Ma Koreh?
What’s Happening?
August Newsletter
Welcome to the Newsletter! The Ma Koreh provides a brief overview into "what's happening" at CJDS. This month's issue features:

  • D'var Kesher: Choose to see the Blessings
  • Reopening and Task Force Update
  • Stories of Alumni Creation: Tal Mars
  • Life and Legacy
  • Community Milestones
D’var Kesher from Head of School
Rachel Arcus-Goldberg
August 7, 2020 / Av 17 5780
Deuteronomy 11:10-11:21
D'var Kesher: Choose to see the Blessings
The book of Deuteronomy reminds me of summer camp. I grew up as a camper and then staff member at Camp Ramah in New England, and Shabbat was my favorite part of the summer. I loved the peacefulness of participating in Tefillah next to our beautiful lake, the power of hundreds of voices joining together to sing Kabbalat Shabbat in the grove of trees at the center of camp, and of the bittersweet swell of emotion at each havdalah that brought us closer to the end of the summer. 

Ramah attracted many incredible Rabbi’s and leaders from all over the east coast to be a part of the camp community, and on each Shabbat, they shared their wisdom about the lessons of the weekly Parsha. My favorite is the parsha that will be read next week - Re’eh - that begins with the statement “See, I place before you today a blessing and a curse.” (Deuteronomy 11:26)

Rabbi Shefa Gold reminds us to pay attention to that first word - See! With our eyes wide open, we can look clearly at what is before us and determine the blessing and the curses and make informed decisions. A favorite teacher of mine used to compare this line to the wise maxim in Spiderman that “With great power, comes great responsibility.” We have the power to choose, and with that power we are expected to make responsible choices.

As we work toward reopening CJDS for the 2020-2021 school year, I find myself yearning for the simplicity of the choices that faced me at summer camp all of those years ago. Who should I stand next to in the Havdalah circle? Which table should I sit at for lunch? Instead, I am considering some of the most complex and weighty decisions I’ve ever made. Should we bring all of the students and teachers back to the building for in-person learning? What needs to be in place to preserve the mission and spirit of CJDS through what looks to be a difficult and ever-changing year? 

I feel grateful for the incredible support of the Reopening Task Force, the CJDS Board of Trustees,  the CJDS Faculty and Staff, and the parent body as I have faced all of these questions.

As I read Re’eh through the lens of today’s difficult world, I believe that the challenge in front of us, the power that we are given, is summarized by the 5th Grade Essential Question “How do we respond to the forces outside of us?”  As Rabbi Harold Kushner writes in his book “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “Is there an answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people?...The response would be…to forgive the world for not being perfect, to forgive God for not making a better world, to reach out to the people around us, and to go on living despite it all…no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened.”

We can choose to look at the situation before us as a blessing or as a curse. I choose to see the blessings. How lucky we are that the pandemic has given us more time to spend with our families. How lucky we are to be able to use this time to stand up for racial justice, to advocate for political change. And for CJDS, how lucky we are to be situated on a beautiful, lush campus that will allow us to learn outside - and maybe even share some of those wonderful camp moments with our students. We can embrace the bittersweet emotions, we can learn in the garden, we can even hold Tefillah by the pond. 

Shabbat Shalom,
Reopening and Task Force Update
The beginning of the school year is drawing near, and there is so much going on to get CJDS ready for all of the students to return.
I recorded this video today to show you some highlights. 
As you can see, there is quite a lot of preparation going on to get the building and the academic program ready for our reopening.

In order to make sure that we are truly ready for the safest possible reopening, I have decided to delay the start of school by one week. The soft open (schedule below) will begin on Monday, August 24th and the first full day of school will be on Thursday, August 27th.
Stories of Alumni Creation
Featuring Tal Mars
Tal Mars, a Columbus Jewish Day School alum who graduated from CJDS in 2014, attended Bexley schools, and graduated early to hike the Appalachian Trail. But her plans went awry due to COVID-19.  

"I finished high school a semester early in order to start the Appalachian Trail in April 2020, planning to then begin college after a gap year. Ditching my senior prom to walk across fourteen states sounded like the story I want my future children to admire me for. So my plans to hike the 2,100-mile footpath from Georgia to Maine were pretty much foolproof — or so I thought. As the nothing-but-COVID news notifications amassed on my phone, my heart began to sink; no, I would not be hiking in 2020." (To read Tal's article about her change of plans, click here).
Since Tal's Appalachian Trail plans were cancelled (but trails are safely opening back up!), this July she hiked the 273-mile Long Trail that covers the length of Vermont.

