Our school was founded in 1971 as The Howard County Jewish Community School (HCJCS) at a time when developer James Rouse’s plans for Columbia were still fresh and the local Jewish population was still quite small. HCJCS was the first Jewish educational institution in Howard County and as the Jewish community grew and new congregations were formed, it became a joint venture of the Columbia Jewish Congregation, Temple Isaiah and Congregation Beth Shalom. Over the decades, the latter two congregations developed supplementary Hebrew schools of their own and beginning in 1993, the school came under the sole sponsorship of the Columbia Jewish Congregation (CJC). In 1998, the school formally affiliated with CJC and on January 1, 2000, its name was officially changed to the Columbia Jewish Community School (CJCS).
Through its curriculum, its faculty and its activities, CJCS strives to expose its students to many diverse Jewish religious perspectives – historical, religious, and cultural – and to do so in a positive manner. We believe that this approach best equips our students to make informed decisions of their own when faced with the many monumental choices of life in general and of Jewish life in particular. CJCS is sponsored by the Columbia Jewish Congregation, now affiliated with the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF), and therefore makes a concerted effort to teach Reconstructionist Jewish beliefs and practices. Reconstructionist Judaism is a contemporary, progressive approach to Jewish life that emphasizes community, culture, and spirituality. It is respectful of Jewish text and tradition, but is also open to modern interpretations, embracing new and innovative religious expressions. CJCS welcomes students from unaffiliated families and strives to be sensitive to and accommodating of interfaith families, non-traditional family structures, students with special needs, and other challenges which may be presented to us.