Ma Koreh?
What’s Happening?
December 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, A message of connection, from our Head of School, Rachel Arcus-Goldberg
  • Digesting Digestion in Second Grade
  • Alumni Spotlight: Pierce and Isle Grossman
  • Community: A Mini Series
  • International Friendship Week
  • Special Friends Day
  • Photo Highlights
  • What's Coming Up
  • Community Milestones
D’var Kesher from Head of School
Rachel Arcus-Goldberg
Deember 6, 2019/ 8 Kislev 5780
Vayetzei, Genesis 28:10-32:3
D'var Kesher:
And The Children Were Filled with
Energy and Light...

On the wall in my office is a beautiful painting of the quote from Chapter 2 of Pirkei Avot

לֹא עָלֶיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגְמֹר, וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶן חוֹרִין לִבָּטֵל מִמֶּנָּה.

Lo Alecha ha’melacha ligmor, v’lo ata ben chorin lehibatel mimenah… 
It is not our obligation to finish the work, but neither are we free to abandon it.

For me, the most important reason to invest in Jewish Education is because of this piece of wisdom from Rabbi Tarfon. The world we live in right now is a mess and we have work to do to improve it. I am relieved that it is not our obligation to finish the work. But we cannot abandon it either, and that means we have to prepare the next generation to pick up where we leave off. 

At CJDS, we are imparting many gifts to our students. We teach them how to think critically, to ask questions, to try new ideas, and then try more of them. We teach our students to care about younger students. We teach them to care for the environment. We teach them how to stand up and speak from their own authentic voice. And through all of this, we are helping them build the skills to do the hard work of fixing the world.
In science, our 5th and 6th graders are designing their own inventions to harness alternative energy sources. Our 1st graders learned many versions of the story “Stone Soup” over the past few weeks and in addition to learning about the different cultures from which each of the stories came, they learned about the importance of community. During Sukkot, our 3rd and 4th graders designed their own environmentally friendly sukkot that would not only meet the halachic requirements, but also had a solution for collecting rain water. Our 2nd graders have been reaching out to Jewish children all over the world to participate in dialogues about their respective schools and cultures. Our Yesodot (3rd-6th Grade) students planted herbs, lettuces and other greens in our two tower gardens and harvested all of the produce to donate to local Holocaust Survivors. All of our students from Kindergarten and up participated in International Friendship Week. They identified the qualities they appreciate in their friends and put them on the wall. They distributed "warm fuzzies" by attaching a tied a string onto a friend’s necklace as they told them something they are thankful for about that person. 

We are teaching our students to participate in the work of fixing the world. At this time of year, we are acutely aware of the gifts and blessings that we have in our lives. The friends, the families, the food, shelter, etc. Our theme for Special Friends Day was to “Follow the Sun and Share your Warmth.” Together, the students and their special friends created blessing bags to share our warmth. A blessing bag is a bag of some essential items like gloves, socks, a granola bar, to keep in your car, to give to someone in need. There are so many things that CJDS students are still too young to do, and yet this does not stop them from engaging in the work of fixing the world right now. This is the gift we are giving our children by sending them to CJDS.

We know that everything we do at CJDS is an investment in the future of the Jewish people, and the future of humanity. This is how we contribute to the repair of the world around us. We know that the work will not be abandoned because our students are going to go forth to do incredible work long after they graduate. 

Shabbat Shalom,
Digesting Digestion in Second Grade
The second grade class had a special guest visit them recently. 

Dr. Bob Ecker, father of second grade teacher Julie Ecker, visited CJDS and spoke to second grade students about the human digestive system. Dr. Ecker gave students tips for good digestion and went over the five main parts of the digestive system.

The second graders were amazed to learn that the small intestine is 20 feet long. They were also surprised why our stomachs make noises when we are hungry. Our stomach makes noise when the gas echoes off the walls of the stomach, thus making a noise.
Naomi showing her Grandfather, Mark Mitzman, the different parts of the digestive system.
Collaboratively in the second grade Judaics class, students are learning the prayer called Asher Yatzar , which they can say to give thanks for our bodies' being able to work properly. Second grade Judaics teacher, Katie Feldstein, shared how this is a prayer we say after going to the bathroom (but not said in the bathroom). Katie shared that the prayer "honors the miracle that is the human body and recognizes its complexity and the importance of all parts working the way they are supposed to work.” 

Through this prayer, Katie teaches her students how “we say that G-d is the Doctor of all human beings, (the One) who created our bodies with wisdom: (in this case, bodies) with many openings and vessels. Should even one of those stay open when it should be closed, or one of those stays closed when it should be open, we could not long survive.” 
Each student introduced what they learned about the digestive system to their family member or close friend during Special Friends Day. The second graders were so excited to share what they had learned.
The students shared their knowledge with their special friend by labeling the five parts of the digestive system: mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Then, the second graders labeled the digestive system in Hebrew. Second grade student Victoria noted, "after learning about the digestive system, I am thankful and more aware of the importance of when everything is working."

