Hamakor- the Source Friday, January 11, 2019/5 Shevat 5779

stories of the week: learning when to call in your "lifeline"

Lasagnas are delicious - and notorious for being able to feed a lot of people at once. Just how many people was the question for sixth grade students learning about ratios and rates. Students were given a scenario in which a large pan of lasagna cut into 100 slices had to feed various groupings of coworkers at an office party. Based on the number of people eating, students represented each person’s share of lasagna as a fraction and as a decimal. The question prompted students to also answer in writing, intentionally integrating math and literacy, and requiring them to show their thinking.

This type of problem is part of CMP 3, a math program for sixth through eighth grade developed by Michigan State University that emphasizes analysis and higher order thinking as well as foundational math concepts. When quizzes are given, they come two ways - traditional, and partner quizzes, wherein students may work together to solve a problem, or correct a wrong answer. “They’re only allowed to ask one question of the teacher during this process, so they have to decide together when to call in their ‘lifeline,’” teacher Dana Levy explained. Often, students try to identify for themselves where they might have gone wrong, and reread a problem and try to solve it again, rather than using up their one question,” she said. “In this way, they develop decision-making skills and critical thinking.”

With its use in sixth grade for the first time this year, the program has the added benefit of funneling up to our 7-8 community, where it has been in use for some time now.

students prepare for national day of healing

Our seventh and eighth graders will join hundreds of students from Detroit public schools for a program addressing racism, funded by the Kellogg Foundation, at Cass Tech High School, on January 22, the National Day of Racial Healing, following Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In preparation, they are refining their understanding of race, religion, ethnicity, and peoplehood, and placing racism in historical context, giving them an experience of otherness before coming face-to-face and finding commonality with modern-day peers whose lives may be very different from their own.

They are also spending FLEX time this week and next reviewing conversation tips for meaningful engagement when they break out in groups at the forthcoming program. “When you get into your group, look people in the eye to show them that you are present,” Rabbi David Fain, Rav Beit Hasefer, advised.

With Rabbi Asher Lopatin of the Detroit Center for Civil Discourse, who is one of the organizers of the event, eighth graders got into a lively discussion of the preservation of one’s culture and heritage while forging universal connections with others. “We each want to maintain what is unique about us,” Rabbi Lopatin said, “but the goal is that despite any challenges, or differing opinions, we can learn from one another and come together as a single humanity that looks out for one another.”

The public nationwide is invited to participate in the day through a livestream with film director Ava DuVernay.

ecc expansion: groundbreaking next week

Over winter break, heavy equipment and a trailer office were brought onto our campus as construction commences on the expansion of the ECC. Sewers lines were put in, and plans have been made for the blacktop, where kids play basketball, hop scotch, and foursquare, to be moved further down the field. Whether or not the mile course will change is yet unknown. The estimated finish date is August 15, 2019. Considering how quickly winter break went by, the construction will go by quickly, too! The entire community is invited to attend the official groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. - Fifth Grade Reporters in Training

elsewhere in the building...

Students returned from winter break and jumped right back into learning! Our first graders worked on sorting words by vowel sounds; kindergarten "stars of the week" made presentations to their classes; sixth graders received sensitivity training as they kicked off our annual Dor L'Dor program with Jewish Senior Life; and our seventh graders met JARC residents as they forge friendships with adults with developmental disabilities who live in our community.

We need volunteers to assemble the seven species trays for Tu Bishvat on Monday, January 21, 2019! Please sign up here. And please save the date for our next PTO meeting on Wednesday, January 23. Faculty from our STEAM team will join us to tell us about the arts and music at Hillel. We meet in Conference Room A/B at 8:15 a.m. All are welcome to attend, and ECC parents may drop off their children early!

etc. etc.

Our latest Hillel Happenings with after-school activities, adult, family, and community programming is out! Take a look and register for classes, sports, and events that take us through the end of the school year!

Eighth grader Cameron Klein has recorded a song to accompany a newly published book by local author Andy Gutman, and proceeds from downloads benefit children’s literacy programs. Search iTunes for “What Can I Be Today,” and learn more about the book here.

Eat up! The January lunch menu is available here. And when we serve sliders, the yummy meat comes from KOL-certified organic, grass-fed beef, thanks to a generous grant from Hazon!

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 tomorrow night after Shabbat, 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. RSVP at www.hillelday.org/havdalapalooza now or email bfox@hillelday.org! And add a Havdalapalooza frame to your Facebook profile picture here.

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.

annual fund update

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 $675,000. 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. Please donate now.

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.

Dvar Torah: Parashat BO

In two weeks our 7th and 8th graders will participate in a National Day of Racial Healing. They will meet with African American students from downtown Detroit to learn about the successes and struggles of different people, and come together to empathize and open their hearts to others.

This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Bo, begins with the exact opposite of opening of the heart, as God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר ה' אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה בֹּ֖א אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה כִּֽי־אֲנִ֞י הִכְבַּ֤דְתִּי אֶת־לִבּוֹ֙ וְאֶת־לֵ֣ב עֲבָדָ֔יו לְמַ֗עַן שִׁתִ֛י אֹֽתֹתַ֥י אֵ֖לֶּה בְּקִרְבּֽוֹ:

The Lord said to Moses: "Come to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, in order that I may place these signs of Mine in his midst.”

The 15th-century Italian commentator Obadiah Ben Jacob, also known as the Sforno, comments on this verse that Pharaoh was stubborn and did not want to humble himself to God despite not really being able to tolerate the suffering brought on by the plagues. Pharaoh essentially brought the suffering upon himself because of his arrogance and his unwillingness to open his heart.

Let us look inward-- how can I open my heart? Have I hardened my heart and brought suffering upon myself? A hard heart prevents the opportunity to rebuild relationships that might be broken. We are all stubborn at times, but what would it look like to approach some of those moments with a softer and more open heart.

We can all join our students by opening our own hearts. How can we bring healing into our relationships and into this world?

May the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart be a reminder for us to look into the hard places in our own hearts and attempt to soften them.

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi David Fain, Rav Beit Hasefer

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