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Parshat Vaera
Rosh Chodesh Shevat
January 27, 2017 - 29 Tevet 5777

Shabbat Candle Lighting - by 5:14  pm
Shabbat Ends - 6:23 pm
DVAR TORAH - Thoughts from the Principal & Educational Director
Parshat Vaera marks the beginning of our dramatic exodus from Egypt. In the early part  of the Parsha we read the famous "four expressions of redemption," which G-d uses to free Bnei Yisrael from the yoke of slavery. The first expression reads, "Ve-hotzeiti etkhem mi-tachat sivlot Mitzrayim," which is commonly translated as, "I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians" (6:6). 

The Sefat Emet suggests a less common interpretation of the word "sivlot," based on a different meaning of "sevel." He explains that the word "sevel" can mean tolerance--the willingness to withstand and endure. According to the Sefat Emet, Bnei Yisrael had fallen into the dangerous trap of habituation and routine. They became accustomed to slavery; they had reached the point where they no longer conceived of anything different. They had accepted their lot, they tolerated it, and they resigned themselves to it. Hashem therefore promised to extricate Bnei Yisrael from the "sivlot Mitzrayim," from this tolerance of the Egyptian bondage.   

As parents and educators, it is important that we view our children without preconceived notions of what they are able to accomplish. We must never let this "sivlot" frame what our children believe they can achieve. We must constantly teach them to strive to reach greater and greater heights and help them develop the inner desire and strength to never lose sight of their vast potential.  

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Weinberg can be reached at sweinberg@hillelpgh.org .

* No U-turns - they are illegal and dangerous
** Please fold strollers if leaving them in the vestibule
Family Feature
Just before winter break, we caught up with the Eric and Tzipora Ackland. Their son Eliezer, is in third grade.  You may have another connection to Eric and Tzipora, as they own Amazing Books and Records. 

What's your favorite part of Hillel Academy thus far? The welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff.
What's the best kept secret of Hillel Academy? Mrs. Chapley and Mrs. Yolkut are wonderful teachers.
Do you have any special family traditions? We like to go walking outdoors once a week as a family.
What makes your family unique? We eat a vegan diet at home.
What made you choose Hillel Academy? We love the warm atmosphere, the supportive environment, and the multiple outlets for physical activity and creativity.
Where do you guys like to spend time? Parks, museums, and bookstores.

Tell us about Amazing Books. What got you into it? Where does most of your content come from? Do you plan to open more stores? We own Amazing Books & Records, a used book and record store, with two locations, one downtown, and one in Squirrel Hill. We sell books in all categories, including an extensive collection of books on Judaism, and of sefarim, many of them very old. We buy our books and records directly from people who have books that they wish to sell. We also operate online through multiple websites. We hope to open an additional store this year, and we also hope to start a writer's school, tentatively called Steel Quill Writer's Studio which will host eight to ten week long seminars on writing stories, novels, screenplays, plays, poetry, memoir, journalism, copy-writing and more. While most classes will be for adults, we plan to have a few classes for adolescents as well. 

We acquired the stores through pure Hashgacha Pratit. My car got hit, and I had to go downtown to the DMV, and when I finally got there after a month of bureaucracy, it was closed because it was President's day. I saw a bookstore across the street, went in, bought a few books and shmoozed with the owner. I told him how I used to work in a store like his, and at one time had been planning on opening one, and he told me that the store was for sale, and he mentioned a low price. So low, in fact, that it didn't seem like it could be a viable business. I mentioned it later in the week to my wife, and she responded, "Isn't that a dream of yours? Why don't you ask for more information?" So I called him, asked to look over his financial statements, and saw that it could become a more viable business. We offered him his asking price, and about six weeks later, we opened there, and we opened a little more than a year later in Squirrel Hill.

