Biweekly e-newsletter of Community Day School

23 March 2017

 25 Adar 5777

Issue #13

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In this issue:

Weekly Torah Portion (Vayakhel-Pekudei):


Light Shabbat candles - 7:19 p.m.

Shabbat ends -  8:28 p.m. 

New on the calendar:

  • School is closed tomorrow, Friday, March 24 for Parent-Teacher Conferences. Free drop-in childcare is available for Community Day School students during your conference times; no registration is required.

  • Join us Friday, April 7 for Full-School Kabbalat Shabbat and Spirit Day from 8-8:35 a.m in the Ulam Sport. Show your Lion’s pride by wearing your CDS shirt/apparel (jeans are welcome, but dress-down rules apply). Parents and special friends are welcome to attend our joyous Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Congratulations to CDS executive chef Carole Henderson, her mentor chef John Miceli of Sunfresh Food Service, Inc., and the Middle School students who participated in the Community Kitchen, Inc. Project Lunch Tray program. The program pairs students with professional chefs to put healthy, kid-made food on school cafeteria plates. The CDS students created a healthy, delicious, and beautifully presented new recipe for tofu stir fry that will appear next year on our school lunch menu. 

Head of School Message

By Avi Baran Munro, Ed.M.

Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life:
Fostering Mindfulness, Social and Emotional Skills, and Intentional Community

Sound familiar? We feel that we have been working toward this vision of educating the whole child for a long time, and there is a convergence of impulses that have turned into investigations that have turned into inspirations that have turned into programs of the school. This happens #onlyatCDS because we have educators who are invested in a life journey of growth, and they bring their colleagues and our children along with them.

This journey has allowed us to be chosen to participate in the first cohort of a pilot project of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life is a three-year pilot intended for educators, staff, administrators, and youth at select Jewish day schools and summer camps. The goal of the EJSL pilot is to study the impact and feasibility of applying Jewish mindfulness practice to the project of Jewish teaching and learning by cultivating mindful Jewish educators and camp staff, revitalizing Jewish life for youth and adults at the selected pilot sites, and improving institutional culture.

Participating pilot sites include:

  • URJ Camp Eisner, Massachusetts
  • Camp Ramah, Northern California
  • Ramah Outdoor Adventure, Colorado
  • Jewish Community Day School, Massachusetts
  • Community Day School, Pennsylvania
  • Temple Israel of Hollywood Day School, California

As some of you may recall, our school’s mindfulness journey was inspired by our 3rd graders in 2014-2015 when it was their IGNITE project, mentored by physical education teacher Bob Helfer and CDS parent volunteer, Kristie Lindblom. What began with 3rd Grade has now spread throughout the school, and this pilot with IJS was the perfect next step for us as we began to seek ways to merge mindfulness practices with our Jewish studies and ritual life at school.

Our school is fortunate to have been chosen to participate, and we are nearing the end of the first year of their three-year pilot program. Five of us are enrolled in this pilot program with Bob Helfer as our team leader, while many more of us have taken courses in Mindful Schools and are employing mindfulness strategies personally and with our students.

Last week we hosted Larry Schwartz, Sam Feinsmith, and Barbara Shuman of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Larry is the founding Board Chair of the of IJS and Sam is the Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life Pilot Director. Barbara is a local lay leader who is also a staff member of the Institute, and she graciously hosted our guests at her home during their stay in Pittsburgh.

We created a schedule that allowed our guests to see mindfulness in action, our approaches to tefillah, and Growth Mindset strategies being employed at our school. You can get a glimpse of what they saw by checking out Mark Minkus’ article about intersectionality at CDS (not what you might think) in the Intermediate School section of this Eton.

What we have learned since beginning this pilot is that our blossoming work in mindfulness, growth mindset, and reflective practice through a PLC (Professional Learning Community) is coalescing to create not just tools for educating the whole child, but a paradigm for our school that is enabling us as adults to grow, personally and collectively, into a more mindful, spiritually awakened, and intentionally attentive school community. Shabbat Shalom!

Last week, we welcomed Rabbi Sam Feinsmith and Larry Schwartz, leaders of the "Educating for Jewish Spiritual Life" pilot program through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Through this groundbreaking program, our teachers are working to build a culture of mindfulness at CDS and integrating these transformative practices with our Jewish Studies curriculum.

