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11 Sivan 5780

June 3, 2020

Dear ICJA Family:


We live in trying times. For three months, we have faced a pandemic that has claimed more lives than the wars in Vietnam, the Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq, and 9/11 combined. We closed our school and shifted to virtual learning. And then, just as the first encouraging signs that the worst was behind us, we watched the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the protests that followed and the riots and looting that led to mandated curfews in our cities.

Throughout it all, classes have continued to meet, students have been learning, and teachers have been putting forth herculean efforts to reshape their teaching styles and methods.


However, one thing we could not do was bring the school together during this crisis to offer a measure of comfort and even some perspective.


But, don’t interpret the lack of an assembly as if there is a lack of concern. On the contrary, we are concerned; not only for the safety of our community but for the injustice that exists in our society. Such injustice, fueled by bigotry and hate, is antithetical to Judaism which treasures all of humanity as equal creations of G-d.


To be a racist is to deny that G-d is the Creator of all humanity. To hate “the stranger” is to ignore the multiple times that G-d implored us to care for “the widow, the orphan, and the stranger.” And as Rabbi Ahron Soloveitchik once wrote: “Anyone who fails to apply a uniform standard of mishpat, justice, and tzedek, righteousness, to all human beings regardless of origin, color, or creed is deemed barbaric.”


Last week we witnessed such barbarism. And this week, we were frightened as some used that horrific event to justify rioting, looting, and arson.

But let’s not forget that many more chose to respond with peaceful protests and calls for reform. Our community needs to be part of that effort. We need to be at the forefront of outreach, of chesed and tzedek, and we need to bring experiences of a people oppressed into the conversation.


This is why I am so proud of our school’s commitment to our Student to Student initiative led by Mrs. Zeffren, which has brought greater understanding to thousands of students in public and Catholic schools, and to our students as well. And that’s why I was thrilled today to learn about Sarah Friedman’s continued efforts for our Middleton Tutoring Project. (Sarah is a sophomore and third-generation ICJA student, and ever since the fall, she has coordinated this project.)


Middleton Public School is the school directly north of ours. For three years, our students have given their lunchtime to cross the street and work with the Middleton students. They tutor them and mentor them and create friendships with them. And ever since the pandemic struck, Sarah has continued to marshal our students to continue to send videos and emails, and “pop-in” to their zoom classrooms. It’s the kind of social change which happens one child at a time, and one that our students excel at creating through so many different programs of advocacy and chesed.


I know that some would want ICJA to promote slogans and create a tumult on social media. But what I take pride in are the quiet ways we choose to create change, the leadership of our students, and how the lessons of Torah can and does illuminate our path.


A few hours ago, an alum reached out to dedicate Friday’s day of learning in memory of Mr. Floyd. This connection was so touching – that an alum reached back to us and that our learning can be the focus of good. At the end of her dedication which will appear on Friday, she wrote, יהי זכרו מהפך – may his memory bring about change. It’s a phrase used in Israel, but I never heard it before.


Yet, it made me think of another more traditional phrase, part of our tefillot, where we use a play on words to identify our children as “bonayich” – builders. That’s what ICJA students are – they are builders of the future. And our job is to make sure that the foundation we have set for them remains firm and steadfast.


May the tragedies of this past week guide us to greatness and change, and may our students be at the forefront of all that is good and meaningful in this world!


And now to a couple of reminders:


  1. Please join us tonight for our Parent Town Hall Meeting at 8:00 pm. Once again, Dr. Ben Katz will be joining us to give a medical update, and I will offer a school update. Click here for the link.


  1. Thursday’s schedule will be as follows:

Period 1: 9:30 – 10:10 a.m.

Period 5: 10:15 – 10:55 a.m.

Period 6: 11:00 – 11:40 a.m.


 Period 7: 1:00 -1:40 p.m.

Period 8: 1:45 – 2:25 p.m.

Period 9: 2:30 – 3:10 p.m.

  1. Friday’s schedule -the last day of classes for this academic year is:

Period 2: 9:30 – 10:10 a.m.

Period 3: 10:15 – 10:55 a.m.

Period 4: 11:00 – 11:40 a.m.


 Period 10: 1:00 -1:40 p.m.

Period 11: 1:45 – 2:25 p.m.

Period 12: 2:30 – 3:10 p.m.

Stay safe, stay inspired, and stay in touch!


B’virkat HaTorah,



Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.

Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy 

8233 Central Park • Skokie, IL 60076

773/973-1450 • FAX 773/973-6131




Jun 3, 8 p.m. – Parent Town Hall Meeting click here 

Jun 3 – Deadline for students to submit their “Service Points.” Click here for the online form

June 8-12 ICJA Final Assessments Week

June 15-18 Student Locker Pickup 

  Monday, Jun 15        

      9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Students with last names beginning with A-B

      12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Students with last names beginning with C-E

  Tuesday, Jun 16        

      9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Students with last names beginning with F-G

      12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Students with last names beginning with H-K

  Wednesday, Jun 17     

      9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Students with last names beginning with L-M

      12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Students with last names beginning with N-R

  Thursday, Jun 18

      9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Students with last names beginning with S

      12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Students with last names beginning with T-Z

Aug 16 – 1 p.m. ICJA Graduation



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