Hamakor- the Source Friday, April 3, 2020/9 Nissan 5780

remembering coach tony sanders

We are devastated by the death of beloved longtime staff member Tony Sanders due to complications from the coronavirus, and our hearts break for his family.

Better known as Coach Tony, he was part of the Hillel Day School community for 23 years. During that time, he helped to build athletic programs, coached countless sports teams, and instilled a love of sports - and sportsmanship - in all students.

Nicole Miller, Athletic Director, says Tony has left his mark, touched so many lives, and will be remembered forever. “He always said he had the best job because he got to play sports all day!”

Tony’s loss is deeply felt by our community. We will miss his warm smiles, his kindness, his helping hand, and the wonderful ways in which he interacted with students of all ages, our athletes, and their families.

In the coming days, we will gather virtually as a community to honor and memorialize Coach Tony, and also assemble memories and photos to share with his family. We will share more information when details are arranged.

May Tony’s memory forever be a blessing.

students' wax museum offers culture from your couch

Our third graders and their teachers beamed brightly during their Third Grade Wax Museum this week, exhibited entirely via video. The multidisciplinary unit involving research, writing, and public speaking typically comes to life in our mercaz, as the school visits our costumed third graders, who deliver biographies of their chosen historic figure. This year, the work began at school, and continued at home when remote learning launched on March 18.

The momentum never waned; teachers recorded mini-lessons on note-taking, speech writing, editing, and public speaking. Students then rehearsed their biographical speeches, worked on facial expression, received feedback, and practiced sharing videos on Flipgrid, a user-friendly video-sharing app.

“We’re amazed at how everyone persevered and made this project come to life,” said teacher Megan Rosenson. “We know the students are enjoying seeing their peers virtually and congratulating them on their hard work as well.”

Ethan Sapeika, who researched Genghis Khan, says seeing his classmates’ comments on his video presentation made him feel “proud” of his work, which involved turning his house into a mini MakerSpace as he constructed armor out of cardboard.

Ethan Sapeika as Genghis Khan
“The wax museum is one of my favorite programs, and I was so excited that it was able to be accomplished remotely, Ethan’s mother, Amy Sapeika, our PTO president, said. “And an added bonus is being able to share the videos with grandparents, who may not have seen the wax museum otherwise, and who are very impressed!”

View the wax museum here.

the "shark" must go on

Television show productions may be on hiatus as the coronavirus spreads, but our sixth grade “Shark Tank” carried on after moving online. Not only did students pitch innovative products such as suitcase organizers, “frame floaters" (at left) paw cleaners, and personalized orthotics to a panel of judges, but the judges, watching in real time, were able to respond with questions regarding scale, sales, and marketing via video, as well. It’s incredibly cool to watch.

Ryan Reinstein pitches the writeable "MishaBearach"

Teachers Renee Liberman and Emily Sherbin say all the sharks are winners, whether they received a “deal” or not. “Although there’s disappointment over not being able to hold a live event, the students really stepped up, and I’m proud of their flexibility and perseverance,” Ms. Liberman said.

Ms. Sherbin agreed. “I’m incredibly proud to be their teacher. I’m sending them all a virtual high five!”

Read the Shark Tank Times, including descriptions of all the products, here.


As an Emergency Room physician, parent and alumnus Jason Vieder (class of 1987) usually comes home with an amusing story about why someone may have come into the hospital. These days, the jokes are few and far between. “Fewer people are coming in, but the type and severity of illness we’re seeing has changed,” he said. “What we’re seeing is COVID-19, and people can get very sick very fast.”

In more than 15 years of practice at Henry Ford Health Systems, Dr. Vieder has never had to change out of his street clothes before coming into his house. But that’s par for the course for the moment, he says. “During the workday, all healthcare workers in the ER are wearing protective equipment, including masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves, as we are repeatedly being exposed to the coronavirus. As soon as I get home, I throw my clothes into the washing machine and take a shower.”

So far, he has exhibited no symptoms of the virus, which means he can still interact with his wife, Stacy, and children Sam (class of 2018), Gabe (seventh grade) and Lindsay (third grade). As he observes the significant amount of learning Gabe and Lindsay in particular are able to accomplish through Hillel’s remote instruction, he feels reassured that their education is taken care of while he focuses on treating victims of the pandemic.

“Remote learning has maintained normalcy and harmony in the house, with routines and expectations. And the baseline values Hillel has always taught, being a mensch, and considering others, are also helping us navigate this situation, which naturally brings with it some frustration and disappointment.

“People are suffering, and the next few weeks will be tough,” Dr. Vieder added. “But the measures we’re taking to social distance and stay at home do matter, and make a diffrence.”

For now, he offers others the same advice he follows. When he’s not working nights, he has dinner and plays games with the family, exercises, watches his diet, and goes to bed at a “reasonable hour.”

“We all look forward to resuming our normal lives and hugging our friends, with renewed appreciation for the power of physical touch and all the things that have temporarily been taken away from us.”

Despite the difficulty of the present moment, Dr. Vieder remains grateful for the privilege of taking care of people. “There are a lot of tough conversations, and a lot that’s unknown. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is why I took my oath. I am here to help. If I come home and say I helped one person, I had a good day.”

working from home: a teacher's perspective

Like all working mothers at the moment, Allison Gutman’s world changed abruptly when Hillel launched remote learning for students on March 18. Gutman, a sixth and seventh grade Judaic Studies teacher and seventh grade advisor, is also mom to David, a Hillel first grader, Micah, a Hillel ECC3 student, and Abigail, who will start our ECC2 class next year.

We caught up with Allison between classes and virtual meetings with her colleagues to learn how she’s meeting the needs of individual students, and juggling her work and home life.

