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Parshat Vayigash
January 6, 2017 - 8 Tevet 5777

Shabbat Candle Lighting - by 4:51  pm
Shabbat Ends - 6:00 pm
DVAR TORAH - Thoughts from the Principal & Educational Director
In Parashat Vayigash, when Yaakov hears that Yosef is still alive, the verse tells us " ve-techi ru'ach Yaakov" - "Yaakov's spirit was revived" (45:27). The Midrash Tanchuma explains that G-d withdrew prophecy from Yaakov during the twenty-two years he spent in bereavement, and then later restored prophecy once Yaakov learned that Yosef was alive.  The Rambam mentions this understanding of the verse in his Shemoneh Perakim and uses it to prove that despondency precludes the possibility of experiencing prophecy. 

 The simplest explanation for the centrality of joy and contentment in achieving prophecy, perhaps, is that it denies a person the peace of mind that prophecy demands.  Intense concentration is among the critical prerequisites to the experience of prophecy, and despondent people are generally incapable of this level of concentration being preoccupied with their distress.  It is for this reason, perhaps, that a prophet can only experience prophecy in a state of general contentment and while in good spirits.

  Every day at school we are given the opportunity to educate our students. Much like prophecy, knowledge and information retention requires a state of happiness, calmness, and tranquility.  In a recent article in the National Association of School Psychologists newsletter ( http://www.nasponline.org/publications/cq/39/2/HappinessMatter.aspx ), Dr. Scott Huebner highlights the importance of a positive school climate and individual student happiness in schools. He maintains, "students reporting greater happiness show more appropriate classroom behavior, higher school grades, better peer and teacher relationships, better physical health, and greater participation in classroom and extracurricular activities." 

Over the past few weeks, we have had many fun activities in celebration of Chanukah. From ice skating to dancing, this past week has been a blast. It is important to realize that events like these are not only great ways to celebrate chagim together, but also help create a better and more positive learning environment.

Shabbat Shalom 
Rabbi Weinberg can be reached at sweinberg@hillelpgh.org .

Volunteers Needed!  If you can sew and you have some time, help is needed to sew simple costumes for the Mother-Daughter Brunch.  Please contact Mrs. Chaya Berelowitz at  cberelowitz@hillelpgh.org .
2nd Semester Clubs
  • Second semester Clubs begin the week of January 30th
  • Club e-mail confirmations will be sent next week
  • Please email dshaw@hillelpgh.org with questions

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Happy Chanukah!
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Life Hacks
Welcome to our life hacks section!  Life hacks are easy strategies or techniques that you probably never thought of that can be used to "hack" every day problems--or manage your time and daily activities in a more efficient way. Some hacks are so useful that they come in handy every day, so we thought it would be fun for the Hillel family to share our favorite hacks with each other! 

THIS WEEK'S HACK was suggested by Ms. Oz. Thanks!

Reduce Candle Drips

Prepare a solution of 2 tablespoons of salt per candle, and just enough water to cover the candles. Let them soak for 2 to 3 hours, rinse them, and let them dry for at least 24 hours before you use them. The salt water hardens the wax , which makes it burn slower and more cleanly.

For last week's hack: http://bit.ly/HH-_12_30_16

If you have a favorite hack you'd like to share, email hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org.

Weekly Photos

In Science class, ECC learned about spinning to get in the Chanukah spirit.  They began by watching as a toy tractor moved across a board on the floor. The tractor was rolling - the wheels were turning and the tractor was moving from one place to another. Then the tractor was flipped over and its tires were spinning -  the wheels were turning, but the vehicle wasn't moving anywhere. They tried to think of objects that spin.

Last week in 12th grade AP Psychology class, students heard from David and Tanya Levari, both psychology PhD students at Harvard. Each spoke about their research and how it relates to our curriculum. David works in social psychology and he focuses on how individuals establish definitions. Tanya's focus is developmental psychology and she researches how babies react to their surroundings. They both connected their research to the nature vs. nurture debate, research methodology, child development, language acquisition, and cognition, all important features of our curriculum.

Gavriel enjoys a butter and pretzel sandwich. 

Avid Hillel Heat fans watch the high school team battle the JCC squad this past Tuesday night from the track in the Kaufmann gym. 

BHS and MSB each had a dreidel tournament using chocolate chips. The winners of each division received Chanukah gelt!

Seventh grader, Avi Admon, designed and printed a pair of tefillin using our 3-D printer. 

January  Birthdays 
Jacob Perlman, 4th 
Yehuda Cohen, 1st
Zach Itskowitz, K
Gavi Poznanski, 2nd
Hannah Swedarsky, 2nd
Perel Berelowitz, 3rd
Nahshon Brown, 1st
Talia Azagury, K
Shlomo Arye Blalock, 2nd

Thank you to our sponsors:
Mr. and Mrs. Josh and Aviva Swedarsky
Mr. and Mrs. Avraham and Alice Azagury
Dr. and Mrs. Marc and Rina Itskowitz

Mazel Tov!
Current parents, Yanki & Marissa Ribault on the birth of a baby girl, Efrat Yocheved!

Alum, Leah Fuhrman on her marriage to Gabe Javitt!

Alum, Avromi Rosenberg on his upcoming marriage to Batsheva Friedman.

Please join the Rosenberg's for Avromi's Aufruf, It will take place on Shabbos Parshas Vayigash -- January 7, 2017 -- at the Kollel Jewish Learning Center, at 5808 Beacon St. Davening is at 8:30 AM. There will be a kiddush following davening, from 10:45-12:00.

