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November 10, 2017 - 21 Cheshvan, 5778
Parshat Chayei Sara
Candle Lighting by 4:49 pm
Shabbat Ends - 5:56 pm

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In Pirkei Avot (5:3) we learn that Avraham withstood ten tests or trials during his lifetime. However, many commentators disagree in identifying the ten tests. While most of the commentators count Akeidat Yitzchak as the final trial, Rabbenu Yona lists the Akeida as the ninth test. According to Rabbenu Yona, the tenth trial took place in this week's parsha when Avraham purchased a burial plot for his deceased wife, Sarah. Even though Avraham was promised this land by Hashem, Avraham was forced to pay an exorbitant sum of money to purchase the cave.
When comparing these two tests, there seems to be a stark contrast between the nature of the two episodes. The Akeida was an emotional, spiritual, and theological test for Avraham Avinu. Hashem demanded that Avraham perform an act that opposes the very core of human nature, ethics, and everything that Avraham had preached up until that point.
The purchase of Ma'arat Ha'machpelah, by contrast, bears far more resemblance to the everyday "trials" which most of us confront on a regular basis. Avraham was forced to feel like a foreigner in a land that was ostensibly his, and forced to pay a large sum of money that he would rather not have had to pay. While no one can argue that the experience was unpleasant, it was hardly traumatic on the scope of Akeidat Yitzchak.
According to Rabbenu Yona, Avraham's final two tests demonstrate that trials do not always come in the form of drastic, life changing, experiences. If Akeidat Yitzchak represents a trial brought on by turmoil and calamity, the purchase of Ma'arat Ha'Machpelah represents the everyday trials of unfulfilled expectations, unforeseen expenses, and unwanted encounters with difficult people. While no one would argue that the "Akeida" type traumas are more difficult to grapple with and understand, it is important to realize that everyday trials and tribulations are also significant tests. If we understand personal tests as a chance to grow from our experiences, we should approach even the most seemingly insignificant struggle as a chance to grow in our relationships with each other and with Hashem.

Rabbi Weinberg, Principal                     


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Welcome to the first issue of the 2017 - 2018 Hillel Academy Girls High School newspaper, Humans of Hillel!
Allow me to introduce myself: I am Rivky Sutofsky, a senior at Hillel Academy and the editor-in-chief of this year's paper. As you can see, it will be included as a special monthly addition to the Hillel Happenings.
This issue of Humans of Hillel marks the third year of the Girls High School newspaper. The members of the FAB GHS and I would like to continue utilizing this newspaper to inform members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community about the GHS and world news, to share insightful d'vrei Torah, and provide thought provoking op-ed articles and creative pieces. We hope to publish many articles this year, and more frequently.
I hope that you enjoy the package of words, pictures, and ideas that our team of experts have prepared for you! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at Humansofhillel17@gmail.com.

Rivky Sutofsky

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By Chana Kaminsky
From Tzena Urena:
In this week's parsha, parshas Chayei Sarah, we are told of Eliezer's journey from Canaan to Charan in search of a wife for Yitzchak. Avraham Avinu specifically instructs his servant Eliezer to find a girl for Yitzchak to marry who is from Avraham's family, and not one of the daughters of Canaan. There are a variety of reasons for this, including that it should not be thought that his descendants have inherited the land of Canaan through Yitzchak's wife's family, but rather it should be known that it was received as a gift from Hashem (Chizkuni). Furthermore, Avraham did not even allow Eliezer's daughter to marry Yitzchak, maintaining that as Canaani, his family is cursed.(Rashi).
After learning this, we are left with a seeming paradox - if Avraham Avinu is so opposed to letting Yitzchok marry women from Canaan, why does Avraham himself marry Hagar? After all, Hagar is Pharoah's daughter, and Mitzrayim and Canaan are brothers! (they are both sons of Cham, Noach's son).
The Even Shoev explains that Yitzchak has a special kedusha from the Akaida, almost like that of a korban. It is this same holiness that prohibits him from leaving Eretz Yisrael, and is why he travels to Grar (in Israel) when famine strikes, as opposed to Mitzrayim (as Avraham did). And it is this holiness that stops him from taking a Canaani concubine as his father had when unable to have children with Rivka; he instead davens for 20 years and begs Hashem to grant him children.
Why, then, does Avraham resort to marrying Hagar? Why not just daven (like Yitzchak)? The answer is effort. Avraham Avinu does everything in his power to perform the mitzvah of peru urvu, bearing children, and that means with Hagar, so he marries Hagar. Tzaddikim only ask favors of Hashem when absolutely necessary. Yitzchak, however, needs Hashem's help. He cannot marry a Canaani woman due to his holiness, so there is nothing he can possibly do now except beg Hashem for a child with Rivka.
We learn from Avraham the importance of effort - of working hard to achieve - all the while trusting that Hashem knows what's best. Additionally, we learn from Yitzchak that, when the situation spins out of control, when all hope seems lost, that's when we ask and beg and plead for Hashem's help. 

