Hamakor- the Source Friday, December 7, 2018/29 Kislev 5779

hillel ushers in the light for chanukkah

Chanukkah was the name of the game this week! Festive music greeted our families each morning at drop-off, and students lit and said blessings using the oversized chanukkiyah in front of the building. The chanukkiyah was constructed by our seventh grade STEAM students in a woodworking rotation, and is the centerpiece of this weekend’s Chanukkah Light Parades in Farmington Hills on Saturday evening, and Huntington Woods on Sunday evening. Check out the story behind the making of the chanukkiyah, and read on to learn more about the innovative and time-honored ways that make Chanukkah unique at Hillel!

Throughout the week, students celebrated with songs, stories, and activities that brought older and younger students together -- our seventh graders performed a play for the kindergarten and played dreidel games with their young friends; our eighth and first graders had a latke party.

Food, of course, was involved, too, with delicious sufganiyot provided by the PTO to the whole school; 600 donut holes provided by Temple Israel; more sufganiyot decorated by fifth graders; and sugar cookie kits given to our second graders who had fun baking!

As Judaic studies teacher Allison Gutman put it, with a smile, "we are managing sugfaniyot madness."

Students experienced Chanukkah in the larger Jewish community, as well, with our first through third grades visiting Chanukkah Wonderland; and our fourth graders, who entertained residents at Fleischman with songs, and who visited the Shul and Adat Shalom Synagogue as part of their learning the differences between the Beit Hamikdash and present-day ritual life centered around our synagogues.

Fourth graders work on their light-up chanukkiyot

Chanukkah Lights Up with STEAM

Here's an illuminating example of integrated education and 21st-century skills: Fourth graders created “paper electric chanukkiyot” for Chanukkah! Under the guidance of science teacher Michelle Wolfe, students applied their knowledge of electric currents to create working paper electric chanukkiyot. Fourth graders worked in partners to make branches for their chanukkiyot complete with resistors and light bulbs. Students were thrilled as their lightbulbs glowed when the circuits were complete. Collaborating with classmates, students combined all the branches of the chanukkiyot to create complete chanukkiyot, which are on display in the lobby.

"What started out as a request for a Chanukkah technology activity led to the finding of the light-up paper chanukkiyah - a true STEAM project combining science, technology, and art in one engaging activity!" said Marnie Diem, Coordinator of Technological Adventures.

For 3-4 General Studies teacher Sarah Radner, the activity stood out as one that combined “all of the learning targets we work on through technology as well as science - including collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking - and connecting it to Chanukkah was icing on the cake!”

ECC brightens chanukkah for JFS

For five years, our ECC has helped families in need to celebrate Chanukkah by adopting a family through Jewish Family Services. They have anonymously donated winter clothing essentials, diapers and wipes, meaningful toys, as well as numerous gift cards. This year, JFS reported that many of the families in need had numerous children under the age of 6, making it even more meaningful for our families with young children, said teacher Jackie Eaton.

“No one should have to worry about whether or not they have diapers or mittens,” Miss Jackie said. Through this effort, “our families are instilling in their children the value of giving and the importance of thinking of others,” she said. “The generosity of our families is extraordinary.”

ECC families gathered together for games, dinner, and a sing-a-long at the Chanukkah Night party!

Student spotlight

Fourth grader Ammi Rotberg has won second place in the elementary school division of an international Hebrew writing contest sponsored by the Mofet Institute. The theme was "choosing light," in honor of Chanukkah, and Ammi's beautiful short story about school children depicts the triumph of acts of kindness and being a mensch.

“I am very proud of and happy for Ammi,” Morah Niva Amiel-Wilner, his Judaic Studies teacher, said.

So are we!

Basketball Season Opens with players new to the game

By Leah Cohen and Ariella Spodek, fifth grader reporters in training

Our winter basketball season has begun! The first game of the season is January 9, and our boys’ and girls’ teams are getting ready. In addition to dribbling, good sportsmanship is a priority. There are many first time players from the fifth grade on the girls’ basketball team, so Nicole Miller, our Athletic Director, is excited for them to “improve as players and try their best.”

Two of those fifth graders, Hannah Fridman and Sydney Michaelson, already feel “we are getting better at the game!”

pete the cat is going fast - last book fair day is today!

