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DVAR TORAH
 
In this week's parsha the Torah teaches us about the skin affliction known as Tzarat. Tzarat is most commonly understood to be a spiritual malady that effects a person for speaking lashon hara - evil speech or tale-bearing. 

The Talmud in tractate Archin (15b) emphasizes the severity of gossip and negative speech about others. The Gemara even considers one who speaks lashon hara as though "kofar ba-ikar" - he  who denied G-d's existence. Why would improper speech about other people be deemed equivalent to heresy? A simple answer might be that in speaking negatively about another person we are denigrating their inherent holiness as one of Hashem's creations. 
 
Rabbi Meir Twersky of Yeshiva University suggests a different explanation. He explains that this Gemara refers to the type of lashon hara that one says when they are frustrated with a specific situation, and "getting something off their chest," or "venting" to a friend. The Gemara tells us that if a person feels he needs practical guidance in handling an adverse situation caused by another person, then they can only seek guidance as a method to help ourselves, without denigrating others. 
 
As teachers and parents, we want to be supportive while also helping our children to understand that the laws regarding lashon hara are critical to creating healthy relationships. One of the primary lessons that we strive to teach our students is that the only person whose actions they can control is their own. There are many occasions when someone has done something that hurts us or makes us angry, but we can choose how we respond and can make good choices. We strive to react to interpersonal issues with grace and an eye on personal growth.
 
Shabbat Shalom
 
Rabbi Weinberg, Principal



NEWS & VIEWS





Last Thursday, Eli Jacobs and the Black Team outplayed Natan Marcus and the White Team 8-7 in the Hillel Hockey League Championship. Eli, who led both teams with five points, including the game-winning goal with 1:11 to go, said that the championship was "the most intense game I've ever played."
 
One of the reasons why the game may have been so intense is because for Eighth Graders Eli Jacobs, Natan Marcus and Yitzy Berelowitz, it was their last game at Hillel.
 
The outcome of the championship was a lot closer than everyone thought it would be, as the Black Team was 2-0 versus the white team during the regular season. By halftime of the championship game, the score was 6-3 for the White Team, and it seemed like a win was out of reach for the Black Team. Then the White Team collapsed. The Black Team scored five goals in the second half, matched by only one goal by the White.
 
Yonah Itskowitz lead all scorers with a hat trick, and added one assist. Kivi Jacobs scored the game-tying goal in the forth with 3:31 to go. Between the pipes, JoJo Sacks made 38 saves on 45 shots. Azi Knoll made 31 saves in the losing effort.
 

 



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Mrs. Finder:  Much More Than Just A Teacher
By Nathan Azagury
 
I have Mrs. Finder for English class this year. She teaches Ninth and Tenth Graders together. Her pedagogical methods are made to help every students get better at reading and writing. One of the things that I admire in her is her capability at making us read, and enjoy books that we would not read on our own. I wanted to write this article about her because I wanted to know more about her.
 
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I was born in Pittsburgh, but later moved to the small town of Latrobe, east of Pittsburgh, when my father changed jobs.
 
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to a small liberal arts college in Meadville, PA called Allegheny College, where I received a B.A. in English and a Masters in Education.
 
Q: How long have you been teaching at Hillel Academy?
A:  This is my fourteenth year teaching at Hillel Academy. I also subbed at Hillel for two years before that.
 
Q: Did you always want to be a teacher? If not, what did you dream to be?
A: I knew that I wanted to be a teacher since I was in fourth grade. I used to play school with my dolls all the time. They were my students!
 
Q: Who was your hero growing up?
A: My father was my hero growing up, and remains my hero to this day. He was a tremendous role model possessing incredible compassion, humility, and uncompromising integrity.
 
Q: Do you (or did you) follow sports?
A: I really was not so much of a sports fan growing up - preferring to play sports rather than watch them. However, after marrying my husband, I have become both a Steelers fan and a Pens fan.
 
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: In my spare time I love to read, exercise, travel, and try new recipes.
 
Q: What class do you teach?
A: I teach high school English to both the boys and the girls.
 
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: It is very difficult to choose a favorite book because I love many. Although if tears are any measure, I do remember after finishing The Kite Runner I put the book down and just sobbed. It affected me deeply.
 
Q: Who is your favorite fictional character?
A: My favorite fictional character is Atticus Finch. He is a paragon (example) of morality.
 
Q: What is your favorite destination?
A: My favorite destination is a beach my husband and I visit every summer on the coast of South Carolina. We are accompanied by a different combination of family members each year. It is an extremely relaxing and rejuvenating vacation that I always look forward to.
 
Q: Do you have any traveling tips?
A: My biggest travel tip is to pack light.
 
Q: What is the biggest challenge when teaching literature?
A: When teaching literature, I often find it difficult to get my students to enjoy books that they would clearly not choose to read on their own. Often the styles of writing can seem cumbersome and require patience to forge ahead.
 
Q: Anything else that you would want people to know?
A: I had a turtle that I got for my birthday when I was five years old (for ten cents). He lived for 49 years, even though my mother accidently stepped on his head one night when he climbed out of his bowl, causing him to lose an eye.

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Q & A  
By Rivka Kaminsky
 
Q: What does the Front Desk job encompass?
                  A: The Front Desk is responsible for answering the phones and greeting guests                   who come into the building.
 
Q: What's the best part of your job?
                  A: Interacting with everyone! Students, staff, and parents.
 
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
                  A: I like hiking, biking and yoga.
 
Q: Tell us about your family.
        A: My husband and I have two children, Ella and Levi, who both attend Hillel. We are a close family and enjoy playing board games, and spending time together.
 
Q: Where have you worked in the past?
                  A: I previously lived in New York, where I worked as an executive assistant.
 
Q: What are you looking forward to this summer?
                  A: Eating the delicious fresh vegetables from our garden!
 
Q: What are the most frequent requests people make at the front desk?
                  A: Tissues, scissors, and tape. Everyone loves tape!
 
Q: If the Front Desk could have one thing that it doesn't have, what would it be?
                  A: A take-a-number machine, like at the deli counter!
 
Q: What's the most unusual experience that happened to you at the Front Desk?  
         A: Probably my idea that there is a black hole for pens. They are always disappearing!  
 
Q: Is there anything else you want to add?
                  A: "Be Humble. Be Hungry. And always be the hardest  worker in  the room."  - Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson 
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IDENTIFY THE BABY!


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ANNOUNCEMENTS







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Did you know the Bnot Sheirut have their own Facebook page? It's filled with lots of pictures and videos! Check it out at:  www.facebook.com/PittsburghBanot

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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   



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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.


Micki Myers, Editor | Hillel Happenings | 412 521-8131 | hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org |www. hillelpgh.org