Ma Koreh   /What’s Happening?
Weekly CJDS Newsletter
D’var Kesher from the Head of School
Dr. Tali Zelkowicz
April 4, 2019 / 28 Adar II, 5779
Parashat Tazria, Leviticus/Vayikra 12:1-13:59
"What is in Your Invisible Backpack?"
“One of the most amazing people of the world was standing in front of me.”

That’s how CJDS second grader, Julia Miller-Mathers summed up her encounter with Mor Sapir, Israeli athlete, inspirational speaker and award-winning climber (pictured above). Indeed, Julia captured how all of us felt this past Monday, child and adult alike.

Four and a half years ago, everything changed forever for Mor Sapir. In October 2014, Mor survived a violent snow storm and avalanche while hiking the Annapurna ridge of the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal. Although 44 people died in the terrible storm, three of whom were his expedition friends, Mor was one of the few who survived. He was airlifted back to Israel where he spent 40 days fighting to keep his fingers which had suffered severe frost burn. The damage was too severe, however, and he lost all his fingers on both hands.

Mor had never rock climbed before losing his fingers. Last weekend, he flew from Tel Aviv to Columbus to compete in the 2019 USA Climbing: Adaptive National Championship, where he took first place in his rock-climbing event! No fingers.
Pictured below: 5th grader Ethan Silverstein with his new hero, Mor Sapir.
This was the person who stood in front of each class on Monday, sharing not only his remarkable story of survival, but his equally remarkable story of transformation and self-reinvention in the years that followed.

Devastated, terrified, and without guidelines for how to navigate the world anew without fingers, Mor realized that he had an “invisible backpack” that was filled with all sorts of items, some useful and some that were detrimental and weighing him down. “We all have this backpack,” he said, “and the items in there are from many different people and experiences, telling us what is possible and impossible, what we can or cannot do. And I realized I had to start again empty, and decide what I carry every day. Each one of us is special and has different things in our backpack."

Kindergartners through sixth graders alike sat silent and captivated, as they understood deeply the magnitude of the process Mor was describing.

Mor showed us how he had to re-learn how to brush his teeth, get dressed, hold cups, eat, text, type, and on and on. The list of daily problems for which there were no efficient solutions felt endless. But “small steps, small victories,” was one of his refrains. And as he experienced small victories, he took on larger and larger challenges…until he became an inventor.

Mor shared, “this limb loss injury was very dramatic for a basketball player and bicycle rider like me...[so] I made a list of all the things I wanted to do and started planning with my friends how to tackle each of these issues. This resulted in becoming a sort of inventor, that would end up not only helping me but others sharing the same limitations as well.”

Take a look at this bike clip and climbing clip to see just how expansive Mor’s “backpack” is today.
In every grade, this “backpack” idea has caught hold this week, and students are turning to it in different ways. For example, in first grade, when someone is making a decision, they are looking to see what tools they have to make it better. They are reminding one another, “look in your clear backpack.”  

In fifth and sixth grade, they are looking at that backpack through the lenses of Pesach and asking what items are burdensome and which are freeing in their backpacks. They talked about how to get out of feeling stuck with the help of others. They remember how Mor put it. He said, “I raised my hand and asked for help.”

And in Kindergarten, they are dreaming big. They concluded, “You can dream as big as you want.” Mor inspired them thoroughly.
Finally, as a way of giving the students a first-hand memory of trying something that seems totally impossible, Mor gave every student the “potato challenge.” He challenged them to poke one plastic straw clear through a Yukon potato in one single jab. Turns out there is a trick, but it requires lots of trial and error and perseverance to figure it out.
And then we heard that Mor went back to Nepal. Back to that very Annapurna ridge where he had lost his fingers and nearly his life. He wanted to conquer it this time. He showed us an astounding moment captured on video of his triumphant primal shout as he reached the summit. Not a single student laughed, giggled, or even moved. Many of us in the room had tears streaming down our faces.

Mor looked into the faces of the students and told them:

“If there is a shout inside of you, let people hear about it. Let other people hear what we want to achieve. No one achieves their gains on their own. Now I’m a basketball coach. My biggest dream was to become a unique climber - everyone can achieve his or her own summit. The biggest disability is a person not believing in themselves. If you want to see things you’ve never seen, you must do things you’ve never done." 

Shabbat Shalom,
As part of the CJDS family, we want to make sure everyone has a home for Pesa h . If you are looking for a Seder, or have room at your Seder for a guest, please let us know.
Email or call 614-939-5311.
Friday, April 5: All School Kabbalat Shabbat (Kindergarten Leading) 1:40 p.m.-2:20 p.m.
Sunday, April 14: IAC CJDS "Pre Passover Family Carb Carnival" at CJDS, 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 17 All School Pesa h Hag 2:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m.
Thursday, April 18-Friday, April 26 Pesa h (Passover) NO SCHOOL
Tuesday, April 30 - Friday, May 3, 6th Grade Graduation Trip

 Thursday, May 2: Yom HaShoah 8:30 a.m.-9:00am (3-5 grade only)
Thursday, May 9: Yom HaZikaron Ceremony 8:30 a.m.-9:15 a.m.
Thursday, May 9: Yom Ha’Atzmaut Celebration 2:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m.
Friday, May 10: All School Kabbalat Shabbat 1:30 p.m.-2:20 p.m.
Friday, May 17: All School Kabbalat Shabbat 1:40 p.m.-2:20 p.m.
Wednesday, May 22: 1st Grade Recyclable Fashion Show 9:15 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Thursday, May 23: Lag B’Omer
Thursday, May 23: CJDS Arts Night 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 24: Memorial Day Assembly 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Friday, May 24: CJDS Annual Butterfly Release 1:30 p.m.-2:20 p.m.
Monday, May 27: Memorial Day NO SCHOOL
Tuesday, May 28: CJDS Color Run 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 30: 6th Grade Graduation 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Friday, May 31: Last Day Assembly and Kadima Assembly 10:45 a.m.-12:00 Noon Dismissal
ANNOUNCING the first ever CJDS Alumni Award Recognizing Dr. Gina Freeman’s Legacy at CJDS:   

