February 7, 2019 | 2 Adar I 5779
This week’s parsha contains the imperative for the Jewish people to build the Mishkan — the Tabernacle — in the desert. Inherent in this notion is a profound contradiction: how is one supposed to build a building for Hashem? G-d is omnipresent and limitless by definition; no physical structure can contain G-d. Additionally, G-d can be accessed anywhere, not just in the Mishkan — so what, in fact, is the point of building this structure at all?

Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explains that of course G-d does not reside in buildings and physical structures; rather he resides in the builders themselves. When we come together for a common purpose and give of ourselves to a communal cause, we bring G-dliness into the world. In describing the Mishkan, the verse says, “Asu Li Mikdash V’Shachanti B’Tocham”  — “Build for me a Mikdash so I can dwell among them.” It does not say “so that I may dwell in it”; rather the verse says, “so that I may dwell among them.” The building was not for G-d, but rather for the Jewish people themselves. When we give, and when we build communal structures, we are creating a better society and bringing G-dliness to this world.

Last night we had the privilege of honoring Pittsburgh’s first responders and Rabbi Admon. First responders are the ultimate givers. They are people who dedicate their lives to selflessly helping others, and in times of crises think about the needs of the community over their own. We are forever grateful for the work that they do in keeping us safe every day. Rabbi Admon also lives his life in order to give. Whether through Brit Milah, Zaka, chaplaincy, or as a teacher, Rabbi Admon is the paradigm giver, and is a true role model for our students. 

We should always aspire to be givers and builders. In so doing we will be doing our part in bringing Hashem into our hearts and into our community. 

Rabbi Sam Weinberg,  Principal

Our K-4 students sang the Israeli national anthem and “Love Your Fellow As Yourself” at a hockey game between the Israeli national hockey team and Pittsburgh Penguins alumni.

The Jews said “Na’aseh V’nishma" and Hashem sent angels with two crowns for each of them. 

The Heat Competes!

By Aaron Kraut

This weekend the Hillel Heat competed in the Tanzman Memorial Basketball Tournament in Detroit. Even though they tried their hardest, and fought in each game to the last second, unfortunately, they still only came out with the fourth place trophy with a record of 1-3. The team consists of: 

Point Guard,
“the unstoppable finisher” Aaron Kraut

Small Forward,
“deadeye shooter” Benji Marcus

"offensive beast” Yoshi Mahony

Shooting Guard,
“the French forward” Nathan Azagury

Power Forward,
“the hustle man” Yaakov Mahony

Point Guard,
“the fantastic freshman” Nathan Marcus

Guard / Forward, 8th grader,
“Kovi Bryant” Kovi Bitton

Bonnie Morris helps teach the Nursery students about having good middos, reading a book from The Middos Man series.
Boys watch a livestream of the basketball game from the multimedia lounge of the Lipsitz Building.

In honor of Rosh Chodesh Adar 1, K-4 students gathered in the lunchroom at the end of the day for some Adar ruach! Mishenichnas Adar marbim besimcha!

The Kindergarteners learned a new technique in art — Monoprinting!
The High School Girls had brunch with the Yeshiva School girls. 
To culminate their groundhog unit, Kindergarteners tried out their shadow making. ‘Only the shadow knows.’

Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow, predicting an early Spring!  
Rabbi Senft started the C.O.M.E. Daven Program (Concentrate On Meaning and Explanation).
The MSB Student Council began a new program for Seventh and Eighth Grade Boys to learn Kitzur Shulchan Aruch during lunch recess on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 
Middle and High School Boys from grades 7-12 who chose to undertake studying a new Bracha every week of Shemona Esrai were given the Sefer “Pathway to Prayer” to help improve their Davening. 

A big thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Shmuel and Margaret Angel for donating the Seforim. 
The First Responder Song

There are people who are nice, 
The first to get them ice
People who are quickliest 
To make a sacrifice
Someone who will always 
Answer the question first
They could help the people 
So they don’t get hurt

Polices, brave, courageous
People that save the day
When trucks dodging dogs smash in cars
Seven police cars came
If sometimes when someone is maybe 
going too fast on the way
Pull them over, ask them questions
To keep our community safe

There are things we can do in a first responder way
If they fall you can help them and say if you’re okay
Give ice cream for their mouth, give ‘am a Band Aid
Funny jokes to make them happy, a squeaky toy to play
By bringing out your hand a miracle can be
Bringing something out from, like, anywhere it shouldn’t be
Chesed rules you see at Hillel Academy
Things that really help our community

