Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
71° 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

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CESJDS needs to implement more education on diversity

Aliza Bellas
CESJDS must implement diversity programming otherwise it will cause a gap between JDS students and the greater world.

Private school students worldwide face the same issue after graduation: being sheltered. After years of growing up around the same general group of people, private school students lack important experience concerning diversity and culture. 

I believe CESJDS students also face this issue. Many students at JDS have been a part of the community as young as kindergarten, and while we gain outstanding opportunities and experiences, JDS students face serious consequences from their inexperience in speaking to communities that differ from our own.

Although a Jewishly pluralistic school, JDS’ cultural and ethnic diversity is very limited, with a large percentage of Jews in America being white and a very small minority being of another race, students don’t have the opportunity to learn about or engage with other cultural groups and minorities. Because of this, JDS should expand its education of diversity beyond the general work that is done.

As a Persian student at JDS, I do my best to educate others on my ethnicity and tradition as students often don’t have any background in them. But while I’m able to spread my heritage and how it might differ from my fellow Jews, many other minorities outside of the Jewish community don’t have representation at JDS to give their community a voice and share their customs.

Additionally, JDS students don’t often get the option to learn about other religious groups and hear from them. Besides the “Comparative Religion” course offered in high school and light information in various other classes, many students lack understanding of other religions and their practices relative to ours, giving them a disadvantage when they are faced with new religious groups. Students at JDS have the privilege of getting a strong secular and religious education, but many less fortunate individuals outside of the community do not have the pleasure of such an education. As a result of this, many students at JDS can’t relate to disadvantaged communities, causing them to have less of an understanding of the dire situations others face daily. 

While JDS can’t make internal changes to increase school diversity without infringing on the values it has engraved into its reputation, there can be steps taken in order to educate and bring more understanding to these subjects within the JDS community. Last year, JDS began a partnership with Bishop McNamara, a great step in promoting and encouraging diverse conversations and friendships, but more has to be done.

Something JDS can do to bring more attention to this issue is to begin exposure to diversity at a younger age.In addition to reading books that highlight diversity, the Lower School should create more opportunities for interaction with students from more diverse backgrounds, as the Upper School does with the Bishop McNamara partnership.

Along with setting foundations, JDS should implement more opportunities to learn about different groups. Courses on the history and practices of other racial, cultural and groups would help students gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and beyond what they face in their day-to-day lives. 

Finally, JDS students would benefit from experiences of speaking to people who have different backgrounds from them rather than just being spoken to about diversity. Especially in light of the 10th grade diversity speaker incident, speakers sharing their unique experiences is extremely important, and if the school were to increase the volume of guest speakers, students would benefit greatly from it. 

Since JDS lacks a diverse community, it is necessary for there to be more extensive education on diversity and culture beyond just speeches about inclusivity. The rich cultures from all over the world should have their place at JDS, giving students a chance to gain an understanding of groups that differ from their own.

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About the Contributors
Sadaf Zadeh
Sadaf Zadeh, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Sadaf is thrilled to continue her work on the Lion’s Tale as an Arts and Entertainment editor. She is eager to write and edit articles along with designing intriguing spreads. She can’t wait to share the latest on various medias and other creative activity. Outside of her work on the Lions Tale, Sadaf is a president of the Steminism club, is an active part of her team for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and volunteers at the Sunflower Bakery. She looks forward to working alongside her peers to produce engaging content and have another amazing year on staff.  
Aliza Bellas
Aliza Bellas, Managing Editor, Copy
Aliza is ecstatic to continue her work on The Lion’s Tale as Managing Editor, Copy in the upcoming year. In her past year as Opinion Editor, Aliza found passion in writing timely articles, editing interesting stories, and designing spreads. Outside of the Pub Hub, Aliza dedicates her time to her role as Junior Class President, the Regional Vice President of Membership in BBYO’s D.C. Council, and her role as Editor-in-Chief of The Melting Pot. Aliza is eager to get started on developing the paper’s writing and ensuring that every web and print article is as polished as can be.  

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