May 19, 2024
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May 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Teaneck Sixth Grader ‘Sweetens’ Family Parsha Discussions

Hillel Kornwasser, a creative 12 year old from Teaneck, in sixth grade at RYNJ, started his own business a year ago called “Parsha Sweets.” Parsha Sweets is a fun, innovative and unique way to engage children of all ages in the parsha of the week. Every Thursday night and Friday morning, Hillel delivers Parsha Sweets bags, containing candies and a drink that connect and relate back to the parsha, to local families. Each bag also contains a pamphlet explaining how each treat connects to the parsha.

Hillel started the Parsha Sweets business because he wanted to come up with an interactive, hands-on way for kids to discuss the weekly parsha and become engaged at the Shabbat table. The idea for Parsha Sweets came to him on Election Day, when he was stuck at home because of the pandemic. The idea for the start-up business motivated Hillel to figure out how to create and manage a small business, and which tools he needed to be successful. It should come as no surprise that Hillel wants to become a businessman when he grows up.

Every week, Hillel spends roughly eight hours preparing the many Parsha Sweets bags. Hillel starts off by carefully reviewing the parsha for the upcoming week and trying to figure out its main topics. He then delves into the details of the parsha, comes up with a list of ideas for treats and orders them. Hillel prepares all of the bags and explanation sheets and delivers them, while also spreading the word about Parsha Sweets.

Hillel thinks about what kids will like the best, and what is the most relatable, when connecting the treats to the parsha. For example, one week there was blood in the parsha, so Hillel chose red Gatorade as the drink. Another week, he added onion rings, because the parsha mentioned rings. Most of the snacks are pareve, but if one of the treats is dairy, it will come with a big “warning sign.”

Last Shabbat was Parsha Sweets’ “anniversary,” and the first time Hillel had to create a second group of bags for a parsha. Instead of using the same ideas, treats and pamphlets as last year, Hillel generated new ideas and snacks, and produced a new description page.

Every 10 weeks, Hillel donates his earnings to a charity organization. The last charity Hillel donated to was i-Shine, an after school program connected to Chai Lifeline, which “pairs young participants with high school-aged mentors and counselors who provide homework assistance and tutoring, play games and engage in sports and other recreational activities.” The program is designed to help kids who have a tough time at home, or are living with illness or loss in their families. Hillel’s next charity is yet to be determined.

Hillel successfully balances homework with his business, and knows this time management skill will be very useful later on in life.

Hillel sells each Parsha Sweets bag for $7, to approximately 100 customers every week. To spread the word, Hillel and his parents post to Facebook and TeaneckShuls, email the customers on Hillel’s list, and use word of mouth. For Hillel, there is no real end goal, but he is open to expanding. If other young adults are interested in partnering with him, he would love to hear from them!

Hillel is charming and even offered me a Parsha Sweets bag after our interview. I live too far away for a delivery, so I asked for the Parsha Sweets pamphlet instead. The detail, images, color and descriptions in the Parsha Sweets sheets is amazing.

Some customer praises:

“We’ve already tried to make parsha fun, but Parsha Sweets adds a creative and exciting element that truly leaves an impression. Our family age ranges from 4 to 74 and it’s a highlight of everyone’s Shabbat meal. We’ve attempted to fill in while Parsha Sweets was on break, but it just made it clear how much work Hillel puts into it. We’re so impressed with him and are always happy to support his business.”- Allison Ogorek.

“Parsha Sweets makes our parsha discussions so exciting and fun! Thank you so much! – S. Sladowsky.

“Parsha Sweets is the highlight of our Shabbat! My kids love the candy, and it facilitates a fun, engaging conversation about the parsha. The bags are always different, have candy that kids like, and the links to the parsha are incredibly creative. We highly recommend Parsha Sweets! – Yocheved Roer.

You can get your Parsha Sweets by contacting Hillel @[email protected].

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