Alum, Eli Altschuler & his wife Shlayma Shamberg on the birth of   Maor Yehuda Altschuler.

Hillel Athletics

The middle school team took on the CDS Lions at home this past Tuesday. 

Fifth graders, Nate and Yehuda (l-r) battle for the puck in playoff hockey action this past Thursday. 

Nathan passes to Noah during the second quarter vs. CDS. 

Freshman guard, Aaron Kraut, drives in the third quarter in the Heat's game against the JCC squad. 
Alumni Spotlight
I recently caught up with Mesivta/Hillel graduate  Ronnen Sokol  (1986-1998), who now lives in New Jersey. We reminisced about the Mesivta days, the Steelers playoff strategies and Zishe Sokol. Enjoy the interview and as always, we welcome interview suggestions and questions. 

Let's jump right into this. Top Hillel memory, go! Being at Hillel for so many years, it is hard to pick one or even one hundred of my favorite memories, but I am going to go with a classic..... I had the misfortune of covering Rabbi Shaw while playing football. Jacob Goldberg was the QB and my one simple task was to prevent a touchdown (we only had five minutes left of recess and only time for one play). Hike was called and BAM! Rabbi Shaw ran straight downfield. I knew it was a Hail Mary pass, and the only thing I needed to do was block it. The ball was thrown far and wide, and I knew we had the game in the bag, and then.......out of nowhere, Rabbi Shaw leaped, fingers outstretched, and the ball was in his hands! As his foot crossed the line, the recess bell rang. Why is this my favorite memory? I love football and that was the most beautiful catch the world has ever seen!

What was your favorite class? Language Arts
Roni's three daughters with their grandparents. 

Why?  I always thought that a person should express themselves in some way, for me it was always through writing. My favorite book has to be Five Glorious Brothers. It is a historically accurate account of the story of Chanukah, and a must read for everyone!

What organizations are you currently involved in? I work for the Kosher symbol Star-K as a senior kashrut supervisor and I am the General Manager of the food facilities of Rutgers Hillel.

Can you share some more about your work?  Rutgers Hillel is opening up a brand new building with state of the art equipment, and my job is to oversee all four of the kitchens and staff, as well as make sure everything is at the highest Kosher standards.

Can you tell us about a product that is about to get a Star-K hechsher? T sk tsk...... that is a secret.

How did Hillel Academy prepare for life? Hillel Academy has/had the best teachers and Rabbeim. All of them were role models to me and I try to emulate their actions in my everyday life (especially Ms. Oz).

Ok, let's talk family. Tell us about yours.  I have an older brother named Elan who is married to Chayala. They have two future Hillel alumni children Zishe and Aviva. I have a younger brother Daniel who married Alisa (née Stiebel) who have 3 sons and are currently residing in Eretz Yisroel. I have triplet six year old daughters, Miriam, Esther, and Rivkah. They are my life and they act like their father and uncles.

Wow, triplets, what's that like? Triplets are amazing! Imagine a sharknado mixed with cuteness and that's what it's like having three daughters (who act like their father and uncles) at the same age.

Where do you live? I currently live in Lakewood NJ, but my dream is to move to Israel and be with my brother and parents.

What do you do in your free time? Shmooze Pittsburgh sports with my friends on WhatsApp, watch as many games as I can, and of course learn Torah.

Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why?  Ms. Oz and Rabbi Rosenberg: to me they embodied what it was like to be a mentsch and how to act with kindness, love, knowledge, and most of all--treat others with respect.

Who is the most interesting person in your iPhone contacts?  Zishe Sokol

Share something with our students that you wish someone had told you when you were in school.  Never rush growing up, have fun, and always listen to advice from your teachers. They know a lot of amazing information that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

What sefer do you enjoy learning?  I have a Sefer from 1852, it is a combination of three separate Seforim, Hilchot Shabbos, Sha'rai Teshuvah, and Tefilas Moshe. This is the only Sefer of its kind still in print, the others were unfortunately destroyed during the Shoah. The Introduction to the Sefer hasn't been learned by anyone for at least 50 years, it's truly a treasure.

You are an avid Hillel Happenings reader, what brings you back each  week? 
I love Hillel! It brings me a lot of joy seeing the school that I love grow and flourish and because of my friends and former teachers.

Quick pick:
The girls were all ready for a wedding in NJ.

Steelers or DolphinsSteelers, here we go!

Clemente Bridge or Golden Gate? Clemente Bridge, N'at!

Old school pencil or click-able? Click-able, I always kept 3 in my pocket everyday.

Veggie bacon or steakSteak........very very very rare.

Bais Hamikdosh or Beit Hamikdash? Bais Hamikdosh 

Around Town
Girl 's  Oneg :   Every Shabbos afternoon in the PZ Educational building from 3:00-4:00 for all girls K-6. Hope to see you there!  There will be no Oneg January 21 due to Hillel's midwinter vacation.

If you are interested in volunteering or know someone who might be, please contact   dkraut@hillelpgh.org.

                                          of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
                                                               Administered by:
                                                  Jewish Family & Children's Service
               5743 Bartlett Street · Pittsburgh, PA 15217 · (412)422-5627 · Fax (412)428-8200

Attention:  Financial Aid Offices, Guidance Counselors, and Youth Organizations
Applications for need-based college scholarships for the 2017-2018 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. We are enclosing a brochure that explains our process. The 2017-2018 CSLRS on-line application is available at http://www.centralscholarship.org.  All applications are due February 9, 2017.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (412) 422-5627 or e-mail me at alowenberger@jfcspgh.org.
Alayne Lowenberger, Director
Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

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