Campus and Community Highlights
There's No Purim Quite Like a CJDS Purim!
It's true, there's no Purim like a CJDS Purim and this year's festivities were no exception! We celebrated all day in the best possible way - with each other! Thank you to our entire faculty and staff for all of their help and ruach (spirit) and to Campus Life Coordinator, Molly Jaret for planning and executing a fun, successful day of activities. Special thanks to Grade 8 for reading the Megillah (Book of Esther) and leading activities in the gym for the entire school. Enjoy this video for a glimpse into the magic that is a CJDS Purim.
Grade 6 Displays "Museum of Ancient Civilization"
On display on the Middle School floor is a collection of masterfully assembled pieces making up a Grade 6 "Museum of Ancient Civilization." Students spent a great deal of time curating two companion museum exhibits in Humanities and Judaic Studies. In both classes, they learned about ancient civilizations and how the the tools they created, that are still used today, can help us to understand those cultures. A field visit to the Oriental Institute and speaking with a museum design expert inspired students' creativity for making and presenting artifacts to showcase some aspect of life in ancient Egypt and Hellenistic Judea.
Grade 2 Families Attend Ellis Island Simulation
They made it to America! It was an extraordinary morning as the Grade 2 classrooms and breakout spaces were transformed into an Ellis Island simulation. In the weeks prior, students took a deep dive into the topic of immigration, specifically through the lens of Jewish immigrants traveling through Ellis Island.
The journey began with reciting the Tefilat Haderech (Traveler's Prayer) in Hebrew. They then had to pass medical and legal screenings and go through customs. If they didn't pass the first time, students had to get back in line and try again! Once they entered America, they enjoyed a few activities with their families before concluding by singing the Shehecheyanu and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Campus Life Coordinator Molly Jaret Creates Meaningful Display in "Sha'ar (Gate) CJDS"
"Everyone is a small light and all of us are a firm light." Todah rabah to Campus Life Coordinator Molly Jaret for designing this meaningful and innovative Hanukkah display in our "Sha'ar CJDS." In these days leading up to Hanukkah, each time our students, faculty, and staff pass by our entryway, the photos on the wall remind us that it is our privilege and responsibility to be like the Maccabees and the nine rodfei shalom (pursuers of peace) to fight against oppression and darkness and spread peace and light.
Our Amazing Parent Committee Pulls Another Amazing Hanukkah Celebration!
Todah rabah to our Parent Committee for all of the planning leading up to this year's Hanukkah party!
Todah rabah to our Parent Committee for organizing a fantastic "Havdalah & Desserts" Mishpachot event.
Before Thanksgiving Break, Grade 1 students gave cards and bracelets to our maintenance and security team members. There are so many reasons to feel thankful, and these important individuals are among them!
Our own Ms. J attended the Jewish National Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly, where she was a panel participant discussing the importance of the Non-Profit Security Grant program, a federally funded grant through the Department of Homeland Security.
In October we dedicated the CJDS entry hallway "Sha'ar (gate) CJDS" in memory of Rose Ann Cope, z"l. Rose Ann was dedicated to Jewish education and the arts, so this location featuring our school theme, artwork, reflections of Israel, and upcoming Jewish holidays is the perfect place to honor her beautiful legacy.
Families enjoy third annual Parent Committee Sukkah Hop
Our Back to School Miseebah (Party) was a blast! Thank you for your hard work, Parent Committee!
Live from the Red Carpet! Purim 2022 was Absolutely Amazing!
We Love Shabbat at CJDS!!
CJDS Students are Thrilled to Be Back on Campus!
Welcoming our 2021-2022 Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten families to the CJDS playscape for a summer play date!
First week on campus, 2020-2021 school year
On the last day of the 2018-2019 school year, Chicago Jewish Day School commemorated and honored the life of Shelby Lerner, z"l. Shelby's wife, Michal, and two children joined us as we dedicated our baseball field as "Shelby's Field of Dreams." We are so honored that Shelby's legacy will forever be imprinted at our campus. Thank you to everyone who joined at this meaningful ceremony.
