Isn’t it ironic that we celebrate our hurried exodus from Egypt, one in which we did not even have time to let bread dough rise, with a meal that is so full of preparation and organization it is literally called “order”? The seder plate is even laid out from chazeret (lettuce) to charoset (fruit and nut mixture), helping to ensure the order of the meal is followed and no mitzvah is passed over. We scour the house in advance of the holiday, searching for chametz (forbidden foods), and we arrange to sell the rest, as a way to ensure there is none remaining in our possession at sundown on the first night of Pesach. It is remarkable that we remain so devoted to the detailed preparation of a holiday designed to mark when we went from bondage to freedom without time for even the simplest food preparation.
Welcome to the Heilicher blog, where you can read about the experiences and accomplishments of students, faculty, alumni, parents, and more. Click on the blog title to read the full article, and use the yellow bell to receive automatic notifications when new posts are published.
Passover has always been my favorite Jewish holiday. As a child, I appreciated the timing. My birthday often falls during the holiday. When you’re a cute little kid and family gets together around your birthday, everyone feels compelled to bring you a present. That and my grandmother’s matzo ball soup made the holiday worth the trouble.
I’m Mia Wolfe. I am a sixth grade student at Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am writing to you because I feel like almost nothing is being said about the detention camps in China. I feel like this is a very big topic that we all know so little on. We need to learn more about this before it is too late to do anything.
“You are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to withdraw from it.”
This is one of our school’s core values, and for me, it describes the challenge of teaching our students to be thoughtful, ethical citizens who take action for social justice. Not long after George Floyd was killed in May 2020, two Heilicher fourth graders spoke at the school’s annual meeting. They challenged our school to take a more active role in combating racism and working for justice. This was a powerful and inspiring call to action.
Winter break is coming up and while we might be stuck inside, it is the perfect opportunity to get cozy and read some new books! My fourth grade class has been reading some awesome books and we are excited to recommend our favorites!
Chanukah is here! The great miracle of the oil! The crushing victory of the Maccabees! The reality of the original Chanukah story played out much like the lead-up to our recent election, only then it was a fight for the soul of Judaism, or at least it felt that way. Some Jews living under Greek rule (165 BCE) loved the Greek traditions and wanted to embrace them. Some felt that if Jews embraced any of them, it would lead to the end of Judaism.The stakes felt that high, and eventually it was the Jews who engaged in their own civil war over the future of Judaism; Did Jews have to refrain from all Greek customs?
On Tuesday, October 27th, Maia Poling entered my classroom and informed me that we had our first confirmed Covid-19 case in the 8th grade. A swirl of questions formed in my head, but we first focused on informing the students and getting them ready for distance learning
One of the things I admire most about Heilicher is the dedication to supporting students through their development. I am so impressed to see how inspired the students are to grow and learn. The staff have fostered a culture of academic growth that allows each student to truly feel passionate about their learning.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of travelling to schools across the country, consulting about how to create vibrant and effective school cultures. The foundation of this work is about relationships. Regardless of a student’s innate skills or abilities, if the teacher and student have a strong relationship, that student has a greater likelihood of progressing.
On Friday, September 18, at sundown we bid good-bye (not l'hitraot) to 5780. Who could have predicted just one year ago the trajectory of this past year? During the month of Elul we make specific efforts to reflect on what we have done during the previous year. We attempt to make amends, and we think about how we will change our behaviors in the coming year. These coming days are the days of Judgement and Atonement. Assessing, reflecting, apologizing, asking forgiveness, and planning for the year ahead are goals of the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe. Let’s consider a central prayer of the Days of Awe.
Read Yoni's eighth-grade graduation speech in week seven of Heilicher@Home Shared Journey.
Read the update from Head of School Yoni Binus in week six of Heilicher@Home Shared Journey.
Read the update from Head of School Yoni Binus in week five of Heilicher@Home Shared Journey.
