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.
Alumni Spotlight: Yanira Kaplan ('18) Creates Non-Profit "Stop Sex Trafficking Now"
A Message from Yanira:
Sex trafficking, a subset of human trafficking, is a billion-dollar industry. Millions of people are trafficked each year, and on average, teen girls in the U.S. are forced into the sex trade at 12-14 years of age. Despite the severity of this issue, there seems to be little conversation and engagement about it, particularly amongst people my age. I believe education is essential for action, and this inspired me to create Stop Sex Trafficking Now (SSTN). SSTN is dedicated to educating teens and young adults on the issue of sex trafficking and supporting programs involving outreach to survivors. Please consider making a donation on the homepage to support Chicago-area survivors of sex trafficking.
Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Sollinger ('18) and Noah Silvers ('18) sign with collegiate sports teams
Mazel tov to Sarah Sollinger who signed to play soccer at Denison University this fall. Sarah also received a full four-year scholarship!
Mazel tov to Noah Silvers who signed with one of the top NCAA fencing teams in the country: The University of Notre Dame!
Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Cope ('17), Avital Strauss ('18), Gabe Hirsch ('19), Elan Lerner ('19), Lilly Cope ('20)
Mazel tov to CJDS Alumni, Rachel Cope ('17), Avital Strauss ('18), Gabe Hirsch ('19), Elan Lerner ('19), and Lilly Cope ('20), of Rochelle Zell Jewish High School's Model UN Team for receiving the National High School Model UN Conference Top Team Award for the seventh year in a row! Special shout-out to Lilly for winning the Award of Distinction. Way to shine, alumni!
Alumni Spotlight: Miranda Green ('18)
Oh, the places you'll go! Currently, for CJDS alum Miranda Green ('18), that place is Eretz Yisrael. Miranda, a sophomore at Jones College Prep, is spending the semester in Jerusalem through Ramah Israel. Miranda explains she has loved her high school experience so far, but was inspired by her camp, Ramah in Canada, to pursue this opportunity. She is thrilled to reunite with several camp friends on this program while immersing herself in Israeli culture.
Miranda's main objectives in Israel are to become more independent while absorbing as much as possible about the subjects she's studying. She hopes to return home with new layers of knowledge and feel more educated about world issues. At Jones, Miranda excels in Chemistry, Orchestra, and golf. She expects her semester abroad will set her part as a unique and impressive college candidate.
So far, the highlight of Miranda's semester has been spending time in the Shuk, which was also the highlight of her CJDS trip to Israel in Grade 8! Spending time in the Shuk has offered Miranda an immersive opportunity to experience Israeli culture through food, graffiti, and artwork while being exposed to the gamut of people who run it.
"I vividly remember visiting the Shuk in eighth grade, and I think one of the reasons I came on this trip was to recreate that experience and more but for a longer time and with new friends," Miranda said. "I am so grateful I was able to visit Israel with my CJDS friends, and I'm really excited for the CJDS eighth graders who are in Israel now!"
In fact, Miranda hopes to meet up with the CJDS Grade 8 students , particularly Micah, who happens to be her little brother!
Alumni Spotlight: Eli Stone ('16)
Oh, the places you'll go! CJDS alumni are impressive, and Eli Stone ('16) is no exception. Currently a high school senior at Beacon Academy, Stone's political career has already taken off in ways unknown to most 17-year-olds. This week, politico.com highlighted his promotion to campaign manager for Paras Parekh's run for Lake County Board's 12th District seat. Initially, Parekh did not set his sights on hiring a teenager to run his campaign, but he was thoroughly impressed with Stone's intelligence and versatile life experiences. Stone had previously worked on several campaigns, including that of state Rep. Bob Morgan, who recommended him to Parekh. "He's young but wise beyond his years," Parekh stated in the POLITICO article.
Stone credits CJDS for inspiring him to pursue politics in order to effect change.
"CJDS instilled in me the values of Tikun Olam - making the world a better place. I got involved in campaigns because of this and on every campaign I have been on, I've committed myself to living by these values," Stone says. "If it weren't for CJDS's commitment to teaching children about our responsibility as citizens and Jews to Tikun Olam, I would not be where I am today."
Alumni Spotlight: Deena Goodgold ('17)
Oh, the places you'll go! CJDS alumni are impressive, and Deena Goodgold ('17) is no exception. Currently a junior at Evanston Township High School, Deena is excelling in a number of areas that encompass her versatile set of interests. At ETHS, Deena has developed a strong academic interest in biology, which her years at CJDS helped to inspire. Last summer she participated in a program at Northwestern University centered on integrating art into STEAM. She then spent a week at Columbia University participating in a biology program. Additionally, Deena continues to cultivate her passion for dance as a member of The ETHS Dance Company and The Foster Dance Company.
