Biweekly e-newsletter of Community Day School
25 May 2017
29 Iyyar 5777
In this issue:
Light Shabbat candles - 8:15 p.m.
Shabbat ends - 9:24 p.m.
New on the calendar:
Head of School Message
There was hardly a dry eye in the parking lot Wednesday afternoon as the bus pulled out en route to the airport on the first leg of the long-awaited Class of 2017 Israel trip. It almost seemed like a lifetime ago—when really it was just a matter of days—that our 8th Grade students proudly took the stage in our Miriam and Paul Kossis Performing Arts Center and became CDS graduates. We held our collective breath today until Mrs. Mazer reported that the students, errr, alumni, had landed safely at Ben Gurion Airport, and now we can’t wait to hear about their travels and learning experiences.
The two-week, “hands-on” CDS Israel trip is designed to give our students a meaningful, intense, educational, emotional, and focused taste of their Jewish homeland. How do we fill their days and nights? Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tiberias, Tzfat. Kayaking down the “mighty” Jordan. Trekking through deserts and floating in the Dead Sea. Visiting historical sites and museums. Ascending Masada at sunrise. Making friends with other teens in our sister cities of Karmiel/Misgav and with IDF soldiers guarding the northern border. Engaging in social justice projects. And much, much more.
Many thanks to all of you who supported our Bid, Schmooze, and Sip Israel Auction event to make this trip possible, along with the incredible generosity of the Adina Preis Endowment Fund for Community Day School, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, The Sholom Comay Family Endowment Fund Passport to Israel program, The Timothy Glick Israel Scholarship Fund, The Shirley and Albert Wein Endowment Fund, The Wimmer Foundation, and the families of the Class of 2017.
The students will be accompanied by Tzippy Mazer, Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and Middle School teacher Lin St. Clair. Inspired by Andy and Rita Rabin and their family, and thanks to their support, we are also sending our Marketing & Communications Director Jennifer Bails along with this class to help them capture and communicate this life-changing experience. Our students will share their trip with us as if we were able to see it through their eyes at cdsisrael2017.com. Please share this URL with friends and family, and stay tuned for regular updates from Israel over the next two weeks in photos, video, and words!
Nesiyah Tovah to the Community Day School Class of 2017 as they embark on their long-awaited 8th Grade trip to Israel today ... and stay tuned for updates on their incredible travels!
Congratulations, Class of 2017
Last Friday, 16 CDS graduates stood before us and received their diplomas before embarking on the next leg of their academic, Jewish, and life journeys—starting with their long-awaited trip to Israel. On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, we couldn’t be more proud of who and how they are. They came to CDS because their families made the excellent choice to invest in a Jewish day school education. Now they are academically ready for high school and beyond. And they are prepared to go forward as proud, confident, knowledgeable, and educated members of our community.
During graduation, the students continued a long-standing tradition of writing CDS-themed lyrics to a popular song and then performed it for the audience, singing “Now that we're older, we are all stronger, 'Cause we have been through it all together ..." to the tune of K’naan’s Wavin’ Flag. Head of Intermediate School and Middle School Mark Minkus chose the Teddy Roosevelt quote, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” when reflecting on the character of the Class of 2017. Carolyn Gerecht of J Line Pittsburgh encouraged our graduates to take responsibility for owning the next leg of their Jewish journey. And the keynote graduation address was delivered by Rabbi Alvin Kass, three-star Chief Chaplain of the New York City Police Department and proud grandfather of one of the graduating 8th graders. Rabbi Kass encouraged the newly minted CDS alumni to say “yes” to new opportunities in life even if they can’t immediately know or understand what lies ahead, just as the Jews stood at Sinai and accepted the Torah with the statement, “naaseh v’nishma,” or “We will do and we will hear/understand.”
In personal speeches, each of the 8th graders reflected on their years at CDS, what they learned, the memories they shared, and the bright futures they face (watch their speeches here). Of course, the crowning moment came when Mrs. Munro placed a hard-earned diploma in each of their hands and sent them off with the instructions to “Be courageous. Be committed. Be compassionate. Be a mensch.” We all would like to say Mazel Tov to the Class of 2017, wish them all the best wherever their journeys might take them (naaseh v’nishma), and ask them to please stay in touch! We can’t wait to see what the world has in store for them—and what they have in store for the world.