The Gina Freeman
Shomrei HaAdam V’Ha’Adamah Award
Honoring CJDS Alumni, Guardians of Humanity and the Earth.
“My heart is full knowing that this great honor will recognize the deep values of CJDS in our wonderful graduates. The true honor will be reading about the many stories from you, our Alumni, about your important work in your communities and the world. Please take a few moments to share your story and fill our hearts with pride.”
-Dr. Gina Freeman, Founding Director of Environmental Education and Service Learning, and teacher leader for 19 years at Columbus Jewish Day School

Award Presentation will take place: Thursday May 23, 2019, at CJDS Arts Night, 6:30-8pm
Deadline for application: Monday April 15, 2019.
A printable application may be found HERE.
Pictured below: Students gave researched presentations to staff, faculty and parents about a wide range of careers - such as writer, inventor, microbiologist, mathematician, video game designer, CIA agent, chef, dentist, mechanic, actor, sports agent, lawyer- that they are exploring. They examined the benefits and drawbacks, and preparation required to enter the field, and dressed for work as that professional.
Lunch & Recess Clubs
  • MONDAY RECESS: Dance Club with Ms. AG & Katie Feldstein
  • WEDNESDAY LUNCH: Tzedakah Club with Susan Couden & Rabbi Sharon Barr Skolnik
  • THURSDAY RECESS: Journalism Club with Dr. Denae D'Arcy
  • FRIDAY RECESS: Choir with Angelo Dunlap
Pennies for Patients!
The Pennies for Patients program was our most recent Tzedekah Club initiative. For the past several weeks, CJDS students have set fundraising goals and brought in spare change. We are excited to share that our students have raised $685.00, which will help to fund life-saving research through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Yesher Koach!
MONDAY: Theater Club with Giselle Siegel, Artistic Director of the JCC Gallery Players
TUESDAY: Tennis for students 10 and Under (K-5th grade)
March 5– May 14 (No Class 3/26 and 4/23) 
9 weeks of fun!
LIFECYCLES In our community, at every point, our families are perpetually entering new stages in their lives. In keeping with the tradition of living Jewishly, CJDS acknowledges, honors, and celebrates these moments: Births, B’nei Mitzvah, graduations, marriages, and in moments of illness, healing and loss.
To Julia Miller-Mathers for donating some of her toys to the Kaleidoscope program.

To Steven Moc for stepping in to morning fitness this week.

To Susan Couden for spearheading massive outdoor cleanup.

To Angelo Dunlap for putting on an outstanding Musical Kabbalat Shabbat show.
MI SH'BERACH When a member of the CJDS family is ill or in need of healing, the entire community lends its support and its prayers for a full and complete recovery. 

We wish our community friend, Polly Haas a speedy recovery.
To CJDS parent Ilya Bodner on being featured on the cover of Columbus CEO Magazine.

To Mike Klapper on being named as the next CEO of Columbus JCC.

To CJDS friend, and former CJDS speech pathologist, Lynn Voterro on becoming a grandmother.
KESHER: CJDS Parent Organization
As in the past, we are so grateful to all the help from the community members - grandparents, friends, parents, and others – on whom we rely to serve hot lunch to our students. Our volunteers bring such a warmth and love to our students and we love having all of you! In order to make this sign-up process even more smooth this year, we would love each family (any family member or friend) to sign up for two dates during the whole year to serve lunch. It can be a parent, a grandparent, a special friend - anyone who is interested in spending time with our wonderful students and serving them food.
CJDS is proud to have a Parent Organization called Kesher (Hebrew for "connection"). Kesher has a team of grade representatives led by a president.

Kesher is responsible for the CJDS Hot Lunch program, social gatherings outside of school, teacher appreciation, the CJDS Chesed committee and more! To get involved, please be in touch HERE.
Hot Lunch server responsibilities include:

11:15 a.m.: Arrive at CJDS
11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: Set out the plates and assemble lunches
12:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m.: Students arrive for lunch at 12:00 p.m. and we help serve the lunch to those who have ordered.
Help with cleaning up and conclude by 1:00 p.m.
Jewish Parenting Resource
Young Judea, the Jewish youth movement that is now over 100 years old and brings together Jewish youth from across the country and around the world from every religious, cultural, and political persuasion, has just released a timely and I believe helpful contribution to the thorny questions about raising Jewish teens today.

Click HERE for the link to their latest resource, The Art of Letting Go: How To Get Our Teens Ready for What’s Next:  

Here is an excerpt from the new resource:
As good parents, we are plagued with doubt. Did we teach them everything we were supposed to? What did we forget? What else can we cram in? How can we make sure they’re ready, because once they walk out the door...who knows what they’ll need to know? 
It’s not about throwing out our whole parenting playbook. That’s gotten us—and them—really far. It’s about giving them what they really need right now—the room to learn without us.

There are three ways to help teens do this:

  • Joining the Great Debate
  • Finding New Role Models
  • Turning Connections into Community