Over the past decade, we have seen that our CJDS students are engaged with Jewish life; they participate in Jewish summer camps, visit Israel frequently with their families, become involved in Jewish youth groups, and want to remain involved in Jewish life after graduating from CJDS. Of our 66 alumni, 23 have chosen to continue their Jewish education in a high school setting. This is an important metric because students entering high school are more actively involved in the choice than they are in choosing an early childhood or elementary school. We hope that the education we provide at CJDS will instill the values of diversity and inclusivity within the Jewish community.
We also value that after our students leave CJDS, they serve as role-model citizens and demonstrate the values they learned at CJDS to enhance the greater community. Our 43 alumni who are currently in non-Jewish high school settings are thriving, serving as leaders in their school communities.
What you see in the graduates is that they love learning, they are curious and motivated and they are at home in Judaism.
Read our alumni spotlights
Mia Participates in Research Training Internship
By: Mia Strubel Iram
, Class of 2016
This past year I have participated in the Research Training Internship (RTI), a program that is run through a joint partnership between the Jewish United Fund and the Beck Research Initiative for Women and Gender and Community at DePaul University. RTI teaches young Jewish women (9-12th graders) feminist research methodologies and justice-based political education through a Jewish lens. Throughout the year, we explored numerous issues such as race, gender, privilege, power, and Judaism. We challenged one another as we considered the positions we hold in society as young, Jewish women. Together, we fostered a greater understanding of the current issues affecting ourselves and the people around us. We did this by reading articles, watching videos and participating in discussions facilitated by our two wonderful mentors, Stephanie Goldfarb (JUF employee) and Rebecca Johnson (DePaul graduate student), all of which culminated in designing and implementing a group research project.
Each year, the RTI cohort chooses a specific research topic about which the group feels passionate.This year, we researched and analyzed the ways in which Jewish food spaces are gendered by Jewish tradition, social norms, and halacha, Jewish law. We wanted to better understand how Jewish females are impacted by food and body image specifically in the Jewish community. Our RTI year culminates with a presentation of our research with the goal of disseminating our findings to the Jewish and non-Jewish community. Our culmination will be held on June 3, 2018 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. For more information or if you are interested in attending the event you can RSVP here
My experience in RTI has taught me to examine society with a more observant lens, to challenge systems, to conduct feminist research and analyze data, and it has equipped me with language to describe my own experiences. Chicago Jewish Day School prepared me for RTI in so many ways. CJDS has taught me how to think critically and participate in meaningful discussions. Beginning in elementary school I was taught to always ask questions. In middle school everything from group projects in Humanities to discussions in Judaic studies taught me how to take part in meaningful dialogue.Until I joined RTI, I did not fully appreciate how deeply my learning experiences at CJDS shaped me as a critical thinker and prepared me for new opportunities. As I finish my RTI year, I plan to use the knowledge I gained to work for social justice issues within my own communities.
RTI cohort five (2018-2019) is now accepting applications from female-identifying, Jewish high school students and those who will be high school students in the fall. Learn more or apply here!
Eli Stone Works at Daniel Biss' Campaign for Governor
At the age of 16, Eli Stone
, CJDS Alumnus
Class of 2016, had an incredible experience working as an Organizing Fellow and Community Coordinator on State Senator Daniel Biss' campaign for Governor.
Read below about his experience and how CJDS made an impact on his life today.
"Being a part of this campaign was the best experience of my life. Essentially, I was in charge of running 1-2 phone banks a week in Lakeview and Lincoln Park and assisting the Field Organizer in the Northside of the city with running events, recruiting volunteers, and retaining volunteers. I also assisted with day-to-day office needs, as well as served as the Staging Location Director during the GOTV (Get Out The Vote) portion of the campaign.
Prior to the Biss campaign, I interned on two other campaigns, one for Mayor of Evanston, and another Gubernatorial campaign. Many people thought I was doing this to get service hours, or fulfill a requirement for school. Both were actually false. I spent nearly 30 hours/week working on the Biss campaign, not just because I thought that Daniel was the right choice, but because I learned to love the systems that make our democratic process work. The ins-and outs of organizing, the right and wrong ways to connect with people and understand their stories, and how those stories relate to the campaign. I fell in love with the feeling of the campaign. Well, I did not fall in love with the amount of sleep I got or coffee I drank. But, I fell in love with the feeling of having everyone in it together, working towards one common goal.
I also got involved because of Chicago Jewish Day School. From JK through Grade 8, CJDS taught me to stand up for what I believe in and to make the world a better place in any way that you can. Through this campaign, I feel like I was able to stand up for what I believe in, and we made the world a better place with our campaign. No, we did not win, but we changed the conversation around progressive policies that impact every day Illinoisans. Without the values that CJDS taught me, I highly doubt that I would have been as involved in the campaign. If I learned anything through this experience, it's how important it is to be involved in the community. No matter what it is, giving back and helping out other people, is one the biggest mitzvot a person can do. For me, right now politics and campaigns is the way I am choosing to give back and be involved in the community. Every day I do this, I always remember what CJDS taught me: stand up for what you believe in, and make the world a better place."