In a recent third grade assignment, students were given the task of writing a letter to an essential worker. Read their words of gratitude and encouragement.
Read the update from Head of School Yoni Binus in week four of Heilicher@Home Shared Journey.
Read the update from Head of School Yoni Binus in week three of Heilicher@Home Shared Journey.
One of the hallmarks of the Heilicher experience is the eighth grade capstone project. The capstone assignment is an interdisciplinary project where students explore a social justice issue of their own choosing. Heilicher eighth grader Josh B. shares below about his experience with this milestone project.
Read the update from Head of School Yoni Binus in week two of Heilicher@Home Shared Journey.
This spring, Heilicher teamed up with the Sabes JCC to connect community senior citizens with Heilicher students. The goal of this program is to help seniors and students feel less alone during these times of social isolation. Heilicher seventh-grader Andrew S. shares about his experience.
Heilicher Head of School Yoni Binus shares the latest on Heilicher@Home and what's to come.
Heilicher alumna and current parent Arielle Kaufman shares about reconnecting with her MJDS first-grade class during this time of distancing.
Each year, around Mid-Winter Break, the seventh and eighth grade students feel a little added pressure – They are only a few weeks away from the public performances of our play.
When Nancy and Neil Fink toured Heilicher as prospective parents eight years ago, they were impressed by the poise of their seventh-grade tour guide and how older students greeted much younger students by name in the hallways. This was their first glimpse of the values, skills, and foundation Heilicher would provide for their children.
Parents often wonder about what their children's future school experience will look like. Why Heilicher? What is a typical day like? What makes Heilicher unique? See the answers.
Monday, January 27 is the start of the new Jewish month of Sh’vat. Rosh Chodesh, which literally translated means “head of the month,” marks the beginning of each new Hebrew month. In honor of the moon, here are a few STEAM activities you can do with your children at home.
Here in MinneSNOWta we have to embrace the long winter months. Here is a list of our favorite winter activities to get you through the long, cold months.
Developing good study habits at home is an important part of school success. It takes some time and effort, but can help ease the stressors of the school year. Read more from Heilicher General Studies Teacher Polly Holzman.
Many parents send their children to Heilicher so that they can learn about Judaism and develop their Jewish identities. At the same time, parents sometimes express concern about whether our children are living “in a bubble”. Are we preparing them for the diverse world they will inhabit?
One way that we bridge these differences is through our third grade exchange between Heilicher and Good Shepherd Catholic School.
November brings with it images of families and friends sitting tableside celebrating Thanksgiving along with lines of shoppers out the door looking for the best deals at every store. Children take time creating long lists filled with possible Hanukah presents. So the big question is: how do you focus on all the great things you have during this time? The answer is simple: by practicing gratitude.
Heilicher alumna Julia Birnberg (Heilicher ‘12) is no stranger to Jewish community leadership. A rising senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she has already distinguished herself as a pro-Israel student activist and campus leader. We had the opportunity to interview Julia this past summer about her activism and how Heilicher assisted in shaping her Jewish identity.
Ms. Divine loves being a teacher at Heilicher, especially a math teacher. From designing summer camps, to building with noodles Ms. Divine knows how to make math fun.
School might be in session, but there is still time to get outside and enjoy fall’s best. See our top activities for family fun.
In honor of the High Holidays, fall and all things apples, we wanted to share some of our favorite apple STEAM activities you can easily do with your child. All you need are a few household items and a few moments of free time.
Wendy and Mel Flamenbaum share about their Heilicher grandparent experience and what it means to support the Heilicher Annual Fund.
Sixth graders had the opportunity to review the basics of the Tishrei holidays with Rabbi Max Davis and learn a few new things.
We’ve been in school for five weeks already and this week we turn our attention to the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Read about Heilicher staff customs to welcome the New Year on the Heilicher Blog.
