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{charles e. smith jewish day school • 11710 hunter’s lane, rockville, maryland • vol. 29 issue 1 • tuesday, august 30, 2011}

New school year brings big changes 1 ariellepanitch news editor

Bus prices reduced across the board

This year more than 100 students will board JDS school buses at reduced fees and with more route options. The new bus fee structure this year offers reduced prices for families with multiple riders. Last year a full year of round trip bus service was $2,370 per student. This year fees are $1,700 for the first rider in the family, $900 for the second and $100 for any additional riders. New routes are also being introduced this year. A shuttle to and from White Flint metro station and a Kentlands route are new additions to the bus program. Director of Transportation Safety and Security Marc McNeal is optimistic about the bus service changes. “Overall the reason those changes were made ... was to increase our ridership and utilization of the bus service to make it more efficient, more effective, and most importantly to increase our service to the greater JDS community and to make our services available to the [as many] people [as] we could,” McNeal said.

photo taken from



New Hebrew curriculum


see chadashot pg. 9

Robert Snee as assistant principal

Last year’s Interim Academic Dean Robert Snee is back for the 2011-2012 school year as assistant principal and director of studies. As interim academic dean, Snee evaluated teachers, began documenting the curriculum and worked with department heads. This year, Snee will work with students more personally, in addition to last year’s responsibilities. “I get more of an opportunity this year to get to know students and to deal directly with students on academic issues. So I’m hoping that students will find their way to my door occasionally and always feel free to come and talk to me about things,” Snee said. Principal Michael Kay is glad to continue his partnership with Snee. “He has a wealth of experience leading academic institutions at the middle school and high school level both in public schools and independent schools. His breadth of knowledge and experience has been extremely helpful to me and I’m very excited about my partnership with him,” Kay said.

New course standards implemented

CESJDS restructured high school courses and placement for students in the Class of 2015 and younger. “In most disciplines we have advanced courses which are new versions of the courses which differ a little bit from what we’ve taught in the past,” said Kay. “There are a new set of standards and a new set of expectations.” With the new course placement process, students will play a larger role in selecting courses after conferencing with their teachers. Another change is the addition of an advanced Jewish History class at the ninthgrade level.


Say goodbye to trimesters, JDS is using quarters for the new school year



New weight room

see sports pg. 12


Friday afternoons will be filled with Shabbat festivities this year. The whole school will get the opportunity to partake in Shabbat activities led by Stein during the last 15 minutes of school on Friday. The program will rotate through the grades so every grade gets the chance to celebrate Shabbat together every few weeks. “Our goal is to get the school to feel the environment of celebrating Shabbat every week ... [and] to put the Jew back in Jewish Day School,” said Stein.


Establishment of Gov Ha’arayot, the Lion’s Den, as new student activities center

Over the summer the school completely revamped room 301 into Gov Ha’arayot, the Lion’s Den. With freshly painted green and orange walls, beanbags and colorful decorations Gov Ha’arayot will now function as a student activities center. Principal Michael Kay is excited about having a space dedicated to student life. “One of our areas of emphasis is building strong student community, creating more opportunities for student leadership, and more opportunities for interaction between students and faculty members and having a space dedicated to student activities and student life is a great way to achieve all of those goals,” Kay said. Gov Ha’arayot now houses Director of Jewish Life Miriam Stein’s office.


New gym floor

New laptops supplement old The Technology Department asks that students plug in laptops during the day.

Expanded Oneg Shabbat program



9th grade camping retreat

Freshmen will have the opportunity to bond with nature and each other during the holiday of Sukkot. They will engage in team-building activities at Calleva Outdoor Adventures in Poolesville, Md., including building a sukkah. They will eat meals and sleep in the sukkah together for one night. “Sukkot is a very festive time, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do this,” Stein said.

News Features Op-ED In Depth Chadashot New Teachers Sports

2 3 4-5 6-7 8-9 10-11 12 photos by Alex Zissman


news august 30, 2011

Former teacher sends critical email to parents Hebrew teacher Anat Entin’s ‘Goodbye Letter to Parents’ sparks controversy, discussion danimarx and eitansayag

managing editor and editor in chief

Former Hebrew teacher Anat Entin sent a controversial farewell email to parents after learning that she would not be returning to CESJDS for the 2011-2012 school year. In the email, sent on June 30, she shared a selection of her grievances with the Upper School, including a lack of “Jewish Soul” at JDS and what she perceived as a hostile teaching environment. She sent the email to parents of stu-

dents in her classes during the 2010-2011 school year. She utilized the school’s mass email distribution system to send the email. “Since I no longer have to worry about a job, I can do what I should have done several years ago: candidly describe the Upper School at JDS,” Entin explained in the email. She mentioned that she was receiving no pension or severance package following her 31 years of employment with JDS and believes that the administration “threw [her] under the bus.” Four hours after Entin sent the email,

Head of School Jonathan Cannon responded by sending his own email to parents apologizing “for the unprofessional nature of the letter and for her use of the school’s communications network for an inappropriate, personal purpose.” In a later comment Principal Michael Kay said, “We are aware that it is not uncommon for people to share information or send things back and forth.” Kay would not comment on Entin’s specific circumstances and claims. “I don’t think that it is necessary or ap-

propriate for us, as the school leadership, to respond publicly to the content of the communication through the form of the press,” he said. Kay encourages students, parents and teachers to keep the lines of communication open. “Any member of the community who wanted to discuss any issue of the school or raise any questions pertaining to the school is more than welcome to speak with me or speak to Mr. Cannon or speak with any of the administrators,” he said.

Two months later, community reflects on the email Teachers


“It’s a very individual experience. If a person here has had a disappointing experience in any way then it’s not hard to say that the neshama is missing. But I think for most people the feeling of a caring menschlak environment is there.”


–science teacher Laura Jacobs

“I think that the entire goal from the mission statement on ... is Chesed and Tikkun Olam, and those are Jewish goals. I think there is a good amount of Jewish classes, and the kids who want to take away a strong Jewish value and Jewish goal will...My main concern is that there has been a lot of turnover. There seems to be 20 new teachers this year, and I know my daughter has a lot of new teachers. I know as a professional in education myself... high turnover is usually not good for a school. It doesn’t necessarily make it bad, but it’s not always good for a school. I hope that the school can regroup and move forward in a really positive way.” –Haidee Bernstein, mother of sophomore Ilana

“If anyone wants to see change, they have to go to the Board. You have to change it from the top.”

“This is not my personal and professional experience.... I do not feel that I am afraid. I feel that if I have an opinion, I can say it and my opinion is respected. Sometimes it’s been acted upon, and sometimes, if it’s not, I get a good explanation [of ] why yes and why not... I think our school is Jewish enough, but I agree that we can put more into it, especially Hebrew from my point of view, and we are having a plan to put more Hebrew in the school environment.... What is a Jewish school? It’s caring. It’s community. It’s Jewish values, and it’s also Hebrew and I think that we should put more Hebrew in it.” –Hebrew teacher Yaffa Dagony

“My experience, which is now going onto its fourteenth year, has been very positive. I have found the administration to be very supportive if I’ve ever had a concern, I’ve had the administrators doors open to me. I thought they’ve been very direct and open in their responses. and I’ve always felt like I’ve been treated with respect at this school.”

“It is kind of an ‘oh my goodness’ kind of feeling. I don’t think it has ever been put out so bluntly that someone is so against the school. I don’t know whether I agree with it or not, it is definitely an opinion worth considering.” –junior Sarah Freedman

“It was interesting to see a teacher’s point of view, because we don’t usually get to.” –sophomore Sara Bender-Bier

“She has every right to think what she wants to, but I think the way she phrased the email and sent it to the entire school behind the administration back was unprofessional and inappropriate and it was not a good way to leave the school.” –senior Rebecca Fradkin

“I think that people are going to be more aware now. I definitely never thought that Dr. Kay was harsh in any way or mistreated teachers, and I’m not going to let one teacher completely influence my opinion...I feel JDS is more than just Jewish classes. I feel like everyone around me feels very into the ‘Jewish Soul’ and they are very influenced by Jewish culture. I feel comfortable with everyone around me in the Jewish sense.” –sophomore Diana Bender-Bier

–science teacher Kimberly Agzigian

“I think your letter raised so many important concerns about our school, our curriculum and how we treat the ones who teach our kids. It sickens me that I pay full tuition, give generously to Ma’ayan [a school fundraiser] and now wonder if my kids are getting the education that I have worked so hard to provide for them.” –Debbie Wiener in an email to Entin, mother of sophomore Jacob Weinberger

“The reason I got so many supporters was because nobody had ever written a letter like that. In the past, when teachers were leaving, they were looking for another job so they couldn’t write that type of letter. I believe the letter tapped into the growing frustration with the school that is felt by parents, students and teachers.”

