Educating our children in the richness of their past, the diversity of their present and the possibilities for their future.
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CJDS Playscape Featured in Chicago Jewish News!
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..."
Join Us for Playdate at the Playscape: November 18th, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
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.
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!
On Sunday, June 3rd, Chicago Jewish Day School welcomed over 500 guests to celebrate the opening of our New Campus. We are grateful that so many members of our community came to share our joy. Guests included current families and students, alumni families, founding board members, donors, neighbors, colleagues, CJDS faculty and staff, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago board members and professionals. We were honored to hear from Dr. Steven B. Nasatir, President of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago as well as 33rd Ward Alderman Deb Mell. Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Illinois State RepresentativeJaime Andrade, Alderman Harry Osterman, and Deputy Consul GeneralItay Milner joined us as well.
In addition to hearing from CJDS lay leaders, Judy Finkelstein-Taff shared her reflections on the school’s motto “educating our children in the richness of their past, the diversity of their present and the possibilities for their future.” The beautiful day was topped off with a blessing from our Rabbinical Advisory Board and our students’ voices joined together in song.
In honor of the event and the opening of the school’s new campus, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, mayor of the City of Chicago, proclaimed June 3, 2018, is Chicago Jewish Day School Day in Chicago. You can see the proclamation here.
Thank you to board members- past and present, parent committee chairs, parents, and so many more who have helped Chicago Jewish Day School reach this milestone in its history. While there is more work to be done in completing the project, we are grateful to have a permanent home – one that matches the incredible education we offer our students.
Celebrating Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel's 70th birthday with a Tekes Maavar, Grade 8 daglanut flag ceremony, and Israel themed interactive activities!! From Israeli dancing and playing a popular Israeli sport, matkot, to creating Eilat sand castles and visiting the Bedouin tents andShuk, the day was filled with ruach(spirit) and love of Israel!!
Hachnassat Sefer Torah Ceremony at the New Campus!
Bringing in our sacred Torah to our new home! The dream of a multi-denominational Jewish day school committed to both excellence in General Studies and a serious Jewish education has been realized. Although the buildings and grounds bring us to a new level of operation, it is the students who brought on our tears of joy. It is our students’ knowledge, engagement and participation that took out breath away. HaTikvah means “The Hope.” Hope was so alive in that room, in our Beit Midrash, that it was palpable in a way that was refreshing to all of the adults in the room.
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.
Excitement is in the Air! CJDS Faculty and Staff have officially moved their classrooms and offices to the New Campus! This week has been so incredible to watch the campus come to life with the beautiful classrooms, flexible breakout spaces, and halls filled with student-artwork. Our faculty and staff learned how to use the new technology for the classrooms, trained in new security procedures and protocols for every aspect of the day. Our faculty and staff are working hard to ensure that when the students arrive, they are welcomed to a warm, state-of-the-art, innovative campus and ready to hit the ground running!
Our middle school students had the special treat of visiting our new campus for a sneak peek! Excitement was bursting through the hallways as the students toured the new campus, tested out the new furniture and jumped with joy about their new home. Our Grade 8 students will be escorting the lower school students to their classrooms on the first day of school. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to get a feel of the new campus.
"The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interactions. At Chicago Jewish Day School children learn with and from one another in a caring community in both social as well as academic learning. Interdependence counts at least as much as independence. We help learners engage with ideas and drive each other’s thinking — to build knowledge, to care and to act." -CJDS Educational Philosophy Statement
When building our new campus, designing the space to reflect our Mission and Vision and Educational Philosophy was a high priority. The inclusion of the Mercaz (Welcome Center), collaboration spaces, breakout spaces outside the classrooms and furniture designed for movement reflects how this new campus will enhance learning while also building a sense of community.
Hot Off the Press! CJDS is the COVER story of this week's Chicago Jewish News issue featuring our new campus, our history, and our one-of-a-kind progressive, multi-denominational Jewish day school!
