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 Student Services Department, offering enrichment and support to all of our students.
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.
Ms. Miriam Kopelow is a graduate of The University of Wisconsin – Madison where she received her Bachelors in Elementary Education. She received her Masters in Leadership for Educational Change from Bank Street College in New York City.
After starting her teaching career in Madison, Ms. Kopelow relocated to New York and joined the faculty at Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn, NY. While developing a stellar reputation among students, parents and colleagues as a capable and seasoned progressive educator, Ms. Kopelow emerged as a leader. She has a proven track record as a successful teacher mentor, curriculum evaluator and designer, team leader and has also presented at numerous national education conferences. Additionally, Ms. Kopelow is a certified yoga teacher, specializing in wellness techniques for youth and for adults who work within education. Ms. Kopelow was born in Canada, raised in Chicago and excited to have returned to the area with her family to begin working at Hillel Torah.
Ms. Kopelow is dedicated to progressive education, child-centered practices, and experiential learning. She is inspired by the passion of the Hillel Torah staff and delighted to join the fantastic community.
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.
Mrs. Susan Nesher is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, holding a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. Following her undergraduate studies, Mrs. Nesher pursued and obtained a Master of Science Degree from Loyola University of Chicago, and later earned a Certification of Advanced Study, specializing in reading, from National Louis University.
Prior to her promotion to Director of Student Services, Mrs. Nesher worked as the Student Services Coordinator in the Middle School. Her responsibilities included developing and implementing programs for students needing academic, social/emotional, ELL support and enrichment. Before joining the Hillel Torah team, Mrs. Nesher worked in Highland Park and Bensonville schools providing strategic intervention and reading development for struggling learners. In addition, Mrs. Nesher is an accomplished and innovative leader with over twenty years of management experience in the non-profit sector.
Mrs. Nesher is thrilled to be part of the Hillel Torah community and is passionate about the whole-child approach to education. She believes that the students we often try to inspire are the ones that end up inspiring us.
Mrs. Margot Parnass was born into Hillel Torah. Her parents, Rabbi Bruckenstein and Rachel z”l set the foundation for the school, with Rabbi Bruckenstein as the founding Principal. Margot is a graduate of Hillel Torah (‘75), Ida Crown Jewish Academy (‘79) and University of Illinois and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Margot comes from a long line of Jewish scholars and educators with a strong commitment to Torah education and academic excellence. Margot began her career being involved with the Jewish community working as the Director of the Chicago Jewish Youth Council. She coordinated the Greater Chicago Walk with Israel and as part of the Metro Teen Department, she was the Producer/Director of Teen Cable Television where she taught high school students how to produce, direct and act in local productions. Margot continued producing and directing videos for private events and nonprofit organizations, leading her to assist Hillel Torah with their promotional videos.
Her involvement at the school continued to grow when she became a Hillel Torah parent and became involved in various school events and functions. Margot returned to teaching students at Hillel Torah as a kindergarten assistant teacher in 2001.
Having been a former student, parent and teacher Margot has a unique perspective and a keen ability to share her experiences with everyone she greets as Hillel Torah’s Director of Admissions and Marketing. Her passion and commitment to Hillel Torah have been instrumental to the growth and success of the school.
Ed Plotkin fell in love with Hillel Torah when his daughter began Kindergarten 35 years ago, joined by her brother and sister. He has been Board President twice, and involved with the additions to the school and the purchase of the building. Mr. Plotkin has a legal background and has been involved in fundraising projects including the development of Universal Studios in Orlando.
As the Director of Development for the past six years, Mr. Plotkin is proud of the increased funds he raised that benefit all HT students. As a grandparent of Hillel Torah, it was also easy for him to establish our Grandparents’ Club which allows grandparents the opportunity of being part of their grandchild’s learning experience at Hillel Torah.
When Mr. Plotkin reaches out for donations to the school, it is because he believes in Hillel Torah and the wonderful education and love of Israel that it offers the students. The money raised will ensure that no child will be turned away for financial reasons, and that Hillel Torah will be here for future generations of students.
Dov Shandalov began his career at Hillel Torah 33 years ago, at the age of 22. After graduating from Northeastern Illinois University and DePaul University with a BA in Business Administration, Mr. Shandalov assumed the position of Hillel Torah’s Business Administrator, a position he continues to hold today. He has truly enjoyed watching thousands of Hillel Torah children walk down the halls, and gets particular pleasure from seeing HT parents, who he first knew as HT students, walk their children into Hillel Torah.
Mr. Shandalov feels blessed to have had all three of his daughters attend Hillel Torah and that he had a front row seat to watch them grow each and every day. In addition, Mr. Shandalov’s wife is an assistant teacher in our early childhood department, making it a real family affair. When he’s not in school, he can be found visiting his children on both coasts of the country and rooting on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Bachelors, General and Special Education (Blitstein Institute of Hebrew Theological College)
I made actual homework for my friends when we played “school” as kids.
Bachelors, Early Childhood Education (Stern College for Women)
Masters, Early Childhood Education (Bank Street)
Nothing! There is so much for the children to touch and to learn through exploration… Actually, a first aid kit might come in handy and music for an epic dance party.
Bachelors, Finance (Yeshiva University)
Masters, Adolescent Education (St. Johns University)
4th Math, 5th Math, 7th Math, 8th Math
I get to laugh.
Bachelors, Educational Management (Ben Gurion University)
Masters, Public Policy and Management (Ben Gurion University)
6th Lashon, 7th Lashon, 8th Lashon, 7th Grade Girls’ Advisor
There is always a new and exciting project or program to do!
Bachelors, Marketing (Sy Syms School of Business)
Masters, Business Administration (SUNY New Paltz)
Monsey Ir Hakodesh
I was a tomboy growing up and am still a bit of a daredevil, having jumped off a cliff and out of an airplane.
Bachelors, Communications (University of Illinois)
Masters, Secondary Education (National Louis University)
6th Social Studies, 7th Language Arts, 8th Language Arts
Everyone can learn, it’s my job to figure out how.
I’d want the arm so I could grade papers, record the grades, and file them all at the same time!
Bachelors, Psychology (Queens College)
Masters, Jewish Education (Azrieli Graduate School)
7th Navi/Dinim/Chumash, 8th Chumash
We had teacher-student switch day in 11th grade for Purim and I taught a class to my peers. I then realized I loved teaching.
Bachelors, Psychology (Yeshiva University)
Masters, Jewish Education (Azrieli Graduate School)
Masters, Industrial Organizational Psychology (Roosevelt University)
Masters, Business Administration (Roosevelt University)
5th Mishna, 6th Chumash, 7th Navi/Dinim, 8th Gemara
I felt the care, warmth and love of my own teachers when I was in school.