October 25 2018 | 6 Cheshvan 5779
Parshat Vayera begins with Hashem appearing to Avraham as he “Was sitting at the entrance to his tent at around the heat of the day.” The commentators wonder why the Torah tells us that this revelation occurred, “At around the heat of the day.” What does this detail add to the story? 

The Radak (12th century, France) advances a theory based on the famous theory of the Rambam, in Moreh Nevukhim ( 2:43 ), that the entire story of the three angelic visitors occurred only in a prophetic vision with Avraham asleep, and not in reality. The Radak claims that Avraham had this vision after he fell asleep as a result of extreme heat. For this reason, he explains, the Torah writes that this all occurred during “the heat of the day,” because it was the heat that caused Avraham to drift off and experience this prophetic revelation. 

According to the Radak, the Torah goes out of its way to make an excuse as to why Avraham was sleeping during the day. The assumption of this commentary is that under any normal circumstances, it would be inconceivable that Avraham was simply taking a nap. This Radak speaks to the tremendous energy, drive, and ambition of Avraham Avinu. Avraham was a mover and a shaker, someone who was always working and always out in the community spreading the word of G-d. 

As children of Avraham, we should follow his example and always strive for growth. Avraham never took an afternoon off and was never complacent. We should push ourselves and each other to be productive and active members of our community in every way possible.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sam Weinberg,  Principal

Second Graders in Mrs. Uebing’s class focus on composing clear, well-written sentences. They are rewarded for their good work with glassy pebbles which they collect and can “spend” at the end of the week! 
Second Grade students fully engage in their Judaics classes taught by Mrs. Admon and Mrs. Senft. 
Kindergarteners embrace their Mini Matisse by “drawing with scissors,” imitating his collages to great effect!
Sometimes the students have the best ideas. As Mrs. Yolkut entered the classroom for 5\6G's Toshba class, Chavi Beck had an unusual request — she wanted to teach the class. The rest of the class agreed enthusiastically. As you can see, Chavi ably led the girls in completing an assignment reviewing a Mishna they learned the class before. Now in the works — at the request of the rest of the class — a rotation, so that every girl gets a chance to lead the class. 
The High School Girls gathered for this year’s first read-through of  The Lion King . There are a lot of lines and songs to learn! 
High School AP Psychology students Batya Mandelbaum and Nechama Rodkin work side by side to identify and map biological systems. 
Eleventh Grader Benji Marcus considers the way auto companies manipulate potential customers via the careful use of loaded language in their slogans as part of his Rhetoric unit in English. 
PreK visited Simmons farm, where they went on a hayride, played in corn, petted farm animals, and learned how to pick apples (twist and lift) — including the new “Enterprise” variety — delicious! 
The Older Infants enjoy making music too! Colorful instruments and friends to share them with train both the eye and ear. 
You’re never too young to enjoy painting with a pumpkin! These Tiny Tots explore color and texture in a hands-on activity that makes the most of the season.
Middle School students boarded a special El Al flight to Israel this week, courtesy of the Bnot Sheirut Noa and Eliraz, who taught them about Yom HaAliya, the national holiday that celebrates those who have made Aliyah. 
Say hello to PreK’s new pet hermit crabs! Their names are Barklin and Monkey, and they live in this lovely terrarium. Students take turns feeding them and spraying their tank. This is Monkey hanging out in the corner, while Barklin was having a nap under the flowerpot. 
Oh no! It looks like Monkey’s cousin Maple  decided to visit and got lost in the pages of this issue. Can you find her? 

Eighth Grade boys learned about the physics of surface waves, which are a combination of transverse and longitudinal waves which occur at the border of two different media, such as air and water. They cause the medium to move both parallel and perpendicular to the travel of the wave. This can be observed in the patterns that are made by the weighted balls of a Newton’s Cradle, which the boys took turns demonstrating. The balls have to be carefully lined up and pulled back before being let go to swing of their own accord. It’s a wonderfully visual and tacatile way of seeing invisible forces brought to life! 

