively, especially with my teammates on the court. Let's Go Heat!

What's your teaching method? Honestly, I'm still figuring it out which makes this so exciting. I'm not set in my ways. I try to do what's best for each individual student.

What are your career goals? To grow into an amazing teacher. I'm also interested in psychology and can see myself as a therapist.

If you could host your own radio show what would it be called? That doesn't sound like me, but if I had to, probably "Dan's Sports and Vorts Radio Show!"

In the back office suite, we have begun to assign music to each employee and play it as they walk in, like they do at a ball game when the batter is announced.  What would you like your song to be? Eye of the Tiger, I've just had that song stuck in my head this past week and it definitely pumps me up.

Quick pick:

Oil or candles? Oil

Donuts or latkes? Latkes

Spike after a TD or AB's celebration two weeks? Positively a spike, not willing to put myself through that apparent pain over a touchdown.

Thanks for your time and have a wonderful Shabbos!
Weekly Photos

Learning how to tell time, Talmud style: The 6th grade boys Gemara class graphically represents Mincha Gedola, Mincha K'tana, and Plag HaMincha while learning the Gemara in Maseches Brachos that discusses the proper times for tefillos. 

FAB GHS hour of code. 


2015 Scholarship Fund and Dinner 
Congratulations to Dr. and Mrs. Michael and Devorah Kurin on winning the six tickets to Israel and to Philip and Margot Sunshine for winning the iPad and to Dayna Greenfeild on winning the $500 Giant Eagle gift card. 

Thank you Selma, Marci, and Adina for making this evening happen!

Shayna Shaw, Rabbi Weinberg, Rabbi Goldberg and Raimy Rubin take part in a competitive four-way air hockey game.

Hillel Pop Grid by Liora Nimchinsky 
Students in the Mix
If you can create any ice cream flavor what would it be made of?
What is the hardest part about being a kid?
If you could grow up to be famous, what would you want to be famous for?

Chana Yolkut
Chocolate pancakes
Who you calling  kid?
Being awesome
Rivky Grossberg
Blueberry banana
Going to school
Living in Pittsburgh and going to Hillel Academy
Rivka Kaminsky
Being myself
Shira Sutofky
Turkey and corn for Thanksgiving
Homework and tests
Living in Houston
Devorah Milch
Pickles, chocolate, and caramel
Going to school
Being the current coolest Milch
Maya Davis
Candy Bar Ice cream  
Being responsible for homework
My kugel  
Batya Mandelbaum
Every kind of Hershey Bar Ice cream
My baking

Tomchei Shabbos

If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in volunteering, please contact me at [email protected]
HYPE - Are you HYPED?!
HYPE offers a variety of classes during the day and in the eveneing. Including this one with Rabbi Sam Weinberg: Exploring the Maharal on Pirkei Avot Thursday 1:30-2:15 pm  We also offer:
  • Rabbi Daniel Yolkut: Fresh Looks at Familiar Stories: Chumash through the eyes of Rav Yaakov Medan Wednesday 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm
  • Rabbi Oren Levy: Introduction to Talmud Monday 8:30 pm -9:15 pm
  • Rabbi Wasserman on Navi: The Book of Joshua - Mondays from 8:15 am until 9 am, main office. 

Mazel Tovs
Mazel Tov to Hillel Academy parents and teachers Rabbi Shlomo and Chaya Berelowitz on the birth of a baby girl!

Mazel Tov to big brothers and sisters Bracha, Yitzi, Yaacov, Perel, Eli, and Hudi!

Mazel Tov to Hillel Academy parents Inbal and Tal Blumenfeld on the birth of a baby boy!

Mazel Tov to big brother and sister Omer and Geffen!

Please send Mazel Tovs notices to [email protected]
We are sorry to announce the passing of Eleanor Schwartz, wife of Harvey Schwartz, former physical education teacher. She was also the mother of alumni Sharon (Horowitz), Jeff, Ralph, and Dov Schwartz.

- Elaine Joseph

Please send condolence notices to [email protected]
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, it will be on sale soon. 

Zev Loring was spotted at Pirates Fest with his Hillel Academy ball cap.  We give Zev lots of props for going with his Hillel hat over his Bucco hat. Well done, Zev and Lets' Go Bucs! Zev met RHP Jared Hughes, among others, and tested his TV camera skills. Speaking of the Buccos, the Hillel Academy Bucco game is September 4, 2016 vs. the Brewers at noon. 

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 doing. 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.

Well done, thank you for reading and correctly naming the people in last week's photo: 

Pictured from left to right are Martin Fogel, Marty Weingarten ob"m, and Lynn Uram.

Avi (Arthur Joseph), Elaine Riemer Joseph, Allen Herman, and George Weiss
This week's Photo:
Last Week's Photo:
Debating Ethics - We are now on winter break and will resume Jan. 6
Open Beit Midrash with Dinner for Teens at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

Together with J Line, Hillel Academy is proud to offer the Torah for Teens
What: Study Texts Over A Great Meal with Your Friends
When: Tuesdays, 6:20 pm - 7:20 pm - 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]
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
  • GIRL'S ONEG: All girls in grades K-5, join us each Shabbos in the PZ Educational Building, from 3-4!   Hope to see you there!
    Teen Scene: Girls in grades 6 & 7 Shabbos afternoon groups on December 19th at Yolkuts. 3-4pm.  Stay tuned for our next amazing activity!
  • 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 pm - 8 pm 5th grade through 8th grade: 8 pm - 9 pm. 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: December 19, January 9, January 16, January 23, February 20, and February 27.
House for sale by owner  - $379,000.00                     
Single family all brick home situated in the heart of Squirrel Hill. Located on a quiet, secluded street, one block from Schenley park and mere moments walk from major bus routes to and from Oakland, the city and beyond. Six to seven minutes walk from Hillel Academy / Keter Torah congregation and Three minutes walk from Lubavitch center / Yeshiva Boys school.
Four bedroom, one and a half bathroom
Open and airy floor plan
Two car detached garage with a two parking space drive way.
Dual Zone, independently controlled central air conditioning.
Recently updated electrical system (200 amp) and plumbing.
Newly insulated
Red Oak hardwood floors, Granite countertops, custom wood cabinetry.
Ceiling fans in most rooms.
Lots of natural light and much much more!!
Please callL 412.760.7661 for more info.

camp flyer
Mark Pattis will be at Hillel Academy on Dec. 15 from 4pm-5pm to answer any questions. 

Applications for need-based college scholarships for the 2015-2016 school year are available from the Central Scholarship & 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), The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Rodef Shalom Congregation.All awards are distributed on the basis of demonstrated financial need. Depending on the scholarship fund, other factors such as academic achievement, field of study, school attending, and Jewish and general community involvement will also be considered. 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 We would appreciate your assistance in aiding local students by publishing an announcement about the work of the Central Scholarship committee. The 2016-2017 CSLRS on-line application is available at All applications are due February 11, 2016.
First-time applicants must be interviewed. Students whose applications are received by 
December 11, 2015 may be interviewed during winter vacation. All of the limited number of 
after school, evening, spring break and Sunday appointments will be assigned on a "first 
come, first served" basis to those whose applications are submitted by January 15, 2016. If 
students have scheduling needs (such as work, or attending school out of town) it is 
important to submit as early as possible, by 1/15/2016. All applications should be submitted 
as early as possible to ensure processing.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (412) 422-5627 or e-mail me at 
[email protected]

5685 Beacon Street - Pittsburgh, PA 15217