Our seventh grade program is designed to help our students bridge the gap from being children in the Jewish community to being adults. In this spirit, the program is called Gesher, the Hebrew word for bridge. Our students spend this pivotal year developing their understanding of Judaism as a religion, community, and culture and begin to shape the next stage of their Jewish identities. The curriculum explores the themes of peoplehood, identity, sexuality and relationships, leadership, spirituality, and religious pluralism through a Jewish lens. In addition, students participate in monthly sessions of Rosh Chodesh: It’s a Girl Thing or Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood, where teens have an opportunity to reflect on their identities and their Judaism with an adult facilitator.
A significant part of the year is dedicated to the Sacred Choices program in which students have the opportunity to learn and discuss issues relating to relationships, their bodies, and sex and sexuality in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Trained educators help facilitate age-appropriate learning and growth that goes beyond the public school’s education to explore the spiritual and emotional elements involved in these issues. Utilizing lessons from the Our Whole Lives curriculum, students are preapred to make thoughtful and informed choices as young Jews.
We believe that seventh grade is a critical year in the development of identity both Jewish and otherwise. The Gesher program helps students and parents navigate what can be a challenging experience in a way that promotes love of Judaism, a sense of community, and healthy relationships.