Hamakor- the Source Friday, December 14, 2018/6 Tevet 5779

breaking news!

Robin Pappas, our Director of Early Education, keeps her focus on the important work of laying the foundation for learning among the youngest members of our Jewish community. But she couldn't contain her pride this week when construction workers cordoned off what will become the newly expanded Early Childhood Center in Fall 2019. In fact, she almost scaled the fence!

"I don't like the limelight," she said, "but this is really exciting!"

Stay tuned for information on the official groundbreaking next month!

project-based learning takes shape in cookie bake-off

The judges filled their bellies with cookies, determined whether teams of bakers had exceeded, met, or approached expectations in tin design, texture, and taste, and deliberated with their fellow judges. Then the winner of the fifth grade Cookie Bake-Off was announced! First prize went to the enthusiastic team of Ezra Shere, Robbie Feldman, Dane Zeff, and Jonah Zekman, whose s’mores cookies filled with marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs and Hershey chocolate chunks had judges coming back for more.

The bake-off was the creative end to a project-based learning unit that integrated chemistry with the study of mass and volume. After kicking off the unit with Kellogg’s package designer Danielle Dickow earlier this year, students were tasked with designing packaging for 12 cookies of uniform size that they baked at school, using scales and measurements learned in science, and prototyping their containers in the MakerSpace. The bake-off also involved speech writing and slogans as teams pitched their products to the judges.

“This is a clever, fun PBL,” Joan Freedman, Director of Curriculum, who was among the judges, said.

Upon hearing his name called, Robbie Feldman said, “I feel great!” Then, like a true Hillel mensch, he shook hands with classmates from competing teams.

the votes are in! and it's a tie!

After weeks of refining their election speeches, eighth graders made their cases for their chosen causes at Tuesday’s election for a Campaign for A Cause winner. Among the nominees were COTS (Coalition on Temporary Shelter), and Downtown Boxing Gym, which won in a tie.

Seventh-grade voters said COTS’ work helping people in need to become self-sufficient was the compelling reason for choosing that organization. Voters also felt the campaign for the Boxing Gym was persuasive, and that they could relate to the kids served by the program as they are similar ages.

Jadyn Kaufman, who gave the convention speech for COTS, was shocked to win. “I thought the other organizations were good, but I’m happy ours won. COTS provides shelter, guides people towards education, training, and affordable housing, and has coaches and mentors work with the adults and families for a long-term positive effect.”

The eighth grade will now fundraise to support these two worthwhile organizations, and interactions between Hillel students and those served by the nominated organizations, such as Keep Growing Detroit (see below), are in the works.

“It is going to be empowering to meet the people we’ve campaigned for,” 8th grader Jadyn Kaufman said. “It’s all about helping people to better themselves.”

Ancient Texts Have Modern Meaning as Students Study the Life of A Hero

Learning that further inspires a love of learning is essential at Hillel. As fifth grade Tanach students study Sefer Bamidbar, and the life of Moshe Rabbeinu, who led B’nai Yisrael out of Egypt, they embarked on an integrated project-based learning unit -- to identify and write about their own real-life hero. On Monday, they presented their essays to their heroes and others in attendance, moving many to tears. Students wrote about grandparents who served their countries; helped others during World War II; early Zionist pioneers; cousins who’ve made their dreams come true in athletics; relatives who are honest and empathetic; who persevere; who live with a disability; those with us and those who are no longer with us; and people with leadership qualities that influence the behavior of others.

Tziporah Cohen, whose courageous great- grandfather fought Communism, said, “you may think people are boring until you really learn about them.”

holy dreidels!

Students integrated Chanukkah with design-thinking skills in our recent Dreidel Design Challenge, and winners were chosen based on written artist statements representing class themes such as kedushah in eighth grade, and hidden versus revealed miracles in sixth grade, and, of course, whether their dreidels spun!

As part of their design, eighth grade winners Allison Feldman and Adin Victor depicted the ways people can incorporate holiness into their lives - by practicing gemilut chasadim, acts of loving kindness, through prayer, imbuing a home with Jewish practice, and by looking in the mirror and reflecting on what each individual can do to become kadosh. “Any person can be ‘kadosh’ (holy) if they want, it just takes effort,” they said.

Kol hakavod to all the participants and congratulations to the winners:

Third Grade: 1st-Tony Mazur, 2nd-Ryan Schwartz, 3rd-William Goodman

Fourth Grade: 1st-Talia Colton, 2nd-Leora Kahan, 3rd-Elyse Fleishman

Sixth Grade: 1st-Rachel Chynoweth & Emma Israel, 2nd-Kendyl Kaufman, 3rd-Rena Kantor

Eighth Grade: 1st-Adin Victor & Alli Feldman, 2nd-Phoebe Silver & Catherine Bean, 3rd-Emma Coden & Maliyah Sigler

kindergarten ends 2018 with an act of kindness

Kindergartners have been having meaningful conversations centered around the theme of "giving," especially to those in need at this time of year. They are collecting new toiletry items to be donated to Humble Design. There is a box in the front lobby to collect donations until December 21 - please join kindergarten and support their drive!

hillel hawks play halftime show

A dream came true for our basketball players as they took to the court on Sunday, December 9, at Little Caesars Arena, to play on the Pistons' court during halftime. Catch the game here:

Turning Spare Change into Snacks

Looking for a healthy snack after school? Check out our popular vending machine, located in the lobby. You can usually find a line of kids waiting to purchase Skinny Pop, Pirate’s Booty, and Gatorade, to name a few treats. Most items cost between $1-$2. There are also Oreos thrown in for good measure.