The closing of another wonderful school year was enhanced by a special dedication ceremony, "Arlene's Bookmark," in which a cozy corner of the Learning Commons was designated in memory of Arlene Segal z"l, Max Handelman's mother. Max was one of the founders of CJDS and and is an integral member of our community. Like Max, Arlene was an avid reader and cherished telling stories to children. Max and her family felt a dedicated storytelling space in our Learning Commons seemed like the most fitting tribute to Arlene's legacy. It's particularly meaningful to know that Arlene's Bookmark is dedicated and located at CJDS, an educational institution founded and built by the vision of her daughter.
We were joined by Arlene's friends and family at the dedication to remember Arlene. After hearing a bit about Arlene, Max, a master storyteller, shared a story with the Kindergarten students. We're so thankful to Max and her friends and family for choosing CJDS as a place to honor Arlene's memory.
We are thrilled to announce that thanks to the generosity of longtime friends and supporters of CJDS, Susan (Susie) and Robert (Bob) Mednick, we will create and name The Mednick IDEA (Invention, Design, Engineering, Art) Lab, which will serve as the school’s first-ever makerspace. The IDEA Lab itself will be built as a part of Phase II of our New Campus Project. While we await the construction of this new Lab, and thanks to a generous grant from the Crown Goodman Family, CJDS will launch a series of mobile IDEA Labs in the Fall of 2019.
Makerspaces encourage hands-on learning, creativity, and innovation. Using both hi-tech and low-tech tools, students explore art, science, engineering, and technology. Our mobile IDEA Labs will include robotics, sewing materials, Legos, woodworking tools, recording equipment, and so much more. The mobile aspect of the IDEA Lab will allow the creative, “maker mentality” to infuse every classroom. We cannot wait for our faculty to implement our mobile IDEA Labs and for our students to utilize them in their everyday learning.
Stay tuned for wonderful updates about the enhancement this project will bring into our classrooms, beginning next Fall. We deeply thank and are so grateful to Susie and Bob Mednick and the Crown Goodman Family for their investment and support.
CJDS's one-of-a-kind, natural playscape was featured in Chicago Jewish News! Check out the article below.
A PLAYGROUND WITH A JEWISH FEELING…
"Children like learning from play and the Chicago Jewish Day School has plenty to offer with its state-of-the-art “playscape” that opened recently at its campus in Irving Park.
The playscape, which incorporates a basketball court and playground, “is full of opportunity for play,” said Judy Finkelstein-Taff, head of the 220-student campus. “What I love about this playground is that it belongs to the students and they play so actively there.”
Half a block long, the Dr. Carol Fuchs Kaufman Playground and Perlow Family Sports Court, is part of the recent move and retrofitting since the school opened at the new site in April..."
Chicago Jewish Day School's brand new, state-of-the-art, natural playscape has officially opened! We invite our neighbors and Chicago community to explore and play on our new natural playground on Sunday, November 18th from 1:00-2:00 p.m. at 3730 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618.
The Dr. Carol Fuchs Kaufman Playground, integrated with the Perlow Family Sports Court, includes garden beds, an outdoor stage, climbing zone, saucer swings, rain garden, messy materials play area, a pergola, and so much more.
- Parent supervision is required.
- This event is weather permitting.
- Due to safety reasons, no food is allowed on the playground.
- No pets, please.
- Enter through the Waveland Ave gate.
- Typically, CJDS is a private playground. However, we are opening it up to our community on this special day.
- RSVP is required
We hope to see you there!
Chicago Jewish Day School's brand new, state-of-the-art, natural playscape has officially opened! The Dr. Carol Fuchs Kaufman Playground, integrated with the Perlow Family Sports Court, encourages collaborative, imaginative play.
The Dr. Carol Fuchs Kaufman Playground officially opened on Wednesday! Each grade level had the opportunity to tour and explore our new, natural playground integrated with the new Perlow Family Sports Court!
