May 30, 2019 | 25 Iyar 5779
Parshat Bechukotai begins with the phrase, “im bechukotai teileichu v’et mitsvotai tishmoru va’asisem otam — if you follow my statutes and guard my Mitzvot.” Based upon the Medrash, Rashi interprets this translation as follows: “if you toil in studying My Torah in order to observe My commandments and actually fulfill them....” In this context, the passuk is instructing us that the essence of Klal Yisroel’s religious life and observance is not only studying Torah, but amalah b’Torah — toil in the study of Torah. This important point is one that our sages underscore throughout the Talmud, which in simple Torah study is not enough; rather intensive Torah study is required of us. 
This emphasis on ameilut is one that still resonates in the world of education today. When we teach our children, it is not necessarily  what we teach them, but  how we teach them. It is vital that we do not only focus on the product of their output, but the process of their input. But why does the Torah call this ameilut “toil”? The word toil implies a burden, hardly something that would make the Torah seem appealing to our youth. 

In reality, this very dichotomy is the burden of parents and educators. The Torah is beautiful and its lessons are exciting. However, to appreciate its depth, one must learn it on a deep and meaningful level. In addition, our relationship with the Torah must be a complex one. Relationships require time, they require commitment, they require ameilut. Our burden is teaching our children, and ourselves, that this ameilut is  not a burden; it is what ultimately gives us fulfillment and deeper understanding of the Torah.

Rabbi Sam Weinberg,  Principal

On Lag B’Omer, things were up in the air — literally! Jugglers and stilt walkers entertained the crowds from Hillel Academy, Yeshiva, and Community Day schools, and Rabbi Weinberg debuted a new suit! 
During the Middle School Girls’ lunch, a flash mob broke out! 
Mrs Itskowitz shows the girls how to get airborne! 
The Second Grade had an amazing and wonderful field trip to Phipps Conservatory. The students explored and learned about different types of plants, flowers, trees, and butterflies. They then enjoyed a picnic lunch at Schenley Park! 

Congratulations to Batya Mandelbaum, Chaya Sutofsky, Aviva Itskowitz, Avital Segal, and Aaron Kraut, Hillel Academy’s most recent inductees into the National Honor Society. At a breakfast and ceremony Thursday morning, these students were recognized for their scholarship, leadership, character, and service. Thank you to Dr. Kanal for a meaningful  and memorable speech. 
The Tomchei Shabbos program is a vital part of giving back to the community which sustains us, and the families who benefit truly appreciate it; over the years Rabbi Wasserman has received letters from families expressing their gratitude. If you would like to help, please contact Mrs. Aronson at or 412 521-8131, or Dan Kraut at .
The Kindergarteners created an impromptu neighborhood complete with road, bushes, deer, and lots of excitement!  
The Seventh Grade Girls showed off their green thumbs by helping the residents of Weinberg Village with their planters. Thanks, Girls! 
Seventh Grade girls help prepare for Art and Music Night! June 3, 7pm!
The Boys High School Retreat

By Isaac Brown and Eli Jacobs

This past weekend the boys high school went on our annual retreat. Gone was the dress code; in its place, shorts and bathing suits. We got in the van and headed for Laurel Hills State Park. It was a nice open campsite with a lake nearby, so as soon as we finished a game of soccer and set the tents up we headed to the beach. It was only a 10-minute walk, and once we got there, we plunged into the cold water. It was refreshing and we played a few games, after which we started to play volleyball on the sand, as there was already a net on the beach. We got back in the water for a little bit then walked back to the campsite and ate lunch. Then we went on a hike on a nice trial that led to a waterfall. On top of the waterfall was a place to swim and jump in the water. Little did we know how cold the water would be — as soon as one jumped into the 40-degree water they experienced a rush that can only be experienced outdoors. We stayed for a little while then we headed back. We played more soccer and had a barbecue. Mr. Garwood prepared for us a special game of tag with glow sticks and we had a great time. Then we roasted marshmallows and went to bed.

The next day, after getting rained on for about fifteen minutes during the night, we woke up wet, along with all our belongings. This however did not stop us from having fun. Despite everything being slightly damp, we packed up our clothes and items, folded up the tents, and loaded them in the vans, with occasional breaks in-between to play sports and mess around. After everything was packed up, we drove until we reached a little place named Battlezone. Originally, we were scared we were going to get pelted with little BB pellets, but we found out that we were getting shot in our sunburnt backs and shoulders with foam balls and squishy green balls instead. This made the entire experience so much better because now we were not afraid we would have bruises on our already injured backs, and weren't afraid to run straight into fire in order to eliminate the opposing players. We did this for about two hours, with a lunch break in between, and were completely satisfied with the outcome of the battles. Rather than remembering this retreat’s wet clothes and sunburns, we’ll remember that time we got the privilege to play water games and shoot each other in a fun, safe way.

The Girls High School Retreat
The High School Girls braved the storms at Laurel Hill State Park — when they weren’t being rained on, they were in the water in canoes! Paintball at Battlezone was also on the itinerary. 

Who’s this?
Chavi Beck!
The Quote of the Week:
By Avigail Friedman

Imagination is a spark 
you can never blow out.
-Avigail Friedman, 2018

Kids 17 and under have FREE ADMISSION to the Heinz History Center every Sunday in June.
We are very excited that our very own Ms. Sara London has won the Grinspoon award for Jewish Education. This is a tremendous honor and we invite our entire Hillel Academy family to be at the awards ceremony in support of Ms. London when she receives this award on June 5th at 5:00pm at the Federation. You can register for the celebratory event here: .
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 | |