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Parshat Noach
November 4, 2016 - 3 Cheshvan 5777

Shabbat Candle Lighting - by 5:54  pm
Shabbat Ends - 7:01 pm
DVAR TORAH - Thoughts from the Principal & Educational Director
This week's Parsha contains one of the most enigmatic stories in the entire Torah. A mere ten generations after the world was  decimated by the flood, the earth has been repopulated and as the verse teaches, the entire world was "of one language."  The next nine pesukim then tell us about the tower that these people built and of their ultimate dispersion by Hashem . Although the  story itself seems rather simple and straightforward (read the full story  here)  the Talmud in Sanhedrin tells us, sharply, that the "generation of the dispersion has no portion in the world to come."  
Our sages are puzzled by this statement. The text gives us little indication of how the people sinned and what was so terrible about their deeds. They grapple with this issue and offer various interpretations of the particular sin. Opinions vary; Rashi says that the people were trying to "wage a war with Hashem," while Radak states that the people of the dispersion were not fulfilling their divine mission of inhabiting the whole earth. 
The Ramban rejects these two approaches and instead focuses on the specific verse which describes the motive of the people when they built the tower. The verse states:
"And they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make ourselves a name.' "

The Ramban explains that this event was so tragic because the people built the tower for self-gratification. Perhaps this is why the Talmud spoke so poorly of the generation of the tower. 
The story opens by highlighting the potential of this generation. It was an era of tremendous unity, a time when the entire world worked together with one purpose and one goal.  However, instead of using this potential to better the world, they used it to promote themselves.  Today,  we have the same goal of trying to create a better world- as a society, community, and individually. As we work toward that goal and achieve success, it is vital to remain focused on our purpose and not be blinded by our human instincts for self-promotion and aggrandizement. 

Today America is on the precipice of one of the most contentious elections in history. It seems as though no one can get along and polarizing forces are stronger than ever. In a way, this might remind us of the  story of Migdal Bavel, which ended with all of humanity dispersed and speaking different languages.  Whatever happens next week, it is important that we remember that although America is a great nation with lofty ideals, we are only capable of achieving our goals through joint efforts to communicate and collaborate, no matter our differences. Let us learn from the lessons of the tower and focus our efforts into working together, speaking the same language, and achieving our ultimate goal of serving Hashem and perfecting the world. 

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Weinberg can be reached at sweinberg@hillelpgh.org

* Parent teachers conferences are this Monday & Tuesday, November 7-8, and there are  no clubs these two days.  Click HERE to sign up, deadline is Sunday morning at 8 am.
* Remember to fall back 1 hour.
Featured Videos

AP Calculus Derivative Sketching Competition

In algebra, we talk about slope a lot. Slope is a way to precisely measure the steepness of a slanted line. In calculus, we apply the same concept to curves. In one part of a curvy function graph, the "slopes" might be very steep; in another part, they may be close to horizontal, but they can all be represented by numbers. The collection of all of these instantaneous slope numbers is called the "derivative" of the function, and it has its own graph. In AP Calculus, we sketched these derivatives in a program that could precisely judge and score our accuracy. With a one minute time limit, teams competed with each other for derivative sketching dominance!
High School Election Redux Project 

In order to study the nominating process of a candidate for a presidential campaign, high school students participated in an "Election Redux" project in their social studies classes.  Students researched the platform of each of the major national political parties, and selected a new candidate to run for president in 2016 by researching congressional records and other data.  The capstone of the project was to create a promotional piece for the candidate.

Teacher Feature
Morah Shternie Rosenfeld has joined our teaching staff this year. Over Sukkot break she had time to chat about her teaching philosophy and what she loves about Hillel. She teaches second grade Judaic studies  along with Tovi Admon, as well as Parsha in the girls high school. 

What is the best part of teaching? Connecting with the kids... I love seeing all the different personalities.

What are some of your teaching philosophies? Learning has to be engaging, exciting, and fun. That's how I like to teach. I also believe you achieve so much more with warmth, love, and kindness. I believe in the childrens' success!

What makes Hillel Academy unique? Everyone is very warm and welcoming! I feel very comfortable here. 

Can you offer our readers some advice on how to make Shabbat unique and special with their families, especially if their children don't want to stay at the Shabbat table? Hmmm this is a good one! Good food is always the first answer to getting kids to stay at the table!  :) I try to make it kid centered, so they share their Parsha questions and happenings from the week and we love to sing. I have some really engaging stories to share with the kids and they love that. They also share some great stories with me. I think the key is to think about it before Shabbat and have some actual ideas to implement. 

How did you hear about Hillel? Well, I have been in Pittsburgh for 15 years so Hillel is woven into the very fabric of Jewish Pittsburgh. Of course my dear friend, Ella Ziff, highly recommended it! 

Did you predict the Cubs would win it all? Sadly that is not my sport... I am a big Steelers fan!

You teach second grade and what else? I am also teaching Kabbalah/Chassidus on the Parsha in the girls high school and really enjoying the challenge. Taking care of my five precious children is a full time job too :)

What do you do when you are not teaching or parenting? I have great friends that I love to be with. I also spend time with my family in New York and Chicago when I can. Exercising is an important part of my life as well. Have you ever heard of Pure Barre? It's torture, but amazing!!