New this year, on Monday mornings, we will have an All-School T’filah (prayer) service in the Dolly and Edward Fiterman Theatre. Our students will chant Torah each week. We’ll celebrate birthdays and milestones. And we’ll have a place to pray, whether that means working on our character, connecting with God, reflecting and/or rejoicing.
As a gift to her eighth-grade class for graduation, Ms. Weiss gathered student reflections and crafted them into a poem. These words of inspiration will stay with her students for years to come.
This spring Heilicher welcomed Lynn Lyons, a psychotherapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker, to speak to the community about "How to Break the Worry Cycle." Heilicher alumna Ruthie P. shares her thoughts on the night in a recent article in The Echo, St. Louis Park High School's newspaper.
After graduation, Heilicher alumna Simone P. encountered an uncomfortable situation at basketball camp. She decided to take a brave step to educate the camp about Jewish history related to an unintentional, yet offensive, long-standing camp practice.
Head of School Yoni Binus reflects on the April 27, 2019 shooting at Chabad of Poway near San Diego.
Passover is here! We have created a list of some great activities for you do to with your children.
Now that warmer weather has finally made its way to Minnesota, it is time to get outside and enjoy the freedom it brings to parenting little ones with lots of energy. Here are some of our favorite activities to do with your kids this spring.
On February 8, 2019, Rose McGee of Sweet Potato Comfort Pies and Wendy Goldberg, Heilicher Assistant Director of Jewish Education, traveled to Pittsburgh to deliver homemade pies to members of the synagogues affected by the tragic shooting last October. Heilicher students and parent volunteers helped make and ship the pies and included heartfelt messages of hope with each one. Read Wendy's reflections here.
The Heilicher Alumni Board, made up of current high schoolers, met in February to begin formulating recommendations to strengthen the school and its programs. Read about the first meeting of the 2019 year.
Heilicher parent Tamar Green reflects on her experience at the school's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day assemblies featuring presentations by Pastor Lawrence T. Richardson.
Morgan Stair's seventh graders read and wrote a variety of poems and created websites to display them. Explore some of their creative works here.
Heilicher Grandparents Claude and Laurel Riedel have made careers grounded in tikkun olam and Jewish values. Read about their careers and their experience as day school grandparents.
Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School proudly announces a $1.1 million charitable gift to the school from Rabbi Mitchell Smith in honor of his parents, Harold and Mickey (z"l) Smith.
Heilicher alumna Lily Harris talks about her day school experience and how it positively influenced her outlook and current career in fashion design.
Try these STEAM-related activities with your children this Tu B'Shevat.
Two Heilicher administrators visited our twinning school, Bechor Levi, in Rehovot, Israel during winter break to participate in workshops strengthening ties between the two schools.
How is olive oil made? Do green and black olives come from different trees? What is the difference between a Menorah and a Hanukiah? These are just some of the questions that were posed this past week when the first grade class came to the Makerspace with Hamorah Nechamit to learn about making olive oil.
Thanksgiving is coming soon and making all of us here at Heilicher hungry. Chef Liz Kaplan shares some of her favorite foods you can make with your kids this holiday season.
Thanksgiving is only a short time away and it is a great reminder to talk about the importance of an “attitude of gratitude” and a thankful heart. Heilicher Library Manager Lysa Shimkus shares her top picks for you and your kids to read and discuss during this season of Thanksgiving.
Heilicher Head of School Yoni Binus has been having a blast eating lunch with Heilicher students and hearing their thoughts and ideas about school life. Read more in the latest edition of the Yoni 360° blog.
Read what’s been on Yoni’s mind and discover how you can help Heilicher.
Need to keep your kids busy and having fun this fall? We have a few ideas for you to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) to keep your kids creating and enjoying the best of fall.
Cooking together can be fun and rewarding for parents and their littles. For a tasty treat check out this apple kugel recipe.
Whether your young child is just learning to walk or getting ready to go to their first day of preschool, leaving your child can be hard. We spoke with Heilicher school counselor Andrea Hansen, and she shared a few key strategies to help ease these transitions.
