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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

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Jessica Nassau
Students watch as Steinberg presents on her time as a journalist in Israel.

Jessica Steinberg, an editor at The Times of Israel, spoke to the CESJDS Upper School on Jan. 30 about her role as a journalist. She focused on the challenges of covering the hostage situation, as well as the moral obligation she feels to keep it in the public eye. 

As the culture and lifestyle editor, Steinberg’s work was radically different before Hamas attacked Israel. Since Oct. 7, Steinberg has spent most of her time writing profiles of the Israeli hostages being held captive by Hamas and gathering information by talking with their families and friends.

“They [the families of the hostages] want to tell their story,” Steinberg said. “Some people don’t, but if they want to tell their story, I think it’s our job to listen and to tell it.”

In her talk to the JDS student body, Steinberg emphasized the importance of appreciating what the families had gone through. She stressed that she made an effort to talk to the family members as people rather than just subjects of a story.

Steinberg said one of her most  emotionally difficult profiles was on Itai Bousey, who is currently being held hostage by Hamas. Steinberg spent three hours talking to his mother and she said it was very difficult for her. One of the most important things for her when interviewing these families, and a value that she has always upheld as a journalist, is to treat people as humans rather than just the subjects of the story.

“I think it’s really important to be human,” Steinberg said. “You’re a reporter, and you have a job, and you want to convey what they are going to say. But, you’re also a person reporting on someone’s pain.”

Steinberg had a busy schedule at the Upper School, speaking first at a high school assembly, then at a Q&A session with 26 journalism students, next with faculty at a drop-in session and finally with a middle school assembly. Head of School Rabbi Mitchel Malkus arranged the visit.

“I thought it would be really interesting for students to learn the perspective of a journalist who works in Israel,” Malkus said. “How she viewed the situation there, and how Oct. 7 and the war has changed her work and her life.”

In addition to her coverage of the hostage situation, Steinberg has also written stories on artists who have shifted the scope of their art as a result of the war. She mentioned someone who started drawing in monochrome after the war started to show the solemnity.

Students found the session very informative, asking lots of questions at the end of the assembly and during the small group Q&A session afterwards.

“I learned that it takes a lot to find the contents of an article and that you really have to dig around and what not to find that,” freshman Gillian Krauthamer said. “And [it was interesting] probably just to know where your information comes from, especially if you’re telling that information to others.”

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About the Contributors
Jessica Nassau
Jessica Nassau, Faculty Adviser
Jessica Nassau is in her fourth year of advising the Lion’s Tale newspaper. She also advises the yearbook and middle school literary magazine. She loves helping students find their journalistic voice and create the designs that help reach their audience. To help journalism students beyond the walls of CESJDS, Nassau is the director of the Maryland Journalism Education Association and a board member of the Maryland-D.C. Scholastic Press Association.

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