October 18 2018 | 9 Cheshvan 5779
When Hashem first reveals himself to Avraham, he promises him “I shall make you a great nation, I will bless you and I will exalt your name; and you shall be a blessing” (12:2). Rashi cites the Gemara in Pesachim that explains that these three blessings allude to the first  bracha of the amidah. The Gemara explains the phrase “I shall make you a great nation” refers to Avraham; “I will bless you” refers to Yitzchak; and “I will exalt you” refers to Yaakov. The Gemara then concludes that even though we mention all three  avot in the first part of the  bracha , the phrase “You shall be a blessing” refers to Avraham again, which is why we end the  bracha by singling out Avaraham in exclusion to the other  avot
It is unclear how exactly these promises relate to the text of the  shemoneh esrei prayer, but for now, let us deal with a more general issue. Why do we single out Avraham specifically? What significance is there in referring to G-d first as “Elokei Avraham, Elokei Yitzchak, ve-Elokei Yaakov,” and then describing Him solely in association with Avraham?

Rav Shimon Schwab suggests that this corresponds to the two different ways in which one approaches and serves Hashem. On the one hand, we relate to G-d based on our ancestral tradition, by following the laws, practices and values that have been consistently transmitted from one generation to the next. But in addition, each individual must establish his personal path and approach within the parameters set by our ancient heritage. 

When we begin our  shemoneh esrei prayer, we approach Hashem as both the G-d of the three patriarchs, as well as specifically the G-d of Avraham. The first description refers to our adherence to tradition, as represented by Yitzchak and Yaakov. In addition, we emphasize Avraham’s unique role as initiator, his having served G-d without any prior training and without any family tradition on which to base his beliefs and practices. The description of G-d as specifically “Magen Avraham” thus corresponds to the second aspect of  avodat Hashem, the personal path that one must chart and follow in serving Hashem and achieving spiritual greatness. 

Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Weinberg,  Principal

The BHS are all taking European History this year, so those not going on NCSY Shabbaton went with Mr. Sutton and Rabbi Admon to Pitt. They met with Diana Clarke, who is a doctoral studethe nt in History, studying transnational Jewish history between Eastern Europe and the US. She is a former high school English teacher, and an editor at a Yiddish Studies journal.

They met with her in the Yugoslavian room of the Cathedral of Learning, and she spoke with them for about an hour on a variety of topics. She focused on the nature of Jewish identity across nation-states in Europe, but also discussed things like how historians use evidence, and how to approach a topic as overwhelmingly large as European history.

They also visited the Israeli cultural classroom, which Rabbi Admon approved of! The boys also posed with pioneering transplant surgeon Dr. Thomas Starzl, whom they encountered on a bench outside the Cathedral of Learning, but he wasn’t much of a conversationalist. 

The Cross Country teams are still going strong! The weather might be getting chilly, but running is a great way to beat the winter blahs! 
Girls Student Government Leaders Shoshana Levari, Nechama Russell, and Abigail Bernstein hold up notebooks Mrs. Grossberg decorated for them to use to plan all of their activities! 
Kindergarteners explored composition with line and watercolor.
Pre-K matches big ideas with big shapes in these inventive collages! 
The Fifth Grade girls made abstract art using their names in a tile pattern.
The Second Grade boys get busy with robots! 
This week’s Poll
Mrs. Levari: A latte
Avital Segal: Coffee
Elisheva Friedman: Tea
Batya Mandelbaum: Mocha
Mrs. Huff: Cider
Chaya Sutofsky: Soup??
Aviva Itskowitz: Hot chocolate
Gabe Katz: Hot chocolate
Yehuda Schon: Hot chocolate
Rami Shaw: Hot chocolate
Menchie Eisenberg: Coffee
Nechama Russell: Hot cocoa
Gaby Reichman: Hot chocolate
Tamir Sunshine: Hot chocolate
Noa Chabra: Hot chocolate or tea
Eliraz Warhaftig: Hot chocolate
Eliezer Russell: Hot chocolate
Tamar Isenberg: Hot chocolate
Kayla Kohanbash: Hot chocolate
Talia Azagury: Hot chocolate
Yitzy Sutofsky: Hot cocoa
Aria Kohanbash: Hot cocoa
Aviva Fomin: Hot apple juice
Hillel Goldberg: Hot cocoa
Ahuva Abraham: Hot chocolate
Ash Shaw: Hot grape juice
Ms. Leah: Usually tea
Morah Jas: Hot chocolate
Officer Lorne: Hot chocolate
Tali Itskowitz: Hot chocolate
Tali Kisilinsky: Tea
Jack Statman Jacobson: Hot chocolate
Geri Pollack: Coffee and hot chocolate
Tahara Reinherz: Nothing — I hate all hot drinks
Jake Weinberg: I like cold drinks better, but hot chocolate
Maya Davis: Warm melted ice cream (writer’s note: Whatttt??!!!)
Shira Sutofsky: Soup! I drink it from a cup sometimes so it counts!
Rabbi Twersky: I have to finish my coffee and then I’ll get back to you

