Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson
President, The Wexner Foundation
Parent of alumnae Yael Zinkow, Class of 2004 and
Class of 2004
CJDS was a perfect match for our daughters [Yael and Maya]. They were challenged and nurtured. Their curiosity was encouraged and rewarded. The school’s faculty, all of them, were attentive to their inner life. The CJDS community established within each of them a unique love of learning that has not diminished. Now well into their twenties, the lessons learned and the friendships formed have endured over time. To be at home with our texts, to be confident speakers and creative thinkers able to independently weave ancient truths with contemporary reality were skills honed with both care and rigor at CJDS. When we relocated to Columbus, we sought a primary school experience that would deliver academic excellence along with the sacred values of Judaism with equal intensity and care. CJDS has always had the remarkable ability to do both and because of this gem of a school we moved here with confidence that we had the right school option for our girls! What a gift it was and is for the Jewish community of Columbus. We remain committed to its mission and grateful for its strength.
Member Services Representative,
Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Alumnus, Class of 2005
So much of what I learned at CJDS has affected my life and my studies at OSU, and now my work, in positive ways. One highlight will always be Camp Willson, of course. Very few things bond people like staying in the woods together, telling stories, playing and creating together, and learning about one another. CJDS also taught me so much more:
- CJDS taught me that learning doesn't mean knowing; learning means asking. Living a rich life means to be curious and critical (though not cynical) in all that you do, and always, always to ask questions.
- I learned to express my individuality—you can only be one person, and that's you! Dress up like you, talk like you, and share your "you" with others.
- To be a kind and decent person is to think always about how what you're doing affects other people, good and bad.
- We're all the same. We're no different from a person halfway around the world, even if they look and act differently. Even so, it's important to embrace what differences we have—don't fear them, but seek to understand them.
- Be creative, and know that your creativity doesn't have to look like anyone else's.
Melody Goldsholle Kennedy
Budget Manager, City of Dublin
Parent of Alumnus Sammy Kennedy Class of 2009
Sammy started school at OSU a few weeks ago and moved onto campus. He’s in the STEM scholars program and is studying engineering. It’s been a big transition for his father and myself being empty nesters! Scott and I credit CJDS for much of Sammy’s solid educational foundation. We are so blessed that he was able to go to school at CJDS. It made a world of difference in his confidence and ability to navigate middle school and high school.
Dr. June Gutterman
CEO, Jewish Family Services of Columbus
Parent of Alumni Pnina Tranen, Class of 2004 and
Class of 2005
As the parent of two children who were part of the very beginning of CJDS, I can attest to the educational value that they derived from being part of a vibrant community of learners. They gained insights and skills that they have taken into their lives. CJDS is unique not only in its approach to the integration of “the secular and the sacred;” but also in its approach to learning. Children and teachers alike are focused on problem solving by searching for the questions first! They quickly learn that by questioning first rather than immediately jumping to answers, innovation and creativity abound. CJDS consciously fosters an environment built on the leavening of solutions through thoughtful questions. It is an environment where learning, where thinking, is best when partners share in the search for questions, for solutions and for new ideas! There is no better educational platform that can launch our children into the future.
Past President and CEO, Columbus Jewish Federation
and Donna Hecker
Parents of Alumni Kendall Hecker,
Class of 2010,
Class of 2005, and
Class of 2004
When our children reached elementary school age in the mid-1990's, we wanted to send them to a progressive, pluralist day school, but that option did not exist in Columbus at the time. The following year, we were incredibly grateful to learn that just such a school was about to open and we enthusiastically joined as founders, parents and supporters of Columbus Jewish Day School.
While the primary goal of the school was to educate our children to help them interact with a rapidly changing world, CJDS accomplished SO much more. Our three kids learned to lead. They learned how to speak confidently to adults and large groups of people as well as their peers. They learned Hebrew. They learned a broad spectrum of Jewish history, belief and custom in the context of a broader world. They learned to be good, compassionate people. Our eldest daughter even got the chance to represent the alumni on the Board of Trustees.
In addition to all this, we were thrilled to realize that many leaders of the Jewish community in Columbus also made the decision to send their kids to CJDS. So as our kids made friends, so did we, and we have forged lifelong relationships with people who are shaping our Jewish community. On several occasions, parents have told us that they had job offers out of town, but passed, because CJDS was just too important in their kids' lives and their lives.
Our three children graduated from CJDS well prepared both academically and socially to enter our public middle school, where they thrived, and continued to thrive through high school and university. Today, they are successful, well adjusted, thoughtful and kind. We will always be grateful to CJDS for providing the vital foundation that made it all possible.
Associate Professor, Department of History, The Ohio State University
Parent of Jesse Steinman, Class of 2010 and
Class of 2014
When the Ohio State University offered me a position in Columbus, one of our [family's] most serious considerations concerned that of day school education. A product of both Jewish day schools and Jewish overnight camps, I took Jewish day school seriously, and I wanted my children to have the opportunity to grow up in an inclusive Jewish day school environment.