CDS Art Show a Smashing Success

On Thursday, March 16, more than 200 people attended the 2nd annual Community Day School Art Show, where every student in the 3-year-old classroom through Grade 8 put their artistic work on display in a school-wide event under the creative direction of art teacher Jeremy Lerner.

The Ulam K’lalee was transformed for the evening into a beautiful art gallery complete with musical accompaniment by current CDS students. The talented young musicians included piano players, cellists, clarinet players, and violinists. Viewers were enthralled with the creativity and quality of the students’ work, featuring a variety of media such as crayons, wire, mixed media, and sculpture and inspired by the work of artists such as Constantin Brancusi, Romare Bearden, Keith Haring, and more. Each piece reflected the art history, elements and principles of design, and most importantly, personal creativity and reflection that the students used as a lens to create their work.

Students had a wonderful time browsing the Art Show with the help of a scavenger hunt and seeing their work on display. Here is just a glimpse through photos of the magic that is the CDS Art Show …

The CDS Art Show was a beautiful evening of creative expression

One Week Until Curtain

Next week the cast and crew of James and the Giant Peach Jr. will take the stage and present a colorful, entertaining, and fun story that the whole family will enjoy! Characters like Ladahlord, James, Spiker, Sponge, Centipede, and Earthworm are being brought to life through the acting talents of our Middle School students.

Please be sure to get your tickets online (or they are available at the door) for one or more of these great performances:

  • Wednesday, March 29, 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Thursday, March 30, 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, April 2, 3:30 p.m. (Doors open at 2:45 p.m.)

Also, RSVP now for the CDS Parent Association Mediterranean-style family dinner AFTER the Sunday matinee at—and don’t forget to stop by the Used Book, Game & Puzzle Sale before and after the show. Donations of gently used items are still being accepted!

Up Ahead at CDS

Passover Food Drive

The annual Student Council Passover Food Drive is underway to collect non-perishable Passover items for the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry. Early Childhood and Lower School students should bring their items to the table in the 1st Floor hallway; if 100 items are collected, students will earn a dress-down day or special story read by middle schoolers. Intermediate School and Middle School students should bring food to their homerooms for a competition to win a dress-down day!


Ask Doctor G: A Peaceful Home

Join us Sunday, April 2 from 9:30-11 a.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation for the final event in this three-part parenting series presented by the Jewish Life & Learning Department of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

Respected parenting and youth development expert (and CDS parent) Dr. Deborah Gilboa will talk about how to turn the juggle into a balance to create a peaceful home (shalom bayit). Register here to attend and for free childcare.

The Great Afikomen Hunt

On Sunday, April 9 from 4-6 p.m., join CDS, Shalom Pittsburgh, and PJ Beyond for the Great Afikomen Hunt featuring Pasta Before Passover. This rain-or-shine event is intended for families with children under 12.

Participants will meet at the Squirrel Hill JCC in Levinson Hall and participate in a Scavenger Hunt in the Squirrel Hill business district. The hunt will be followed by a pasta dinner back at the JCC to carbo-load before Pesach. The cost is $5 per eater in advance and $10 at the door. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Lion’s Pride Open Hours

Spring is springing, and short sleeves and shorts aren’t far behind! The Lion's Pride Used Uniform shop will be open from 2-3 p.m. on Friday, March 31 and April 7, so you can stock up on clothes for the warmer weather. As always, donated items can be dropped off in the school lobby. Thank you for supporting your CDS Parent Association!

Matisyahu at CDS

Come celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) at CDS with Jewish American reggae/hip hop star Matisyahu live and acoustic on our athletic field on Tuesday, May 2. This free concert sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will begin at 6:30 p.m., with games, dancing, singing, and fun for families starting at 4 p.m. To guarantee admission in case of rain, click here.

Yearbook Now For Sale

The 2016-2017 Community Day School yearbook is available for purchase. Order your copy today, and you’re on your way to preserving all of this year’s priceless CDS memories for a lifetime.

