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Enjoy a trip down memory lane!

Shown at our 18th Anniversary Virtual Gala, this video features our incredible CJDS Alumni.

When our students leave Chicago Jewish Day School, they serve as role-model citizens and demonstrate the values they learned at CJDS to enhance the greater community. Our 141 alumni are thriving and serving as leaders in their school communities. 

What you see in the graduates is that they love learning, they are curious and motivated, and they are at home in Judaism. 

Molly Hart, Co-President of DEAP Club at RZJHS

Molly Hart, Alumna Class of 2015, is Co-President the DEAP club at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School. DEAP stands for Direct Service, Education, Advocacy, and Philanthropy. Their theme this year is focusing on Tikkun HaGuf, issues of bodily health, specifically consent and substance abuse. This marked the beginning of their philanthropy efforts, and they have already raised over $1,000 for SHALVA, an organization that provides counseling, supportive services, and community education for Jewish women experiencing and healing from domestic abuse.

Molly, along with her co-president, Brian Silverstein, spoke at their student-wide tefillah last week about the importance of DEAP and how other RZJHS students can get involved this year.

CJDS alumni are actively trying to make an impact in our community and world at large. This exemplifies the importance of progressive education. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we are committed to attending to the whole child—taking into account the social, emotional, academic, spiritual, physical, and creative needs of a student. 

Read the powerful words of Molly and Brian here!

Sarah Bloom is a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist!

Mazal Tov to Sarah Bloom, Alumnae Class of 2015, for being named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. This distinguished honor is qualified based on her scores on the preliminary SAT test. The results put them in the top 1% of all test takers nationwide, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Finalists will be announced in the Spring of 2019.

Eli Stone Works at Daniel Biss' Campaign for Governor

At the age of 16, Eli Stone, CJDS Alumnus Class of 2016, had an incredible experience working as an Organizing Fellow and Community Coordinator on State Senator Daniel Biss' campaign for Governor. Read below about his experience and how CJDS made an impact on his life today.

"Being a part of this campaign was the best experience of my life. Essentially, I was in charge of running 1-2 phone banks a week in Lakeview and Lincoln Park and assisting the Field Organizer in the Northside of the city with running events, recruiting volunteers, and retaining volunteers. I also assisted with day-to-day office needs, as well as served as the Staging Location Director during the GOTV (Get Out The Vote) portion of the campaign.

Prior to the Biss campaign, I interned on two other campaigns, one for Mayor of Evanston, and another Gubernatorial campaign. Many people thought I was doing this to get service hours, or fulfill a requirement for school. Both were actually false. I spent nearly 30 hours/week working on the Biss campaign, not just because I thought that Daniel was the right choice, but because I learned to love the systems that make our democratic process work. The ins-and outs of organizing, the right and wrong ways to connect with people and understand their stories, and how those stories relate to the campaign. I fell in love with the feeling of the campaign. Well, I did not fall in love with the amount of sleep I got or coffee I drank. But, I fell in love with the feeling of having everyone in it together, working towards one common goal.

I also got involved because of Chicago Jewish Day School. From JK through Grade 8, CJDS taught me to stand up for what I believe in and to make the world a better place in any way that you can. Through this campaign, I feel like I was able to stand up for what I believe in, and we made the world a better place with our campaign. No, we did not win, but we changed the conversation around progressive policies that impact every day Illinoisans. Without the values that CJDS taught me, I highly doubt that I would have been as involved in the campaign. If I learned anything through this experience, it's how important it is to be involved in the community. No matter what it is, giving back and helping out other people, is one the biggest mitzvot a person can do. For me, right now politics and campaigns is the way I am choosing to give back and be involved in the community. Every day I do this, I always remember what CJDS taught me: stand up for what you believe in, and make the world a better place."

Eli Stone

We are so incredibly proud of Eli for getting involved in our Chicago community and following his passion of campaigning. Watch the video below to see a highlight of Eli's experience on the campaign!

