5685 Beacon Street | Pittsburgh PA, 15217 | (412) 521-8131
Shabbat HaChodesh & Shabbat Mevarchim
March 24, 2017 - 26 Adar 5777
Shabbat Candle Lighting - by 7:18 pm
Shabbat Ends - 8:27 pm
DVAR TORAH - Thoughts from the Principal & Educational Director
Parshat Vayakel discusses the fulfillment of the earlier directive to build the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. After Moshe announced that the collection would take place, the Torah tells us (36:5) that Bnei Yisroel responded too generously, and that they gave significantly more than was needed. It seems peculiar that too many materials were donated. Could they not find some other use for the extra gold or silver? The Seforno explains that in contrast to the Batei HaMikdash, no deviation from the precise measurements described by G-d was allowed in the construction of the Mishkan. Therefore, donations that exceeded the exact requirements were unnecessary.
Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ginsburg (cited by Rav David Silverburg on vbm-torah.org) explains that the reason for this was that the Mishkan was made to be a mobile Sanctuary. Out of consideration for the Levi'im, who were responsible for transporting the Mishkan, no extra material, and therefore weight, was allowed.
Rav Ginsburg adds that an important lesson emerges from this explanation. Hashem forbade additional beautification of the Mishkan if this would unduly intensify the Levi'im's workload. Similarly, it is very praiseworthy to strive to act beyond the strict letter of the law and take on additional, voluntary measures of piety. However, one must take into account the effect these measures might have on others. As Pesach approaches, and our stress levels increase, it is important to remember to not, even inadvertently, cause undo burden on others.
I recently caught up with Rebecca (Kentor) Knoll. We discussed her thoughts on some Pittsburgh topics, art projects, and what it's like having her children attend her alma mater. Enjoy!
Who are you named after? M
y name is Rivka Chana, and I'm named after my grandmother's mother, Rebecca Israel, as well as two of my grandfather's sisters, Rivka and Chana.
Your brother, and fellow alum, is a running junkie. When do you plan to run your first marathon? I don't know....probably whenever he registers me and then lets me know. This year he registered me for the 10K Great Race, but I had to have them downgrade me to the 5K since that was the only run I did all year. Currently I'm working on building my way up to 2 miles once the weather improves...we'll see how that goes before I can even think about a marathon!
What's your favorite memory from your time at Hillel? I remember learning a song written by Nina Butler for my kindergarten graduation called 'The Torah Connection'. It was based on Kermit the Frog's 'The Rainbow Connection'. I don't remember the words to her version, but the song still makes me smile. I also loved the Hillel Purim carnivals, they were definitely a highlight.
Who was your first Hillel teacher?Mrs. Gross and Mrs. Mangurten were my nursery teachers. They taught me in what is now Morah Devorah's classroom.
What was your favorite class? Definitely science.
What about a favorite teacher? That's a tough one because I had many wonderful teachers, but Mr. Casorio, my high school French teacher, was definitely one of my favorites. I was never great at speaking French, but he was a fantastic teacher who was really dedicated to his students, and an all around nice person. Two of my other favorites were Reverend and Mrs. Jacobowitz who co-taught Judaic studies in first grade. They were possibly the most adorable couple I've ever met.
Where did you earn your degrees? I have my BA from the University of Pennsylvania and my MPH from Columbia University.
What organizations are you currently involved in? I've become involved in the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh over the past few years. It's been a really positive learning experience, and a great way to get to know many facets of the Pittsburgh Jewish community. I'm also on the Board of the Pittsburgh Mikvah.
How do you earn a living? I work for UPMC Health Plan, managing a team that is responsible for our physician incentive program, data management, and strategic reporting.
How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? During my years at Hillel I had a lot of freedom to
develop my own interests and pursue them with the support of my teachers and the school. That helped me identify my strengths and figure out what I enjoy doing.
Tell me about your family. My husband, David, and I have 3 children (Azi, Caleb & Ayelet), who all attend Hillel. They are 3rd generation Hillel students, and they love spotting their mom & zaidy in photos around the school.
How did you and David meet? We met on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We had a ton of close friends in common that David had known since middle school and high school, and that I knew from college. We never met when he visited them at Penn, or even when we all lived near each other for 5 years after graduation! Finally we met through those same friends in 2005.
What's the best part about being a Hillel parent? Seeing how much my kids love going to school.