School Is In (Phone) Service
By Aviva Itskowitz and Rachel Luzer

Whether or not students should be allowed to keep their cell phones in school is a controversial topic, with each school having their own set of rules on the subject. The Hillel Academy Handbook says "The K-12 cell phone and electronics policy states that cell phones, iPods, "Smart" watches (i.e. Apple Watch) and other electronic gadgetry, may not be used in the school building at any time." Cell phones in school can be viewed as a distraction during the school day, but used in the right way, they can actually enhance learning in school.
The phone rule at Hillel Academy was created a few years ago. The rule does not allow phone use in school at any time with the exception that "high school students may check out their phone or device from the office if they leave the building during lunchtime or off-campus activities with administration permission."
Many students, teachers, and administrators have opposing views on this rule. Mrs. Levari, the Principal of the FAB GHS says, "I think it is a good rule. I don't want to limit phone usage outside of school since that is a parent's decision, but during school, phones can be very distracting and do not promote social behavior."
Mrs. Finder, our high school English teacher, had a similar point of view about the cell phone rule. She says "I totally agree with the cell phone policy the school has instituted, because I think cell phones are very distracting to the learning environment. Also, if someone really needs to get in touch with you during school hours, he/she can just call the school and you will receive the message."
School is a time to focus on work and class, and to socialize with the people around you. Cell phones can be a distraction when it comes to class and social behavior, which is why the no phone rule at school is so important.
The "No Phone" rule also makes sure that every student in school is comfortable. With no rule in place, students who do not have phones may feel uncomfortable and excluded in school. Students may also have different, personal limitations, and the no phone rule keeps people from being exposed to certain things that they are not comfortable with. This creates a safe and comfortable environment for every student at school.
Phone use during school is not necessarily always a bad thing, however. An anonymous student in the FAB GHS says "I understand that phones can be a distraction during class; however, during breaks, students should be able to go on their phone without having to leave the school campus. Also, with my phone in school, I would be able to contact my parents without bothering the office." 

As the student says, if cell phones would be allowed during breaks, it would make contacting parents or other people a much faster and easier process. Breaks throughout the school day are a good time to catch up on work, or just relax during the busy school day. Having phone usage allowed in school during breaks allows students to take a mental break from the busy day at school. Students can even play games together on a phone!
Having cell phones in class may also be helpful. For example, if a word or topic needed to be researched quickly, a cell phone would be a great tool to get work done efficiently. Students could also use their phones as calculators, specifically graphing calculators, that can be downloaded from the app store on smartphones for the class. This would save students a great amount of money, and the money could go towards other programs that would benefit the school.
There are conflicting opinions about students keeping their phones during school, each with their own benefits and drawbacks, but for now, it looks like the cell phone rule is here to stay. 

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By Elisheva Friedman
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"Smile: The only thing it hurts are your cheeks."
By Rivka Kaminsky

You are as happy as the sun
Though your life is full of troubles.
You just keep right on smiling
No one can burst your bubble.
You're as happy as a character
In a movie Disney made.
Your favorite character's smile
On your face it is displayed.
You start to get sad - you wonder why:
You've been happy now for weeks.
Your whole face starts to hurt
Especially your cheeks.
Your face is stuck in place
You can't move it an inch.
You're smiling as big as ever
Your eyes - they start to squinch.
So you decide to rest your smile
But that doesn't mean you're distressed.
You use different ways to make others happy;
You know you've done your best.

When you do make others happy,
And you cause them to laugh real hard,
Your joy will be so very high
That it cannot be scarred.
You realize then it wasn't so bad
That pain that you were feeling;
Because it's only facial pain,
The hurt with which you're dealing.
This information is priceless
As I'm sure you might have guessed.
But for it to be worth more than gold,
You must remember the rest.
You have a secret to keep and to share,
And you are extra happy now.
Even if you feel sad on the inside,
You don't feel the need to frown.
Because you've conquered your pessimistic self,
You don't feel the need to moan.
You can smile freely from ear to ear
Because on the inside you have grown.

Something else that's amazing,
And for it you'll feel great reward:
Sharing in others' happiness
Is what you should strive toward.
When others' smiles spread,
And eventually reach your face,
You'll feel how they feel whenever
You start the smiling race.
If others think you mean it
When your smile shines so bright,
It will spread as quick as fire,
And you'll know you've done what's right.

