As we enter the 2020/2021 school year we are continuing instruction in virtual classrooms. Classes are one hour long and staggered to accommodate challenges with device availability for our families. As always, there will be music sessions with Cantor Kintisch and instructional sessions with Rabbi Starr and our Rabbinic Intern, Mikey Hess Webber.
While we know we need to start the year in a virtual environment, we hope that we will be able to meet in person before the year is through. The CJCS Board will continue to evaluate the feasibility of in-person sessions following the direction of Howard County, CJC and OMI while keeping student and teacher safety at the forefront of the decision making process.
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 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 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 Columbia Jewish Congregation, affiliated with Reconstructing Judaism (RJ), 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, and 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.