Our Stories

Over 400 Guests Celebrate JPDS/MILTON’s Eras at Purim Ball

April 15, 2024 by Lindsey Jacobson (Faculty and Staff)

On March 10, 2024 we welcomed more than 400 guests from various eras of JPDS/MILTON home to 16th street for our Eras Tour Purim Ball. 

The school may look different than it did in its earliest days, but our parents’ dedication, service, and leadership is as strong as ever. Our program honored Jessica Dodson and Jeremy Levine for extraordinary service, Sindy Udell for outstanding professional service, as well as celebrating 10 Years on South Campus. 

Crystals glittered everywhere– from the chandeliers to the glowing towers illuminating images from JPDS/MILTON’s eras past and present, the gym was completely transformed. Guests enjoyed delicious dinner stations and a signature Lavender Haze cocktail. 

People got their creative juices flowing by collaborating on a new mosaic art installation to celebrate the anniversary of South Campus. They schmoozed and took pictures in front of the floral photo wall, and kvelled over the chance to see all three (!) heads of school in one place! This was the rare occasion where Susan Koss, Naomi Reem, and Deborah Skolnick-Einhorn were together to celebrate MILTON’s past, present, and future eras. After enumerating several of the school’s early challenges, Deborah marveled, At every turn, this community has rallied around the little school that could – which now has 2 campuses, 470 students, an almost $15m budget and more than 400 people here tonight to celebrate every one of the eras that has brought us to today – and will carry us into our shared future as the center of Jewish education in Washington, DC.”

Former Board President Edna Friedberg took the stage next, to introduce Jeremy Levine and Jessica Dodson, noting “Rarely is there a married couple who receives this recognition from the school where each individual so equally merits it in terms of hands-on service.”

Accepting the award, Jeremy and Jessica reflected, “we had a sense from the outset that MILTON was a place we wanted to be. But why is this?”

They continued, “It has something to do with the soul of Milton. It is a restless place, unsatisfied in a good way: not content to rest on laurels, always looking to improve, to broaden what we offer and who we offer it to… It has a constancy of spirit, which has stayed true over the last 35 years, through the eras. I can talk to one of the founding families of JPDS, or one of the early teachers, and while they can barely believe the physical reality of MILTON as it is today, they know exactly what I mean when I describe the feel of the place.”

Ken Josovitz, husband of Sindy Udell, took the stage next to describe her long-standing professional commitment to MILTON. He said, “Sindy’s two passions are family and love of Judaism.  So it was not surprising, that after a few short years, and two wonderful kids, Sindy Udell opted to leave her legal career  to work for JPDS, and the rest is history!  Sindy’s passion is helping others.  She lives to guide students, parents, and their families through the admission process.  She is on the phone or emailing with families and administrators all hours of the night.”


Sindy took the stage with her trademark wit, quipping, “I’m not Taylor Swift so I’m afraid I won’t be singing.” Her love for the school was heartfelt. She said, “This has not been a job for me, it has been a calling. How can you not be drawn to a school where every child is seen and celebrated and brought to their full potential.  Being part of this community is like being held in a warm embrace.”

Head of School Deborah Skolnick-Einhorn noted of Sindy, “Because of Sindy’s passion for our mission, we’ve been able to grow and fill the school –  and OVERFILL IT so much so that we needed to open a second campus, of which Sindy is an integral part.” This was a deft transition to the third honorees of the night, the teachers and staff who have made South Campus grow and thrive for 10 years. 

After watching a video created for the event, South Campus Principal Melissa Davis accepted the honor on behalf of the South Campus staff. She saluted leaders, parents, children and especially teachers saying, “I see our dedicated and passionate educators who have figuratively built, brick by brick, the magic of South Campus with the wonderful relationships they have built with one another, with students, with families, and with community members.” 

After a standing ovation, attendees enjoyed chocolate lava cakes and multicolored macarons sporting the MILTON logo, before spilling out onto 16th street and back home again, bolstered once more with gratitude for this vibrant community.