Oh, the places they’ll go!
Up Ahead At CDS
Odyssey of the Mind Champions
Last Sunday, more than 50 students put their creative problem-solving skills to the test in the first-ever Pittsburgh Jewish Day School Odyssey of the Mind Competition. The competition was held at CDS, with participants in Grades 3 to 8 joining from Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh and Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life in an exciting, productive environment. Participants in Odyssey of the Mind build self-confidence, develop life skills, create new friendships, and are able to recognize and explore their true potential.
During the competition, a dozen trained judges from Odyssey of the Mind, as well as four judges from the Pittsburgh Jewish community, evaluated 10 teams from the three Pittsburgh day schools. The students competed in solving spontaneous verbal and hands-on problems, as well as presented the solutions to long-term problems they have been working on throughout the year. For example, one CDS Middle School Odyssey team developed a “time machine” to solve the long-term problem of creating “an original performance about time travelers looking to discover the inspiration for great works of art.” Another team built a 3D model of a car chase for the long-term problem called “Catch Us If You Can.”
Support for the competition came from the CDS Parent Association GRANTED! Program, and official trophies were awarded to the winners. Kol Hakavod to the CDS students who took first place in the long-term and spontaneous problem-solving categories, as well as a first-place trophy for style. Special thanks to their coaches Rebecca Williams (who organized the competition), Kyle Ison, and Elke Cedarholm. And congrats to all the participants, who honed their problem-solving and teamwork skills during this year-long odyssey of the mind!
The first-ever Pittsburgh Jewish Day School Odyssey of the Mind competition was a huge success.
Young CDS Scientists Win Big
We Love CDS
By Sarah Glascom-Morris, 3-Year-Old Lead Teacher and Early Childhood Co-Director
It’s hard to believe that the school year is coming to a close! There have been countless discoveries, achievements, wonderings, and joyous experiences throughout the year, and we asked the children to reflect. We asked the children, “What do you love most about CDS?” and here’s what they had to say:
It has been a fabulous first year for the 3-Year-Old class, and we’re incredibly proud of all that we’ve accomplished. Thank you to everyone for being our CDS family!
The first year of the CDS 3-year-old program has been a huge success
Pre-K Is Stronger Together
By Lindsey Shope, Early Childhood Co-Director
At the beginning of each year, we ask ourselves, “What will this year bring?” We all set individual and classroom goals. But in the Pre-K, we have found our individual goals are never as great as our unified achievements. When the many voices of the classroom, children, parents, and teachers come together to create one strong voice, it is more than any individual could hope to accomplish.
This year took us from Rosh Hashanah to hypotheses, and then on to pajama parties and Chanukah. We experienced Zimriah; “I got to sing with all my friends and so did my brother!” was an exciting memory for Anthony. We learned about Tu B’Shevat and helped put on an Art Show. “My art was in with the bigger kids stuff,” Sid L explained. We created our own play for Purim, “We all had to work together or it wouldn’t make sense,” Liran remembered. We have had a full and rich spring with Passover and IGNITE. “I got to do art like I like to do and I learned so much!” was how Madison remembered the season.
As we think back on this year, and all that we have explored one fact remains very clear—one fact that Ava so very accurately explained, “I can’t do it with only two hands. I need a lot of hands.”
Thank you for helping us build so very much this year, Class of 2026. We had so much fun and can’t wait to see all that you do together in the future.
The Class of 2026 learned in Pre-K that they are stronger together
What will our gardens grow?! Stop by this summer to check on their progress
50 Nifty United States …
By Lissa Scearce and Elke Cedarholm, 3rd Grade teachers
… and 13 original colonies
From Torah to Technology
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
It will be a proud and meaningful moment for our 5th Grade students tomorrow morning, when they will beautifully chant from the Torah (the Rosh Chodesh portion) for the first time at Community Day School in front of family, faculty members, and fellow students. This rite of passage will mark an important milestone in the students’ Jewish education here at CDS. Throughout the year, Mr. H-G has guided the 5th Grade in learning trope, and the students will demonstrate their growing Hebrew proficiency during this unique communal reading.