Reflecting on her years at CJDS, Deena is grateful for how prepared she has been in reading and writing. She credits her middle school humanities teacher, Jennifer Saba, for providing her with the foundational tools and skills that have made her flourish. She remarks that learning in a multi-denominational setting at CJDS has allowed her to experience different ways of observing, interpreting, and expressing her Judaism. Now, at a public high school, she continues to explore what it means to be Jewish, drawing on the similarities and differences she observes in herself and in classmates.
Deena still stays in touch with many of her CJDS classmates and loves seeing her brother, Jonathan, Grade 7, creating his own CJDS experience. She urges current CJDS Grade 8 students to "not be afraid of taking risks during your last year, and continue to keep an open mind in the classroom. Push yourself to pursue learning on a deeper level. I'll never forget that my unique curiosity for learning was formed at CJDS!"
CJDS Alumna spends spring break in Israel through Niles North Exchange Program
CJDS Alumna speaks at RZJHS Curriculum Night
Yasher Koach to Sophie Kaufman, Class of 2015, for presenting the D'var Torah at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School's Curriculum Night! Sophie is a Senior at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School. We look forward to seeing what adventure she, and the rest of our Class of 2015 alumni, will take upon graduation!
Ben Hirsch visits Grade 8 on the Extension!
Ben Hirsch, Class of 2014, visited his brother and the rest of the Grade 8 students on the Israel extension. Ben is currently on Young Judaea's Year Course. This gap year program engages young adults with life-changing social action issues, discovers projects they care passionately about, and develops the skills to make an impact. Ben graduates from Rochelle Zell Jewish High School and will be attending Washington University of St. Louis in the Fall.
Gillian Rosenberg's Polar Vortex Photo Goes Viral!
Going Viral! While many of us were hibernating during the Polar Vortex last month, several people braved the cold temperatures and tested out a science experiment. The Rosenberg family was one of those people who tested what would happen to hot water in extremely cold temperatures as it turned quickly into snow/thin air! Our very own Gillian Rosenberg, Alumna Class of 2016, took a photo of her father, CJDS Parent, Jim Rosenberg, testing the experiment. The picture is truly a work of art that quickly went viral across the internet! It was featured on Buzzfeed, an American Internet media, news and entertainment company with a focus on digital media!
CJDS is very impressed by your photography skills!
FOUR More CJDS Alumni Selected for Prestigious 18 Under 18
WOW!! We are so proud of our FOUR outstanding CJDS alumni who were named 2019 JUF Springboard Chicago's 18 Under 18 Teen Leaders!This prestigious award highlights teens living in the Chicagoland area who show leadership, tzedakah, inclusivity, and generally embody Jewish values. Shout out to Sarah Bloom ('15), Raquel Cohen ('15), Ariana Handelman ('16) and Marc Luban ('16) who exemplify CJDS’s commitment to instilling values of social justice and Tikun Olam in all our students. (Ellie Rosenberg, ’15, received this distinguished honor last year for 2018 18 Under 18.)
Save the Date for the 18 Under 18: A Celebration of Jewish Teens: A celebration will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 to honor all of these incredible teens!
CJDS is so proud of you!
Ariana Handelman Organizing Peace Camp
CJDS Alumna, Ariana Handelman, Class of 2016 is helping to organize a Peace Camp over President's Day Weekend (February 17th-18th). Peace Camp is a two-day camp for middle school Jewish, Muslim, and Christian young people during which participants build friendships with each other while they learn about the richness of each other’s religious traditions and develop skills for standing against faith-based prejudice and bullying. The camp includes visits to a local church, synagogue, and mosque, where religious leaders will give tours of their sacred spaces and teens will lead activities that explain their rituals and teachings. If interested, please sign-up here!
Adam Burke, Jones College Prep
Shout out to Adam Burke, Alumnus Class of 2015, for all of his incredible accomplishments throughout his years at Jones College Prep:
- National Honor Society recipient for all four years
- National Spanish Honor Society Recipient
- Serves as the treasurer of the chapter at his school
- Works at JCYS in the afternoons where he created a special paper airplane construction enrichment class.
Jacob Kline Involvement in USY!
Walk through Anshe Emet Synagogue, and you will see a familiar CJDS alumnus in the lobby! Jacob Kline, Alumnus Class of 2016, is on the board of the United Synagogue Youth (USY) Group at Anshe Emet and recently appointed to the International USY Board on the Membership/Kadima Committee.
