A JK-12 pluralistic school that engages students in an exemplary and inspiring general and Jewish education.

CESJDS Links BLog

A guest blog sharing the voices, wisdom, and insights of the CESJDS community.

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Principals Perspective (June) - Rabbi Matthew Bellas
Rabbi Matthew Bellas

Unplugging for the Summer: The first year I went to sleepaway camp was before my third grade year and I really didn’t know what exactly to expect.  I knew that I was going to a Jewish overnight camp somewhere near Seattle, WA, that it would take about five hours to get there by bus, and that there would be lots and lots of different outdoor activities for me to enjoy all day long.  While I was a very active child in a variety of sports, I also was a big television and movie kid.

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5th Grade Siyyum Address - Rabbi Matthew Bellas
Rabbi Matthew Bellas

Last Thursday night, the Greater Washington, DC community experienced a momentous event.  After 43 years as a franchise in the National Hockey League, the Washington Capitals went into Las Vegas, were able to win their 16th playoff game of the year, and earned the right to raise the Stanley Cup and call themselves champions.  As a native born and bred Canadian from Vancouver, watching the final minutes of the game, I was fully aware of what that victorious moment meant for the team, the fans, and this community.  My hometown Vancouver Canucks were founded four years before the Caps in 1970, have reached the Cup Finals three times - all in my lifetime while twice playing a game 7 - but have yet to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup.

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Dvar Torah - Parshat Shelach
Alexis Bell and Rayna Armon (Grade 11)

Welcome to the last KabShab of the year! Congratulations to everyone for completing (or almost completing) another full year of school. 

This week’s parsha is Parashat Shelach. God tells Moshe to send 12 spies to Canaan to scout out the land. They return with an abundance of fruit and report that the land is bountiful. However, ten of the spies also claim that the land is filled with giants and cannot be conquered. Only Caleb and Joshua say that Bnai Yisrael should do as God said and conquer the land. 

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Principal's Perspective (June) - Dr. Marc Lindner
Dr. Marc Lindner

Have you ever worked hard to solve a problem, struggled and persisted mightily, only to have a  solution arise when you diverted your attention away from the problem? Or have you ever worked on a piece of writing, reached a point at which you lost your "flow," set the task aside for a while, and then returned to it and made quick progress?  I suspect most of us, if not all of us, have had one or both of these experiences.

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Mentoring Lower School Girls in Coding
Aliza Rabinovitz (Grade 11)

Only twelve percent of engineers are female, according to computerscience.org. Statistics like this are the reason why it’s not just important to bring more women into STEM fields, but to get them excited about it.

The goal of CoderGals, a national organization founded in 2015, is to start this interest young. CoderGals clubs are all-girl environments so that girls can feel confident with themselves and never feel that they are alone in liking computer science. The clubs are also for students of various grades, which fosters bonds between the girls and contributes to the feeling of a powerful female community.

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Principals Perspective (May) - Rabbi Matthew Bellas
Rabbi Matthew Bellas

In my first Principal's Perspective article that appeared during the first term, I wrote about the concept of "Whole Child Education" and how it manifests in our school.  We take seriously the importance of focusing our teaching and learning not only on excellence in academics, but also in the social-emotional, spiritual, and physical domains.

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Principal's Perspective (May) - Dr. Marc Lindner
Dr. Marc Lindner

Last month, with contributions from several of our outstanding faculty, I wrote about the alignment of current CESJDS extracurricular activities with our Portrait of a CESJDS Graduate.  It stands to reason that we think a lot about the education of our students in the present for the sake of their futures, and The Portrait is an inherently forward looking document.

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From student to faculty: Math teacher Robbie Shorr '13 reflects upon his years at CESJDS
Robbie Shorr '13

A lot has changed about CESJDS recently, but I’m going to explain something that has remained constant since my high school days at JDS until my return this year as a math teacher. (And, no, I don’t mean the fantastic cafeteria cookies. That’s an article for another time.)

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Talent: How should we talk to our students about the arts?
Aaron Dunn, Vocal Music Teacher

Arts Chai-lights is fast approaching; the time where all of our students’ arts accomplishments take center stage. It is an evening celebrating arts education and the capacity for creation and artistic innovation within our students. Though once the evening is over, how do we talk about the arts with our students? What do we say when our students show us a piece on which they have been working or after a performance? 

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Courage to Be Part of a Nation
Liliana Lopez

I work at a Jewish organization, Charles E. Smith Life Communities, and on my first day, I felt especially fortunate when I saw mezuzahs in doorposts throughout campus.

I am traveling in Israel with the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School group on the JWRP trip. We arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday. As I walked to my hotel room and saw the mezuzahs in all the rooms, it hit me: I am in Israel!

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Listening to Our Children
Rabbi Adam Raskin

The cover article of the March 5-18 issue of New York Magazine is titled “How to Raise a Boy,” a topic that I was immediately drawn to, since I have one of those creatures living under my roof who I love very much. The author, Will Leitch writes: “Like any parent, I would do anything for my children, and like any parent...I want my kids to have a better life than I did. “

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