Afterward, the students and their families will then head down to the Mac Lab and PC Lab for their Arts & Bots Showcase. Throughout the year, the 5th graders have been using “upcycled” household products to create animal robots. These creatures will then be programmed to perform various movements. During the process, students have been writing in their online journals about what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve all aspects of their robots. Each pair or trio of students will present their robots to all of the guests in attendance, explain the design process, talk about writing code, and carry out a demonstration.
Ms. Grosso and Ms. Huff continue to be impressed with the robotic creations that have been taking shape over the last few months. Circle your calendar for our “Torah to Technology” event because it is an incredibly unique experience for the parents and the students. From reading ancient text to writing code, just another day at CDS!
Tomorrow morning, see our 5th Grade show off their smarts “From Torah to Technology”
Girls on the Run...Is So Much Fun
By Jennifer Bails, Girls on the Run Head Coach
If you drove by the CDS athletic field on any given Monday or Wednesday over the past three months, you’d have seen a laughing, enthusiastic group of girls doing their laps as part of the Girls on the Run team at Community Day School. The Girls on the Run after-school program inspires girls in Grades 3 to 5 to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum. This spring at CDS, 18 girls participated with a team of volunteer coaches including myself, Sarah Horvitz, and Lisa Naveh.
Running is the means used to empower girls to make positive choices in their lives, encourage lifelong health and fitness, and build confidence through accomplishment. The result―making the seemingly impossible, possible, and teaching girls that, yes, they CAN―are enduring lessons they can use both in and out of their running shoes.
I look forward to Girls on the Run afternoons for so many reasons. I get to be silly and be myself and the girls not only love it, they appreciate it. I get to sincerely listen to what the girls are saying, and boy, do they have a lot of big ideas to share; when you hear a 3rd grader explain perfectly what you’ve been struggling to put into words all day, you realize the importance of careful listening. And coincidentally or probably not, the lessons we present the girls have a way of showing up in my own life as a reality check on a daily basis (e.g., keep moving forward, your attitude toward something is your choice).
Last week, the team completed a Community Impact Project of their own choosing: a March for Gender Equality through our neighborhood. They raised their voices loudly together to raise awareness about the issue of gender equality and then discussed the impact of their activism on our community. One favorite chant was, "Hello people, girls are EQUAL!" They definitely turned some heads along the way!"
The girls’ efforts over the past several months culminated this past weekend in the Girls on the Run 5K at Hartwood Acres; we had the opportunity to practice going the distance together with the GOTR team at Pittsburgh Colfax earlier in the week. Everyone who started made it to the finish line in the most scenic (aka hilly) GOTR course in the nation, whether they got there by sprinting, jogging, walking, skipping, hopping, or twirling. Our entire coaching team simply couldn’t be more proud of these Girls on the Run!
Girls on the Run at CDS … a lot more than a running program!
Honoring Those Who Serve
A group of Middle School students made the trip Tuesday to Adath Jeshurun cemetery in Allison Park to pay their respects to Jewish veterans in a flag-placing ceremony. This annual tradition is an opportunity for students to show respect for people who fought for the United States, discuss the meaning of democracy, and deeply engage in the role of a citizen. Students divided into groups and systematically checked grave marker names against a list that, sadly, gets longer every year. Upon confirming each veteran, the groups removed the previous year’s flag and replaced it with a new, crisp one.
The group also had the opportunity to meet members of the Army Honor Guard, who showed the students the proper way to salute, taught them the correct way to fold the flag, as well as explained the meaning of each individual fold. Did you know there’s an honor afforded to the Jewish people and their contributions in the flag-folding procedures: “The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” A special memorial service created by CDS Jewish Studies teacher Allan Dalfen honored those who have served our nation. Hopefully, this tradition at Adath Jeshurun will continue, and perhaps our students can make similar contributions at more Jewish cemeteries in the region.
Prior to Memorial Day, Community Day School Middle School students visited Adath Jeshurun Cemetery to pay their respects to Jewish veterans by replacing worn flags with new ones
MS Awards Assembly
STUCO Brings Home a Bucco Win
By Ada P., Historian
Last week, Student Council had the privilege to attend the Pirates game! After the 8th Grade Clap-Out, 6th and 7th Grade STUCO members piled into cars and headed to the game! We got to the stadium around 12:45 p.m. and headed to our seats. It was a game day for all student councils around Pittsburgh. We enjoyed lunch and watched the Pirates take on the Washington Nationals. The Buccos won the game 10-4, and it was a very enjoyable event. It was a great way to wrap up our successful year as a council.