Firefighters help spider fighters, 
Squirt water, take out fires
Their fire truck takes us from the mire muck
Tire luck, just like a tired duck
They bring their big trampoline
That makes the builder go boing
They don’t stop at lights
They just keep on going

La la la ambulance, fabulous
Ambulancy, fambulancy, fabulous

If someone hurts themselves
Like, really badly hurts themselves
The ambulance driver has to carry you down 24 stairs
They bring you, ooh, to the hospital on a heavy stretcher
They fixed me up now, and I’m almost better

— Chorus —

Ambulance, ambulance
The end.
The Boys Mock Trial team currently have a score of 2-0 with a decisive victory over Springdale High School this week at the City County Building. The boys won by unanimous verdicts from the three judge panel. The win qualifies Hillel Academy for the Regional Mock Trial playoffs that will begin shortly.

By Isaac Brown

This year the Boys High School are playing both the prosecution and defense on our mock trial team. Mock trial is an extracurricular club in which students learn a certain case and face off against other schools in the county. It is a highly competitive and rewarding activity. Sammy Balyasny is acting as one of our lawyers and as one of the witnesses the prosecution, Royal Copeland. Nathan Azagury and I are acting as lawyers on both the prosecution and defense. Reuven Kanal is acting as a lawyer on the prosecution and is the defendant in our case; Dr. Rae Shafer. Gabe Small and Natan Marcus are each acting as two witnesses; Gabe as Fran Kelsey for the prosecution, and Dr. Ry Haight from the defense, and Natan as JJ Teva from the prosecution and Sal Abbot for the defense. 

This year’s case involves a doctor being sued for killing a patient by administering a drug which causes an adverse reaction. 

By learning a case and honing their skills with the law, students acting as lawyers can excel in their skills of intellectual confrontation. Students who act as witnesses help the team by taking on the character they are testifying as, becoming one with that witness’s testimony. Teams actually go to a real courthouse to present their case. A panel of judges made up of practicing attorneys score each team and another lawyer acts as a judge for the case. If a team wins both their prosecution and defense case, then they move on to the playoffs, where they face teams to advance against and win the competition.

by Yikara Levari

Ever since I began working at Hillel Academy over 13 years ago, I have dreamed of hosting a Shabbaton here in Pittsburgh with students from other cities — and specifically from my alma mater in Philadelphia (especially since I wanted to relive the Shabbaton I had in Pittsburgh as a student in 1999). After the tragedy of October 27th, students from the Kosloff Torah Academy in Philadelphia and Bruriah High School in Elizabeth, NJ reached out to our students in support and unity. 

After months of correspondence, over 30 high school girls braved the cold weather and joined our Hillel Academy GHS students last Shabbos for a CommUnity Shabbaton. The weekend was JAM PACKED with activities as we worked hard to strike a balance between focusing on what happened three months ago at Tree of Life, while allowing our students to bond and have fun getting to know each other. I believe we were successful as I have never gotten so much positive feedback before from parents and students. In fact, Tenth Grader Shira Wiesenfeld said it was the best Shabbaton she was ever on (and she has been on many!). 

Though our schedule on Friday was affected slightly by the blizzard that unexpectedly hit Squirrel Hill, we were still able to accomplish our goals of learning, unity, fun, and camaraderie. We began our day Friday with some activities at school, including a presentation of the banner made on Mitzvah Day to Rabbi Myers and board members of Tree of Life Congregation. We then switched gears and went to Schenley Ice Rink for an “ice breaker” activity, where much fun was had by all. 

Throughout the weekend, many community members and leaders shared their thoughts and D’vrei Torah with our students, including Mrs. Shelly Itskowitz, Rabbi Yolkut, Rabbi Langer, Mrs. Wasserman, and Rabbi Schon. One of the big highlights of the weekend was our guest speaker and visitor, Mrs. Devorah Kurin, who shared thoughts with us about her aunt, Joyce Feinberg, obm, who was killed on October 27th. Another was that four community members — Ms. Shoshi Butler, Mrs. Naomi Balaban, Mrs. Tovi Admon, and Mrs. Stefanie Small — participated in a panel discussion where they served as role models to our young ladies and taught them about the importance of standing up to help when needed.

