Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit students sent birthday cards to celebrate the 100th birthday of Morris Lebow who is a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue.

Featured photo courtesy of Goldhaber family

By Gabriella Burman, Special to the Jewish News

Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit students joined day school peers nationwide to celebrate the 100th birthday of Morris Lebow, a member of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, where one year ago a gunman killed 11 people during Shabbat services in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

The students helped Lebow turn his centenary into a joyous celebration for him and the city of Pittsburgh, sending hundreds of cards to mark the occasion.

Hillel’s participation was facilitated by parent Lou Goldhaber, who grew up in Pittsburgh and has known Lebow, affectionately called “Moe,” all his life. The 1-2 Learning Community, where Lou and Amye Goldhaber’s son, Ray, is a first grader, and the ECC Twees class, where their daughter, Stevie, is a student, combined to send more than 90 cards to Lebow, who called Hillel shortly thereafter to thank students for “touching my heart.”

“Kiss all their heads for me,” he said tearfully.

The timing of Lebow’s Nov. 16 birthday nearly coincided with National Kindness Day (Nov. 13), and also gave students a way to extend acts of kindness outside of Hillel, where they have been learning about family and community.

“By sending Moe cards, our students were able to internalize that family can be made up of people we are not necessarily related to, but strongly connected to,” Hillel teacher Jodi Tepper said.

“Hillel dove in on this initiative and were active participants,” said Lou Goldhaber of Huntington Woods. “This small act of kindness truly warms my heart, and afforded Moe the privilege of having his 100th birthday be celebratory and special. Students should be proud of what they did for Moe, and teachers should be proud of the example they set in driving this project.”


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