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Walk to Remember at CDS

The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and Community Day School are proud to co-sponsor the Walk to Remember, a chance to bring together Holocaust survivors and their families, honoring the survivors and educating the public about their legacies. Participants will walk the perimeter around CDS six times to memorialize the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. The walk will end at the site of Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt Keeping Tabs: A Holocaust Sculpture. This is a family-friendly event, and light refreshments will be served. Proceeds will help fund Holocaust education at CDS and the Holocaust Center. To register, visit

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CDS Grandparent & Special Friend Day

RSVP here

Note: The 1st Grade Siddur Ceremony begins that morning at 8:30 a.m. in the Ulam Sport

Let There Be Light

By Sarah Glascom-Morris, Co-Director of Early Childhood Education

In a Reggio-inspired curriculum such as ours, the learning is very experiential and builds organically upon the children’s previous knowledge and understanding to construct new meaning in the world. Our students have shown an interest all year long in light and shadows. To give them hands-on opportunities to explore this concept, our class applied for a grant through the CDS Parent Association's GRANTED! program to acquire a light table and a variety of accessories—and it was accepted!

The table arrived last week, and we couldn't wait to start exploring. On Wednesday, Eliana, Mason, and Eden experimented with a variety of opaque and translucent green and pink stones. The children worked together to line them up along an edge of the table, starting from the corner and moving to meet in the middle. Eden looked specifically for matching stones, and focused on making two stacks. At one point, she put two green circles on top of two pink ovals, and declared that they were eggs. On Thursday, Mason and Eden returned to the table, this time with Michal, and explored with translucent marbles. They squealed with delight as they rolled the marbles back and forth with each other. Mason said it was “like hockey.”

Through the use of a variety of translucent and opaque objects, as well as mirrors, the children will develop and deepen their sense of wonder about the physical properties of materials and how they can be manipulated. Playing with the light table will also help the children in the 3-year-old room continue to develop social negotiation and collaboration skills. We'll keep you posted as the investigation unfolds. Todah rabah to the CDS Parent Association!

The new light table from the CDS Parent Association is brightening the 3-year-old room

Pre-K Is Full Of Wonder

By Jessica Pindzola, Pre-K teacher

As the Wonder Wall continues to fill up, we are reminded that there is never a shortage of questions in the Pre-K. After exploring some of these questions and working together as a class to explore our ideas and discover the answers, we realized we were each ready to begin taking on a project of our own. Each student talked one-on-one with a teacher about their interests to brainstorm ideas for a bigger project.

When the Middle School held their Science Fair, we went to check it out. We learned that each student in the Middle School had picked a topic of interest and decided to study it. They asked a question or decided on an idea they wanted to learn more about, and then created a project or experiment that would help lead them to an answer. This was a lot like what we do with our Wonder Wall explorations.

After visiting the Science Fair, the Pre-K students were tasked with thinking about a project of their own. Why do you like that topic? Why is it important to you? What do you want to learn about it? What can you teach others about your topic? Once each Pre-K student had a chance to reflect on their interests and ask themselves these questions, they picked their focus topic for their IGNITE projects.  

The Pre-K has begun our IGNITE explorations! The procedure for the projects is individual to each student. For example, some students are focused on language and literacy through storytelling. Other students wanted to answer a specific question and are using scientific process to research answers. Every aspect of these projects is designed and implemented by the students with guidance and help from the teachers when needed. These projects include many opportunities for the students to exercise their skills in problem-solving, artistic expression, and literacy, among others. 

As the weeks count down to the IGNITE Expo on April 27, we are working hard in the Pre-K. As Asher reminded us, “It’s fun because I do art and I get to see new things and I learn stuff.” We are excited to see where the students' imaginations take them as they continue to explore their interests. 

Pre-K is getting ready for IGNITE Expo on April 27

Absolutely Incredible Kids

By Susan Basinski, Kindergarten Teacher

What do singing, baking, gymnastics, magic tricks, Lego-building, and drawing all have in common? These are just a few of the talents displayed last week on kindergarten's Absolutely Incredible Kid Day. This day is meant to encourage and acknowledge the special talents of all children. The goal is to help foster the children’s sense of self-worth, and it was a great success.

All children had an opportunity to share a special talent with their classmates. They cheered on their friends as they scored soccer goals, demonstrated karate skills, and watched magic tricks with amazement. Each child was also honored in letters from their families that were read to the entire class. The children's faces glowed with pride and smiles abounded on this inspiring day. What an Absolutely Incredible group of kindergartners we have at CDS!

Kindergarteners at CDS are Absolutely Incredible!

