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 Bamidbar- Shavuot
June 10, 2016 - 4 Sivan 5776
48th Day of the Omer

Shabbat Candle Lighting - by 8:32 pm
Shavuot I Candle Lighting  after 9:40 pm
Shavuot II Candle Lighting after 9:41 pm
Yom Tov Ends - 9:41 pm
Dvar Torah - Thoughts from the Principal & Educational Director 
       In Parshat Bamidbar, the Torah describes the arrangement of B'nei Yisroel's camp during their travels in the desert. The Torah describes that they were arranged "ish al diglo" - each tribe with its unique flag (1:52). The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabba 2:3) provided background information for the flags. The Midrash tells us that at the time of Matan Torah, "220,000 angels descended with Him... and they were arranged according to flags."  The Midrash continues to explain that, "When Israel saw that they [the angels] were arranged by flags, they began desiring flags."  G-d saw how the people wanted to resemble the angels, and thus commanded them to arrange themselves according to distinct flags for each tribe.

           Rav Kalonimus of Cracow, (in a book titled Ma'or Va-shemesh) quotes another Midrash (Shemot Rabba 29:2) that explains that the impressive aspect of the angels at Har Sinai was that they descended in such a peaceful manner. He explains that generally when large numbers of people come together in cramped quarters, almost invariably fighting ensues.  But the angels that descended upon Sinai were perfectly orderly and peaceful, each respecting the space of the other.

           In this context, the Ma'or Va-shemesh notes, we can easily explain why Bnei Yisrael were so awe-struck and envious of these "flags."  They saw the angels arranged in different groups, each with its distinguishing banner, but without competition or conflict.  They observed the various groups respecting each other's space without violating its territory.  And because each group felt content with its allotted space and never tried to extend beyond it, this large assemblage of angels was able to maintain peace and serenity despite being crowded into a small space.

             We achieve peace and serenity in our lives when we respect each other's space, when we each recognize our roles and appreciate our G-d-given lots without looking enviously at what others have or do.  The Midrash teaches that "flags," a sense of individuality and distinctiveness, are precisely the way to achieve peaceful relations and goodwill among people.  If we fail to recognize that each person is assigned his or her unique role and to his or her unique set of circumstances, then persistent struggles and competition ensue.  Like Bnei Yisroel in the wilderness, we all "march" through this world with our individual "flags," with our individual roles to fill. Recognizing our degalim can go a long way toward reducing conflicts and competition, and bringing us the serenity and peace of mind that we all crave.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Samayach!
Rabbi Sam Weinberg

Rabbi Weinberg can be reached at [email protected]

69th Annual Dinner Video

Painting a Brighter Future 
Building a Brighter Future
Building a Brighter Future
Creating a Brighter Future
Josh Sindler, z"l, Creative Classrooms Art & Music Program 
A brief clip of the Felder String Quartet.

The Joshua L. Sindler, z"l, Creative Classrooms Program Night of Art and Music began with nine performances: Rivka Plotkin, Dov Smith, Racheli Karalefsky, Avi Admon, Aliyana VanSickle, Shira Wiesenfeld, Michal Turgeman, Michael Sohnen, and the Felder string quartet (Asaf, Avidgor, Laivi and their mother, Jill).  After the musical component, the guests browsed the art gallery made up of hundreds of art pieces from our students in grades 1-12. On display was a unique painting commissioned by the school in honor of the endowment program and painted by famed Pittsburgh and nationally known artist, Burton Morris.  The video recording of the evening will be released next week. Thank you to the Sindler family for making all this possible! Thank you to Micki Myers, Rita Gauscheman, Alisa Fox and all those who helped make this evening happen.


Club Celebrations 
The fourth through twelfth grades celebrated their syiumim and learning in clubs with a special after school pizza party, Mazel Tov!
The  fourth through eighth grades celebrated their participation in Hillel's athletics clubs (cross country, hockey and basketball) with pizza from Mordy Brown and ice cream from Phil and Bill. See you next year.

