The Sports Medicine and Athletic Training program at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) is designed to promote lifelong fitness and personal responsibility through education and hands-on experience.
HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal
This issue presents a wealth of guidance and examples for day schools to stay on top of their game. Articles discuss how schools ensure that athletics stay informed by a school's mission, by embodying Jewish values and embracing inclusivity; how they can use sports as a vehicle for teaching about and fostering love for Israel; how a wide range of sports can bring out the best in students and faculty; and how schools can more broadly employ movement and teach healthy living.
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Anyone who’s ever attended a Jewish summer camp knows all about color war. Traditionally, it’s the highlight of an intense summer filled with spirit, camaraderie and shared experiences.
But does this exemplar of “informal” education have a place in the Jewish day school environment?
Sports are an organic vehicle to reach North American Jewish youth where they are paying most attention and are most engaged. Growing up in North America, Jewish youth play, watch and talk sport, not to mention sport video games and sport collectibles. They even dress sports, wearing jerseys with professional players’ names on them, baseball caps and kippot with team logos, and T-shirts with sports brands like Adidas, Nike and Under Armour. Sport is where youth find their community. It is a language they understand fluently.
A day school teacher shared with us how troubled he was when he heard another teacher scold a boy on the playground, “Come on, stop throwing like a girl!” From hearing “girl” as a pejorative, it is easy for other boys to make the short leap to denigrating one another as “gay.” In conversations with other teachers and students, we see how this seemingly benign comment is damaging to all kids and adults. We see how sexism and homophobia make a particularly insidious combination in the context of sports and athletics.
Our vision of the role that competitive athletics can play in the lives of high school students is a deeply personal one.
"It was unbelievable--I was walking down the middle of Washington, DC, holding my horse."
Day school students participate in an enormous range of sports, competing at all levels. Emma Farber shares what she loves about horses and her life as a day school student and champion equestrian.
Aly Raisman is a three-time Olympic medal gymnast and captained the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team to its first team gold medal since the 1996 Olympic Games. Raisman added the United States' first ever gold medal in the floor exercise and also won bronze on the balance beam. She is looking to become the most decorated American gold medal gymnast at the 2016 Rio Olympics next summer.
Dubbed the “Jewish Jordan” by Sports Illustrated in 1999, Tamir Goodman was a top-ranked basketball player from Baltimore who signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv and served in the IDF. Today he is an author, inventor of the Zone190 training aid and Sport Strings Tzitzit. He is a coach, educator, motivational speaker and author of The Jewish Jordan's Triple Threat. Tamir also serves as Director of International Development for the Hapoel Jerusalem professional basketball team.
Former WBA Boxing Champion
Former NBA Basketball Player
Ping-pong player, currently ranked 6 in the US for Cadet Girls under the age of 15, and 68 for all women in America. She is trying out for the 2016 Olympics Table Tennis Team.
Former Baseball Player, New York Mets
Mens sana in corpore sano—“A sound mind in a sound body”—is not a Jewish concept. There are even those who waggishly claim that the term “Jewish athlete” is an oxymoron. Historically, Jews were sensitive to the deep connections between Christianity and physical prowess and eschewed the latter to evade the former.
Jewish day schools partner with parents in many ways. When our family recently welcomed our third child, I got to see exactly how unique, special and multifaceted the partnership is between family and Jewish day school. As our family changed, our children’s day school, Kadimah Academy, responded in meaningful ways, by being flexible, offering afterschool care to my children and providing them with the extra attention in class that this change in circumstances required.
Given the complexity of our jobs, and the large number of people (board members, parents, staff and students) who hold us accountable, how can a head of school, especially one who is relatively new, know if s/he is doing a good job?
Sometimes the simplest-sounding question is, in actuality, the most difficult to answer. Let me try, knowing that success looks and feels different to different people in different places at different times.
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