3rd Grade Gives Back

By Elke Cedarholm, 3rd Grade teacher

In 3rd Grade, students have been learning a lot about immigration and different cultures during Social Studies, Facing History, and Language Arts. A question that popped up often in my classroom was: “What can we do to help others?” In response, our students conducted a Refugee Donation Drive to support the Immigrants and Refugees program at Jewish Family & Children’s Service. We collected an entire bag full of baby wipes, diapers, and Giant Eagle gift cards for refugee families in our community. Thank you to all the families who contributed, to Mardi Steinitz for delivering these donated supplies, and to our menschy 3rd graders for their vision and work!

2nd Grade Tessellations
By Nancy Wilson, 2nd Grade teacher

In 2nd Grade, we recently read A Cloak for the Dreamer by Aileen Friedman, which is an entertaining introduction to geometry. In this book, a tailor’s son attempts to create a cloak with only circles, with unfortunate results, and then works with his brothers to find a shape that works. We also watched a video about how tessellations are made. My math class then created their own tessellations using just two different pattern block shapes. Next, we will design individual tessellations following a nifty, paper-cutting procedure. The final step will be to craft these original tessellations into “cloaks” for some of our favorite story characters, bringing together math and language arts in a fun project.

Mindfulness, Parsha, Growth Mindset

By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School

Living in Pittsburgh, we deal with some road and traffic situations that are unique to our city. The rivers mean bridges, the hills mean tunnels, and the cold winters mean potholes. Sometimes getting “from here to there” can be a challenge when you have to cross two bridges and then everyone hits their brakes just before entering the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. "We don't live in an area where we're sitting on a nice flat table," said Todd Kravits, the district traffic engineer at PennDOT. "Our terrain and the geometry of our roadways really makes it very difficult at times." While many Pittsburghers choose to complain about confusing intersections and questionable traffic patterns, here at CDS, we are actually huge fans of intersections. Especially when things like the Torah, mindfulness and growth mindset all come together beautifully in our Intermediate School.

This wonderful confluence was on display Wednesday morning at Intermediate School Tefillah. In the span of just 30 minutes, two teachers took our IS kids on a meaningful, three-part journey. First, Mrs. Lewis led a short mindfulness lesson with the 4th and 5th graders, encouraging them to be mindful of their words, by using the acrostic “THINK.” Mrs. Lewis challenged the IS students to ask themselves:

“Is it True?
Did it
I be the person to say it?”
“Does this
Need to be said?”
“Is it

Mrs. Lewis gave some examples of how the students could take a mindful moment to ask themselves these questions before speaking. In the past, Mr. Helfer has spoken to the IS students about how using mindfulness can influence our behavior in that space between stimulus and response. He even demonstrated (using students as parts of the brain) how mindfulness can be applied before the stimulus arrives at the amygdala and possibly prevent a strong, emotional reaction.

Immediately after Mrs. Lewis concluded her mini-lesson on being mindful about what we say, Mr. H-G applied her message to something that he has been noticing in his class recently. As you probably know, our Intermediate School has adopted a Growth Mindset. All year long, our students have been learning about the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, the truth of neuroplasticity, and that “failure is not a permanent condition.” In fact, our students have really begun to grasp that failing at something and then trying it again with a new strategy and more effort can actually make a person smarter. Part of growth mindset is that we “celebrate mistakes”. Mr. H-G pointed out that the IS kids are now seeing how to learn from mistakes and not be embarrassed by them. However, with that comfort level, he also noticed that some students have begun to correct other students or give them feedback rather than let Mr. H-G do that. So, Mr. H-G did a masterful job explaining how the 4th and 5th graders need to continue to learn from their mistakes, but at the same time, be mindful of their role as students and his role as the teacher.

Finally, Mr. H-G tied everything together with the Torah portion, Shemot 35. In the parsha, the Israelites were asked to share their talents―craftsmen, master weavers, lapidaries, embroiderers―and materials― gems, spices, goat hair, gold, and animal skins. “Every man and woman whose heart inspired them to generosity to bring for all the work that the Lord had commanded to make, through Moses, the children of Israel brought a gift for the Lord.” (Shemot 35:29). Mr. H-G emphasized that the Israelites were to use wisdom when considering how to use their talents and when deciding what to give. The students then shared examples of how talented people, like neurologists, architects, and actors all use wisdom each day as they decide how to use their talents.

Mindfulness applied to kind speech. Growth Mindset attached to learning from our mistakes. Inspired people displaying wisdom and generosity in the Torah. Nine- and 10-year-olds experiencing this beautiful intersection of practice, thought, and truth. Just a snapshot of 30 minutes in the life of an Intermediate School student at CDS!