Third Alumni Class Heads Off to College!

Mazal Tov to our third alumni class of 2014 for being accepted to outstanding and prestigious colleges all over the U.S.!

  • Noah Cope: Colgate University
  • Eli Hartman-Seeskin: University of Minnesota
  • Ben Hirsch: Washington University at St. Louis
  • Livia Moses: Northeastern University
  • Sarah Stone: Brandeis University
  • Bea Treister: University of Vermont
  • Sol Treister: Colby College

This class has also been accepted to the following colleges: Boston University, Bucknell University, Emory University, Indiana University, LeHigh University, Miami University of Ohio, Tulane University, University of Colorado, University of Iowa, and University of Missouri.

42 Alumni Attended CJDS Musical!

We want to thank all of our alumni for coming out to the CJDS musical both nights! They helped usher and hand out programs and even got to sit in the special alumni seating with Director Morah Jill Schwartz! For the second year in a row, we held our alumni pizza party prior to the Thursday night show. The alumni were so thrilled to all be back together, enjoy a delicious dinner, and even had a chance to go back stage to give the cast their best wishes!

42 of our 66 CJDS alumni came to the musical over the course of two nights--and 10 of those 66 alumni are away at college so what an incredible attendance from our alumni!!

Thanks for coming: Talia Alpert, Emanuel April, Ava Berkwits, Sarah Bloom, Aaron Cohen, Dori Cohen, Raquel Cohen, Noah Cope, Rachel Cope, Jonah Feigelson, Sydney Finkelstein, Deena Goodgold, Eli Gould, Meira Groth, Ariana Handelman, Zevi Hartman-Seeskin, Ben Hirsch, Benji Hoffenberg, Kira Hoffman, Aviva Kaplan, Sophie Kaufman, Leah Kenen, Jacob Kline, Nicole LeVee, Betsy Levine, Marc Luban, Dahlia Matanky, Alana Newberger, Leah Oppenheimer, Katelyn Perlow, Katy Phillips, Eytan Raviv, Ellie Rosenberg, Gillian Rosenberg, Avi Shapira, Ben Sollinger, Eli Stone, Mia Strubel Iram, Bea Treister, Eloise Treister, Sol Treister, and Effie Zimmerman. We are so lucky to have alumni classes that remain excited about CJDS and our musical!

Alumni's Model U.N. Team Receives Award of Distinction

Yasher Koach to our CJDS alumni at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School on the Model U.N. team for receiving the Award of Distinction, the highest honor at the National High School Model U.N. Conference held in New York City last month! Congratulations to Livia Moses (Class of 2014), Molly Hart (Class of 2015), and Rachel Cope (Class of 2017).

Alumni Selected for "Let's Get Together: An Interfaith Journey Toward Justice"

African-American and Jewish teens from Chicago journey together in search of common ground--HALF of the Jewish teens selected to participate in this incredible program are CJDS alumni! The teens traveled throughout the Midwest and South to learn about racial and social justice. They discussed how to tackle present-day obstacles for the two communities. CJDS challenges our students by inviting them to think deeply about the issues that matter, helping them understand ideas from the inside out, and making connections between ideas and concepts. Our alumni take their CJDS education and positively impact the world.

Read the Chicago Tribune article.

Lane Tech Faculty Raves about CJDS Alumni

As we prepare our graduates for the future, we strive for them to develop a passion for life-long learning and to be contributing, caring and knowledgeable members of our community, our country, and the world. We have several alumni who attend Lane Tech High School. The following are some inspiring quotes to share about our alumni from the faculty at Lane Tech:

"It is so impressive to see students go from a school as small as CJDS to one as large as Lane. The fact that CJDS students have transitioned so beautifully is a testament to the preparation at CJDS in critical thinking, public speaking, and community building. The CJDS alumnus in my British Lit class is a sophomore in a class of mostly juniors, and she is a true leader in our classroom. CJDS alums at Lane are thriving both in academics and extracurricular activities."

