October 25, 2020 |

Grade 7 – Gesher Update

Posted on September 19, 2016

Gesher is amazing! 

Since this is the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year for our 7thgrade students, the curriculum is designed to connect them to the texts and events linked to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience.  Today, the Gesher experience was presented including:
  • Parashat HaShavua (weekly Torah portion)
  • Meet the Prophets
  • Jewish life cycle
  • Excerpts from Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Sages)
  • Gesher class mitzvah/community service project
  • Attendance at Thursday morning minyan
  • Being leaders/role models for younger students
Students suggested ideas for their class mitzvah project:
  • Helping in TI classrooms
  • Picking up trash around the grounds at Temple Israel
  • Providing treats and stuff for animals at local shelters
  • Creating a campaign for toilet paper collection at TI (did you know that TI is responsible for collecting 40, 4-roll packages of toilet paper each month for the food pantry at JF&CS?)
  • Making food for donation to local food pantries/soup kitchens
  • Having a crafts sale and donating the proceeds
  • Having a carnival and donating the proceeds
Today, Gesherstudents brainstormed their own lists of Jewish lifecycle events.  This group stressed the ‘firsts’: first word, first steps, first book, first birthday, first day of school, first time putting on Teffilin, first date, first job, first car, first house…
We looked at the list formulated by the rabbis in Pirkei Avot (5:21) and discussed the first line in depth:  At 5 years of age, the Torah.  Students thought back to when they were five and shared their experiences of Torah at that age such as Noah’s ark toys, eating an apple at an apple orchard because “the snake told me to do it!” and saying the Shema with their parents. Indeed, they became engaged in age-appropriate Torah study at age five (or even before!)
We began a discussion about the prophets noting that prophets had special relationships with G-d and acted as G-d’s emissaries often telling people things that they did not wish to hear which resulted in making the prophet rather unpopular.
We ended our morning by joining the 6th grade discussion about head coverings during prayer.   Students designed and painted their own suede kippot for use during our Sunday morning services.

On Tuesday, each Gesherstudent will select a set of Tefillinfor his/her use during Thursday and Sunday morning Tefillah.  If your child made a tallit last year, please send it with him/her on Tuesday.  The Tallit and Tefillin will be stored in a special Gesher box for easy access during this school year.

Gretchen Marks Brandt