Community gathers for annual Arts Chai Lights celebration



Community members gather around the weaving table for a fun, hands-on craft.

Gila Safra, Reporter

Hundreds of members of the JDS community gathered for Arts Chai Lights on May 23 to take in the talents of visual and performing artists. 

The event is held annually at the Upper School and showcases art by students from all grades, as well as by faculty members. Attendees can also create art at the event through interactive activities like drawing, painting and even robotics.

Arts Chai Lights is one of junior Libby Hurwitz’s favorite nights of the year. Much of her artwork was showcased throughout the school, and she accompanied multiple singers on the guitar and bass. She also performed with the a cappella group Shir Madness. While she was very busy, she enjoyed taking time to explore other people’s artwork as well.

“There’s so much art; there’s so much to see here. It’s so exciting,” Hurwitz said. “I like to walk around and appreciate everything because there’s art from students or from teachers; there’s photography, there’s robotics or STEM. There’s everything here.” 

The event was also very exciting for Mia Blecher, mother of freshman Dara Blecher and third grade student Shai Blecher. Her kids are very involved in the arts, so she was excited to see them show off their talents.

“My kids really enjoy showing off what they’ve done [and] what they’ve been working on, and we’re also proud of them,” Mia said. “It’s an opportunity for us to see what they’ve been doing in school and to see other parents and families that maybe we haven’t seen in a long time.”

Middle School visual arts teacher Jessie Nathans appreciates that the different departments come together to create something wonderful for the community. She and other art teachers began setting up for Arts Chai Lights two weeks in advance, and planning and preparations began even before that.

Nathans said she loves to see all of her student’s hard work pay off. In her classes, students are presented with prompts, but it is up to them to interpret them and construct something original that speaks uniquely to them. 

“I love seeing them embrace the creative journey, and I really believe passionately that art is an important part of life,” Nathans said. “I’m very happy to have a chance to facilitate a meaningful artistic journey.”

Arts Chai Lights showcases all the different art programs JDS has to offer as well as the opportunities students have to pursue their artistic passions. Students walk away feeling a sense of accomplishment seeing the community enjoy the work they poured so much love and creativity into. 

“I believe everybody is an artist and that art goes with you everywhere. Any field you go into, art can come with you,” Nathans said. “And I’m really proud of the school for supporting the arts the way they do.”