The Hillel Grid
The Hillel Grid - Here is Liora's final grid of the year.  She decided to talk with a few of the people who help make Hillel the great education institution it is.  Liora welcomes your feedback or your suggestions.  She can be reached at [email protected]

in the mix
What's Your favorite high school memory
Were you in any clubs/ sports in your time as a student?
Greatest prank you ever pulled off?
What do most people not know about you?
Ms. McDougall
Being part of the swim team
Yes, swimming, softball, soccer, math club, and teaching club
My brother and I made it seem like we fell down the stairs. When my mother came home with the groceries she threw them on the floor to see if we were okay. We of course we laughing.
I'm the only girl in my family with three boys.
Mrs. Itskowitz
Debate team
Basketball... no surprise there
I used to leave a message on my machine saying "hold on... wait a minute, I can't hear you... you need to talk louder." It was the outgoing message on my machine
At 5'10" I am the shortest child in my family.
Mr. Finder
National honors society, Mu Alpha Theta, science olympiad, and cross country
I pulled a chair out from under my twin sister, but I felt really bad afterwards
I was actually super cool!
Mrs. Wimer
AP US History lectures. It was like story time for history nerds
I participated in softball, art, choir, and  National Honors Society
I changed all the shortcuts on my Mom's phone so that every time she typed in "is" it came out as "Sonja."
On my first day of summer camp I sat next to Mrs.Finder's daughters on the bus.  
Mrs. Finder
I have an embarrassing story:  I had a chemistry class and we had this chemical that I spilled all over my skirt and tights and it made holes all over
National honors society, Swimming, Ski club, choir and all the musicals.
I was not much of a prankster, but I appreciate a good prank!
I backpacked in every National Park in the Northwest of our country as well as in British Columbia
Mr. Kraut
That I was able to graduate HS even though I missed most of the year due to a hand injury and illness.
I was the founder of the Jewish Legal Society at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law...we  had a hotdog eating contest!
Janitor at my high school hated when people would park on the grass... Not even an inch. So we took our friend's car, drove it all the way on to the front lawn of the school and let's just say the janitor was not happy. We would also hide our principal's desk phone on a daily basis and gave him clues to help him find where it was located.
I have no feeling in my left hand. 

Senior Profile - It's time to bid farewell 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. This week we featured Chedva Silver.

What are your favorite memories? 
Some of my favorite memories include retreats, productions, and Mock Trial. Going further back, I remember building giant snow forts in the parking lot, spontaneous dancing at 10 for Rosh Chodesh Adar, charts in first grade for losing teeth.... Honestly? After fifteen years, there are just too many memories to list, but I will cherish all of them! 

How will you remember Hillel? I will remember Hillel as the place I grew up and the place that made me who I am. I will also remember Hillel as the place where I had some of the best years of my life and made some incredible relationships.

What are your plans for next year? Next year I will be attending seminary in Israel. It is called Bnos Avigayil, which is in its second year. Bnos is located in Har Nof, in Yerushalayim. 

What college do you plan to attend? As of now, I believe I will be going to Touro College (Lander College for Women) in New York, but that's still up in the air. Good news is, I have a year before I really need to figure it out!
What advice can you offer to the underclassmen? It definitely sounds cliche, but make the most of your time in high school because you can make some great memories and learn some amazing things and it really is over before you know it. Also, take advantage of all the amazing opportunities that Hillel offers - you probably won't have them anywhere else! Make sure to cultivate relationships with the teachers and staff, they really are there for you. (And it can come in handy!)

I can't believe it's over already! I'll definitely miss Hillel.

The annual Cafe Ivrit gives the first graders the opportunity to speak Ivrit with their parents by acting as waiters during this annual breakfast event. 

69th Annual Dinner
Mazel Tov to our 69th Annual Dinner Awardees:
Dr. Michael Welner
Margaret & Shmuel Angel
Rabbi Yisroel Smith  


Mazel Tov to the Class of 2016!

Mazel Tov to the Shuman, Lilov, Hertzberg, Stein, Felder, Ungar, Silver, Kisilinsky, & Itskowitz families!
Go Figure

Performances at the Night of Art and Music. 

