The Hillel Happenings
The Official e-Newsletter of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
5685 Beacon Street ~ Pittsburgh, PA 15217 ~ (412) 521-8131
Follow us on TwitterView on InstagramLike us on Facebook
Parshat Miketz
Rosh Chodesh Tevet
Shabbat Chanukah

December 11, 2015 - 29 Kislev 5776

Shabbat Candle Lighting - 4:35pm
Shabbat Ends - 5:43 pm

The 2015 Scholarship Fund Dinner is this coming Tuesday, December 15, 6:30 pm at Dave and Busters. Call Selma to purchase your ticket and to make a dinner
 reservations - 412.337.2035.

Special for Chanukah, this week's Divrei Torah are by our students. 

One of my favorite things to do on Chanukah is eat latkes and sufganiot. The reason that we eat these foods on Chanukah is because they are fried in oil, and on Chanukah Hashem did a miracle of keeping the menorah in the Beis Hamikdash lit with oil for eight days so that new oil could be prepared.

That would explain why we light our menorahs with oil, but why is there a minhag to eat oily foods? Isn't lighting the menorah enough to help us remember this miracle?

One reason for this is that eating is something we do several times a day, and is a basic human need, not something we normally think of as a spiritual activity. By remembering the miracle that Hashem did for us as we go through our day, we are giving our meals and actions an even greater purpose. We are using the activities in our day as tools to think about all of the good that Hashem did for us in the times of Chanukah, and today too!

Yehoshua Levy, 1st grade

My mother and I did some extra learning in the Sefer Hegyonei Halacha, by Rav Yitzchak Mirsky, and found out that there is always a special way to do mitzvos, called Hiddur Mitzvah. 

This concept also applies on Chanukah. The most basic way to do the mitzvah of Chanukah is simply to light one candle for each day of Chanukah. The mehadrin way is to light one candle for each person. The Mehadrin min haMehadrin way is one more candle each night, so that on the first night each person lights one (plus the shamash), on the second night each person lights two (plus the shamash), etc. etc. 

It turns out that Chanukah is the only mitzvah that has mehadrin min ha mehadrin. I was wondering why. The Rav (R' Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt"l) gives us an answer. The miracle of Chanukah happened because the Chashmonaim did a mitzvah in the Mehadrin (special) way. When the Chashmonaim found the oil that wasn't enough, they could've just used smaller wicks. Then the oil would have lasted longer. Instead, they wanted to do the mitzvah in a perfect way--they used bigger wicks so that the flame of the menorah would be big and special like it was supposed to be. In memory of this we do the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah menorah Mehadrin min haMehadrin.

Remember to always find beautiful ways to do mitzvos, and have a Happy Chanukah!

Meira Yolkut, 2nd grade

My great-grandfather, Rabbi Ephraim H. Sturm ZT"L, used to share this Dvar Torah with our family on Chanukah. He explained that one of the miracles of Chanukah was that the Jews found one jar of pure olive oil, shemen zayit zach. It had the seal of the Kohen Gadol on it but, it was not his job to make the oil. There were other Kohanim who had that job. So, why did this jar have the Kohen Gadol's seal?

The Kohen Gadol's job was to bring a daily korban of flour and oil. The oil that was used for this korban was regular oil. It did not need to be shemen zayit zach like the oil for the Menorah. But, the Kohain Gadol at the time decided that if he was going to do his job, he was going to do it in the best way he could. Therefore, he used shemen zayit zach.

Alex Small, 3rd grade
Five reasons why it's good to light with olive oil:
1. Olive oil lights very nicely. We actually did an experiment with Rabbi Levy and Mr. Garwood in the science lab where we put wicks in 8 different liquids and observed if/how it lit. The liquids included olive oil, canola oil, margarine, purell, vinegar, and even motor oil! We graded each liquid and flame on: appearance, texture, and consistency. We then took all the grades from each student and averaged them together. Olive oil was voted the overall best liquid to use for lighting!
2. Olive oil is very powerful and can change a lot of things.
3. Just like olive oil can not mix with water, we the יהודים fought hard not to mix with the Greeks.
4. The נס, miracle, happened with olive oil.
5. To get olive oil you need to remove the outer layer of the olive and use the inside for the oil. So too, the יונים, Greeks, managed to change the outside of the Jews, but not the inner flame of the Jews!

Chanukah Sameach!
Adar Azaria - 4th grade         


Why do we celebrate 8 days of Chanukah, if the oil was expected to burn for 1 day?  Shouldn't we only celebrate 7 days?  Why do we have an 8 day holiday for a 7 day miracle?  One of the answers is that it was a miracle that the Jews even found the oil.  The Greeks had broken all of the their bottles of oil. So that miracle should count for the first day.  Another answer, is that they divided the oil into 8 equal parts.  Thinking that they could light at least for a little bit each day.  For this Hashem rewarded them and made it last all 8 days.  I think that both of these opinions make a lot of sense. They both explain why Chanukah is an 8 day holiday instead of a 7 day holiday. 

