May 26, 2024 |


Posted on September 10, 2017

Dear Gesher families,
Gesher is the Hebrew word for bridge.  Bridges connect people and places. Our Gesher experience seeks to navigate the divide between Jewish childhood and the rights and responsibilities of a Jewish adult.  You will find that Sundays are packed with Jewish learning and opportunities for creativity and fun.  Our fundamental behavioral expectation is KINDESS and RESPECT at all times.
Leadership:  On Sundays, Gesher students, the eldest students in our school, will be leaders and role models. We will partner with Natick Service Council to provide Thanksgiving dinner for 8 families and coordinate that project within our school.  We will also continue the work of last year’s Gesher class developing awareness in the Temple Israel community of our monthly toilet paper obligation for JF & CS Family Table. And we will be leaders and role models in our Sunday morning Tefillah by modeling tefillahbehaviors, being on task and encouraging others to do so as well, sometimes leading prayers and sometimes delegating leadership opportunities.
Jewish Life Cycle:  During the Gesher year, most Gesher families are anticipating B’nei Mitzvah celebrations.  This is a significant, beautiful and exciting Jewish life cycle milestone and reminds us that Jewish life is punctuated by a number of milestone events.  We will learn about these events and have the privilege to hear about them from the experts. 
Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Sages, has been called theBartletts familiar Quotations of the Rabbis.  It is a fascinating window into rabbinic thinking and values from 2000 years ago.  We will learn a sampling of mishnayot(sayings) from this section of the Mishna and once we understand some traditional and modern interpretations, we will develop our own meanings and express them by creating videos using the i-movie trailer app on our i-pads.
Tefillah Our study of Jewish prayer will include developing skills to lead weekday tefillah and cultivating an understanding of the 19 blessings in the weekday Amidah.
Jewish holidays:  We will continue to explore the Jewish holidays building on the foundations gained in younger grades and developing more sophisticated understandings and experiences appropriate for teens.
There will be times when our Sunday session is devoted to projects from your mid-week learning with Katie Hamelburg.
There will be times when we meet with Bar Argaman, our Israeli Shin-shin, who will join our class to facilitate activities to strengthen our connections with the people and the land of Israel.
Homework:  Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation is the focus of your Gesher year.  I encourage daily practice.  Homework from our time together will be centered on our projects:  during the Thanksgiving dinner campaign, students will be expected to inform their parents and encourage them to send in foods and money.  Throughout the year, students are encouraged to increase awareness of our JF & CS Family Table obligation to collect 40 4-packs of toilet paper each month and to model the donation behavior as often as possible. 
What to bring every Sunday:  Please bring a WATER BOTTLE and kosher dairy or parave, nut-free, SNACK every Sunday. Since there are times when go outside, students must have jackets when the weather is below 60°.  Students should also bring a bag or backpack to carry water bottle and snack and to bring home notices, etc.
I’m looking forward to an amazing year learning, exploring, creating, experiencing and laughing with you!  See you on Sunday, September 17.
HaMorah Margalit(aka Gretchen Marks Brandt)