Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
82° Rockville, MD
The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

Lt. Col. Avi Levi presents on the Israel Air Defense System.
JDS hosts speakers from Israeli Embassy
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • May 22, 2024

Following Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut, CESJDS invited three speakers from the Israeli embassy to further inform students about Israel and...

Joe Vogel speaking out to the community. Photo from
It takes a village
Adam Salomon, Reporter • May 22, 2024

While, door-to-door campaigning, Junior Rafi Seigel knocks on the door of a family household in Maryland’s sixth district, asking them to vote...

Sophomore Oliver Silver teaches his grandparents what hes been learning in math this year.
Dor L' Dor Day
Gila Safra, Reporter • May 22, 2024

Summer vs. winter
Summer vs. winter
Eliana Abrams and Maya GreenblumMay 20, 2024

Lions hold up banner after defeating Sandy Spring in the championship.
Varsity softball wins championship two years in a row
Tyler Portnoy, Reporter • May 19, 2024

Crack. The bat hits the ball and sophomore Carrine Shemesh sprints towards first base as sophomore Eliana Wolf crosses the plate, scoring the...

The baseball team has two managers who can be found at the majority of the baseball teams games, Jordan Levy (‘24) and junior Josh Berl.
All bases covered: managers support the baseball team
Vivi Ducker, Features Editor • May 17, 2024

When in attendance at any of the CESJDS varsity baseball team’s games this year, next to the players on the bench, the baseball team managers....

Middle school matters

Middle schoolers now have the chance to participate in a leadership program of their own, called the Knesset. The new system is inspired by the Israeli government and started in early October.

The elections were broken up by students’ Morning Check-In (MCI) groups. MCI is a class that occurs every morning in the middle school where students check in with teachers. Each MCI elected one representative, and all representatives regularly meet with Middle School Principal Cassandra Batson and Middle School Assistant Principal Rabbi Janet Ozur Bass to discuss changes they wish to see implemented.

This is different from high school grade governments whose representatives are elected by and represent the entire grade. Ozur Bass believes the MCI representative system will allow for smaller groups to have representation and make their voices heard.

“I ran because I wanted to be able to just make an impact because I’ve noticed a lot of my friends [having the same concerns] about certain things in the middle school and I wanted to see if I can change some of that,” eighth grade representative Caitlyn Levitan said.

Elected students will step into leadership roles that were previously unavailable in middle school and will serve as a link between their MCI and the administration. This will help middle schoolers develop leadership skills they can use in high school and beyond.

“It’s always been a goal of ours to further develop leadership and really help students find different ways to be leaders in the community, and this is one more way we wanted to extend it,” Ozur Bass said. “We do a lot of leadership work in the eighth grade, and we wanted to extend it to the seventh and sixth [grades] so that we’re creating a culture [of stepping into leadership positions].”

Batson and Ozur Bass will give students in the Knesset information to share with their MCI group. The students will then gather feedback from their MCI group to present at the next meeting.

“The vision is to give students a platform to contribute their feedback, their thoughts [about] what’s happening in the middle school [and] foster leadership among peers,” Batson said.

The administration hopes that introducing elections and school government systems earlier than before will provide students with leadership opportunities before they are in high school and will prepare them for future grade elections.

“There’s no substitute for experience,” social studies teacher Matthew Jacobson said. “So as these kids get the experience of being in student government, when they’re ready to make that step up in ninth grade, they’re going to have that extra year under their belt to know what’s expected of them.”

The Knesset is one of the changes Batson has made since becoming middle school principal this summer. This is a part of her mission to further embrace the idea of kehillah throughout the middle school.

“As I wrap my head around learning [my] new job, [I think,] where are the different places I can learn? Who can I learn from?” Batson said. “I thought, I need to learn from the students because we’re here to support them.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Penelope Terl
Penelope Terl, News Editor
Penelope is excited and ready to be one of this year’s Lion’s Tale News Editors. As a reporter, Penelope loved writing news, and is excited to take on a leadership role in the section. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Penelope is stage manager of JDS theater shows, a student admissions representative, and a member of the school mock trial team. Penelope is eager to continue her work on Lion’s Tale this year and beyond.  

Comments (0)

All The Lion's Tale Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *