Seniors, siyyum and surges

Lilli Libowitz, Incoming Arts and Entertainment Editor

Senior events, such as prom, Siyyum and graduation are known to be a hallmark of the CESJDS experience. Due to COVID-19, many of these events have been altered or canceled in the past two years.  

This year, however, prom is scheduled to take place on Feb. 3 at the Marriott in Bethesda, Siyyum on Feb. 11 at B’nai Israel Congregation and graduation on Feb. 13 at Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Dean of Students Roslyn Landy is most eager for the students to experience graduation and hopes that new COVID-19 variants won’t put a damper on the festivities.

“Graduation is the culmination,” Landy said. “And that is, as you know, always a very big deal. I get to talk to the seniors and tell them how I see them and what wonderful things they’ve done. That’s probably the highlight being able to share with them how wonderful I think they are and why.”

Senior Ariella Ball is most looking forward to prom, as she is excited to dress up and have fun with her friends. Prom is especially a big deal at JDS because it is one of the few high school dances.

“I think it’s just the finale of everything we have done for the past 12 years and just seeing everyone dressed up is just super fun and exciting,” Ball said. “It is just a really fun and nice end to the school year.”

COVID-19 added numerous restrictions to these events, such as required vaccination and a negative test result before prom. As of January, seniors are allowed to bring outside of school dates to prom.

In addition, tickets are limited for Siyyum and graduation; only immediate family members and grandparents are allowed to attend these events.

As of Jan. 27, a final list of restrictions for the upcoming senior events has not yet been released. Grade advisor and math teacher Robert Shorr is mainly concerned with the Irene and Daniel Simpkins Israel Capstone Trip, with the seniors are scheduled to leave on Feb. 27 for Israel.

“Israel is being very cautious right now regarding COVID-19,” Shorr said. “Last year, they went even though the trip was shortened, but I know that even since kindergarten at JDS this trip is something you hear about. I hope they can go in some capacity.”

While Shorr is concerned about a possible delay to the trip, Ball, like many other students, remains optimistic that the class will still be able to attend the trip despite new restrictions.

“I’m not super worried about it because we’re still supposed to do all the normal things that seniors typically do during the Israel trip, except for Poland,” Ball said. “Instead of Poland, I think we’re doing a longer volunteer period and we’re traveling the country for longer, so I’m really not worried about how COVID-19 will affect it.”

The culmination of this senior year has been bittersweet for Shorr, who is excited for the seniors to embark on this journey but is sad to see them leave.

“I wanted to be a grade advisor because I grew up with a lot of these events at this school,” Shorr said. “I thought it was important to make sure that they continue to do them and have input in them. It is also nice to know the kids as they grow. Now especially after teaching them again, I feel I know this grade really well.”