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I’m grateful to Hashem and his messengers, Mr. Kraut and Mr. Kisilinsky, for allowing us to be in here!
—Rabbi Smith

The Donald and Chantze Butler Beit Midrash is spacious enough for the entire Fifth – Twelfth Grade plus visitors, and benefits from glass walls which let in an abundance of light — though the birds still think they can fly through it! 
Here’s one happy Principal! Rabbi Smith can see and be seen through his large office window! 
Middle School Boys hard at work in the bright and airy second floor classrooms.
—Alex Small
It has a pristine feeling to it!
—Joshua Siebzener
I’m happy that we’re finally in the new building.
—Gedalyahu Henteleff
It’s fantastic!
—Benji Marcus
I’m happy because there’s a lot more space.
—Jacob Perlman
It’s really good — it’s fancy!
—Yehuda Sutofsky
I love the Beit Midrash!
—Nathan Azagury

Every time I walk into this building I feel like I’m walking
into the future of Hillel.
—Aaron Kraut

In addition to state-of-the-art desks and colorful chairs, each room comes equipped with whiteboards, pinboards, storage, and a computer — and some rooms even have sinks! Every window comes with a sun glare blind, and can be adjusted to the perfect heat / AC settings. 
Students in the classrooms facing the main building make use of blinds to shield them from the glare of the sun — though it is fun to wave to kids on the playground between classes! 
Intricate patterns that form optical illusions make for interesting and visually stimulating flooring throughout the building. 
Water fountains on every floor! 

It’s a first for Hillel Academy: an elevator! This one’s super slick, and much appreciated by teachers who need to get to and from the third floor. Can you guess who’s making use of it in this picture? 
GHS Production 2019: The Lion King
The Auditions Process

Every other year the Girls High School puts on a musical for the women of the community. It usually takes place on two nights in March in the Katz Theater at the JCC’s Robinson Building. We, the girls of the high school, middle school and many devoted teachers, spend much of the fall and winter preparing for the “big day.” In addition to our regular school load, we stay late to practice. Aviva Itskowitz said of her last experience with production, “It was a lot of work, and at the time we didn’t realize how much it pays off in the end.” According to Mrs. Wimer, “GHS Production is a huge commitment for everyone involved, but the daily workload balances out so well with the excitement and energy that everyone contributes to the process. Copious amounts of snacks also help.”

Last Tuesday, the Girls High School participated in auditions for the upcoming production of  The Lion King . Each student filled out a form stating her prefered role and any other specific interests. Each person auditioning was required to try out by reading lines, and anyone wanting a singing part also had to sing something. Everyone was gathered in the hallway practicing for their auditions. Mrs. Levari, Mrs. Wimer, Mrs. Abraham and Mrs. Finder evaluated the auditions and decided who was best for each role, taking into account student’s requests. 

From a personal perspective, I can say that it was very nerve racking, and the teachers who normally have friendly faces looked like scary judges assessing your every move. Auditions were followed by a very stressful six days where nobody knew the outcome of the auditions. 

On Monday of this week, the production heads Batya Mandelbaum and Nechama Rodkin brought all of the girls into the shul and told us all of our parts. They gave each of us a white binder with our name and part on the front. It was very gratifying to hear our parts and to hear everyone clapping for each other as we walked up and get our binders. 

And now, the GHS presents to you The Lion King, starring: Chana Yolkut as Mufasa, Chava Rivka Russell as Sarabi, Shoshana Kisilinsky as Simba, Bluma Rodkin as Nala, Batya Mandelbaum as Zazu, Dalya Kraut as Rafiki, Shira Wiesenfeld as Scar, Eliyanah VanSickle as Timon, Chaya Langer as Pumba, Maya Davis as Shenzi, Rivka Kaminsky as Banzai, Rivky Grossberg as Ed, Devorah Milch as Sarafina, Avital Segal as Asani and Michal Admon as Zuberi. 