There are rumors that your husband has won the prestigious David Knoll Father of the Year Award the past 8.5 years. What advice do you have for us dads that covet such a lofty prize? He is a pretty awesome dad. He's always willing to pitch in and take care of things, and he loves being goofy with the kids.
Allow me to paint a scenario. You arrive at work and find a great parking spot. However, upon your excitement of good fortune, you then realize you forgot your cell phone at home. Do you A) Go through the day in agitation or B) Give up the spot to go get the phone? I wouldn't go home to get my phone, but it would be a rough day. So you wouldn't save your spot with a chair and run home to grab the phone? If I had a chair in my car, I would. As a native Pittsburgher, why do people slow down when they get to a tunnel? That doesn't happen everywhere?
Please feel free to forward me information on other alumni who would like to be featured in an upcoming issue at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Spotlight -
Meet Rachel and Dov
If you could go to dinner with anyone who would it be?
This year Hillel BHS has started a new AP course, AP Computer Science Principles. They have learned the fundamentals of computer science and explored the social implications of computing and the internet. Over the course of 18 days in February and March, the students had complete control of their class time to develop a program of their choice. Their development process included iteratively designing, implementing, and testing their programs. They were strongly encouraged to collaborate with one another, but teacher assistance was minimal. When the project was first presented to them, the boys' near-unanimous reaction was, "We can't do that! We can't build up a complete program from scratch!" However, once they started doing it, they saw that they could do much more than they thought. The projects are impressive, and I feel confident in saying that all of the students got to experience some of the "highs" of creative software development, as well as some of the frustrating "lows" (for example, when your program doesn't work and you can't figure out why). Here are videos of three of the projects. "Blockdude" was made by Michael Sohnen with Processing and Python. The spaceship game was created by Ezra Kraut and Akiva Skaist with Snap, and "Pong" was created by Yosef Cohen-Melamed, also with Snap.
The most recent issue of the Squirrel Hill Magazine features an article about the GHS production.
Third grade began our Pesach unit by comparing everyday miracles with extraordinary miracles and discussed how Pesach is a miraculous Yom Tov celebrating the uniqueness of the Jewish People. We then got to work on our Pesach halachos packets, reviewing the facts and mitzvos of Nissan such as Shabbos Hagodol, Bedikas and Biur Chametz. We also discussed the similarities and differences of Chametz and Matzah and how sometimes "humility" is warranted while other times "puffiness" is the better solution. We will begin our Haggados next week.
In Chumash, we continued Perek 28, breaking down the posukim, identifying shoroshim, and asking thoughtful questions about their meaning. We drew imagery on whiteboards depicting Hashem's promise to protect Yakov and bless his descendants.
The 8th graders enjoyed their Washington D.C. trip. They combined history and social studies with modern day American lessons. Of course, they also mixed in more than a little fun along the way.
Morah Dori's Music Club made maracas this week. Then they worked on making some music together.
SCRIPT IS HERE! We can't wait to write in script, create stories and read script. So far, we learned the rules of script and practiced writing the letters a,c, d and some words. We had a lot of fun writing in script while we listened to calm, classical music. By: Sori Rodkin
Spring is here and the toddlers and tiny tots are engaging in peer play more often. As they grow they become more involved socially. If you have time, stop by to listen to their conversations. Even if you can't understand them it's worth it.
Pre-nursery students have really gown up over the past seven months. Their daily activities now include more advanced age appropriate actives such as the obstacle course during P.E. and sand box activities during free play.
It might be cold outside but there's plenty of sun, which means it's a perfect time for the track teams to get out there and run intervals.
Track races will begin after Pesach.
The Art Department
Brought to you by the Joshua L. Sindler, z"l Creative Classrooms, Art and Music Endowment Program
Save the Date: Annual Night of Art and Music - June 6 @ 7pm
The 7th and 8th grades are working on "Name Sculpture" projects. On bristol board, they drew the letters of their names and added colorful designs to each letter. For a sculptural element, they created a base and stacked the letters. These creative works of art are on display in the main lobby.
Need a place to keep your ponytail holders? Tape a sandwich baggy (the fold-over kind, not the ziplock kind) to the bathroom wall and you're all set.
Section where we will be sitting to watch the Buccos on April 23.
Days until the first day of Camp Hillel.
Cost for a ticket and free hat to the Pirates/Yankees
game on April 23.