Rosh Hashanah is one of my favorite holidays. For me, it is a time to be with family and friends, a time to reflect on my life, and to appreciate all the blessings I have. At my house, we carry on one of my childhood traditions; a tradition which is written about in the Talmud. It is to eat foods that have symbolic significance. We eat apples and honey so we may have a sweet new year, and pomegranates so we will be as full of good deeds as the pomegranate has seeds.
Mazal tov to the Heilicher graduating class of 2018. Read some of their parting thoughts, reflections from one of their teachers, and news of other alumni who are off to great places far and wide.
Siblings Zachariah and Emmanuelle Sippy have used their Heilicher education as a springboard to activism in the Jewish and secular community. Both have published articles on Jewish themes - all while in high school. Read our interview with these amazing alums.
Linda Gilfix, grandmother of three Heilicher graduates, Ethan ‘14, Ryan ‘16, and Justin Kadet ‘18, is thrilled to share her strong connection with Heilicher and her pride in her grandsons’ futures.
A core outcome of a Heilicher education is our graduates’ drive to be lifelong learners. Our alumni go on to high school with the skills to navigate the rest of their lives with ethical standards, an inquiry focus, and ever-expanding thirst for knowledge. Our school’s ability to achieve this starts with the mindset and modeling of our staff, who continuously develop their own skills as professional instructors, guides, and mentors.
Heilicher and the Sabes JCC hosted its first ever STEAM Camp available to campers entering grades K-6. (STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.) Taught by Heilicher teachers, the week featured a variety of STEAM-related activities designed for summer fun. Campers created their own snacks, designed a unique mini-golf course, swam in the pool, and had fun getting to know one another. They got a little messy, but that was part of the experience!
Excerpt from Head of School Yoni Binus "State of the School" address at the Heilicher Annual Meeting on May 31, 2018.
At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year Heilicher started a new sustainability initiative called Project Footprint. Read about program highlights and goals for the next school year.
Shavout/שבועות, which takes place this Sunday and Monday (May 20 and 21), commemorates the Giving and Receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Celebrated 50 days after Pesah/פסח, this Holiday bookends the transition of the Israelites from slavery to freedom, now guided under the Jewish value set of Torah and mitzvot/מצוות (commandments).
Every year the Heilicher eighth grade class goes on a trip to Washington, D.C. To me, this trip is a highlight of the Heilicher experience.
The 2018 Scholastic Book Fair is here! March 19 through 23, you can purchase some of the classics, get your hands on never-before-seen books, and support your school all in one fell swoop. Heilicher Library Manager Lysa Yang gives her reviews of the hottest books at this year’s Scholastic Book Fair.
Sharon and Bill Hope are remarkable, longtime Jewish community members in both Minneapolis and Boynton Beach, Florida. They are Minnesota natives who raised their three children in Minnetonka and are proud grandparents of three Heilicher alumni. Read more about their family's Heilicher experience.
While winter is still here, cozy up with a great book. Here’s a list of books for you and your preschooler to snuggle up with together:
Winter is here! The cold weather has finally arrived here in Minnesota. With many more cold days ahead, keeping your kids active and getting outside can be a challenge. Heilicher Physical Education teachers Hector Stanizer and Raffi Forbush gave us their top picks for keeping kids active this winter.
Purim will be here soon, on March 1. Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia circa 357 B.C.E. The story is recorded in The Biblical Scroll of Esther/Megillat Esther. Celebrating Purim can be one of the most joyous holidays to celebrate with your kids. Whether you dress up in costume, read the Megillat Esther, exchange mishloah manot (gifts of food and drink), or eat the se’udat Purim (celebratory meal), it is a fun and festive day.
