5685 Beacon Street | Pittsburgh PA, 15217  |  (412) 521-8131
Follow us on Twitter View on Instagram Like us on Facebook
Parshat Ha'Azinu
October 14, 2016 - 12 Tishrei 5777

Shabbat Candle Lighting - by 6:22  pm
Shabbat Ends - 7:29 pm

Sunday  October 16 - Sukkot I -   Candle Lighting - by 6:19 pm
Monday October 17 - Sukkot IICandle Lighting - after 7:26
  Tuesday, October 18 - Havdallah - after 7:15 pm

Friday, October 21 -  Candle Lighting - by 6:12
Saturday, October 22 - Havdallah - after 7:19  pm

Sunday, October 23 - Hoshana Raba - Candle Lighting - by 6:09 pm
Monday, October 24 - Shemini Atzeret - Candle Lighting - after 7:16 pm
Tuesday, October 25 - Simchat TorahHavdallah - after 7:19 pm
DVAR TORAH - Thoughts from the Principal & Educational Director
When the Torah first mentions the Mitzva of
arba minim (the four species), the verse (Vayikra 23:43) refers to the etrog as "pri etz hadar" (the beautiful fruit of the tree).  The Talmud in Sukka (35a) explains that by calling the etrog the "fruit of the tree," the verse is comparing the fruit to the tree, and therefore the Gemara  concludes that an etrog's bark must taste the same as the fruit itself. Secondly, in a play on the word "hadar," the Gemara derives that an etrog must stay on the tree all year round.

Perhaps these two descriptions of the nature of the etrog can help us better understand another midrash, this one found in Parshat Emor. In this midrash, our sages compare the four species to four different types of Jews. The etrog, which is both fragrant and tasty, represents the complete tzaddik.  It is possible that the aforementioned qualities of the etrog can also fit in with the symbolism of viewing the etrog as the tzaddik. The requirement of a similar taste for the bark and fruit teaches that a true tzaddik is pious both internally and externally. He serves Hashem with the best intentions and his actions match his inner thoughts. This genuineness naturally produces the second trait, consistency. One who is truly righteous will serve Hashem under all circumstances without condition.  Just like the etrog remains on the branch all year round, Torah observance for a tzaddik is not a matter of convenience, but a lifelong commitment.
This lesson can also be understood through the connection between the Yamim Noraim and Sukkot. Sukkot finds itself at the end of of the "Tishrei" holidays. After we are judged by Hashem on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we bask in the glory of G-d by sitting in the Sukkah. Throughout our liturgy, Sukkot is described as "z'man simchateinu"- "our time of joy."  Even though there is an obligation of simcha on every holiday, the Torah places a particular emphasis on simcha in the context of Sukkot.  In essence, we transition from days of awe to days of joy. Perhaps the Torah teaches us an important lesson with the juxtaposition of these two themes. It may seem like Yom Kippur, with all of its prohibitions, prayer, and solemnity, might hold more weight than the more cheerful chagim that follow. However, by emphasizing joy on Sukkot, the Torah is reminding us that joy is just as crucial to our service of G-d as repentance is.  After Yom Kippur, we all feel like "etrog Jews." We have spent twenty five hours in shul, refreshing our bodies and souls, striving to reach the spiritual heights of the tzaddikim among us. And yet, it is all too easy for this inspiration to fade. G-d understands this, and therefore encourages us not to let the great spirituality we've worked for disappear, but instead to channel it into a new, and equally important form- simcha. Just like the etrog is consistent in its mission, so too must we be consistent and not only serve Hashem out of awe and fear, but out of joy as well. 
May this be a year of blessing and joy for all of us, and may we continue to find joy in all aspects of our service of Hashem. 

Rabbi Weinberg can be reached at [email protected]
Wednesday, Oct 26 - Delayed Start ECC-12 @ 9am - 8:50 am drop-off begins
Featured Video 

Hillel Lulav Shake 2016 
Scholarship  Opportunity 
Dear Parents of Students in Grades 7-12,

Students in middle school and high school who participate in volunteer and community service activities have the opportunity to apply for the 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Award. Students who are named a Local Honoree are eligible for statewide recognition, a $1000 award, and an all expense paid trip with a parent or guardian to Washington, DC, where the top ten youth volunteers of America will be named.  Each of the ten National Honorees will receive an additional $5000 award and a $5000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for the charity of their choice.

