meet our incoming head of school
Preparations are underway for next school year, when Dr. Darin Katz takes the helm as our new Head of School! Dr. Katz will be in Detroit next week, and parents are invited to a couple of meet and greet events to become acquainted with him.
"This is a unique opportunity to spend some time with Darin in an informal setting," said Ellen Folbe, president of the Board of Trustees. "I encourage parents to attend, and I look forward to seeing you there."
Both evening and a morning times are available: Wednesday, January 29, at 7:00 p.m., and Thursday, January 30, at 8:15 a.m.
See you there!
students experience the spiritual power of blessings
In Clara Gaba’s sixth grade Torah class, students are learning about the priestly benediction, Birkat HaKohanim, recited by kohanim, descended from Aaron and who served in the temple, in synagogues today, typically on holidays during Musaf. It can be a moving moment of the service, when the kohanim beseech God to bless and protect congregants, and often, children stand under their parents’ talit, as all congregants avert their eyes from the kohanim during the blessing. Naty Katz, our Interim Head of School, and parent Adam Kaplan, who are both kohanim, demonstrated the blessing to the sixth graders on Thursday.
“The priestly blessing is unique in that God’s blessing flows through a human being. The kohen is merely an intermediary,” Mr. Katz explained.
In our ECC, teacher Helayne Shaw has been ending her day with the priestly blessing for 25 years. “I remind my class that they are special and blessed by God, and I want them to know everyday that they are loved, blessed, and protected,” she said.
“Birkat Hakohanim can be a powerful, spiritual experience,” Morah Gaba said. “I felt it when I saw the four-year-olds doing it with Ms. Helayne,” she said. So as an additional part of her instruction, she invited the ECC4s to come give the benediction to her students.
Ms. Helayne was happy to oblige. “There is a power in blessings, and no one can have too many!”
cheer on our hillel hawks
By Nicole Miller, Athletic Director
The winter athletic season brings basketball to Hillel. We are happy to share that we have five teams comprised of 50 participants. We are currently mid-way through the competitive season, and can easily identify growth and development in many of our athletes who have never played before. During practice it is wonderful to see the dedication and focus our athletes bring. Their desire to strive for more is evident as many participants use recess time for additional practice.
If you have not yet joined us for a game, next Wednesday, January 29, you can watch our 7-8 girls’, 7th grade boys’ and 8th grade boys’ teams all compete at home. Games begin at 4:00 p.m. and will end at 7:00 p.m. We would love the added ruach - GO HAWKS!
trees add layer of connection between hillel and israel
Tu Bishvat is February 10, and our fifth graders are taking part in an annual tradition to plant trees in Israel on the date when, according to Jewish law, tree growth begins. Tu Bishvat is commonly known as Jewish Arbor Day, or the birthday of the trees, and also signifies the end of winter (in Israel - not Michigan!).
Please help them out! Send your child to school with a $1 for a cookie on Thursday, January 30, when the fifth grade will hold a bake sale, and a shuk (50 cents per item) during lunch and recess. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of trees from a nursery in Nof HaGalil, where our students are pen paling with students from the Ksulot School. The fifth graders at Ksulot will plan the trees on their school grounds, and erect a plaque commemorating the Hillel donation.
alumni focus: luke zeff (class of 2019)
Luke Zeff (class of 2019) has always applied his sports mentality to his academics -- he maintains focus, works through challenges, and helps out his classmates as he does his teammates.
This attention has made his transition to Groves High School, where he is a freshman basketball player, easier. “Sure, it’s a bigger environment, and I had to ask people for directions the first couple of days," he says. "But Hillel did a great job of preparing me because we had public speaking opportunities and presentations, so it’s not hard for Hillel graduates to approach strangers, ask for help, or advocate for themselves,” he says.
At Hillel, "I learned to manage my time as a student athlete, and so now I don’t feel overloaded by homework or finals, or projects,” he continues. “And our Hillel teachers always knew what we were capable of before we did, so they pushed us, and I do feel ahead” of some peers, he says.
Outside of school, Luke maintains his Hillel friendships via group chats, and on Sunday nights at Adat Shalom Synagogue, where he takes conversational Hebrew. He says his Jewish education is “a big part of me,” and the eighth grade Israel trip remains a highlight of his Hillel education. “It was great to be educated about Israel in Israel,” he says.
In the immediate future, the sports lover is predicting a win for the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Long term, he hopes to play college sports, and “is open-minded about my future.”
And of course, a visit to Hillel, where his younger brother Dane is a sixth grader, is in his plans, too.
“The school year won’t end,” he says, “before you see me!”
k-7 grandparents & grandfriends day is all new
Classroom visits, a musical performance, and more fun is planned for our reimagined Grandparents/Grandfriends Day for K-7 students on Friday, April 24, 2020. Be sure to tell Savta and Saba to save the date for an opportunity to share in our learning. Make sure we have updated contact information for grandparents here.
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.