A lesson we can learn from this is to have faith in Hashem and never give up.  Even when things look bad, Hashem can make things right.  Another lesson is that if you work hard to do a mitzvah in the best way possible, you will be rewarded for your efforts.   

Happy Chanukah!
Click 'calendar' for the Fall Club Calendar.

Second semester club regisrtation will open during the first week of Jaurary and will stay opened for two weeks. Most clubs that were offered durin the first sesmter will again be offered during the second sesmter. Some addded clubs will be tennis, more art, chess and a few others.

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.
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

Alumni Updates
Chana Fuhrman: Mazal tov for this week goes to Chana Fuhrman and family on her marriage to Ari Greenspan!

A Time for Chesed


The third grade went to Weinberg Terrace.

The FAB GHS went to Charles Morris. 

The middle school boys went to three shuls in our community and helped take care of general tasks. 
Go Figure

Donuts Mordy made over the course of the week. 

Hopped on the Chesed train this week.  
Followers on Twitter.
Follow us on Twitter
times third students fell on the ice at ice Castle.  

High school studnet
who took an algerba II test this week.

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

Instagram Followers - two more than last week View on Instagram

Weekly Photos

 Shvili Yisroel - these young ladies are filling up their passport. 

The third grade embarked on an incredible trip to Inventionland.  Inventionland is an innovative office space where inventors, engineers, and designers produce products from beginning to end. Childrens toys are developed in an office space modeled of a pirate ship. Automotive and electronics are designed in a office designed of a speedway. Some of the students favorite parts were: when the secret door opened leading us to Inventionland. The amazing cinema where we lounged in recliners and watched a clip about a new invention. The amazing pet shack office, the imagination well, candy house, beauty and health office were unbelievable! 
The best Chanukah field trip ever!

BHS annual hour of code. 

BHS Chanukah lunch.

Magnetic menorahs!

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. 


We regret to inform you of the passing of 

Marilyn Sindler
beloved wife of Norman Sindler and beloved mother of Mark, Ross Sindler, Joshua, z'l.

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. 

First grader, Coby Shaw, was spotted at Ice Castle sporting his retro Hillel Heat basketball hoody!
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.

Well done, thnak you for reading and correctly naming the ladies in last week's photo: 
Sophie Masloff, OB"M and Nina Butler!

Jesse Mendelson, Tova Weinberg, Mischa Gelman, Marilyn Swedarsky, Efrat Kagen, and Paula Stein Weisman

This week's Photo:
Last Week's Photo:
Word of the Week                                
מילת השבוע 

כד -כלי עגול עמוק בעל ידית וזרבובית, המשמש להחזקת מים או נוזל אחר וליציקתם ממנו. Jug, pitcher ; vase
חרס - חומר מוצק, קשה, עשוי מטין שהוקשה בקלייה בתנור. - clay, earthenware
כל המילים:
שְׁבִיל טִיּוּל תַּרְמִיל תֵּל שלג אֲגַם מַצְפֵּן אָמָּנוּת יֶקֶב 
Chanukah Halachot - by Rabbi Yolkut 
Starting at maariv this Saturday night, we begin reciting ve-sein tal u-matar le-verakha.  The common custom is to put in the candles (or oil) from right to left, and to light starting with the left most candle and move to the right.  Chanukah candles should be lit after 5:42 pm, on the evenings of Chanukah, or at any point afterward as long as people are awake in the home. The candles should burn for at least half an hour.  On Friday night, Chanukah candles can be lit at any time from 3:54 pm until 4:35 pm. The candles or oil should be sufficient to burn until 6:13 pm. (If time is pressured, you can defer the singing of Maoz Tzur until the meal on Friday night.)  Chanukah candles are lit before Shabbos candles.  During Chanukah, we say the full Hallel during shacharis, and say Mizmor Shir Chanukas haBayis following Shacharis.  Al Hanisim is recited in Shmoneh Esreh and Birkas Hamazon. There is no insertion for Chanukah in Al Hamichiyah.
Debating Ethics - Session #7 - December 15 at Jline
Open Beit Midrash with Dinner for Teens at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

Together with J Line, Hillel Academy is proud to offer the 7th class in the series: - December 15, 2015
will be at Jline this week. 
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!  Special Oneg for Shabbos Chanukah!  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: November 14, November 21, December 5, December 19, January 9, January 16, January 23, February 20, and February 27.

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