Israel Education and Engagement

Israel education at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School emanates from our value of Ahavat Yisrael/Love of Israel, defined at our school as an inextricable bond with the Jewish people – past, present, and future. A strong personal and ongoing relationship with Israel: its history, people, and culture. An appreciation for and mastery of Hebrew as the language and voice of the Jewish people.

Israel is infused into the daily rhythms of life and learning at school. Our program, both academic and experiential, is designed to help students forge a strong personal connection with Israel. From JK through 12th grade, students learn about Israel both inside and outside of the classroom. Students learn to speak Hebrew as the language of the Jewish people, meet together with Israeli youth both virtually and in-person, celebrate the rhythms of the Israeli calendar, and explore the rich relationship of the Jewish people to the land of Zion and Israel across time periods. 

Students engage with the rich diversity of cultures that make up contemporary Israeli society, while exploring the depth and nuances of the history of Israel and its place both for the Jewish people and among the nations of the world. This blend of affective and academic learning culminates with the Irene and Daniel Simpkins Senior Capstone Israel Trip, when students spend three months living in Israel and actively engaging as participants in Israeli society. 

Learn more about Israel Education and Engagement in each division


Lower School          Middle School          High School

Irene and Daniel Simpkins Capstone Senior Trip

Following their February graduation, students travel together to Israel, where they spend the semester living, learning, exploring and celebrating together. This three month journey brings to life all that students have studied throughout their years at CESJDS, as they follow the historic footprints of their ancient and modern forbearers and discover the vibrant culture of modern Israel. 

Learn more about the Dan and Irene Simpkins Senior Capstone Israel Trip!


The following resources inform our approach to Israel Education at CESJDS and provide additional information for families and students of various ages to learn about and engage with Israel.

We are grateful for the generous support of the following endowed funds and named programs/positions which enable our work in Israel education and engagement:

  • Jacob Behrman Memorial Fund Scholarship Endowment
  • Sondra and Howard Bender Endowment Fund
  • Dr. Maurice Berger Memorial Fund for Scholarship Endowment
  • Class of 1999 Endowment
  • Decalogue Endowment
  • Jewish National Fund-USA
  • Jacob Heckman Memorial Fund for Scholarship Endowment
  • Edward and Irene Kaplan Endowment
  • Jack Kay Matching Endowment
  • Donna and Ronald Oser Family Endowment
  • Jay M. and Dorothy S. Rosenthal Cultural Arts Endowment
  • Eileen J. and Laurence E. Rubin Memorial Fund for Scholarship Endowment
  • Schonfeld Family Endowment in Memory of Gustav and Miriam Schonfeld z"l
  • Estate of Herschel Shosteck Endowment
  • Irene and Daniel Simpkins Israel Education Fund
  • Smith Challenge Endowment
  • Smith Family Foundation Scholarship Endowment
  • Allen B. Warshaw Endowment