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Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

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Established  September 1965
Enrollment  1,187 (2010–2011)
Phone  +1 301-881-1400
Founded  1966
Colors  Blue, Old gold, Gold
Head of school  Mitchel Malkus
Student to teacher ratio  6:1
Mascot  Lion
Faculty  199
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
Type  Private, Jewish day school, College-prep
Grades  Pre-kindergarten–Twelfth grade
Address  1901 E Jefferson St, Rockville, MD 20852, USA
Motto  "...You shall teach them diligently to your children" (Deuteronomy 6:7)
Similar  Jewish Primary Day Scho, Georgeto Preparato School, Melvin J Berman Hebrew A, Bullis School, Winston Churchill High Sch

Johanna paretzky speaks at charles e smith jewish day school

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

The central hallway, the "Cardo", is bracketed by arches modeled on the archways in the ancient Jewish Quarter of Byzantine Jerusalem. The main thoroughfare showcases student art and other projects.

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.

Performing arts

  • 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)
  • Middle school

  • Collage literary magazine
  • Musical performance
  • Middle School Knesset
  • Chess club
  • Glee club
  • High school

  • 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
  • Ceramics
  • 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)
  • Theater performances

    Winter Musical Various Plays in the Early Spring (typically one-act dinner theatre) Spring Workshops

    Literary awards

  • 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.
  • Athletics

    Fall sports:

  • Cross country
  • Boys' soccer (middle school also)
  • Girls' soccer (middle school also)
  • Girls' volleyball (middle school also)
  • Winter sports:

  • Boys' basketball (middle school also)
  • Girls' basketball
  • Boys' wrestling
  • Dance team
  • Indoor track (middle school also)
  • Ice hockey
  • Football (Commonly thought of as CESJDS's best sport, as the team is undefeated. Lions Varsity Football has not lost a game in the history of the program)
  • Spring sports:

  • Baseball (middle school also)
  • Golf
  • Softball (middle school also)
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Boys' volleyball
  • Teams are usually divided into Varsity and Junior Varsity divisions. Many sports have boys' and girls' divisions. Almost all teams practice daily and compete with teams from other schools, primarily other schools within the Montgomery County private school community. The inaugural CESJDS hockey team won the MSHL Conference Championship in 2009, before losing in the state semi-finals. The team lasted from 2008/09-2010/11. For the 2013–14 season it was started back up again. No Lions teams have assigned practices or games on Friday. Only once has a team ever played a game on Friday, when a 2012 Varsity baseball game got postponed because of rain. To get the game done in time it started at 1:30 p.m., and the baseball team got out of class at 12:15 p.m.

    Student marijuana arrests in Israel

    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.


    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.

    In 1977, the school moved to 1901 E. Jefferson Street in Rockville. In 1980, the school was renamed in honor of Charles E. Smith, who had been a generous donor and fundraiser for the school.

    Notable alumni

  • 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
  • References

    Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School Wikipedia