Who has been on the block where Amazing Books and Records is the longest? I can't say authoritatively, but I think Mark, from Murray Avenue News and Toys, may have been on the block the longest. We talk occasionally about the way Squirrel Hill has changed over the decades from a place where people could do all their shopping, to a place where people mostly just dine out.

I heard there were "secret" tunnels that connect all the stores on that block, is that emes? If there are secret tunnels, they skip around my store.

Do you think Shlomo would trade wine for books? Shlomo has been a gracious neighbor, and in fact, about a month ago, he provided me with five free bottles of wine for a 'wine walk' - a tasting event sponsored by Uncover Squirrel Hill, a local booster group for small businesses which meets monthly over coffee.

What does Tzipora do? Tzipora currently does day care part-time for one-year-olds at Yeshiva in addition to taking excellent care of our children and our home.

W hat's your plan for the Penguins outdoor game against the Flyers, coming up in February? We're not a huge hockey family, but our sports loyalties are divided, as Eliezer is a native Pittsburgher, and I remain, at heart, a Philadelphian. The two of us recently went to what was, for both of us, our first pro football game though, watching the Steelers versus the Ravens, and I did root for the Steelers.

Can you give us a hint to your Purim costumes? We're still hashing out our Purim costumes, and the dominant idea right now involves lots of duct tape. Only time will tell....

Quick Pick:
Hard cover or soft cover? Hardcover for home. Softcover for travel. 
Falafel or pizza? Green smoothie over either.
White or red? Red for sure.
Murray or Forbes? Murray all the way.
Oakland or Squirrel Hill? Squirrel Hill is the real deal.
Navada or Texas? Gambling Gold or Liquid Gold? Both are ethically problematic. We'll take Israel Gold any day though.
Stone or Living Torah? Love them both, but Stone has the better layout and more commentary. Love the Gutnick Chumash too.
All wheel drive or two wheel? All wheel preferred, but alas, our vehicles are just two-wheel drive.

Dan Shaw can be reached at dshaw@hillelpgh.org.
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Life Hacks
Welcome to our life hacks section!  Life hacks are easy strategies or techniques that you probably never thought of that can be used to "hack" every day problems--or manage your time and daily activities in a more efficient way. Some hacks are so useful that they come in handy every day, so we thought it would be fun for the Hillel family to share our favorite hacks with each other! 

THIS WEEK'S HACK was suggested by Ms. Oz. Thanks!
Put Legos or other similar toys that can get grimy and gross in a washing bag and throw it in the wash cycle for a good cleaning. 

For last week's hack: http://bit.ly/HH-_12_30_16

If you have a favorite hack you'd like to share, email hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org.

Letters to the Editor
I enjoy reading Hillel Happenings. 
Thanks to Ms. Oz for the neat-o candle hack!
- Batya Moses

I love these pictures--Morah Elaine is my all time favorite. 
-Ruth  Wisse
Camp Registration + Raffle 
Space is limited!
8th grade Raffle

You could win:
4 Pirates tickets
A mini vacuum cleaner
A Starbucks cold cup and a bag of pike roast coffee
Create a masterpiece at Color Me Mine
Free haircut at Supercuts and Safi's
Gift cards to:
$50 to Framesmith
$25 to Murray Ave. Kosher
$25 to Milky Way
$25 to Zoom Dry Cleaners
$25 to Amazing Books
$25 to CVS
$20 to Games Unlimited
$18 to Cafe Eighteen
And more!
$2 for 1
$5 for 3
$9 for 5
$15 for 10

Buy your tickets by talking to one of the 8th graders, or by calling Nathan Azagury at 412-352-2755

Weekly Photos

Along, with Mrs. Yolkut and Mr. Garwood, the third grade students toured Inventionland where they got a first hand look at the creative space. According to Inventionland's website,  "Inventionland stands as the world's innovation destination. Over 1,000 visitors tour the invention factory each month. Its services now include comprehensive educational materials, as well as innovation supplies and services for schools and corporate innovation labs." 
Little Known Facts about Albert Einstein