Our crew consists of Nechama Rodkin and Batya Mandelbaum as Production Heads, Aviva Itskowitz and Janet Anderson as Dance Heads, Elana Eydelman as Scenery Head, Chaya Sutofsky as Costumes Head, Sarah Hertzberg as Props Head, Avital Segal as Publicity Head, Elisheva Friedman as Playbill Head, and Amital Leibovich as backstage crew.

We hope to see all the women of the community on March 11th and 12th!

— Shoshana Kisilinsky

Mr Keith — More Than Just A Gym Teacher!

You probably know that Mr Keith is a gym teacher, but did you know that he is also a TV Producer Director?! He has worked in TV production for 24 years now. He covers games for the NFL, college football, NBA , MLB, and NHL. His jobs consist of telling the camera guys what to do, and telling the studio which players they should interview and what they should ask the players. He travels all over the world to do this job!

Something that you probably didn’t know about him is that he was an ace baseball player; he received a special invitation to try out for the Cincinnati Reds while in high school, and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round of the MLB draft. The surprising thing is that he didn’t accept the job! When asked why, he says, “I didn’t really play baseball until High School; I didn’t like baseball.” 

Mr. Keith was born in Pittsburgh. Growing up, his role model was his athletic brother. In Tenth Grade he started playing basketball “to be popular, and get some trophies.” While at Point Park University, he worked as TV Production Assistant. 

Before becoming a gym teacher at Hillel, he was a teacher in Pittsburgh schools for 18 years. He always wanted to be a gym teacher but the right job never came along. His favorite sport is basketball, while his favorite sport to cover is college basketball. He likes the Golden State Warriors, and the Steelers. 

He has a 27 year old daughter, Latricia, who is in the medical field, and also has a five (almost six) year-old son named Griffin. He likes taking his son to the studio, and playing with him. He also enjoys going to baseball games. Another one of his hobbies is music. Hillel Academy is very lucky to have such a nice and interesting guy as a gym teacher.

— Nathan Azagury
Have you heard the one about... Mr. Werber entertains a rapt audience with a dramatic joke.
The Romans weren't just mad at the numbers 51, 6, and 500, they were LIVID. 

Sometimes, when they got too upset, you had to ask them to be 101, 6, and 50.

—Mr. Sutton
Mrs. Myers likes to subtely slip humorous things into otherwise very serious assignments — as evidenced by Geri Pollak’s reaction. 
An analyst and a statistician are playing darts in a bar. the analyst throws a dart wide right, and another wide left. The statistician shouts “Bullseye!” 
—Yaakov Brown


If you have not yet picked up your calendar, 
please do so from the main office. Thank you!
Chavayah Overnight Camp for Girls is holding an info session on October 23 rd  at 8pm at the home of Rachel and Ari Goldberg. Chavayah is an all-girls orthodox overnight camp located 3 hours north of Chicago for girls entering 5 th  grade and up! Please RSVP for the info session to Rachel at  rhsm828@yahoo.com . For more information go to www.chavayahcamp.org  or email Wendy at  wsinger@jccchicago.org .


Performances of The LION KING will be on Monday March 11 and Tuesday March 12 at the
JCC Katz Theater (with a full dress rehearsal on Sunday March 10).
Meet Gerry. He’s a child’s grey coat, and he’s been languishing in Lost & Found for ages. “I’m just a shell of the person I used to be,” Gerry says sadly. “It’s not so much being at the front desk all day and night — it’s that I really need my owner to feel whole, to feel animated.” He sighs. “Now that it’s cold out, I care terribly that my owner is cold without me. I just want to be reunited so that I can do my job.” 
“What surprises me most of all,” says Leftie, one half of the large sized black outdoor gloves, “is that you’d think I’d be missed. That maybe my owner would come looking for me.” His other half agrees. Says Rightie, “I’m not the sort of thing you’d want to lose, frankly.” Leftie nods. “On the one hand, it’s nice to hang out with this lovely coat we met named Gerry, but on the other hand, we’re itching to get back to work.” 

No, that’s not raindrops you’re feeling. It’s tears. This petite polka-dotted umbrella weeps at the slightest provocation. “I’m too cute to be left alone here!” she cries. “Let’s find out who I belong to — it’s an open and shut case!”

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Thank you!
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