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Chicago Jewish Day School begins construction on new campus

CJDS has begun construction on a new campus in Chicago’s Irving Park neighborhood, with expected opening in Spring 2018.

CJDS groundbreaking image
CJDS and JUF leaders celebrate the groundbreaking. (From left) JUF President Steven B. Nasatir, JUF Chairman of the Board Michael H. Zaransky, CJDS Head of School Judy Finkelstein-Taff, New Campus Project Chair Adam Levine, CJDS President of the Board Anat Geva and CJDS Capital Campaign Chair Wendy Platt Newberger

Chicago Jewish Day School's (CJDS) New Campus Construction Celebration took place on Thursday, Sept. 7 with more than 200 friends, teachers, students, clergy and neighbors in attendance. 

CJDS opened its doors with seven students in 2003. Fifteen years and several locations later -- and with nearly 225 students now enrolled -- the multidenominational, progressive Jewish day school is ready for a home of its own. CJDS has begun construction on a new campus in Chicago's Irving Park neighborhood, with expected opening in Spring 2018.

CJDS's New Campus is a 2.6-acre property that will include multiple buildings with state-of-the-art classrooms, central worship and learning space, a gymnasium, and outdoor athletic and recreational facilities -- all designed to enhance the school's commitment to academic excellence.  With an environmentally friendly project in mind, CJDS consciously chose to repurpose an existing property. The project includes renovating three buildings, adding a new entrance, and reimagining the outdoor space.  The New Campus Project is chaired by Adam Levine.

CJDS Head of School Judy Finkelstein-Taff said, "Theodor Herzl, visionary of the modern State of Israel once famously said, ' Im tirzu ain zo agada -- if you will it, it does not have to be a dream.' This quotation perfectly reflects Chicago Jewish Day School's journey to a permanent home. 

"Thanks to the Crown Family and the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago for sharing our vision, as well as the CJDS family and extended family of supporters, for helping us 'will' our dream into a reality."

Anat Geva, president of CJDS's Board of Directors, said,"The new CJDS campus is a wonderful and innovative space which will continue to provide a transformative Jewish and secular education to all of our students. We are so excited that the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, along with our many long-time supporters, continue to support our mission and work with us as we raise the school's profile and realize our vision of a state-of-the-art multidenominational Jewish day school." 

Lead gifts for the project were provided by the Crown Family, Betsy Gidwitz and two anonymous donors through the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's Centennial Campaign, which facilitated the project. The Centennial Campaign is intended to ensure a vibrant Jewish community for the next 100 years.  All commitments to the Chicago Jewish Day School New Campus Project are recognized as gifts to JUF/Federation's Centennial Campaign. 

"Our campaign goals are significant but this is a significant project -- we are adding to Chicago's Jewish skyline and helping to insure a vibrant future for our community," said Wendy Platt Newberger, Capital Campaign chair and founding Board president of CJDS.  "We are currently at 76 percent of our $30-million goal thanks to the vision and support of our early donors. Their commitment and belief in CJDS's importance for the Chicago community have insured that CJDS can create a home to match the sophisticated education inherent in CJDS's multi-denominational program."

"Investing in Jewish education has always been a cornerstone of our commitment to ensuring a strong Jewish future," said JUF/Federation President Steven B. Nasatir. "We are proud to partner with CJDS in this and other community efforts -- including allocations and contributions from JUF's Annual Campaign, Centennial Campaign, and Day School Guaranty Trust Fund -- to make sure every Jewish child has access to a high-quality Jewish education."

"This new campus is just one shining example of the many ways our generous donors are helping to build our community and support Jewish life in Chicago, Israel, and around the world," he said.

Also in attendance were State Rep. Jamie Andrade and Ald. Deborah Mell, who shared her enthusiasm for the school's move to the 33rd Ward.

For more information please contact Naomi Shapiro at or (773) 271-2700.


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