Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
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|Charles E. Smith
Jewish Day School
11710 Hunters Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20852
1901 East Jefferson Street,
Rockville, Maryland 20852
|Type||Private, Jewish day school, College-prep|
|Motto||"...You shall teach them diligently to your children" (Deuteronomy 6:7)|
|Head of school||Mitchel Malkus|
|Student to teacher ratio||6:1|
|Color(s)||Blue and Gold|
|Newspaper||The Lion's Tale|
The Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, often referred to as CESJDS or JDS, is a private, pluralistic Jewish K-12 school located in Rockville, Maryland, United States. Founded in 1966, the school's namesake is Charles E. Smith, a local Jewish philanthropist and real estate magnate.
The head of school is Rabbi Mitchel Malkus. With over 1,500 students, the school is the largest private school in the Washington metropolitan area according to the Washington Business Journal, and one of the largest Jewish day schools in the world.
The school is separated into two distinct campuses; the Lower School campus houses pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students, while the Upper School houses sixth through twelfth grade students. The two campuses are distinct yet interrelated, and school functions take place regularly at both locations. The two campuses are located less than two miles from one another.
The Lower School
The building has three levels. The oval Beit Midrash located at the entrance is regularly used for tefilah. Other notable facilities include the Great Books Reading Room, "Field of Dreams" Playground, technology labs, science classrooms, and a library with two designated working classrooms.
Since 1976, the Lower School has undergone three major renovations. The school now occupies approximately 130,000 square feet (12,000 m2) on 11 acres (45,000 m2) and houses over 700 Lower School students.
The Upper School
Throughout the structure are pieces of Jewish history and acknowledgments of the foundation of pluralism on which the school was established. The Beit Midrash features rounded stained glass windows circling a cupola based on Eastern European synagogue design, with each panel representing an essential principle of Judaism, including Torah, Neshamah (Soul), Kavanah (Spirit), Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) and Rachamim (Compassion). A woodworking motif frames the room and Jerusalem stone is featured throughout. The doorposts in the school have distinct mezuzot.
Spaces for the arts and athletics include the Daniel Pearl Memorial Gym which holds 700 and encompasses full-court basketball play. Art spaces include a ceramics studio with six pottery wheels and state-of-the-art kiln, a professionally equipped photography studio, dark room, and a recording studio.
- A cappella choir (Shir Madness)
- After school jazz band
- Art club
- Ceramics club
- Media/video club
- Theater tech club
- Video/photo club
- CES Singers (Lower School)
- Cubs Club (poms)
- STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition (social action club)
- Lion's Tale (school newspaper)
- Dimensions (yearbook)
- Loa Ha’ari (Hebrew literary magazine)
- Melting Pot (Romance language magazine)
- Reflections (Literary magazine)
- Arabic Club
- Greek Club
- Grade government (representation from each grade)
- Gay-Straight Alliance
- Junior Statesmen of America
- Business club
- Hidden Gems magazine
- HaDaSh (community service)
- Debate team
- Mock trial (Circuit Champions in 2009)
- Winter Musical
- Various Plays in the Early Spring (typically one-act dinner theatre)
- Spring Workshops
- Reflections – Gold Medalist rating from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for its 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 editions, all the highest medalist rating CSPA offers; Superior rank in the 2005 and 2008 National Council of Teachers of English programs which recognize excellence in Student Literary Magazines, as well as Excellent rank in 2009 and 2011 programs (in 2005, out of 486 schools in the state of Maryland, Reflections was rated second in the entire State); First Place with Special Merit awards from the American Scholastic Press Association, the highest award ASPA offers, for the 2008, 2010, and 2011 editions.
- Collage – Gold Medalist ratings from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the highest medalist rating CSPA offers, in all years from 2004 through 2011, as well as a 2011 Gold Crown award; First Place with Special Merit from the American Scholastic Press Association, the highest medalist rating ASPA offers, 2006–10; First Class with Marks of Distinction from the National Scholastic Press Association with three marks in 2011 and one in 2012.
- Melting Pot – First Place with Special Merit from the American Scholastic Press Association, the highest award ASPA offers, 2008-9, 2010–11, and 2011–2012.
Solomon Schechter School of Greater Washington opened in September 1965. Operating under the auspices of United Synagogue of America, classes were held near Chevy Chase, Maryland. During the school's first year in operation, two teachers, Masha Spiegel and Masha Cohen, taught seven children in kindergarten and first grade. Gershon W. Gross became the school's administrator in 1967.
