Parashat Ki Tavo begins by describing the mitzvah of Bikkurim, bringing the first of your fruits to the Beit HaMikdash. In the context of this commandment, Moshe tells us that   "Et Hashem he'emarta hayom...v-Hashem he'emirecha hayom...-   " It is Hashem that chooses you... and you choose Hashem (as a nation)" (26:17-18). Rashi explains the unusual terms "he'emarta" and "he'emirekha" in these verses to mean selection or designation. On the surface these two "designations" do not seem parallel. G-d chose us from all the nations of the world, but because there are no deities other than Hashem, the word "designate" does not seem appropriate in this context.  

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Kol Ram vol. 2) explains that this verse does not mean to designate, as much as it means to prioritize. According to Rav Moshe, this verse is not about a choice to believe in G-d, but rather our constant emphasis on Torah ideals amid all of life's distractions. This time of year, in the month of Elul, we are reminded to make sure that our energy is focused in the right direction. The sound of the Shofar acts as a wake up call to summon us to our greater mission.  

It is fitting that Elul always corresponds to the start of the school year. Our existence as an institution is for the purpose of ensuring our students "choose G-d" in all aspects of their life. Whether in the science lab, on the basketball court, or eating lunch with their friends, we always have to ensure we react in a way that is consistent with Torah values. With G-d's help, this Elul will be a time where we can all refocus, and this school year be a time for continued growth and prosperity for us as individuals, families, our school, our community, and the world at large.

                        Shabbat Shalom,

                        Rabbi Weinberg, Principal


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When asked to hold a globe in one hand, Ninth Grader Reuven Kanal immediately attempts a basketball-style grip, which even for his nine-inch span hands proves almost impossible.
First Graders Zach Itskowitz, Levi Greenfield and Asher Zussman, however, have no trouble managing the same task in hands that are six-inches from thumb-tip to pinkie-tip.

Reuven eventually sees the wisdom of this approach.


Watch Noah Luzer levitate the whole world!
Watch Noah Luzer levitate the whole world!



Devorah Kurin
What subject(s) do you teach?

>> Chumash, Navi, Holocaust Studies, Middle School Science, 9th Grade Biology, 10th and 11th Grade Physical Science. 
What do your students call you?

>>   Mrs. Kurin.
How long have you been teaching at Hillel Academy?

>>   This will be my third year.
What is the most rewarding thing about teaching your grade / subject?

>>   Spending time with these amazing students and making them laugh.
What gadget do you rely on most when teaching? 

>>   Definitely the Smartboard.
What phrase do you find yourself using the most during your day?

>>   In my science classes I say, "She'll be coming round the mountain" - it's my phrase when I walk around the class checking that work is being done. I'm not sure how it started but it's really taken off. In my Limudei Kodesh classes I say, "Go for it" a lot when I want the students to read a passuk, or just for anything.
What three words best describe your class?

>>   "Seriously FOMO-inducing"  - you don't want to miss my class (FOMO = fear of missing out).
I wish my classroom had... 

>>   A teacher's desk with drawers and places to put my stuff. 
My students teach me... 

>>   How to speak like an American.
By the time they leave my class, my students know how to:

>>   Speak like a Canadian eh.  
My favorite rainy day activity is:

>>   Painting. 
What were you like when you were your student's age? 

>>   Very similar to how I am now. Sometimes I think I'm still in middle school and high school.
What is your motto?

>>   "I feel ya, but do it anyway."
The skill I would most like to have is:

>>   To understand and remember all Tanach with mefarshim. 
The most amazing / odd / inspiring place I have been is: 

>>   Girls High School Lounge. There's so much to learn (and to clean).
Do you play an instrument? If so, what? 

>>   I used to play the piano but I was never very good at it. I also played the challil (recorder) but didn't actually know how to play.
Is there anything else you would like the Hillel Academy community to know about you? 

>>  I'm married to Michael and have two wonderful kids: Hadassa and Yehuda. 

You can reach Devorah Kurin at dkurin@hillelpgh.org



Who Am I?

The Second Grade learned about the Ivrit masculine and feminine verb forms by making self-portraits and revealing what they love. Do you recognize anyone? 


The Third Grade bit into Language Arts by presenting three facts about themselves sandwiched between an introduction and conclusion to create delicious mini paragraphs. Not only is the content yummy, but the presentation is too! 

The toddlers demonstrated mastery of Abstract Expressionism by interpreting everyday objects - a house, a baby, a bear - in crayon. Who among us hasn't felt the way they do about such things?



Have you spotted this cheeky monkey hanging out in the Science Lab? Oh, the things it has seen! We don't know if our friend is a male or female, but we do know it needs a name. Send your suggestions to hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org or drop them in the Hillel Happenings box at the front desk. Thanks! 


