November 15 2018 | 7 Kislev 5779
   This week’s Parsha begins with Yaakov Avinu fleeing Be’er Sheva en route to Charan. Upon Yaakov’s departure from home, he falls asleep in a place that Chazal identify as the future Har HaBayit. There, he has a dream in which he sees angels ascending and descending a ladder to the heavens. Along with this vision, G-d sends Yaakov the message that He will be with him on his journey and bring him back safely to his homeland. 
    Of the many commentators who explain this dream, Rashi explains it in the following manner: “The angels that accompanied him in the land do not live outside the land, so they ascended to the heavens, and the angels of outside the land descended to accompany him.” Rashi here points out that a different set of angels was provided for inside and outside the land of Israel. Nechama Leibovitz suggests that according to Rashi, Yaakov’s dream conveys the lesson that the challenges one faces in their homeland and familiar surroundings are different than the ones they face when they leave the familiarity and comforts of their own home. The obstacles that Yaakov will confront in the future will require a different approach, one that will necessitate preparation. Also, the support that Hashem provides for him will adapt to the needs of each situation.

   This coming week marks the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Pilgrim’s assimilation into this new world. It symbolizes coexistence, harmony, and peace, while thanking G-d for his bounty and survival. When the Jewish communities in Spain, Portugal, and the rest of Europe, began to immigrate here, the groundwork was laid for what would prove to be a  medinah shel chessed  (a country of kindness) in which Jews could live and thrive like nowhere else in history. However humble our beginnings, we have relied on the help of G-d to exist and flourish. The help we needed was different than our forefathers in Christian Europe or Muslim Egypt, but it was necessary and vital.
  Right now, we continue to need the support of G-d. Recent events remind us that both in Israel and in America Jews are under attack. We must prepare for an ever-changing reality and continue to pray that G-d will provide the unique support necessary for every situation.

  May G-d speedily grant his promise to Yaakov and bring safety to all of our family and friends throughout the world.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sam Weinberg,  Principal

Rabbi Senft just started the Chofetz Chaim Club during breakfast. Students learn the laws of Lashon Hara and can earn prizes as well! 
Hillel Academy students were invited by the Mayor’s office to attend the Rally For Peace downtown last Friday. 
The Fourth Grade are learning about measurement using meters, using parts of the body.
Hillel Academy gained two new very tall Kindergarterners on Tuesday. Curiously, these two boys, Nathan and Aaron, possess incredible soccer skills and everyone loves to play with them! 
Are you going to enter the Chanukiah Competition this year? 
PreK A students Akiva Cook and Hillel Goldberg are learning how to count to nine using a menorah! 
Meir Mandelbaum uses a dabber to make wonderfully expressive marks on paper for art! 
Responsibility can be learned at all ages: the Tiny Tots take care of their goldfish, which are growing fast, just like them!  Yoni Pollack gives his fishy friend a high-five.

What’s better than getting all squishy with pumpkin slime? Getting your squish on with a friend! The PreK B students learned a lot about texture and having a good time with what nature provides! 
Noa and Eliraz bring Michael the hand puppet to sing with the Kindergarten.
Morah Elaine brings visual and audio enrichment to her science lessons!  
The ground is prepared with a drainage system and many layers of hard-packed gravel before the new artificial turf can be laid down to extend the playground area right up to the Lipsitz Building.
A big THANK YOU to the wonderful parents who provided fabulous drinks and snacks baskets to the teachers — it was much appreciated, and we are very grateful! 
The Third Grade learned about the halachos of extracting juice on Shabbos and squeezed lemons for a hands-on demonstration. 

One of the best ways to really learn something is to use all your senses to experience it. This is certainly the case in science, where all the senses are used to note the similarities and differences between things, and how they interact with and react to the world around them. The brain makes stronger memories if it has more experience to base those memories on. The dissection of tissue samples helps students understand biological structures and functions — and this is also true of subjects like psychology, where the biology of the brain is taught. Students in Advanced Placement Psychology dissect a sheep’s brain in order to learn in three dimensions what a two-dimensional diagram can’t show. In this case, students use their brains to increase their brainpower by cutting up a brain, in order to learn about brains. 
“Most people don't get to say they dissected a sheep's brain, and fortunately I am one of the people who can! Being able to hold the different parts of the brain was really cool and ensured that I would remember where everything in the brain is. I must say, however, that getting to hold a hippocampus in my hand was one of the weirdest experiences I've have had, and that I don't think I'll ever be able to look at cooked chicken again in the same light....”
— Batya Mandelbaum
“I’ve seen the hippocampus, and now I feel complete!” 
— Nechama Rodkin
To conclude our study of the central nervous system, students in AP Psych dissected a sheep’s brain. It’s a great deal harder to identify the different lobes and nerves without a color-coded diagram, and the hands-on experience encourages mastery of the structure of the brain and the function of its various parts.