Through his active involvement with USY, Jacob says, "I have learned to appreciate and take on responsibilities. It also taught me to problem solve and has helped give me the tools to meet new challenges. I really enjoy being a part of USY because it gives me an outlet to stay connected to Judaism, while building strong friendships with my peers."
Our alumni are active Jewish young adults and are always trying to create community in every aspect of their lives. Thank you Jacob for your involvement in the Jewish community and making a difference in our world.
CJDS Student/Alumni Participation in Rose Crown Minyan Service
CJDS students develop strong Jewish identities and become leaders in our communities. Our students and alumni serve as community leaders, volunteering at Jewish service organizations and impacting their synagogues as they share their knowledge of diverse Jewish practice, the Hebrew language, their love of the Jewish people and our traditions.
Anshe Emet Synagogue's upcoming Rose Crown Minyan B'nai Mitzvah Alumni Service will have 40% of the student participation that are CJDS students and alumni, representing the largest student and alumni cohort. Please join our CJDS students and alumni next month, February 9th at 9:30 a.m., to celebrate Shabbat as they represent CJDS in this beautiful service.
Shout out to the following students:
- Alumnus Class of 2016: Marc Luban (Rochelle Zell Jewish High School)
- Alumnae Class of 2017: Ava Berkwits (Walter Payton College Prep)
- Alumnae Class of 2018: Elizabeth Abrams (Jones College Prep), Gabi DeKoven (Beacon Academy), Miranda Green (Jones College Prep), and Yanira Kaplan (Beacon Academy)
- Grade 8 Students: Levi Kaplan, Elan Lerner, and Rachel Luban
Marc Luban Wins Jewish Star Talent Search!
Mazal Tov to Marc Luban, for coming in SECOND place in the Jewish Star competition, presented by Jewish Rock Radio!
Marc was selected as a Top 12 finalist by a panel of international celebrity music artists for his vocal and instrumental skill, overall performance skills and passion for impacting the Jewish world.
The grand prize is receiving coaching from an internationally-recognized Jewish celebrity, a professional studio recording session to record a song, an all-expenses paid trip to attend the 2019 Songleader Bootcamp (SLBC) National Conference, and international exposure on an exclusive Jewish Rock Radio broadcast of the songs recorded by prize winners.
Ava Berkwits: Jewish Women's Archive, Rising Voices
Ava Berkwits, Alumna Class of 2017, has been participating in a year-long fellowship from the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) called Rising Voices. JWA provides a platform to amplify young Jewish women’s voices through the Rising Voices Fellowship, a leadership development program for female-identified teens who have a passion for writing, and a strong interest in feminism and Judaism—particularly as they relate to social justice. Read Ava's blogs below:
CJDS alumni continue to thrive and stay connected to the Jewish community whether they attend a Jewish high school or a secular public or private school. They are upstanders and fight for what they believe in, and we support their efforts in making the world a better place.
Alumnae Leadership: Hebrew in the High
In our recent Rise Up and Aim Higher video, Gillian Rosenberg and Mia Strubel Iram, Alumnae Class of 2016, spoke about how they rise up in their community by participating in Hebrew in the High.
Hebrew in the High is a program created by JUF for high schoolers currently taking a Hebrew class at a public high school. The goal of the program is to spread awareness about Hebrew classes and encourage 8th-12th graders to sign up for Hebrew. They achieve this through posting blogs, speaking at synagogues and other Jewish spaces, and creating a fall and spring event to educate students about these opportunities. They meet once a month with 12 other students and learn about leadership through Hebrew.
Additionally, Sarah Bloom and Ellie Rosenberg (Alumnae Class of 2014) are also involved in this incredible program!
Our alumni develop a strong Jewish identity. We are so proud that they are advocating for Hebrew classes and Judaism in their public high schools and in the broader community.
Sydney Finkelstein, Facing History and Ourselves Student Leadership Team
Sydney Finkelstein, Alumna Class of 2017, was selected for the Facing History and Ourselves Student Leadership Team! This group brings together student leaders from Facing History classrooms across the city and suburbs to deepen their thinking about critical issues about community, choices, and how young people can make a positive difference in the world. She will be creating relationships between a diverse group of students in order to create a safe (and brave) space for conversation, learning, and growth morally, socially, and ethically.
Our CJDS alumni are change-makers and strive to make the world a better united place. Thank you Sydney and many of our alumni who are actively involved in our Chicago and beyond community.