“I only sent the email to the parents of my students, but the email went viral. We heard from people not even associated with the school. After five minutes of sending the email, I was bombarded. Still today I get emails. All the feedback was positive. I got an email from a student who said I was his hero. Many responses expressed total outrage at the school.”

–Anat Entin

In a recent interview with The Lion’s Tale

Update: Mid-year student feedback helps teachers hone their skills dorefeith


Last year, CESJDS implemented a midyear course evaluation system to supplement the already existing end-of-year evaluations carried out in school. Students were able to access the feedback forms online at the student dashboard section of the JDS website. But questions have been raised among students as to how much their opinion really affects teachers’ behavior and teaching methods. “It is helpful to have insights from students as one factor in deciding which

elements of the course structure and approach are working well ... and which ought to be revised in order to help the students connect with the course material in a more effective way,” Principal Michael Kay said. Students are not expected to perform a “professional assessment or evaluation” of teachers, Kay said. But the evaluations are useful in assisting the administration with understanding student experience and feelings in a classroom. Kay stressed that the student feedback is not an official evaluation of teachers but just “one of many components in the process of evaluating our work here in the school.”

Even though feedback can help improve a course, some students have complained about the amount of time it takes to write a thoughtful and honest report of a class, let alone two classes. Many already have difficulty balancing after-school sports and a workload of their own. The time consumption and the lack of time in class to fill out the forms “really discouraged me from going home and taking my own time to fill them out, so I ended up only leaving evaluations for three teachers,” sophomore Daniel Thorne said. These evaluations do ultimately come out as a good thing for teachers because it

gives them the opportunity to enhance the learning experience in the classroom. Both Thorne and Kay have found that teachers do change their styles after being met with criticism and the school has decided to use a similar method of gathering feedback at least through this school year. “[It] is very helpful to have feedback on the progress – both to celebrate our successes and to identify areas for improvement – more than once per year,” Kay said.

august 30, 2011 features

Shaken up by the earthquake

Camp Szarvas strengthens connection to Judaism rebeccarubin features editor

Walking into Camp Szarvas on the first day was anything but an organized experience. Six hundred teenagers from all over the world crowded into a dining hall that is meant to fit 300. As everyone started to sit down and find their places, Sasha, the head of the camp, grabbed the microphone and started to make announcements. At a usual camp, announcements take around two to five minutes. However, at Szarvas, they feel everlasting, for each announcement must be repeated in at least six different languages. Leaving the dining hall on the first day, I felt lost and overwhelmed by the number of people and different cultures surrounding me. Once I unpacked and my day started, I was opened up to a whole new perception of Szarvas. At Camp Szarvas, the day is full of activities with people from other countries, which allowed the campers to meet and connect on a deeper level. Every activity that we had at Szarvas made me grow in so many ways. The campers were divided into groups based on the country they were from. There was also an international group, which included campers from countries with smaller Jewish communities. While having an activity with the international group, we were given time to pair up and have conversations. Bess, a 17-year-old boy from Albania, came up to me, speaking perfect English, and started asking me about my Jewish experience in America. “Well, I live in a Jewish community and I go to a Jewish pluralistic school near Washington D.C.,” I said. I was expecting to hear a similar answer in return because we were both on this Jewish summer program. Bess continued to say, “I am the only Jewish person


under the age of 18 in Albania.” I tried to imagine my life being the only Jew my age. I couldn’t. I thought to myself and realized that half of my Jewish identity is formed because of the strong Jewish community that I am a part of. Right then and there I realized how fortunate I was to be a Jew living in America, having the opportunities that I have. My experience with Bess was not the only experience that I had at Camp Szarvas that made me realize how lucky I am to be a part of my Jewish community. Come Thursday, I realized that Shabbat was approaching. Knowing that Shabbat was around the corner was not an unusual feeling, for I celebrate Shabbat every weekend at home. However, this familiarity that I had with Shabbat was something that not everyone had at Camp Szarvas. For some of the campers, this was the first time that they would experience Shabbat. This was the first time they would light candles, pray Kabbalat Shabbat, and have a Shabbat dinner. As I moved my hands over the candles three times, I started to realize that I had a group of girls who were following my every move. As I slowly recited the prayer, the group of girls repeated my every word. As we finished the prayer, I realized that I just allowed these girls to fulfill the mitzvah of lighting candles for the first time. Being exposed to so many different backgrounds at Camp Szarvas was a change that I feel I needed to experience before leaving JDS and entering the “real world.” The rich Jewish community that JDS provides for its students allows me to have a strong Jewish identity and spread my knowledge to other Jewish teenagers. My experiences at Szarvas really made me realize that practicing Judaism isn’t something that is so easy and accessible to everyone. The fact that I can walk across the street from school and find three different kosher restaurants is something that I should appreciate.

College summer programs prepare for future haleycohen features editor

Once the 3:45 bell rings on the last day of school before summer vacation, many students begin their two-month break from waking up early, doing homework and sitting in a classroom. However, some students opted to continue learning this summer by living at and taking classes at various universities. Junior Madeline Paulson said she wanted to do something productive with her summer, and that is why she chose to attend astrobiology and adolescent literature programs at Harvard University. “I wanted to do it to see if Harvard was my dream school,” she said. “I’m so happy I did it.” Although Paulson has another year until it is time to decide whether Harvard is in fact her “dream school,” she said the experience will help her with studies this upcoming school year. “My literature class opened up a new world of ideas, a whole new way of thinking that I can apply to English this year. My astrobiology

class taught me about life and not only what’s necessary for life but how life on earth is sustainable.” Senior Meredith Lerner spent three weeks at the University of Maryland College Park where she took an international relations class through a program called Young Scholars. Lerner wanted to find out whether international relations is something she will be interested in studying when she begins college next fall. “I suspected that it would unify lots of my interests, and I wanted to see how deep that interest truly ran,” she said. “I thought that taking a class on the subject would help me figure out whether I was interested in it or not.” As it turned out, International Relations did interest Lerner and she said that she is glad that she took the class. However, Lerner said that at certain points while working she would think to herself, “This is summer. Why am I doing this?” Lerner said that Young Scholars was a good mixture of academics and fun. “I had a great time,” Lerner said. “The people there were great. I was having fun while doing work.


Honestly, the having fun part overshadowed the work part.” Senior Ofer Kimchi spent some of his summer at a music program at Rider University. Kimchi says he now feels more prepared to take music classes and minor in music in college. “I’m much more sure of myself as a performer because of the program,” he said. Kimchi said that the experience not only prepared him for music classes but was also fun. “It’s sort of insulting to suggest that [learning and fun] are mutually exclusive,” he said. “I think going to class during the summer will make the transition into [senior year] easier,” Lerner said. Looking ahead to the future, Lerner said that now she has a better idea of what to expect in college. Paulson also feels more prepared for college. “I feel so much more prepared for college [after spending time at Harvard]. The schedule, the workload, the lifestyle, is so different and so much better than high school. I cannot wait to go to college.”

features editor

Senior Sarah Rubinstein

photo provided by Sarah Rubinstein

I was at the pool when my friends and I started shaking. We thought there was a big truck coming by. Waves began to form inside the pool and everyone got out and ran towards the sand volleyball courts. The waves were crazy and we just kind of sat there until everything calmed down. It was crazy being at the pool though.

Freshman Talia Gasko I was in Forever 21 standing under one of the chandeliers, and it started to shake. The floor started to rumble, and the clothes were falling of the racks. All the staff in the store ran out the back door of the store that photo provided by Talia Gasko led outside the mall. And left the customers inside panicking. There were all these teenage girls crying and screaming. I tried calling my mom but the phones were jammed. I couldn’t reach her for almost an hour.

Sophomore Joshua Bloch I was finishing my last few minutes of my fortieth hour of underserved populations service, just as the earthquake hit. I was standing on a ledge, carrying a table, which scared me somewhat, but I managed not to fall or drop the table. photo provided by Joshua Bloch Initially, I thought it was just a really low plane, and I didn’t really think much of it. Then someone ran out of the building yelling, “Earthquake!” My friends and I found this extremely funny and paused for about two minutes to wonder if we would feel any aftershocks before everything [returned] to its business as usual state.