IS students are learning the latest in brain science and drawing connections with ancient Jewish teachings

Saving The Earth, One Mug At A Time

By Tzippy Mazer, Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Recently, local artist Judy Spahr and Carole Wolsh of the Squirrel Hill Litter Patrol came to judge mugs designed by the 5th Grade as part of the Spring Clean-Up mug contest. The students completed a unit in their Tal Am Hebrew curriculum learning about responsibility toward the Earth, recycling, being more green, and in general being a responsible citizen of the world. The project presented to them by the Litter Patrol tied in perfectly with what they had been studying with Mrs. Schulman. Each student was challenged to design a “Make a Green” mug with the theme of saving the Earth.
 After a long process of deliberation, two winners were selected―Talia G. and Kylee S.―along with six honorable mentions. Judy Spahr and Carole Wolsh were impressed by the creativity and process of thought that went into designing these mugs. Having something happening within our community that integrates with what our students are learning is a wonderful experience. The winners will be awarded a prize during the Squirrell Hill Clean-Up on Sunday, April 23 (save the date!). We are very proud of our entire 5th Grade for a job well done!

Mug contest awardees will be honored at the Squirrel Hill Spring Clean-Up on April 23

Oh, The Places We’ll Go

Intermediate School Team

As the snow flurries disappear and the daffodils poke their heads through the dirt and mulch, the Intermediate School students start to think about “hitting the road.” Later this spring, the Intermediate School will have opportunities for fun, hands-on learning outside of the classroom. The entire IS will head down to the Southside Riverfront Park to volunteer for the 3rd annual Intermediate School Service Learning Project. They will be teaming up with Friends of the Riverfront to learn about the importance of keeping our city’s rivers and trails clean and to have the opportunity for hands-on volunteering. Students will be working along the trails to clean, plant, and participate in environmental learning activities.

On Friday, May 26, 4th Grade Intermediate School students will take an action-packed visit to Idlewild Park for Math in Motion Day. In addition to going on iconic rides such as the merry-go-round and the Ferris wheel, students will have the opportunity to learn more about how math and technology are used throughout the park. Following clues, the students will hunt through the park to discover that math is everywhere, even on the Rollo-Coaster. A relaxing picnic lunch and Rita’s Italian Ice will complete a day of 4th Grade fun.

Over the next couple of months, 5th Grade will be preparing in Ms. R’s Social Studies class for their culminating trip to Gettysburg! On Monday, June 5, they will travel to this historic site to see their learning come to life. During the two-day trip, students will tour the historic Gettysburg Shriver House to learn about the civilian experience of an actual Civil War family and to see what life was like before, during, and after the war. At the Visitor’s Center Museum, students will attend the “New Birth of Freedom” program, view the animated Gettysburg Cyclorama Painting, and explore the museum. A Gettysburg battlefield tour will complete the trip. The anticipation for these trips will continue to build throughout the spring. Be sure to check back here for all of the stories and photos from all three of these amazing trips!


Intermediate School is getting ready for spring field trips to put their learning into action

InsPIred at Pi Day

By Leslie Frischman, Math Teacher

The WebQuesters, rappers, singers, problem-solvers, whipped-cream-in-your-face smashers, and pie eaters in our Middle School were all inspired during last Tuesday’s 2017 Pi Day festivities. Donning bright green T-shirts, each emblazoned with a giant , the students were eager to put their math skills to the test in this annual celebration of all things Pi.  

Students in Grades 6 to 8 began the festivities in teams working together to put pages with the digits of Pi in order, requiring team members to remember and recite the digits of the endless decimal. The winning team put 61 digits (plus the decimal point) in their proper places. Then, the teams moved among three Pi-related activity stations. At one station, the students used laptops for a WebQuest to learn about circles, the history of Pi, and Pi Day. At another station, they solved problems and answered questions about circles and their areas and circumferences, earning them the opportunity to take a turn at the Pie Face game. At the third station, students worked in teams, using their creativity to write, perform, and record poems, songs, or raps about Pi or Pi Day (watch and listen here).

The celebration ended with refreshments―apple and cherry pie, of course. The middle schoolers had a great time, learned some more about Pi, and were insPIred to celebrate on this special math day.

