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October Newsletter
This month's issue features:

  • D'var Kesher: Welcoming Strangers this Sukkot
  • Highlights this Month
  • Stories of Alumni Creation: Zachary Rodier
  • Photo Highlights
  • What's Coming Up
  • Community Milestones
D’var Kesher from Head of School
Rachel Arcus-Goldberg
October 2, 2020 / 14 Tishri 5781
D'var Kesher:
Welcoming Strangers this Sukkot
Greetings!

In the book Spirituality of Welcoming, Dr. Ron Wolfson writes “... kindness to others is not simply an imperative to improve the lives of those who seek welcome. The act of hospitality improves the lives of those who offer it. Welcoming, serving and feeding others embody the value of generosity of spirit, of sharing what we have, of caring for others when they are in need.”

On Sukkot, we are encouraged, even commanded, to invite friends and strangers to join us for a meal. The custom of Ushpizin asks us to remember that our ancestry is filled with stories of people being uprooted from where they live and relying on the kindness of strangers as they resettled. Each night, we are encouraged to return the kindness shown to our ancestors by having guests in our Sukkah, and also symbolically invite a biblical character to our table.

Because of covid, welcoming strangers, or anyone, to our Sukkah this year is a bit tricky. 

The Hebrew word for stranger is זָר (zar). Interestingly, this root, זָר, is also the base for the word cruelty, אַכְזָרִיוּת (akhzariut). When we fail to think about, to connect with, to reach out to, to invite strangers into our midst, it is too easy to allow cruelty to manifest around us. Rabbi Shimon Shkop posits that as humans, we are predisposed to focus on ourselves. Therefore, in order to feel compassionate and helpful towards others, we need to expand our “I” and let go of the idea of “other.”

So, how do we invite strangers to our Sukkah this season?

We could take our cue from the CJDS 4th and 5th graders. Last week, they brought food and flowers to the New Albany Food Pantry. They also taught all of the younger students how to “Be the Change” and reflect on how their actions affect others. And, they learned about the people native to the land on which we now live and learn, and honored those cultures through art, and through their tashlich service. 

As we symbolically invite our ancestors to the table for Sukkot, perhaps, for this year, we can extend our symbolic invitations to the strangers in our midst through thoughtful and charitable actions, by personal or financial commitments to prevent and fight cruelty, or by teaching and modeling for our children to see others as an extension of themselves.

Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,
Highlights this Month
  • CJDS Delivery to New Albany Food Pantry
CJDS fourth and fifth graders walked to the New Albany Food Pantry last week to deliver food and flowers grown in the school gardens.

Over the last month, fourth and fifth grade students have been exploring seeds and sustainable gardening in science class, and planted a Fall Vegetable Garden to share with community members in need.
During their next trip to the NA Food Pantry, they will deliver Fall plants and meet with the Director of the New Albany Food Pantry to learn more about who they are serving in the community. 

The photo shows the donation at the New Albany Food Pantry from CJDS on the shelf (top left). Additional photos from their delivery can be found here.
  • A Spiritual Tashlikh Ceremony
“Tashlikh teaches us that we can change and improve. The spark of divinity in each of us reminds us to be better. As our misdeeds grow into flowers, so may our hearts and minds become more beautiful in this new year.”

For the past few weeks, fourth graders have been studying Native American history and culture. For a culminating unit project, a unique Tashlikh Ceremony was created that incorporated units of Native American life. Inspired by Native American culture, the fourth graders created banners that conveyed attributes they would like to embrace in the coming year.

During the ceremony, third, fourth, and fifth graders walked to the pond as spiritual music played in the background, and they casted off their notes of negative attitudes, worries, fears, and behaviors that hurt themselves or others. Additional photos of 3/4/5 here, and photos of second graders during the Tashlikh Ceremony can be found here.
  • Preparing our Sukkah for Sukkot
During Science class outside this week, first graders learned about different herbs and medicinal plants utilized for everyday purposes.

Students learned about Native American culture, their love for nature, and how it correlates to Sukkot. They each had a chance to smell every plant, and weaved the herbs into the fabric to decorate their Sukkah.

Our Science Specialist, Dr. Gina Freeman, shared a sage burning sacred tradition honoring the Earth in all directions. For more photos of kindergarten and first grade, click here.
  • The Golem's Gift
We had a special guest visit at CJDS (virtually) this month -- Author/Illustrator/Animator and beloved CJDS parent Benny Zelkowicz. Benny shared his new book: The Golem’s Gift, and all CJDS students were able to participate in this presentation from their classroom or home computer.

