A “Food-Filled” Visit to SHIM

Remember all those bags of food under the stairs that you couldn’t help noticing when you went upstairs?  Thank you to everyone who brought in food during our annual drive for the SHIM food Pantry. On November 6th, after filling ours cars with donations, our 4th grade families brought it all to the food pantry and helped sort it and restock the shelves. What a mitzvah!

It’s the weigh in – did we bring more food than our 4th graders weigh? We did! [Once again, parents did not get on the scale!]


The 4th Graders weighed 710 pounds. The food? 854 pounds!!!! Incredible!

While we were there, we learned how a family “shops” at the Food Pantry and gets much needed assistance. We realized how much we can help and how fortunate we are to be able to support our community through our donations and volunteer time. It was a great morning – a worthwhile experience for all.




Our High Holiday Food Collection may be over…but don’t forget that you can donate year round!


First SHIM harvest

Learning has come to life for Melinda Freed’s 7th grade Making Meaning From our Food class. Yesterday, they reaped Temple’s first harvest for SHIM (South Hills Interfaith Movement): A large bag of swiss chard and a smaller bag of kale.

A few years in the making, the garden was the brainchild of Social Action Team chair Marty Altschul, who calls it “a dream come true.” When Freed needed a sub for this particular class, she knew Altschul would be perfect.

“I am so glad we have this garden to tie into my curriculum – the mitzvot of feeding the hungry and caring for the earth, knowing where our food comes from,” says Freed. “[The kids] got a hands-on experience picking the vegetables.”

A huge thanks goes out to everyone who made this garden possible. “Its mission goes beyond SHIM — it educates my students, Temple members, and the people who drive past it on Bower Hill Road,” says Freed. “May it ‘grow and grow.'”


What a fun and LOUD time we had!

Our shofar blowing workshop was a huge success! Thank you to Ron Schneider and Harvey Rubin for teaching our students (and a few parents as well). We were amazed at quickly they learned and look forward to some new shofar blowers at our High Holiday Family Services this year!shofar-1 shofar-2 shofar-3 shofar-4

It’s Been a Busy April at Torah Center!

While all of the grades have been busy with classroom activities………..

2nd1                 3rd2

visiting the Art room………..

K54       4th1

and exploring Hebrew music……….


There have also been some special family events for some of our students!  Pre-K Family Day saw our youngest students sharing the fun with their parents and participating in Hebrew games.

PK1        PK2

PK6       PK7

Sixth graders and their parents spent the morning with Rabbi Mahler as he showed them each the Torah portion that they would be reading at their B’nei Mitzvah.

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And all of Torah Center gathered together for the Model Seder last Sunday, led by our very own Melinda Freed!

Model Seder LD2 Model Seder 7 Model Seder 2 Model seder C Model seder D Model Seder LD4

A happy Passover time was had by all….even the Madrichim!

Model Seder LD5

The end of the school year is fast approaching. We hope to see you all on May 15th as we end the year with a special family program.  Until then, have a Happy Passover.

Countdown to Passover!

Make Temple Emanuel part of your Passover celebration this year!

  • Join us for Torah Center’s Model Seder, led by the always amazing Melinda Freed, on Sunday, April 17 at 10:45 AM.  Please RSVP via email to torahcenter@templeemanuelpgh.org.
  • Leave the cooking to us and bring your family to our Community Second Seder on Saturday, April 23 at 6PM.  RSVP by April 11 to the office or online at http://www.templeemanuelpgh.org/event/2nd-seder-at-temple/.
  • Ladies (and young ladies ages 10+), come and be inspired at our Women’s Seder on Thursday, April 28 at 7PM.  RSVP by April 21 to the office or online at http://www.templeemanuelpgh.org/event/womens-passover-seder/.
  • Stop by the gift shop and browse our selection of beautiful seder plates, matzah covers and more.  Shop for yourself or find the perfect hostess gift.  Sundays 9:30am-noon, Mondays 6:30-8:30PM, Wednesdays 4:30-6:30pm.
  • Worship with us at our Yom Tov and Shabbat Morning service at 10:30AM on April 23 and join us for our Concluding Passover, Yizkor and Shabbat morning service at 10:30AM on April 30.
  • And, do a mitzvah!  When you’re cleaning out your kitchen, donate your chametz to SHIM.  Drop off your food donations any time at Temple.

Purim is Coming…

…And the excitement is growing!

We made hamantaschen With Ms. Freed during Family Cooking:


And Shaloch manot – (gift baskets) to give to friends and family:

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And masks to wear:



We also practiced for the ‘Big Show,’ learning the song that will end it all (and many are joining in for just the last few verses):

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Can’t wait until our ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Purimshpiel this Saturday night? Here are some pictures of the AWESOME cast to tide you over until then:





See you on Saturday at Temple for the Purimshpiel and on Sunday at the JCC for the Community Purim Carnival. Have a Happy Purim!


What an Amazing Weekend!

On Friday, our young families joined together for a delicious Shabbat dinner, followed by a lively and interactive service. The evening included a special blessing under our beautiful new Tallit, decorated with the hand prints of our Torah Center students. Many thanks to Laura Young, Rikki Hommel and especially to Diane Holsinger for all of their hard work on this true labor of love!

