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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Mia Forseter
Lt. Col. Avi Levi presents on the Israel Air Defense System.

Following Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, CESJDS invited three speakers from the Israeli embassy to further inform students about Israel and the Israel-Hamas war. Speakers, who held “Lunch and Learn” sessions included Efrat Hochstetler, counselor for public diplomacy at the embassy of Israel in the US, Lt. Col. Moti Dayan, IDF Home Front Command Liaison Officer to the US National Guard and Lt. Col. Avi Levi, Israeli Missile Defense Organization Director.

Hochstetler spoke about combating antisemitism for the first session on May 15. She talked about her role providing information to the general public through Israel’s social media pages, and the importance of providing accurate information, even if it means a loss of public relations.

“Talking to students is my favorite part of the job,” Hochstetler said. “I usually talk to students from universities, but I always love to talk to the younger generation because I end up learning more than what I thought [I would] from talking to them.”

On May 16, Dayan discussed the home front and his role with the US national guard, as well as general information about the war from a militaristic perspective. 

The final guest speaker, Levi, discussed the Israel Air Defense System on May 17, including the Iron Dome, the Arrow systems and David’s Slingshot. He explained the differences between these systems, and what jobs they fulfill in providing Israel with ample air defense. Levi’s lunch and learn took place during Dor L’dor day on May 17, allowing guests to learn from him as well.

These “Lunch and Learns” were the idea of the Israel club, who requested High School Principal Dr. Lisa Vardi to bring in speakers during a club meeting she attended. 

“We decided, as an Israel club, to bring speakers to better manage conversations about Israel within the JDS community,” co-president of Israel club and junior Noam Klein said. “…People from the Israel club heard people [not educated in the history of the conflict] talking about Israel, and when people tried to have a conversation with them it ended up being difficult. Which is why we decided to [bring in speakers].”

When selecting speakers for the Lunch and Learn sessions, Israel club adviser Anat Kaufman and Vardi reviewed a list of possible speakers provided by the Israel club. As there are many Israeli embassy personnel that send their kids to JDS, the school has many connections and a wider ability to find speakers. According to Vardi, Kaufman came up with the idea of having the speakers come directly after Yom Ha’atzmaut to connect the learning to the celebration of 76 years of Israeli independence.

“All who attended the sessions heard the viewpoints of the official Israeli government and were able to ask questions of the presenters,” Vardi said. “And that’s important at a time when we know social media may alter the official perspective.”

Next year, JDS plans to develop a lunch and learn series that will run throughout the year, inviting parents and alumni to speak about issues related to Judaism and Israel. 

“[It’s important for students to come to these talks to] get the facts straight before you try to develop opinions or just think about Israel,” Klein said. “…Also for people who do know stuff about Israel it’s important to come because it’s interesting. You [will] have more material to have an intellectual conversation with someone about what’s happening [in Israel].”

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About the Contributor
Mia Forseter
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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