The purpose of this page is to update our community with Coronavirus/eLearning-related information. We want to emphasize that CJDS education continues with the same academic rigor from our caring educators, thanks to eLearning on our Zoom platform. May we continue to feel connected while lifting one another up during this unusual time.
Watch this Kabbalat Shabbat video for a glimpse into our how our community connects powerfully through technology and a desire to come together:
Learn about the CJDS parent response to our eLearning:
Latest Communications from CJDS
April 24, 2020
Dear CJDS Community,
As I have said several times in the last week and a half, it wasn’t a complete shock that we were not returning to campus at all this school year, but we maintained hope until we heard Governor Pritzker’s announcement. There was a certain sadness that accompanied that announcement that’s hard to describe and hard to shake. If nothing else, this whole situation is a lesson in developing resilience.
Our eLearning school was definitely a challenge for both students and teachers, and we are getting the hang of it a little more each day. I hope you watched porch video at the top of the Chadashot. This video gave us all a glimpse into how our students are doing on the eLearning platform while highlighting some of the silver linings in this whole experience. Thank you to the the families who participated in porch interviews and to the staff who coordinated this effort. This video, along with the video tribute to our first responders, will be added to our CJDS time capsule and serve as a concrete reminder of our resilience and response to COVID-19 in the Spring of 2020.
Typically when we come back from Passover/Spring Break, our school is a flurry of activity. The activities give a certain ruach (spirit), and as much as it sometimes feels like a marathon, it’s a very exciting and meaningful time in the life of a CJDS school year. Yet, instead of lamenting about what we don’t have or can’t do, we’ve been busy using all of our creative juices to see how we infuse some of that ruach into our current situation.
And this brings me to the CJDS Car Parade celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut, which will be held this Sunday, April 26th, at 2:00 pm. We sent you a special set of instructions for the parade and hope that each family will abide by all the protocols put into place to keep us all safe. If the driver of a car needs to get out of the car to open the trunk, the driver needs to be wearing a mask and gloves. Otherwise, no one should get out of their car as CJDS ELT members will be placing exciting packages in the trunks. We hope everyone will enjoy seeing each other from afar while hearing Israeli music and later enjoying goodie bags at home!
Looking forward to seeing our CJDS community from a distance on Sunday!!
Ms. J (Judy)
April 3, 2020
When we complete the reading of each book of the Torah, we mark the completion by standing and reciting the words “Chazak Chazak V'nitchazek” - be strong, be strong and may you go to greater strength.
In thinking about our message today, this ritual seems fitting for all of us. Today we complete the first chapter of our new reality as a school community in the face of a pandemic. We should count and acknowledge our strengths as a CJDS community and capitalize on these strengths to grow stronger.
We have worked very hard the last three weeks to create a warm, familiar world for your children, our students. In this new reality of CJDS, the emotional health of our students, along with continued learning, remains our number one value. As the Passover song goes, this would have been enough, dayeinu. But, in this new reality we also have certainty in the rhythm of a daily routine. Dayeinu. We also have a familiarity with teachers who know and care for our students. Dayeinu. And, in this new reality we have watched you, our parents, partner with us in the face of tremendous logistical, technical, and emotional challenges to support our students when they needed redirection or were floundering. Dayeinu. We are thankful for each one of these strengths, each one being enough, Dayeinu.
We will continue to put our trust in the brave health professionals, national medical experts, and our local and national government, and we thank you for putting your trust in us as well. We do not know what the next few months will look like, but we know we will be “chazak” and continue to be strengthened through our strengths. Chazak Chazak V'nitchazek.
Wishing everyone a happy and most of all healthy, Passover.
Chag Sameach v”Kasher,
Ms. J, Jill, Tamar, Rachel, and Penina
March 27, 2020
Dear CJDS Community,
Every night this week, I made 10 phone calls: a few parents, a few teachers, a few board members and a couple of our community supporters. I am trying to touch base and check in with as many people in our community as possible, to let everyone know that CJDS cares.
The phone calls allowed me to connect, check in, and commiserate a bit with a variety of people in our CJDS community. A couple of headlines were clear: lots of unrest, anxiety, and disbelief as to how we got to this place, along with a teaspoon of humor and a tablespoon of exhaustion, especially from the parents of young children.
This week, as the news became more and more concerning, I decided I needed to find the silver linings in this new reality, if for no other reason than keeping my usual positive attitude in check. I couldn’t help but feel tremendous gratitude for the doctors, nurses, EMT’s, and everyone working in the nation's hospitals. Our medical professionals nationwide are the everyday heroes in this unusual pandemic. They are the silver lining. This week in middle school Tefillah, our students and teachers recited a beautiful blessing - Misheberach - for our first responders.
After speaking on the phone with members of all areas of our community, I realized that while many parents are exhausted, children are cooped up, and older adults are feeling isolated, they shared with me stories about a silver lining in this craziness. It inspired us to come up with the following ideas, which we hope will bring you a few silver linings and bring comfort to CJDS families:
Challenge #1: Next Monday and Tuesday, April 6th and 7th, is the beginning of CJDS Spring Break.
Silver lining #1: Volunteer faculty and friends of CJDS have stepped forward and we will offer CJDS informal programming online from 9:30 - 3:00 both Monday and Tuesday. We will send you a detailed schedule once it’s finalized next week.
Challenge #2: So many CJDS parents were lamenting the loss of being with extended family and friends for Seder or traveling to Passover vacation locations. Even making Passover feels overwhelming for most in this situation.
Silver Lining #2: This Passover, in light of our shelter at home national emergency and the wonders of modern technology, families who are hosting a seder and are willing to host by Zoom another family or two can complete the form today. Please complete it by Monday, March 30. Families who would like to be hosted at a seder via Zoom will be able to do so by signing up next week.
Challenge #3: This challenge deserves its own shout out. Last week, Middle School Student, Eliana, learned the bad news that her Bat Mitzvah could not be held as a public gathering at her synagogue.
Silver lining #3: Eliana celebrated her Bat Mitzvah on Thursday by Zoom with the entire CJDS Middle School, her parents, and grandparents, her aunt, and her friends and teachers. She delivered a beautiful dvar Torah and read us her maftir aliyah. Eliana shared that although she was disappointed at first, she’s ok with the decision because she knows that she is helping to save human lives and that Pikuach nefesh, the saving of human life supersedes many of our mitzvot.
So as we go into Shabbat this week and as your family sits down for dinner, perhaps you can introduce the concept of a silver lining and ask each person to think about a silver lining they experienced this week. Just as we count our blessings and appreciate each healthy day we have on earth, let’s look for the silver linings and share them when the time is right.
Ms. J (Judy)
#CJDSShines. A message from Director of Admissions, Cortney Stark Cope...