Ellie Rosenberg Receives Cross Country Scholarship and Excellence Award
Mazel Tov to Ellie Rosenberg, Alumna Class of 2015. A senior at Evanston Township High School (ETHS), Ellie culminated her four years as a Varsity cross country runner and a team captain this fall by being selected as a co-winner, along with two other seniors, of the ETHS Boosters Girls Cross Country Scholarship Award recognizing academic achievement as well as being selected as the sole winner of the ETHS Boosters Girls Cross Country Excellence Award recognizing all around excellence. Both awards are additionally based on one’s loyalty, spirit, sportsmanship, leadership and citizenship.
Nicole LeVee: Dance Director of YAMO at ETHS
Nicole LeVee, Alumna Class of 2017, is a Dance Director for the production of YAMO at Evanston Township High School. As a Dance Director, she serves on the Board of YAMO, which is a student-produced show. Nicole has been dancing her entire life and during her middle school years at CJDS, she choreographed some of the dances for our musicals! Her experience as the Dance Captain at CJDS has truly added to her success in high school as she continues to demonstrate her leadership, patience, and talented dance skills!
Ben Sollinger, Receives Excellence Award and Announces Acceptance to Johns Hopkins University
Mazal Tov to Ben Sollinger, Alumnus Class of 2015, for receiving the Ted Van Zelst Excellence Award from the Kiwanis Club at Evanston Township High School. This reward is in recognition of outstanding excellence in academics, athletics, character and leadership potential.
In addition, Ben has shared some exciting news about his future, "I'm proud and honored to announce my verbal commitment to further my academic and soccer career at Johns Hopkins University. I would like to thank my friends, parents, and coaches for giving me the opportunity and helping me through this process. Go Blue Jays!!"
CJDS is so proud of you Ben!
CJDS Alumnae Excelling in High School Cross Country
Molly Hart, Alumna Class of 2015, is the co-caption of the Girls Cross Country team and was honored last week at Senior Night at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School.
Mazal Tov to Rachel Cope and Eloise Treister, Alumnae, Class of 2017, along with the other girls varsity team, for winning the second place trophy and earning all-conference honors!
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.
Rachel Cope and Eloise Treister Volunteering at Senior Home
Rachel Cope and Eloise Treister (Alumnae Class of 2017) volunteered at the Weinberg Community for Senior Living. They helped them decorate their sukkah for the holiday! Rachel and Eloise are both sophomores at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School.
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.
Marc Luban Teaching Jewish Songs to the Community
CJDS alumni are leaders who are actively involved in the Chicago Jewish community. Marc Luban, Class of 2016, participates in CHUSY, an organization that gives Jewish teens a chance to learn and grow as a Jewish person and participates in social action projects and social programming.
Marc is leading an initiative to help teach new Jewish songs to the community through these innovative, fun and entertaining videos!
Summer 2018 Alumni Adventures
After graduating our seventh alumni class, CJDS now has 87 alumni who are attending prestigious high schools and colleges all over the Chicagoland area and nationwide. Our alumni were actively involved this summer through summer camps, internships, Jewish programming and so much more!
Please take a look at the various experiences below in which our alumni participated and note how our students are making a difference in our community:
- Talia Alpert: Intern for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
- Aviva Berke and Gillian Rosenberg: Diller Teen Fellows Israel Program
- Sarah Bloom: Attended the VIP viewing of experiment launched to ISS on SpaceX CRS-15 at the US Naval Academy Summer Seminar; Sarah also attended the Make School Summer Academy in San Francisco where she designed, coded and launched her own iPhone app
- Jacob Kline: CIT (Counselor in Training) at Camp Timberlane
- Aaron Cohen, Benji Hoffenberg, Avi Shapira, Ariana Handelman, Aviva Kaplan, Jonah Feigelson, Dori Cohen, Matan Bloom, Benji Kaufman and Gabi DeKoven: Campers at Camp Ramah of Wisconsin (participated in Buddy Program)
- Livia Moses: Counselor at Camp Ramah of Wisconsin
- Eli Stone: Legislative Intern for State Representative Kelly Cassidy, Assistant to campaign manager, Bob Morgan for Illinois, Field Organizer Marianne for Uptown
- Rachel Cope, Eloise Treister: Campers at Camp Tel Yehudah
- May Gordon-Guterman: NYU Tisch’s New Studio on Broadway Summer High School Program and participated in BBYO Passport Stand UP DC
- Jonah and Jordy Heinrich: Campers at OSRUI
- Ellie Rosenberg: Staff Member at URJ Camp OSRUI
- Willa Zimmerman and Eden Berke: Impactrip in Portugal
- Noah Cope and Ben Hirsch: Counselor and Lifeguard at CYJ Midwest
- Bea Treister: Counselor at Apachi Day Camp
- Sol Treister: Embarking on his year abroad to Asia and South America!
