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

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Senior salutations

Abby Chesman
Senior Simon Reich spends his prom night encircled by his peers, dancing to the DJ’s music.


As the Class of 2024 raised each other up on chairs while singing Hava Negilah, a traditional Jewish song, they gazed down at their classmates, relishing in the excitement of prom and looking forward to the memories to come.

On Feb. 1, CESJDS prom attendees started their night with pre-prom photos at Woodmont Country Club before moving to prom at the Bethesda Marriott. Prom itself lasted four hours, full of dancing to Israeli and American pop music and a bountiful buffet.

Around 11:30 p.m., three party buses took students on a ride around downtown D.C. to see some of the national monuments before arriving at the Upper School for after-prom.

Senior parents and Dean of Students Roslyn Landy collaborated on prom and after-prom planning. Landy alone planned pre-prom pictures, whereas senior parents and teachers volunteered to decorate for prom, as well as chaperone the after-prom. One of the volunteers was Jennifer Schwartz, mother of senior Shani Schwartz.

“Of the many volunteer roles I’ve had in my many years at [CES]JDS, I would say this was probably the most fun,” Jennifer said. “To see the seniors, especially for those of us [parents] who have had kids who are lifers at JDS, it’s just really fun.”

After much anticipation from prom attendees and preparation from Landy and senior parents, prom allowed the Class of 2024 to bond and appreciate their time together.

“[Prom made me realize that] there wouldn’t have been a better group of people for me to spend my four years of high school with,” senior Darya Dayanim said.


Upholding the JDS tradition, the graduating Class of 2024 selected Jewish History Department Chair and CESJDS alumnus Dan Rosenthal (‘00) to deliver a speech at their Siyyum. Using his background in Jewish History, Rosenthal offered wisdom to the seniors, inspiring them to draw on their Jewish past to drive their Jewish futures.

It was a major honor to be able to share the things that I’ve learned with [the seniors],” Rosenthal said. 

Seniors and their families gathered at B’nai Israel Congregation on Feb. 9 to begin the ceremony by participating in morning Shacharit, followed by Head of School Rabbi Mitchel Malkus’s speech, a D’var Torah organized by the seniors and the award ceremony honoring a selection of seniors.

Teachers and the senior class nominated students who demonstrated exemplary skills in certain areas. 38 awards were given, many of which were gifted by alumni families or in honor of JDS community members.

“I thought it was meaningful that our whole grade could come together and show all of our hard work,” senior Nava Feldman said. “[We could] show what our grade stands for.”


As the seniors recited their culminating cantata, one by one, they guided the audience through their journey at CESJDS, all the way from kindergarten to senior year. 

During the graduation ceremony at Washington Hebrew Congregation on Feb. 11, Dean of Students Roslyn Landy and Head of School Mitchel Malkus reflected on the Class of 2024’s experience at JDS and their hopes for the future.

The senior class’ chosen theme, “laser focus,” was the heart of Landy’s speech, referring to their motivation towards their goals, both inside and outside of the classroom. 

“I will remember [the seniors] as a highly focused class, hard working kids and very successful,” Landy said.

This year’s alumna speaker, Ilana Kaplan (‘19),  spoke about her own JDS community, and how it continues to support her today. Kaplan explained that the tragedies brought about by the Israel-Hamas war has made community important now more than ever. 

“The grade did a great job pulling everything together,” senior Alec Silberg said. “We had an amazing graduation ceremony and we are all really proud of it.”


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About the Contributors
Jordana Dauber
Jordana Dauber, Reporter
Abby Chesman
Abby Chesman, Multimedia Editor
Abby is ecstatic to officially join the Lion’s Tale as Multimedia editor! She has been doing photography for the CESJDS publications for the past three years and is an Editor-in-Chief on the Bohr Franklin Science Journal, as well as a Student Admissions Representative. She is an aspiring cinematographer and her debut short The Window has won several filmmaking awards in the DC area. For fun, she enjoys listening to music, doing the NYT mini crossword, rock climbing, and the Oxford comma.

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