Senior Meryl Kravitz

I was in the lifeguard chair at Tilden Woods Pool. All of a sudden, I felt the chair shaking like someone was trying to throw me off the chair. I started yelling, "Stop shaking the chair, please! Stop!" When I leaned over to see if anyone was under the chair, nobody was there. And then I saw the whole entire photo provided by Meryl Kravitz pool (all the people) run to the grassy area. I was the only lifeguard on deck, so I blew the whistle for everyone to get out of the pool. The lap swimmers in the pool didn't even feel it! Then all the little kids tried to call their parents, but the phone lines were down. Complete chaos at the pool.

Book clubs allow students to choose their own summer reading jacobschaperow copy editor

illustration by Rebecca Rubin

On Sept. 7, students will have an opportunity to discuss their summer reading with senior and teacher sponsors during club period. Unlike conventional summer reading, book club offers students a chance to read something they want to read, not something they have to read. For the past three years, the summer reading book club has been a tradition at CESJDS. The book club is an experiment in summer reading. The goal of the program is reading for the sake of reading rather than reading for the sake of an A in English class. Teachers and seniors can choose to help populate the booklist with their favorite works. With 43 books to choose from this year, book club gives students considerable freedom in choosing their summer reading. Rather than just sticking with a traditional summer reading list summer reading list, students can pick literary works ranging from “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” to “The Hunt for Red October” to fulfill their reading obligation. Senior Jaime Benheim is sponsoring “Deadline” by Chris Crutcher, a young adult writer and a family therapist. Crutcher’s books feature teenagers dealing with harsh realities of life. Benheim first read him in seventh grade.

“One thing is his books are kind of mature with language and mature subjects and stuff, and it was kind of hard in middle school to read his books because I wasn’t mature enough for them,” she said. Plenty of bad things happen to this book’s small-town, footballplaying, teenage main character. Ben Wolf lives in Trout, Idaho (pop. 943), and he only has a year to live. Hence the title. But Ben’s bucket list is far from typical. Little Wolf works harder than ever to live his life in a year. His to-do list includes getting laid, driving his biased U.S. history teacher crazy and becoming a football star. It takes two psychologists and a lot of perspective before he understands what is really important in life. Senior Ilana Hirsh is sponsoring “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows. The first thing you notice about this book, after the name, is the unusual writing style. “Guernsey” is not a novel so much as a compilation of letters. The main character, Juliet, is an author who writes an absurd amount of letters to her colleagues and friends at the Potato Peel Pie society on the war-ravaged island of Guernsey. “One of the [advantages] is that it doesn’t just follow one character, so you get sort of a interwoven storylines, letters from different people, but at the same time, it’s easy to follow. And the setting’s very new. I’ve never heard of a book written about that aspect of World War II,” Hirsh said.


op ed august 30, 2011

A new modern style, a new enthusiasm

Yes, The Lion’s Tale has gotten a makeover. We decided to shake things up, revamp our style, and go modern. We have the latest font fashions, the trendiest layouts and dazzling design. Let’s just say we’ve slimmed down our bulge and are looking good. We look different, and here is why: We want to start anew this school year. The Lion’s Tale is a platform for change, and we are ready to take the lead. As we finish up each issue of the paper, we, the editors of The Lion’s Tale, look at what the news articles are telling us about the school, and we write a staff editorial about what is important to us. This year, our staff has an additional mission: to spread a passion for Judaism through the hallways of JDS. JDS does a good job of teaching a wide range of Jewish history and rituals. Celebrating Jewish holidays, taking Jewish text and history classes and praying every day should undoubtedly be part of the structure of a Jewish school. While ritual is important at JDS, it should not define the school A Jewish school should feel Jewish. Judaism should be intertwined with every aspect of our school. When looking at Israel programs, youth groups and Jewish summer camps, there is a

common element that JDS needs more of: passion. At Jewish camps, programs and youth groups, Jewish songs are always being sung, Hebrew words are used for titles of buildings and leadership positions and a love for Israel is taught through action. The same students who dread going to minyan at JDS pray with deep meaning at their camps. We find it troubling that this love of Judaism that is present for so many students in the summer is weakened when school begins. While the stress of the school year will never compare to the ideal atmosphere of summer camp, we feel that there is more that can be done. There are many students who have a deep love for Judaism, and we aspire to see that attitude shared with others. Ultimately, our school needs to be run on Jewish values because values help build a community. We think that students should have more understanding of why the school has its policies from a Jewish standpoint. A student might think twice about breaking dress code, if he or she knew the importance of Tzniut, modesty. What we need more of is what Principal Michael Kay did the morning after Bin Ladin’s death, when he explained over the loudspeaker Jewish perspectives of dealing with that circumstance of death.

photo editor

eitansayag danielliss “This issue was really stressful, but very exciting as well. The best part was definitely the earthquake while we were working in The Lion’s Tale office. I hope everyone likes the redesign!“

graphic editor noahzweben


web editor

copy editor



assistant copy editors

news editors

abigailbirnbaum jacobdorn

brianafelson ariellepanitch

in depth editors rananadine merylkravitz

chadashot editors emilydworkin shirabecker

features editors “This issue was put together pretty quickly. It was a quick jump from summer to school mode. I really hope everyone likes the articles and the new design!”


managing editor

haleycohen rebeccarubin elanaschrager samanthawiener

sports editors jonathanblock joshsinger

– The Lion’s Tale

“I am very excited about this issue. I am glad to see great photos and creative layouts during such a short summer issue.”

EDITORS • • • • • • • • • • • • editors-in-chief

Jewish values should be the backbone of our school and shouldwholeheartedly underlie every aspect of the school’s mission. This includes teachers, administrators and students treating each other with respect and sensitivity. Students come to JDS from incredibly diverse Jewish backgrounds and practices, but coming to JDS shows that in some way, we all value being Jewish. If we all share our passion for Judaism with others, it will spread. On grade shabbatons, that enthusiasm is present every time because we all spend Shabbat together as a grade and share our traditions. In the end, the students are the ones who make the school reach its full potential. We want to encourage students to do small things like sing together in their alcoves on Friday afternoons, do grade Tzedakah projects and wish each other ‘Shabbat shalom’ as they leave school on Fridays. We, the students, are the ones who can make JDS into a moral, caring Jewish community. The school has done its job if we embrace Judaism because we want to, not because we have to. Here’s to a new year!

STAFF • • • • • • • • • • • • • • senior reporters michaelgreenberg emilyshoyer scottgoldstein sydneysolomon

photographers ariellefontheim symonginsburg samhofman elishurberg

reporters colearonson • aricharnoff adeenaeisen • jeremyetelson dorefeith • alexanderflum matthewfoldi • jonathongalitzer matthalpern • gefenkabik samanthakevy • alisonkraner stuartkrantz • yaelkrifcher haleylerner • avichaiozurbass jonathanreem • stevenreichel sarahrubin • ericsayag eitansnyder • davidsolkowitz ethansteinberg • jessezweben peninagraubart • alextritell

staff advisor claireburke

adviser emerita

“This issue was crazy, but it all came together in the end. I’m so proud of how hard the staff worked to make it great!”

susanzuckerman The Lion’s Tale is a forum for student expression. Its purpose is to inform the CESJDS community and to express the views of its staff and readers. The staff has made every effort to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of its news. Editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the LT board. The Lion’s Tale encour­ages its readers to write letters to the editor and reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. All letters must be typed and signed. Letters may be emailed to The Lion’s Tale is made possible by The Simon Hirshman Endowment for the Upper School Newspaper and The Kuttner-Levenson Endowment for the Upper School Cultural Arts and Student Publications. Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School 11710 Hunters Lane Rockville, MD 20852 phone: 301.881.1404

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Liss’n Up

Welcoming new teachers to the School

Giving the kippah policy meaning

guest column

Say what?