Teachers Katie and Julie also shared with their students and guests some more tips on how to avoid a stomach ache after a big Thanksgiving meal. Both students and guests learned so much about the digestive system, and they even picked up some new Hebrew words to take with them.
Alumni Spotlight: Pierce & Isle Grossman
Pierce and Isle Grossman. You may recognize their names. They are alumni from CJDS, they recently spoke at our Open House in November, and they always find a way to volunteer their time at CJDS. Oh, and they’re twins! 

After leaving CJDS, Pierce and Isle transferred to Bexley schools, but they always kept CJDS in the back of their minds. When Pierce and Isle’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah rolled around, they decided they wanted to "give back to the school that gave us so much.”
After careful thought and planning -- and meeting with, Dr. Zelkowicz, the Head of School at the time -- they decided to create the Pay It Forward Fund instead of receiving presents. The fund provides financial assistance to families who want to send their children to CJDS but do not have the ability to afford to take on the added financial responsibility. Beaming with huge smiles, Isle and Pierce explained how proud they were with the donations CJDS received. Pierce shared, “We are very proud to have raised over $10,000 in the initial creation of this fund, and over $14,000 within the first year. CJDS instilled in us a strong sense of pride in being Jewish. And it is that deep sense of Jewish pride that continuously brings us back to CJDS.”
The siblings come from a family connected to CJDS. Just like Isle and Pierce, their parents are dedicated supporters of the school. Their father, Andrew Grossman, was on the CJDS Board for many years. He is a past Board President and formerly served on the Executive Committee. Andrew was also an active member of the Religious Policy & Education Committee as well as the Head of School Search Committee. The twins' mother, Shylee Grossman, worked with Kesher, the CJDS Parent Organization, the Recruiting Committee, and the Wisdom of the Heart Committee. Shylee continues to volunteer for school events. The youngest of the family, Drake Grossman, also attended CJDS through fifth grade, and has been back as a CJDS alum on multiple occasions.
Pierce and Isle, now sophomores in high school, see a CJDS education as a “gift” that they are so thankful to have received. They recently shared at our Open House how CJDS instilled a strong sense of morals and values, which they claim has served them well in their transition to public school. “Our experience at Columbus Jewish Day School allowed us to make new friends quickly,” Pierce said. The two were taught that all people are created equal, and they have approached making new friends “without regard to religion, color, or background," Isle said. “We can very confidently tell everyone here who is considering sending their child to CJDS that their children will one day be very thankful for the experience.” 

To read more about the Grossmans' Pay It Forward Fund, check out this article from the Columbus Dispatch:  
Are you or is someone you know a CJDS Alumnus or Alumna who is giving back to the community? Would you like to be featured in our monthly Alumni Spotlight? Reply to this email and let us know.
CJDS Community: A Mini Series
International Friendship Week

CJDS recently joined 140,000 people globally to participate in International Friendship Week. Teachers Susan Couden and Dr. Gina Freeman, plus our amazing Tzedakah Club, worked hard on launching International Friendship Week at the school. CJDS was even featured in the International Friendship Week promo video .

Each day during the week of November 11, our students participated in extra acts of kindness. Throughout the week, students got to wear their “warm fuzzy,” a necklace made of yarn, finger knitted by a small group of CJDS students. Children could pull a piece from their warm fuzzy to acknowledge an act of kindness by another student or faculty member. During recess, the children wrote messages on fabric and tied them to the Buddy Bench. Any students feeling lonely and looking for a friend to play with could easily untie a note from the bench.  
Outside of the Art Studio our hallways continue to be filled with kind words and drawings created on paper cutouts of hearts and hamsa (a hand shape for good luck). The hallway bulletin board read: “Notice when someone has shown you that they are your friend. What did they do? Write down their name and what they did.” On the bulletin board, students could share the name of a friend on a cutout hand to be hung up in the hallway. Students were encouraged to write down their ideas of what makes a good friend, and how to notice when others are being friendly, and share these on a cutout heart. Our hallways became filled with kindness.
Other special days during the week included wearing a favorite outfit and thinking of it as a “Superfriend Suit.” Students were encouraged to sit with a different friend at lunch, and share their friendship super power. A few students even chose to sit by their sibling or their buddy.
The week of friendship was not limited to students. CJDS Faculty and Staff participated in friendship practice. Faculty and Staff drew the name of a secret pal, and did a friendly act for their pal each day of the week. The goal was not to spend any money, but instead to create something kind for the secret pal. A few teachers generously took on an additional lunch, recess, or dismissal duty for their secret pal.

Teachers Couden and Freeman said that Columbus Jewish Day School was honored to be a part of International Friendship Week and that they loved teaching our students how to choose friendship as their super power. They enjoyed the activity so much that they are continuing to spread kindness with a December Kindness Calendar.
Special Friends Day

Over 60 Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Community Members were welcomed at the CJDS Special Friends Day event (previously called Community Day).