String quartet at the Night of Art and Music: Asaf, Avigdor, Laivi and their mother Dr. Jill Felder. 
Cupcakes ordered for Rosh Chodesh Sivan. 

Beautiful art pieces on display during the Night of Art and Music. 

High School graduating seniors in the class of 2016

Facebook likes, 8 more than last week.

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Lots Going On
In honor of Shavuot and Har Sinai, Morah Elaine taught about rock science this week to the nursery students (below). Morah Elaine also taught about rainbows to the pre nursery students (right). 
As part of a Literature unit, the fifth grade girls explored art and artists. They read the novel From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which is set in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art,and they read several non-fiction pieces of literature also related to art and artists. The capstone to this unit was a trip to the Carnegie Museum of Art where students examined and explored multiple works of art as they embarked on a guided scavenger hunt based on clues to specific works of art in the museum.The field trip was a wonderful opportunity for the girls to experience art in an authentic setting, increasing their interest and engagement in the topic.

Seventh grade Mock Presidential Debate - Secretary Clinton, Senator Sanders, Senator Cruz, and Mr. Trump all made appearances in 7th grade Civics last week!

Who wore it better, Jacob (left) or his sister Shira (above)?

The three year (above right) olds can't wait to take part in clubs, so they decided they could at least try on the gear.

Ninth and tenth grade Mishlei siyum. The 9th and 10th graders enjoyed a healthy and fun salad bar siyum with Mrs. Milch upon their completion of Eishes Chayil. Check out their artistic representation of the Eishes Chayil pesukim as you walk down the high school wing hallway. Mazel Tov on a job well done!

Second grade had a siyum to celebrate the completion of Parshat Lech Lecha. 
 The event was called Entering His with Gratitude," (Tehillim). Second grade collected many 'keys' during the year to open the gates into the next stage of their lives. For example, the gates of gratitude, learning, truth, love for others and respect, just to name a few. 

In connection with the fourth grade book "City of Ember,"  the class went to the lab and participated in an engineering challenge with Mr. Garwood.  The challenge was to create a working model of movable light using any of the materials provided.  The students used some of their knowledge from last year's science unit on electricity, and their own creative thinking, to create their movable lights.  For additional photo click - HERE

Mazel Tov
Mazel Tov to Chanie and Ephraim Reisner on the engagement of their daughter Devorah Malka to Liebel Jacobson, Des Moines, Iowa!
Mazel Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Yisroel Pfeffer on the birth of a granddaughter to alum Esther and former rebbe, Rabbi Benny Hutman!

Mazel Tov to alum Aliza Riemer Strassman on the birth of Tziona Batya!
Around Town
Teen Scene: We'll see you next year!  Join us for the closing event at Romp n Roll on June 17th! 

Girl's Oneg: This is the final week of Girl's Oneg!  Closing event will take place at Romp n Roll on June 17th from 10-12. Cost:  $6 There will be a bus leaving from PZ at 9:30 am.  You must RSVP if you want a spot on the bus! [email protected]

Bnei Akiva: Snif - Mifkad begins at 4:30pm All kids in grades 2-8 are invited.

Mordy Brown Catering - June Menu and Order Form
NCSYMazel Tov to Pittsburgh NCSY on winning Chapter of the Year at the recent Central East NCSY Spring Regional Convention. Mazel Tov to Rabbi Ari and Rachel Goldberg on being honored for their 10 years of service to Pittsburgh NCSY! Mazel Tov to Ben Ungar, Josh Hertzberg and Yael Itskowitz for their awards as NCSYers of the Year.

Squirrel Hill Baseball: Mazel Tov to the D2 Diamondbacks on their little league world series victory! Congrats to the second place Blue Jays! And finally, well done to all the rest of the Hillel Academy students who took part in the spring baseball season. 
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.

Tomchei Shabbos

If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in volunteering, please contact me at [email protected].


5685 Beacon Street - Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Please send condolence notices to [email protected].