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It might be spring, but parents of pre-K students are already thinking about the fall. Families are registering their children for the next school year and in some cases, submitting applications for private schools. As children approach their 5-year-old milestone birthday, many parents wonder, “Is my child ready for kindergarten?”

Epstein Hillel School has hired Halie Pica as the lead teacher for the new pre-K program at EHS, which will open in September 2024. In this role, Pica will help plan and implement an innovative curriculum that weaves pre-kindergarten experiential learning and academic milestones with joyful childhood discovery and exploration. Pica is currently a first grade co-teacher at Epstein Hillel School, where she is known for her compassion, creativity, and the ability to nurture the potential in every child.

On Thursday, Jan. 4, Epstein Hillel School held its first Mitzvah Day in memory of Arthur J. Epstein, z”l, the namesake of the school. During his life, Arthur made it a priority to help people and to encourage others to help as well. During the day’s opening assembly, Head of School Amy Gold spoke to the students. “Arthur often said, ‘People don’t know how good they will feel when they give.’ I want you to know that feeling. I also want you to truly know who Arthur was and why our school is named after him. I want us to honor his memory by doing good deeds in our community, just as he would have done.”

Late in the evening of Oct. 6, Ori Baruch called his parents from his Boston apartment – as he usually does – to catch them as they were waking up in Israel. This night, however, was different. As he made the call, Baruch – who’s in his third year of teaching music at Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead – saw the news about Hamas terrorists invading Israel.

On Dec.10, approximately 175 people gathered in Marblehead for a charity walk to raise money for Kibbutz Nahal Oz, a community near the Gaza Strip that was targeted by the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7. Sponsored by Epstein Hillel School, the walk began at Devereux Beach and continued in a 1.5-mile loop around Marblehead Neck. Walkers of all ages included current EHS families, alumni families, members of the North Shore Jewish community, and supporters from around Greater Boston.

Despite being an ocean apart, one school in town has not let that deter it from helping families in need during a time of war. Since the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October, Epstein Hillel School has been taking in students and families from war-torn parts of Israel, and is doing what it can to make them feel welcome in a new environment.

For many decades, Barbara and Alan Sidman have championed programs and organizations on the North Shore, especially those that focus on tikkun olam and social responsibility. They are cofounders and cochairs of Tzedek LaKol, the racial and social justice committee at Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott. They also are active supporters and volunteers with Keshet, My Brother’s Table, and Epstein Hillel School, where Barbara was a kindergarten teacher for 30 years and Alan chaired the board of directors.

In the middle of the night on Oct. 7, Rebecca, a grandmother who lives in Swampscott, got a call from her daughter in Israel. “Something is very wrong,” her daughter said.

A pair of ceremonies took place in town Monday morning to honor and remember the lives lost during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on its 22nd anniversary... At Epstein Hillel School, students and faculty came together for a presentation on the events of 9/11 and to see Marblehead Firefighter Todd Burt receive a specialty plaque for his work as a first responder.

Marblehead firefighter Todd Burt choked back tears and called his young son, Noah, to his side as he spoke at a 9/11 program at the Epstein Hillel School this morning.

Epstein Hillel School has hired Rebecca Karen as its director of Enrollment and Community Outreach. In this role, Rebecca will provide leadership, vision, and strategy to continue to grow the school. She will connect with prospective and incoming families and maintain meaningful, collaborative relationships with community partners throughout the North Shore. Rebecca will also spearhead many annual EHS events, including the Fall Festival, the Day of Service, Community STEM Night, and much more.

Epstein Hillel School’s upper school performed three sold-out shows of “Fiddler on the Roof” recently at Marblehead Little Theatre. Under the direction of EHS teachers Leslie Smith-Rosen and Ori Baruch, every student in fifth through eighth grade participated in the play: as actors on stage, assistant directors or as part of the stage crew.

Around 300 people attended Epstein Hillel School’s annual gala on May 7 at Congregation Shirat Hayam. At the event, Head of School Amy Gold was honored with the Dr. Bennett I. Solomon Community Leadership Award, Israeli activist Noa Tishby was the featured speaker, and Israeli musician David Broza performed. The gala was hosted by Karen and David Rosenberg.

