Educating our children in the richness of their past,
the diversity of their present and the possibilities for their future.

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A Message from Head of School, Judy Finkelstein-Taff
Jen Minkus

Dear CJDS Community,

It is always a thoughtful process when we choose a theme each year. We ask ourselves, will it catch on? How much will it integrate with all that we do at CJDS? So far this year, we've seen our theme V’ahavta L’areycha Kamocha

(love your neighbor as yourself) resonating quite nicely. Rabbi Akiva, who believed this to be the most important mitzvah of the Torah, experienced the power of love through his relationship with his wife, Rachel. Rabbi Akiva was a shepherd who became a renown Torah scholar late in life thanks to Rachel's support. After many years, Akiva returned home to his wife. When he arrived, Rabbi Akiva’s students surrounded him and blocked Rachel’s access to Akiva. Rabbi Akiva stopped all his students in that moment and chastised them: “Don’t you know this is my wife! Everything I have is due to her and everything you have is due to her.”

Rabbi Akiva and Rachel changed their future because of love. The power of love has played out in special ways this week at CJDS. It began with the marriage of Judaic Studies teacher Lianne Gross to Robbie Philipp, as we hosted Sheva Brachot (the traditional celebratory seven blessings meal) at our faculty meeting on Wednesday.  

Around school, our teachers designed beautiful classroom banners that reflect our theme. On Thursday morning, our middle school celebrated the upcoming Bar Mitzvah of Noam, son of Rabbi David and Sara Wolkenfeld. During the week, we extended our love through support and consolation to Assistant Head of School Jill Kushnir LeVee and her family as we attended the funeral of Jill’s father, Allen Kushnir, z”l. The CJDS community, comprised of present and former colleagues, board members, parents, and friends contributed to an outpouring of love at the funeral and shiva house.  

So, why should we be commanded to love? I believe it’s because love is the common thread connecting these types of life cycle events, and we lift each other up by conveying our love and support for others - in simchas and in difficult times. 

As you enter Shabbat this week, I encourage you to focus on the ones you love, as well as those around you who might need a bit of your love. If we all demonstrate love as we did this week at CJDS, we do our part to make the world a better place.

This is merely the beginning of how our theme will evolve throughout the year. We look forward to watching how our students will embrace and actualize this powerful concept.

Shabbat Shalom, 

Ms. J