At JCDS annual meeting, Ruti Adler receives Charles Samdperil Award

Day school community bids farewell to one head, welcomes another

Eileen Ellis, JCDS executive assistant, and Renee Rudnick, JCDS outgoing head, at the annual meeting /Karolyn WhitePROVIDENCE – The Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island’s annual meeting honors those who have shown a commitment to the school and the larger Jewish community.

The June 5 evening’s first hour, filled with food and the comfortable conversations among people who consider one another family, recognized Irene (Renee) Rudnick, head of school for the past three years. (In her first year here, she served as assistant head.)

Rudnick is leaving the school (see sidebar, “A parting interview with Renee Rudnick”), and many of her colleagues and friends were teary-eyed during their speeches lauding her.

As the crowd of some 60 people settled in for the annual meeting, Rabbi Sarah Mack of Temple Beth-El talked briefly about the importance of learning Torah and keeping close to Jewish values.

The Charles Samdperil Award, an honor given to an educator who made a difference to students and is constantly teaching, was given this year to Ruti Adler, a renowned Brown University professor of Hebrew and JCDS’ Hebrew consultant.

Adler graciously accepted the award as she showed some “JCDS spunk” in briefly acting out – in Hebrew – a small scene with the stuffed animals she uses in her classes. She says she spreads herself thin in teaching because she truly loves Hebrew; she feels it is immensely important for people in the Jewish community to have a relationship with the language.

Dozens of volunteers as well as employees, past presidents and past trustees were thanked for their dedicated service throughout the years. In fact, as the names of every parent-volunteer and every teacher with 10 years of tenure were announced, participants responded with a cacophony of cheering and clapping.

The meeting closed with Adler leading attendees in singing “Hatikvah” (the Israeli national anthem), but most people lingered to mingle and offer congratulations to those who were honored.

A new chapter in the book of JCDS’ history began, as a new slate of trustees was installed and as the community bid farewell to Rudnick and welcomed the new head of school, Adam Tilove.

SHANNON CONLEY (, is a summer intern for The Jewish Voice & Herald.

JCDS: 751-2470 or