February 21, 2019 | 16 Adar I 5779
In Parshat Ki-Tisa we read the tragic story of cheit ha-eigel, the golden calf. After Bnei Yisrael fashioned the golden calf and offered sacrifices to it, “the nation sat to eat and drink, and they then got up to revel” (32:6).

The Midrash (Shemot Rabba 41) comments on the word “va-yeishev” (“sat”) used by the Torah in this context. While this term makes perfect sense in this story, the Midrash observes a pattern of its usage in Biblical stories involving sins. The story of Migdal Bavel began when the people “settled” (“va-yeishvu”) in the Shinar Valley (Bereishit 11:2). Likewise, in the story of mechirat Yosef, we read that the brothers “sat to eat bread” (“va-yeishvu le-echol lechem” — Bereishit 37:25) just before they sold Yosef as a slave. Here, too, in the context of the golden calf, we find the nation “sitting to eat” — “va-yeishev ha-am le-echol.” The Midrash concludes, “Wherever you find ‘sitting,’ you find transgression.”
The Midrash warns that feeling too content with one’s achievements and spiritual condition can often lead to wrongful behavior. Religious devotion requires desire for growth and advancement. The Sages saw within the pattern of “va-yeishev” a warning against feeling too comfortable. While we must certainly take pride and satisfaction in what we've achieved, we must also be concerned about what we have yet to achieve. 
This year we have been focusing on the concept of a “Growth Mindset” with our faculty, staff, and students. A Growth Mindset is the idea that we all have the ability to improve our intellectual and academic capabilities over time. It is the idea that we must believe that through hard work we can accomplish tasks which were previously impossible. We must instill this idea in our students and encourage them to continuously grow and improve in all aspects of their lives. Hopefully, as we continue on the calendar towards Purim, we will continue our trajectory of growth as a community, a school, and as individuals. 

Rabbi Sam Weinberg,  Principal

Students were treated to a presentation by Yitz Kasowitz, CEO of JBrick, and learned about the architecture of the Beit HaMikdash, and of the challenges of buiding scale models in Lego!   www.jbrick.com
Mr. Lawrence Kaibetoney spoke to groups of Middle and High schoolers about Navajo culture, past and present, and shed light on many issues facing indigenous people by answering students’ questions. Mr. Kaibetoney works for AMIZADE, an organization which teaches visiting students about Najavo ways of life. 
The Seventh and Eighth Graders in Mr. Sutton’s World Cultures class celebrated the completion of their studies about East Asia by having a lesson on shodo (Japanese calligraphy). Mr. Sutton demonstrated the the basics, then students used special brushes and paints to create the eight different brush strokes that make up Chinese characters, using a kanji dictionary to find words they wanted to write. 
Morah Devorah visited the Older Infants to sing “Torah, Torah” with the aid of a big soft Torah! 

Nursery students enjoy octopus for a snack! (Note: No actual octopuses were caught, killed, eaten or in any way harmed!)

Did you know the plural of OCTOPUS  is OCTOPUSES? This is because the word comes from Greek (rather than Latin), meaning the actual plural should be OCTOPODES, but this form is at odds with English grammar. There is no such thing as OCTOPI — but if there were, would it have 3.14 tentacles instead of eight? 
The PRE-K students are learning about insects in science!
Mrs. Yardena Smith gave a presentation to the Middle School Girls about health issues, including the importance of making good diet choices.
PRE-K students dressed up like King Achashverosh!

Submit PLAYBILL AD to ylevari@hillelpgh.org

Purim is around the corner. Please fill out the Happy Purim form you received or contact the office to participate in the annual Purim Basket Fundraiser. 

The deadline for orders is March 13th.
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 ( RHuff@hillelpgh.org ) or Morah Tova Admon ( tadmon@hillelpgh.org ) with questions regarding Machaneh Hillel or Mini-Machaneh (Grades N-3).

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


Performances of The LION KING will be on Monday March 11 and Tuesday March 12 at the
JCC Katz Theater.
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 www.BTFE.com .  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  buebing@hillelpgh.org . 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 www.GiantEagle.com/AFTS 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.   https://smile.amazon.com/ch/25-1067130

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 | hillelhappennings@hillelpgh.org | www.hillelpgh.org