Rachel Firestone '82-'90

Over the summer we got in contact with Rachel Firestone. She  attended  Hillel in the '80s.  You might know her parents who still live in Pittsburgh.  She has fond memories of Hillel  Academy  and credits her former teachers with her comfort level in shul  and  following Torah  reading.  To  find out  more, check out the  interview below. Enjoy! If you are an alum, or know  one who we  can  interview please, send Dan Shaw an email at  [email protected]. You can  also always call the  main office at  412.521.8131.


When did you attend Hillel Academy? K - 7th grade, from 1982-1990.


Share a favorite Hillel memory or two with our readers? One of my favorite and earliest memories of Hillel is raising chicks in Morah Butler's Kindergarten class. I also remember Risa Brustein's mom bringing in cow tongue for us to taste - my first culinary adventure!


What organizations are you currently involved in? Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco and Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland.



How do you earn a living? I am a Senior Architect for one of the top cloud computing companies called Workday. However, I am also a professionally trained pastry chef.



How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future? I am comfortable davening in any shul and following the Torah portion on Shabbos because we learned how to daven at such a young age at Hillel. I am also an expert at the Biblical categories on Jeopardy!  

Share some info about your family. My husband, Jason Binder and I have a son, Zachary, who is approaching his first birthday. Every Shabbat we sing Shalom Aleichem, bless him, and do Kiddush, before he goes to bed. He loves challah and chicken soup!


What do you do in your free time? In my free time, which I don't have much of these days, I enjoy cooking, baking, and dancing. I also am excited for the Steelers' season.

Hillel Trivia - How many students are currently enrolled: infants -12th grade?318? (344 is the correct answer).

Who was your first Hillel teacher? Morah (Nina) Butler

What was your favorite class? I always loved Hebrew language classes because our Ivrit teachers were so wonderful, especially Mrs. Shuldiner.

Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why? There were so many teachers I enjoyed, including Morah Chana, Mrs. Dorsey, Mrs. Hoffman, Mrs. Butler, Mrs. Milch, but I especially remember Mrs. Jacobowitz. She and Rabbi Jacobowitz used to live near me, and long after I was her student, I would visit her at her home. She was a wonderful and caring teacher.