august 30, 2011 op ed

Getting the Upper School community back on track

I shifted anxiously in my chair, trying to calm my nerves before the exam. It was hard danielliss to sit still with the editor in chief back of my U.S. History final staring up at me from my tiny desk. After a year of study, the most important test of the year was about to begin. I felt as prepared as I could, given the situation. The previous weeks had been filled with memorizing dates and poring over my textbook. I wanted to do well. And, of course, I didn’t want any surprises. But, with 60 seconds left on the clock, an administrator strolled into the room to make an unexpected announcement. “No male student may take the exam without a kippah on his head,” she said. Glancing around, I wondered how people without kippot could be expected to acquire head-coverings on such short notice. The administrator swiftly put my question to rest: “Students without kippot need to find them and quick because we will be starting without them.” A small commotion broke out as a dozen or so boys darted out of their seats in search of extra kippot. I was not among this group of boys, but I empathized with their agitation. To be clear, I don’t condone breaking the dress code. However, this last-minute enforcement of the kippah policy seemed harsh and unfair. The surprise penalty effectively subtracted time from these students’ tests, unnerving kids who had plenty to worry about already. The incident stuck with me all summer. Was it in the administration’s jurisdiction to put its foot

down at this crucial moment? Yes. Was it the best way to handle the situation? I don’t think so. In the third pillar of its mission statement, JDS laudably promises to foster both an understanding and an appreciation of the mitzvot, the religious observances which include wearing a kippah. By this standard, the penalty fails to live up to the dream expressed by the school’s founders. The administration did not foster understanding and appreciation. Instead, it generated a negative association with the kippah for students who justifiably felt upset and resentful. If administrators were intent on forbidding students to take the final without kippot, they should have made their decision clear before the test day. At the very least, they could have made the announcement when students had time to find a head-covering without starting the exam late. Better yet, administrators could have come with inexpensive kippot in hand and given them to students gratis, as a statement of the importance of the kippah to Judaism and the school’s basic precepts. In order to give the kippah policy meaning, the school shouldn’t simply treat it as another facet of the dress code. After all, wearing a kippah is a value, one that can stick with students far longer than the dress code they won’t necessarily keep post-graduation. In sum, it is problematic to link religious observance and punishment in students’ eyes. The school needs to use its mission statement as a guide, and shift the emphases of the kippah policy to understanding and appreciation.

Anat Entin’s “a goodbye letter to parents” brought to light a number of important issues about our JDS community. Her core message was that JDS has lost its Jewish soul in part because the administration has created a culture of fear among the teaching staff. Entin alleged that teachers had left scottgoldstein senior reporter crying after meetings with administrators. I, too, have personally observed teachers fearful of retaliation. On three separate occasions, I have heard teachers voice frustrations and grievances and then request students to keep their concerns confidential, for fear of retribution. Put simply, JDS has a problem with its teacher-administration relationship, and it is essential that this problem be corrected. A school with a teaching staff too intimidated to voice its concerns is a school on a dangerous path, for improvement is difficult without openness. Should the school not encourage its teaching staff to speak out when it sees room for improvement, the quality of education will suffer due to low teacher morale and JDS will be unable to attract top-quality applicants due to its reputation as an intimidating place to work. In addition, it is important to understand that parents are willing to spend money to send their kids to JDS because of the quality of the teaching staff. Teachers have come to school early, stayed late and worked during their lunch breaks to help explain difficult concepts or help students prepare for standardized tests. Teachers have come to sporting events and musical performances, plays and award ceremonies. No matter how busy, every teacher that I have had at JDS has been willing to make a sincere commitment to find time to meet with a student should he or she request it. This level of commitment can be seen in its social payoffs. Kids gather around their teachers dur-

In my six years at the Upper School, I have never seen such a large turnover of faculty. In this issue eitansayag of The Lion’s Tale, there editor in chief are many discussions of perceived problems at the school, particularly regarding teacher morale and the administration’s impact on employee satisfaction. For the 20 new teachers who will be joining our community, it might be overwhelming to hear about these issues while adjusting to a new job. Given the strong relationships that JDS students build with their teachers, it can be very difficult to accept teachers’ absences and welcome their replacements. I am thinking of my former college counselor Michele Davis and the former publications adviser Megan Fromm. I had very close relationships with both of them and am genuinely sad and disappointed that I will not be learning with them anymore. For months, I could not imagine that the school could find new staff as special to fill their positions, advisers with whom I would connect and who would profoundly influence my growth. After meeting/working/hanging out with Kimberly Wilkins (new college counselor) and Claire Burke (new publications advisor), I am confident that they will be as successful as their predecessors. They both reached out to me before they even officially started working and made it clear that they wanted to establish unique teacher-student bonds. They met with me and other students and really tried to get to know us personally and understand how they could help. I quickly became excited to work with them, and every interaction to date has increased my enthusiasm for the coming semester. The challenges that anyone entering a new educational environment faces are difficult, but it is especially challenging

ing the last week of school to ask them to sign their yearbooks. Students dress up for finals to emphasize how their teacher is the best teacher, and after graduation, many students friend their teachers on Facebook. How many other schools can say that its students appreciate their teachers so much that they want to continue their friendships with their educators after high school is over? For this, JDS should be incredibly proud. One would think that a school would make every effort to keep its greatest asset, the teaching staff, happy. Regardless of whether one believes that Entin voiced her concerns in a proper manner, she was a member of the JDS community for 31 years, longer than some of the administration, and her views should not have been dismissed out of hand. Every parent with a student at JDS has a vested interest in the administration showing the utmost respect for its faculty. Every parent has a vested interest in good teacher morale, as there is a direct correlation between the quality of education and the morale of the faculty. With this in mind, I call on the administration to institute a teacher-administrator intermediary, elected or chosen by the teaching staff, who can bring the qualms and concerns that teachers have to the administration, without fear of retribution. This intermediary should be mutually respected by both parties and under tenure so that his or her contract is not an issue. This way, the administration will be able to have the important conversations in its desired, non-public format, while the teachers can suggest their improvements and air their grievances without fear of retribution. In addition, the intermediary should have face-toface contact with the Board each month to ensure that the administration is responsive to teachers’ concerns. The institution of a teacher-administrator intermediary system would be a good first step in the restoration of the damaged teacher-administrator relationship, and it will go a long way in getting our school back on track.

this time, given the magnitude of staffing changes. One of the Jewish precepts in the JDS mission statement is V’ahavta L’Rayakha, explained as “to create a caring, moral community ... in which members respect uniqueness and preciousness and are responsible for each other and the community.” It is our responsibility as a community of students, parents, returning teachers and administrators to make the 20 new faculty members feel welcome. As students, we can help by having an open mind. New teachers will not be the same as their predicessors, but give them a chance. Comparing new teachers to old will add an unnecessary burden and slow the integration of the new members into our community. We can get to know and appreciate these teachers for their unique strengths and traits. We need to embrace the teachers for who they are, not what we expect them to be. Perhaps we can accept, as my two experiences indicate, that the administration has hired exceptional talent. In addition, let’s not focus on the negative. As can be seen in The Lion’s Tale, staffing problems of the past deserve to be discussed in an open forum and resolved, so they are not repeated in the future. However, these issues have all occurred in the past, and it is best not to harp on the negative, especially when talking to new teachers. Our community has so many positive aspects that outweigh the negatives. We need to be optimistic, and show the new faculty our true neshama, of which we can be very proud. Let me be, hopefully not the first, but rather one of many to say to the new teachers: Welcome to the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School and to our community. I am glad you are here. I appreciate your commitment to our growth. I look forward to getting to know you over the course of the semester!

What’s your opinion? Write a letter to the editor and let us know! Tell The Lion’s Tale, your friends, teachers and the CESJDS community what is on your mind. How to write a letter to the editor in five easy steps: 1) Think to yourself, “Gosh, I really agreed, disagreed, loved, hated, developed an opinion about or generally reacted to the editorial, columns or articles in this here issue of The Lion’s Tale. I also may or may not have an opinion about something else in school that I’d like to share with the community, or maybe I just want to chat.” 2) Sit down at a computer and put your thoughts in writing, any way you want to, as long at it’s in the form of a well-written, 200-250 word letter. 3) Open your e-mail. 4) Send us the letter as an attachment to 5) Congratulations! You’ve done it!



‘Summertim livin’s

in depth august 30, 2011

rananadine in depth editor

As Washington’s summer humidity crept into the atmosphere, CESJDS students dispersed for all types of summer programs and experiences. Some went to day camp and others chose to sleep away. Some blazed trails on the metro on their way to internships and volunteer activities. Some students even traveled across the world to countries like Israel, China and Bulgaria. And of course others stayed near home, catching up on some desperately needed R&R. The Lion’s Tale asked several students to share their own summer experiences in their own words.