Throughout the school's history, it had operated in various rented spaces in Maryland, but it had long wanted a permanent location of its own. In 1971, the United Jewish Appeal asked the Greater Washington Jewish Community Foundation to raise funds to build a permanent location for the school. The Greater Washington Jewish Community Foundation searched for a site with about 10 acres (40,000 m2) of land that was as close to Washington, D.C., as possible. In 1974, the Greater Washington Jewish Community Foundation took an option on a $500,000 property located on Montrose Road in Rockville. The Rockville property was adjacent to the new location of B'nai Israel Congregation, which had moved there in 1970.
A few months later, the Marjorie Webster School was put up for sale. The private Webster School's campus was located at 17th Street and Kalmia Road NW in the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Colonial Village. An option was taken on the Webster School, but it was later determined that the Webster School would require a more costly renovation than was financially practical. The site selection committee decided to move forward with the Montrose Road site in Rockville. Some families were unhappy with that decision, as the majority of students lived closer to the Colonial Village site than to the Rockville site.
On April 24, 1977, the school dedicated its new 62,819-square-foot (5,840 m2) building at 1901 E. Jefferson Street in Rockville. The $2.7-million building became the first permanent location for the school. The building is owned by the Greater Washington Jewish Community Foundation, and the school has a renewable 99-year lease. Charles E. Smith was the chairman of Greater Washington Jewish Community Foundation, and Smith had helped raise the funds to build the facility.
In 1980, the school was renamed in honor of Charles E. Smith, who had been a generous donor and fundraiser for the school.
In April 2006, three seniors who were participating in the school-sponsored program in Israel through the Alexander Muss High School were arrested by Israeli police for marijuana possession. The marijuana was discovered by program guides, and the quantity was judged to be large enough to necessitate involving governmental authorities, according to Muss headmaster Chaim Fischgrund. Drug experts cited in a Jewish Standard article theorized that the students had intended to sell the marijuana. These three students were expelled from the program; additionally, six other students were expelled on the basis of either having bought or used marijuana during the program. Local police arrested two students on drug charges who were held overnight.
- Jeremy Bash, Chief of Staff to the former Secretary of Defense
- The Max Levine Ensemble was formed by Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School students
- Natalie Portman, actress
- Samuel Sheinbein, convicted murderer
- Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out
- Ethan Slater, actor
- "Jewish Day School". The Washington Post. May 8, 1965. p. C45.
- Seidel, Jeff. "JDS boys and girls win their divisions". Washington Jewish Week. February 19, 2004. p. 20.
- "Dimensions Yearbook Featured in 2016 Jostens Look Book". Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. March 23, 2016.
- "Meet the Head". Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School: . Retrieved May 3, 2015.
- "The Lion's Tale". Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
- "Awards". Reflections. 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- "Collage". Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- "Melting Pot". Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- Richard, Paul. "Jewish School Requests Artist To Represent 1st Commandment". The Washington Post. February 23, 1967. p. B2.
- "A Call to Jewish Parents". The Washington Post. August 24, 1965. p. A7.
- "History". Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
- "Ministerial Candidate To Teach". The Washington Post. September 23, 1967. p. B7.
- Singer, Jill M. "Jewish Day School dedicated in Rockville, fulfilling goal of many". The Washington Post. April 28, 1977. p. MD3.
- Turner, Judith Axler. "Disagreeing Over Jewish Day School". The Washington Post. September 25, 1975. p. MD4.
- "The Jews: Migrating from D.C.". The Washington Post. September 4, 1975. p. VA1.
- "1901 Jefferson E St". Real Property Data Search. Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Retrieved on March 2, 2017.
- "Smith School Marks Birth of Its `Father'". The Washington Post. April 4, 1991. p. M1.
- Strauss, Valerie. "Alternative to Public Education". The Washington Post. September 24, 1998. p. J4.
- "Montgomery County Zoning Map". The Washington Post. August 23, 2001. p. T15.
- Strauss, Valerie. " Rockville Students Accused of Marijuana Use in Israel". The Washington Post. April 5, 2006. Retrieved December 15, 2009.
- Heilman, Uriel. "Drug bust of U.S. teens in Israel spotlights Jewish drug problem". Jewish Standard. April 11, 2006. Retrieved December 15, 2009. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
- "Jeremy Bash '89". Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
- "Max Levine Ensemble". Asian Man Records. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
- Medoff, Rafael, ed. "Natalie Portman". Great Lives from History: Jewish Americans. Salem Press. p. 900. ISBN 978-1-58765-741-2. Archived from the original on August 24, 2014.
- Dean, Eddie. "Blood Buddies". Washington City Paper. May 8, 1998.
- Phillips, Aliza. "Talking About Bad Girls: A Book on School-age Aggression Hits a Nerve". Forward. May 24, 2002. p. 15.