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Dvar Torah

Parshat Acharei Mot

This Shabbat we find ourselves immersed in that tricky place between chametz and matzah. We have scoured our homes clean, removing all but a scant few boxes of cereal and some frozen bagels for the next few days as we cook and prepare for Pesach. While we are in the midst of the stress of Pesach, it is important to remove ourselves from the hectic nature of these days and focus on the symbolism of chametz and matzah.  

 Click HERE to read the rest of the Dvar. 

Where Are They Now

  Brian Cynamon 

When did you attend Hillel? 

I originally came from London, England where I attended a Jewish Day School. My parents and I then moved to Montreal, Canada where I went to public school and afternoon cheder. We arrived in Pittsburgh in early 1960 and I entered Hillel in the middle of 6th grade. I stayed more than 6 years until I graduated from Hillel High School in 1966.


What are some of your favorite memories? On my first English quiz in 6th grade, I was asked to "underscore" a passage. I begged my teacher, Mrs. Silverman, to explain what "underscore" meant as I had never heard this term before.


When I was walking home from school on a particular Friday in November 1963, I heard, much to my dismay, that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. I still remember my shock and initial disbelief.


But some of my favorite memories were of field trips to attend plays, especially various Shakespeare plays at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, as part of my English class.


What has changed about Hillel since you attended? In my day we had a separate high school building, and for the secular subjects, boys and girls attended the same classes.


How has Pittsburgh changed? When I first arrived in Pittsburgh, I asked my mother to ride a couple of street cars with me, as the street car lines were in the process of being phased out. We had numerous working steel mills and noticeable air pollution. The city had more old buildings and cobblestone streets and many fewer bicycles, and certainly, no designated bicycle lanes. We were members of Shaare Torah, where I had my bar mitzvah a few months after we arrived in Pittsburgh.  
Where do you see the city going in the next 10 to 20 years? I believe that we will have a still better and more livable city than today.  
Who was your favorite teacher? For the religious subjects, Rabbi Benjamin Nadoff, z'l, (Chumash). For the secular subjects, Mrs. Elizabeth Stern (English).  
You are a proctor for SATs; Any tips for our students who are planning on taking the test soon? Do study the format and content of SATs. Improve skills in English, Social Studies, and Math. When it's your time to take the test, get plenty of sleep the night before, don't worry too much, and do plan to take the test a second time.    
What about some general advice for all of our students? Remember that we are all responsible for each other and treat others the way that you wish to be treated.  
Share some life lessons you took away form your years here. Pay attention in class, get rest at night, and don't procrastinate on assignments. You will never be the same age again, so do your best every day.


I attended Hillel from Nursery through 8th grade. All three of my older brother went to Hillel before me, so it only made sense that I would go too! I liked that Hillel was small and that every student recieved personal attention. I really enjoyed Mr. Werber's class--he made learning really fun and class was really entertaining. I recently moved back to Pittsburgh with my wife. It's definitely different living here as an adult. it was a little weird at first, but I really like being back and being able to give back to the community I grew up in. 

After Hillel I went on to attend Ner Yisroel for high school and then I spent a year in KBY. After that I attended YU for college. I am currently working at UPMC in the computer security department. I am hoping to go on to earn my MBA and continue working in the computer field. 
If I had to give advice to a stressed out Hillel students I would tell them not to worry, it's just a test!

Where Are They Now -  Judah Hirsch


What are you up to? I am currently living in Manila with my wife and two daughters. I have been running a corporate services firm here for the past couple of years and now I have just started a software company.  

When did you attend Hillel? I went to Hillel Academy from 1990-1996.

Can you offer some advice to our current students? If I had to give advice to a Hillel student, I would say-always be yourself and move to Israel as soon as you can!

Can you share your future plans with us?In terms of my future plans, I see myself continuing what I do now for the next couple of years.

What's your favorite Hillel Academy memory? My favorite Hillel memory is of Shmuel Aaron Adler laughing until milk came out of his nose-that memory will always have a special place in my heart. And of course, Rabbi Adler was my favorite teacher. 


Upcoming Events

Wednesday, April 23rd

  1. BHS Mishmar

Thursday, April 24th

  1. HAIHL Spring 2014 - Tues 5-5:35, Thu 4-5:15
  2. Sessions Resume
  3. Ballet Club grades 5-8
  4. Mishmar Day 2 with Rabbi Lowy MSB

Monday, April 28th

  1. GHS Running Club
  2. Girls Chabura - gr 4-6
  3. Middos club
  4. Mishna Club 4-6b
  5. BHS Hockey League
  6. Mishmar 6-8 boys
  7. BHS Mishmar

Tuesday, April 29th

  1. HAIHL Spring 2014 - Tues 5-5:35, Thu 4-5:15
  2. Sports Club Grades 1-3
  3. Mishmar (honors) gr 6-8b
  4. BHS Mishmar

Wednesday, April 30th

  1. Music Club
  2. Pirates Fantasy Math Club
  3. Mishmar (honors) gr 6-8b
  4. BHS Mishmar