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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As soon as Hamas’ attack on Israel occurred on Oct. 7, the realities of Israeli citizens were flipped upside down, causing a number of unprecedented...

Bridging the Gap: JDS students need to have more interactions with kids at other Jewish schools

Ahuva Orlofsky
Junior Yedidya Milner-Gillers volunteers for Imadi with students from Berman. From left to right: Erez Zahgi, Alex August, Izzy Orlofsky, Milner-Gillers and Leor Hochstein.

When I watch the CESJDS Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy basketball game, I look into the Berman crowd and realize I know almost none of their student body. I often recognize only one or two people from playing sports in the same league or family connections, but most of them are unfamiliar to me. JDS and other Jewish schools in the area need to work together to create a stronger Jewish community throughout the county by introducing their students to each other. 

I’m sure that most students at JDS would agree that the rivalry between us and Berman leads to some of the most fun games of the basketball season, and I completely agree. However, during the cross country season, while I am waiting to race, I much prefer cheering for Berman athletes than against them. As we are the only two Jewish schools in the league, the connection that we share with Berman makes itself evident during these races. 

With antisemitism on the rise, it is extremely important that the Jewish community remains close knit, but it’s hard to unite when we don’t know each other. Fortunately, JDS is in an area with a large Jewish community to be taken advantage of. However, there are many Jewish kids my age that I have not had the opportunity to meet, and I wish we made better use of this opportunity. 

Each year, the eighth graders at Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School have to decide where to go to high school. Many of them join the freshman class at JDS but most students who previously went to JDS don’t know them. I personally remember only having talked to one out of the many new students before freshman year started. While there were a few students who knew the new students from sleepaway camp, the majority did not. 

This made me realize that I do not know a large portion of Jewish kids my age in the area. If only a small portion of Milton students come to JDS, there must be many more Jewish kids my age with similar experiences at other Jewish day schools that I may never get the chance to meet. 

One way to foster this connection would be for JDS, Berman and Milton to introduce our grades to each other in middle and elementary school through social events and shared field trips. This would lead to the creation and development of friendships outside of our school, creating a more connected Jewish community. 

With around 170 kids combined from JDS, Berman and Milton, meeting with these students at a younger age would offer amazing opportunities to make new friends, and develop closer bonds with more Jewish kids. Most of these kids currently know next to nothing about each other’s school or each other.

Lirone Wolf, a seventh grader at Milton and sister to sophomore Eliana Wolf, thinks that meeting students from JDS and Berman would make her transition to high school at JDS easier. 

“I think that [having get-togethers with other Jewish schools] would be really fun because a good percentage of Milton kids go to JDS for high school,” Wolf said. “And it’s a bit harder to merge with the whole grade in high school when you don’t really know any of them. So getting to know those kinds of people earlier, I  feel would be more helpful in the future.”

While I don’t participate in them, I recognize that another important way to meet other Jewish kids is through youth groups, such as NCSY or BBYO. These are great ways to meet Jewish kids in the area, both those that go to Jewish day school and those that don’t. These youth groups bring together Jewish teens from all over to learn about Judaism, serve the community and make friends.

It is essential that JDS and other Jewish day schools in the area take the time to introduce their students, starting from a young age, to encourage a closer Jewish community. 

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About the Contributor
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor
With much of her life revolving around playing sports, Mia is excited to take on her role as Sports Editor for the Lion’s Tale this year. She looks forward to designing spreads and continuing to provide a great sports section for readers. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Mia plays for the Varsity Softball and Cross Country teams. Mia enjoys volunteering at the National Youth Baseball Academy during the summer. She is also very involved in debate, and is a media center fellow. She can’t wait to work with her co editors to produce an amazing sports section and overall newspaper.  

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