At the core of Hillel Torah is a diverse and talented educational faculty led by our Principal and the Directors of Judaic Studies, General Studies, Early Childhood and Student Services. They also work together with our Directors of Admissions, Business and Development.
Our teaching staff includes more than 80 educators and student services professionals, offering the lowest student-to-teacher ratios of any Orthodox day school in the Chicago area. In addition, Hillel Torah’s shlichim program recruits the best teaching talent from Israel to help foster a love for Israel and the Hebrew language.
Principal: Rabbi Menachem Linzer
Rabbi Menachem Linzer is a graduate of Yeshiva College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Physics, and receiving his Master of Science in Secondary Education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. He received his Smicha from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Prior to being the Principal of Hillel Torah, Rabbi Linzer worked at Ramaz High School in Manhattan, and SAR Academy in Riverdale, NY. He has served as a teacher, the Israel Programs Coordinator and Advisor, the Co-curricular Faculty Advisor, Grade Advisor and the Associate Principal of Judaic Studies.
Rabbi Linzer has brought a strong positive energy to Hillel Torah. There is a new spirit in the school for learning and caring for others, and a deeper appreciation for Israel. His vision of achieving academic excellence in Judaic and Secular studies is readily visible as you walk through Hillel Torah, noticing all the technological resources that have been added, including SmartBoards, SmartTables and an updated Computer Lab. Of special note is Rabbi Linzer’s work in the development of Hillel Torah’s new “Student Services” Department, offering enrichment and support to all of our students.
Director of General Studies: Mr. Ryan Levin
Mr. Ryan Levin is a graduate of The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Rhetoric. Immediately following his undergraduate studies, Mr. Levin pursued and obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University, and later earned a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
Mr. Levin wholeheartedly believes in a student-centered, whole-child approach to teaching and school leadership, and is excited to be joining a school that shares this approach.
Director of Judaic Studies: Mrs. Tamar Friedman
Mrs. Tamar Friedman is a graduate of the Michlalah, Jerusalem College for Women and has a Master of Science in School Administration from Northeastern University in Chicago. Mrs. Friedman participated in many continuing education programs including, the Harvard Principals Institute, WIT- the Web Institute for Teachers at the University of Chicago, and later served as the assistant director of JWIT- the Judaic Web Institute sponsored by Lookstein, Jesna, and the ATT.
Mrs. Friedman has co- authored and submitted for presentation at the American Educational Research Association Conference, a comparative study between John Dewey’s theory of moral education in the practices and principles of Jewish education. She has served as a mentor in the Lookstein Summer Institute for North American Jewish School Administrators at Bar Ilan, and has served as part of the Hillel Torah administration since 1996…after many years of teaching in the school’s Hebrew Department in all grade levels.
Director of Early Childhood: Mrs. Jennifer Wasserman
Mrs. Jennifer Wasserman is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. Immediately following her undergraduate studies at Michigan, Mrs. Wasserman pursued and obtained a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Eastern Michigan University. After moving to Chicago a few years later, Mrs. Wasserman went on to receive an Educational Leadership Type 75 Certificate from DePaul University.
Mrs. Wasserman spent several years teaching kindergarten both in Michigan and for Cook County School District 130 in Illinois. As a teacher in District 130, Mrs. Wasserman was part of a leadership cohort that created a system to help ease the transition for preschoolers advancing into kindergarten. Mrs. Wasserman has experience working at several different camps including serving as the Director of Summer Programs at St. Benedict Preparatory Preschool and the Director of Junior Side at Camp Tamarack in Michigan. For the past three years Mrs. Wasserman has been the Assistant Director at the Heller JCC in the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago.
Mrs. Wasserman is passionate about working with young children, committed to effective early childhood educational programming with strong family partnerships, and is thrilled to be a part of the Hillel Torah team.
Director of Student Services: Mrs. Rivka Varnai
Mrs. Rivka Varnai is a graduate of the Anne M. Blitstein Teachers Institute of the Hebrew Theological College. She received a Bachelors of Arts in Judaic Studies with a second major in General Education and an endorsement in Special Education. Rivka is certified with the Illinois State Board of Education for grades K-9 in Elementary Education with LBS1 endorsement. She went on to receive a Master's of Education in Reading with Reading Specialist Certification for grades K-12 from National Louis University.
Prior to serving as the Student Services Director of Hillel Torah, Rivka worked in South Park School in Deerfield Illinois and Gesher HaTorah Day School in Skokie. She has served as a resource teacher, self- contained special education teacher and primary student services coordinator. Rivka brings the expertise of a specialist to Hillel Torah. She orchestrates the Student Services Department by serving as a liaison with parents, teachers and outside professionals to meet the needs of all of our students. Some of the services include speech therapy through the district, referrals for therapy and evaluations, Title 1, resource support, enrichment, social work and occupational therapy.