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Greenfield Bridge is Falling Down No More!
By Batya Mandelbaum

As you all know, the Greenfield Bridge has officially reopened after 728 days - almost exactly two years - of being closed. The re-opening of the bridge has rerouted traffic, making the drive to school much faster, at least for most people. When asked about the bridge, Chana Yolkut said "I went on it today actually, and it was really nice. Surprisingly nice actually, because you don't think of bridges as nice. It's so solid and stable. It's also so modern."
This brings up the fact that the functional bridge is good for many reasons. For example, when driving on the highway below the bridge, there are no bridges or nets below it to catch falling chunks of bridge. This is a benefit because a) There is no fear of chunks of bridge falling on your head, however improbable; b) It's aesthetically pleasing; and c) Pittsburgh is known as the City of Bridges.
The Greenfield Bridge is the first bridge people see when approaching Squirrel Hill from the east. Having a dilapidated bridge with another bridge beneath it as the first thing visitors see makes Pittsburgh as a whole look broken down, which is not something any Pittsburgher wants. Pittsburgh now has a brand new, safer and nicer looking structure to be proud of. 
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Pittsburgh: The Future is Here (And Now)
By Rivky Sutofsky

We live in an age of unbelievable technological progress, and it may be shocking to those who still think of Pittsburgh as grimy and polluted to learn that our city is at the forefront of technological advancement and high tech manufacturing.
The foundation for today's success was laid decades ago, when Pittsburgh's troubled financial situation in the '80s inspired city leaders to start investing in local universities; working to develop them as sources of income and stability for the city. State and local organizations such as the Pittsburgh Technology Council and the Benjamin Franklin Technology Council helped connect university researchers with entrepreneurs and bring research breakthroughs to market.
These programs still exist today; Carnegie Mellon University uses them to assist students to commercialize products that they have developed, such as the 2009 Nike Chalkbot, a tweet-fed, chalk-spraying hydraulic robot that traveled the roads of the Tour de France, printing messages of inspiration for the Livestrong Foundation. In 2014, Mayor Bill Peduto compared Pittsburgh's universities to the iron ore factories that made Pittsburgh an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century. He told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette "The schools are the local resource 'churning out that talent' from which the city is fueled."
The research programs at Carnegie Mellon are attracting international talent, and tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Uber have opened offices here. Research at Carnegie Mellon in the field of artificial intelligence has a long history. The university was the first in the world to establish a machine-learning department, and its Robotics Institute, a division of the School of Computer Science, tested an autonomous vehicle, the Terregator, back in 1984. It's no surprise that Uber came to Pittsburgh to research self-driving cars, or that Amazon recently joined them here, opening an office whose engineer-heavy work force will focus on perfecting Alexa, the company's intelligent personal assistant.
Pittsburgh is also currently among 238 cities and regions hoping to be the home of HQ2, the company's second headquarters (the first is in Seattle). Moody's Analytics used Amazon's stated preferences and relevant economic factors to create a list of the top ten areas for Amazon's HQ2, and Pittsburgh came out as number five! Amazon is planning to invest over $5 billion in construction, and hopes to grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs - it will be equal to their current campus in Seattle, whose 33 buildings are the source of  40,000 employees and 53,3000 additional jobs provided in the city as a result of Amazon's direct investments.  
Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city's economy - every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional $1.40 for the city's economy overall. In addition to Amazon's direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community. However, many are worried about how the new company would challenge the city's reputation for affordability. Amazon says it will announce its decision some time next year.
Additionally, it was announced by Hyperloop One - a company developing a method of transportation that uses magnetic levitation to allow travelers or freight to glide in pods moving at 700 miles per hour through tunnels above or below ground - that the Midwest Connect program between Pittsburgh, Columbus and Chicago are among 10 routes that won its global challenge, which had hundreds of applicants. The technology would allow the trip from Pittsburgh to Chicago take only 30 minutes! The company hopes to implement three full scale operating systems by 2021. 

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By Chana Kaminsky

Michal Turgeman was a classmate of mine for three years when I was in Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth grade. Her family moved from Israel to Pittsburgh because her father was doing a postdoc at Pitt, though unfortunately for the community, they returned to Israel last year. I actually spent almost a week with the Turgemans this past summer on their moshav, forty minutes west of Chaifa, where they have a gorgeous view of the sea and skyline. I wanted to ask Michal a few questions so she can keep up with Hillel family and so we can find out how she's faring in the Holy Land.
Hey, how are you, how's your family?
>> Hey! My family and I are doing great:)
What do you miss most about Hillel? The US in general?
>> I miss the teachers the most! The teachers in Hillel were amazing and caring (and my classmates obviously). And I miss everyone's manners, the houses, and Dunkin Donuts.
How is your new school different from Hillel?
>> Let's start by saying I have 80 girls in my grade... and we have school on Sunday. The teachers give less attention to each student, but I can't blame them because we are a big class.
What do you plan on doing after high school?
>> Sherut Leumi. Maybe even a second year in US (in Pittsburgh if you'll accept me).
What is a moshav? Could you describe yours for us? How is it different than Pittsburgh?
>> In my opinion it's a small community in the middle of nowhere; I actually like it. My moshav is on a mountain. It's gorgeous and you can view all of Haifa and its surroundings.
When do you next plan to come visit us in Pittsburgh?
>> I want to come soon - maybe next summer?
Do you ever speak English at home?
>> We don't speak English at home. But I talk to myself in English (shh don't tell anyone).
How has your experience at Hillel prepared you for high school in Israel?
>> It helped me so much that I don't even know where to begin. Hillel showed me a different world and persepctive on many things. I learned to think in a different way and improved my English skills (thanks to Mrs. Finder J ).
Any last words to share with Hillel?
>> Thank you for the best three years of my life, and I miss you all!!
Thank you so much Michal, we miss you and your family, and G-d willing we'll see you all soon in Israel!
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The History Of Hillel Academy
By Aviva Itskowitz and Chaya Sutofsky

