Hamakor- the Source Friday, January 10, 2020/13 Tevet 5780

stories of the week:

language & Culture come alive in pen pal meet-up

Fourth grader Brody Maddin turned Israeli penpals into real pals over Winter Break, when, on a family trip to Israel, he visited the fourth graders with whom he and his classmates have been corresponding!

The site of his visit was the Gesher School in Kfar Shmaryahu, where his teacher Niva Wilner’s daughter, Hillel alumna Tal Melamed (class of 2003), is a teacher. “There are a lot of similarities between us,” Brody reported. “The kids have a lot of energy, they love to play sports, and they’re proud to learn at a Jewish school.”

"It was special to see Brody meeting the class and putting faces to the names he has been corresponding with," said his mother, Lindsey Maddin. "He loved being able to play soccer with his new friends during recess and spending time in their classroom."

Brody didn’t come back empty-handed, of course. Rather, the students in Israel autographed several Hebrew children’s books to add to Hillel’s collection of Ivrit books. While he was there, many students spoke solely in Hebrew to Brody, and he told Morah Niva he “felt comfortable with them,” she said.

Interactions with Israeli children, whether in writing or in person, help students “internalize and reflect upon our core value of Zionism,” said Morah Niva. “It really increases their love for and pride in the State of Israel, which is our hope as teachers!”

learning a second language gets a boost with creativity

Vocabulary in context is key to mastering a second language. At Hillel, teachers make every effort to not simply translate new words for students, but to use them in the context of a sentence, giving students the opportunity to decipher meaning, and increase their range of knowledge, without translation. This goes for everyone, Amalia Poris, our K-8 Ivrit coordinator explained. “At every stage, we build vocabulary and increasingly sophisticated sentence construction by using words in context.”

And context at Hillel gets super creative, as our eighth graders can attest. They recently learned a slew of new Hebrew vocabulary words related to living creatures, and then learned to sew as they created their own stuffed pets in the MakerSpace, accompanied by a written description of their animals.

“When you have the resources we have at Hillel, it opens an ocean of possibility,” Morah Amalia said. “The learning takes on a whole new dimension that challenges students intellectually.”

students help soldiers worldwide feel the light of chanukah

On Chanukah we say that each one of us is an “or katan,” a small light, and that a little bit of light can push out darkness. Our students did just that in their Shabbat Mishpachot before Winter Break, when they sent cards to U.S. soldiers worldwide through the Jewish Soldiers Project. Overall, the project sent 300 cards, including to the only Jewish soldier stationed in Syria!

welcome to our new coo, john pitcher

John Pitcher, our new Chief Operating Officer, began work at Hillel on Monday. John comes to Hillel after a successful senior management career at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. He earned his MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan.

John has both a deep finance background and strong interpersonal skills. "I hope parents will have the opportunity to meet John in the coming months. I know we will all enjoy working with him," said Naty Katz, Interim Head of School.

John can be reached at jpitcher@hillelday.org, or at 248-539-1481.

new blog offers new ways to stay connected

We've launched Inspired Education, a new Hillel blog that covers the topics you care about, with engaging content from Hillel experts on everything from grit to gratitude!

In this week's post, Andrea Jenkins, our 1-4 Learning Communities Director, shares what she loves about independent schools like Hillel. Read it here, subscribe, and share! The blog is a great way to educate prospective parents, stay informed about modern education, and our children's future!

alumni corner

Former Hillel basketball players Josh Diskin (class of 2000), Jared Boschan (class of 2000), Jordan Sherman (class of 2000), David Feldman (class of 1998), Dustin Sherman (class of 2002), and Brett Powell (son of past teacher Nancy Powell), wearing custom jerseys, had a mini-reunion in town before Thanksgiving, and returned to Hillel for a friendly game.

They also made a generous donation to Hillel. As Jared said, "Hillel continues to be very important to me and my group of friends."

advancement news

your annual fund gift helps all our students soar

To date, we have raised $249,923. Whether your contribution is $5 or $5,000, please know that gifts of all sizes do make a difference, and will help us reach our goal of $700,000. Give to the Annual Fund because you believe in our school mission, the dedication of our teachers, and the impact a Hillel education will have on your child’s future.

Thank you to all those who have recently donated to the Annual Fund:

ecc courtyard bricks

Are you looking for a gift for your parents or your children? Consider purchasing a brick for our ECC courtyard, and leave a lasting legacy at Hillel Day School. Bricks come in several sizes. All purchases and/or donations are tax deductible. Purchase a brick and/or learn more here.

support hillel with amazonsmile

Did you know your purchases can make a difference? Don’t forget to use AmazonSmile for your Chanukah shopping. AmazonSmile donates to Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit when you do your shopping here.

meet Darin Katz, our incoming head of school

more news to know

registration open for after-school classes

After-school activities begin the week of January 13, including new classes in cartooning, and arts & crafts in the MakerSpace, and returning favorites such as Math Pentathlon, Rhythm Drumming, Dance, Drama, Chess, and more. Register for Winter Session I activities here. Winter Session II registrations will be forthcoming before Mid-Winter Break.

january lunch menu

Check out the month's menu here.


Hebrew Language Day, celebrated every year on the 21st of Tevet, is the birthday of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the driving force behind the revival of Hebrew in the modern era. It is a day designated by the State of Israel to promote the status of the Hebrew language in Israel and worldwide, and is marked by activities and events throughout the country. This year, 21 Tevet falls on Shabbat, so the celebratory day will be 19 Tevet, which corresponds to Thursday, January 16, 2020. At Hillel, we’re joining the celebration! More details are forthcoming, but to get started, please fill out your child's T-shirt form!


Take a look at career opportunities for teachers here.

mazal tov

got ya caught ya being a mensch!

Naomi Bernard, Tobi Felhander, Teddy Gell, Julian Gitlin, Arielle Kovent, Sydni Reich, Mayer Schuchman, Ella Yahalomi

DVAR TORAH: parashat vayechi

Think it's best to get back at your pesky sibling? This week's Torah portion gives us a better solution. Listen to this conversation between Rabbi David Fain, our Rav Beit Hasefer, and third grader Lucas Borman.

upcoming events at school & around town

Before you go, check out pictures from our week!

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