“Children learn through play. They must be active participants in the construction of knowledge and need concrete experiences to shape thoughts and concepts. Teachers provide materials and an enriched environment so that children can be challenged and totally involved in play.” -CJDS Educational Philosophy
This excerpt, taken directly from our Educational Philosophy, was evident in new ways as students began to explore our beautiful new outdoor educational environment. As GRG Playscapes states in their mission statement, “We believe unscripted outdoor play builds generations of healthy risk-taking, compassionate and amazingly well-rounded human beings.”
Our playground includes garden beds, an outdoor stage, climbing zone, saucer swings, rain garden, messy materials play area, a pergola, state-of-the-art basketball court and so much more! In addition to these highlights, this playground encourages collaborative, imaginative play with tree limbs, loose items, and other natural materials for the students to use their creativity during recess.
The joy of seeing our students enjoy this new addition to our school life can best be captured in the pictures included in this edition of Likrat Shabbat. I’m sure your children are sharing the news with you at home as well.
We look forward to inviting parents with their children to join in the exploration of this outdoor wonderland for our opening celebration, which will be announced in the near future.
We also want to express our thanks and appreciation to the generous donors who made all our new campus facilities a reality.
In addition, we are grateful to GRG Playscapes and Principals John and Don La Pointe, and their entire crew who looked at a beautiful design on paper and brought it to life through their artistry and passion for this new and exciting way to approach outdoor play/education. Thank you to Nature Explore for taking us through the design process with GRG Playscapes and to all, administrators, faculty, staff, parents and students who participated in the design process last year.
As always, we are also grateful to JUF, Susan Kessler, Jerry DeAngelis, and their respective departments for serving as a tremendous resource to us for this part of our new campus project. To Anat Geva, our CJDS Board President, Wendy Platt Newberger, our Capital Campaign Chair, and Adam Levine, our New Campus Project Chair, we hope you will have many years of “nachas” (joy) from seeing CJDS students playing on the magnificent Dr. Carol Fuchs Kaufman Playground.
HOME OF THE RAMS! CJDS has a new state-of-the-art scoreboard located in our Mozart gymnasium. This was generously donated by our 2017-2018 Grade 8 families in honor of our 2018 graduates. Each year, our Grade 8 families make a parting class gift to the school that is meaningful to them. This particular class was so motivated by our athletics program that they wanted to donate something to enhance the program.
As Barbi Green, a newly alumni parent, said in her remarks about the class gift, "As the first class to graduate here, in the new school, we wanted to celebrate our home court advantage. This is a group that has embraced CJDS athletics with everything they’ve got. They are Rams through and through. On the court - and off - and with the guidance and commitment of their wonderful coaches and teachers - they have grown as individuals, teammates, classmates, collaborators, and leaders. And over the years they have formed more than just a team, they have created a ‘family’ - a mishpacha ... and every family deserves a home."
Thank you and Todah Rabah to the 2017-2018 Grade 8 families for this wonderful gift. Our volleyball and basketball teams cannot wait to use it at our FIRST home games!
We experienced our FIRST opening day of school at our New Campus since we moved here this past April. It has been incredible to witness how this beautiful facility and campus truly highlight and support all that we value educationally and Jewishly. Take one look at Chicago Jewish Day School and it is clear that we are educating the next generation of leaders thinkers, and change-makers. Whether it be the acres of outdoor space allowing children to explore nature, their imaginations, and active play, or the stunning, state of the art, thoughtful classrooms that encourage the students to dig in, question, collaborate, struggle, explore, and learn.
"Children learn through play. They must be active participants in the construction of knowledge and need concrete experiences to shape thoughts and concepts." -CJDS Educational Philosophy
We are thrilled to announce that construction of the Dr. Carol Fuchs Kaufman Playground is underway! The playground's natural materials and design will encourage collaborative, imaginative play. It will include garden beds, an outdoor stage, climbing zone, saucer swings, rain garden, messy materials play area, a pergola, and so much more!
The new playground was designed with input from CJDS faculty, administration, parents, and students, along with our partners at GRG Playscapes and Nature Explore. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the friends and family of Dr. Carol Fuchs Kaufman for dedicating this one-of-a-kind playground.