The November 26 event featured guest speaker Carol Steiner, Grandparent of Lexie, a kindergartner at CJDS. Ms. Steiner spoke about the importance of a Jewish education and how CJDS incorporates Jewish teaching and values into secular learning, encouraging each to thrive. Our guest speaker shared how kindergarten teachers Annelyn and Maddy invited her into Lexie's class to participate in kindergarten Tefillah . Lexie (Carol's granddaughter) was given the responsibility of leading. "Lexie proudly led her class in the prayers," said her grandmother. "In only a few months, I have seen Lexie's confidence in herself grow. I believe this stems from the warm learning environment here at CJDS. Students are taught a sense of community."
Ms. Steiner also visited the third grade science classroom, where she noticed how enthusiastic students were to show their projects. "The students at CJDS are being taught to be respectful of their community -- not only with social interaction, but with interactions with the world around them. What other school has a butterfly garden that students help cultivate, an ecosystem that they can learn about in the classroom, and then study outside?"

During the event, both the CJDS Choir and Dance Club performed, and each Special Friend got to participate in a lesson in the student's classroom. Our theme for the day was to “Follow the Sun and Share your Warmth.”  
During the assembly, students from the Tzedakah club introduced Blessing Bags and spoke about how tradition teaches them how to treat others. Sixth grader Ma’ayan shared, “We learn that smiling, listening, noticing, and comforting are all asked of us. As Tzedakah club members, we also learn that when we give a blessing, we are powerless over the outcome, but still our tradition tells us to give.”

Every student and Special Friend got to create a Blessing Bag for the homeless. Each bag included a pair of socks, gloves, hand warmers, and granola bar. Creating Blessing Bags was an activity that Tzedakah Club did last year, and it made the students feel so good that the teachers wanted to redo the activity.

Sixth grade student Ruthie said, “Giving away blessing bags to people in need made me happy. I remember last year, we were going to the mall and there was this person with ripped clothes and a dirty plastic bag sitting on the sidewalk. He didn’t look very healthy. He was very thin and he was just sitting there. We pulled over and gave him a blessing bag. He smiled really big and said, ‘Thank you,’ and afterwards I felt really good. I didn’t realize before that there are so many people who need food, homes and jobs. I felt so good and sad at the same time. I hope more people in the world will choose the good choice and give to people in need.” 
Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Community Members took to the classrooms to see what the students were learning. Each kindergarten student and a special friend worked on a Thanksgiving Classbook and colored their individual page of the book together.

In first grade, Special Friends and students got to try delicious Bone Button Borscht. These students have been learning different versions of the story “Stone Soup” over the past few weeks, and in addition to learning about the many cultures from which each of the stories came, they learned about the importance of community.

Second graders shared their unit on digestion with their guests, and third through sixth grade classes split up for their own activities but ended up back together in the music room for a sing-a-long with Mr. Angelo Dunlap. CJDS students and adults alike felt blessed to have the support of CJDS family members and the community who were able to join in such a festive day.
Photo Highlights
What's Coming Up
Sun., 12/15 - 3:00-4:30 p.m. CJDS H anukkah Party
Fri., 12/20 - 1:40-2:20 p.m. - All School Kabbalat H ag H anukkah
Community Milestones
Mazel Tov!

Mazel Tov to Debby Yarov (past CJDS Teacher) and husband Jerry Yarov on the Bat Mitzvah of their granddaughter, Elliot Hannah Larky .

Mazel Tov to Gigi and Sam Fried (longtime friends and supporters of CJDS) on welcoming their grandchild Margot Elinor .
Mi Sh'Berach

We wish our dear CJDS friend and Lunch Coordinator Paul Zeigler a speedy recovery.

We wish CJDS grandparent and alumni parent David Lippy a speedy recovery.
May Their Memory be a Blessing

We extend our condolences to Karen Bokor and Family on the passing of Karen's Mother, Judy Vigder , past CJDS Head of School and longtime friend of CJDS. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Columbus Jewish Day School at

We extend our condolences to Carol and Ron Steiner and the Rotenberg Family (CJDS Kindergarten Family and Grandparents) on the passing of Carol's mother, Lorraine Steiner.

We extend our condolences to Joyce Edelman and Family ( CJDS Alumni Parent and past Board Member) on the passing of her father, Aaron Edelman.
Hakarat Hatov

To  Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Community Members  for making Special Friends Day such a special event.

To CJDS Parent Katie Rotenberg , and the parent organization, Kesher , for helping setup before Special Friends Day.

To Carol Steiner for visiting CJDS and being our guest speaker at Special Friends Day.

To Kindergarten Teacher Annelyn Baron for riding the bus this week to make sure the transition to the new bus went smoothly.

To Kerry Selfinger, Coordinator of Development and Marketing, for her help with organizing Special Friends Day.

To CJDS Faculty and Staff for their preparation, commitment, and late evenings during Parent-Teacher Conference week.