March 25, 2021
Wishing everyone a Happy Passover!
The Passing of a Year, The Crossing of a Sea

Dear Heilicher Community,

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.

This makes me wonder how we should mark one year since we hurriedly packed up our offices and lockers, doled out our computers, and locked the school doors, hunkering down for the relatively sudden emergence of COVID. The pandemic, of course, is not over. Just as our Jewish ancestors did not stop to celebrate in the middle of the parted Red Sea, nor should we prematurely let down our guard or stop working together to get to the other side of this. Vaccines are being distributed, numbers have increased a bit but have remained low enough to keep school’s doors open, and there is hope that we will see a semblance of pre-pandemic life, perhaps at some point this calendar year. 

Recognizing the pandemic is not over, we can also use this upcoming holiday to reflect on the past year. We first remember those who were taken by COVID and those who suffered and continue to suffer its more severe effects. This year has been marked also by the convulsions of social change and unrest, brought about by fractures in our culture and longstanding institutions of inequity, as well as a lack of understanding and empathy for people who look different or live in a different place or adhere to different ideas and ideologies. The epidemic of violence, hate, and inequity, if untended, will most certainly outlive the pandemic of this virus. As we dip karpas in salt water at our seders, we will recall the tears of our ancestors in Egypt, and we may also mourn for those who have experienced and are experiencing suffering and loss due to the virus, as well as the victims of violence and hate.

It also seems appropriate to honor and reflect upon how hard the work of this pandemic has been and how we have worked together to keep our Heilicher community going strong. Eating charoset reminds us of the mortar used by enslaved Israelites in Egypt. This year, may we also consider the hard work of essential workers, including our teachers and other staff, as well as the hard work of our friends, families, and the students of Heilicher that have kept us going strong, even as the pandemic continues. We should be proud of what we’ve accomplished.

As we retell the story of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt, may we consider how significant the coordination of this endeavor must have been, from a logistical and communication standpoint, in light of what we’ve learned so far from adapting to COVID. Perhaps our abstinence from eating leavened foods stems not from an acknowledgement of how little time the Israelites had, but how they were forced to prioritize essential activities during that short decision-making window. In response to COVID, we too acted based on our top priorities and using community values at the core of our choices. With every bite of matzah this Passover, may we reflect on what we have chosen to do and not do, what we have sacrificed, and how amazing it was that our community quickly aligned on key priorities and values as we tackled the crisis together.

Perhaps, in future years, we will mark the 2020 pandemic with some holiday or milestone event requiring detailed preparation that takes more time than we had to prepare for the actual pandemic. But, this year, as we recline at our seder tables, and acknowledge our freedom, may we recline even deeper into our pillowed chairs, allowing ourselves a moment of respite and a moment of reflection and a moment to pause in the midst of a most unexpected and challenging year.

Chag Pesach kasher v’sameach. Have a kosher and happy Passover. And, hopefully, a restful one as well.

Mark Your Calendars!

  • Thursday, March 25 - Last day of Minimester 6
  • Friday, March 26 - Friday April 2, NO SCHOOL, Passover Break
  • Monday, April 5 - Minimester 7 begins
  • Thursday, April 8 - Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Assembly - 8:45-9:15 a.m., Grades 6-8. Parents/grandparents are welcome to participate via Zoom; families who are the descendants of Holocaust survivors will be recognized during the program.
  • Tuesday, April 13 - Parent Virtual Cooking Class with Chef Liz and PTO, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Thank You for Joining Us!

Thank you to our our grandparents and special guests that joined us for the Passover Assembly earlier today. It was wonderful to see everyone's faces via Zoom, and we look forward to being together, in-person, again soon.

CLICK HERE to watch the video that we showed during the assembly highlighting something special from each individual Heilicher class. Our students loved filming these snapshots of Heilicher life, and it was wonderful to hear the pride in their voices!

Count the Omer with Us!

Each night, beginning on the second night of Pesach (which Sunday, March 28, this year), Jews throughout time have counted each night for 49 nights, until we reach the holiday of Shavuot (which begins Sunday, May 16, this year). You can read about many customs related to the Omer in this article

Treat yourself to a spiritual counting during this season of the Omer. You may be counting towards something such as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the birth of a baby, a special birthday. You may be counting down towards something, such as when camp begins, or when you’re visiting family you haven’t seen during the pandemic. Or you might be counting on something, such as the return of warm weather when you can canoe or paddle board or bike. Whatever you are counting, take note of it during the Omer. Here is a chart for counting the Omer. 