If your son/daughter is actively involved in community service and volunteer activities, please encourage them to apply.  This can be done by going to  spirit.prudential.com to access the online application.  The application and student/parent agreement is due on November 8, 2016.  Once the application is completed, please go to the "Certification" page to email and print out the instructions and give it to Mrs. Levari or Rabbi Smith.  We will then choose one applicant as our Local Honoree.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions about this opportunity.

Mrs. Levari and Rabbi Smith

Family Feature - The Ziffs
Between Yom Tov preparations and driving back and forth to Cleveland, Aaron and Shana Ziff made time to chat with us about many different topics for this week's family feature, including: schach, the Squirrel Hill Library, and the Steelers. Check out the entire conversation below.

Your family moved from Cleveland where you lived across the street from famed Hillel alum, Katie (Brinn).  Can we credit her with bringing you to Pittsburgh and to Hillel?  If our kids turn out half as good as Katie's, Hillel will have been a fantastic investment!
L-R: Lori, Charlie, and Julie share a laugh during the summer.

Pittsburgh trivia (because our readers love this stuff). How many Super Bowls have the Steelers won? Two more than the Patriots 

Tell us about your family. Aaron is a Boston native, Shana is from Cleveland. We moved to Pittsburgh for Aaron's job working in Human Resources at Alcoa (soon to be Arconic) after eleven years in Cleveland. Shana is a toy designer (yup, true story). We have four kids: Lori (4th grade), Julie (2nd grade), Charlie (Nursery) and Henry (grade to be determined). 

Tell us more about your professions.  Aaron does nerdy HR things (specifically, I lead the HR technology and analytics strategy for Alcoa); Shana invents new toys. I know, it's a close call...

Interesting, Shana, can you elaborate please? Sure, I come up with and develop new concepts for toys. I also get to work with amazing illustrators from all over the world. Right now I spend most of my time working with a company based out of North Carolina called Crocodile Creek, together we make awesome puzzles, playground balls, fun backpacks and more! I have even seen a few of our backpacks walking through the halls of Hillel :)

What are your Sukkot plans? Due to some technical challenges (our rental home has no place for a sukkah), we will be returning to Cleveland for the first part of the chag, but we are looking forward to experiencing our first Simchat Torah in Pittsburgh!

Are we more likely to see you at the Squirrel Hill Library or the Fire station for a family outing?  So far, we only know where the library is, so... option A?
The Ziff's took a break from pool time to take this selfie.  

What's the best part of Hillel? It depends who you ask: Lori would say the Bnot Sherut, Ivrit and cross-country; Julie would say the Rosh Chodesh cupcakes and ballet club; and Charlie would say Morah Devorah and/or Mali [Weinberg].

Most interesting person in your iPhone contacts? I had to look! This is embarrassing, but I probably have to say either Yehuda! (the singer) or Tamir Goodman (the Jewish Jordan). Ira Karoll was my next option.

What else would you like to share with our readers? We're so profoundly grateful for the warm reception we've received from the community since we arrived and we are thrilled with the wonderful teachers at Hillel.

Time for some parenting advice.  Share with our readers your homework strategies--what's the best way to just get it done? Marry someone smart, pass the genes on to your offspring and let them figure it out, effortlessly. Or, bribe them (no homework, no screen time).

Ok, time for the tough questions. What's it like coming to the City of Champions from Cleveland? I assume you meant to word this question differently: what's it like coming from the City of Champions to Pittsburgh? #CAVS2016

How does Hillel stack up against Mizrachi? It's no contest. (Can we leave it that vague?)

Favorite bands, go! Oh my gosh, Journey (Shana), The Beatles (Shana), They Might Be Giants (Shana), Meghan Trainor (Shana), Rick Springfield (Shana), AC/DC (Aaron), Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (Aaron), Guster (Aaron), Cake (Aaron), Hootie & The Blowfish (Aaron), Dave Matthews Band (Aaron), Mumford & Sons (Aaron). I'll stop there.

Quick Pick:

Whole wheat or white? Whole wheat, every time. We're very sensible eaters.

Cream filled donuts or straight up? Reversing everything I said a moment ago, cream filled. (Pittsburgh cream!!)

