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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Honoring heroes, remembering history

Abby Chesman
The class of 2027 performs in their first Zimriyah in the high school.

Yom Ha’atzmaut 

As the junior class makes its way into a semi-circle during their Zimriyah performance, a sign is held high reading “We will dance again,” in dedication to Hamas’ victims at the Nova Music Festival on Oct. 7. After a few moments of silence, confetti poppers burst into the air as the Class of 2025 showed their pride for Israel.

Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s independence day, was celebrated at CESJDS on May 14. The day included an art project with Israeli artist and educator Hanoch Piven and Zimriyah, which was directed by high school Hebrew teacher Anat Kaufman.

“It’s great to see the grade bond together over a common goal,” freshman Noah Sacks said. “Especially in such a difficult time, it’s even more important to get closer as a grade.”

Students learned about the goal of Piven’s artwork—to reinvent the meaning and use of everyday objects—before beginning the art project in small groups. After selecting their objects, students crafted portraits of famous Israeli figures.

Zimriyah, under Kaufman’s guidance, was planned by various student committees within each grade and headed by the grade governments.

Zimriyah’s theme this year was “names and faces” to humanize the victims of the war, serving as a reminder that each individual impacted has a story. Each grade’s song, as well as the activity led by Pivan where students created portraits of famous Israelis using everyday objects, alluded to the theme.

In the middle school competition, the eighth grade won for the first time in their JDS careers, while in the high school, the junior class won for the second year in a row with their song “Tnu Li Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

“Winning this year felt amazing,” junior Aviva Stern said. “We put so much work in during the practices and it just feels so rewarding.”


Yom Hashoah 

As a testament to Jewish spiritual resistance, the theme of this year’s tekes, six sophomores each shared the story of one Holocaust victim by reading an excerpt from the victims’ diaries and lighting a candle in their honor. These stories taught students how Judaism was preserved amid persecution.

Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, was commemorated at JDS on May 6 and led by the sophomore class in partnership with the Jewish history department. The tenth grade leads the tekes each year because they study the Holocaust in Jewish history class.

Sophomore Ian Liss interviewed his grandmother, Connie Liss, who told the stories of her parents who were both Holocaust survivors.

“[Learning about the Holocaust] becomes more personal and more meaningful,” Ian said. “It’s one thing to know what happens and another to have an actual emotional connection tied to it.”

There was also an all-day vigil where students read the names of Holocaust victims. During an extended advisory, students watched a film about Jewish teens titled “I’m Still Here,” then discussed it.

“These kids left their mark by writing in these diaries and representing who they were,” high school Jewish history teacher Dr. Sara Coxe said. “At the same, they were resisting what the Nazis wanted, which was for them not to have any culture or identity.”

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About the Contributors
Leora Blumenthal
Leora Blumenthal, 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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