Middle School celebrated the never-ending mathematical constant of Pi on 3.14.17

Leaders Leading Leaders

By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School

John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” At CDS, we have known for awhile that Ronit Pasternak and Jackie Goldblum are outstanding leaders. They have inspired our Middle School Student Council members to reach higher than they ever have before. Well, now others are recognizing what we already know to be true. Last Friday, at the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils (PASC) District 3 Leadership Conference, Jackie and Ronit were honored as Advisers of the Year. CDS students nominated them for this honor, and then the PASC board voted on it. To their surprise, they received this well-deserved award and their beautiful plaques at the opening session of the conference in front of 31 schools and more than 600 students. We are so proud of Ronit and Jackie and we are thrilled to see what’s next for our MS Student Council!

Our MS Student Council members were in charge of registration for the conference, and they arrived early to welcome every student delegate. After some wild icebreakers at the end of the general session, our students attended a wide variety of seminars with titles like: “First Impression Jam Session,” “Team Empowerment Achieving Mindfulness,” “Success Knows No Age,” and “Keep Calm and be a Leader.” Our very own Sophia Levin and Naomi Kitchen presented “All Aboard the Leader-Ship,” which dealt with how to identify different leadership styles among your Student Council and then get those leaders to work together effectively. The MS STUCO kids were buzzing with energy upon their return to CDS, and they are fired up to have a final trimester full of dreaming, learning, and doing!

Ronit Pasternak and Jackie Goldblum received highest honors at the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils District 3 Leadership Conference

Student Council Update

This week, Student Council talked about the Middle School Spring Dance, a brand-new buddy system, hosting a middle level conference and more. The Spring Dance will be on May 16.

The dance is fairytale-themed, so bring your fairy wings and elf ears! This event is only for middle schoolers and will be similar to the Winter Dance. There will be a DJ, dancing, games, food, and fun. We hope we can make this a memorable last dance for our 8th grader

Please remember to bring in food for the Passover Food Drive. Shabbat Shalom!

— Ada P., STUCO Historian

Life’s Greatest Miracle and Beyond

By Lorraine Kerr, Physical Education and Health Teacher

In health class, the 8th Grade girls recently viewed the Emmy Award-winning NOVA film entitled “Life’s Greatest Miracle” that tracks human development from embryo to newborn. The question next arose…once there is baby, then what?

The 8th Grade students spent time learning about all the work and planning that goes into caring for an infant during its first year of life using a doll as simulation. After the hospital stay and checking for any health problems, a Pennsylvania birth certificate was issued and a budget was prepared for the newborn’s first year of life. Students also learned what constitutes child neglect and abuse. A starter gift bag was given to each caregiver, along with items that a baby would certainly need.  

In addition, each student created a first-year budget according to their individual financial situation; the costs ranged from $4,000 dollars to well over $14,000. Saving for college was something to think about in the future.

Spring in Our Steps

By David Thyberg, Assistant Athletic Director / Varsity Coach

Pittsburgh weather always makes for an interesting start to the spring sports season at CDS. One day our athletes are out basking in the sun as they train on the field in T-shirts and shorts, and the next day we find ourselves shuttered back in the warmth of the gym working with soft practice balls as a snow flurry casts its shadow across Squirrel Hill. No matter the weather, the Lions are ready to sharpen their skills and have fun participating in a diverse array of offerings.

Mr. St. Clair will continue his work with the speedy track members, as well as the sluggers of the baseball team. Mr. Steinberg has the fledgling Ultimate Frisbee team up and running (and catching flying discs all over the place!). Middle School students have also been learning the basics of lacrosse with Coach Thyberg and mastering the “bump, set, spike” routine in Exploratory volleyball. The Little Lions have come to play too, getting in on the action with Field Hockey.

In other news, we’d like to take this opportunity to look back over the past year and recognize a few recent CDS alumni with a Kol Hakavod for sporting excellence in their high school careers. CDS may be known for its strong academics and inclusive Jewish values, but the school also happens to produce its fair share of highly successful athletes along the way. We extend our greetings and congratulations to:

Zeve Olbum (Class of 2013) & Jacob Lichtenstein (Class of 2015)

Allderdice Boys Varsity Soccer WPIAL Section 3 AAAA Champions

Olivia Hirschman (Class of 2014) & Sarah Grill (Class of 2013)

Allderdice Girls Varsity Volleyball City League Champions

Guy Beresteanu (Class of 2015)

Allderdice Boys Fencing PIFA Champions

Jonah Berger (Class of 2013)

Allderdice Boys Cross Country City League Champions

Maya Groff (Class of 2016)

Shady Side Academy Girls Swimming WPIAL AA Champions & PIAA Runners-Up

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @CDS_Sports for more news and updates (and if we missed any alumni with our Kol Hakavod, please get in contact with us so we can acknowledge all the wonderful things our past and present students are achieving. See you up on the field or out on the track! Let’s go Lions!

