Rav Hillel was born in the town of Radomsko, Poland in 5666
(1906) to HaRav Moshe Lieberman, one of the heads of
Amshinover chassidim. He moved to Eretz Yisroel with his
father, well before World War I broke out in 5674 (1914),
settling in Jerusalem.
In 5690 (1930) Rav Hillel married the daughter of Rav Gavriel
Hakohen Adler, a prominent Gur chossid in Tel Aviv, chairman
of Agudas Hashubim (an association for shochtim and
bodkim) and one of the heads of the city's Agudas
Soon R' Hillel set up Jerusalem's first Bais Yaakov
elementary school, run in the spirit of the Bais Yaakov
movement in Poland. Built on David Yellin Street, the school
soon became a big success, despite the difficult financial
conditions of those times.
In 5699 (1939), with the blessings of gedolei Yisroel,
he had the merit to found Jerusalem's first Bais Yaakov
seminary which was attended by the graduates of the seventh
grade class at his elementary school. Crucially needed to
prevent the students from dispersing, the seminary was in
great demand and eventually became the pride of the chareidi
public in Eretz Yisroel.
During those same years before the State's founding he was
sent as an Agudas Yisroel delegate to a large gathering in
Marienbad in 5697 (1937).
When Holocaust refugees began to arrive in Eretz Yisroel,
after the State was founded, Rav Hillel was active in
attending to their material and spiritual needs. Later,
during the period in the early years of the State when the
chareidi education system was known as the "Fourth Stream,"
he was involved in establishing Torah-based schools in the
immigrant camps at Ein Shemer and Tel Nof and at the transit
camps in Talpiot and Mamilla in Jerusalem.
Following the government's decision to set up government and
government- religious streams he fought in the vanguard in
the battle for the complete autonomy of chareidi religious
institutions--a point on which gedolei Yisroel were
unwilling to compromise--and out of that battle Chinuch
Atzmai was born, as a partially-government financed education
system with educational autonomy.
In 5715 (1955), six years after the Bais Yaakov network of
schools was founded, maronon verabonon implored him to
dedicate a period of his lifetime to the cause of pure
education in Eretz Yisroel by heading Chinuch Atzmai. He
accepted the demanding challenge, which required that he
travel abroad in order to keep Chinuch Atzmai institutions
operating by seeking funding to cover budget shortfalls.
After two-and-a-half years he returned to his former post at
Merkaz Bais Yaakov Seminary, which was expanding its network
of schools to other cities and towns. As head of the
organization he was largely responsible for opening girls'
high schools in Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva, Haifa, Tiberius,
Netanya, Tzfat, Rechovot, Ramat Hasharon, Petach Tikva and
other places around the country. His son HaRav Yeshayoh
Lieberman recalls that until just a few months ago he would
still visit the schools, taking an interest and helping in
any way he could.
Sixty years ago, deeply disturbed that students at Torah-
based schools were compelled to use textbooks written by
secular, "enlightened" educators, Rav Hillel pioneered the
field of chareidi textbooks. With a tremendous personal
investment, both in terms of contents and finances, he wrote
the Yalduteinu series, which included textbooks for
math, science, geography and history. The books, which serve
as a foundation stone for chareidi institutions to this day,
won acclaim from the Chazon Ish zt"l.
For 12 years he served as the Agudas Yisroel representative
on the Jerusalem City Council and Executive Board. As a
public servant he sanctified the Name of Heaven, earning the
esteem of the various mayors and commissioners who trusted
him implicitly despite the battles he waged for chareidi
Jewry. Working selflessly for the people of Jerusalem he
earned a good reputation and was later awarded the title of
Rav Hillel worked indefatigably and made great sacrifices,
not just for the sake of building new Torah and educational
institutions for tinokos shel beis rabbon in "an
unsown land" for thousands of Bais Yaakov girls, but also
devotedly handing down the traditional ways of avodas
Hashem to the young generation.
Throughout his lifetime he was faithful to maronon
verabonon, maintaining close ties with gedolei
hador such as HaRav Zalman Sorotozkin, HaRav Yechezkel
Abramsky, HaRav Yechezkel Sarna, the Admorim of Gur, HaRav
Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, HaRav Elozor Menachem Man Shach, HaRav
Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and, ylct"a, HaRav Yosef Sholom
Eliashiv and the Amshinover Rebbe.
He merited seeing tens of thousands of girls study at the
schools he set up and helped take root. Each and every
student knew that if she was in need of someone to talk to or
of help in personal matters, Rav Hillel was the one to come
to. For a certain period of time he would bring a sandwich
with him every morning for one student, after hearing that
there was no food in her home. He felt like a father to them
and when needy girls got engaged he would help with
hachnosas kalloh as much as he could.
A few years ago he began to moderate his extensive
educational endeavors and his inexhaustible activism because
of his advanced age, yet he continued to keep abreast of
developments at Bais Yaakov. He pushed for more and more
schools to get started, kept in contact with all of the
principals and participated in Merkaz Bais Yaakov
conventions. Just months ago he took part in the Aliyoh
LeBasyoh Convention in Jerusalem and when he gave his
heartfelt blessings to the 2,500 teachers and educators on
hand, many eyes welled with tears.
Even one year ago he could still be seen at one of the city's
matzoh factories taking part in the mitzvah himself,
surrounded by his five generations of offspring. But nine
years ago he suffered a great personal tragedy when his son
Rav Avrohom suddenly passed away in his prime.
In his private life he was very humble and his needs were
few. He lived in a rented apartment for many years and his
furnishings were scant. He dealt with extremely large sums of
money in his work, but for himself he made do with modest
A talmid chochom with a love of Torah, Rav Hillel
received smichoh of Yoreh Yoreh Yadin Yadin
many years ago by the gaonim of Jerusalem, including
the Tefliker Rav.
When he became housebound a few months ago due to his
increasing weakness, his many family members took care of him
faithfully. He passed away surrounded by his family as they
recited Shema Yisroel and Tziduk Hadin.
Thousands took part in the levaya of the intrepid
warrior for pure, chareidi education who shouldered much of
the load for seven decades. Gedolei Torah, rabbonim
and numerous public figures were on hand and the sidewalks
were filled with thousands of Bais Yaakov students, alumni
and educators spanning several generations.
When the procession set out from his home on Rechov Gesher
Hachaim hespeidim were delivered by HaRav Levy
Yitzchok Halperin, his son-in-law HaRav Aryeh Weinberg, Rabbi
Menachem Porush and HaRav Chananiyoh Schiff. At Har
Hamenuchot Cemetery the Amshinover Rebbe joined the mourners
and after the grave was covered, Rabbi Avrohom Yosef
Lazerson, one of the heads of Chinuch Atzmai, gave an
emotionally-charged hesped, lamenting the great loss
to chareidi Jewry.