"HOME AT LAST: After 15 years of wandering, Chicago Jewish Day School is moving into its new state of the art campus!
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...."
Our students had the unique opportunity to create and design their own mezzuzot for our new campus! Over the course of two days, students in Kindergarten through Grade 7 (and even faculty, staff and Ms. J!) worked with artist, Abby Meir and our CJDS Art Specialist, Rachel Treister, on creating beautiful mezuzzot that will be affixed to the doorposts in our new campus. Mezzuzot reminds our community that we are always connected to G-d and our Jewish heritage. The mezzuzot will be dispersed all over the new campus in Phase I, and the remaining will be hung in Phase II.
Students were buzzing with excitement knowing that their art will be all over the new campus! We can't wait to see the finished products!
This week we wanted to share with you some pictures of the new furniture that was delivered to our new campus! This new furniture was selected with a lot of thought about how students learn best.
At CJDS, we have always believed in the importance of the learning environment. The term the “Third Teacher” was coined by educators and adopted by architects like ours, to underscore the valuable asset a facility, furnishings, and general physical environment can provide for and enrich learning.
Please check out some highlights of the new types of furniture:
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.
Check out the New Technology Installed at the New Campus!
The goal of technology education is to develop in learners an understanding of technology skills and concepts, as well as the importance and connection to everyday life. We are excited to enhance our technology inside and outside the classrooms at the new campus.
Every classroom has a:
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.
Throughout the building, great new features include:
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
CJDS Faculty and Staff Celebrating our Move Announcement at the New Campus!
“It’s a beautiful facility! It was so nice to see it at this stage. Then, we’ll come back to see it with furniture and continue to develop and layout our future classroom and utilize all the new space that we have. It’s wonderful that we will all be together [middle school and lower school] again as a community because that is what CJDS stands for!”
“I feel the sense of excitement in the air as we shared a first look at the new campus together."
“This community is so appreciative of this space.”
“A dream come true! Dreamy; can’t believe we are finally here!”
“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.”
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.
CJDS Throws Holiday Party for New Campus Construction Team
CJDS organized a holiday party for over 50 dedicated and hard-working construction workers, Reed Construction, at the New Campus. Electricians, communications installers, carpet and tile layers, mill workers, carpenters, bricklayers and fillers, plumbers, and more gathered together in our new Beit Midrash and heard a little bit about the school they are building. We told the story of Chicago Jewish Day School and how we teach our students about our heritage. We also informed them how we integrate into our neighborhood with projects and relationships with public schools and other parochial schools. We encourage our students to participate in the community and caring about their neighbors and others in our community that might need our help.
Wendy Kline and Ms. J were overwhelmed by the response of the workers:
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.
Talk about sacred work. . .these men and one woman, with their work belts and hard hats, are truly demonstrating scared work building Chicago Jewish Day School. It seemed to us at this holiday lunch that they truly felt that sacredness and felt appreciated by our school for their contributions to our new facility.
CJDS’s New Campus project is moving along nicely! Cement for the new circle drive has been laid, the new entrance is set, and frames of the classrooms and breakout spaces are up. The new entrance on the North side of the California building, an addition to the existing structure, will be our main entrance and include a security vestibule and the mercaz, or community center – an area for parents and visitors. Enjoy some pictures of the progress our hard-working construction crew is making.
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!
Demolition work is continuing and almost complete at our new campus site! Above is a rendering of our outdoor space, which will include a playground, sports court, and outdoor educational space. The design is still in the final phases of development. It is exciting to have a campus that allows for outdoor play and learning for our students.
What is the expectation for parent participation in contributing to the fundraising goal?
We all share the dream of a permanent home for CJDS, and we hope that all families will find a way to meaningfully contribute to the CJDS capital campaign. Whether giving a personal contribution, connecting community donors to the school, and volunteering your time, there will be many opportunities to support this important endeavor. The capital campaign will formally open up to the school community later in the year.