Quick Pick:

Round challah or straight? Straight
Brisk walk or run? Brisk walk
Stuffed crust pizza or regular? Stuffed crust
Bahamas or Florida? Florida
Salmon or flounder? Salmon, definitely :)

Danny Shaw can be reached at  dshaw@hillelpgh.org .
Election Week Kickoff
As this historic  election  draws near, Hillel's third and fourth grade have been working on a joint election unit. 
The goal is for the students to learn about the election process through participation in a mock election and then present to the other grades on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Instead of students voting for a specific candidate, they will vote for a party.  In third and fourth grade, two school parties were created, Jurisdiction and Relinquishment.  The Jurisdiction Party believes in a more structured school day.  For example, assigned lunch tables, teams, and games at recess.  The Relinquishment Party believes in more power for the students, e.g.,  bentch when you want, line up when you're ready (not by class), and play what you want in gym, among other things.  Students have discussed that you don't have to agree with all the party's ideals to join a party.  Both grades have prepared their party platform, motto, signs and commercial (see videos below).  They have learned about the election process in the United States with lessons on election day and the electoral college.

The upper grades' election unit is focused on researching the platform of each party. The students researched which candidate best meets the philosophy of each party. Then, they made a promotional piece for that candidate (see above). On Election Day they will present their advertisements and then students will vote. They will first vote in primaries in which Republicans can only vote for Republicans and Democrats can only vote for Democrats. Students will be registered as Republicans or Democrats based on how they answer a survey based on each party's philosophy. After we see the results of the primaries, students will then vote for the president. 
The Art Department
Brought to you by the  Joshua L. Sindler, z"l Creative Classrooms, Art and Music Endowment Program

"I just let the paintbrush tell me where to go." -Yitchok Zev Chapley, 4th grade

Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 are working on watercolor paintings inspired by the falling leaves and signature colors of Autumn.  Featured painting is by Ezra Goldberg.
Here's a snapshot of some of the programs and lessons from the past week.

This past Sunday, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh hosted its first Creation Celebration, which brought together over 60 families to celebrate and learn about the creation of the world. There were turtles, snakes, and lizards, to hold and various hands-on learning centers, such as seed planting, creating the sun and the moon out of Play-doh and making Shabbat crafts. Thank you to all those who make this event happen!

In honor of Simchat Torah--in which we finish the yearly cycle of Torah readings--Rabbi Barrocas visited grades K-4 to explain about how to write the Sefer Torah and all the det ails associated with it, such as the ink, the parchment, and the letters. 
Each student also received their own name written on klaf.  
The 7th grade boys read their very long sentence stories- most were well over 200 words long in a single sentence! This is a precursor to learning about sentence structure.

This Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan/November we celebrated the birthdays of the following students:
Chaim Abrams, 2
Noah Bernstein, 2
Bayla Abramowitz, 3
Chani Milch, 2
Shimon Grossberg, 3
Bella Reinherz, K
Avraham Katz, K

Thank you to our sponsors:
Jonathan and Kara Bernstein
Elhanan and Eliana Abrams

In honor of  Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, each  child from the two nursery classes and the two pre-K classes were given an  umbrella  cut-out which symbolizes Cheshvan, as this is the time we daven for rain.            
The children were told to create anything they wanted with it.
Hillel Athletics
Hillel Heat Basketball 
The Heat won their first game of the young season, beating FBCS 69-36 in the John "Tip" Veltri Tournament last Motzai Shabbat, Mazel Tov! Senior guard, Moshe Wasserman led all scores with 25 points. Freshman guard, Aaron Kraut was next with 12 points.  Stay tuned for the date of the Heat's home opener. 
Flashback Fridays
The Flashback Friday Photo Challenge is back for its sixth year. Email hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org if you think you can identify the people in the photo. We will include your name in an upcoming issue if you guess correctly. Sometimes we even give away Hillel swag! #FBF

Correct answers were submitted by the following people:

Elisheva Rosenberg

Hillel Academy Intramural Hockey League team, the Beasties, won the Hillel Cup just a few years ago. 
L-R: Akiva Skaist, Jacob Wiesenfeld, Aaron Kraut, Yaakov Brown, Natan Kelsey and Jack  Kasaback.
This Week's Photo
Hillel Gear
Hillel Gear has gone global. We love to see where it has landed. Send photos to hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org
Most of the Vansickle family poses for a photo with their new 2016 Hillel Gear. 

At a recent Cub Scouts event, Yehuda Cohen was spotted with a Hillel hoody. Way to go Yehuda!

Mazel Tov!
Rabbi and Mrs. Shimon and Chani Silver on the engagement of their daughter, Bayla Malka, to Yesacher Dov Yelen of Lakewood!

Rabbi and Mrs. Fishy and Leah Milch on the birth of a grand daughter, Chana Ahuva, to Avi and alumna, Hudi Spira!

Rabbi and Mrs. Mordechai and Tzippy Rosenberg on the engagement of their son, alumnus, Avromi, to Batsheva Friedman of Lakewood, NJ!

Dr. and Mrs.  Harold  and  Ronit  Wiesenfeld  on the engagement of their daughter, alumna Rachel, to Benny Statman of Los Angeles, California!  

Mr. David Jacobson and Dr. Lauren Statman on the engagement of Lauren's brother, Benny, to alumna, Rachel Wiesenfeld! 
Pop quiz: Benny's nephew attends Hillel Academy, what's his name? 

Around Town

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

Girl's OnegEvery Shabbos afternoon in the PZ Educational building from  3:30-4:30 .  For all girls in grades K-6. Starting Shabbos November 12, Parshas Lech Lecha, Girl's Oneg will be from 3-4.

Save the Date: Join women from all Shuls for  The Annual Rochel Emainu (our Matriarch) Gathering 
with Torah, Tefillah and Tzedaka -  Motzei Shabbat,  November 12, 2016 @  8:00 pm.  Kollel Jewish Learning Center  5808 Beacon Street. See the flyer above. 

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  HillelHappenings@Hillelpgh.org.