Mazel Tov!

Hillel Academy Principal Anna Smith

Anna Smith, who began Hillel Academy of Greater Dayton’s 2023-24 school year as its interim principal, has been named the Jewish day school’s principal. Anna received her doctorate in educational leadership from Northeastern University and a graduate certificate in Jewish education leadership from Hebrew College. She has taught at Hillel since 2019. Anna was also happy to share the news that beginning with Hillel’s 2024-25 school year, it will offer a half-day pre-K program. “We are offering this in response to the community needs for a part-time Jewish school option for 4-year-olds,” she says. “It’s a wonderful chance for Hillel to introduce Jewish day school education to our youngsters in a more relaxed environment, preparing them to start kindergarten the following year.”

Robin Einzig

Robin Einzig is establishing a nondenominational, multicultural hospice choir for the Dayton area. Carry Me Home: Dayton’s Hospice Choir will join what Robin describes as a large, growing tradition of hospice singing. “Hospice choirs are typically made up of volunteers who want to join in providing comfort and healing to people in the ending stages of life as well as their families,” Robin, a child development specialist, explains. “The choir will rehearse together regularly, though we will generally sing in smaller groups for patients. We will gradually learn and practice a standard repertoire in two to four vocal parts, working on the unique style and blending needed for this kind of work.”

Before moving to Dayton, Robin sang with a hospice choir in the Boston area. Partnering with her to start Dayton’s hospice choir is Rebecca Whismant. The choir will perform songs its members may not know in advance: those special to patients and their families. “We will, in time, be collaborating with local hospice organizations to offer our services free of charge to patients and their families.” Hospice choirs are usually requested by a family member. The choir comes in a small group to sing for the patient. “Most of the people we will sing for will be in their homes, and sometimes in their rooms at assisted living facilities,” Robin says.

Carry Me Home will hold two informational meetings: 3 p.m., Saturday, April 13 at the Kettering-Moraine Branch, Dayton Metro Library, 3496 Far Hills Ave.; and 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 16 at the Northwest Branch, Dayton Metro Library, 2410 Philadelphia Dr., Dayton. Each meeting will include a screening of the 55-minute documentary, Holding Our Own: Embracing the End of Life, featuring the Hallowell Singers, a hospice choir from Vermont. For details, email Robin at


Melinda Doner and Helene Gordon take a look at the 250 daffodils that bloomed in early March at the Boonshoft Center for Jewish Culture and Education in Centerville. The new garden area marks the Dayton Yom Hashoah Committee’s participation in the Worldwide Daffodil Project, which is developing a global living Holocaust memorial by planting 1.5 million daffodils in memory of the children who perished in the Holocaust, and to support children in humanitarian crises in the world today. Doner and Gordon are local chairs of the Daffodil Project.

The Dayton Jewish Chorale, under the direction of Beth Abraham Synagogue’s Cantor Andrea Raizen (R), sang Sim Shalom and Hinei Mah Tov as part of the 2nd Annual Interfaith Community Concert: Praise, Hope Sing, held March 10 at Beavercreek High School. The chorale joined the five other choirs on the program — about 230 singers — to perform Let There Be Peace on Earth for the finale.

Hadassah blankets Israeli babies with comfort

Theda Wagner (L) and Claudia Birch make blankets. Photo by Vicki Kemmerer.

Dayton Hadassah members came together at One Lincoln Park in January and made 19 fleece blankets for babies at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Before the volunteers worked on the blankets, member Judy Schwartzman, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, talked about ways to deal with stress. The Dayton chapter also received a donation of 13 receiving blanket quilts for the project, bringing its total contribution to 32 blankets. Hadassah National President Carol Ann Schwartz, who lives in Cincinnati, delivered the blankets herself to pediatrics department nurses at Hadassah Hospital’s Bloomberg Mother and Child Center. “They feel your love and hugs,” Schwartz conveyed to Dayton Hadassah President Julie Bloom.

Pediatrics nurses show two of the 32 quilts Dayton Hadassah sent to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Photo by Carol Ann Schwartz.


B’nai mitzvah of Ezra Jacobs and Jake Davis

With much gratitude, joy, and happiness, we announce the B’nai Mitzvah of cousins Jake Davis and Ezra Jacobs on April 6 at Beth Jacob Congregation. Jacob Asher Davis is the son of Rich Davis and the late and beloved Susan Jacobs Davis. He is the brother of Joey Davis. He is the grandson of Rachel Jacobs and the late Steven Jacobs of Dayton, and Phyllis Davis and the late Arnold Davis of Florida. Jake attended Hillel Academy of Greater Dayton and now attends The Miami Valley School. Jake plays the drums in The Miami Valley School Jazz Band and plays soccer and tennis.

Ezra Milling Jacobs is the son of Cassandra and Bradley Jacobs. Ezra is the brother of Samantha and Lucie. He is the grandson of Rachel and the late Steven Jacobs of Dayton, Julieann Maduro Milling and Fred Prins of Boca Raton, Fla., and the late John Milling. Ezra attended Hillel Academy of Greater Dayton prior to being a student at The Miami Valley School. He is a member of the middle school basketball, soccer, and tennis teams, and plays guitar in The Miami Valley School Jazz Band. Ezra has enjoyed the past two summers at Camp Wise.

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To read the complete April 2024 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

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