CESJDS Links Blog

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

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Principals Perspective (May 2022) - Dr. Lisa Vardi
Dr. Lisa Vardi

Ready for the Real World? headlines the latest issue of an educational leadership journal that I read monthly. The catchy title piqued my curiosity. The journal did not disappoint! 

All writers in this month’s volume agree that high schools must reimagine education. We must  equip students with skills, not just information, to prepare them to thrive in a world that is unpredictable and ever changing.

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Principals Perspective (April 2022) - Rabbi Matthew Bellas
Rabbi Matthew Bellas

How time flies…It’s remarkable to think that it has been six years since the Lower School reintroduced Israeli Dance into the school program. It was in the spring of 2015 that I attended my first Israeli Dance Festival DC and asked myself, “Why doesn’t JDS have a dance group participating in this amazing community event?” I learned that at some point in the past we had had one, but that it faded away many years before. As a school in which Israel education plays a crucial role and for which Ahavat Yisra-el/Love of Israel is one of our Core Values, I was committed to bringing an essential element of modern Israeli culture and history back into our program for our students and community and we were back and the Festival the very next year!

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Reflections on "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" with 11th Grade English
Dr. Tom Worden, David Bruce Smith High School English Department Chair

We could have heard a pin drop. Zooming into our 11th-grade English class to relate his experience performing the role of Levee in a recent production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, our visiting artist Ronald Emile offered a window into the life of his character. Every day of Levee’s life, Mr. Emile explained, he fought a battle on two fronts: one against those who had and continue to mistreat him and his family, and one against himself in his struggle to actualize his dreams as a musician. That day in the studio, Mr. Emile went on to say, when Levee explodes in a fit of rage, the consequences of which were unimaginable until that moment, he loses both battles. The shift in the atmosphere of our classroom  at that moment was palpable. A new understanding began to take shape of what it was like to experience the societal challenges that followed Levee on a daily basis.

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Principals Perspective (March 2022) - Dr. Lisa Vardi
Dr. Lisa Vardi and Sue Rexford

One of the many benefits of a CESJDS high school education is the exceptional support our College Guidance team provides to our students. The team has deliberately and thoughtfully designed a college counseling process that provides students and families with individual attention and frequent communication including evening programs, one-on-one conferences, and monthly newsletters.   

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Principals Perspective (March 2022) - Dr. Eliana Lipsky
Dr. Eliana Lipsky

Back in October, as our students were preparing for the Lehman Day of Service, my own professional and personal CESJDS worlds were colliding. The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” has been on my mind since October began, when I learned on the very first October weekend that my four boys (Gurim, 1st, and 3rd grade students), would need to be quarantined due to COVID-19.

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Principals Perspective (February 2022) - Dr. Lisa Vardi
Laurie Ehrlich

CESJDS graduated 94 students on February 13th, 2022 at Washington Hebrew Congregation in a ceremony marked by storytelling, a call to action and the traditional rituals usually found at graduations: students proudly strutting across the stage, in this case a bima, to the cheers of their loved ones and the tossing of their caps high into the air.

Read More about Principals Perspective (February 2022) - Dr. Lisa Vardi
Faculty Remarks - Siyyum 2022
Daniela Munteanu

In the position of the messenger from the faculty, I was supposed to share advice and wisdom with you…but I am an obsolete human being who was not pacified by the internet (only by the TV and even that was restricted in the country from where I come).  I do not worship TikTok characters, do not have an Instagram account and refuse to “connect” through Facebook. So, telling you what to do, is like waking up the dead of the French Revolution to teach me on how best to live my life. 

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Dean of Students Address - Graduation 2022
Roz Landy

When you entered high school in the fall of 2018, you entered with more enthusiasm and dedication than I had seen in many years. You may have been the newest members of the high school, but you took the building by storm! You sold flowers in the carpool lane to spread cheer for Shabbat, you hosted a 9th grade BBQ where you gave back to the community through your collections of toiletries and food and making doggie toys….all while building grade community and having fun.

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Alumni Speaker Remarks - Graduation 2022
Bryan Knapp '17

First, parents – congrats. You chose a school with academic excellence and Jewish values -- a commitment that will pay long term and short-term benefits. Long term: a love of learning and Judaism. Short term: no football injuries.

For teachers and administrators – thank you. In the face of COVID – with every reason to flounder – you prepared this class as well as you did mine.

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