Pounds of potato in a large-size tray of kugel:
Number of the room "formerly  known as the hot room"  in the JCC:
Total span of Reuven Kanal's outstretched hands, in inches:
Number of hillelacademypgh Instagram followers:
Sheets of paper in one box:


Message from the Editor:

                  I'm excited to take the helm of the Hillel Happenings this year and am delighted to announce that several high schoolers who are taking a journalism elective will be contributing their considerable talents to these pages. Email us at hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org with announcements, suggestions, answers to our quizzes and more! We'd love to hear from you.
Thank you, Micki Myers



This week, Mrs. Myers's students have been learning about dictionaries, and why you can't make the claim "the Dictionary says...." This is because there are many different dictionaries, all with their own audience, agenda, and scope. Take, for instance, the Merriam-Webster Official Scrabble Dictionary. It doesn't seek to provide you with comprehensive definitions of words; it exists merely to help you win at Scrabble.
The only words it includes are those officially allowed when playing the game. You might think that the most valuable thing it contains are all the seven-letter words (thus scoring a "Bingo"), or perhaps all the words containing the high-scoring letters. (Zyzzyva, perhaps  - a genus of South African weevils found on or near palm trees - is a good one, but you have to have the Z and both blanks to make it.) You'd be wrong. The most valuable words in Scrabble are the smallest possible ones: the two-letter words. So essential are they, that any good Scrabble player knows them by heart. You probably know most of them already. There are 105 of them, and you might be wondering how on Earth such small words can add up to big points.
Here's how: The key is to lay words alongside other words, not across them.

Let's say you start with TOW. Instead of adding JO to the T to make JOT, make the high-scoring J count twice and get points from the W too by using the two-letter words JO and OW. You can then build on this by laying the next word alongside the other words to double up those letters for maximum scoring potential. Here, I made JO again with the OWE across the bottom. This turn continues to reap those 8 points from the J by making JOTS.
Using this method, you will easily double, or triple your points by claiming points from letters already on the board. Of course, the best thing to do is to play your high-scoring letters on high-scoring squares in this way, creating many more points. For example: if you placed a Q (10 points) on a Triple Letter square using this method, you'd get 60 points from this one letter alone! Happy Scrabbling! 

All 105
Two-Letter Words
aa   ab   ad   ae   ag ah   ai   al   am   an ar   as   at   aw   ax ay  *  ba   be   bi   bo by  *  da   de   do  *  ed   ef   eh   el   em en   er   es   et   ex  *  fa   fe  *  gi   go  *  ha   he   hi   hm   ho   *  id   if   in   is   it  *  jo  *  ka   ki   *  la   li lo   *  ma   me   mi mm   mo   mu  my  *  na   ne   no   nu   *  od   oe   of  oh   oi om   on   op   or   os ow   ox   oy  *  pa pe   pi   po   *  qi   *  re   *  sh   si   so   *  ta   te   ti   to   *  uh   um un   up   us   ut   * we wo   *  xi   xu   * ya ye   yo   *  za


Submit your captions to hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org

Rabbi Admon, you'd better keep your day job!  (Bonnie Morris)


An Ode to the JCC Copy Machine
(An Epic Found E-Mail Poem)
Hi all,
I know I hyped up
the JCC copy machine
as rarely breaking
but it is currently
out of service.
I will let you know
when it is fixed.
Sorry for the
* * *
Apparently, with asterisk
that 2-sided copies
don't seem to be working.
I will call them
to come back for that.
Sorry, YS
* * *
They just sort of duct taped
the copy machine yesterday.
Today he's going to replace the part.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
* * *
the copy machine is working
for one sided copies only.
The repair man is hopefully
going to fix it today.
* * *
The guy came.
He ordered a new part
which should be here
on Tuesday / Wednesday .
In the meantime,
single-sided copies
are still working.
* * *
He replaced the broken parts
and 2-sided copies
are now working!!
Hopefully, this is
the last time all year
we have to deal with this.
(But I'm not betting on anything.)
Please let me know
if you have any questions.
by Rabbi Smith
(A poet, even if he doesn't know it)

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. 
Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. 
This caption would be more original, 
but copy machines can only reproduce what already exists.



From now until March 16, you can earn funds for Hillel Academy by using your Giant Eagle Advantage Card every time you shop or fill up at Get Go Gas stations through their Apples for the Students program. Register your card today to help us raise much-needed funds. It's easy: just go to www.GiantEagle.com/AFTS to link your card to Hillel Academy's account using the School ID number above. 



Josh Hertzberg, Tovia Jacobs, Avigdor Felder, Jared Stufflebeam, 
 and Ezra Kraut meet up in Jerusalem

We'd love to hear from you!
Email us and join our Facebook alumni page!