As a young person swimming with the Rays Swim Team at the Sabes Jewish Community Center, Josie Berman never imagined having the opportunity to represent her country in an international athletic competition. This past summer, however, Josie had the opportunity to do just that, competing as a member of the USA Water Polo Team at the 2017 Maccabiah Games in Israel (often referred to as the “Jewish Olympics”).
Development Associate Amanda Scherer shares information about the 2018 Heilicher Annual Fund.
We are well into our second trimester of Wellness Wednesday classes, and during this session I have had the pleasure of working with First Grade Teacher Susan Vlodaver and 15 students from grades 1-4 in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) challenges stemming from popular fairy tales. The first two, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and “Three Billy Goats’ Gruff,” yielded the two challenges below. After hearing the stories, students were asked to plan and build a solution in teams of two and three.
This year, why not opt-out of the holiday buying game altogether? Imagine no more trying to find a parking spot at the MOA, waiting in interminable lines at the stores, and trying to make room in your house for yet another gadget or toy. How about instead, you give a few meaningful gifts that will last?
We sat down with Chef Liz Kaplan, Heilicher’s Head Chef, to see what she had to say about working at Heilicher and what she has been making in the kitchen.
Guest writers Lauren V., Gigi S. and Molly S. share their reflections on what makes their Jewish Day School a kehilah/community.
It’s that time of year again—Jewish Book Month! This is a great opportunity to read and learn more about Jewish history, traditions, and holidays and find some wonderful books written by Jewish authors.
Driving across the Twin Cities during the fall colors is always beautiful. Especially beautiful when crossing the river. Each day, during the school year, the Kaplan family did just that on their way to Jewish Day School.
Twice a week when Carol and David Rosenblatt pick up their grandchildren, Mia and Eliana Wolfe, from Heilicher they get to hear what is going on with them at school. After a while, Carol thought it might be time to get involved as a volunteer.
Each year at the Heilicher Annual Benefit, one of the auction items available is “Head of School for the Day.” This year featured seventh grader Emma S. Check out her reflections on what it was like.
Heilicher is proud to have been chosen as one of four Jewish Day Schools piloting a cutting-edge program called the Mechon Hadar Standards for Fluency in Jewish Text and Practice. Read about implementation of the new program.
During the elementary and middle schools years friendships become more important to children, but parents often feel less in control. Read tips from Heilicher General Studies Director Maia Poling on navigating these relationships with your kids.
The Heilicher Girls on the Run (GOTR) 5K is happening this Sunday, November 12. Our Grades 3-5 GOTR team is excited for a fun morning to showcase what they’ve been doing this fall. See what the coaches have to say about their experiences this year.
Head of School Yoni Binus shares his "elevator speech" about Heilicher and top priorities for growing the school.
Read about SeaPerch, Heilicher's underwater robotics program which is part of the school's STEAM initiative.
Heilicher sixth graders expressed their compassion by making cards with personal messages of support for campers and staff at URJ Camp Newman, a Jewish camp destroyed by fires in Santa Rosa, California.
Heilicher parent and environmentalist Liba Zweigbaum Herman spearheads Project Footprint, an initiative that empowers students and staff to enhance their environmental awareness and impact. Read about the latest organics and recycling project and more.
Head of School Yoni Binus explores the concepts of observing and observance connecting the Jewish high holy days with STEAM education at Heilicher.
Heilicher 8th graders explore the intersection of broadcasting, Judaic Studies, and technology on a field trip to the Pavek Museum.
Heilicher alumna ('12) Ora Raymond takes her Jewish and Hebrew learning to the max this summer volunteering for Magen David Adom in Jerusalem.
Head of School Yoni Binus discusses failure as an essential component of the STEAM/inquiry-based learning approach Heilicher has adopted.
Read about Heilicher's new K-5 math curriculum, Math in Focus (Singapore Math).
Heilicher welcomes new Assistant Director of Jewish Life Wendy Goldberg.
Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School Head of School Yoni Binus shares thoughts about the purpose of education.
