Zimriyah cancellation leads to picnic


Photo by Elyon Topolosky

A group of sophomores sit in a cirlce outside the JDS Upper School as they enjoy the Israeli-style food in honor of Yom Haatzmaut (Israeli Independence Day).

Nate Shemony, Reporter

In honor of Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, the middle and high school attended separate Israeli-themed picnics to celebrate Israel’s 73rd birthday. The picnic replaced the annual Zimriyah competition where the entire Upper School would gather in the gym and each grade would perform their own song in Hebrew with a dance.

“We knew very early that we were not going to be able to do Zimriyah in-person based on the CDC guidelines and the safety procedures,” Special Programs and Activities Coordinator Dorie Ravick said. “I’ve been planning this for quite some time and it’s been on our brains for a while because we know how special and important of a day it is at [CES]JDS and especially in the Upper School.”

The goal for “Zoomriyah” was to have students record themselves singing along while performing choreographed hand motions. Each grade’s video would be compiled into a larger presentation, like a virtual choir, which would be showcased to the school.

Recording these videos was originally planned to be mandatory for the students. However, the administration received pushback from grade governments saying that many students would feel uncomfortable participating.

“We changed it because the presidents of each class got together and said that they didn’t want to do it – it was as easy as that, and we listened,” said Interim High School Principal and Dean of Students Roslyn Landy. “… Think about some of the kids in your class – were they really going to sit in their bedrooms and video themselves singing? So, logically, it’s probably not a great idea.” 

Instead, student governments and Ravick worked together to create a different plan. This way, students would still be able to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut with JDS. After deciding on having a communal picnic after the school day, Ravick sent out a form allowing students to sign up for an Israeli style meal. 

The picnic occurred outside the school and students were spaced out while hanging out with friends.

“I’m really enjoying [the picnic] so far. I think it’s a pretty good choice because people can just come for an hour … and it’s fun to be able to be outside in super nice weather and just be with friends,” said Freshman Darya Dayanim. “I think it was especially a good choice for COVID because so [much] of the stuff was online and kids didn’t really didn’t want to do another online thing.”