By Liat Lerner and Talia Spielmann, fifth grader reporters in training

This year’s book fair is filled with fun and interesting books, and also posters, games, and accessories. The book fair has been open all week, and runs today until dismissal. In kids’ opinions, the best part of the book fair are wish lists. A wish list is when kids look around the fair, and pick books they wish their parents to buy!

Shauna Schwartz, a PTO volunteer and parent who runs the book fair each year, says she loves the Elephant and Piggie books for kids, and that her own favorite author is Jennifer Weiner. She says it takes hours to set up the fair, and requires many parents to help. There are also bins with books the ECC teachers recommend for their classrooms that parents can buy. All told, there are 1,000 books in Conference Room A/B! Come check it out!

Advancement News

Mazal tov to parents Erica and Michael Cahn, winners of this week's raffle, which is open to families who have given to the Annual Fund. Enjoy your parking spot for the month of May.

Congratulations to our Kindergarten families who remain in the lead with 69.2% parent participation. But remember, while the 60-Day Parent Challenge may be over, the Annual Fund continues on! Donations are welcome any time; every dollar supports our tuition assistance program benefitting more than half of our students. Donate now, and ensure that all Jewish children who wish to attend our school can receive a Hillel education.

Kindergarten enjoyed a popsicle party!

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

Neighborhood Schmooze: Please invite your friends and neighbors to an informal evening on December 11 (in West Bloomfield) with current Hillel parents, alumni, and leadership. Guests will learn how Hillel’s modern learning philosophy, innovative environment, small class sizes, and Jewish values prepare students for high school and beyond. Guests will hear about affordability and why children and families love the school so much. Contact aschlussel@hillelday.org to learn more.

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

Next Wednesday’s meeting features Dr. Jennifer Friedman, and our school social workers Harrison Leibow and Kim Love, speaking on social-emotional health. Please join us in Conference Room A/B at 8:15 a.m. ECC parents may drop off their children in advance of the meeting.

Retail company Boon Supply and Hillel are teaming up to support our school. 50% of all purchases go back to Hillel. There are lots of great Chanukkah gifts including kitchen tools, organizational supplies, and totes. Parents can order online, and all items will ship directly to them. (FYI: Food items are not kosher.)

Order your Spirit Wear! Contact pto@hillelday.org.

Dvar Torah - Shabbat Chanukkah & Rosh Chodesh Tevet

This Shabbat is extra special as it is not only Shabbat and Chanukkah, but also Rosh Chodesh, the celebration of a new month. This Shabbat has one of the earliest starting times of the year, with candle lighting at 4:42 p.m., and comes at a time when it is so dark at night, we must bring in extra light.

The celebration of light on Chanukkah can also be a metaphor for our lives. It is often at the most dark and difficult times we need the most light, yet it can be most hard to find or allow light to enter.

In this week’s Torah portion Miketz, we read the story of Joseph and his brothers. After being imprisoned in Egypt, Joseph has interpreted Pharoah’s dreams, and obtained a position of great power. He then encounters his brothers who threw him into a pit, for sure one of the darkest moments of Joseph’s life. Joseph immediately recognizes his brothers before they recognize him. The Torah tells us: וירא יוסף את אחיו ויכרם ויתנכר אליהם וידבר אתם קשות “Joseph saw his brothers and he recognized them, but he acted like a stranger toward them and spoke with them harshly.”

The biblical commentator Rashi says Joseph spoke to his brothers like they were strangers. Instead of warmly embracing and forgiving them for their past mistakes, he holds onto the darkness. He holds onto the anger and the emotion of the past. It will take until next week’s Parasha when Joseph emotionally breaks down and cries before he can reveal himself to his brothers.

Joseph misses the message of Chanukkah. Chanukkah is a moment to think about our lives, our relationships, and our world, and decide how we can bring in more light. Maybe the answer is more smiles and hellos to people we meet in school. Maybe the answer is more patience with the ones we love, or maybe, like in the case of Joseph, it is forgiving someone we should forgive. This Chanukkah, Shabbat, and Rosh Chodesh, take a moment to think, how can I bring in more light?

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi David Fain

mazal tovs

Seventh graders Alexa Cutler and Ethan Rothenberg were called to the Torah on the occasion of their b’nai mitzvah.

Got Ya Caught Ya Being A Mensch!

Michael Basso, Talia Block, Elie Brode, Ethan Cooperman, Sam Daitch, Hannah Schwartz, Emma Tischler

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