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Sunday morning we held our first ever COLOR WAR. It was a great morning filled with friendly competition through Hebrew games, scavenger hunts, Gaga and the like. But the coolest part? It was planned entirely by our madrichim (student aides). Yeshar Koach (kudos!) to them…especially the Captain of the day, Rebecca Schwartz. Looks like the makings of a new Torah Center tradition. Since it was a tie (really!) – rematch next year?!?!

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It was an exciting day – and a great weekend!



Coming Up (In case you missed it last week!):

***Purim! Celebrate it in style…get involved in the amazing opportunities here at Temple and in the South Hills Community:

  • Order Hamantaschen baked by Melinda Freed by March 4th
  • Put on your apron and come to Family Cooking on March 6th at 12:15 pm
  • Bring the entire family to see the ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Purim Shpiel at Temple on March 12th
  • Dress up in costume and come to the South Hills Community Carnival at the JCC on March 13th. (Or volunteer – we really need YOUR help!)

To place your order, RSVP or get more information, please contact the Torah Center at torahcenter@templeemanuelpgh.org



Great Things are Happening Here!

Doesn’t that title just say it all? Smiles and friendships and good times abound here in the Torah Center and we have the pictures to prove it! Check it out:

Our Kindergarten students were joined by the 5th grade in the library. Nothing beats sharing a good story!

The 2nd Grade made Jacob’s Ladder projects in the Art Room:


3rd Grade took a break from their silliness (and learning too!) to strike a pose:



In Mifgash (Community experience time), 3rd-6th Grade students discussed what it means to ‘love God’:

And they helped to lead the service too!



And on Monday nights, the South Hills Jewish Community High School is THE place to be:




Coming Up:

***Purim! Celebrate it in style…get involved in the amazing opportunities here at Temple and in the South Hills Community:

  • Order Hamantaschen baked by Melinda Freed by March 4th
  • Put on your apron and come to Family Cooking on March 6th at 12:15 pm
  • Bring the entire family to see the ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Purim Shpiel at Temple on March 12th
  • Dress up in costume and come to the South Hills Community Carnival at the JCC on March 13th. (Or volunteer – we really need YOUR help!)

To place your order, RSVP or get more information, please contact the Torah Center at torahcenter@templeemanuelpgh.org

Coming Together for Family Days

Family Days are opportunities for parents and children to learn together. We had two this month – and they were awesome!

3rd Grade family day started with “get-to-know-you-Bingo. We learned a lot about each other: who can wiggle their ears, who knows how to write their name in Hebrew, who has visited Israel, who is allergic to homework and other important and interesting things.




Next everyone participated in a ‘walking text study.’ Participants responded to questions by writing their answers on large pieces of paper posted on the windows of the social hall:



And then we learned about the Mezzuzah – what it symbolizes in our tradition. Did you know that the “shin” that is often a part of the design of the Mezzuzah case represents one of God’s names? It is the first letter in the acronym  “Shomeir Deltot Yisrael,” meaning, God is the guardian of the doors of Israel. Cool!


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As part of their family day, 5th grade students and parents received a special treat – Mifgash (community encounter time) led by the 6th grade (Yasher koach – you did a great job!)! They discussed and shared examples of “wow moments” in prayer:





Afterwards they joined the Social Action Team in making sandwiches and gift bags for the residents of Miryam’s Shelter:








All in all, two great mornings!


Looking Ahead:

  • There will be NO Torah Center/SHJCHS classes Wednesday, December 23rd – January 3rd. Classes will resume on Monday, January 4th (SHJCHS) and Wednesday, January 6th & January 10th (TC). 
  • Sunday, January 10th is 1st Grade Family Day. Please plan on joining us!
  • SAVE THE DATE! on Sunday, January 24th, students in grades K-2 and their families are invited to join their Torah Center friends for a Pool Party from 1:30 – 3:30 pm  at the South Hills JCC.

It’s Been a Great Month!

There is never a dull moment here in the Torah Center. We have been quite busy these past few weeks!

Check it out!



Rabbi Mahler visited the 3rd Grade and talked about Tefillin (a pair of black leather boxes containing Hebrew parchment scrolls worn during prayer):



In preparation for the December visual tefillah service, the 4th graders retold the Exodus story in pictures. A few examples:






The 5th graders talked about Avot v’Imahot – the prayer about our ancestors.





The 6th graders have been learning about Hebrew calligraphy:




To get ready for Chanukah, once again our students participated in the annual MitzvahMall…an opportunity to make donations to important agencies and organizations in honor of our friends and relatives. This year we also decorated book marks and created games for books to be given to children who need them. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time, made donations and helped to brighten a child’s day through participating in the Book Mitzvah project!







Cooking with Ms. Freed is always a blast – especially when it’s decorating cupcakes in a ‘Creation story’ theme. Can you tell what all of the decorations represent?





And in the South Hills Community Jewish High School….

The 8th grade talked about Jewish values and created collages that showed what is important to them:






And 7th and 9th grade students enjoyed hanging out during the break:





It really has been a great month…looking forward to more to come!


A Very Happy Chanukah from the Torah Center!