As part of Marblehead Beacon’s Teacher Appreciation Week effort, we are highlighting select educators across Marblehead’s schools, focusing on some who were nominated by members of the community. Epstein Hillel teacher Leslie Smith Rosen lives in Marblehead, but her life began in the 1960s in Iran, where she was born.

A new grandparent pottery program has come to Epstein Hillel School. Every Friday for four weeks since March 3, a group of grandparents has come to the school to make pottery, before having snacks with their grandchildren as a way for them to bond.

Mary Clough, the Learning Center specialist at Epstein Hillel School (EHS), has been creating a more inclusive environment for students by providing specialized services to the school’s student population for almost 20 years.

On Dec. 8, Epstein Hillel School hosted its Family STEM Night, an annual event that is open to the community. Over 100 children attended and participated in interactive, hands-on STEM experiments inspired by the theme, Shomrei Adamah (Caring for the Earth).

The North Shore Jewish day school partnered with rehabilitation village ADI to delight residents with sensory-friendly holiday cards and more.

All EHS students and staff participated in service projects that supported the work of nonprofit community partners around the North Shore and Boston. Each grade was visited by a representative from a partner organization who shared that organization’s mission and the challenges facing the people they serve.

...within a year, that number doubled as dozens of Boston-area Jewish families, desperate for in-person education while public schools went virtual, enrolled their children in the Marblehead Jewish day school, which serves kindergarten through eighth grade.

When Amy Gold began as head of school at Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead, she brought with her a vision for how technology could be used to enhance teaching and learning. Now in the seventh year of her tenure, her teachers are not only accustomed to, but fully embrace, using technology to help students learn, teach one another and demonstrate their understanding and creativity.

Developing leadership skills is a significant part of the middle school curriculum. Under the tutelage of our physical education and leadership teacher Lori Goldenberg, students explore what it means to be role models in the community. Middle school students work throughout each term to identify, research and ultimately present and teach students in younger grades about important issues.

“We were thrilled to bring Hanoch back so that our new students and families could have the chance to participate in this immersive and whimsical art experience which teaches many life lessons for children and adults,” said Amy Gold.

“The growth of non-Orthodox day schools actually begins in the 1950s and early 1960s, with the establishment of the Conservative Solomon Schechter network. The Epstein Hillel School (formerly Cohen Hillel Academy) on the North Shore opened in 1955, and Solomon Schechter of Greater Boston began enrolling students in 1961.

Knowing that social media preys on the stoking of emotional and politically charged stories, and also that there is no government oversight of social media and its news sources, Dr. Rachel Fish and Brett Lubarsky gave the students frameworks and tools to help them respond to what they see and hear online. Additionally, students were encouraged to talk with parents and teachers for guidance.

The award, created in 2016 in memory of Adam Madorsky, son of Karen and Jerry Madorsky, recognizes alumni who have continued to pursue social justice in their personal or professional lives. Joshua exemplifies the spirit and intent of the award, which will be presented to him on June 9, 2021, at EHS’s virtual annual meeting.

“With the school’s robust health and safety protocols, there was zero spread of COVID-19 cases to date,” said Head of School Amy Gold. The school opened in the fall with 16 kindergarten students and 26 transfers, with 86 percent of the new students planning to continue to attend even as public schools fully reopen.

“The first day was fabulous,” said Head of School Amy Gold. According to Gold, all of the school’s faculty – nearly 30 – returned. The K-8 school also saw a 58 percent jump in enrollment from last year, from 58 students last spring to 92 students this fall.

I believe that Judaism can speak to all aspects of life, from health, fitness and food, to ethics, philosophy and art, and I look forward to helping students, families, and staff discover a Judaism that is meaningful to them. In the short time that I spent visiting EHS, everyone was so welcoming and couldn’t say enough great things about how special the community is. I am honored to become a part of it and I look forward to embarking upon this new journey.

You can get a lot done if you have 3D printers, robotics kits, laser cutters, and even a kiln all within a few feet of each other. As the Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead begins construction of a new Innovation Center, Head of School Amy Gold looks forward to the many ways that a new state-of-the-art "makerspace" will enhance the students' STEM learning.