We are so incredibly proud of Eli for getting involved in our Chicago community and following his passion of campaigning. Watch the video below to see a highlight of Eli's experience on the campaign!
Third Alumni Class Heads Off to College!
to our third alumni
class of 2014 for being accepted to outstanding and prestigious colleges all over the U.S.!
- Noah Cope: Colgate University
- Eli Hartman-Seeskin: University of Minnesota
- Ben Hirsch: Washington University at St. Louis
- Livia Moses: Northeastern University
- Sarah Stone: Brandeis University
- Bea Treister: University of Vermont
- Sol Treister: Colby College
This class has also been accepted to the following colleges: Boston University, Bucknell University, Emory University, Indiana University, LeHigh University, Miami University of Ohio, Northeastern University, Tulane University, University of Colorado, University of Iowa, and University of Missouri.
42 Alumni Attended CJDS Musical!
|We want to thank all of our alumni for coming out to the CJDS musical both nights! They helped usher and hand out programs and even got to sit in the special alumni seating with Director Morah Jill Schwartz! For the second year in a row, we held our alumni pizza party prior to the Thursday night show. The alumni were so thrilled to all be back together, enjoy a delicious dinner, and even had a chance to go back stage to give the cast their best wishes!
42 of our 66 CJDS alumni came to the musical over the course of two nights--and 10 of those 66 alumni are away at college so what an incredible attendance from our alumni!!
Thanks for coming: Talia Alpert, Emanuel April, Ava Berkwits, Sarah Bloom, Aaron Cohen, Dori Cohen, Raquel Cohen, Noah Cope, Rachel Cope, Jonah Feigelson, Sydney Finkelstein, Deena Goodgold, Eli Gould, Meira Groth, Ariana Handelman, Zevi Hartman-Seeskin, Ben Hirsch, Benji Hoffenberg, Kira Hoffman, Aviva Kaplan, Sophie Kaufman, Leah Kenen, Jacob Kline, Nicole LeVee, Betsy Levine, Marc Luban, Dahlia Matanky, Alana Newberger, Leah Oppenheimer, Katelyn Perlow, Katy Phillips, Eytan Raviv, Ellie Rosenberg, Gillian Rosenberg, Avi Shapira, Ben Sollinger, Eli Stone, Mia Strubel Iram, Bea Treister, Eloise Treister, Sol Treister, and Effie Zimmerman. We are so lucky to have alumni classes that remain excited about CJDS and our musical!
Alumni's Model U.N. Team Receives Award of Distinction
|Yasher Koach to our CJDS alumni at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School on the Model U.N. team for receiving the Award of Distinction, the highest honor at the National High School Model U.N. Conference held in New York City last month! Congratulations to Livia Moses (Class of 2014), Molly Hart (Class of 2015), and Rachel Cope (Class of 2017).|
Lane Tech Faculty Raves about CJDS Alumni
As we prepare our graduates for the future, we strive for them to develop a passion for life-long learning and to be contributing, caring and knowledgeable members of our community, our country, and the world. We have several alumni who attend Lane Tech High School. The following are some inspiring quotes to share about our alumni from the faculty at Lane Tech:
"It is so impressive to see students go from a school as small as CJDS to one as large as Lane. The fact that CJDS students have transitioned so beautifully is a testament to the preparation at CJDS in critical thinking, public speaking, and community building. The CJDS alumnus in my British Lit class is a sophomore in a class of mostly juniors, and she is a true leader in our classroom. CJDS alums at Lane are thriving both in academics and extracurricular activities."
"If developing a strong sense of self is one of the goals of CJDS, then he has achieved it while being respectful and thoughtful. From the first day, he impressed us not only with his manners and curiosity, but also with his determination to apply himself not just to earning good grades, but also to learning in a meaningful way."
"I have been impressed not only by this student's openness and kindness shown by her interactions with all members of the Lane community, but also by her overall sense of curiosity and enthusiasm toward learning."
Ariana Receives Medal at Annual Business and Finance Competition!
|Ariana Handelman, CJDS Alumnae, Class of 2016, received a medal at the Annual Business and Finance Competition! She attends Rochelle Zell Jewish High School where she participates in DECA, Business and Finance Club. Yasher Koach to Ari!!|
Alumni Visit New Campus!
This past Sunday, we invited our CJDS alumni and alumni parents for a sneak peek of the New Campus! It was so wonderful to see their expressions as they walked the halls of CJDS. Our pioneer alumni classes (and their parents!) helped us grow into the wonderful, multi-denominational, progressive school we are today and we were honored to show them the next chapter in the history of CJDS.