Q) As our second full week of remote learning comes to an end, how’s it going? How has it evolved?

The first week was mostly about taking a social-emotional pulse check with the kids. They were realizing how much they love school, and dealing with feelings about not being physically there with friends. This week, we’re deeper into the learning, and it feels good to be studying together. We share screens on Sefaria as we learn texts from the first book of Samuel, and they use virtual sticky notes to respond to prompts that I send. We even use Google Hangout rooms for chevruta study - I share a text with them, and they go off into cybersapce. I can “visit” them in these “rooms,” and then we all reconvene at the end.

Q) What does differentiation look like in this scenario?

I’ve been adding technology tools as we go along, and individualizing their use to meet the needs of my students. A tool that works for one student may not work for another. I also ping a resource teacher for support like I would in the “real” world. And now all of my students have my cell phone number, and I FaceTime with whoever calls me to work through assignments. And I continue to differentiate documents that I send, as with our Pesach mishnayot. Some of them are more heavily in Hebrew, and some in English. Whatever is best for the student.

Q) What does collaboration look like among staff?

We’re still planning lessons together, and Amira Soleimani, our Director of Judaic Studies Curriculum and Instruction joins our “hangouts” to check in. We’re very much still working together as a team, and supporting one another. And we’re teaching one another the new technology we’re discovering - and we’re being pushed to, because we have to use it.

Q) How is your family adjusting to the new normal?

Practically, we have a schedule. The boys have a checklist of chores, and activities based on what’s posted for them in Seesaw and Remini, and I make that checklist for them every morning during breakfast. We also take two walks per day, and FaceTime friends and family. On a philosophical level, we try to see the silver lining by focusing on gratitude. Our children are receiving a rich curriculum. We get to eat three meals together, and my husband Brian is working from home, so the five of us are together. Which also means that instead of running back and forth to the kitchen on Pesach to feed a large crowd, I will spend more time at the table!

pesach not getting "passed over" while we're at home

Our ECC 2, Practically Preschool, and Twees classes are learning their Pesach songs, including “Where Is Baby Moses,” “Mah Nishtanah,” and “Dayenu,” just as they would at school during our “very singable seder,” said Jackie Eaton, ECC2 teacher. Thanks to the video sharing app, Flipgrid, teachers are able to record themselves teaching, complete with movements such as splitting the Red Sea. With nearly 500 views, it is evident that families are listening “multiple times and really enjoying,” Miss Jackie said. We invite you to sing along by clicking here - and use the password HillelDay.

Twees teacher Alexis Sack gets ready to split the Red Sea!

in more ECC news...let's make music together

Our remote learning music curriculum for our ECC students hits the high notes! "Even though families are home, parents can still have music lessons with their children," teacher Misty Sharp said. She's delivered lessons on rhythm and tempo that have everyone stomping their feet and clapping their hands. Check it out here.

eighth graders share their vision of a better world

75 years after the Holocaust, the world still faces injustice and oppression. How can we make the world a better place? What does a better world look like? Our eighth graders are contemplating and responding to these questions in essays they are submitting to the annual Kappy Family Anne Frank Art & Writing Contest for middle schoolers.

Their ideas are “overflowing,” teacher Leah Gawel said proudly. “They’ve referenced our learning in Shoah, and World History, and our social-emotional learning, to envision a world that eliminates inequality, and instead involves confronting evil, considering others first, and securing equality.” In light of the coronavirus, some are also concluding that sacrifice for the better of our community “is the ethical standard we should follow.”

Ethan Endelman, who believes stereotypes "precipitate the downfall of humanity," said, “We cannot let fixed views seal potential relationships," phrasing that Morah Gawel said inspired her with a “capital I.”

After a Hillel education, Morah Gawel added, “these kids know what world they want to see, and they can see themselves in it.”

While some students are submitting traditional essays, student Rozalia Aronov is submitting a poem, “Utopia.” We are proud to share an excerpt of it (at left).

the view from israel: our shinshinim send their love

Noa and Yuval, our amazing Shinshimin who spent (most of) the school year with us, have returned to Israel, but they are sending their love. Here they are, with all of the Shinshinim who made a difference in Jewish communities worldwide until the coronavirus forced them home. We can't wait to be reunited with them in the future!

Twice a year, the notes inserted into the Kotel are removed and buried, since many contain God's name. This week we're showing our solidarity with the State of Israel by seeing how the notes are being extra-carefully removed before Pesach, due to COVID-19, and the stones disinfected by workers in protective gear.

Remember: Please choose a line from this Idan Raichel tune, record your family singing it, and email the recording to ygolan@hillelday.org.

advancement news

Your support has always meant the world to us; now, as families are adversely affected financially by the spread of the coronavirus, your generosity will help Hillel maintain our robust curriculum and provide a Jewish day school education to as many children as possible. Please consider sponsoring a Day of Learning in honor of a loved one; sponsorships will be announced daily to our students and to our community. Learn more here. Thank you!

food for thought: our food services team shares recipes

Kitchens are always the center of family life, and now more than ever! Here's an easy omelet recipe for you and your sous chefs to make together. Betayavon!

a few housekeeping items to keep you connected

Bookmark our new web page for the latest information and guidelines regarding the coronavirus.

Find all the links you need for our virtual community events including morning announcements, tefillah, ECC Shabbat, Havdalah, Parsha Club, and more, as well as specific educational links for each learning community at our new Remote Learning Resource Board.

DVAR TORAH: parashat tzav

When is a sacrifice not a loss, but a gain? Rabbi David Fain, our Rav Beit Hasefer, contemplates this question in the context of both the weekly Torah portion and COVID-19.

connections corner

Created By
Hillel Day School