January 10, 2019 | 4 Shevatt 5779
In Parshat Bo, when Moshe Rabbeinu presents the laws of the Korban Pesach to Bnei Yisroel he tells them that “your children will say to you: What is this service to you?” (“Ma ha-avoda ha-zot lakhem” — 12:26). Moshe then instructs parents to teach their children how Hashem spared their ancestors the deadly plague of the firstborn and that he redeemed the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt. 

While we generally understand this verse as an innocent query, the Mekhilta understands this passuk as an ominous prediction of a time when ignorance of tradition will run rampant among the Jewish people: “Bad tidings were conveyed to Israel at that time — that the Torah will one day in the future be forgotten.” According to this opinion, the children asking their parents to explain to them the significance underlying the Korban Pesach means the disappearance of Torah knowledge, and widespread ignorance of tradition to the point where the meaning behind the most basic laws and customs will be forgotten.

Rav Yehuda Altman, in his work Yam Shel Yehuda (Europe, 1926), suggested that this interpretation of the Mekhilta is based upon the Torah’s use of the word  avodah in this verse in reference to the Korban Pesach ritual. Although the term  avodah means “service” or “ritual,” it also has a clear association with taxing or tiring labor. According to the Mekhilta, the scene depicted by the Torah of a child asking his parents “Ma ha-avoda ha-zot lakhem” refers to a child who sees his parents burdened by religious observance. He senses that they approach their religious duties as nothing more than that — duties, obligations, responsibilities — and not as a privilege and source of joy and fulfillment. Therefore he understandably asks, “What is this avodah to you?”

We must always show simcha and joy in our Judaism and observance. If we approach it purely as an avodah, then our children will undoubtably question the need for this observance — “Ma ha-avoda ha-zot lakhem” — rather than embrace it. We must do whatever we can to ensure that our children see the Torah and Mitzvah observance as a thing of excitement and beauty and not of onerous obligation.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Sam Weinberg,  Principal

The 10th grade chemistry students conducted the Flame Test lab as part of their unit about Atoms; their structure and behavior. Through this lab students got a chance to observe the different colors created when various metal salts were held to a flame, and learn about what in an atom causes these different colors to be produced. 
Students in Third – Eighth Grade had the opportunity to learn a little bit about self driving cars, talk about what a software engineer does and participate in Hour of Code activities with Dr. Shoshanna Barnett!
The High School Boys visited Google as part of last week’s focus on coding.
As part of the Morah Shirley Dorsey OBM Middot Program, the Third Grade wrote skits to teach people about conflict resolution and responsibility.
Rochel Weisswasser squeezes oranges (which grow on trees) while learning about Tu B’Shvat.
The Sixth Grade girls enjoy creative dramatics in the classroom with Ms. London. Students were put in pairs and trios to choose a scene from the novel   A Single Shard   and then bring it to life in a staged improv.
PREK-A students act out last week’s parsha with baby Moshe using their sensory table, while the Nursery students came up with different ways to make baskets for him.

The Tiny Tots planted for Tu B’Shvat! 
The High School Girls cooked and baked for Tomchei Shabbos at Creative Kosher Catering.
The Nursery students explored the difference between Play-Doh and clay by creating a class tree for Tu B’Shvat. 
After working with clay, the Nursery students had messy trays. How could they clean them without messing up the school’s plumbing? Hearing and watching the rain gave them an idea: let nature do it! Afterwards, the students dried their trays and now they look like new! 

Hillel parents and art conservators Michael Belman and Chantal Bernicky-Belman teach the Sixth Grade about pottery, archaeology, and science in conjunction with the novel  A Single Shard
How long have you been at Hillel Academy?
I’ve been here a good while … only Rabbi Brodie has been here longer! I’ve experienced building changes, and renovations, asbestos removal, two generations of students, multiple principals, and planning committees….

Which of the current members of the Hillel Academy faculty were your students ?
Mr. Werber was in my class when I taught preschool before I went into Library. Yehuda Plotkin was a Library class student. I have masters degrees in both education and library science. 

How has your job as librarian changed over the years?
Some years ago, I taught classes through Sixth grade. They learned the steps involved in writing a research paper. In recent years, Hillel has enlarged its Early Childhood Department. I have classes as young as the 1 year olds. We sing songs, do finger play, and have stories. They are fun! 

What role did your parents play in establishing the school?
My parents mortgaged our house to give money to the school’s building fund for our current building on Beacon St. When Hillel was dedicated in December 1959, the shul was named for my parents in recognition of their love and support of our school. My father was the school’s financial secretary and he was able to get bank loans for Hillel at various times when needed. The bank president called him “Mr. Hillel.” 

What is your favorite book? What is your favorite book to read to students?
My favorite book is  To Kill a Mockingbird
What I love to read to my library classes are books that instill good midos. They can be secular or Judaic, but they convey the importance of kindness and consideration for others, as well as stories that exemplify quotations from Pirkei Avot et al. For example, last year the Judaic Studies Department selected a new saying from Chazal each week and I had fun finding a book that portrayed these ideas. In addition, I love fun books!!!! In upcoming weeks, I look forward to sharing  Bearsie Bear’s Surprising Sleepover and  If It’s Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws .

Interview by Rivka Kaminsky



Performances of The LION KING will be on Monday March 11 and Tuesday March 12 at the
JCC Katz Theater.



First, I want to thank you for a very successful Fall semester of clubs! I am excited to announce that we have new club offerings for the Winter/Spring semester!

To register for clubs, please click on the link that corresponds to your child's age group. You will then see the list of clubs for that specific group with the link to sign up at the top of the page.

Once you have signed up for clubs, you will receive an email from me confirming your registration. Please allow 72 hours for registration emails to be sent :)

Club registration will close on January 16th; Winter/Spring clubs will begin the week after winter break.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Thank you and I am looking forward to another fantastic semester!
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