In order to continue to offer the excellent program that already exists at CJDS, we will continue our goal of 100% participation of school families in our annual campaign, which is necessary to supplement tuition revenue for our operating budget each year. Since its inception, CJDS has enjoyed generous family support of the annual campaign which not only enables the school to operate but motivates major capital donors which are critical for our move to our own campus.
We have raised over $22.4 million of our $30 million goal!(As of June 2017) This is a huge accomplishment not only for our administration but for the future of our CJDS students and community. This fundraising goal includes the purchase of the campus and the redevelopment of the property.
How will the tuition rates be affected by this project?
Tuition increases will continue to reflect trends in the cost of day school education. Tuition will not be affected by the acquisition and redevelopment of the property. CJDS continues our mission of working with families so that children can take advantage of a CJDS education.
The new campus project has received generous support from a group of lead donors, and fundraising is ongoing. The campaign is supported by leadership at the Jewish United Fund, and all gifts to this project above $100,000 will also be recognized as commitments to the Jewish Federation’s Centennial Campaign. A CJDS community campaign will be opening later this year. Gifts are payable over five years.
We welcome students and families of all gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. A partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.
Will the move impact before care and after-school activities?
Before care and after-school activities (including sports) will continue at our new campus with no interruption. Timing and the prices should remain the same throughout the entire school year, and if there are any changes, we will notify our parent body.
Will daily bus service to and from school continue?
The CJDS bus transportation will continue, however, pick-up and drop-off times may be adjusted to accommodate the new commute. Necessary changes will be assessed over the summer, and we will notify our families as soon as possible once the new routes and times have been determined.
Prior to the move, there will be opportunities to visit the new campus. The campus is currently an active construction site and unlikely to be available for formal tours until completion. However, later this spring, we will share our blueprints and vision of our new campus. We encourage you to drive by and familiarize yourself with the family-friendly neighborhood. The addresses of the two main buildings are 3730 N. California Ave and 3737 N. Mozart St., located between Irving Park and Addison, on a 2.6-acre parcel of land.
We are planning to move mid-year during the 2017-2018 school year. The specific timing of the move will depend on progress of construction. We understand that such a move has an impact on daily logistics; we will update you with as much notice as possible when the move-in date solidifies. In addition, the CJDS administration is diligently working to determine and plan for the logistics involved in a mid-year move.
The new campus will be a state-of-the-art facility, including flexible classrooms, a gym, a Beit Midrash, and outdoor space, all to serve CJDS’s mission as a multi-denominational Jewish day school in the City of Chicago.
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."
Last spring, CJDS announced the exciting news that we had identified the future site for our school. As we entered our 13th year, we began the planning and fundraising to realize our dream of establishing a beautiful campus to call home for our ever growing school. After only six months of fundraising, we are thrilled to share our progress toward this incredible goal:
Crown Goodman Family Support Ignites our Campaign!
The Board of Trustees and our administration are proud to announce the Crown Goodman Family’s support of CJDS’s Capital Campaign and project. Long-time supporters of our school, the Crown Goodman Family will provide up to $10 million to support the establishment of a CJDS campus in the form of two gifts. The initial gift, a $5 million leadership gift, illustrates their commitment to CJDS’s future. Additionally, they are providing up to $5 million in the form of a matching grant to inspire the broader community to join the building of CJDS’s future.
More than Halfway There!
To realize our dream, CJDS established a $28 million capital campaign. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and administration, we are proud to announce that we are more than halfway to our goal. Thanks to the magnificent support of the Crown Goodman Family and several other generous gifts we have received over the past six months, the capital campaign is on track and building momentum! We are deeply appreciative of our capital campaign’s early, leadership donors and our partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. These relationships that have been built over the years have enabled us to reach this important stage in our development, but we will need the support of the entire community to complete the journey to our new home...
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").