Have you ever wondered about the history of our school, Hillel Academy? In fact, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh has a fascinating history that many people don't even know about. The school can trace its roots back to the fall of 1946, when Rabbi Joseph Shapiro (then the current Rabbi of Poale Zcedek) was approached by a field director from Torah Umesorah, the National Society of Hebrew Day Schools, at the request of several prominent community members. They realized that there was a strong need for the growing Jewish community to have a Jewish community day school.
The five "Founding Fathers" - Abraham and Donald Butler, Rabbi Baruch Poupko, Adolph Schoenbrun, and Rabbi Joseph Shapiro, wanted to build a school that would have a balance of advanced general studies and Judaic study.
One year later, their dreams were turned into reality, when Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh was founded. Interestingly enough, it was the first day school in North America with that name. The name "Hillel" Academy was chosen to commemorate the revered sage.
At the start, the school was comprised of 17 boys and 1 girl. The automobile showrooms in the Morrowfield Apartments were their original classrooms. As the school grew, the community came together and raised money to purchase a bigger and better building that was more conducive to learning with the growing number of students. They bought the former Ellis School on Ellsworth Avenue.
By the time of the first graduating class, in 1959, a larger facility was needed for a thriving student population. "A building fund campaign was initiated, and with vital support from Harry and Pearl Morris and Saul and Miriam Fineberg (who mortgaged their homes), the community responded in kind."
Harry and Pearl's daughter, Ms. Morris, is a Hillel Academy alumnus, who returned to work at Hillel. She told us  that her class was the first eighth grade class graduating from the new building. She added that "For my Seventh Grade year, my class was held at PZ in the Educational Building. Some lower grades were held at Shaare Torah for that year."
In 1960, the Beacon Street property was purchased and this is where the school remains presently. The dreams of the Five Founders came true. There is now a school that focuses on secular and Judaic studies in the Pittsburgh community. Thanks to these people in our community, we have a great school for all future Jewish children in Pittsburgh.
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Check out the  Hillel Academy Alumni Page  on Facebook! 

Did you know the Bnot Sheirut have their own Facebook page? It's filled with lots of pictures and videos! Check it out at:  www.facebook.com/PittsburghBanot

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh awards grants to students who reside in the Greater Pittsburgh area (Allegheny, Butler, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland Counties).


The Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service (CSLRS) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh coordinates the efforts of a group of organizations, agencies, and scholarship endowment funds which provide need-based scholarships to local undergraduate and graduate Jewish students.
CSLRS is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and is administered by Jewish Family and Children's Service.


Any Jewish high school senior, college or graduate student with demonstrated financial need is eligible to apply. All applicants must be bona fide residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Washington, Butler or Westmoreland counties for at least two years. Individuals are known by number, not name, to ensure confidentiality.

When a student applies for aid, the CSLRS committee matches the student with the funding source or sources for which they qualify. Some funding sources require high academic achievement; all require students to demonstrate financial need.


For school year 2018-2019 Central Scholarship will again be using an on-line application process.
The on-line applications will be available in late November at http://www.centralscholarship.org . First-time applicants must be interviewed by CSLRS staff.

Application deadline is February 12, 2018. Regrettably, applications received after that date will not be considered.

For further information, contact Jewish Family & Children's Service, 
412-422-5627 or alowenberger@jfcspgh.org

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When you  #StartWithaSmile , Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. Bookmark the link and support us every time you shop.  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/25-1067130   

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At Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, we educate young men and women with unlimited capacity who compete in a superior manner in all challenges undertaken. Our students are Torah observant models of exemplary character, who love G-d, the Jewish people, and the land of Israel. To say that our students possess a love of learning, confidence and the ability to think critically, merely highlights the value of a Hillel education. What we ultimately achieve each day, and have been achieving for 70 years, is the gift of instilling each student with the foundation for a life spent actively serving and leading the Jewish community and society.

Micki Myers, Editor | Hillel Happenings | 412 521-8131 | hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org |www. hillelpgh.org