This sum a counselor-i Center for the I expected to be ing little children surprise. It was su assignment was to pare for a musical a was brought to my a few years could b cord was and wha know what a juke them took quite looks on their fa the first few d by name. It weeks, yo strang

Eden Katz ‘12: This was by far the most fulfilling summer I’ve ever had. I was on a program in Ghana where we taught at two different schools. One was in Abonsah village, and one was in Buduburam, a Liberian refugee camp. I taught things like reading, grammar and math, in conditions where you wouldn’t think it’s possible for people to learn. The village school was an open cement room, with one teacher for over 50 children, ages 3-10. They had three blackboards and broken pencils to write on scraps of paper. The conditions of the refugee camp primary school were slightly better, with classrooms and several teachers, but still extremely underprivileged. Yet I have never seen happier children in my life. Nor have I seen such a love for learning. One day, during recess, I walked into the classroom to find two girls writing and solving math problems on the board. I would think back to the wealth and privilege of our school, and how kids never stop complaining about their schoolwork. I’ll admit, I do it too. But here were kids who have next to nothing, yet were so happy and appreciative of their meager education. I wish everyone could have that kind of experience, because the world needs to see how little we actually need to live full and happy lives. photo provided by Ruthie Gopin

Jordan Brandt ‘12:

photo provided by Eden Katz

I am not entirely sure how it happened, but through a series of events and a somewhat long application, I ended up spending my summer in Tajikistan. I spent weekdays in Tajiki class and walking around the capital, Dushanbe, and the weekends traveling around the country and spending time with my Tajiki host family. The mountains there are some of the prettiest places to which I have traveled. My group went on a trip to the North and stayed at a clear blue lake in a valley, and even though it was around 120 degrees, we could see snow in the tops of the mountains because they are so tall. While it has been an amazing experience, there have been many challenges, including a lot of religious and gender discrimination. The amazing thing about this place is that, other than some Russian influence, Tajikistan is basically untouched by the Western world. It is really cool because it has allowed them to maintain a very Persian culture, but they are also an extremely poor country with no infrastructure. The main thing that I have taken away from this experience is how lucky I am for where I live and what I have.

a an out lear cons pou erty hum rela to e


me and the s easy’

august 30, 2011 in depth

Sammy Yeroushalmi ‘12:

I spent a majority of my summer, eight weeks, as a summer intern working at NIH [National Insititutes of Health]. Honestly, I was extremely hesitant in applying for it. Usually during the summer I go to a “nerd” camp called CTY [Center for Talented Youth]. In a way, it’s like summer school, but the main reason I would go is for my friends. I had a lot of good memories there, and it was definitely the biggest reason I was considering to not intern. I was really pushed by [science teacher] Ms. Agzigian to do it, and I spent a lot of time considering the pros and cons of it. I had to dedicate a lot of time and do hard work — something I’m not exactly used to. Dr. Chava Kimchi [mother of senior Ofer Kimchi] was gracious enough to let me work in her lab along with my good friend senior Nechama Nelson [‘12]. At first I was very overwhelmed and intimidated. The lab focused on characterizing synonymous (silent) mutations in certain clotting factors in hemophilia patients. It was hard getting adjusted to the environment, but I eventually got the hang of it. I had to do a lot of lab work which I enjoyed a lot, and I also had to do a lot of computer analysis which was not as enjoyable... It felt great actually being able to apply what I learned in my genetics class for real research, and I really have a more in-depth understanding of the material. On an educational level, it really was a great experience, but aside from that I made a lot of new friends, too. The lab was small, but I got a lot closer with some of the others working in the lab even though they were a couple of years older than me. Along with that, I actually ended up seeing a lot of people who used to go to our school and got a lot closer with them as well. All in all I really enjoyed it much more than I expected. It really helped me decide what I want to do as a career when I’m older, which I could have found out a much harder way. I might just do it again next year!

arah Hirsch ‘15:

mmer, I spent two weeks as in-training at the Black Rock Arts in Germantown. Truthfully, e bored and bothered by annoyn, but I was completely taken by uch a fun experience! My particular o help a group of 11-year-olds preabout the old sitcom “Happy Days.” It y attention how much of a difference be. They didn’t know what a vinyl reat a soda shop was. They didn’t even ebox was! (Explaining everything to e a bit of time, but seeing confused aces was totally worth it!). Within days, I knew all of the children t’s so crazy how, in just two ou can change a group of gers into friends.

photo provided by Ruthie Gopin

Ruthie Gopin ‘14:

This summer, I had the great pleasure of spending a week at the Martin Buber Youth Kibbutz [in Beallsville, MD]. As the name may suggest, the activities were not those of your typical sleep-away camp. Sure, we had movie night, went to the pool and had s’mores around the campfire. We sang together (we had some amazing guitarists and pianists at camp, myself not included) nd joked around a lot. And there wasn’t a day that went by witht at least one game of Ninja. But we also worked in the garden and rned CPR. We learned Jewish sources about when lying can be used structively and helped lead the Shabbat service. We packaged 300 unds of string beans at the Manna Food Center and talked about povy and environmentalism. In fact, we often went from innuendo-filled mor to topics such as the psychological aspects of suicide and their ationship to the concept of free will, all while cooking delicious food eat. Whether it was silly or serious, it was the people that made the experience amazing. It’s hard to live in a house with 20 other people, 16 of them hormonal teenagers, and not get to know them well. For better or for worse, we saw the ups and downs of each other’s lives, and I can honestly say that by the end we felt like a family; a slightly dysfunctional one perhaps, but a family nonetheless. I had the most incredible time at camp and can’t wait to go back next year.

photos by Alex Zissman and Ranana Dine


8 chadashot

august 30, 2011

Stories from camp Students share highlights from Jewish summer camps around the world stevenreichel reporter

“One day during free time, a couple of Israeli kids started a water fight. Soon enough, kids from other countries had joined in, and there was screaming going on in three or four different languages all over the bunk area.” — junior Molly Schneider, attended Camp Szarvas, a pluralist camp in Szarvas, Hungary where Jews from all across Eastern Europe and the world are encouraged to explore Judaism

Traveling Israel

“This summer I did a 10-day backpacking trip with camp through the North Carolina Outward Bound School. We were in the woods hiking, and I heard my friend walking alone, and he was singing and dancing to all of these [Shabbat] songs! Later that night, I told him that I could hear him singing, and it was really entertaining! He responded by saying, “It wouldn’t be Shabbat with camp if I didn’t sing them!” It just shows how camp things make Shabbat more special fun than any other Shabbat back home.” — sophomore Rina Bardin, attended Camp Judaea, in Hendersonville, N.C.

yaelkrifcher reporter

This summer, many students decided to spend their time off traveling the land of Israel, each finding themselves drawn to Israel for different reasons. Because of their different beliefs and values, each student experienced their connection to the land in a unique way. For some, it is Israel’s vibrant culture that attracts them. Sophomore Dean Bregman, who has taken vacations in Israel for a number of years, said that his past visits make him more inclined to appreciate the social aspects of the country. “I’ve seen all the historical sites already ... so now when I get to Israel I want to have fun. I want to see my friends who I haven’t seen. I want to see my family. I want to go to the beach. I want to eat awesome food,” he said. Others travel to Israel for the first time anticipating an immediate spiritual connection to the land. Junior Sahara Reiz, who went on the NCSY trip to Israel, began the trip with high expectations and was not disappointed. “When I went there it just felt like home ... like we were supposed to be there,” Reiz said. In this case, her school education about Israel added to her spiritual connection with Judaism and prepared her for what she would find there. “Understanding [it’s history] helped me realize how important all this was,” she said. Students’ level of fluency in Hebrew affected their experiences. While in Israel, some students found themselves thriving on the challenge that the language presented. Senior Alex Halpern said that, while in Israel for the Maccabi Games, he served as a translator for his basketball team. However, other students found themselves struggling to speak conversational Hebrew outside of school. “It just sounds a lot different in a classroom,” Reiz said. Though the school provides us with the means to develop a relationship with Israel, being there is the best way to feel a spiritual connection, according to Bregman. “I think if you have a connection with Israel, it’s just something you experience on your own. It’s not something a school can teach you.”

“So during Kabbalat Shabbat at my camp, the Rosh [head counselor] always tells a story. But this year our Rosh couldn’t think of any stories. Instead he told us stories about different farm animals that learned different morals through their experiences. They were the best stories ever.” — sophomore Hannah Halpern, attended Camp Ramah, in Palmer, Mass.

“So at my camp we say Birkat Hamazon and stuff with our food, but no one really knows Hebrew. So before every meal we said hamotze in English and everyone kept on asking me what it meant.”— eighth-grader Joshua Paretzky, attended Camp Manitou, in Oakland, Maine

”My cousin and I did a duet sort of thing for a talent show in our village, where I played piano and she sang. We had actually spent time preparing for illustration by Hannah Becker this skit, and we both dressed in all black. My other four friends danced in the background dressed up in really crazy outfits. They danced in a way most would consider embarrassing, but we all didn’t care what people were thinking because we were just having fun.” — freshman Sophie Kader, attended Capital Camps and Retreat Center, in Waynesboro, Pa.