Now, some people suggest that you eat healthier food from the vending machine, but those people are mostly adults. Most of the kids like to have treats from the vending machine; fortunately for parents, the majority of offerings fall into the healthy category. -- By Leah Cohen and Ariella Spodek, 5th grade reporters in training

Advancement News

The entire Hillel community, together with many other local partner organizations, will experience havdalah and celebrate the new week with music, crafts, food, and fun on Saturday, January 12 at 6:30 p.m. This event, sponsored by Telemus Financial Life Management and Fischman Insurance Group, will be fun for all ages. Mark the date on your calendar, invite your friends, and plan on enjoying a Saturday night at Hillel. RSVP at www.hillelday.org/havdalapalooza now!

Prospective parents with children entering kindergarten through fourth grade next year are invited to Come Fly a Kite at Hillel at our SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS Family Open House on Wednesday, January 23 at 5:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a scrumptious dinner (spoonful of sugar included, of course), engaging activities designed to make imaginations soar, and meet our practically perfect teachers! Please pass along the information to friends and make sure they RSVP at www.hillelday.org/familyopenhouse.

We are almost halfway toward our goal of $675,000. To date, over 52 percent of our families have made a gift to the Annual Fund. Whether your contribution is $5 or $5,000, please know that gifts of all sizes do make a difference. Give to the Annual Fund because you believe in the work of our school, 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 donated to the Annual Fund this week:

Did you know your purchases can make a difference? AmazonSmile donates to Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit when you do your shopping here.


If you’ve seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, you may remember the scene when Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery. It’s a hard scene to forget, with the gleeful and carefree brothers selling their brother to a passing caravan of Ishmaelites, and a poor goat-doll being dismembered on stage with the brothers rubbing its fantastical blood onto Joseph’s coat.

It’s not just the staging and stellar props that make this scene so memorable; It’s the emotional content and situation Joseph finds himself in. What must it feel like to have your own siblings turn on you so severely that they want you dead, and decide to make a few bucks off your disappearance?

Now, we may hold our own interpersonal grudges or situational resentments, but do our predicaments really compare to Joseph’s? And yet, after all he’s been through, in this week’s parashah, with his brother Judah in front of him, Joseph breaks down and forgives his siblings, even comforting them in their sadness. He then says something incredible: “וְאַל־יִ֨חַר֙ בְּעֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם כִּֽי־מְכַרְתֶּ֥ם

אֹתִ֖י הֵ֑נָּה כִּ֣י לְמִחְיָ֔ה שְׁלָחַ֥נִי אֱלֹהִ֖ים לִפְנֵיכֶֽם/And let it not trouble you that you sold me here, for it was to preserve life that God sent me before you (Gen 45.5)”

In context, we understand this to be a reference to how everything in Joseph’s life led him to being in a Divinely-orchestrated position now to save his brothers from famine and thus preserve their life - a deep theological concept on its own. But read with a slight twist, I think we can unlock an even more powerful directive for each of us in our own time.

What happens if we read “לְמִחְיָ֔ה/to preserve life,” instead as “to enliven,” or, “to commit to full aliveness”? When we find ourselves in a challenging situation - disappointed with ourselves, our circumstances, or how we’ve been treated - what if instead of seeking to place blame, we saw that moment and every moment as an opportunity to bring Divine aliveness to the world around us? What if instead of being a victim to our circumstances, we channel a sense of enlivening, making the most of the situation we’re in, honoring the life of the other, and filling our own life with as much blessing as it can hold?

It’s easy to get down sometimes and feel sad or angry - whether you’re 2 or 92. But in the days that we are granted, let us commit to enlivening the world around us, embodying a lifeforce that will help sustain us, the ones we love, and the world around us.

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Nate DeGroot

mazal tovs

Parents Kate and David Kurzmann welcomed a son, Micah, on December 9. Big sister is Sari (ECC 2). Parents Ilana and Adam Block welcomed a daughter, Shira, on December 10. Big sister is Talia (kindergarten) and big brother is Judah (ECC 3).

Got Ya Caught Ya Being A Mensch!

Neta Arieli, Ava Cooperman, Noah Gitlin, Talia Glass, Eliana Mayerson, Lonni Reich, Zoe Schiffer

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Hillel Day School

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