BlueTooth or wires?  We're old school: wired headphones only.

Bamboo or evergreens? We are partial to bamboo mats. Less mess.

Ritva or Ran? I am eager to hear Shana's answer to this question.

Danny Shaw can be reached at  [email protected] .
Weekly Photos
Hillel librarian, Ms. Morris, reads one of her favorite books to Morah Rivka's and Morah Danielle's class. 

The 7th grade girls visit Weinberg Terrace as part of the G2G program. This time, they joined the beading activity and made beautiful jewelry with their friends!
We celebrated this month's elementary school birthdays: Yehuda Yolkut, Yehoshua Levy, Devora Kaminsky, Akiva Sunshine, Ezra Goldberg, Sruli Leibowitz, Esther Toby Jablow, Kayla Kohanbash, Avraham Abberbock, Moshe Smith, and Nitai Martel.
Thank you to the following families for sponsoring this month's birthday celebration:
Dr. and Mrs. Kaminsky
Rabbi and Dr. Levy 
Mr. and Mrs. Jablow 
Mr. and Mrs. Sunshine
Happy birthday and Shana Tova!

These ECC students take advantage of warm temperatures and have a lesson outside in the Hillel front gardens. 

The geometry classes recently learned how to construct squares, rhombuses, parallel lines, equilateral triangles, and hexagons using only a compass and a straightedge. They also learned how to copy a line segment, bisect an angle, bisect a line, and copy an angle using the compass and straightedge. The students used step-by-step videos to create each figure and then made their own. Many loved using the compasses and creating perfect figures! 

These students learned about Yona with this exciting model. 

The middle school boys builds Beacon Places's sukka. 

Nursery pretended it was already Simchat Torah. They  sang and danced around the Torah.  Then invited the pre-k class, and the other Nursery class, and the twos to join the simcha.
The Art Department
Brought to you by the  Joshua L. Sindler, z"l Creative Classrooms, Art and Music Endowment Program

The high school girls are designing color wheels using radial symmetry. 

Hillel Athletics
Cross Country - 2016 East End Championships 
The girls and boys cross country team competed along with 15 other schools in the East End Cross Country Championships held at Schenley Oval.  Our runners came ready to compete and braved the cold and the unfamiliar course, including a steep hill in the final 100 yards. 
Seventh grader Natan overtakes five runners in the second half of the 1.6 mile course to finish 19th overall out of 70 in the varsity boys' race. 

Third grader Akiva overtakes a runner on the hill with encouragement from Coach Dayna. 

Fourth grader Abigail competes along with 60 other runners in the JV race. 
Sixth grader Tali overtakes a runner from East Catholic in the last 200 yards of the race!

T hird grader Sima proudly displays her medal from the novice race.

The JV girls (66 total) line up at the start of the race under the stunning fall sky.  

Fourth graders, Rami, Dov, and Dovid Tzvi, all won medals and finish within four seconds of each other. 
Flashback Fridays
The Flashback Friday Photo Challenge is back for its sixth year. Email [email protected] if you think you can identify the people in the photo.  We will include your name in an upcoming issue if you guess correctly and sometimes we even give away Hillel swag. #FBF

Correct answers were submitted by the following people:
Rena (Margolis) Apt
Paula (Stein) Weisman
Jesse Mendelson

In reference to last week's FBF photo, Paula shared the following:
" He (Mr. Casorio) is a great French teacher and a wonderful man. I know how much he enjoyed teaching at Hillel. We are still in touch and I just got a New Year's card from him."

Last week's correct answers should have included:
Mischa Gelman

L-R: Lani Posy, Idit Ratchkauskas, Margo Chudnovksy, Rena Margolis, Ilana Balaban, and Mr. Frank Casorio
This Week's Photo
Hillel Academy Intramural Hockey League team, the  Beasties, competed in the Hillel Cup just a few years ago. Can you name all of these players?

If you are interested in volunteering or know someone who might be, please contact   [email protected].
Around Town
Girl's Oneg: Every Shabbos afternoon in the PZ Educational building from  3:30-4:30 .  For all girls in grades K-6. No Oneg the Shabbos of Chol Hamoed Sukkos,  October 22.
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

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

Please send condolence notices to  [email protected].