Can I keep kosher in China? shirabecker chadashot editor

Each year, deciding my summer plans always seems to become a stressful fiasco between my parents and myself. Will I go to summer camp? Or will I travel to Israel and attempt to complete my required community service hours? Up until this summer I had either spent the season at home, traveled with a Jewish organization or resided at a Jewish summer camp. This summer I decided to participate in an educational program in Beijing, China with a group of students from all around the world. However, this program was not run by a religiously affiliated organization. My initial concern was that I would be a minority amongst a predominately Christian group of kids. I believed I would be unable to maintain the religious practices that I kept at home. Also, while I thought about Chinese cuisine, only eccentric types of meats and insects came to mind, leading to my worry that keeping kosher would be impossible. On the plane ride to China, I was forced to make my first decision concerning what customs I would keep. This was due mostly to the fact that my parents had forgotten to order me the kosher meal, but also because I had been given a meal containing meat that was uncertified kosher, and I had to deiced if I was going to eat it. Staring at the unappetizing airline food, I made the decision to keep kosher throughout my three weeks in China. To be honest I don’t always observe the rules of kashrut strictly, but I felt that if I was going to illustrate my religion to students who may not have encountered Judaism before, I would go all out and set myself aside in a positive way exemplifying my practices. Similarly to how I was an American Diplomat in China, I would be a representative of my own religion to the students on the program. To my surprise I had gained a new level of Jewish pride that I hadn’t felt before.

Keeping kosher in China was easier then I had ever imagined. Although I could not eat any meats, the students on my program were supportive and interested in my choice to keep true to my religious customs. They made sure to order enough vegetarian options anywhere we ate. I knew that if keeping kosher was this easy in China, anywhere else would have to be a breeze. The students on my program were continuously fascinated by Judaism, engaging themselves in conversations with me about my beliefs as I would also do to them. To my surprise there was a very diverse group of students on my trip concluding of atheists, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Christians, and I never once felt singled out. I was not able to keep Shabbat because we traveled on Saturdays, and I never attended synagogue while on my program, but none of the students visited their rightful temples on their holy days so in that way we all had to adjust. I think I was fortunate to be with a very understanding group of kids who never once threw a playful joke or comment at me about my religion or practices. I did hear from some friends that they had been given a hard time on their programs for keeping kosher and from others that had decided not to keep kosher. I think that all I proved to myself was that it was possible to maintain the practices that were important to me on my program, and for this reason it shouldn’t be too much harder for anyone else. I also believe that I gained an important sense of Jewish pride, that I had never felt praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, or while singing Jewish Folk Songs at camp. When you are placed in a situation where it becomes your responsibility to decide how you will practice your religion, the experience is so much more meaningful. Also, because I was not with a large group of Jewish students I felt compelled to represent my religion in a positive manner, which pushed me to engage in conversations and become in touch with a part of my Jewish identity that I never had before.

by ation illustr Shira

illustration by Hannah Becker



august 30, 2011 chadashot


OUDC Summer Journey emilydworkin chadashot editor

Twenty-five black and Jewish teens, including myself and seniors Naomi Eyob and Micah Nelson, boarded a bus on July 6 to begin a three-week Summer Journey. The group is part of the organization, Operation Understanding D.C., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eradicate racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination by building a generation of AfricanAmerican and Jewish leaders who promote cross-cultural understanding and respect. We began working together in January, learning about each other’s communities, religions and cultures. Over the course of the Summer Journey, we traced the route of the Freedom Rides, beginning in New York City and ending in Memphis, Tenn. Throughout the three weeks we learned about the histories of the black and Jewish communities in America, met individuals who participated in major events during the civil rights movement and visited the places where these historic events took place. At our first stop in New York City we visited Crown Heights, the Lower East Side, Harlem and Spanish Harlem. We then took a flight to North Carolina and began our journey through the south, which took us through six states and sixteen cities. Each day our group met with unique individuals — some were heroes from the civil rights movement, law makers, mayors or people who dedicated their lives to social action. We also went to synagogue together as a group every Friday and to church every Sunday. “When we went to synagogue, everyone would smile at us because we were so into it,” Eyob said. “I also loved going to church: It was so much fun. We went to a Baptist church in Mississippi. ... Everyone was singing, clapping and dancing and it was really animated.” After services, we would board the bus headed toward our next destination. “The most memorable experience for me was our visit to Birmingham, Ala. Birmingham was the birthplace of the Children's Crusade, when children took to the streets and faced police violence. For me, it reminded me of what the journey was all about: That as young people, we have the power (and responsibility) to stand up against injustice,” Nelson said. After visiting the International Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham, we split up to tour Kelly Ingram Park, a park in memorial of the Children’s

Crusade. We walked past a statue of children standing behind bars which read, “I ain’t afraid of your jails.” One of our trip leaders posed the question, would you have risked your life and marched with them? We were standing in the same place where children fearlessly marched across for freedom, but few of us could imagine ourselves put in their shoes. We no longer live in a time where our freedoms are as blatantly violated, but that does not mean there are aren’t major issues in our country today. “I have a much better understanding of the civil rights movement and how it evolved and how ordinary people changed the landscape of our country. Above all, I learned how the civil rights movement didn't end in the 1960s — it’s still going on today,” Nelson said. Over the course of the journey, we were exposed to some current human rights issues. For example, in Montgomery, Ala., we visited the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization where lawyers work defending prisoners who have been denied justice in the legal system. We were shocked to learn that 13and 14-year-old children are being sentenced to life in adult prisons with no possibility of parole. “We need to be exposed to issues like this today. The EJI did a really good job of exposing parts of our justice system that are unjust. We think the system is always in our favor, but here it’s looking over 13-year-olds,” Eyob said. “There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. … We shouldn’t wait until we’re adults to get involved. Just because you’re young, doesn’t mean you don’t have a voice.” The trip came to an end at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Reverend Samuel Billy Kyles spoke to us about his close relationship with Dr. King and the hours surrounding his death. The night before his assassination, Dr. King delivered his famous “Mountaintop” speech. He said, “I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” At this last stop, Rev. Kyles told us, “You can shoot and kill the dreamer, but you cannot kill the dream. Our generation must continue the work of civil rights heroes. Though the summer journey ended in Memphis, we as a group will take what we learned and use it to continue working for justice at home in our own communities.”

photo provided by Emily Dworkin

OUDC class 17 gathered around civil rights memorial fountain at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama after meeting with Joseph Levin Jr. who co-founded the organization.

taken from

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. ­ -Martin Luther King Jr.

Changes in the Hebrew Department jacobdorn

The school worked with two consultants: Olshtain, a professor emeritus at Hebrew University, and Rafi Banai, a teacher who has done For most students, it means a different and a lot of work with Hebrew curricula and teachoriginal way of learning Hebrew. For juniors ers. They decided to keep the Ulpan class for and seniors, it does not. For administrators, new speakers and the class for returning native the new Hebrew curriculum has meant a lot of speakers, but other classes will be organized preparation. into four levels per grade. The deciDuring the school’s sion to change June professional week, programs was instead of having meetbased largely ings, proctoring finals on community and grading, Hebrew dissatisfaction. teachers prepared, re“We weren’t viewing different textnecessarily books and selecting one getting the refor each class. Most classsults in Hebrew es will also use an adachievement ditional, “organic,” book that we thought to help reading comprea school like hension and add variety. ours was ca“We are putting a pable of, and on lot of emphasis on stutop of that, we illustration by Emily Dworkin dent interest,” Olshtain know that the said. level of dissatClasses will use those tailored books seisfaction with the Neta curriculum in the com- lectively and also include a renewed emphasis munity was relatively high,” Principal Michael on current events. “Sikhot yom yom,” daily conKay said. versations, will be used to practice conversaElite Olshtain, a consultant for the new cur- tional Hebrew, Kay said. riculum, thought that Neta was good quality. Though Kay cautions it is still a work in “I think Neta is excellent,” she said, in terms progress, other schools look at the new curof its writing and perspective, but she said that riculum and see potential. on the negative side, “Neta has become a little “We started to get some inquiries from bit outdated” and less relevant and was very other schools who’ve heard about what we’re unpopular. building and are interested in learning more The school looked for a new program to about how to do it, so I think obviously it’s very replace Neta’s course material, but Neta is the premature to make any sort of judgement on only commercially-marketed secondary school it, but I think we’re building some exciting moHebrew program in North America, according mentum behind it,” Kay said. to Kay, restricting the school’s options to Neta or an original curriculum. senior reporter

