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Hadesh Yamenu – The Renewal Campaign

Honoring our roots and designing the future.

CJDS’ three-year Hadesh Yamenu – the Renewal Campaign is the largest fundraising campaign since the school's founding two decades ago. Hadesh Yamenu, or “Renew our days,” is a phrase we sing at the High Holidays. It is in this spirit of deep reflection and focused goal setting that we launched this unprecedented campaign in May of 2016. Since then, the Board campaign has more than doubled that of any previous board campaign and we have now secured 100% participation. Thanks to this hard work of CJDS’ Board of Trustees, combined with an unprecedented gift and demonstration of confidence and investment in CJDS leadership from The Wexner Foundation, together with Abigail and Leslie Wexner, we have been able to launch the campaign with over $1M towards the three-year goal of $2.1M.

The launch event, which took place Sunday May 7, 2016, gathered over 90 CJDS parents, alumni parents, alumni, teachers, staff, board members, and CJDS founders and supporters in the living room of our warm and gracious hosts, Katie and Brett Kaufman, proud parents of three CJDS alumni. Brett, also the Co-Chair of the Hadesh Yamenu campaign, shared how CJDS introduced him to a Judaism he never knew existed. Old friends reconnected sharing warm hugs and stories and new connections were made with a whole new generation of CJDS families.

Our Board President, Andrew Grossman, parent of two CJDS alumni and a current fifth grader, welcomed and addressed the room with reports on the Board’s work and vision. He charged the room with the imperative that we must first and foremost believe in ourselves:

“You are here tonight because you have seen first-hand the benefits that a CJDS education has given to your family and to the larger Jewish community.   Without CJDS, the Columbus Jewish community would be smaller, weaker, less impactful.  We’ve all seen the difference CJDS makes. And we’re all here to ensure that CJDS and the children we educate and foster have the ability to continue to make a difference.  We have a generous community that is rooting for our success. If we want our largest donors to believe in us, and if we expect to bring even more new donors and new dollars into CJDS, we have to believe in us."

Head of School, Dr. Tali Zelkowicz, shared her vision for a bright future for CJDS, rooted in its inspired past. The orienting vision of the school remains the same as when the doors opened in 1998, thanks to the school’s two founders, Tobi Gold and Danny Kayne. To this day, the school’s orienting purpose is to provide students with an excellent secular education in addition to a great Jewish education, without compartmentalizing the content or bifurcating the students’ experience. We daily connect the dots of students’ learning to help them connect the dots of themselves. We can teach math and Hebrew, in the same lesson.

And we continue to teach Tobi and Danny’s passion that there are many ways of being Jewish, and that we’re whole people, as Jewish Americans. The values of our Jewish tradition can be the very lenses for our contributions in the world broadly.

Our campaign goal is to raise $2.1 million over three years. At the launch, we had already raised the unprecedented amount of over $1M!

If we can secure 100% parent participation in the campaign, multiple major donors have committed to increase their gifts to the campaign. Parents, please show your CJDS pride, and if you have not already, please call us or click here to give you gift today.

To the whole community, as close friends and long-time supporters of the school, we hope you will all join us in renewal as well. We encourage everyone to share this link far and wide with grandparents, friends, and other family, who know how much the school means to you and your children:

Watch the short Hadesh Yamenu video here and join our campaign to help CJDS shine! Donate to the Hadesh Yamenu – Renewal Campaign HERE .

What the campaign has already allowed us to do:

  • We are one of ten schools across the country that received a generous grant to participate in the Teacher Institute of the Arts initiative. This program, led by internationally renowned artist David Moss, is a creative combination of fine arts and Jewish values to innovate new ways of looking at Jewish texts. Our fifth and sixth graders are leading the way, but the whole school has been involved, teachers, including parents, and community guests, who are all learning how visual arts can help us create new Jewish meaning.
  • Over the last decade, we have been leading a cutting edge curricular initiative that uniquely combines environmental education and service learning. We have honed the model into a program called “Better Together" that combines outdoor education, food education, gardening and environmental ethics, along with intergenerational programming, and service to local at risk populations, such as the homeless and the elderly. Students in K-6 are immersed in fully experiential learning that uses their hands, their hearts, and their minds.
  • CJDS embarked on an in-depth marketing campaign to rebrand and update our website and our materials to align our voice with our inspired work. We will be launching the new website and those exciting new materials before the end of 2017.
  • In fall 2017, we received an additional and unprecedented gift from Leslie and Abigail Wexner and The Wexner Foundation. Their renewed belief in the work and mission of the school has already been transformative, and is allowing us to put the infrastructure in place to fully realize the immense potential and growth of the school in a new way. With their strong vote of confidence in our new leadership team, they have allowed the school to broaden its base of support and engagement and begin the vital work of a long term strategic plan.

Their gift, and yours, allow us to establish a solid foundation on which to build a strong future for generations of progressive Jewish youth.

Just as my ancestors planted for me before I was born, so too, do I plant for those who come after me .  – Ta’anit 23a (Talmud)