"If developing a strong sense of self is one of the goals of CJDS, then he has achieved it while being respectful and thoughtful. From the first day, he impressed us not only with his manners and curiosity, but also with his determination to apply himself not just to earning good grades, but also to learning in a meaningful way."

"I have been impressed not only by this student's openness and kindness shown by her interactions with all members of the Lane community, but also by her overall sense of curiosity and enthusiasm toward learning."

Ariana Receives Medal at Annual Business and Finance Competition!

Ariana Handelman, CJDS Alumnae, Class of 2016, received a medal at the Annual Business and Finance Competition! She attends Rochelle Zell Jewish High School where she participates in DECA, Business and Finance Club. Yasher Koach to Ari!!

Alumni Visit New Campus!

This past Sunday, we invited our CJDS alumni and alumni parents for a sneak peek of the New Campus! It was so wonderful to see their expressions as they walked the halls of CJDS. Our pioneer alumni classes (and their parents!) helped us grow into the wonderful, multi-denominational, progressive school we are today and we were honored to show them the next chapter in the history of CJDS.

Pictured (left to right)

Raquel Cohen, junior at Walter Payton College Prep

Dori Cohen, freshman at Walter Payton College Prep

Sydney Finkelstein, freshman at Jones College Prep

Ariana Handelman, sophmore at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School

Gillian Rosenberg, sophomore at Evanston Township High School

Ellie Receives Honor of Springboard Chicago's 2018 18 Under 18

Mazal Tov to our CJDS Alumna, Ellie Rosenberg, (Class of 2015) for receiving the honor of being one of Springboard Chicago's 2018 18 Under 18! Ellie is selected for her leadership, tzedakah, fostering of inclusion, and other Jewish values. At the award ceremony, Jacob Kline (Class of 2016) Emcee'd the event.

Ellie wrote in her program bio, "I'm thrilled to be an 18 Under 18 Honoree and I would like to thank my wonderful family, caring friends, and the many inspiring leaders in my life from camp, CJDS, Diller, and the Evanston community." 

Ellie is a junior at Evanston Township High School.

Alumni Perform at Lane Tech's Fiddler on the Roof

CJDS Alumni are performing in Lane Tech High School's Musical Performance of Fiddler on the Roof! Back in 2016, our middle school performed the same musical so these alumni have some experience putting on the performance of Fiddler on the Roof! The following CJDS alumni are in the cast and crew:

  • Simon Adams
  • Aaron Cohen
  • Jacob Kline
  • Dora Starr Poulos (former CJDS student)

Alumni Create Award-Winning Student Literary Magazine

Yasher Koach to the following CJDS alumna at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School for their success in their school magazine, The Prints! This magazine achieved the rank of Excellent in the 2017 National Council of Teachers of English Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines.

  • Eliana Kaufman, Alumnae Class of 2013, one of the managing editors and now attends Tulane University
  • Sophie Kaufman, Alumnae Class of 2015
  • Ariana Handelman, Alumnae Class of 2016

Alumnus Reflection on Trip to Israel

Sol Treister, Alumnus Class of 2014, was featured in the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School newsletter! Here is his reflection before leaving for their senior Israel trip. "Understand that failing is key to progressing in life encourages me to take risks that my ego-driven side may discourage me from out of fear of rejection; apply to that school you may not get into, get rejected. Train all summer for that competition, lose. Let go of that fear of failure––Fail, but keep moving forward. Because failure is only failure in the context of externally held expectations. Climb that mountain, bomb that hill, and step outside of your comfort zone."

At CJDS, we teach our students that it's okay to make mistakes. We strive for them to be resilient people in the world and to handle any obstacle that comes their way. We are proud of Sol for all of his accomplishments and overcoming his losses in life. Sol is the definition of a CJDS graduate.

