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A Moving Yom HaAtzmaut at Chicago Jewish Day School
Jen Minkus

Another moving moment was when our Grade 8 students performed their daglanut flag ceremony, which models one of the ceremonies performed in Israel on this day. It was a very impressive drill using the Israeli flags that culminated with a beautiful bridge creation. At that point, we traditionally honor anyone in the room who was born in Israel, lived there for an extensive period of time, or served in the IDF. As the flags were formed into the bridge, a stream of people - both students and adults - came from all corners of our gym to walk underneath this bridge of Honor. They remained in a line in the front of the room as we stood as a community to sing Hatikvah, which this year was led by a visiting IDF musical ensemble. At the conclusion of Hatikvah, several of our middle school students spontaneously broke into dance with the ensemble members and it was an incredibly heartwarming sight to see.

In addition to these moments, we want to thank the Israeli Embassy for sending representatives to our program; Orly Desser and the FIDF in Chicago for arranging the musical ensemble; the Israeli soldiers who visited with us yesterday; parent Manuel Gliksberg and Morah Hadar Markin for sharing their personal stories with our students; and lastly to the faculty committee who created this experience - from the engaging entry to our building to the meaningful tekes to the myriad of stations and activities enjoyed by all in the afternoon. As they say in Hebrew,H amon Todah and many thanks to our Yom HaAtzmaut leaders: Morah Penina Berdugo, Morah Tamar Cytryn, and Morah Levana Freund, as well as committee members Morah Jackie Moss-Blumenfeld, Morah Irit Levy, Morah Mor Gamlieli, Morah Hadar Markin, Morah Alex Treyger, Morah Mira Gelman, Morah Sara Goodman, Morah Moriah Bradley, Lisa Lieberman, and Athletics Director Brian Ploof.

Thank you to all faculty and staff for all of their hard work and roles played in the success of this day. Shout-out to Jen Minkus, Wendy Kline, Barbara Gordon, and Liz Erlich from our Operational Leadership Team, Jill Kushnir LeVee from our Educational Leadership Team, as well as Alex and his fabulous maintenance team - Efron, Pete, Joel, and Leticia, who work tirelessly turning over set-ups and cleaning and maintaining our facility, especially on days like yesterday. And, finally, thank you to Anne and Joe and the yesterday's security team. It certainly takes a village!

Lastly, I could not conclude my message today without thanking parents Margalit Segal and Cara Gutstein, Lisa Lieberman, Esther Solooki, and the entire Parent Committee for all of the work they put into thanking our faculty and staff during Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week. When I saw the cart with the “spa refreshments” complete with cucumber-infused and lemon-infused water, I knew the 10-minute opportunity for a quick massage during lunch would be quite the hit – which it was!

Thank you to all parents who participated in making this week a meaningful appreciation for everyone who works at CJDS, including the parents and children who created and submitted photos for our Faculty and Staff Appreciation Video.

Thank you to families who sent me stories photos from their Passover. If you have any more, it’s not too late. If you have another story or anecdote from your child’s experience at CJDS, please feel free to email me – I’d love to hear it!

Shabbat Shalom,

Ms. J (Judy)