Fall 2023 Annual Benefit

Dear Heilicher Community,

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2023 Heilicher Annual Benefit yesterday. It was a remarkable evening celebrating our school and our honorees, Judy and Jerel Shapiro. Your incredible generosity played a pivotal role in supporting experiential learning programs, including our 2025 eighth-grade trip to Israel, leading to an exceptional outcome of $105,000 raised for our fund-a-need initiative. We are deeply grateful for your contributions!

We are still tabulating the results, but the gala total is approaching $400,000 — a remarkable amount of funding for Jewish education at a time when all of our institutions are responding to crises facing Jewish people. Please see our full list of generous sponsors and the beautiful messages to Judy and Jerel in our program book. 

PrograM Book

We are deeply grateful to our entire community, our sponsors, our volunteers, and our outstanding development staff, led by Ali Berdass and Kiel Majewski and supported by our Advancement Leadership Council, for making this a night to remember. Please watch the above Heilicher Benefit Video to see a day in the life of our students.

Thank you again for making our Heilicher community so special and for joining with us to celebrate our school and our honorees!

Robyn Schein, President, Heilicher Board of Directors
Dr. Dan Ahlstrom, Head of School


The Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School honored community leaders and Heilicher alumni parents Judy and Jerel Shapiro with the Ner Tamid Award at the 2023 Heilicher Annual Benefit.

Judy and Jerel are beloved members of the Heilicher and broader Jewish communities, having held volunteer roles at many local Jewish organizations.

For seven years, Judy has been a valued Heilicher volunteer, and she is often the first face that parents, grandparents, and community members see upon entering the school building. She has also made her mark in many other community organizations, including Sholom Community Alliance (where she is a long-time hospice volunteer), Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis, and Darchei Noam Congregation. Judy also served in various capacities with the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, including as a founding member of the Partnership2Gether Steering Committee. 

Jerel has served on the boards of Heilicher and of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation (where he served at various points as secretary, treasurer, and chair of the Jewish Community Building Corporation). He is a past-president of the Sabes Jewish Community Center, a former board member of Minnesota Hillel, and a founding member of Darchei Noam Congregation.

Judy and Jerel are proud parents and grandparents of four adult children — Dena, Max, Rachel, and Oren (who attended Heilicher for middle school) — and seven grandchildren (four in Baltimore and three in Israel).

In 2015, Judy and Jerel Shapiro created Heilicher’s Deera and Al Tychman (z”l) Judaic Learning and T’filah Center in memory of Judy’s late parents. Pillars of the Minneapolis Jewish community, Deera and Al Tychman were active in many local organizations including the Federation, Beth El Synagogue, the Jewish Community Center, and Hadassah. The Tychman Center, located on Heilicher’s second floor, is a fulcrum of Jewish study for students in grades 5-8. 

Judy and Jerel are humbled to serve as the 2023 Heilicher Annual Benefit honorees. In their words, “We simply believe that a strong Jewish education is the underpinning to a more meaningful Jewish life and ultimately to a more caring and philanthropic Jewish community. Involvement is the only way to improve what we have inherited.”