Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
60° 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

Nathan celebrates after breaking the school record for the 3,200 meter race. Used with permission from Nathan Szubin.
Student breaks school record in track race
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • April 21, 2024

When junior Nathan Szubin stepped up to the line of the 3,200 meter race in the Johns Hopkins Invitational Meet on April 19, he had a different...

Arditi Zarouk (second from left) celebrates the 50-year anniversary of Perach with her team at the residence of Israeli President Herzog. Used with permission from Arditi Zarouk.
Former students and staff readjust to Israel in the wake of war
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • April 19, 2024

The Israeli embassy and military send over emissaries every year, and many of these families choose to send their kids to CESJDS. When they go...

A day of matzo meals
A day of matzo meals
Sophie Schwartz, Opinion Editor • April 18, 2024

Many people dread Pesach time, when their beloved chametz (leaven) is replaced with dry, brittle matzo. However, if presented well, matzo does...

Junior Evan Klepper gets ready for his WIS opponent to serve
Lions tennis fall short to WIS
Isaiah Segal-Geetter, Reporter • April 18, 2024

“Twenty four on 3, Mashiach on 6,” junior and tennis captain Evan Klepper said to the varsity boys tennis team before their match against...

Eighth grade visits Capitol Hill
Eighth grade visits Capitol Hill
Jonah Mitre, Reporter • April 17, 2024

To put their learning from government class into perspective, eighth grade students visited Capitol Hill on April 10 for a field trip. Throughout...

At the college fair on April 7, Pitzer College representatives boasted about their Students Justice for Palestine (SJP) club to a Jewish student.
Opinion: Colleges need to support Zionist students
Stella Muzin, Editor-in-Chief • April 16, 2024

On April 7, I attended the Washington Area Independent Schools College Fair, which was co-sponsored by CESJDS along with other schools from the...

New students adapt to environment at JDS from public schools

Leora Blumethal
Asher Mills socializes with his new friends between classes.

On the first day of school, freshman Asher Mills looked around his new school. Mills’ first impression was his small grade, as well as the different environment at CESJDS compared to his previous school, Gaithersburg Middle School. 

Mills was one of 12 students who joined the JDS Upper School from a public school. Each student experiences this transition differently. One major challenge for Mills was that he had received little prior Jewish education. Despite being worried about his Judaics classes, he has come to really enjoy them.

“The more I’m learning and the more I’m proceeding through the year, the more I understand [the Judaic classes],” Mills said. 

Admissions Associate Sarah Berner said that the Hebrew class curriculum ranges from beginner to Heritage, a class for native Hebrew speakers, and new students are tested prior to starting at JDS to figure out which Hebrew level they would succeed in. 

“We’re a pluralistic Jewish day school, which is really nice because then kids can come from all different Jewish backgrounds,” Berner said.

Director of Upper School Admission Wendi Kaplan said that the admissions department goes through significant efforts to ensure that new students have an easy transition. Every new student is set up with a buddy, a student currently at JDS, to show them around the school and answer questions. The teachers at JDS are also very helpful when it comes to helping newcomers acclimate. 

“I think our teachers are very conscious of new students…I think everyone kind of comes together and makes that transition easier,” Kaplan said. 

Sophomore Ellie Strisik previously attended Pyle Middle School and came to JDS as a freshman. She said that one of the biggest benefits of coming to JDS is the academic environment. 

“In public school, you don’t really get one-on-one attention and relationships [with teachers] that you do here,” Strisik said. “I really enjoyed getting to know my teachers better and having them get to know me better.”

Mills noted that most of his classes at Gaithersburg Middle School averaged 20-30 students, and he likes how the smaller classes at JDS allow for more personal support from teachers. 

While Mills finds the academic support at JDS beneficial compared to public school, he does feel he is missing out on certain high school experiences. 

“In American high schools that aren’t private, you’d have high school football and stuff like that,” Mills said. “But at this school, there isn’t that and I would say that’s just maybe the one thing I feel like I’m missing out on.”

A hard adjustment for Strisik has been the school day in general. At JDS, each student takes nine classes in total, and six each day. These extra classes are necessary because of JDS’ dual curriculum, but Strisik feels that there is a lot more work compared to Pyle, which had seven classes total. Pyle also ends at 2:45 p.m. while JDS ends at 3:45 p.m. Strisik said she gets really tired by the end of the day and has no energy to focus on her homework, and it is especially hard when she has volleyball after school.

For Strisik, the transition took a while to feel normal, but now that she has familiarized herself with the school, she is glad she made the switch. 

“Coming to JDS has transformed the way I think about learning and school as a whole,” Strisik said. “It has taught me how community, along with relationships with peers and teachers, is the most important thing in a school environment.” 


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Leora Blumenthal
Leora Blumenthal, Reporter

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