While hiking, Tal worked with Freedom For Immigrants to spread awareness about detention facilities and the poor conditions in which immigrants are incarcerated and to raise money for their National Bail Fund (people will pledge to the miles I hike). This fall, Tal plans to attend Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College with a major in English.
But let's rewind, because Tal has accomplished many feats in her years leading up to her big trail plans. Tal shares: "I'm most proud of the summer programs I attended throughout the years. I participated in Brandeis University's Pre-College Genesis Program where I studied World Religions and Social Entrepreneurship for a month in Boston.

The next summer I did Wexner Service Corps where I, along with 40 other Jewish Ohio-based teens, re-built houses that were destroyed from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. I also attended the Central Ohio Leadership Academy, a leadership seminar that emphasizes civil discourse and cultural inclusion. Then, last summer I did the Bronfman Fellowship, a pluralistic fellowship for Jewish teens to travel all over Israel while discussing highly intellectual topics, Jewish and philosophical." 
Tal credits CJDS as being the start of her intellectual journey and the reason why she is so curious now. "In hindsight, having an open environment to explore my values as a young, Jewish girl was crucial to understanding my life as an adult.

The insightful conversations I had with my amazing Teacher Eran Rosenberg in 5th and 6th grade are fortunately to blame. I remember studying Humash with him in class and most likely annoying my classmates with the millions of questions I had as to why women were treated so badly in biblical times, for example.

Luckily for me these questions were welcomed, and Eran not only answered most of them but provoked more thinking and understood that there was no right answer. Such meaningful memories of learning at CJDS truly showed how I should approach life with curiosity and openness when I don't understand something, and I am endlessly grateful for that." This sparked a deep interest for Tal in issues of social justice which led to a fascination with philosophy, a subject she will be studying in college.

We cannot wait to hear about Tal's next adventure -- Tal, please keep in touch!
Click HERE to head over to the CJDS facebook page to enjoy a short video from Alumna Tal Mars.
We want to FEATURE YOU in our next newsletter and on our social media channels.

Are you a CJDS alum who recently graduated high school or college? We want to know your next steps! Starting college in the Fall? Traveling the World? Recognized for doing something spectacular? We want to hear about your professional accomplishments, and how CJDS has impacted your educational and Jewish journey. 

Reach out to our Alumni Coordinator, Kerry Selfinger, here. We want to hear from you!
Life and Legacy
Columbus Jewish Day School is participating in the Life & Legacy initiative along with other major Jewish agencies and synagogues around Columbus. The goal of Life & Legacy is to increase awareness of crucial after-lifetime giving to strengthen the future of CJDS for the next generation.

CJDS has a goal of securing at least 18 Letters of Intent from the community this year to create new legacy gifts. Keep an eye out this Fall for additional information around the Columbus Jewish Day School and their involvement in Life and Legacy.

To assure your Jewish Tomorrow TODAY - Contact, or Kerry Selfinger in our Development Office at 614-939-5311 for more information.
Community Milestones
Mazel Tov!

Mazel Tov to CJDS Alumna, Audrey Gellman-Chomsky and Sahar Zada on the birth of their new baby boy. Mazel to proud grandparents Susan Gellman & Cantor Jack Chomsky.
Mi Sh'Berach

We wish CJDS grandparent and alumni parent David Lippy a speedy recovery.

We wish Naomi Kayne (longtime friend and supporter of CJDS) a speedy recovery.

We extend our prayers to any family in our community who may be impacted by coronavirus.
May Their Memory be a Blessing

We extend our condolences to Rachel and Jeremy Cohen on the passing of Richard Miller, father of Rachel Cohen. We send love and support to the Cohen family: Ma'ayan (CJDS Alum), and current students: Matias and Benjy Cohen.

We extend our condolences to the Schottenstein family on the passing of Frances (“Frankie”) Polster Schottenstein. We send love and support to the Schottenstein family.

We extend our condolences to the Shafran family on the passing of Marilyn Shafran. We send love and support to Carol Young and Joyce Shenk (Chuck) and family.
Baruch Dayan Ha’emet.
CJDS is a proud partner of JewishColumbus.