To correlate with their visit to Inventionland , this week in library class,  the third grade learned some surprising things that they never knew about Albert Einstein.  Did you know that his discoveries made everything from garage door openers to DVD players possible? Did you know that he didn't speak until he was four years old and that he didn't learn to read until he was nine?   Did you know that he was friends with Chaim Weitzman and David ben Gurion and that he spoke at the site of the future Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus? Did you know that he was named "Person of the Century" by Time Magazine in 1999? These are just some of the fascinating facts that Ms. Morris shared with the class from the book, Albert Einstein: A Photographic Story of a Life, by Frieda Wishinsky-- published by Dorling Kindersley. 

The 5th grade girls wrote 'We miss you' cards for Chani Bleicher, who now lives with her family in New York. Tahara recently delivered them. 'Once a Hillel family.....always a Hillel family'!
In honor of the letter 'J,' Morah Elaine taught about how elbow, knee, shoulder and hip joints work.
First, WHO'S THEY? they played Simon says, 'put your hands on your shoulders'...'put your hands on your knees'...to make sure that everyone knew where to find his / her elbows, knees, shoulders and hips. Next, they students looked at a diagram of a skeleton and talked a little bit about bones.   Then they studied photos of people bending their elbows in all different ways and tried bending our elbows like the people in the pictures.

Middle school students participate in the Jewish Federation's Day of Giving at the JCC last month. 

High school students participate in the Jewish Federation's Day of Giving where they raised over $300 for the Jewish community.  Hillel Academy had the most volunteers making calls and won the cash prize. 

Mazel Tov!
Mazel Tov Jimmy and Linda Joshowitz on the marriage of their daughter, alum, Robin to Yonatan Chamudot!

 Mazel Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Rosenberg on the marriage of their son, alum, Avrumi to Batsheva Friedman!

Mazel Tov to
Yanki and Marissa Ribault on the birth of a baby girl, Efrat Yocheved! Click here for their meal train.

Mazel Tov to Shmuel and Margaret Angel on the birth of a daughter to Rachemim and alum, Bracha Kluyov!

Hillel Athletics

The Heat lost a nail-biter, 44-40, last night to the Urban Pathways Panthers at the YMCA in the Hill District.
On the left, senior guard, Moshe Wasserman takes the opening tip-off.
Senior forward, Akiva Skaist looks to pass late in the third quarter. 
2nd Semester leagues schedule forthcoming.
Hillel Gear Spotted Here!

Some of the fifth grade boys were spotted at local restaurant, Milky Way.  We have a variety of apparel featured here: the kippa, socks, and club tee. Well done boys! Special shout-out to Uri Butler. 

Send us your winter break Hillel gear photos for a chance to win a free dinner from Mordy Brown!
The Art Department
Brought to you by the  Joshua L. Sindler, z"l Creative Classrooms, Art and Music Endowment Program

Around Town
Girl 's  Oneg :   Every Shabbos afternoon in the PZ Educational Building from 3:00-4:00 for all girls K-6. Hope to see you there!  

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

                                          of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
                                                               Administered by:
                                                  Jewish Family & Children's Service
               5743 Bartlett Street · Pittsburgh, PA 15217 · (412)422-5627 · Fax (412)428-8200

Attention:  Financial Aid Offices, Guidance Counselors, and Youth Organizations
Applications for need-based college scholarships for the 2017-2018 school year are available from the Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service (CSLRS) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.  This program is administered by Jewish Family & Children's Service.  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
We would appreciate your assistance in aiding local students by publishing an announcement about the work of the Central Scholarship committee. We are enclosing a brochure that explains our process. The 2017-2018 CSLRS on-line application is available at http://www.centralscholarship.org.  All applications are due February 9, 2017.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (412) 422-5627 or e-mail me at alowenberger@jfcspgh.org.
Alayne Lowenberger, Director
Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

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Please send condolence notices to  HillelHappenings@Hillelpgh.org.