23 Sep Gesher

On Wednesday evening our community came together for our annual curriculum night and I was pleased to share the following story with all of our families and it feels like just the right story to share with all of you as well.

This past Monday morning I was on my way down the hall, heading to the Middle School Minyan, where we were gathering to celebrate Ben Z.’s bar mitzvah. I passed the gan cubbies in the hall, and noticed Neva and Ari. Neva is a gan student, starting only her ninth day at Schechter Manhattan, and Ari is an eighth grader.  Ari was helping Neva put away her things at her cubby. I wondered for a moment why Ari was doing that, and then I realized that Neva and Ari are in a gesher shevet together, along with Ben, the bar mitzvah boy. Since members of the gesher group join each bar or bat mitzvahservice of the students in their group, Ari had come up the hall to show Neva the way to the minyan. I watched them walk there together and later join with the rest of the community in dancing around the ulam while singing siman tov umazal tov.

Gesher is a very special program at Schechter Manhattan, in which the entire student body is divided into cross grade tribes or shvatim. Our shvatim gather during the gesher programs every few weeks to connect, build community, learn and share holidays. Neva met Ari at the first gesher meeting of this year, last Friday. When they joined together for their first gesher group of the year they greeted old friends and welcomed new ones. They played getting-to-know-you games and worked together on a joint art project, tracing their hands and coloring the names of their respective shvatim.  So after just one session of gesher, by Monday morning, Ari and Neva  knew each other.

I am so pleased that I happened upon that moment at the gan cubbies. I saw the students enacting the mission of our school, “engaging, supporting and challenging one another as members of a collaborative, caring community”. The eighth grader was building responsibility and empathy by helping and caring for a younger student. And the new kindergarten student was sent the critical message that she is cared about, by the older student and the larger community she has joined. I believe that both students are well served through this learning experience as they build the skills and dispositions to be caring and respectful members of our school community and the communities that they will join later in their lives. I carried the special moment into t’filah with me and it made the bar mitzvah celebration even sweeter.

Benjamin Mann

Author’s Chair

Each week we will feature the written work of our students. We hope that you will stop by every week and see what they are writing and thinking about.



Gan has just begun the process of putting their ideas into words on paper. Here are some samples of their work.


Drew a picture of a smiley face and the classroom.  Wrote the word “HAPPY”


Drew a picture of a sun and several people. Wrote “MEEN MI FENALE” (Me and my family.)


Drew many circles with his pencil.  Wrote “TNDO” (tornado)


Kitah Bet

Kitah Bet has been practicing generating a topic and matching supporting sentences. In this exercise students were asked to write about a person they love. Here are a few examples of students’ work.

Click here to read work by Liat, Raphie D., Eliya, and Gail.


Kitah Dalet

Kitah Dalet has been working on brainstorming ideas in writing in the form of lists that will become seeds for our stories.

Click here to read work by Sarah, Yadin, Arielle, David, Simon, and Abby.