Open air tents. Beach-style chairs equipped with arm rests and a place to hold a clipboard and water bottle. And stylish face masks with the Epstein Hillel School logo. That’s just part of the COVID-era back-to-school plan as the Marblehead Jewish day school prepares to reopen its building in September for full time, in-school learning in the midst of a pandemic.

Eleven Jewish day schools from across the religious spectrum are part of a collaborative that formed last March. At that time, before Governor Charlie Baker closed all schools due to the pandemic, the day school leaders decided collectively to close their schools and shift to remote learning. Together, the schools educate more than 2,000 students. Since then, the school heads have spoken weekly in remote conversations with support from Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.

EHS welcomed 39 new students this fall, growing the school by about 70%. Over the summer, EHS upgraded its ventilation systems, redesigned all of its classrooms to meet COVID-19 regulations, and instituted mandatory mask wearing and hand washing. “We also looked at traffic flow patterns - how students enter and exit to reduce the amount of kids in the hallways at one time,” said Head of School Amy Gold.

The award, created in 2016 in memory of Adam Madorsky, son of Karen and Jerry Madorsky, recognizes alumni who have continued to pursue social justice in their personal or professional lives. Jason and Naomi both exemplify the spirit and intent of the award, which will be presented to them on June 9, 2020, at EHS’s virtual annual meeting.

At Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead, every day is spent teaching, and living, the school’s core tenets of potential, identity, curiosity, intellect, compassion and community. The school empowers students to be individuals who are strong in their convictions and committed to helping others with the challenges they face.

Through plenary sessions with professors, facilitated group discussions, and personal reflection, I emerged with a new vision for how to grow our enrollment and how to continue to inspire my talented faculty who believe so deeply in our mission.

Last fall, Glore brought Oscar to Epstein Hillel to become a full-time member of her class, participating in lessons from reading to empathy. And from all reports, the experiment has been a howling success.

At the Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the first grade focuses on fostering intergenerational relationships. Each of the school’s first-graders is paired for the school year with a “grandfriend” — an unrelated older adult connected in some way to the school. The grandfriends, who are in their late 60s and early 70s, come to the classroom every Thursday to participate in discussions and art projects. During the winter, when many grandfriends go to Florida, the students write them letters.

There is scientific evidence to support the notion that shifting one’s thinking from, at its most basic, “I cannot do it” to “I cannot do it yet” will result in more resilient, stronger and all around more successful children. Based on this information, Epstein Hillel has taken steps to embrace the very real concept that sustained effort, even when faced with failure, is a key ingredient to student success and growth. Simply said, 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration.

Established in 2016 by board member Sharon Seeche Rich and her husband, Howard Rich, in memory of her parents, the goal of the initiative is to cultivate an appreciation of theater, music, art and dance, while also increasing self-esteem and confidence by developing students’ skills and experience with public speaking.

Question: What do you get when you take an idea from two Epstein Hillel School (EHS) moms, mix it with CJP funding, two rabbis and the support of six area Jewish organizations? Answer: The first “Shabbat Unplugged: A North Shore Community Shabbaton”! ​

It used to be that families with children enrolled in Jewish day school were a pretty homogenous crowd; two Jewish parents raising Jewish children. At Epstein Hillel there are still plenty of families who fit that bill, but so too are there more than a few who do not. Of all the families currently enrolled, thirty percent are interfaith. Their experiences have been overwhelmingly positive.

This small school overcame multiple challenges and expects a bright future under a strategic partnership between the head of school and business officer, now in their third year of working together. “We both took a risk."

When Beverly resident Connie Krueger retired from her decades-long position as a school librarian in Lynnfield, being back among the bookshelves at Epstein Hillel School was not part of her plan. It wasn’t until a friend told her that EHS was in search of a part-time librarian that she considered coming out of her short-lived retirement. Much to Head of School Amy Gold’s pleasure, Krueger accepted the position. Now in her third year, she has not only grown the school’s library and resources, but also spearheaded the booming Green Initiative at school.

Epstein Hillel School (formerly Cohen Hillel Academy) has experienced a transformation that permeates every aspect of the school. The recent $5 million gift that resulted in the school’s renaming is only one indicator of this tremendous turnaround. How has the 60-plus-year-old community school turned the tide from dwindling enrollment and financial uncertainty to a joyful, forward-thinking community treasure?

Epstein Hillel School Renaming Ceremony