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.
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Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • April 21, 2024

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

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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
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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...

Local organization provides assistance to children and families affected by pediatric health diagnoses

Junior+Yedidya+Milner-Gillers+spends+his+snow+day+with+his+Imadi+buddy.+Photo+from+Yedidya+Milner-GIllers.+
Junior Yedidya Milner-Gillers spends his snow day with his Imadi buddy. Photo from Yedidya Milner-GIllers.

As he opens a graduation invitation from a child with brain cancer whom he started taking care of from the age of seven, executive director of imadi Tzvi Haber is filled with pride. This was an extremely meaningful moment for Haber as it showed him the true impact he had on this kid’s life.   

After many years of working in organizations that support disabled children, Haber was inspired to start his own program. He fell in love with the work and wanted to spread it to the DC area specifically. Thus, imadi was born.  

“And the reality is I love what I do, I love what I did with them, but I felt like our Maryland and DC community would benefit from a new type of service, a new type of organization,” Haber said. 

imadi is an organization that aims to assist families with complex pediatric health diagnoses. Their goal is to provide these kids with as much fun as possible, based on the belief that each one of them deserves a normal childhood. They also provide the families with help and support, both economically and emotionally.   

Haber started imadi over two years ago. Haber said that his biggest challenge over this time was to stay hopeful that the true meaning of his organization would appear. He advises anyone wanting to start an organization to give it time, and never give up. 

“You need to be able to bet on yourself and be patient that the truth and the true value of your charity and your work will come out in time,” Haber said. 

Haber explained that the support given to imadi’s families is divided into two sections: pods and case management. Pods are community building, where volunteers, called big brothers or sisters, attend fun outings with the kids. Some events that have been held for the kids include sleepover parties in the National Aquarium, paintball events and shabbaton retreats. 

The next section of the organization is case management, where support is given to  parents to help them navigate the complexity of the medical world. This could be advising them when choosing doctors, helping cover insurance bills and anything else in between. This is also a space used for parents to come together for support groups. 

“If families are really struggling, let’s come up with a new resource, let’s build, let’s be creative in our programs…and be open to exploring new things,” Haber said. “What gets my blood pumping is being creative.”  

There are over 330 high school volunteers within imadi, many of whom have stories to tell. Senior Anna Leinwand has been volunteering with imadi for a little over a year now. She goes to visit a child with a chronic illness weekly for an hour or so. Leinwand explained that her buddy is blind, deaf, and has Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

“He has a hearing aid so he can hear us, but he can’t really talk so it’s hard to communicate with him,” Leinwand said. “[we] play games, we do LEGOs or play with play dough” 

Junior Yedidya Milner-Gillers has also been volunteering with Imadi for about a year. This past summer he went to a summer camp that imadi piloted for one week. He explained that they rented out a gigantic resort and did activities such as jet-skiing, paintball throwing and anything else that the kids wanted. 

Milner-Gillers said that he was paired up with one kid, and the most meaningful part of the summer camp was creating a bond with him.  

“I would go grab something for him and he would just ask me where I was,” Milner-Gillers said. “It made me feel really good that there was a kid who looked up to me and that was happy around me.” 

Haber expressed that he wants anyone in the CESJDS community to reach out to imadi if they know any families who could benefit from their services. He wants to be able to help as many families in the community as possible and provide social and emotional care to those struggling. 

“I think that in a world of pediatric illness, in a world where there are so many sick children and children with special needs, it’s such a world of loss and a world of destruction and death,” Haber said. “So to be able to bring creative energy and building energy and life into that world, that’s what gets me going”

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Leora Blumenthal
Leora Blumenthal, Reporter

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