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Holocaust Survivor Dr. George Brent Visits
Jen Minkus

Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut Observances

Next Wednesday, we'll observe Yom HaZikaron as we reflect on how we at CJDS can learn from role models who fought for the State of Israel. On Thursday morning, we'll start off Yom HaAtzmaut by lighting a memorial candle and remembering the soldiers who died fighting for the right to have a Jewish Homeland that is recognized by the world. So, again we board the emotional rollercoaster - this time bringing us from the somber to the celebratory.

On May 9th at 8:20 am, we will hold our annual Yom HaAtzmauut Tekes (ceremony). We invite any parents, grandparents and/or friends to join us. The program will last approximately one hour. This year, we have invited one of our parents, Manuel Gliksberg, and one of our teachers, Morah Hadar Markin, to share some of their thoughts, feelings, and experiences from serving in the IDF and living in Israel. We always host visiting IDF soldiers on this day as well.

Additionally, it has been our tradition to honor those who have served in the IDF in Israel or were born or lived in Israel for an extended length of time. Our Grade 8 students will perform a Daglanut drill with Israeli flags mirroring these drills/exercises, which are performed on Har Herzl in Jerusalem. At the conclusion of their presentation, they will make a bridge of flags and we will ask all those who have served, were born in Israel, or have lived in Israel for an extended period of time, to walk under this “Bridge of Honor” and join us as we conclude our program with Hatikvah, the national anthem of the state of Israel. We ask all students and faculty and staff to wear blue and white and encourage guests to do the same.

We want to especially thank the organizers of our amazing Israel Independence Day Celebrations: Morah Tamar Cytyrn, Morah Penina Berdugo, Morah Levana Freund, Morah Irit Levy, Morah Jackie Blumenthal, Morah Dalia Rosenberg, Morah Mira Gelman, Morah Sarah Palmer, and Morah Lianne Gross.

In Memory of Sue Ellen Platt z"l

I cannot conclude my column without acknowledging the passing of Sue Ellen Platt z”l, the mother of Wendy Newberger, the founding President of CJDS. Sue was also mother-in-law to Scott Newberger and grandmother to Max, Eli, and CJDS alumnae Alana and Shira.

Sue z’l and her husband Howard were frequent visitors to Chicago and cherished friends and supporters of Chicago Jewish Day School. At Sue’s funeral in Baltimore, we learned from her grandchildren how much she valued being present and “just showing up” - how much they looked forward to and knew they could count on seeing their grandparents at a school event or a simcha, be it in Baltimore, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

I think the words of the grandchildren really resonated with me, as a grandparent myself who lives out of town. I always try to be present and show up for school events and simchas, but I always wonder - is it enough?

Listening to Sue's grandchildren deliver their eulogies, I realized the impact that being present - showing up - had on all of them. Even though, many times, I have wondered how I could do more, I think I realized that showing up actually has its own place of importance. The grandchildren also spoke about how Sue and Howard were always involved in the community and in Jewish causes, and everyone at the funeral knew how that role modeling had been passed down to both Wendy, her siblings, and the next generation. So, to Wendy and her family, we extend our deepest condolences and want to express that her mother will always be remembered for a blessing.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ms J (Judy)