Columbus Jewish Day School: Learning for Life
Founded in 1998, Columbus Jewish Day School is a pluralistic Jewish institution rooted in the philosophy of contemporary Jewish thought leader Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Their work goes far beyond telling students to memorize and regurgitate information. Rather, their students are taught to embody what they learn and grapple with complex overarching questions that speak to the core of their role as an individual, as well as their part in a greater community.
“We have three pillars that we work toward all the time,” says Rachel Arcus-Goldberg, head of school at Columbus Jewish Day School. “The first is intellectual sophistication, which is really helping students with critical thinking, developing great questions, pushing beyond just memorizing. The second is social responsibility. We want students to have a deep connection to what it means to be responsible for the wellbeing of their community and of each other. And the third is personal authenticity. We want everyone who leaves Columbus Jewish Day School to leave with a deep and firm understanding of who they are – that they can speak with their own voice.”
Like education institutions around the world, Columbus Jewish Day School was forced to adapt this past year to the challenging circumstances of a global pandemic. For Arcus-Goldberg, the challenge was to continue their vital work toward these three pillars without compromising the health and safety of the students and teachers under her charge.
Fortunately, Columbus Jewish Day School wasn’t alone.
“I feel incredibly blessed that we are part of a community that has an institution like JewishColumbus because I feel like we get supported by them in many ways,” says Arcus-Goldberg. “In particular, as we were dealing with the pandemic, we were having community agency leader meetings almost every night in the beginning just to make sure that everyone was okay and that everyone’s communities were okay and that we had the resources to be able to help our community members.”