Additionally, thanks to Sandra and Michael Perlow, we are delighted to share that CJDS will soon boast a new state-of-the-art outdoor basketball court. The innovative court is custom-designed and fully equipped with a rubberized surface, benches, and a water fountain. Thank you to the Perlows for this wonderful gift.
Thank you to our architects, CannonDesign, for taking incredible pictures of our 2.6-acre campus!! Come tour our multi-denominational, progressive Jewish day school this fall--it's breathtaking!! Contact Cortney Stark Cope, Director of Admissions, at 773-271-2700 for a tour today!
Yom Ha'Atzmaut from CJDS on Vimeo.
Hachnasat Sefer Torah from CJDS on Vimeo.
The excitement at Chicago Jewish Day School was palpable as students arrived to our brand new, 2.6 acre campus for the first time!
After a beautiful welcoming celebration during Havdallah and tours of their new space, classrooms came alive as students and teachers took advantage of the state-of-the-art technology and thoughtfully organized classrooms that enhance our educational philosophy to continue the meaningful learning that happens each day at CJDS.
For its almost 15 years of existence, Chicago Jewish Day School has moved from one location to the next, making do as best it could in a variety of settings.
All that will change when the school moves into its spacious, state-of-the-art new quarters. On April 9, the school will be in its new, and permanent, home on a 2.6-acre campus in the Irving Park neighborhood.The school opened in Sept. 2003 with seven students. Over the years, it added a grade at a time, and now with 223 students, it’s ready to move into a retrofitted five buildings on the new site, able to accommodate 350 students...."
- Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten have new comfortable and cozy chairs, couches and bean bags in their classrooms and even in our beautiful CJDS blue color! In addition, they will be using all wooden chairs and tables.
- Grades 1 through 5 are using Mien BFF leg chairs (not pictured), "a staple in energetic collaborative classroom environments."
- Middle School students are using Steelcase Node Chairs, which are great for an active learning environment. These chairs are on all wheels and even include a storage unit underneath the seat. Studies show the benefits of how well these chairs make a positive impact inside the classroom.
- In the collaboration areas and breakout spaces, students will enjoy a new model of their favorite ottoman seats used for group discussions, advisory meetings, and collaborative learning. Our new ottomans allow for movement and can be height adjusted as well.
- Projector (and some even have interactive projectors!)
- Fully-equipped Document Cameras, also known as visual presenters, are real-time image capture devices for displaying an object to a large audience.
- Full-blanket Wi-Fi, so students and teachers can collaborate all over the building.
- State-of-the-art projection screen in the Beit Midrash “House of Learning”
- PA system to be utilized for full campus communication and carpool
- Connected Bell System on the Middle School 2nd floor to transition students from class to class
“I feel a sense of pride in what I do and where I work--such an energizing feeling!”
“The new building was much larger than what I imagined. Lots of light and absolutely gorgeous! And there are sinks in the lab!!”
“Beautiful, stunning, brought tears to my eyes! Beautiful space.”
“I want to move tomorrow. I don’t care that it’s not finished. It’s amazing.”
Faculty and Staff at New Campus! from CJDS on Vimeo.
Chicago Jewish Day School proudly announces its move to the New CJDS Campus - April 2018! Fifteen years and several locations later—and with over 220 students currently enrolled—the multi-denominational, progressive Jewish day school is officially moving to a home of their own in the Irving Park neighborhood.
The campus is a 2.6-acre property that includes multiple buildings with state-of-the-art classrooms, central worship and learning space, a gymnasium, and outdoor athletic and recreational facilities–all designed to enhance the school’s commitment to academic excellence and foster continued growth.
Nestled in a tree-lined urban neighborhood in a growing family-friendly community, the new campus will have easy access to both downtown and suburban living. With an environmentally friendly project in mind, CJDS consciously chose to repurpose an existing property while updating the interior to fit the educational style of our Mission and Vision and Educational Philosophy.
