Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
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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...

Coach of champions

Returning for his seventh season and aiming for a fourth championship win, learning specialist Brett Kugler is excited to be back on his home court coaching middle school girls basketball.

Kugler has loved basketball since he was a kid. In high school, he played varsity basketball, continuing to play until he had to stop due to injuries. Although he could no longer play, Kugler was not quite ready to give the game up.

“Coaching was something that combined my love of basketball and my passion for teaching,” Kugler said.

Throughout his career, Kugler has coached six seasons for the middle school girls basketball team, gone to the championship in five of them and won three out of those five championships.

Kugler took a short hiatus from CESJDS in the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. He returned in the beginning of the basketball season, however, it was too late for him to coach the team that year. Health and Exercise Science teacher Alexander Kirsch coached that season and Kugler jumped at the opportunity to resume coaching this year.

Middle school is Kugler’s favorite age group to coach because he helps begin the careers of future stars. He likes to help players find their inner potential and shape them into good teammates with a strong set of skills.

“You see a tremendous amount of growth from the start of middle school to the end of middle school basketball, and I love being a part of that journey,” Kugler said.

During the tryout process, Kugler looks for players that are not only skilled in basketball, but are team players as well. He feels that those are the people that make great players.

Eighth-grader Kira Koplow is looking forward to Kugler’s return to the team. She was on the team in her sixth grade year, making it her second year playing for Kugler.

“I’m very excited that we are getting Coach Kugler back,” Koplow said. “He has a lot of knowledge about the sport and also brings a lot of spirit and ruach to the team.”

In Kugler’s last season coaching, he enlisted the help of an assistant coach. Middle school Hebrew teacher Guy Koren became Kugler’s assistant coach for the 2021-22 basketball season. In the 2022-23 season, Koren continued to be assistant coach for Kirsch and will continue the role this season for Kugler.

Kugler asked Koren to help out because having another set of eyes on the court gives him a sense of relief. While Koren doesn’t have much experience playing the game, he is a big fan of basketball and loves to help out. Koren agreed because he thought it was a good way to connect with students and participate in a sport that he loves.

Koren feels that Kugler brings a lot to the team. Koren sees how he coaches players into improving their basketball abilities in ways that others don’t see.

“He has this special way of knowing how to give those little small tips to the players where they know to make the right adjustments and become better players,” Koren said.

Kugler has always found something special in basketball. The sport means more to him than just scoring points and winning games; it taught him a lesson about the importance of loving your work that is worth more than any trophy.

“I think that as a player, myself, and a student of the game I didn’t always have the most talent but what you can do when you combine the talent that you have, with heart and thought and effort you’re really able to create something that overrides general natural ability,” Kugler said.

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