In this document, Hillel describes its identity as a traditional Jewish community day school that serves one of the nation’s most diverse, dynamic Jewish communities.
Hillel educates students with the underlying premise of Torah Mishamayim: the belief in one G-D who created the world and gave the Jewish people the Torah at Sinai, and who upholds a constant presence in the world. Hillel’s Judaic education is based on the Thirteen Principals of Faith formulated by the Rambam which incorporate such tenets as the transcendence of G-D, the oneness of G-D, that there is no other Torah, the concepts of reward and punishment and the coming of Moshiach.
From PK-T through Grade12, Hillel introduces to students the concept of Torah with worldly knowledge. This is the foundation of the Jewish community day school model. Torah knowledge, coupled with general knowledge, will guide students through the modern world in which they live. The Hillel program is based upon the following pillars:
- Gimilut Chassadim/Charity
One of Hillel’s key objectives is to instill in students a deep knowledge, understanding and ability to analyze the Torah in order to find within it practical everyday lessons. These include the appreciation of such basic concepts as pride versus humility, materialism versus spirituality, lashon hara (tale bearing) versus productive speech, all of which students may identify with as conventional norms.
At the same time, Hillel shows students how the Torah is a practical guide for all of life’s choices. From childhood through adulthood, it supports people in their roles of child, sibling, parent, spouse, as well as school roles of student, teacher and administrator. It even applies to interactions of the modern business world. Hillel students learn to value the Torah in its entirety. Through its stories, historical information, philosophical thought and Hallachic guidelines, the Torah will be viewed as a Holy Book life. As the sages teach, “Learn it and learn it, for everything is in it.” (Avot 5/26)
Through the process of individual and communal prayer, Hillel guides students to understand the significance, meaning, and process of prayer as it is described in the Code of Jewish law.
Gimilut Chassadim/Acts of Kindness
The importance of caring for and taking care of all other creations on G-D’s earth - starting with those who are close - is incorporated throughout the Hillel program. This includes general concepts of equity, love and gratitude.
Building upon these pillars, Hillel believes it is essential that students develop an understanding of and appreciation for all Mitzvot, as they are interpreted by Orthodox sages. These Mitzvot are divided into the following categories:
- Testimonials of past heritage
- Laws that guide a civil society
- Mitzvot that strengthen connection to G-D
Hillel provides students with opportunities to practice these Mitzvot based on the perspective they have been taught. With that, all curricula are taught in co-educational classrooms, emphasizing the vital role that both men and women share within Judaism.
As link in the chain, Hillel students are taught to value their heritage and History with the realization that it is now their turn to write the next chapter of Jewish history. The State of Israel is that tangible connection between memories of the past and modern lives today. Thus, Hillel demonstrates a love for Israel and passionate Zionism as integral parts of Judaism.
Hebrew language plays a vital role in the Hillel experience. Ivrit is taught for the purpose of studying the written and oral Torah, as well as for modern communication with Jews in Israel and those who come from diverse communities around the world. Hebrew serves as a window that exposes students to contemporary Israeli culture and society.
As a Jewish community day school, Hillel embraces all Jewish students who wish to attend, with the understanding that they may enroll with various levels of knowledge and skills. Aware of students’ many levels and facets of observance, the school does not downplay or overlook anyone’s religious feelings or practice. Rather, the school respects, values and celebrates its diversity while promoting and teaching the Judaic philosophy described in this document. Hillel encourages righteousness, not self-righteousness. Hillel is committed to provide every enrolled student with the opportunity to learn in a way that empowers him or her to reach their maximum potential.
Preserving continuity, Hillel graduates knowledgeable, responsible young adults with a deep sense of identity, pride and commitment to Judaism, the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Students who think Jewishly and know how to act Jewishly grow from Hillel’s meaningful balance of academic, religious and cultural experiences. It is this comprehensive Jewish education built upon that foundation of Torah that ultimately enables the next generation to consider Judaism as more than a religion of theory, but as a practical way of life.