Life in tents:

Reporting on recent city tent protesting in Israel

colearonson and dorefeith reporters

During the past six weeks, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and other cities to protest the high cost of living in Israel. A month and a half ago Daphne Leaf, a Tel Aviv resident, could not pay her rent. She pitched a tent near the intersection of Rothschild Boulevard and Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. In the following weeks, “tent-cities” were established all over the country. Some of these tent-cities contain hundreds of tents, while others have just a few. While many of the tent-dwellers are employed, others spend most of their time sharing their stories with passersby. Some claim that the protests are mainly about the housing costs, but more and more people are focusing on costs of food and utilities services, as well. One man named Anhanan, who lived briefly in a tent on Rothschild, said he was a psychologist and that he knew of many professionals who could “barely finish the month.” Anhanan said that salaries for many middle-class Israelis make it very hard to save money for the future. He, along with many of the protesters, finds that no one political figure can fix the issue. “I am not upset with [Prime Minister] Bibi Netanyahu any more than I was with other Israeli governments,” he said. He hopes that the government will regulate the economy further in order to reduce the “gap in wealth caused by free-markets.” Right now, Israel has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world at approximately six percent, according to Trading Economics, a website devoted to supplying users with economic information around the world. One segment of the protesters is made up of fathers who cannot afford to have only one job, meaning that they often do not have time to see their families. These men are the older protesters, while the average age is estimated to be around the early thirties and late twenties. The younger protesters tend to emphasize the threat that capitalism poses to their lives. Itamar Mizrachi, a 31-year-old from Jerusalem, claims that the high cost of living is caused by the “cancer that is called capitalism,” and that the “free-market has failed.” He cites the recent American and Israeli economic woes as evidence. The main impact that these protests can have on Israeli politics is that this may be the first time that social policy, as opposed to national security policy, plays a decisive role in a parliamentary election. illustration by Hannah Becker

10 new teachers

august 30, 2011

Get to know teachers’ backgrounds and interests elanaschrager and samanthawiener features editors

A. Alex Smolin is excited to work at JDS. “I get to teach something I like. I like physics and chemistry. It’s like I’m sharing what I like with my students. I get to teach them that [science] really is a cool, fun discipline. Yes, it requires work, but everything requires work.” Smolin’s experiences lifeguarding and teaching made him realize that he liked working with children. Smolin decided to become a teacher after lifeguarding when he was in college. Smolin likes rock music and his favorite band is Rev Theory. Smolin’s favorite movie is “The Terminator.” When asked what Harry Potter character he would be Smolin said Albus Dumbledore. “As an educator I am always learning,” he said. “There is no one that knows more about magic in the Harry Potter series [than Dumbledore]. He is a person who is an educator and is always on the quest for knowledge.”

E. A native of northern England, Siobhan Tuohey joins the science department this year after having taught at Glenelg Country School, in Howard County, for the past 10 years. Her favorite subject to teach is biology, because it is easy for students to relate to it. She eats tomatoes like apples, and her favorite condiment is salad cream, which is like mayonnaise, but “spicier.”

I. Deby Kijak has been teaching for 18 years and is excited to come to JDS to teach Spanish for the next chapter of her career. Growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she attended Colegio Tarbut, a Jewish day school, and wanted to experience working at one. She has a 3-year-old son, Josh, and her husband does most of the cooking. If she were a character in Harry Potter, she would be Ginny Weasley, because Ginny gets to marry Harry.

J. Rabbi Etan Mintz studied at Yeshiva University and Harvard University. He was attracted to JDS by “the reputation of the school, the incredible students.” His favorite movie is “Back to the Future.” He used to play softball in high school and now plays tennis. Mintz enjoys traveling and music. His favorite artist is Bob Marley. Mintz has five siblings. His favorite food is watermelon. Mintz chose to become a teacher because “I love connecting with students and facilitating student growth [and] learning,” he said.

C. You may recognize Jordan Lipp as the wrestling coach from last year. This year he has an additional identity around school — as the newest study hall teacher. He received a bachelor’s degree in finance from American University, and is now getting a master’s degree in health promotion management from AU. He loves to read. Some of his favorite books include “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway, “The Broom of the System” by David Foster Wallace, and “V” by Thomas Pynchon. Lipp also loves indie rock and has been playing the guitar since he was in fourth grade.

D. In third grade Carolyn Holmes decided that she wanted to teach, to “help the future leaders of the world.” She majored in education and exercise and sports science at Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., before coming to teach at JDS as a member of the P.E. department. In middle school she was voted “Extra Enthusiastic” by her peers, she did cross-country running, cross-country skiing and played lacrosse in high school. If she were a character in Harry Potter, she would be Luna Lovegood. Her favorite food is pineapple.

G. Chen Aharon was in the Israeli army’s infantry for three years. Aharon is excited to teach Hebrew at JDS. “It is one of the best schools in the area,” Aharon said. When asked to compare himself with an animal, Aharon chose a whale “because they have time to think, they aren’t in a hurry, they have time to swim.” Aharon is married with three kids aged 1, 3 and 6. Aharon’s favorite subject in high school was music. He plays the guitar. Growing up Aharon played in an Israeli band.

H. Sarit Lisogorsky used to work with paratroopers preparing parachutes. “I jumped five times, which was the record for the people who were doing my job at the time,” she said. Lisogorsky is from Gadera, Israel. Lisogorsky comes from a family of Hebrew teachers. Her mother and aunts are Hebrew teachers. “My mother is very Zionistic,” Lisogorsky said. “She moved from Argentina and the way she expressed her Zionism was with Hebrew teaching. It’s something I am passionate about.” Lisogorsky went to Hebrew University where she majored in international relations and Latin American studies. She also worked at the international school in Hebrew University.

K. Allison Winston decided to teach because she found that the connection that she made with students provided a respite from the Ph.D. program in which she is enrolled at the University of California San Diego. She has completed everything but her dissertation. Winston went to high school in a small town in California, where she played basketball, ran track and was a cheerleader. Winston writes–she is now working on a novel and play–and is into outdoor activities like backpacking and writing. If she were a color, she would be bright green, because it is the color of growth. Her favorite book is “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov, and she enjoys eating bagels and plain cream cheese.

L. D.C. is very different for college counselor and Florida native Kimberly Wilkins. She is enjoying a different pace of life than she had in Florida, as well as the opportunities that the D.C. area offers for her son. Her son is in fifth grade, and she has a stepdaughter who is 23. Wilkins was the director of college counseling at an independent school in Jacksonville, Fla. She loves to karaoke (“Summer of ‘69” is her favorite karaoke song) and her favorite condiment is ketchup, because it is versatile. On her first day in the D.C. area, she was unpacking boxes in the kitchen and missing Florida. So when the radio announced a calling competition for tickets to a Tim McGraw concert, she decided to call in, just for fun (and because she is a big country fan). She ended up winning the tickets!

F. History teacher Eytan Apter has lived and taught in the New York area for almost his whole life, so teaching in the D.C. area is a big change for him. He worked as an investment banker for two years after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania but realized that he loved teaching more than investment banking. He is currently finishing up his Ph.D. in literacy, language and learning at Fordham University. Apter is looking forward to teaching government in an environment saturated by politics. His favorite movie is “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Apter and his wife are expecting their first child next month.

M. Austria. Turkey. Israel. Jordan. Egypt. Ethiopia. Kenya. South Africa. Chile. Uruguay. Paraguay. Brazil. Kenya. These are all places where Lea Atlas has taught. Now, she is teaching Hebrew at JDS. She hopes to bring her love of theater and dance to the classroom, in the belief that she is here to give color to the material. Her favorite movies are foreign ones, like “The Children of Heaven” which she describes as “gorgeous, gorgeous.” Born in Kurdistan, Atlas loves all things Kurdish. She often choreographs dances to her favorite Kurdish songs. Her favorite type of food is fruit, like passion fruit, jackfruit, durian, lychee, mangoosteen, feijoa, pineapple and especially mango. If she were a color, Atlas would be purple. Or maybe turquoise. Or maybe both.

Q. JDS is not new to Davida Yitzhaky, a new member of the English department. Her brother is math teacher Reuben Silberman, and her sister Becky Silberman coaches girls junior varsity basketball. She is excited to come and join her siblings working at JDS and to experience the school as a member of the faculty. Yitzhaky has a “very cute” dog, who she describes as her first-born child. She is expecting her next child (a human one this time) in November.