Alumni Captions of Varsity and JV Basketball Teams

Shout Out to Noah Cope, Alumnus Class of 2014 and Yinnon Finer, Class of 2017, who were named captains of the Varsity and Junior Varsity Basketball teams at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School! CJDS alumni exemplify leadership, sportsmanship, and determination, and we know they will do an excellent job leading the teams in a successful basketball season!

Sydney Volunteers at CJDS Parent Committee Hanukkah Celebration

A special shout out to Sydney Finkelstein, Alumnae Class of 2017, for volunteering at our Parent Committee Hanukkah Celebration last week! Sydney oversaw the dreidel competition with the students and then led the entire CJDS community in the candle lighting for the 6th night of Hanukkah. Todah Rabah, Sydney, for volunteering at a CJDS event!

Sydney attends Jones College Prep High School. Check out where our alumni go to high school AND college here! 

CJDS Alumni are Illinois State Scholars!

Kol HaKavod to the following high school seniors for being named Illinois State Scholars:

  • Nope Cope, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
  • Eli Hartman-Seeskin,Evanston Township High School
  • Ben Hirsch, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
  • Livia Moses, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School

The State Scholar Program recognizes these students who attend approved high schools for outstanding academic achievements and is an honorary recognition.

Alumnae Volunteering at Ida Crown

Shout Out to Dahlia Matanky, Alumnae Class of 2017, for volunteering and participating in the Ida Crown Jewish Academy's Freshman Fridayton, where freshman attend a fun field trip during the school day and have Shabbat dinner together at the school. Dahlia is our first graduate to attend Ida Crown Jewish Academy, and we are so happy to see her thrive there!

Ben Named National Merit Commended Student!

Mazal tov to our CJDS Alumnus, Class of 2014, Ben Hirsch, for being recently named a National Merit Commended student!

He scored in the top 3% of students in the PSAT test.

Ben is a senior at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School and he, along with four other students, were recognized by RZJHS.

Casted in RZJHS Musical!

Yasher Koach to two our CJDS alumni, Marc Luban (Class of 2016) and Meira Groth (Class of 2015) for being casted in the upcoming high school musical of Pippen at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School!

Alumni Represents CJDS at Prospective Parent Night

Taken from Ms. J's Likrat Shabbat article...

"Prospective Parent Night was one of those evenings where I wish every CJDS parent could have heard our alumni speak. Ariana Handelman, Aviva Kaplan and Eli Stone (Alumni, Class of 2016) all spoke so articulately and from the heart, each giving specific examples of the impact of their CJDS education. Ariana attends Rochelle Zell Jewish High School located in Deerfield; Aviva attends Northside College Preparatory High School, a Chicago public selective enrollment high school, and Eli attends Beacon Academy, a private independent high school located in Evanston.

Before our alumni presented, Cortney Stark-Cope, our Director of Admissions, gave some pretty interesting statistics. Did you know that 95% of our graduates were accepted to their number one high school choice and 100% of our graduates were accepted to their top choices? Our graduates really do have choices- it’s not just a tagline.

Aviva, Ariana and Eli all spoke about the relationships they built with their CJDS teachers, how their CJDS teachers knew them as learners and as individuals. Our alumni expressed how their CJDS experience translated into the confidence they each have in advocating for themselves in high school and that their peers admire how they are not afraid to go up to a teacher after class to ask clarifying questions, when there is something that is not understood.

They also spoke about experiential units that made learning exciting, about opportunities they were given to challenge and push themselves academically, and risks they took then that helped them to understand not only the sweet feeling of accomplishment, but almost more importantly, they spoke about the lessons of resiliency learned by missing the mark. Our alumni spoke about how they learned not only how to make the next “paper” richer, or to go back and tackle a complicated math problem that was missed, but the message we heard loud and clear last night was how they learned to learn from their mistakes and come back to meet their challenges in order to reach greater heights.

