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Annual Gala/Honorees

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  • Dream Maker Award Honorees - Sheri and David Jaffa

    Sheri and David Jaffa

    Dream Maker Award honorees Sheri and David Jaffa have been stalwart supporters of Hillel Day School for decades, beginning with their decision to enroll their daughters, Eden (class of 1988), and Sabrina (class of 1991) in the 1980s. 
     
    “We wanted a good education for them - after the first year, we were hooked!” Sheri recalls. “It was a godsend to give them a strong secular and Jewish education that would teach them about their heritage, how to be mensches, and to prepare them for the next stage of their education. That’s the way it was then, and that’s the way it is now.”
     
    The couple are now proud Hillel grandparents to Skylar Elbinger (class of 2018), Jadyn Kaufman (class of 2019), Zachary Elbinger (seventh grade) Kendall Kaufman (seventh grade), and Reese Kaufman (fifth grade), and their devotion to Hillel continues unabated. In addition to making Hillel central to their philanthropic efforts, on numerous occasions Sheri answers the call to volunteer, and both Sheri and David frequently attend events, from specific grade programs to the Annual Gala, often accompanied by their children and sons-in-law, Brian Kaufman, and Kevin Elbinger. 
     
    The couple’s profound impact on the Jewish community extends beyond Hillel. They have been named JCC Pillars of Light for their generous support of a multitude of programs for seniors, children with special needs, the arts, and world-class cultural events. At Michigan State University Hillel, the Sheri and David Jaffa Sunday Brunch Endowment Fund sponsors a monthly brunch that feeds 3,500 students each year. 
     
    Together, the couple also substantially support the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and the Jewish National Fund, and individually, they volunteer as well. David, a certified financial planner, serves as a board member of the American Friends of the Technion and is a former lodge president of B’nai Brith. For his volunteerism, David was the 2019 recipient of the Quality of Life Award from Cetera Advisor Networks, recognizing leadership in community service.
     
    Sheri, a former teacher in Oak Park Schools, is a lifetime member of Hadassah, as well as active in American ORT, and American Friends of the IDF. 
     
    The couple, who make their spiritual home at Temple Israel, say their greatest joy is found in their close-knit family, and they are exemplary role models for their enthusiastic and steadfast support of our school, and our larger Jewish community. We are thrilled to bestow upon them the 2020 Dream Maker Award. May they continue to go from strength to strength. 
     

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  • Rabbi Jacob E. Segal (z"l) Award Honorees - The Yolanda and David Tisdale Family

    The Yolanda and David Tisdale Family

    Our tradition teaches that the descendants of the righteous will be blessed. In that spirit, all of us at Hillel Day School are blessed by the deeds of the Yolanda and David Tisdale Family, this year’s Rabbi Jacob E. Segal z”l Award honorees.

    For 40 years, the family has been affiliated with Hillel, and has contributed to the long-term stability and longevity of the institution. Yolanda and David began as parents: they sent daughters Risa Kirschner (class of 1988) and Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny (class of 1991) to Hillel, and they in turn, enrolled their children. Risa’s daughter Allison VanDerAue graduated in 2015; Jennifer’s children Asher (second grade) and Bayla (fourth grade) Kaluzny are current students.

    While Risa and Jennifer were students, David, the founder of a commercial real estate firm, served on the Board of Trustees, and as PTO president, improving the operation of the school on several fronts. Yolanda, a former elementary school teacher, was a near constant presence as a volunteer.

    In addition to his successful career in real estate, David is the CEO of Temple Israel; he and Yolanda, who were both born and raised in Detroit, and who are graduates of Mumford High School, have been affiliated with the temple for 45 years. David has served as the chair of the Temple Israel religious school, and has served on the Board of Overseers of Hebrew Union College, and on the Board of Trustees for the Union of Reform Judaism. Yolanda taught Sunday school and nursery school at Temple Israel for many years, and actively volunteers for the temple today, as well as for the Friendship Circle, and, in the words of her children, “is an exceptional mother and grandmother.”

    The couple says that while Hillel looks much different than it did 30 years ago, the loving environment remains. “Hillel is small enough to be intimate, yet large enough for the curriculum to be advanced,” David said. “The teachers have always cared about the students, helping them get to high school, and giving them lots of room for personal growth and exploration.”

    Yolanda and David are proud that Risa, Jennifer, and Allison, are graduates who are confident in and connected to their faith. Risa, who resides in Farmington Hills, with her husband, neurologist Dr. Brian Kirschner, is the author of Feel Better, Mommy, a children’s book she wrote after recovering from heart failure at age 29, about her ordeal as a patient and young mother at the same time, and her daughter’s experience of that period in her life. Risa’s tribulation led her to become an advocate for patient and family-centered care, and she has served on the executive committee of the Frankel Cardiovascular Center at the University of Michigan.

    Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny, who was named a Hillel Day School Distinguished Alumna in 2017, lives in West Bloomfield with her husband Ryan Kaluzny, an assistant city attorney for the City of Royal Oak, and their children Asher, and Bayla. They are also the proud parents of Sage Ray z”l. Jennifer received rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College in 2004, and has since served as a rabbi at Temple Israel. She is also a rabbi at Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network, and in 2019 edited Temple Israel’s new prayerbook for those sitting shiva, titled Nachamu, Nachamu Ami, Be Comforted, Be Comforted My People. She also recently returned from a trip to the U.S. – Mexico border as part of a human right delegation to observe U.S. immigration policies.

    The Tisdales are proud of their daughters’ achievements, and of their decisions to send their own children to Hillel. “We’re grateful and proud that school was such a positive experience for them that they wanted to give a Hillel education to their children,” Yolanda said.

    For their unshakable faith in Hillel, and the continuity of the Jewish people, we are thrilled to bestow upon the Yolanda and David Tisdale Family this year’s Rabbi Jacob E. Segal z”l Award.
    • State Senator Jeremy Moss

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  • Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

    State Senator Jeremy Moss (Class of 2000)

    Sen. Jeremy Moss is serving his first term representing the 11th State Senate District in southern Oakland County.

    Jeremy grew up in Southfield and attended Michigan State University. He participated in several student-led humanitarian aid missions in the US and around the globe, twice traveling to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to assist with cleanup efforts and spending time abroad in Uruguay to build housing in among the most impoverished areas of South America.

    As an MSU student, Jeremy studied in South Africa, completing a program on race relations. While there, he helped to build and establish Vumundzuku Bya-Vana Children’s Center in the township of Zonkizizwe to assist at-risk children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. He returned home to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an additional major in political science and graduated from MSU with high honors.

    In 2011, Jeremy successfully ran for a seat on the Southfield City Council and became the youngest-ever elected official in the city’s history at age 25. Jeremy worked with his colleagues on City Council on policies that led to record investment in local road construction and consecutive years of declining crime.

    Jeremy was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2014 and served as the Democratic Whip. As an advocate for ethics and accountability, he worked across the aisle to pass ten bills in the House that would open up government records to public scrutiny by subjecting the governor’s office and state legislature to the principles of the Freedom of Information Act.

    He is continuing those efforts in the State Senate while also working to restore the harsh cuts to local governments and school districts that have impacted the lives of working families, retirees and students.

    Jeremy is currently a board member of Congregation Beth Ahm in Oakland County and an advisory board member of the Martin Luther King Task Force in Southfield.

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Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit
32200 Middlebelt Road | Farmington Hills, MI 48334

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