Also, we are very excited that our school will be hosting the Middle Level PASC Conference this October! We are planning to host more than 200 kids from middle schools all across District 3. Our theme is “Putting the Trophy in Catastrophe: Last-Minute Problem-Solving.” We are still looking for a keynote speaker, so if you are in touch with anyone who would be interested in talking about the theme, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Please remember to bring in any used batteries and/or new, hotel shampoo bottles! This is the last month for our collection. Shabbat Shalom!
Student Council celebrated a year of hard work at the Bucco game
Crossing The Finish Line
We’re so close to the finish line now, you can practically see the checkered flags fluttering in the distance. This school year, much like any other, has most certainly been a marathon. It’s a long race to run. It can be exhausting, and you must pace yourself. Our Lions athletes shot out of the blocks with a fast start, and inevitably the challenges that arose over the course of the year made for lots of ups and downs to navigate. As May turns into June, they round the bend and hit the home stretch with renewed vigor. One last Ultimate Frisbee score; one last swing of the bat; one last lap.
It’s not the end of the road though. Summer fun is on the horizon. It may be the offseason for school sports, but that doesn’t mean CDS students are retiring from their athletic pursuits. Many of them will be practicing hard and playing with their friends at various camps and clinics. It’s a good thing, too, as they’ll be getting even better and more confident with their abilities for when they return to school in the fall.
Speaking of school in the fall, it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming seasons ahead. This coming school year, we’ll be streamlining the registration process for sports to simplify things on all fronts, including a new digital registration form. This form is mandatory, and will allow you to preemptively choose which sports your son or daughter is interested in participating in. This allows us to get a better of idea of rosters ahead of time, which in turn helps in planning for equipment and personnel needs. In addition, the digital registration will provide links to a doctor’s physical form and a participation waiver that must be printed, filled out by hand and turned in to the school nurse. We know there are a lot of papers to juggle at the start of the school year; after much reflection and troubleshooting, our administrative team looks forward to integrating this new process, which will minimize the hassle and help get the kids out on the field and having fun as soon as possible.
Finally, thanks once more to all the parents who volunteered this year with the athletic department. Things like carpooling chaperones make a huge difference in our programs. We couldn’t achieve all the success and give such great experiences to our students without the support. Have a relaxing summer, and we’ll see you in August!
The CDS Lions had quite a run this spring sports season!
CDS Class of 2013 Heads To College
Community Day School is pleased to celebrate the impressive accomplishments of the Class of 2013 as they graduate high school next month and head off to college and university. Please join us in congratulating these exceptional young people for their scholarly achievements and for their many contributions as friends, children, athletes, artists, performers, scholars, and leaders!
CDS Alum Honored By JWF
CDS alumni parent Dr. Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will be honored Monday, June 5 as the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Greater Pittsburgh. Community Day School will also be recognized at the meeting as a grantee of JWF for work on empowering girls through leadership development and communication skills that evolved into the Mensch Project and the Shevatim program. Trained in medical anthropology as well as internal medicine, Dr. Miller’s research has included examination of sex trafficking among adolescents in Asia, teen dating abuse, and reproductive health, with a focus on underserved youth populations including pregnant and parenting teens and foster, homeless, and gang-affiliated youth.
Alumni Profile: Adam Silverblatt
We love nothing better than to hear from our alumni! Send news about your whereabouts, families, simchas, and career and education accomplishments to Jenny Jones, Director of Institutional Advancement.
Get Business Tax Credits & Help CDS!
Kol Hakavod to …
Ms Ison goes above and beyond being an excellent Middle School science teacher in what she does for Science Fair. She encouraged our kids to try new experiments and she prepared them well for Science Fair. She served as a Science Fair judge and chaperone, and worked extra hours (even weekends/night). Plus, she deserves recognition for recently earning a second master's degree in the highly valuable area of STEM education!
Iton is the Hebrew word for newspaper. Since ours is electronic, we call it an E-ton!
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