“Chicago Jewish Day School is the next big idea in Jewish education. Moving to our new campus will not only be a place to call home, but the incredible space will enhance the education that we already provide on a daily basis. We are excited to enter this new chapter and can’t wait to share our new campus with the Chicago Jewish community.” Judy Finkelstein-Taff, head of school.
With students in junior kindergarten through grade eight, Chicago Jewish Day School has an extraordinary commitment to engaging and educating the next generation of Jewish learners and leaders. Through its integrated and experiential learning curriculum, CJDS is recognized for both its academic excellence and meaningful approach to Judaic Studies and Hebrew. Together, CJDS creates a meaningful and engaging curriculum that develops a child’s capacity for critical and analytical thinking and a strong moral compass. 95% of CJDS graduates gain acceptance to their first-choice high school, including Chicago’s competitive selective enrollment and private schools, where they become leaders in their schools and communities.
On behalf of the CJDS Board of Trustees, President Anat S. Geva remarks, “We are humbled by the support we have received from our parents, donors, and greater community, especially the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. Completing Phase I of the construction project has enabled us to move to our New Campus. We are eager to complete the work necessary in order to utilize the entire campus.”
When asked about the capital campaign, Geva proudly stated, “With over $23 million raised, we still have exciting naming opportunities available and continue to meet with prospective donors. We are thrilled to have reached this milestone and cannot wait to share a finished campus with our community.”
Information about a community-wide grand opening, prospective parent open houses, tours, and opportunities to get involved in the capital campaign will be forthcoming.
- They not only thanked them for providing the holiday lunch but told us they felt an extra sense of pride after hearing about our school and thought the values we are teaching are so important.
- Individuals came to us and thanked us for teaching our students about service to the community and caring about the sick and elderly.
- We were also moved by the workers who thanked us for hiring union workers, ensuring fair pay for a day"s work.
Thursday, September 7, 2017, 4:30 PM
We are thrilled to announce that construction is beginning for our New Campus Project! Current progress on our capital campaign enables us to start building while still working toward our $30 million goal. With demolition completed last month, we are positioned to start work effective immediately. Look on our social media pages for pictures of the construction process throughout the summer!
A partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.
Chair, New Campus Project: Adam Levine
Vice Chairs: Jonathan Cope, David Harris, Jen Levine, Jane Pickus
Wednesday, August 31, 2016, 27 Av 5776
Mazal tov and congratulations to everyone in the CJDS community, we officially closed on our new campus property today! We express our appreciation to all of our major contributors for making this moment possible. We are on our way to making our new home a reality!
If you have been talking to friends or family about our new campus and would like to get more involved in the honor and sacred work of raising capital for this important and amazing project, please contact Wendy Platt Newberger, our Capital Campaign Chair, Adam Levine, our New Campus Project Chair, Anat Geva, our CJDS President, or Head of School, Judy Finkelstein-Taff. A capital investment in our new campus project is an investment in our collective future both as Jews and as Americans.
Making a capital gift to CJDS is not only the fulfillment of the mitzvah of giving tzedakah, but it is a very real Hineni moment. Please let us know if you know of someone who could help us and think about how you will answer the call when it is your turn to say: Hineni, "I'm In."
We are extremely excited and proud to announce that after an extensive search, we have identified the future home of Chicago Jewish Day School!
CJDS's new 2.6-acre campus will be complete with multiple state-of-the-art buildings, on-site gymnasium, field, ample outdoor space for play and learning and parking, all on a tree-lined street accessible from major thoroughfares. We are thrilled to have located such a unique and appropriate space.
The campus will allow CJDS to continue our mission as a multi-denominational Jewish day school in a space designed to enhance and further our educational programs. Planned highlights include flexible classroom space, rooms specifically designed for science, library and media, fine arts, student services, other specialized classrooms and our own Beit Midrash ("House of Learning").
Tour Our Campus!
Come tour our state-of-the-art 2.6-acre campus with our Director of Admissions, Cortney Stark Cope, 773-948-8607.
Learn More about the Capital Campaign!
Learn more about our capital campaign and Phase 2 of our building completion by contacting our Director of Institutional Advancement, Naomi Shapiro, 773-948-8605.