Kindergarteners have wonderful imaginations — something that lends itself to inventive and entertaining storytelling. Here, we have two tales about the adventures of some intrepid gerbils, and some of the colorful illustrations they made to go along with them!  
The Second Grade boys asked “What would a robot do for you?” It’s a good question! These robots are automatons — automatic humans — but robots can take any number of forms, and they really can make our lives easier. The word “robot” was invented by Josef Čapek’s brother, the Czech playwright, novelist and journalist Karel Čapek, who included the term in his 1920 play, R.U.R (Rossum’s Universal Robots. In the Czech language, the word “robota” means forced labor. 

What would you want a robot to do for  you

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This year Hillel Academy has the treat of having the Katz family join the school and Morah Elana is one of the newest additions to the middle school and high school Tanach classes. The Katz’s moved here for a year from Columbus. Some students or parents might have heard of Morah Elana from her Chumash packets which the school has been using for many years. I had the opportunity to chat with Morah Elana about her move, family and interests.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Where did you go to school?
I went to JEC for elementary school, Bruriah for High School, MMY (Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim) and then Stern College.

What was your favorite class in high school? 
I really liked math and Jewish history. I don't remember having a favorite because I liked them all. My favorite teacher was my Ivrit teacher, Mrs. Yankelowitz. I still speak to her today.

Tell us about your family. 
My husband is a doctor. We have three children. Gabe is 11, Ava is 7, and Hannah is 2. We have lived in New Jersey, Ohio, and now Pittsburgh. We are moving again at the end of this year, although we don't know where to yet.

How long have you been making your Chumash packets? How long has Hillel been using them for? How many Parshios do you have them for? 
I've been making Chumash packets since I started teaching. One of my mentors taught me how to design packets. As I taught different grades in different places, I changed the format of the packets until I found the one that worked best for me and my students. Seven years ago, I completed packets for all of Sefer Bereishis and Shemos, Vaera, Bo and Beshalach. I added Yisro, Mishpatim, and Ki Tesa when Hillel asked me to about three years ago. I also have packets for Sefer Bamidbar. I used to have for some parshiyos in Vayikra, but my flash drive crashed and they got corrupted. I do look forward to making them again in the future.

What is one unique thing that you noticed about Hillel Academy? 
People are friendlier in Hillel than in most schools. There is also great programming and clubs at Hillel.

If you could have your dream classroom, what would it contain? 
I don't have a dream classroom, but my dream job would be to teach Chumash all day. I'd like to teach one period in second grade and then go all the way up the grades and teach at every grade level one period a day.

How is living in Pittsburgh different than Columbus? 
Pittsburgh is really different than Columbus. Columbus is more suburban and spread out. The houses aren't as close together. Everything in Pittsburgh is closer together, like the shuls and school. There are a lot more kids in Pittsburgh than in Columbus, which is also really fun. Murray Avenue Kosher and Costco have a much bigger Kosher selection and all of our favorite foods that we weren't able to get in the past. There are more parking lots and parking spaces around town in Columbus. There are many more parks in Pittsburgh than in Columbus.

What are some of your hobbies? 
I like running, playing basketball and swimming. But I really love making Chumash packets and teaching. I like teaching so much that I miss it in the summer.

What would people be surprised to find out about you? 
I love chicken. I often eat ice cream for breakfast.

I really enjoyed getting to know about one of our newest teachers and look forward to her tehillim elective all day! 

— Chana Yolkut


Mazel Tov

to Rabbi Avrohom
and Mrs. Sarah Leah Weisswasser 
on the birth of a baby boy!

Mazel Tov 
to big sisters Leeba and Rochel 
and big brothers 
Motti, Chaim and Shalom!
Last week’s issue featured a very clever joke by Issac Brown, not Yaakov Brown. Both Issac and Yaakov are, however, great joke tellers.

If you have not yet picked up your calendar, 
please do so from the main office. Thank you!

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).
Who’s committed this foul by benching their Pittsburgh Penguins zip hoodie? Don’t let yourself get penalized by entering the icy weather without your gear! You know what they say: Checks and pucks might not break my bones but the cold will surely hurt me. OK, they don’t say that, but they should. Make it your goal to claim your lost hoodie today! 

My mind’s been going in circles trying to remember who left me at school. Around and around I go just spinning my wheels, wondering if my owner misses me. Pick me up before I get dizzy by standing still. Thank you. 
The Hillel Happenings is published on Thursdays. Please submit stories, photos and ads by Wednesday afternoon to:

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