Class of 2021 to graduate High School


The Class of 2021 participates in Holocaust Memorial Day programming during their trip to Israel this past spring.

Lilli Libowitz, Reporter

The Class of 2021 will have their graduation ceremony at the Marriott North Bethesda in Rockville on June 13. The location change from Washington Hebrew Congregation is not the only change, as there will also be new restrictions due to COVID-19.

The graduation ceremony typically commences with a welcome prayer from the students and then the Head of the Board briefly welcomes all the guests. Then the seniors would usually partake in a contata where they tell a story about their journey at JDS. After that, there is a tribute to the teachers and gifts from and to the class are presented. To conclude the ceremony, Head of School Rabbi Mitchel Malkus addresses the seniors and diplomas are handed out.

“This year the actual graduation ceremony will not be different in content,” interim High School Principal and Dean of Students Roslyn Landy said. “It will feel different from other years because we will be in a new venue and we have far fewer guests, probably less than half of the number we usually have.  Because of the pandemic, we will also be seated socially distanced and wear masks.”

Only immediate family members are allowed to attend graduation. Senior Robby Lefkowitz understands why these restrictions must be enforced but is also disappointed. 

“I understand that you can’t have as many people there as in a normal year, but I also think that since my grandparents have been vaccinated… they should have had the option to come,” Lefkowitz said.

Landy acknowledges the disappointment that will naturally come with these restrictions but is grateful that the graduation ceremony can even happen in some capacity.

“We all wish life was the way it was pre-March 2020, but it’s not,” Landy said. “It’s not in Washington Hebrew Congregation as it usually is, but will be in a beautiful room and the seniors, their parents, their siblings and the faculty will be there. Two months ago, we were not certain that we would be able to hold a Graduation, Siyyum or Prom, so we are thrilled that we will be able to celebrate at those special events. 

Despite the changes, Lefkowitz is excited for graduation, specifically, he is looking forward to seeing the Lower School faculty.

In typical years, the graduation ceremony occurs before the Israel trip, therefore those that chose not to go on the trip felt that their high school experience came to a close in February. This year, graduation is taking place after the Israel trip due to COVID-19. 

“For me personally, graduation is the conclusion of my [high school experience] because I didn’t go on the Israel trip,” Lefkowitz said. “I know from a lot of my friends who did [go on the Israel trip] that it was kind of their culmination of their experience at JDS which I get. Had I gone on the Israel trip I probably would have said that same thing.”