Our sons, Jesse and Gavi, each spent seven special years at CJDS. And while my children’s days at CJDS may be behind us, Kenny and I remain ever-committed to this incredible school. As both an educator and parent, I firmly believe that CJDS offers an innovative, nurturing, and academically rigorous education that encourages children to become their most authentic selves. Its integrated education is a moral, ethical education. CJDS teachers teach and model good citizenry across the landscape of the school throughout the entire day. Whether it is in gym class, outside in the garden, during morning services, on the playground, studying the Jewish texts of our ancestors, or unpacking difficult math problems, CJDS’ children learn to care about people, the environment, and the process of learning. At CJDS, children learn to think about others. To take the needs of our community and those outside of our community seriously. To ask big questions. To read critically. To make linkages. To try new things. To risk failure. To achieve success. It was a joy to see all of the activities that the students get to participate in and the real life experiences that they are learning about. I noticed that the students are very comfortable with themselves and speaking to others, which is not always something I find when interviewing children!
Owner, Northrup and Associates
Speech/Language Pathologist, CJDS since 1998
I have always marveled at what a truly happy place CJDS is; in a deep sense, CJDS celebrates and walks with families so intimately. It’s an intimate school, not at all cold, or distant. And that family piece is seen from the moment you walk in the building. You feel it.
And the outdoor education is so unique. Beginning in Kindergarten, students take real responsibility and ownership for their physical space and for their future. Through composting, through gardening, it just goes on and on. It’s just so natural! It becomes part of what kids know, such a rich, organic part of their lived curriculum.
I like seeing the blend of the students across the grades. There is the remarkable buddy system, but it really goes so much beyond that. The teachers all know all the kids, they know their siblings, and their families. It’s so personal and connective, integrating, and healthy. You have a true gem here. I would never hesitate to support CJDS.
Social Worker and Co-Founder Anxiety Sisters
Parent of Jack Weiss, Class of 2019 and alumnus Julian Weiss, Class of 2016
Thank you for the wonderful Sukkot sleepover. We were not sure how Jack would fare because he has not had a non-family sleepover. I thought you would have to call us in the middle of the night to come and get him. He was excited at the start, but sometimes that fades as the reality of sleeping over sinks in. However, Jack came home full of stories of wonderful word games and codes, scavenger hunts, bingo, evening prayer, flashlight tag, funny stories by Eran, a delicious breakfast, and morning prayer. He also loved the field trip with his buddy and meeting a new friend who is 102 years old! His time at Wexner Heritage Village was full of joy (and a delicious buffet). The whole event was a great success and now Jack has the confidence to consider camp!
President, N. Wasserstrom and Sons
Parents of Alumnae Chloe Wasserstrom,
Class of 2013,
Class of 2015 and Wendy Wasserstrom, Class of 2016
Eric and I feel both grateful and humbled that we have been given the opportunity to educate our girls at CJDS. All three of our daughters were given an excellent integrated learning environment. They graduated CJDS feeling confident with who they are as individuals and understanding their responsibility to our community and their world. We are so thankful to all their phenomenal teachers whom they love. CJDS fills such an important need in our community!
Director, Wexner Graduate Fellowship
and Josh Feinberg
Self-Employed, Museum Content Development and Writing
Parents of Ari Feinberg,
Class of 2024
I wanted to thank you for packing so much wonderful sharing in the curriculum night classroom time. Both of the "tastes of kindergarten" you offered us were great in the moment, but even better afterwards! Ari was so thrilled to learn that Josh and I spent some time in HIS classroom, meeting HIS teachers, and learning a bit about what he does in kindergarten. Specifically, Ari loves teaching us how to write the various letters; and again, loves being able to be the teacher. What a thrill it was for him to see the wipe-off sheet you sent us home with, and to be able to practice and show off his work to us. Whether it's with the sheet, marker in hand, or at the dinner table (without the sheet), he's talking about his letters. Thank you for giving us the sneak peek into these two classroom components, and giving us the language - quite literally - to partner with you on them at home. It's a gift to us, and most importantly, to Ari. And of course these are just two of the many, many activities we hear about (the penny and the dropper! the Skittles! the books! the butterfly crashing into the window!) and of course there are even more we don't hear about. And it's only been a couple weeks of school. Thank you!
Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz
Director of Israel Programs, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America Schocken Institute and Co-director and Mentor, Teacher Institute for the Arts
I have visited many day schools before. But rarely do I ever feel a sense of hitlahavut (passion for Jewish learning), menschlikhkeit, and worldliness combined into one curriculum and one school. CJDS is a treasure of a day school. They are working magic on so many levels -- Jewishly, environmentally, and most importantly they are creating thinking, engaged kids who love their Jewish identity and ask important questions. I left CJDS with tears in my eyes -- filled with optimism for the future of the Jewish people. The Columbus Jewish community has a treasure in CJDS, and in the entire faculty and community. You have an admirer in Jerusalem now.