CDS alum Guy Beresteanu (4th from left)

CDS alum Maya Groff (middle)

The spring CDS sports season has sprung!

Alumni Profile: Jacob Lichtenstein

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.

Name: Jacob Lichtenstein

What year did you graduate? 2015

What are you doing now? I'm a student at Pittsburgh Allderdice, who plays on the varsity soccer team

Favorite CDS memory: My favorite memory is the trip to Hersheypark. It was my first Middle School experience, and I had a great time.

What is the biggest impact from having a CDS education? The biggest impact CDS had on me is being proud of my Jewish identity. CDS allowed me to learn about my religion, and know that I am a confident Jew.

What do you want to do next as a CDS alum?

As a CDS alum, I want to help advance the soccer and basketball programs.

Young CDS Alumni Take the Stage With HaZamir PGH!

On Monday, April 3, CDS alumni Naomi Frim-Abrams, Eitan Perlin, Joey Breslau, Yael Perlman, Max Rosen, and Amallia Rascoe will perform Jewish choral music with the HaZamir Pittsburgh choir, as well as 12 visiting Israeli youth from our sister region of Karmiel/Misgav. The performance of these Pittsburgh and Israeli teens will take place at 7 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation, and it is free and open to the community. The concert will be followed by a dessert reception.

Vigil at Keeping Tabs

More than 150 people gathered last Saturday at the Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt Keeping Tabs: A Holocaust Sculpture on the grounds of Community Day School for a Jewish community vigil in support of immigrants and refugees and in opposition to xenophobia and Islamophobia. Organized by Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh and Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh, the vigil included a musical, community-wide Havdalah service. The goal was to raise awareness of the struggles of refugees and undocumented immigrants in our city, our country, and around the world. It gave participants a chance to articulate how the struggles of immigrants and refugees are Jewish issues, even at times when those immigrants and refugees don’t happen to be Jews. Organizers and leaders from the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, Casa San Jose, LCLAA Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, as well as rabbis from a range of local congregations, joined the vigil. Click here for more information 

A vigil for immigrants and refugees brought together more than 150 people at the Keeping Tabs Sculpture

Amazon Smile

Looking for an easy way to earn “free” money to support Community Day School. Every time you shop on Amazon Smile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchases to CDS. Make it even more of a “no-brainer” by installing this Google Chrome extension that redirects you from to, so you have no excuses!

Get Business Tax Credits & Help CDS!

Every year, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh helps us get scholarship money through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC). We are partnering with the Jewish Federation to identify companies willing to participate in this program and we need your help.

If you have a business that pays Pennsylvania taxes, or if you can introduce us to someone who owns such a business, please let Roi Mezare, Senior Manager of Financial Resources Development at the Jewish Federation (and a CDS parent!), know at
 412-992-5230 or The business will get up to 90% tax credits, and Community Day School will benefit directly through scholarships for students in need.

Due to the sale of a long-time EITC donor’s business last year and the reduced tax liability for several other donors, there will be decreased EITC dollars available for our three day schools this year. Read more about this issue, the EITC program, and how it helps Pittsburgh’s Jewish day schools in this recent article.

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Kol Hakavod to …

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Want to say Kol HaKavod to an employee at CDS? Fill out this online form.

Chaim Steinberg

For bringing Hadassah: The Purim Shpiel to CDS and for doing such an amazing job as Haman! You always find the coolest ways to teach.

Leslie Frischman

For the creative and engaging Pi Day festivities that made complicated mathematical concepts fun and memorable for the Middle School students

Jennifer Bails

Thank you for always pitching in and being the capital “T” in Team Player.  

Iton is the Hebrew word for newspaper. Since ours is electronic, we call it an E-ton!

Community Day School
An independent Jewish day school educating children age 3 to Grade 8

6424 Forward Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
412-521-1100 ︱

Watch our new promotional video to Discover CDS!

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