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CJDS Graduates to Alumni
Alex Treyger

Dear CJDS Community,

This week I have so much to share with you that I suggest you press "print" and read this message when you can kick back and enjoy my "next to the last" Likrat Shabbat of the 2015-2016 school year!

Last night, our first CJDS graduates spent an evening at Ms. J's. Four of our five graduates live in Chicago, and the fifth Mira Sykes, lives in Israel. Four girls who began their Chicago Jewish Day School career in a Kindergarten classroom at Alphonsus Academy and Center for the Arts, took a few moments out of their busy lives to celebrate their graduation from high school with us. Faculty members Jill Kushnir LeVee, Tamar Cytryn, and Alex Treyger joined me as we welcomed:

  • Orly Genin, graduating from Lane Tech College Prep, Alpha program
  • Leah King, graduating from the Lincoln Park High School, Double Honors program
  • Maya Michalewicz, graduating from Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
  • Karen Weiner, graduating from Northside College Prepatory High School.

These alumni were accepted into several colleges and will be attending University of Southern California, Northeastern University in Boston, Oberlin College, and Indiana University in Bloomington...

As we sat talking to these four articulate and thoughtful young women, it was fascinating to hear their reflections on their high school experiences and why they chose the colleges they chose. It was heartwarming to see them greet each other with hugs, and it was touching to see them open a time capsule that they had created in Kindergarten. Mazal tov to Kent and Tamar GeninDan and Jenny King, Heidi Baruch and Pablo Michalewicz, Suzanne Griffel and Saul Weiner, here in Chicago along with Rabbi Loren and Rebecca Sykes in Israel! Our first CJDS graduates are going to college - it's hard to believe that all those years have flown by. We can't wait to hear about the next stages of their lives! 

Moving right along, to our fifth graduating class! Seventeen students, our largest class to date, will be graduating on Wednesday, June 8 at 7:30 PM, and we hope you will save the date and plan to join us. After each one of our prior graduation programs, I have always had people come up to me and say, "Ms. J, our graduation program is so inspiring, you should encourage people from the community to come even if they don't have someone in their family graduating."

So . . . I'm encouraging all of our readers to attend graduation and bring a friend! CJDS Grade 8 Graduation is a great venue to view a snapshot of the impact of a CJDS education.

In addition, next Friday, June 3, we will be honoring our graduates at Kabbalat Shabbat at 11:40 PM and always love guests to join us for this special recognition!

We are very proud to announce that once again our graduates have been accepted into outstanding high school programs from all around the greater Chicagoland area: CPS selective enrollment, suburban public, and private independent schools, including our Jewish high schools. To give you a glimpse, our students were accepted into the following high school programs: Amundsen High School, Beacon Academy, Evanston Township High School, Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Jones College Prep, Lane Technical College Prep High School (Alpha Program), Lincoln Park High School (Performing Arts, IB, and Double Honors Programs), New Trier High School, Nicholas Senn High School, Niles North High School, Northside College Prep High School, Ogden International School of Chicago (Baccalaureate Program), Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, Steinmetz College Prep, Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center (Scholars program). 

Mazal Tov to our Grade 8 students:

Simon Adams, Talia Alpert, Aviva Berke, Emma Friedman, Sam Goodman, Maya Gordon-Guterman, Ariana Handelman, Aviva Kaplan, Leah Kenen, Jacob Kline, Maya Levy, Marc Luban, Alana Newberger, Gillian Rosenberg, Aryeh Silver, Eli Stone and Mia Strubel Iram, and their parents, Turi Ryder Adams and Scott Adams, Andrea and Danny Alpert, Elizabeth and Steven Berke, Cantor Michelle Drucker Friedman and Elias Friedman, Marina Flider-Goodman and Ken Goodman, Stacey Gordon and Neil Guterman, Maxine and Jacob Handelman, Faye Kroshinsky and Bennett Kaplan, Larisa and Dan Kenen, Wendy Kline, Julie and Alan Levy, Ann and Michael Luban, Wendy Platt Newberger and Scott Newberger, Deborah Hamilton and Jim Rosenberg, Stacey and Warren Silver, Andi and David Stone, Aleeza Strubel and Yaron Iram

on the graduation of this amazing group of students!!

As many of you who have visited CJDS the last month know the end of the school year CJDS is busy beyond belief! Highlights from this week include: Rabbi Steve Lowensteinour Kabbalat Shabbat guest today. In 13 years, Rabbi Lowenstein has never missed a year, is never too busy to take time out of his very busy schedule at Am Shalom to be our Kabbalat Shabbat guest for CJDS. Rabbi Lowenstein is a renowned rabbi, avid baseball fan (if you've ever been to his office, you'd know what I mean), author, cyclist, and all around  amazing guy!

We are grateful to Rabbi Lowenstein for all of his support over the history of CJDS and encourage you to introduce yourself to him as a friend of CJDS if you are ever a guest in the Am Shalom community. If by chance you are a reader that is a member of Am Shalom, please let Rabbi Lowenstein know about your involvement with CJDS; I know he would be pleased to know!

Grade One students had their Rainforest Bake Sale and raised tzedakah to save the rainforests, learning the values of tikkun olam, as well as how to protect our environment, both important aspects of their general studies based unit. Yasher Koach to Grade One students and teachers!

Grade Three students had their Kabbalat Torah culmination this week, and it could not have been more inspiring!! Seeing our parents high-fiving each other and giving each other hugs as our Grade Three students each read Torah underneath our beautiful CJDSchuppah really said it all. Mazal tov to all of our Grade Three families, students, and teachers!

If you are looking to be inspired or you want to help us a CJDS ambassador, bring a guest to the school this Wednesday, June 1 at 8:40 AM is the day to come!! Our Grade One Kabbalat Siddur ceremony is another beautiful touch point in our year-end culmination programs. Watching the Grade Two tefillah buddies giving the Grade One students a siddur, decorated lovingly by their parents, is something special to watch!

Yesterday, our students participated enthusiastically in our annual Lag B'Omer Field Day  and our Grade Eight students led our Annual Walk-A-Thon, which raises money for next year's Grade Eight students to go to Israel. Yasher Koach to everyone who participated!!

Last but not least, we reached another milestone event this week. Our CJDS JV volleyball team won their tournament and won our first CJDS trophy!!! Mazal Tov To our Athletic Director Brian Ploof and our amazing Coach Edgar Rodriguez along with our CJDS  players: Yinnon Finer, Ari Groth, Jacob Groth, Jacob Kline, Marc Luban, Effie MacNeill-Zimmerman, Avi Shapira, and Eli Stone. 

All of our athletes will be honored next week at the CJDS Rams Sports Celebration on Thursday, June 2 at 3:45 PM. Please feel free to join us at this event as well!

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to a restful Shabbat and holiday weekend - safe travels to all of you traveling - until next week!!

Shabbat Shalom,

Ms J (Judy)