- and many more exciting adventures!
Alumni Off to Israel with Diller!
CJDS Alumni off to Israel with JUF Diller Teen Fellows! This program is a prestigious yearlong fellowship for high school students interested in exploring topics in leadership, Jewish identity, social justice and Israel. Their 3-week Israel Summer Seminar includes touring and exploring Israel and meeting 400 Diller teens all over the world!
Sarah Bloom and Team Sends Project to Space!
Sarah Bloom, CJDS Alumnae Class of 2015, and her Go For Launch! team won a competition that will allow them to send their science experiment to the International Space Station! The experiment will send bumblebees into space and observe how they behave in microgravity, which could set preliminary research for sending humans into hibernation spaceflight. At CJDS, our students and alumni gain creative and critical thinking skills and develop a passion for lifelong learning and we are so proud of Sarah for using these skills to follow her passion!
Read the article from The Daily Northwestern here!
Rochelle Zell Jewish High School highlights our CJDS alumni as active engineers! The engineering physics students are designing, programming, soldering and sanding, readying their inventions for display at the first annual Jewish Day School Engineering Fair, set up by the Committee for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE).
Check out a couple of our alumni's unique contributions:
Sophie Kaufman (Class of 2015) and another classmate have just affixed the finishing touches to a device that makes it less dangerous to text and walk! Their range sensor mounts on the phone case to deliver a piercing beep before the distracted texter walks straight into the nearest lamppost! A swivel mount allows the user to check for vertical obstructions, such as trees or telephone poles, or horizontal ones, such as waterways or rambunctious small children. "Walk-N-Text" is contained nicely in a 3D printed plastic case with an Arduino microcomputer and associated battery pack. It is a must for compulsive phone users everywhere!
Confirmed dog lover Bea Treister (Class of 2014) has designed a temperature-sensitive water bowl for pugs and other brachycephalic breeds. Short-nosed dogs, Bea explains, cannot vent heat by panting as well as others, leading them to overheat very easily and require chilled water--a less careful pug owner may miss the dehydrated dog's cues that the warm water in its bowl will exacerbate the problem rather than curing it. However, this team's invention sends a signal to the nearby Arduino via a bluetooth chip that alerts the owner when the dog's water has lost its necessary chill. The team expects this device to be a big hit in specialty markets for fellow dog lovers!
Mia Participates in Research Training Internship
By: Mia Strubel Iram, Class of 2016
This past year I have participated in the Research Training Internship (RTI), a program that is run through a joint partnership between the Jewish United Fund and the Beck Research Initiative for Women and Gender and Community at DePaul University. RTI teaches young Jewish women (9-12th graders) feminist research methodologies and justice-based political education through a Jewish lens. Throughout the year, we explored numerous issues such as race, gender, privilege, power, and Judaism. We challenged one another as we considered the positions we hold in society as young, Jewish women. Together, we fostered a greater understanding of the current issues affecting ourselves and the people around us. We did this by reading articles, watching videos and participating in discussions facilitated by our two wonderful mentors, Stephanie Goldfarb (JUF employee) and Rebecca Johnson (DePaul graduate student), all of which culminated in designing and implementing a group research project.
Each year, the RTI cohort chooses a specific research topic about which the group feels passionate.This year, we researched and analyzed the ways in which Jewish food spaces are gendered by Jewish tradition, social norms, and halacha, Jewish law. We wanted to better understand how Jewish females are impacted by food and body image specifically in the Jewish community. Our RTI year culminates with a presentation of our research with the goal of disseminating our findings to the Jewish and non-Jewish community. Our culmination will be held on June 3, 2018 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. For more information or if you are interested in attending the event you can RSVP here.
My experience in RTI has taught me to examine society with a more observant lens, to challenge systems, to conduct feminist research and analyze data, and it has equipped me with language to describe my own experiences. Chicago Jewish Day School prepared me for RTI in so many ways. CJDS has taught me how to think critically and participate in meaningful discussions. Beginning in elementary school I was taught to always ask questions. In middle school everything from group projects in Humanities to discussions in Judaic studies taught me how to take part in meaningful dialogue.Until I joined RTI, I did not fully appreciate how deeply my learning experiences at CJDS shaped me as a critical thinker and prepared me for new opportunities. As I finish my RTI year, I plan to use the knowledge I gained to work for social justice issues within my own communities.
RTI cohort five (2018-2019) is now accepting applications from female-identifying, Jewish high school students and those who will be high school students in the fall. Learn more or apply here!
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."
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!
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.