April 14, 2024 |

Grade 7 – Gesher Class Welcome!

Posted on September 19, 2016

Temple Israel
August, 2016/Elul 5776
Dear Gesher Class- Grade 7,

Gesher is the Hebrew word for bridge. This year of learning is intended to be a bridge to the next stage of your Jewish growth, to your participation in the Temple Israel of Natick community and the Jewish world.  

The Jerusalem Bridge of Strings in is one of my favorite bridges.  It is beautiful, it is in one of my most beloved cites in the world and it is very similar to the Zakim Bridge in Boston.

This bridge is an amazing metaphor for our Gesher experience.  This bridge is modern in a very old city and in fact, one can take the light rail (which travels on this bridge) to Jerusalem’s Old City. We will be learning some ancient texts and yet they are new for us and they remain surprisingly relevant.

The bridge connects people to places and often to other people. Similarly, our Gesher experience is intended to connect us to our Jewish roots and to each other.

I am so excited to be sharing your Gesher year with you!  This is an especially important time in your life as you anticipate your Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  While I understand that some of you will be celebrating during this academic year and others will celebrate next fall, this is a very special time for you and your families.  

In recognition of Bar/Bat Mitzvah season, our Gesher experience will focus on the weekly Torah portion—Parashat HaShavua, Jewish Life Cycle (with expert guest speakers) and an overview of the Prophets.  We will also explore a bit of the Mishna through the study of some verses from Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Sages) and we will spend some time exploring the siddur, looking at the structure of the traditional Jewish prayer service and focusing on the Amidah prayer.

Our goal is to enhance your understanding and to make this special time even more personally meaningful for you as you celebrate your own life cycle event and that of other bnei mitzvah too.

In addition to our learning together we will select a class mitzvah project.  Please think about what WE can do to be of service. And as the eldest class in our religious school, you will be the role models for younger students and have opportunities for leadership.

Get ready to think, to explore, to question and wonder, to act (in parasha plays), to create, and to make connections– building bridges of understanding, attachment and personal meaning.

This is an artist’s depiction of Hillel’s famous phrase from Pirkei Avot (1: 14):
If I am not for myself,
who will be for me?

If I am for myself only, what am I?

If not now,

I wonder how this image touches you.

I’m looking forward to a magnificent year with you!

HaMorah Margalit
(aka Gretchen Marks Brandt)