I had the personal privilege of hosting my former teacher and mentor, Mrs. Cheryl Epstein of Philadelphia, who gave a shiur to the women of the community on Shabbos afternoon. While I am quite exhausted after the past weekend (thank you to everyone who helped!!), it was all worth it — especially when I received messages from the other schools right after Shabbos asking when they can come back!!
“It was awwwesome!” — Rabbi Weinberg 
(really he said “It was awesome with three w’s!”)
“There can’t be community without unity!” — Dalya Kraut
“It was really inspiring!” —Chaya Langer
The Shabbaton was so much fun! The girls from the other schools were so nice and friendly! I met so many new people!” — Bluma Rodkin
“I loved it so much” — Eliraz Warhaftig, Bat Sherut
“It was truly amazing to see how our Shabbaton slogan came to life!” — Shira Wiesenfeld 
“Bruriah, KTA, Hillel, SKA - JOINING ALL TOGETHER IN HARMONY AND UNITY!” — Shoshana Kisilinsky
Dear Pittsburgh Jewish Community, 

We first want to say that our hearts are with the Tree of Life, Dor Chadash and New Light Congregations as they rebuild after the tragedy of October, 27th. We feel proud to be part of this strong Pittsburgh Jewish Community who have come together in unity and perseverance. One month ago on Mitzvah Day, our school created a mural for the temporary construction fence outside of the Tree of Life building. Our art teacher, Ms. Bouton, spent endless hours designing and overseeing the creation of this masterpiece. She has inspired us to make it as beautiful as possible. The symbolism on the mural shows the unifying love of the Pittsburgh Jewish community that we hope to spread throughout Greater Pittsburgh and further. Our school chose to write the Posuk“Love your fellow neighbor like yourself” because it communicates the sole concept of our mural: projecting hope, support, unity, and peace through our artwork. We thank David Chudnow, Shoshi Butler and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh who ignited this idea and supported this project from start to finish. It is our sincere hope that as people pass by the Tree of Life Building, they will think of strength and hope, but most of all, of peace and love.

the students of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. ❤


The Itskowitz family representing Hillel Academy in style in Israel! 

Performances of The LION KING will be on Monday March 11 and Tuesday March 12 at the
JCC Katz Theater.
The Hillel Happenings is published on Thursdays. Please submit stories, photos and ads by Wednesday afternoon to:

Thank you!
Submit PLAYBILL AD to ylevari@hillelpgh.org
AD DEADLINE: January 31, 2019

Please email saronson@hillelpgh.org

of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
Administered by:
Jewish Family and Community Services
828 Hazelwood Avenue · Pittsburgh, PA 15217· (412)422-5627 · Fax (412)428-8200

Applications for need-based college scholarships for the 2019-2020 school year are available from the Jewish Scholarship Service of Greater Pittsburgh (JSS), formerly Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service, of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.  This program is administered by Jewish Family and Community Services. 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.

The 2019-2020 JSS online application is available at  jfcspgh.org/scholarships All applications are due February 12, 2019.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (412) 422-5627 or email me atalowenberger@jfcspgh.org

Alayne Lowenberger, Director
Jewish Scholarship Service of Greater Pittsburgh
Once again this year, Hillel Academy will be participating in the Box Tops for Education Program.  My name is Barbara Uebing and I’m thrilled to be the Box Tops Coordinator. Clipping Box Tops is an easy way for you to help our school buy what it needs. Box Tops are each worth 10 cents and they quickly add up to real cash for our school. This school year, our school’s earnings goal is $2000.00.

To help our school, just look for pink Box Tops on products, clip them, and send them to school.  Pre-K — Fourth Grade will be having a friendly collection contest to help motivate school supporters to clip Box Tops. When sending in Box Tops, please be sure to write your child’s name and grade on the outside of the envelope or baggie. For more information on the Box Tops for Education program, including a list of participating products and school’s progress, visit www.BTFE.com .  Be sure to become a member to receive exclusive coupons and recipes and learn about extra ways for our school to earn. 

I hope you’re excited for everything we can do this year with Box Tops! If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at  buebing@hillelpgh.org . I’m here to make our school’s Box Tops for Education program a huge success this year.

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 0454. 
Interested volunteers please contact  Dan Kraut
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.   https://smile.amazon.com/ch/25-1067130

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 achieving 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.

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh | 412 521-8131 | hillelhappennings@hillelpgh.org | www.hillelpgh.org