Highlights from CJDS New Campus Construction Celebration
Dear CJDS Community,
We are filled with gratitude as we head into the High Holiday season. Last Thursday, we celebrated the construction of a New Campus for Chicago Jewish Day School. Over 200 friends and supporters gathered together to witness this auspicious occasion. Although we were celebrating “the bricks and mortar,” the day was special because of the people. The gathering of people and their messages were so inspiring. For those of you who missed the event, it was a transformative moment in time.
The program began with a three-part d’drash articulated by Rabbis David Wolkenfeld, Shoshanah Conover and Edwin Goldberg. Their messages, taken from parashat Lech Lecha, (our school-wide theme), resonated as they compared the journey of Abraham and Sarah to the journey of CJDS and the blessing that children bring into our lives, just as they did for Abraham and Sarah. The visual of our rabbis from different streams of Judaism, who demonstrate both warmth and respect to each other was inspiring in itself. Rabbi Michael Siegel, who is the senior member of our CJDS Rabbinic Advisory Group delivered the benediction and concluded his remarks with the sounding of the shofar...
The next imagery that inspired us was the snapshot of L’dor va dor, from one generation to another, as we heard from our lay leadership, Alderman Deb Mell and the Police Commander of our new district. The lay leadership of Anat Geva, CJDS Board President, Wendy Platt Newberger, our Capital Campaign Chair, and Adam Levine, the New Campus Project Chair, were introduced and followed in their footsteps by their children. The powerful image of Abby Levine introducing Dr. Steven B. Nasatir, the President of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and Avital Strauss, Anat’s daughter, introducing Alderman Deb Mell of the 33rd Ward, and Shira Newberger introducing the Head of School of CJDS, truly made the words “L’dor va dor” come alive before our eyes.
The presence of so many special community members was truly a sight to behold:
- Dr. James Quaid, the principal of DePaul College Prep and Mary Dempsey representing their Board of Trustees
- Alderman Deb Mell and Jason Hernandez, her Chief of Staff
- Commander and officers of Police District 17
- Jaime Andrade, Jr., Illinois State Representative of the 40th District
- Dr. Steven B. Nasatir, Michael Zaransky, and an outpouring of both JUF staff and lay leadership
- Heads of Schools from our sister day schools: Linda Foster, Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School; Tony Frank, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School and Rabbi Leonard Matanky, Ida Crown Jewish Academy
- Our own dedicated CJDS community, and the representatives of our contractors, architects, attorneys, and general project managers
The celebration of our construction project properly represents our values of respect and celebration of our multi-denominational Jewish community, commitment to our place in Chicago as an independent city school and the city as our classroom, and “educating our students in the richness of their past, the diversity of their present, and the possibilities for their future."
We are grateful to our major donors who have contributed $23 million dollars to make our dreams a reality and hope now that everyone in our CJDS community will think about becoming a stakeholder in the future. We hope everyone in the community will think about what they can give to this project; we can’t finish it without you, and we want to finish it with you. We want every member of our CJDS family to have “a piece of the rock.” This school is our legacy to our current students, our alumni, and to future generations. This school is our legacy to the Jewish people, to the City of Chicago and to the fabric of America. This school is and its graduates will serve as a strong link in the chain of Jewish history and our connection to Israel.
Please contact Naomi Shapiro, our Director of Institutional Advancement, at 773-271-2700 to make your pledge (payable over five years).
Lastly, Yasher Koach and congratulations to our hardworking staff: Naomi Shapiro, Esther Solooki and Abbe Vallen who were “the force” behind our Construction Celebration and to all their colleagues at CJDS who helped and worked side by side with them to make this event a success. Todah Rabah to everyone!
Ms. J (Judy)