Alumni on RZJHS Cross Country Team

We have a total of 66 alumni who have graduated from Chicago Jewish Day School! They are attending distinguished Chicagoland private and public high schools. Our first two alumni classes are all over the country (and Israel) attending the following prestigious colleges and universities: University of California, Berkeley, University of Southern California, Indiana University (Kelley School of Business), Marymount Manhatten College, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, Rice University and Tulane University. We are so proud of every one of you and please keep us posted on all of your adventures in high school, college and beyond!
Yasher Koach (Shout Out) to the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School Cross Country team on a successful first couple of meets! CJDS alumni (and former) students make up eight runners on the team! Run like the wind!

Joining the CJDS Alumni Community

Whether we were ready or not, we just joined the growing community of CJDS alumni. Indeed, it happened faster than I could grasp, and in the meantime Yinnon has been a freshman for four full days now. Reminiscing on ten great years at one of the best educational institutions I have known, Yinnon helped me put in writing the 15 most memorable things about school (listed not in order of importance and hence alphabetically):

A.     The first day of JK - not speaking a word in English and then being able to rap songs in just a few weeks.

B.     Not missing a day of school - we counted a record number of 4 absences in 10 years! Hey, you can’t miss all the action (and mom has to go to work).

C.     The office - a lively place to spend (some) of recess time and in-between classes.

D.    Mishpacha - every Friday afternoon; a great way to make friends with students from other grades. Yinnon’s mishpacha was Beer Sheva - his birth town!

E.     Keep negotiating about sharing food - No, Yinnon this is not negotiable! As it says: All of Israel are responsible for one another.

כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה

F.     Humanity class - only at CJDS you can trade dinner recipes for recommendations of some wonderful reading books (that mom enjoyed too).

G.     Yinnon’s classmates - a tight group of students who loved and respected one another. (We could not remember a single incident of bickering or rivalry).

H.    Torah reading and chanting and everyone who made sure it was done the right way.

I.       Those who keep us safe - school’s security team and staff. A few of whom turned to be Yinnon’s best buddies.

J.       Judaic Studies - having to re-read the entire unit on Israel at home in one weekend - (because mom insisted).

K.     Discipline - having to erase the little name graffiti that “decorated” school’s playground. Because “Proper behavior precedes the Torah” – “דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה”

L.    Israel’s independence day celebration, obviously.

M.   CJDS’s Rams basketball and volleyball and their dedicated coaches!

N.    Hebrew classes - believe it or not, it was not always love at first sight.

O.    School is moving to our neighborhood!

And if I may be allowed to add the 16th and most meaningful thing to me – the sense of Mishpacha (family). Todah Rabah CJDS! 

Gal Finer  

CJDS Alumni Excellence

Our CJDS alumni have received prestigious awards from their high schools, extra-curricular activities and Jewish organizations all around the Chicagoland area.

  • National Merit Commended students: These students scored in the top 3% of students in the PSAT test.
  • Seven Alumni Honored as JUF Springboard Chicago's 18 Under 18:  demonstrating leadership, tzedakah, fostering of inclusion and other Jewish values!
  • "All Conference Soccer Player": CJDS '20 alum was named for the Chicago Prep Conference
  • Illinois State Scholars:  outstanding academic achievement by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. 
  • Anshe Emet Synagogue SHMUSY Board
  • Avodah Jewish Service Corps
  • Illinois State Representative Campaign Manager
  • Israel Affairs Vice President for CHUSY Region. 
  • Rochelle Zell Jewish High School's Model UN Team: CJDS alumni among those who have received the National High School Model UN Conference Top Team Award for the seventh year in a row
  • Lincoln Park High School's Senior National Honor Society.
  • ETHS Freshman Honor Society. In 2016, ETHS gave out only four departmental recognition from the math department for their consistent grades over A- and all four of those awards were given to CJDS alumni.
  • "Youth of the Year" at Anshe Emet Synagogue
  • Director's Award from Lincoln Park High School's Head of the Vocal Music Department.
  • Beacon Academy Editors of the school's prestigious literary magazine. 
  • Created the Jewish Student Connection Club at Lane Tech College Prep.