Markers collected and shipped off to Crayola to be recycled!
Spring is here which means summer is right around the corner! Register for Camp Hillel by Sunday 3/26 and receive this awesome gym bag and water bottle. Click FREE SWAGregister today.
Bnei Akiva- Due to the Manhigut Shabbaton in Detroit, there will be no Bnei Akiva snif this Shabbat. Snif picks up next week, April 1st. We can't wait to see you there!
Girl's Oneg: Every Shabbos afternoon from 3:30-4:30 in the PZ Educational Building for all girls in grades K-6. Please note new time! Hope to see you there!
USED SHOE DRIVE - As you clean for Pesach and do spring cleaning, please keep an eye for any unwanted shoes you may have and bring them to the shul. There will be a box in the lobby of the shul for collection of used shoes. These shoes will be used by Hurry Home Hounds (http://www.hurryhomehounds.com/) to benefit impoverished people in underdeveloped counties, as well as their own work placing retired racing greyhounds as pets in homes, through Funds2orgs.
Volunteer Opportunities -
Monday, March 27th 6:00pm - VOOM! Northside Food Pantry
Join us for our March VOOM and help the Northside Food Pantry with sorting and repacking. Volunteers will be unpacking and sorting boxes of mixed food items sent by the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank and re-packaging bulk goods from Sysco. This is a family friendly opportunity appropriate for children 5 or older. Minors must be accompanied by a parent.
Sunday, April 2nd All Day - Good Deeds Day
Each year, we spend the day focusing on projects assisting various community organizations, non-profits and religious institutions throughout the city. Due to the past success of Good Deeds Day within the Jewish community, this year we are partnering with almost 40 different neighborhood associations, religious institutions, and non-profit organizations to have over 800 volunteer spots all across Pittsburgh on April 2nd! This is a city-wide day of volunteering so bring your friends and family!
AgeWell Pittsburgh has two volunteer opportunities that are fun and rewarding! Both help seniors in our community remain independent and connected.
AgeWell Rides, our senior transportation program that helps "keep seniors on the go" has driven over 9500 miles since it started 3 years ago. Most drives are short (about 5 miles roundtrip) and local in Squirrel Hill, Oakland, Shadyside (or Mt. Lebanon for South Hills drivers). Volunteers offer short rides to the JCC, grocery store, medical appointments, fitness classes, or for older adults to go to their own volunteer jobs!
AgeWell Visits is a friendly home visiting program where older adults spend time with a kind volunteer, who has been screened and trained - someone who can listen and share small tasks or activities. Some lovely friendships have developed from this program! If you or someone you know could benefit from a friendly visit at home, please call AgeWell Pittsburgh at 412-422-0400 for more information.
We are actively seeking volunteers of all ages who are interested in either driving and/or visiting. Young families with children, high school students and adults of all ages are needed. All volunteers will attend a 1-hour information session. Group trainings can be arranged at your convenience. Jewish Family & Children's Service will process your criminal background clearance and pay for a Driver's History.
To find out more information call Ellen Leger at 412-422-0400 or send an email to email@example.com. We need you to help make a difference in an older adult's life!
If you are in need of a computer specialist who could take care of all of your IT, Networking and computer service and support needs, check out Izzy Leeds of Leeds Consulting, L.L.C.
Izzy has been working as a network specialist for over 30 years, and is an expert in his field. He is an excellent troubleshooter and problem solver. He comes with Microsoft and Novell certification. He is extremely personable, flexible and loyal. He is solution-oriented and is committed to making sure you are always up and running so that you can focus on your business.
He is looking to expand his customer base. Please call Izzy at your earliest convenience to set up a meeting with him, so that he can solve your technology issues too! 724-504-5176 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Empower at-promise* youth. Help them discover themselves and provide them with life skills to succeed.
*Geerz honors its riders by referring to them as at-promise instead of at-risk. The is a reflection of our fundamental philosophy that all youth have natural gifts, positive qualities, and potential for goodness. We focus on the positive and what can be strengthened and developed, not on what needs to be fixed.
Your donation will go directly to bikes, helmets, gloves, hydration packs, and scholarships to the Geerz program. Your donation will directly impact an Israeli youth that has the drive, but all they need is a little help to climb.
I deeply appreciate your support and any amount you are able to give. Thank you for your generosity.