Thursday Nov 15 / 7 Kislev            Reach out to a friend or out-of-town relative you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Friday Nov 16 / 8 Kislev            Throw out garbage that isn’t yours.
Shabbos Nov 17 / 9 Kislev            Say “Good Shabbos” or “Shabbat Shalom” to three people you see on the street.
Sunday Nov 18 / 10 Kislev            Return a lost item to someone.
Monday Nov 19 / 11 Kislev            Thank a staff member (not a teacher) for what they do for you.
Tuesday Nov 20 / 12 Kislev            Make up with someone you had a fight with.
Wednesday Nov 21 / 13 Kislev  Hold yourself back from saying a really sarcastic comment.
Thursday Nov 22 / 14 Kislev            Write a thank you note to someone who deserves it.
Friday Nov 23 / 15 Kislev            Give tzedakah (charity).
Shabbos Nov 24 / 16 Kislev            Make someone smile.
Sunday Nov 25 / 17 Kislev            Clean up a room in your house.
Monday Nov 26 / 18 Kislev            Say “good morning” to someone in the lobby or doing drop-off.
Tuesday Nov 27 / 19 Kislev            Go through your closet and donate something you never wear.
Wednesday Nov 28 / 20 Kislev  If you are arguing with someone, drop it and “agree to disagree.”
Thursday Nov 29 / 21 Kislev            Hold the door open for someone.
Friday Nov 30 / 22 Kislev            Help at home for Shabbos.
Shabbos Dec 1 / 23 Kislev            Help clear the table from your Seuda (Shabbos meal).
Monday Dec 2 / 24 Kislev            Hang out with a girl you don’t normally hang out with.
Tuesday Dec 3 / 25 Kislev            Donate the maser (tithe) money you need to donate.
Wednesday Dec 4 / 26 Kislev Eat lunch in the lounge with the whole Girls High School.
Thursday Dec 5 / 27 Kislev            Give your friend encouragement.
Friday Dec 6 / 28 Kislev            Help your friend study, or with work.
Shabbos Dec 7 / 29 Kislev             Take an extra minute or two to daven for someone.
Thursday Dec 8 / 30 Kislev            Say hello to a neighbor you don’t usually talk to.

Click HERE to download a PDF to print!
Nathan Azagury caught up with Yosef Cohen-Melamed in Israel, where he is studying at Yeshiva Mevaseret.

How's Israel?
Israel is  geshmak !

What do you miss the most about Pittsburgh?
Dunkin Donuts

What are you learning in Yeshiva?
The main thing I learn is  gemara and in the morning I learn פסחים, in the afternoon סוכהand at night  chazara (not sure how to spell that in English) and also hashkafa/mussar.

How's the food at Yeshiva?
Thank Hashem, the food here is really good.

Would you become a high schooler again just to be in the new building?
I can't say that I would.

When are you coming back to Pittsburgh?
Not until the summer.

Do you miss your family?
Yes, but I talk to my parents and siblings often which makes it easier.

Do you meet with any other alumni? Which ones?
Well Tovia (Jacobs) and Ezra (Kraut) and in the same Yeshiva so....

What's one lesson you've learned at Hillel that you apply in life?
Not to be lazy.


There will NOT be a SNIF Thanksgiving weekend, Shabbat November 24th!
Chanuka is right around the corner and besides all the amazing events we are planning for the students at school there are two opportunities for you to join in the Chanuka spirit as well!

1. We are continuing our annual Family Chanukiah Crafting Competition! Try your skills at crafting the ultimate Chanukiah and win a soon-to-be-determined, special prize!

Everyone can participate! There will be a separate category for children under 5, grades K-3, 4-6, 7-12, parents, and families. If students want to enter, it should be with minimal parental help. Any Chanukiah designed with parents and children will be entered into the family category. It can be big or small; it can be bold, colorful, recyclable, build-able etc. However, one condition! It should be a Chanukiah that is kosher and can be used to (hypothetically) light candles!

 *We are adding a new category this year. For those mechanically inclined, there will be a special  mechanic/robotic Chanukiah category!  Pull out all the stops and create the most advanced, futuristic Chanukiah and win an even more special, soon-to-be-determined prize! There will be one winner in this category, regardless of age. 

You may bring in your Chanukiot starting on Monday, December 3rd through Thursday, December 10th. We will display them along tables set up in the front hallway of the school. If you wish to use your Chanukiah to light on Chanuka, then bring it in during that week and we will photograph it and put the picture out on the tables. Please label your entry with your name and for which category it is being submitted (Under 5, K-3, 4-6, 7-12, Parent, Family, or Mechanical/Robotic).

If you have any questions feel free to email Rabbi Levy at

2.  This year we will once again be participating in the annual Chai Lifeline toy drive to benefit sick children in the Pittsburgh area. If you have any unused (and unwrapped) toys that you would like to donate, please drop them off in the blue bin by the front desk at Hillel by Thursday, December 13th.

Thank you and Tizku L'Mitzvot!


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).
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 .  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 . 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 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.

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 | |