We watched stop-motion clips from Benny’s work on the Lego Movie, clay animation seen on Nickelodeon, and how Benny used sand to create the artwork for his new book.

The Golem’s Gift tells an inspirational story rooted in Jewish tradition. It is a fable for our times, exploring the paradox of Tikkun Olam and how we can always do our best to repair the world, even if the task seems insurmountable. For more, click here.
  • Be the Change - 5th Grade Culmination Project
Last week, fifth graders led a skit for each grade in which they showed three scenarios in which kids go through change, and become better people.

In small groups students thought about how they would like to change. Each student decorated a mirror in which they see a reflection of themselves and focus on one word that describes in which area they want to improve.

The activity was their first unit culmination for project based learning - Be the Change. For additional photos from this culmination project, click here.
Stories of Alumni Creation Featuring
Zachary Rodier
This months alumni feature is all about Zachary Rodier. After skipping a grade, Zach is currently a Senior in High School who is taking college credit courses including fourth level Hebrew and Jewish History at OSU. Crediting his time at CJDS, Zach was able to skip 3 courses of Hebrew and swiftly move to the fourth level course of Hebrew and Jewish History.

Zach shares, "At my high school, I have been privileged to take college courses early and I am in my second semester full-time at The Ohio State University." He is also currently working at an internship at the United States District Court in the Southern District of Ohio, and is a part of the Wexner Service Corps.
Since Zachary graduated CJDS, he has been attending Metro Early College High School and is currently applying to different universities. He created a foundation called PUSH for Sled Hockey, which he regards stemmed from his time in Gina’s Community Service class.

"With my foundation, I have been honored to be featured on NBC during the Stanley Cup Finals and received the Dr. Gina Freeman Shomrei HaAdam v’HaAdamah - Guardians of Humanity and the Earth Award two years ago."
A favorite from Zach's time at CJDS was learning about the environment, and the tight knit community he felt with his classmates. "I loved the campus and being outside near the pond and the field. Some of my best times at CJDS were the overnights especially the 4th grade Sukkah sleepover with Eran. I also loved being a part of Tzedakah club and helping others by raising money for Pennies for Patients."

Although it has been 5 years since Zachary graduated CJDS, he still feels just as close to the community. He loves getting CJDS updates with what's happening on campus especially since his sister, Jenna, is the Third Grade Teaching Intern.
Photo Highlights
Third grader Victoria investigating soil during science class.
Kindergarteners writing notes for Tashlikh.
Susan setting up yoga during morning fitness as the sunrises.
Second grades during the Tashlikh Ceremony.
First graders during math class practicing combinations to 9 with a game.
Kindergarteners enjoying music class outside with
Mr. Angelo.
What's Coming Up
  • Friday, October 9th - 11:15am - Simchat Torah Kabbalat Hag
  • Friday, October 23rd - 1:40-2:15pm - All School Kabbalat Shabbat
  • Thursday, October 29th - 8:30-9:15am - 3rd Grade Humash Ceremony

*If you are interested in joining our virtual events, please email Amanda Chernyak for the Google Meet Link.
Community Milestones
Mazel Tov!
Mazel Tov to the our Front Office Assistant Amanda Chernyak and her family as they celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of her daughter, Molly Chernyak, this weekend.
Mazel Tov to CJDS Parent and Board member Isaac Weiner on being featured in the Columbus Dispatch this week. The article can be found here.
Mazel Tov to Columbus Jewish Day School on being nominated for the second year in a row for "Best of Columbus." CJDS has made it into the top 5 for Best Private School in Columbus, and voting kicks off Oct 9 - Oct 31. We will share information soon on how to vote for us!
Mi Sh'Berach

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

We wish Steve Wasserman, Hebrew Name: Ysrael Ben Mindel (close friend to Annelyn Baron) a speedy recovery.

We wish Sandy Grossman Dworkin (close friend to Annelyn Baron) 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 the Clubok family on the passing of Dr. Arthur Clubok. We send love and support to alumni family: Ken, Laura, Rose, and Sarah Clubok on the loss of Ken's father.
Baruch Dayan Ha’emet.
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