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Our Program
We’re thrilled to pilot Gesher — an active, engaging, experiential program that feels like summer camp all year round. In Hebrew, “gesher” means bridge. We are connecting students to Jewish ideas, Jewish identities, and Jewish practices. We are rooting our learning in Jewish values and texts, concentrating on a range of Jewish themes, and focusing more on celebrating and living Judaism than learning about it out of context. Here it is in a nutshell:

 

  • Outdoor education on Sunday mornings in September and October
  • Monthly retreats on Sundays from November through April
  • Workshops and outings on Sunday mornings
  • Intergenerational Shabbat services on Saturday mornings
  • Shabbat dinners on Friday evenings
  • Holiday celebrations and services for children and families
  • Hebrew tutoring half an hour a week for grades 3-7

Guiding Questions for This Year's Learning

  • How do we create meaningful Jewish communities rooted in justice and equity?
  • How do we live out Jewish tradition’s insistence on debating important ideas grounded in Jewish texts?
  • How do we absorb the breadth of Jewish history, practice, and peoplehood while also cultivating our own particular Jewish identities?
  • How can Jewish ritual enrich our lives and give expression to the range of feelings we experience?

Retreats
The traditional every Sunday Hebrew school model helps students learn about Judaism. While that’s important, our retreats will provide an opportunity for students to live Judaism authentically with their community of peers and parents by: 

  • Participating in and creating Jewish rituals;
  • Forming bonds with other students through a camp-like experiential education program;
  • Celebrating Shabbat with their families and community; and 
  • Engaging in tikkun olam (repair of the world/social justice work) and gemilut chasadim (acts of kindness).

Sample Retreat Schedule

9:30-10:00 a.m. - Assembly (Singing and Torah Skits, parents welcome)

10:00-10:15 a.m. - Community-building and games
10:15-11:15 a.m. - Learning Block I: Activities on the retreat’s theme
11:15-12:00 p.m. - Lunch and song session with Motzi and Birkat Hamazon (blessings before and after a meal)
12:00-1:00 p.m. - Learning Block II: Activities on the retreat’s theme
1:00-1:15 p.m. - Break
1:15-2:00 p.m. - Breirot (multi-age choice activities such as art, drama, music, and gaga)
2:00-2:30 p.m. - Closing Circle (an opportunity to share our learning, parents welcome)

Locations
We've lined up some great locations including Penn Park in Madison, the Aldo Leopold Nature center in Monona, and Camp Shalom in Verona. Our overnight retreat will be held at the Perlstein Retreat Center near the Wisconsin Dells. These new locations will allow us  to do outdoor education, create a camp-like feel, and have an environment conducive to learning and being with each other.

Hebrew Tutoring
Students in grades 3-7 work with a tutor once a week for half an hour, a  total of 26 sessions. Seventh graders can opt out if they are working with a bnei mitzvah tutor. Most but not all sessions will be held on Zoom this year.

Covid Policies
Please read our Covid policies for Gesher. By registering in Gesher you commit to doing your part to following these guidelines.

More Questions?
We're sure you have more questions -- about COVID protocols, teachers' assistant program for teens, our Kesher program for 2-4 year-olds, parent participation, and more. Be in touch with Rabbi Laurie, Director of the Gesher Program.

Important Documents
Welcome Letter
Gesher calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun, September 26 2021 20 Tishrei 5782