4 Tammuz 5780

June 26, 2020



Dear ICJA Family:


Since my last update, and despite the end of school, there has been a flurry of activity. Grades have been submitted, and report cards should be going out any day. The new Summer Kollel@ICJA (SK@ICJA) imagined by Rabbis Sprung and Simkovitch is already underway with more than 30 participants learning three hours a day, four days a week. Many of our students have signed up, and some are already taking summer school courses. And our in-person 2020 Graduation has received tentative approval from the Skokie Board of Health – August 16th @ 11 am.


But even more exciting was the news on Wednesday that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) issued their guidelines for the reopening of schools in the Fall. We anticipated many of their recommendations, but now we are confident that school will reopen in-person as scheduled on August 24, 2020!


Of course, much can change between now and then, and as I have stated before, all of our plans are fluid and will adhere strictly to the guidance we receive from medical and public health experts and government directives. However, I am pleased to share with you the following information:


  1. We have surveyed our classroom spaces and class sizes. As of today, all of our classes will be able to fully adhere to social distancing guidelines. Of course, some larger classes will have to move into larger spaces, but we are confident that while in class, all students will be able to be at a safe distance from others.
  2. Everyone entering the building will have to submit to a “symptoms check.” ISBE has made two suggestions on how to do this, and we will have more information closer to the school year.
  3. Once in the building, everyone will have to wear face coverings (mask or shield). In addition, hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed outside of each room, and sanitizing stands will be in strategic places throughout the building.
  4. Extra furniture in classrooms and all furniture in the commons will be removed and placed in storage.
  5. Students who, for health reasons, cannot attend in person will be able to zoom into their classes. The same will be true for teachers who may have health concerns and therefore will have to teach remotely.


Of course, there are still some matters that need to be worked out, such as whether students will be able to use their lockers, how we will manage food service and meals, davening, passing periods, and even sports. But overall, we are well on our way to creating an environment that meets and even exceeds the new State guidelines.


Which does not mean that all is resolved. Because for this plan to work, we need to be extra cautious. The pandemic is still present, and the risks are still real. And therefore, we will continue to consult with experts, and depend upon our community to be vigilant. If students or staff are sick, even if it seems to be only “an allergy,” we ask that they not come to school. And please continue to maintain safety standards at home, so that no one adds to the risk of others.


Attached below is an informative letter from Dr. Aaron Glatt, one of the nation’s top experts in infectious diseases, who has consulted with most of our national organizations. He describes the steps we can take not only to protect our own health but also the health of others.


Because, it is the care we show for others that is core to who are as a people. We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. We believe in “arayvut” – our collective interdependence. We understand that while we have to watch out for ourselves, if we don’t care about others, then what has become of us?


Therefore, please be safe everywhere you go. Wear your masks and practice social distancing, not just when you are in a store, but even outside. And please realize that these inconveniences are not just for your sake but for the sake of others. As reported this week in the Tribune, one local store posted a sign at their door – “To accommodate anti-maskers, we have provided a space 40 feet west where you can stare at your reflection in the window since apparently you’re the only person you care about.” Let’s not be that person!


Together we will overcome this threat. Together, we will return to normal. And just as the rebellion of Korach that we will read about this week, ultimately ended when the staff of Aharon blossomed and bore fruit, so too will this challenge end with the blossoming of new opportunities and strength.


Candle lighting tonight is at 8:10 pm. Enjoy Shabbat and treasure the opportunities we have to be with our families!


Stay safe, stay inspired, stay in touch, and Shabbat Shalom!


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


COVID-19 June 25 2020 Update[1]