May 2, 2019 | 27 Nisan 5779
Parshat Achrei Mot introduces the requirement to cover the blood produced from slaughtering birds or non-domesticated animals slaughtered to be eaten: “And if any Israelite...who hunts down an animal or a bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth” (17:13). The Rambam, in his Moreh Nevukhim (3:46) explains the obligation of kisui ha-dam on the basis of the blood rituals reportedly practiced by the ancient pagans. As the Rambam describes, the pagans considered blood food of the spirits, and therefore some sects would collect the blood in a receptacle and eat the animal’s meat while sitting around the blood. The prevalence of this practice, according to the Rambam, gave rise to the Torah prohibition against eating blood, as well as to the prominent role of blood-sprinkling in the sacrificial process.

Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch views the prohibition against eating blood, and the obligation to cover animals’ blood, as representing the need to distance ourselves from the animalistic essence of the human being. The killing of animals for food runs the risk of blurring the lines between humans and animals, of relegating the human being into little more than a sophisticated animal participating in the ongoing struggle for survival. In order to reinforce the qualitative difference between the human and animal species in a carnivorous world, the Torah required refraining from and even concealing the slaughtered animal’s blood. Rav Hirsch explains that in animals, the blood signifies the “life” of the animal — the essential component of the organism’s being. G-d, therefore decreed that when a human being consumes the meat of an animal, the animal then becomes part of the human body. The Torah is telling us that the “life” of an animal should not mix with the “life” of the human being. The blood is therefore mixed with earth, symbolic of its source of the physical component of man.

Through this understanding, Rav Hirsch suggests that through the covering of the blood we are reminded that only our external and physical selves are similar to animals. But human beings alone possess a unique ability to rise to higher spiritual levels than the rest of G-d’s creations.

Rabbi Sam Weinberg,  Principal

Students enjoy using the new turf as an outdoor classroom on warm and sunny days! 

Spring brings lots of green — indoors and out! Toddlers learned how to make green by mixing blue and yellow paint. 

Mazel Tov to Sara London!
Middle School Boys & Girls and
High School Boys Educator

Ms. London uses literature to help her student to establish a stronger Jewish identity. She accomplishes this by teaching students to think about Jewish concepts and ideas in ways that at first glance do not directly correlate to the standard Judaic curriculum. Ms. London seamlessly integrates Judaic ideas into her lessons allowing her students to explore their Judaism through literature and other non-Judaic topics and subjects. This provides her students with a more complex view of Judaism that is transferable to all aspects of their lives. 

The Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education is supported in Pittsburgh by the Barbara and Lester Parker Fund for a Jewish Future of the Jewish Community Foundation, The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. This year we are honoring a local educator from a Jewish Day School.

The Award will be presented on Wednesday June 5 at 5 pm at the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh. Register at:

Inspired by  The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Eighth Grade students write their own vignettes in the May sunshine. 
Kindergarten explored the concepts Absorb vs. Repel. They used eyedroppers to place water on fabric and chart the results. The mini clothesline dried the fabric samples. 

As a culminating activity for the Novel, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, th e fourth grade discussed the main sequential events of the story.  Each student chose their four favorite events from the novel.  On the inside of the flap, they wrote short paragraphs explaining the importance of the event, and on the top flap, they illustrated the scene they were describing. 
The Seventh Grade Boys went on an origami journey during recess… while Tiny Tots fold and bend themselves into different shapes on the playground! 

Nursery students count down the Omer with their new Sefira chart! 
*Spoiler Alert
By Isaac Brown

With the release of Marvel Studio’s  Avengers Endgame, a new crises has emerged: spoilers. People on the internet and in real life have been ruining the movie for everyone. It seems almost impossible to escape the horror of having a crucial plot point exposed before you see it. However, people have been spoiling things for centuries: the end to a Shakespeare play, the Bible’s climactic ending, video games, and countless movies and books. So we asked the staff and students of Hillel Academy what was the worst thing that was spoiled for them.

*Warning Spoiler alert

By Chana Yolkut, Bluma Rodkin, and Shoshana Kisilinsky

No snow day with three feet of snow :(
The LL’s will have weird weather going on….
There may be a random snow day in the middle of May (still school though…)
There will be blue and white (blue raspberry and lemon) Rita’s on Yom Haatzmaut 
It WILL randomly start pouring in PGH and then randomly stop
Our school is soooo awesome!!! 
The Titanic sinks
School is actually important in life….
All of the GHS are / will be senior kallahs!!
The GHS lounge smells like butter popcorn
Putting styrofoam or foil in the microwave is dangerous
There are probably toxic fumes in the GHS microwaves and fridge
Giant Eagle gets most of its business from hungry high school girls 
The price of all the Milky Way fries consumed by the GHS could probably pay for a new building

We are excited to open registration for Hillel Academy Summer Camps. This is our fourth year of offering summer camp, and every year is more fun and exciting than the last. This year we have four separate divisions ranging from ages three years old through Eighth Grade. Our most significant improvement will be the addition of Ms. Rebecca Huff to our team. As you know, Ms. Huff is the STEAM coordinator at Hillel and we will be incorporating various week long explorations into Robotics, Coding, Ecology, Fine Art, for out campers. 

Please contact Ms. Rebecca Huff ( ) or Morah Tova Admon ( ) with questions regarding Machaneh Hillel or Mini-Machaneh (Grades N-3).

Please contact Rabbi Akiva Sutofsky ( ) or Ms. Faigy Nadoff ( ) with questions regarding the Teen Torah and Travel Camp (Grades 4- 8).

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.
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 | |