Pictured (left to right)
Raquel Cohen, junior at Walter Payton College Prep
Dori Cohen, freshman at Walter Payton College Prep
Sydney Finkelstein, freshman at Jones College Prep
Ariana Handelman, sophmore at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
Gillian Rosenberg, sophomore at Evanston Township High School
Ellie Receives Honor of Springboard Chicago's 2018 18 Under 18
to our CJDS Alumna, Ellie Rosenberg,
(Class of 2015) for receiving the honor of being one of Springboard Chicago's 2018 18 Under 18!
Ellie is selected for her leadership, tzedakah
, fostering of inclusion, and other Jewish values. At the award ceremony, Jacob Kline (Class of 2016) Emcee'd the event.
Ellie wrote in her program bio, "I'm thrilled to be an 18 Under 18 Honoree and I would like to thank my wonderful family, caring friends, and the many inspiring leaders in my life from camp, CJDS, Diller, and the Evanston community."
Ellie is a junior at Evanston Township High School.
Alumni Perform at Lane Tech's Fiddler on the Roof
CJDS Alumni are performing in Lane Tech High School's Musical Performance of Fiddler on the Roof!
Back in 2016, our middle school performed the same musical so these alumni
have some experience putting on the performance of Fiddler on the Roof
! The following CJDS alumni
are in the cast and crew:
- Simon Adams
- Aaron Cohen
- Jacob Kline
- Dora Starr Poulos (former CJDS student)
Alumni Create Award-Winning Student Literary Magazine
Yasher Koach to the following CJDS alumna at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School for their success in their school magazine, The Prints! This magazine achieved the rank of Excellent in the 2017 National Council of Teachers of English Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines.
- Eliana Kaufman, Alumnae Class of 2013, one of the managing editors and now attends Tulane University
- Sophie Kaufman, Alumnae Class of 2015
- Ariana Handelman, Alumnae Class of 2016
Alumnus Reflection on Trip to Israel
Sol Treister, Alumnus
Class of 2014, was featured in the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School newsletter! Here is his reflection before leaving for their senior Israel trip. "Understand that failing is key to progressing in life encourages me to take risks that my ego-driven side may discourage me from out of fear of rejection; apply to that school you may not get into, get rejected. Train all summer for that competition, lose. Let go of that fear of failure––Fail, but keep moving forward. Because failure is only failure in the context of externally held expectations. Climb that mountain, bomb that hill, and step outside of your comfort zone."
At CJDS, we teach our students that it's okay to make mistakes. We strive for them to be resilient people in the world and to handle any obstacle that comes their way. We are proud of Sol for all of his accomplishments and overcoming his losses in life. Sol is the definition of a CJDS graduate.
Alumni Captions of Varsity and JV Basketball Teams
|Shout Out to Noah Cope, Alumnus Class of 2014 and Yinnon Finer, Class of 2017, who were named captains of the Varsity and Junior Varsity Basketball teams at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School! CJDS alumni exemplify leadership, sportsmanship, and determination, and we know they will do an excellent job leading the teams in a successful basketball season!|
Sydney Volunteers at CJDS Parent Committee Hanukkah Celebration
A special shout out to Sydney Finkelstein, Alumnae Class of 2017, for volunteering at our Parent Committee Hanukkah Celebration last week! Sydney oversaw the dreidel competition with the students and then led the entire CJDS community in the candle lighting for the 6th night of Hanukkah. Todah Rabah, Sydney, for volunteering at a CJDS event!
Sydney attends Jones College Prep High School. Check out where our alumni go to high school AND college here!
CJDS Alumni are Illinois State Scholars!
to the following high school seniors for being named Illinois State Scholars:
- Nope Cope, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
- Eli Hartman-Seeskin, Evanston Township High School
- Ben Hirsch, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
- Livia Moses, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
The State Scholar Program recognizes these students who attend approved high schools for outstanding academic achievements and is an honorary recognition.
Alumnae Volunteering at Ida Crown
|Shout Out to Dahlia Matanky, Alumnae Class of 2017, for volunteering and participating in the Ida Crown Jewish Academy's Freshman Fridayton, where freshman attend a fun field trip during the school day and have Shabbat dinner together at the school. Dahlia is our first graduate to attend Ida Crown Jewish Academy, and we are so happy to see her thrive there!|
Casted in RZJHS Musical!
|Yasher Koach to two our CJDS alumni, Marc Luban (Class of 2016) and Meira Groth (Class of 2015) for being casted in the upcoming high school musical of Pippen at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School!|
Ben Named National Merit Commended Student!
|Mazal tov to our CJDS Alumnus, Class of 2014, Ben Hirsch, for being recently named a National Merit Commended student! He scored in the top 3% of students in the PSAT test. Ben is a senior at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School and he, along with four other students, were recognized by RZJHS.|