Educating our children in the richness of their past,
the diversity of their present and the possibilities for their future.

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Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees is comprised of current parents, grandparents and community members who are extremely dedicated and generous with their time and resources. The responsibilities of the Board include the following:

  • creating and maintaining the mission and vision of the school
  • establishing policies for the school to ensure that the mission of the institution is pursued and upheld
  • developing and implementing a strategic plan
  • financial oversight of the school, including the budget and fundraising efforts


Iris Gafni-Kane

(July 2022 - Present)

B.S. Biology - University of Michigan; J.D. - Columbia Law School

"I am passionate about CJDS's mission to develop the next generation of leaders with strong Jewish identities and with deep respect and appreciation of diversity in the Jewish community, the city of Chicago and beyond."

Board of Trustees

Jonathan Cope

Past President (July 2009-July 2012), Founding Board Member, Vice Chair of Capital Campaign

B.A. - Brandeis University, M.S. - Illinois Institute of Technology, J.D. - University of Chicago

"Knowing that CJDS educates our children not just to be amazing thinkers with a love of learning and Torah, but also to be compassionate members of our community with a true desire to help others in need. This commitment to help others is inspired by an amazing faculty and is evidenced by the countless mitzvah projects (good deeds) our students and graduates undertake each year."

Katie Dealy

Strategic Planning Co-Chair

B.A. Government - Cornell University; M.A. International Education Development - Columbia University's Teacher College

"I am inspired by the mission of CJDS, and the degree to which CJDS students, faculty, staff, board members, parents, and supporters partner together to achieve that mission."

David Desser

B.A. cum laude - Brandeis University; J.D. - Georgetown University Law Center

"CJDS is an important part of our Jewish community and my family. I want to contribute to its continuing excellence, and motivate other Chicago families to commit themselves to Jewish and Zionist education."  

Amy Elfenbaum

B.S. in Design - University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning

"I am proud to have been a part of the vibrant CJDS community for many years. I am continually inspired by the school’s remarkable growth and evolution, and the impact of its core values on our students. I feel confident that CJDS is preparing our students to become compassionate, knowledgable, and involved leaders in our community and beyond.”

Anat S. Geva

Past President (July 2015 to June 2019)

B.S. - University of Toronto, Ph.D. - University of Michigan, J.D. - Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

"CJDS is more than just a school; it is a place in which diversity is embraced, critical thinking skills are cultivated, Jewish identity and thought evolve, and emotional well-being is nourished. The school is a critical element in the development of our collective present and future."

Jay Goodgold

Endowment Chair

B.A. Humanities - Johns Hopkins University, M.B.A. -The Stern School of Business - New York University

"What is more important than to teach our children the ways and thinking of Torahcombined with the best overall education. This is the unending goal that I, as a board member of CJDS, seek to achieve."

Daniel Gorlin

B.A. - Columbia University, J.D. - Harvard University, School of Law

"Over its first decade and a half of existence, CJDS has established an amazingly strong foundation on which it educates our children and provides them with tools and skills to become the next generation of Jewish leaders. It is our responsibility as parents, members of the community, members of the Board to build upon that foundation and take the school—and through that the children of our community—to higher and higher levels of Jewish and Secular scholarship and leadership."

Micky Hervitz

B.A. - New York University; M.Sc. - London School of Economics; M.B.A. - University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School 

“I am pleased that our family has recently joined the tight-knit CJDS community. I appreciate the values placed by the school, faculty, staff and fellow parents on fostering a Jewish identity in our children that prioritizes a community spirit, a love for Israel and ethical principles.”

Michal Lerner


B.S. Accounting - Indiana University; licensed Certified Public Accountant

"I believe in the Jewish and General studies mission of CJDS as well as its community values. I am honored to be a part of the CJDS Board of Trustees and help the school achieve continued success."

Naomi Litwack

B.A.- Barnard College

"CJDS is a unique and inspiring institution, dedicated to fostering openness and inclusion, kindness and empathy — built upon a foundation of academic excellence. At its core is the most diverse and committed Jewish community I have ever been a part of. Here, we are building the next generation of great Jewish leaders."

Michael M. Lorge

B.A. with honors - The University of Illinois; James Scholar

Michael is the Corporation Counsel for the Village of Skokie and directs a department with five attorneys. Michael is the founder and chair of the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival, the largest cultural event in the Chicago Jewish community. 

Wendy Platt Newberger

Founding President (2001-2009), Capital Campaign Chair

B.A. - University of Pennsylvania, M.B.A - Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

"I am inspired by CJDS's commitment to its mission. From the children and the teachers to the parents and administration, everyone works toward the mission of creating a multi-denominational community where Jewish life is valued and excellence in education is realized."

Jenny Puchtel

B.A. Economics - Northwestern University; M.S. Higher Education Administration & Policy - Northwestern University

"From its inception, CJDS has provided an incredibly rich learning experience for our children - emotionally, Jewishly, and academically. I'm honored to stand on the shoulders of the school's founders and help CJDS achieve its inspiring mission."