Some ideas to chart daily during the Omer:
  • Take a photo of your plants growing.
  • Record yourself playing your instrument every day and notice your improvements.  
  • Collect tzedakah each day and make plans to donate it before Shavuot.
  • Study Torah or Talmud each day.
  • Study something that interests you.
  • Draw or paint each day.

Record what you do each day and email your chart to Wendy Goldberg. These will be shared at Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday, May 14, the Shabbat before Shavuot. Enjoy!
Good Deeds Day 2021

PJ Library Minneapolis, the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School, and Talmud Torah of Minneapolis are partnering again this spring to bring Good Deeds Day to your home!

Families that register will be mailed a new spring-themed Kindness Kit with a focus on environmental justice, anti-racism, and honoring our elders. The kit contents can be completed on your time inside your home. The activities are designed to promote compassion and ignite important discussions with your family.

Half of your registration fee will be donated to PRISM food pantry, JFCS’s neighbor agency. PRISM is committed to responding to the needs of the community during these challenging times. Donations to PRISM help ensure food is available to our most vulnerable neighbors

Virtual Parent-Only Cooking Class with Chef Liz

Save the date - Tuesday, April 13, at 7 p.m. - for a parent-only cooking class. Please join the PTO for a fun night of cooking with our very own Chef Liz. We will be sending the recipes out beforehand so you can purchase the ingredients and cook right alongside of her. It is sure to be a fun and delicious night! Please RSVP to Ali Berdass by Tuesday, April 6, so we can send you the grocery list and zoom link.
Mindy and Dan Ribnick Family Tuition Grant for Community Volunteers

Due to the generosity of Heilicher alumni parents Mindy and Dan Ribnick, the school will once again offer a tuition grant program for Heilicher students whose parents volunteer in the Jewish community.

The Mindy and Dan Ribnick Family Tuition Grant Program for Community Volunteers makes possible grants of 18% of total tuition (Chai) for approximately four Heilicher students per school year. Any parent or guardian of a newly-enrolled or re-enrolled student(s) for the 2021-2022 school year is invited to submit an application communicating their current Jewish community volunteer roles and involvement.

Grant award decisions will be made by a committee of Heilicher professionals after reviewing all applications. Awards are not financial-need based. Awards are guaranteed for one school year only.

Applications must be completed and submitted by Friday, May 14, 2021 to be considered for the coming grant cycle. ONE application will be accepted per family. Awards will be communicated to recipient families by Friday, May 28, 2021. Awards will be credited against owed tuition for the 2021-2022 school year, and will be in addition to any need-based financial aid awarded.

Please note that 2021-2022 Heilicher Board members and current Heilicher faculty and staff who already receive an employee tuition discount are not eligible for this tuition grant program.
Volunteerism at Jewish schools qualifies, but priority will be given to volunteer roles that are not specifically associated with one's own child's(ren's) classroom(s) or experiences.

Fill out the application here.
Spirit Wear

Make sure to check out our Heilicher online spirit shop. We have a lot of new and exciting items for children and adults. 

A Message from Nurse Katie

If you are considering spring travel, please be especially thoughtful and cautious of your decision as it increases your family’s chance of getting COVID-19. All travel is discouraged, but if you have to travel, please follow all the CDC guidelines.

You do not have to quarantine after domestic travel but mandatory testing and quarantine are required for international travel. Please remember, being vaccinated does not allow you to decrease precautions in any way. As a reminder, please use the Heilicher Communication Center to notify the office of upcoming travel or absences.

While the Covid-19 vaccine is becoming more available, please keep in mind that you are not considered fully vaccinated until 2-4 weeks past vaccination. Please continue to use all the precautions that we have implemented since the beginning of the school year. Please remember the vaccine lessens your symptoms if you get the infection, but it does not keep you from getting Covid-19 or spreading it. 
For more details, please see the CDC website.
2021-22 Heilicher School Year Calendar is Now Available

*Note: 2021-22 school year calendar and school's out program information is subject to change
Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School