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 Achrei Mot
May 6, 2016 - 28 Nisan 5776
13th Day of the Omer

Shabbat Candle Lighting - by 8:03 pm
Shabbat Ends - 9:12 pm
Dvar Torah - Thoughts from the Principal & Educational Director 
Parshat Achrei Mot introduces the requirement to cover the blood produced from slaughtering birds or non-domesticated animals that were slaughtered for consumption: "And if any Israelite...who hunts down an animal or a bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth" (17:13). The Rambam, in his Moreh Nevukhim (3:46) explains the obligation of kisui ha-dam on the basis of the blood rituals reportedly practiced by the ancient pagans. As the Rambam describes, the pagans considered blood food of the spirits, and therefore some sects would, collect the blood in a receptacle and eat the animal's meat while sitting around the blood. The prevalence of this practice, according to the Rambam, gave rise to the Torah prohibition against eating blood, as well as to the prominent role of blood-sprinkling in the sacrificial process.

Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch views the prohibition against eating blood, and the obligation to cover animals' blood, as representing the need to distance ourselves from the animalistic essence of the human being. The killing of animals for food runs the risk of blurring the lines between humans and animals, of relegating the human being into little more than a sophisticated animal participating in the ongoing struggle for survival. In order to reinforce the qualitative difference between the human and animal species in a carnivorous world, the Torah required refraining from and even concealing the slaughtered animal's blood. Rav Hirsch explains that in animals, the blood signifies the "life" of the animal - the essential component of the organism's being. G-d, therefore decreed that when a human being consumes the meat of an animal. The animal then becomes part of the human body. The Torah is telling us that the "life" of animal should not mix with the "life" of the human being. The blood is therefore mixed with earth, symbolic of its source of the physical component of man.

Through this understanding, Rav Hirsch suggests that through the covering of the blood we are reminded that only our external and physical selves are similar to animals. But human beings alone possess a unique ability to rise to higher spiritual levels than the rest of G-d's creations.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Weinberg

Rabbi Weinberg can be reached at [email protected]

He is what you need to know
  • The Annual Hillel Academy Dinner - Tuesday, May 31st at 6 pm at the Marriott Hotel.
  • Save the Date - Joshua Sindler, z"l, Creative Classrooms Night of Art & Music - Wednesday, June 1 - 7 pm. 
  • Save the Date - Hillel goes to the Pittsburgh Pirates game on Sunday, September 4, 2016 @ 1:05 pm. 
  • 2016-2017 Academic Calendar
  • Letters to the editor - [email protected]
In case you missed our Pesach video.
In case you missed our Pesach video.

Josh Sindler, z"l, Creative Classrooms Art & Music Program 
Save the Date: June 1 @ 7 pm - The Joshua Sindler, z'l, Night of Art and Music
In addition to the Art Gallery, new for this year, we will be showcasing our students musical talents.  

The third grade learned about the proportions of features when drawing faces. They drew sketches of their faces first, and are now using those sketches as a guide for self-portraits they are drawing with oil pastels.

Ms. Gauscheman can be reached at [email protected].
Senior Profile - It's time to bid farwell to our 12th graders & welcome our newest alumni.
The academic year is rapidly coming to an end, which means it is time for the Hillel Happenings to profile our senior class. We begin with Phil Stein. 

What are your favorite memories? Before the current playground set up, we had a large grass field and we had some great football games. 

How will you remember Hillel?
 I will remember Hillel as the place that helped me grow mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Hillel played a large role in who I am today. 

What are your plans for next year?
Next academic year I plan to attend Aish Gesher, a yeshiva in Israel.

What college do you plan to attend? 
I plan to attend the University of Pittsburgh.

What advice can you offer to the underclassmen? 
If you look at the whole year it can seem overwhelming, just take it one day at a time and you'll find it's much easier.

Any final thoughts? Life is short, Enjoy it.
Alumni Updates

Mazel Tov to Tova Mendelson on her engagement to Naftaly Herskovic from New York! 

Mazel Tov to Miriam Plotkin on her engagment to Naftali Senft (Rabbi Shraga Senft's brother).

Mazel Tov to Dahlia (Cohen) Simons on the birth of a boy! 

Jared Stufflebeam is in the Israel Army now.  
Mazel Tov to Teddy Kraut on his wedding last night. 

GHS Newspaper - Humans of Hillel


HAIHL Standings

Whatch this goal!
Watch this goal!

Mitzvos & middos club. 
Ballet club members practice their toe flexes. 
Mitzvos & middos club.

The Quest for the Cup in the the NHL and the HAIHL (Hillel Academy Intramural Hockey League) continue.  
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.
Go Figure

Boys registered for the Boys Torah and Travel Camp. 

Pesach Torah and
 Mitzvot charts that have been turned in, so far. 

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

Yom Hashoah with special guest presenter - Mr. Judah Samet 

Weekly Photos

This year's whole school outdoor photos.  Can you spot RSW?
BHS Student Council planned the Shabbaton, Super Bowl party, Purim party, retreat, and helped fine-tune certain policies in select situations, etc.  

The AP US History class at the BHS getting ready for the AP Exam on Friday! 

This is how Morah Jessie's room prepares for Mother's Day.  

Hillel Pop Grid by Liora Nimchinsky 
This week Liora caught up with some of our alumni.  They discussed Disney, the makkot, and history.  Enjoy this week's grid.  You can always email us questions you would like asked in an up-coming issue, [email protected]

Alumni in the Mix
Which Disney character would you use to best describe yourself?
What are three things you would need if lived in Egypt when the Mitzrim were plagued?
Matzah is to Pesach like Hillel is to ______?

Who is someone in in history you would want to be friends with?
Ilana Kisilinsky
I think I'm a mixture of Belle, Jasmine, and Rapunzel- but definitely a princess!
Sneakers, bottled water, keys to the palace
Pittsburgh- integral to the future of the Jewish community
Nora Ephron
Steven Kohane
Donald Duck
Chometz, a flashlight, and an umbrella
A Yiddeshe neshama
Thomas Edison
Sarah Gordon
Hmm, sounds like I may need to take a buzzfeed quiz to answer this one
A camera, some popcorn, and a comfy recliner
... Like Hillel is to: hillel gear! #HAN

Nicolaus Copernicus
Maia Wiesenfeld
A sketchbook, an invisibility cloak, and snack.
Korech (get it?)
Golda Meir

Sara Nimchinsky
Sleeping Beauty
WiFi, Snapchat, and my time machine

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?!
Come check out our HYPE classes: 

  • 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

Around Town
Girl's Oneg: Girls in grades K-5 meet in the PZ Educational Building from 3:30-4:30. 
Teen Scene: No Shabbos afternoon group this week. Stay turned for our next activity
Benai Akiva: Snif - Mifkad begins at 4:30pm All kids in grades 2-8 are invited.

Mazel Tovs
Mazel Tov to Hillel Academy teacher and parents Devorah & Michael Kurin
on the birth of a boy!

Shalom Zachor - Friday Night
10:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Kurin Home
2277 Shady Avenue

Bris - Monday morning around 7:30 am
at Shaare Torah
after the 6:20 am Minyan

Please send Mazel Tov notices to [email protected].
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.

This week's Photo:

Debating Ethics - Session #17 
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 
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 


5685 Beacon Street - Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Please send condolence notices to [email protected].