B. Before coming to work in the library at JDS, Mirele Davis was “slaying dragons.” But seriously, she has held an eclectic mix of jobs, from teaching first grade in public schools to running a kosher deli to inflating soccer balls. If she were a character in Harry Potter, she would be one of the Weasley twins — preferably George, because Fred dies. Davis also works as a freelance illustrator in her spare time.

N. Olivia Friedman is a “big fan” of pluralism,” so JDS seemed like the perfect place to come teach as a member of the JTTP department. She grew up in Chicago with three younger siblings — one sister and two brothers. In high school her favorite subject was English literature, and her favorite book is “A Ring of Endless Light” by Madeleine L’Engle, because it “has a lot of wisdom in it.” Friedman has a black stripe in tae kwon do and fenced in college.

R. After working professionally in the Jewish community for several years, Aviva Gershman had heard that JDS was a pluralistic “school of excellence,” so she is excited to come and teach here. Gershman went to Queens College in Queens, New York City, where she majored in English, and holds a master’s degree in Linguistics from the University of New Hampshire as well as a master’s in Jewish Education from Hebrew College/the Pardes Institute. Gershman has two sons, ages 8 and 11. Her favorite spice is coriander, and she loves to eat fresh salads with creative ingredients.

O. William Kaplan was drawn to the Jewish community at JDS. “I wanted a new environment and the fact that it has such a strong reputation and the fact that it had a Jewish environment was really attractive to me,” Kaplan said. Kaplan spent his junior year of college in Japan and speaks Japanese. He spends his weekends playing soccer. When asked what Harry Potter character he would be, Kaplan chose “Ron Weasley; he’s sort of charmingly hapless.” He went to Brentwood School in Los Angeles and went to college at UC Berkeley, where he majored in Jewish History. He will be teaching math. His favorite movie is “Annie Hall.”

S. Allison Schaeffer’s favorite thing about high school was her senior year English class because she “had that one teacher who everyone wants, and who is amazing and wise.” She has come to JDS to teach English. She is most nervous that her students at JDS will “be brilliant, and [she] will have nothing to teach them.” Schaeffer enjoys going to movies and concerts and is learning to knit. She has a dog, which is “very yappy,” and also has a zebra print Snuggy, which she wears regularly.

P. Carl Atwood loves to eat eggs and toast. Or any breakfast food, really. He also loves history, so he is excited to join the history department. Before he came to JDS, he was working as a historian at History Associates, Inc., researching the history of industrial manufacturing in some parts of the U.S. for an environmental litigation. Atwood is engaged, and he and his fiance have plans for a spring wedding. His favorite spice is cumin.

T. Publications Director Claire Burke is looking forward to meeting all her new students and experiencing her first teaching job. Burke went to college at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., where she majored in journalism with minors in French and apparel merchandising. After college, she earned a teaching license from Indiana University. Burke’s favorite thing about teaching is the students, because they are “all so unique and have such amazing talents.” In high school, Burke played soccer — she was a goalie — and did not work on any publications. Burke has a cat named Persephone, and enjoys eating anything with cheese. She does not have a favorite type of cheese because she does not like to “discriminate.”

august 30, 2011 new teachers


New faces piece together the school community A.




F. G. E. H.





M. N.


O. T.




photos by Alex Zissman

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page 12 • august 30, 2011

A tale of two Maccabis alexflum and joshsinger reporter and sports editor

Dance The Greater Washington girls dance team traveled to Philadelphia to compete in the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games. The team comprises only five girls, but they still managed to bring home three silver and two gold medals. “Compared to other teams, that was above average,” freshman Rachael Schindler said. The girls competed in a variety of dances including an Israeli group dance, modern group dance, and group lyrical dance. Schindler also performed a lyrical solo. Schindler felt that the great camaraderie between different teams was her favorite part of the event. “We made friends with the girls from Houston and cheered them on while they got their medals and celebrated together after the games,” she said. “Since we only had five people on the team we didn’t have any problems along the way,” Schindler said. “The only thing was when we learned the entire Israeli dance in two hours. Everyone was confused and tired.”

Basketball It was senior Alex Halpern’s final year playing for the JCC of Greater Washington’s 17-and-under basketball team in this summer’s JCC Maccabi Games. It was also the first time the team traversed the Atlantic Ocean to play in Israel. Eighteen teams participated in the tournament. Only the top 12 seeded teams made the bracket. Greater Washington was given the seventh seed. The team beat Memphis in the first round and advanced to face Mid-Westchester, the second seed. “In our game against Westchester, we were tied at halftime,” Halpern said. “We were all kind of nervous because they were the higher-seeded team. In the second half, we all came together well and won by 15.”

photo by Josh Singer

photo provided by Nicole Nabatkhorian

Fall practices begin today

Freshman Rachael Schindler (second from the right) and the Greater Washington girls dance team won five medals at this year’s Maccabi Games.

photo provided by Alex Halpern

Senior Alex Halpern (bottom row, third from the left) joined eight other athletes in competing in Macabbi Israel. It was the team‘’s first time at this event.

After upsetting Mid-Westchester, Greater Washington was defeated by Chicago in the semifinals 70-63. Greater Washington lost in the bronze-medal game to Boca Raton 65-54 and finished in fourth place out of 18 teams. Halpern felt he and his team improved as the tournament progressed despite the fact that the game was much more physical than the team was used to and the referees did not call as many fouls. “We had to adjust to playing in Israel,” he said. “With different rules, you play differently. So I had to adjust to that, but after I adjusted I played pretty well.”

photo by Josh Singer

Track to be newest winter sport

Extreme makeover: Weight room edition joshsinger

sports editor

Before the start of summer, students had two consistent complaints about the school’s weight room: There was not enough equipment, and it was too small. “There was a 25-pound dumbbell missing and it really bothered me,” senior Sam Cohen said. “It would always be hard for me to feel like I would be getting a really good workout in the old gym due to the lack of safety and mobility,” senior Max Ungar said. “However, with this new weight room, I can almost guarantee that I will be able to walk in there and know that it is safe.” The upgrade was made possible by a grant from Alan Meltzer and David Smith. Susan Brinn Siegel, CESJDS CFO and COO, said that Meltzer’s love for wrestling and athletics in general was behind his choice to support the weight room remodel. “Alan [Meltzer] has been involved in wrestling all his life and although he has no family members at the school, he has always been involved in the school,” Siegel said. “Over the course of the years, he has commented that the weight room is completely inadequate for a school that is serious about its athletic programs. After [Athletic Director Michael] Riley came to the school last year, we got together with Izzy Moskowitz and an architect, looked around the building trying to see if there was an opportunity to create more space, and we eventually developed a concept.” Riley has also been involved in the project from the beginning. “He had been involved in setting up athletic facilities in the past, and he knew exactly what we needed,” Siegel said. The amount of money donated by Meltzer and Smith was enough to cover half of the projected costs for the project. The rest of the money is being taken from the capital budget the school has for expensive improvement projects such as this. “Alan Meltzer and David Smith provided the seed money for the project,” Siegel said. One of the first things that happened during construction was both the men’s and women’s locker rooms were cut in half.

photos by Josh Singer and Alex Zissman

Above and left: weightroom under construction. Below: The new weightroom, completed just before school started. This project was made possible by donations from Alan Meltzer and David Smith.

“It was decided that there was adequate space [in the halved locker rooms],” Siegel said. Everything from the treadmills to resistance bands to the leg press machine was taken out and the room was completely gutted. Over the next several weeks, new rubber floors were laid down, the walls were painted and new equipment was brought in. The construction saw very few issues along the way, but when faced with a problem, Siegel said the team of workers did a great job of fixing it right away. “There were a few surprises when they first opened the walls and we had to make a couple of modifications,” Siegel said. On Aug. 23, a massive delivery of barbells, squat racks and other brand-new exercise equipment was delivered and installed during the rest of the week. The idea behind the weight room’s design was inspired by several other schools’ weight rooms in the Washington, D.C. area including Landon School in Bethesda. The anticipation for this new weight room has been great and with all the new, more efficient equipment, students are more excited than ever to have a great place to work out. “I can’t wait for this weight room to be done,” Cohen said. “It’s gonna be sweet.”


While students are more excited over the new ability to work out in an adequate space, Siegel was excited for a different reason. “It’s a really interesting and beautiful story about how patrons of the school saw a need and took the initiative to provide money ... I think the benefit for the whole school community is going to be really quite extraordinary,” Siegel said.

Volume 29 Issue 1  

Volume 29 Issue 1 of the Lionstale

Volume 29 Issue 1  

Volume 29 Issue 1 of the Lionstale