Heilicher alumnus Zachary Weiser shares about his experience in the national Moot Beit Din (Mock Jewish Law Trial) in Houston, Texas, an activity sponsored by Prizmah, the national Jewish day school network.
Heilicher students get up close with worms and dirt in environmental education and sustainability program at school.
Davida Cytron is a Heilicher math teacher, grade 5-6 coordinator, and Math Masters coach.
Julie Ziessman is Admissions and Outreach Director at Heilicher and a former kindergarten teacher at the school
Since enrolling her three children at Heilicher in 2009, one of the things parent Ann Kaner-Roth has always been grateful for is the school's intentionality around recognizing the important day of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In December, 7th grader Lauren Vegas had the privilege of going to Israel on a Herzl Camp family trip. She really enjoyed being in an environment where almost everybody was Jewish and spoke Hebrew.
Heilicher fourth graders study the radio serial-style program, The Quest, a lesson that integrated music with history and language arts.
In mid-October, art teacher Aimee Orkin had the wonderful opportunity to visit New York City and see Hamilton - with a backstage tour arranged and conducted by Heilicher alumna Deanna Weiner. Since 2012, Deanna has worked on Broadway as the Assistant Stage Manager for the production.
Why is the history of this day important? Because it is a day designed for us to recognize our veterans' sacrifice to ensure the peace that we and our our children benefit from every day.
Kalman G. was lucky to participate in the 2016 JCC Maccabi Games and his soccer team won the bronze medal! Heilicher is proud, and he talks a little about the Maccabi Games below.
Last week, Heilicher 8th graders walked across the stage to receive their diplomas as a certificate of graduation from the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School. While staff and faculty are sad to see these intellectual and young leaders leave, they are very much excited for the impact they will have on the future. We wish them the best of luck and would like to share a letter from one of the Graduates. We could not have said it better, thank you Nina for your kind and empowering words.
A few months ago, recent Brandeis University graduate, Abby Kirshbaum, reached out to the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School to bring back her eighth grade graduating class of 2008 for a reunion. On Friday, June 3, the graduating class spent the afternoon back at Heilicher sharing memories of their time as students and providing words of wisdom to this year's seventh and eighth graders. It was a pleasure to have past Heilicher students on the campus, and this is a tradition we hope to continue for years to come.
These are but a few of the many examples of how HMJDS worked to teach us the value of balance and how we might strive to achieve it.
On their last day, Heilicher 6th graders enjoyed visiting the USS Irvin and other exciting Duluth attractions. We can't wait to share all of their photos and experiences they had at this year's 6th grade retreat! Welcome home!
From more hiking, singing songs, visiting a shul and having fun swimming. The sixth graders are enjoying their time at Wolf Ridge! We can't wait to hear about their last day and have them back at school next week!
We've had two stunningly beautiful days here in Finland, MN, home of Wolf Ridge.
Heilicher 6th Graders were extremely busy on their first day at Wolf Ridge. Activity groups became voyageurs and hiked to the top of Marshall Mountain. They are staying busy and excited for another fun and full day ahead!
Please enjoy the 5th and final post of our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.
Passover or Pesah/פסח, is the Jewish Holiday celebrating the Israelites freedom from slavery circa 1250 BCE. The Torah describes Pesah as the Holiday of Matzah/חג המצות and the rabbis call it The Spring Holiday/חג האביב.
Please enjoy part 4 our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.
What can seventh graders accomplish in a single day? Develop leadership skills, cook dinner, play games, plant a community garden bed, learn to diminish bullying, sing, make s'mores, Torah Yoga, singing... It's hard to believe but our seventh grade students packed all of that, and more, into the second annual HMJDS Seventh Grade Retreat.
Please enjoy part 3 of our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.
Please enjoy part 2 of our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.
Please enjoy part 1 of our story about the 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.
Welcome to the new and improved Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School website. Stay updated on current school news, education trends, and jewish rituals.