July 24, 2024 |

Grade 7 – Gesher

Posted on January 22, 2016

Temple Israel of Natick’s Gesher students are extraordinary!  They have been studying the parashat haShavua(weekly Torah portion) and developing discussion questions for all religious school students.  They have been selecting the weekly breakfast cereal working to connect their cereal choice to the parasha.  They have been exploring the Jewish life cycle and Bar/Bat Mitzvah is their current topic.  Today we discussed the rationale for celebrating Bar/Bat Mitzvah at age 13.  According to tradition, a 13 year old has attained the maturity to confront his/her yetzer ha-ra (evil inclination.)  We discussed essential middot (Jewish  values) and identified those that our students believed to be priorities.  Middot included: 
  • Repentance
  • Forgiveness
  • Loving your neighbor
  • Controlling anger
  • Doing the right thing
  • Avoiding groundless hate
  • Being a friend
  • Pursuing peace
  • Preventing shame,
  • Taking care of one’s body
  • Guarding one’s tongue
We began to think about personal commitments to Jewish belief and practice, such as:
  • Belief in One God
  • Support for Israel
  • Living an ethical life
  • Studying Torah
  • Celebrating Shabbat and Jewish holidays
  • Having a Jewish home
  • Making the world better
  • Saying the Shema at bedtime
  • Remembering that we are created in God’s image
  • Feeling connected to all Jews

Our study of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Sages) included 1: 14 “Hillel said; “if I am not for myself, who will be for me?  If I am for myself only, what am I?  And if not now, when?”” and 4:2 “Mitzvah goreret mitzvah.  Aveirah goreret aveirah.  [One mitzvah generates another and one transgression generates another.]”  Students then had the opportunity to create i-movie trailers on the mishna of their choice.