What do Editors Do?
This year, for the first time, we are offering a journalism elective to our high school students. They will be helping to produce and edit content for the Hillel Happenings as special correspondents, and in so doing, learn journalistic processes along the way.
You may have heard of the role an Editor plays, but do you know that in the publishing world there are many different types of editor, all of which have different tasks and skills? Here are some editors whose work makes the words you read on the page appear seamlessly in your head. Most writers want their work to be noticed; but for and editor's work to be good, it must be invisible.
An editor works with an author to help shape and prepare a manuscript for publication. An editor acts as a typical reader in order to determine if the writer is communicating in the best way possible. Editors oversee the entire process, from draft to final publication. Newspaper editors also come up with stories, assign them to reporters, and check their accuracy.
A copyeditor's job is to check a manuscript for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors, and suggest corrections for them. Before the digital age, this was traditionally done with a red pencil. (Many manuscripts are still copyedited with red pencils today, because sometimes we notice things in hard copy that we don't see on a screen.) The word copy refers to the written word, a sense that dates from the late 14th century. It comes from the way all writing used to be reproduced before the printing press: by being copied by hand by scribes.
A proofreader's job is to check a draft for typographic errors, and fix them. What they are doing is checking the proof, which is a word that refers to a draft, or test version of a text. This meaning comes from 1600, shortly after the invention of the printing press made it possible to check a printed draft for errors. A proof is related to the word prove, to establish that something is true.
A typesetter is responsible for setting the manuscript copy into its printed form on the page. This includes setting the page dimensions and margins, the style and size of typeface used, and how it's spaced. In short, a typesetter decides how words appear in print. In the past, this used to be done by arranging each individual letter and space, in the form of cast metal punches, into blocks, which would then be inked and pressed onto paper. Now, this is all done on computers. 


If you are new to Pittsburgh and would like to be included in the Jewish Community Directory, please contact Judy Mendelson as soon as possible.
jnm514@verizon.net   or 412-521-6498


Price List
Apples Red Delicious           3.99 / 3lb bag
Apples Red Delicious           54.0 / 42 lb case
Apples Gala                          4.50 / 3lb bag
Apples Golden Delicious      65.0 / 42lb case
Avocado                                1.80 / pc
Beets With Top Bunch           2.5 / bunch
Cabbages                              1.5 / head
Carrots                                  0.75 / 1lb bag
Cucumbers (English)             0.99 / pc
Cucumbers (slicing)               24.0 / 50 pc case
Eggplants                               1.4 / pc
Grapes, Green                       4.50 / 2lb bag
Mangoes                                14.0 / 10 pc case
Cantaloupes                           1.99 / pc
Pears                                      50.0 / 135 pc case
Red Peppers                          18.0 / 11lb case
Peppers, Mini                          0.99 / 1lb bag
Pineapples                              1.2 / pc
Potatoes, Idaho                       4.75 / 10lb bag
Potatoes, Golden                     3.80 / 5lb bag
Daicon Radishes                     3.2 / pc
Butternut Squashes                 2.75 / pc
Starfruit                                    1.7 / pc
Tomatoes                                  22.0 / 25lb case
Tomatoes, Cherry                     0.99 / lb
Sweet Potatoes                        30.0 / 40lb case
Yellow Onions                          1.8 / 3lb bag
Romain Hearts                         2.8 / bag (3)
Pomegranates                          Please call Yamit  for pricing 970-989-2648
Please submit your order prior to 5pm on  Thursday September 14 to  yamit.presman@gmail.com
Accepted forms of payment: PayPal  to arie.presman@gmail.com
Check payable to Presman, or Cash


Creative Kosher
310 Electric Avenue
East Pittsburgh, Pa  15112
             Deena Ross (412) 901 -1729     Moishe Siebzener (412) 901 - 5022                                                                                                                                           
Rosh Hashanah ~ 2017
Please place order directly at creativekosherpgh.com
Just leaving a message or email is NOT an order UNLESS confirmed by Creative Kosher !!
CKC Challah Choices
White Plain                        2 lb                        $7.50                        1 lb                        $4.00
White Raisin                      2 lb                        $8.00                        1 lb                        $4.50
Whole Wheat                     2 lb                        $7.50                        1 lb                        $4.00
Appetizer Choices
Gefilte Fish w/ Horseradish for 4                    $12                                                                       
Chicken Soup w/ Matzoh Ball- Quart             $12
Minestrone Soup - Quart                       $12
Potato leek soup - quart                         $12
Main Course Choices
Herbed Roasted ¼ Chicken for 4                   $20
Sweet & Sour Meatballs            (6 pcs x 4)    $24
Honey Tangy Salmon            for 4                  $24
Boneless Apricot Chicken for 4                       $24
Schnitzel for 4                                                 $24
Marinated grilled boneless chicken for 4         $24
Dairy lasagna rolls (12)                                   $26
Tilapia Florentine with Feta for 4                     $24
Cheese blintz soufflé (12)                                $24
Side Dish Choices
Potato Kugel            9x13                                 $24                       4x6             $12
Pineapple Noodle Kugel   9x13                        $24                       4x6             $12
Apple Soufflé 9x13                                           $24                       4x6              $12
Cran Apple Peach Crunch 9" round                 $16
Cranberry Relish quart                                     $12
Dessert Choices
Apple Pound Cake (2lb size)                          $12
Honey Cake (2lb size)                                    $12
12 choc chip cookies                                      $6
Chocolate babka loaf                                      $9.50
Cinnamon raisin babka loaf                            $9.50
Chocolate mousse pie                                    $14

Orders must be in by Wednesday September 13, 2017
Pick up Between 3pm - 7pm ~ Tuesday September 19, 2017
Deena's Dishes ~ 310 Electric Avenue ~ East Pittsburgh, Pa 15112
Wishing you all a Happy & Healthy New Year
Deena and Moishe
Thank you for letting us share in your Yom Tov!


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.  


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 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.