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

Lt. Col. Avi Levi presents on the Israel Air Defense System.
JDS hosts speakers from Israeli Embassy
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • May 22, 2024

Following Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut, CESJDS invited three speakers from the Israeli embassy to further inform students about Israel and...

Joe Vogel speaking out to the community. Photo from
It takes a village
Adam Salomon, Reporter • May 22, 2024

While, door-to-door campaigning, Junior Rafi Seigel knocks on the door of a family household in Maryland’s sixth district, asking them to vote...

Sophomore Oliver Silver teaches his grandparents what hes been learning in math this year.
Dor L' Dor Day
Gila Safra, Reporter • May 22, 2024

Summer vs. winter
Summer vs. winter
Eliana Abrams and Maya GreenblumMay 20, 2024

Lions hold up banner after defeating Sandy Spring in the championship.
Varsity softball wins championship two years in a row
Tyler Portnoy, Reporter • May 19, 2024

Crack. The bat hits the ball and sophomore Carrine Shemesh sprints towards first base as sophomore Eliana Wolf crosses the plate, scoring the...

The baseball team has two managers who can be found at the majority of the baseball teams games, Jordan Levy (‘24) and junior Josh Berl.
All bases covered: managers support the baseball team
Vivi Ducker, Features Editor • May 17, 2024

When in attendance at any of the CESJDS varsity baseball team’s games this year, next to the players on the bench, the baseball team managers....

Faculty Friendships

English teacher Dr. Dory Fox (‘09) and freshman grade dean and high school biology teacher Melissa Andrew share a laugh over coffee. Photo by Maya Greenblum

Rabbi Barer & Dr. Rosenthal

Connected by a shared interest in Judaics, high school Jewish text teacher Rabbi Benjamin Barer and Jewish History Department Chair Dr. Dan Rosenthal’s relationship has grown beyond their roles as teachers. According to Barer, he and Rosenthal tend to face similar issues in their classrooms, issues that are unique to Judaic subjects. Through their growing friendship, Barer and Rosenthal have learned how to handle these issues, but more so, have bonded over their loves for Jewish life.

“We’re all ultimately trying to do the same thing … to teach students important things about Judaism, past and present,” Barer said. “There’s something about being colleagues in trying to pass on this knowledge, pass on a love of Judaism, that is a natural connector.” 

When Barer and Rosenthal have a moment during the school day and are in need of some fun between classes, they play digital Scrabble together. Since the Israel-Hamas War began on Oct. 7, Barer feels like playing games with friends is even more important. For the two teachers, Scrabble is a fun distraction when they need one, and involves friendly competition as well. Although Jewish text and Jewish history can be heavy subjects, Barer appreciates that he has Rosenthal’s friendship to connect through their shared experiences as Judaic teachers. 

“We care deeply about what we’re teaching,” Barer said. “… We’re [teachers] here to do a job, but it’s much more enjoyable, and I think we do a better job, if we’re caring about each other.” 


Mrs. McMillan & Dr. Abo Awad

Unlike Barer and Rosenthal, Jewish Text Department Chair Grace McMillan and high school Arabic and Hebrew teacher Dr. Hani Abo Awad’s friendship began outside of the CESJDS community. When he was searching for someone to edit his doctoral dissertation in 2015, Abo Awad was put into contact with McMillan by high school Jewish history teacher Dr. Sara Coxe, and McMillan happily agreed. Over the course of about 18 months of editing, they were able to connect on a personal level by learning about each other’s backgrounds.

“I’m coming from [a] different culture, so sometimes it’s hard to understand the American white Jewish culture,” Abo Awad said. “She gives me the perspective that I’m missing sometimes, and I appreciate that a lot.”

Some members of McMillan and Abo Awad’s families have also connected with each other, which has become a special part of their friendship. In 2021, six years into their friendship, McMillan invited Abo Awad’s mother, Aisha Abo Awad, and sister, Miriam Abo Awad, for brunch together in Washington, D.C.. This gave McMillan and Abo Awad’s families the opportunity to grow close, like them. This factor of their unique friendship has only strengthened their relationship.

“We admire each other’s abilities and perspectives,” McMillan said. “We are able to push back and argue with each other, but at the end of the day, those arguments mostly help us understand both each other and the world better. He is deeply committed to the wellbeing of his students, and that is really a value that I share.”


Dr. Fox & Mrs. Andrew

For high school English teacher Dr. Dory Fox (‘09) and freshman grade dean and high school biology teacher Melissa Andrew, who both joined the JDS faculty in the same year, their friendship was fate, they said. Fox and Andrew met at the orientation week for new teachers in 2021 and quickly learned that they were two of few new high school teachers. As they acclimated to the unfamiliar teaching environment, their friendship budded, and from there, they found more things to connect over.  

“We really bonded over … learning all the ropes of working at JDS,” Fox said. “It was a lot of finding new terrain that we were navigating together.”

Another commonality that Fox and Andrew share is that they have both been teaching freshmen for three years. As such, they have continued to chaperone the freshman shabbaton because they enjoy each other’s company more each year. By 2022, Fox and Andrew made sure that the other was signing up for the freshman shabbaton before they did. According to Andrew, she and Fox are very different people, which happens to be one of the reasons why she loves her friendship with her, and even one of the reasons why she appreciates being a teacher at JDS.

“She and I are very different in the way that we approach things,” Andrew said. “It’s so nice to develop a friendship with someone like that [because] I’ve learned so much from her, and she makes me happy because she’s so different than I am.”

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About the Contributor
Maya Greenblum
Maya Greenblum, News Editor
Maya is thrilled to serve as one of The Lion’s Tale’s News Editor for the upcoming term. She is ready to inform and educate our readers on current affairs and events, and uncover any obscured news updates lying within our broader community. Apart from the newspaper, Maya is one of the presidents of the biomedical club, is a member of the CESJDS choir groups Shir Madness and Chorale, and plays on the girls varsity tennis team. Maya is excited for another amazing year on staff with new and former staff members, and for many more issues to come.  

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