David M. Rubin

B.A. - University of Illinois; M.A. - University of Chicago; M.A. - Harvard University

"Our family is deeply committed to Jewish education. We are drawn to CJDS’s mission of Jewish inclusion and diversity built around the highest standards of secular and Jewish education."

Shira Schwarz

B.A. History, University of Michigan; M.B.A. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

"CJDS is an incredible mission-based school that prepares our children for the world through thoughtful and engaging experiential learning in both secular and Jewish studies. I am honored to be a part of this meaningful organization."

Libby Smoler

B.A.- Barnard College, Columbia University; MBA- Booth School of Business, University of Chicago

"As a parent navigating today's complicated landscape, I want to instill in my children a love for Judaism, a passion for learning, a curiosity about the wider world and the desire to be good citizens. CJDS is the school that accomplishes all of that and more, providing an incredible community and learning environment for our children's growth."

Eitan Stieber

B.A. Public Policy - University of Chicago; J.D. - Northeastern University School of Law

"I'm inspired by the diversity of our student body, as well as our professional and lay leadership, and the steadfast commitment to tolerance and inclusiveness in the classroom, the sanctuary and our local community, as well as in our travels to Israel."

Ira Weiss

B.S. - University of Illinois, M.B.A. and Ph.D. - University of Chicago

"I believe that the future of American Jewry rests on the back of Junior Kindergarten through Grade Eight Jewish education."

Brad Sugar

B.A.- University of Michigan; M.A. - Spertus Institute; MBA, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

"There are lots of schools that strive for excellence, but few hit the mark like CJDS. We see it, our kids feel it, and the community knows it!"

Past Presidents

Stacy Raviv

Past President (July 2019 to June 2022)

B.A. Judaic Studies - Brown University, M.D. - University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine

"By any measure, CJDS graduates excel; that is not enough. As a board, it is our mission to always strive to be better, to settle for nothing less than excellence, and to remain relevant in a rapidly changing environment."

Adam Levine

Past President (July 2012-July 2015), New Campus Project Chair

B.S. - University of Pennsylvania, J.D. - University of Chicago

"It is a privilege to help CJDS as it helps develop the next generation, engaged throughout the entirety of the Jewish community, and fully engaged in broader society as well."

Rabbinic Advisory Group

Rabbi Shoshanah Conover

Senior Rabbi at Temple Sholom of Chicago

B.A. English - University of Wisconsin-Madison (with honors), Rabbinic Ordination - Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

"I am inspired to serve on the Rabbinic Advisory Group at CJDS with other brilliant rabbis who constantly ask the question, 'How can we help CJDS develop the growing hearts and minds of young people so that they learn the fine art of being a mensch?' I am proud to help guide this school who has built its reputation on inclusivity with its heart beating passionately with love of Torah."

Rabbi Reni Dickman

Executive Vice President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and Senior Jewish Educator at JUF

B.A. in Government and Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University

Masters of Hebrew Letters and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

"I value the pluralistic mission of CJDS and welcome the opportunity to be one voice among many as we wrestle with what it means to be a pluralistic community."

Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann

Founder and Senior Rabbi at Mishkan Chicago

BA with Honors in Philosophy and Religious Studies, Stanford University; MA and Rabbinical Ordination, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (Conservative movement). 

"I am inspired to sit on the Rabbinic council of CJDS because Judaism should prepare kids for the rigors of an intellectual life, exercised in respectful ways that honors the truth of other positions and other peoples' commitments, backgrounds, histories, and influences that have shaped them. I also have two kids at the school and I'm excited to help the talented school leadership think through thorny issues as they present themselves."

Rabbi Art Hart

Rabbi at Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob

Rabbinic Ordination - Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

B.A. Music Theory and Composition - Grinnell College

"It is a great honor to serve alongside a group of thoughtful, diverse, committed rabbis who invest their time and energy in grappling with the sacred questions of what a communal, nondenominational Jewish education should look like in the 21st century. Every interaction with this group and with CJDS as a whole leaves me inspired by the wisdom, sensitivity and commitment to the Jewish future that is held here."

Rabbi Michael Siegel

Senior Rabbi at Anshe Emet Synagogue

B.A. - Hiram College, M.A. Hebrew letters - Jewish Theological Seminary, Ordination - Jewish Theological Seminary

"Serving on the Board of CJDS offers me the opportunity to celebrate the breadth of the Chicago Jewish community in an exemplary school setting. It is very gratifying to support the important work and the spirit of a very special place of learning."

Rabbi Steven Stark Lowenstein

Senior Rabbi of Am Shalom

Rabbinic Ordination - Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

“From the moment I came to Chicago, 29 years ago, and CJDS was just a dream, I’ve had the highest hopes for an amazing day school experience for the Chicagoland area. CJDS is a very special place.”