May 16, 2019 | 11 Iyar 5779
With Pesach far in the rear view mirror and Shavuot still weeks away, I think that it is important to remind ourselves that we still find ourselves in the auspicious time of Sefirat HaOmer. Upon Bnei Yisroel’s departure from Egypt, they were not yet ready to receive the Torah. Instead they spent fifty days bettering themselves and removing the influence of Egypt in their preparation to receive the Torah. 
The Ramban compares the days of Sefirah to Chol HaMoed. However, it is difficult to understand this comparison. Perhaps if we first try to understand the nature of Chol HaMoed, we can understand what the Ramban means. Chol HaMoed itself contains a paradox: which is it? Chol — a regular day, or a Moed — a holiday? On the one hand when we say Havdallah at the end of Yom Tom we say that blessed is G-d that differentiates, “bein kodesh l’chol” — “between holiness and the mundane.” On the other hand we say Mussaf on Chol HaMoed like it is a holiday. Our general understanding of Chol HaMoed is that really the days of Chol Hamoed are mundane, but they are made holy by being surrounded by the holy days of Yom Tov. Perhaps the Ramban means that the days of Sefirah can be compared to Chol HaMoed. Sefirah too has an element of holiness because of the bookends of Pesach and Shavuot. 
Schools are a place of holiness. We teach Torah and values and at Hillel we always strive to imbue everything we do with holiness. It is important that we realize that just like the Kedusha of Yom Tov can bleed out and make the days of Chol Hamoed holy, by creating places of holiness such as our school we not only affect the school itself, but all that associates with our school as well.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Sam Weinberg,  Principal

The Israeli American Council’s Yom HaAtzmaut celebration could not be dampened by rain. Thank you to everyone who participated in making this such a special day for everyone! 

We all know that PRE-K is a wonderful place to grow, and that over time, our students go through extraordinary changes. The same can be said for the caterpillars they have looked after — which have entered the chrysalis phase. Soon, they will emerge as beautiful butterflies! (Did you know that the plural of chrysalis is chrysalides?)
The Fifth – Twelfth Grade boys  participated in Lekedoshim, an international program where people sign up to learn all of Shas, Mishna and Tanach. For every Perek/Daf that you sign up for you are given the name of an Israeli soldier who was killed or someone killed in a terror attack to learn in their memory. 
Tomchei Shabbos was started five years ago by CEO Dan Kraut as a Chesed Project in memory of Fayth Aronson Berkowitz. Says Mrs. Aronson, “that was what Fayth dedicated her married life to in Baltimore. She was constantly cooking and baking for Shabbos to help enhance families in need for their Shabbos tables.”

Here is how the program works: Mrs. Aronson emails volunteers every Monday as to their assignment for that week and keeps track of what comes in. There is a rotation of Friday Night Protein, Cholent or Chicken Soup that is requested from the volunteers. These are raw main ingredients so that each family can prepare their Shabbos meals. Deena Ross and Moshe Siebzener from Creative Kosher donate enough challahs for every family to receive two challahs, and have done so every week for the past five years! 

A rotation of middle and high school girls pack the boxes every Thursday, and Rabbi Wasserman delivers these packages to the homes of 9 families every Thursday evening.

Tomchei Shabbos is currently seeking more volunteers to participate in the program in order to fill the gaps for at least 3 families. In addition to food, the program also accepts monetary donations to help defray the cost of what the school purchases.

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 Eighth Grade girls made the most of their trip to the nation’s capital by making the obligatory stops at the must-see monuments, as well as paying a visit to Congressman Doyle. You never know who you’re going to run into at the Capitol Building — perhaps the Vice President! Well done, girls! 
The Fourth Grade boys paid a visit to the Fifth Grade boys’ classroom to see their social studies projects and slideshows! 

The Fifth Grade girls had an old fashioned fun time at Fort Ligonier! 

Hillel Academy celebrated Yom HaAtzmaut in style with blue and white balloons galore, a special Israeli lunch, and color war! The Elementary students welcomed guest speakers from Israel, while the ECC students finished painting their giant map of Israel and sang songs with Morah Malka and waved their wearable flags. Happy 71 st st birthday Israel! Thank you to everyone who helped make this an awesome day! 

What can bring the fiercely competitive color war teams together? Cake! 
The Bnot Sheirut, Eliraz and Shir, made Limonana with the last group of the Israeli Cooking Club. The kids loved it!


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
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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 | |