CAARS Gesher 7th Grade

Introducing CAARS Gesher (“Bridge”)

B’nei Mitzvah is an important Jewish milestone on a path of lifelong Jewish learning and living. This celebration is part of the transition between childhood and young adulthood, and our CAARS Gesher (“Bridge”) program is designed to create meaning and strengthen community for our students as they make their way into the world as a Jewish adult. 

Learners on this journey are immersed in: a sense of sacred time, being an integral member of the Jewish community, being loved and cherished by one’s clergy and educators, answering the call to participate with “Hineini – Here I Am,” and of having a place of leadership within the Jewish community, well beyond becoming b’nei mitzvah. 

Our Shabbat-based, Saturday morning, model supports learners as they become curious about, engaged in, and skillful in Judaism, as well as supporting one another as they become b’nei mitzvah.


  1. Sharing in sacred time together while building a cohort of learners, strengthening bonds and building relationships between students and among families.
  2. Exploring students’ personal relationship with Judaism by engaging in study of theology, Jewish leadership models, rabbinic literature, and social/emotional reflections coming into Jewish adulthood.
  3. Developing a love of celebrating Shabbat in community by experiencing Shabbat through tefillah, learning, singing, and eating. Expanding ritual life skills and acquiring the ability to lead and fully participate in prayer and Shabbat celebration.
  4. Engaging in rich opportunities to study with our clergy and educators in our community who are rooted in their own personal Jewish practice.

  Essential Questions:

  • What does it mean to be part of a Jewish community?
  • What is Prayer? Why Pray?
  • What do I believe about God?
  • What can Jewish text teach me about myself?

What is CAARS Gesher?

CAARS Gesher meets on Saturday mornings, 7th grade students will only attend on Saturday and will not have any Sunday class.  Gesher begins at 11:00 AM Saturday morning and continues through kiddush lunch, ending at 1:15 PM. Six times over the course of the year, Gesher students will choose a Shabbat morning to arrive by 10:15 AM to experience the entire Torah service. We invite families to arrive at 10:15 AM on week’s when members of the CAARS Gesher 7th grade cohort will celebrate becoming B’nei Mitzvah.

Our 11:00 start time is founded on the idea of a consistent start time balanced with flexibility.
This will enable:

  • Regular attendance and participation with minimal confusion
  • Families to take their own personal scheduling needs into account 
  • Respect of the flow and atmosphere of our sanctuary services, avoiding a mass exodus at 10:55am of an entire class
  • Honoring the time commitment of our students who will be learning through kiddush lunch (assuming it is safe to do so) as a part of this experience, ending at 1:15pm.
  • Being present to support and to celebrate each other as they become B’nei Miztvah!

This opportunity to experience services, and not only study their contents, will root their learning in our larger community and context as they prepare to become b’nei mitzvah.

Format of Learning:

There will be three types of learning that will happen during CAARS Gesher:
1) Text Study =  Gesher cohort Text Study, followed by kiddush lunch and benching
2) Online Torah Service =  Join online to practice and master Shabbat morning tefillah
3) Table Talk = Participate in services, hear the D’var Torah, and join the class for learning around the kiddush lunch table with a variety of teachers from our community. 

Proposed Calendar of Dates for CAARS Gesher 5782 | 2021 – 2022:

9/18 Online Torah Service
9/25 Table Talk
10/2 Online Torah Service
10/9 Text Study
10/16 Table Talk
10/23 Table Talk
10/30 Table Talk
11/6 Table Talk
11/13 Text Study

12/4 Text Study
12/11 Table Talk
1/15 Table Talk
1/22 Text Study
1/29 Text Study
2/5 Online Torah Service
2/12 Text Study
2/19 Table Talk
2/26 Table Talk

3/5 Text Study
3/26 Table Talk
4/2 Table Talk
4/9 Text Study
4/30 Text Study
5/7 Table Talk
5/14 Text Study

7th grade CAARS Gesher students who are looking to extend their learning even further are welcome to join one the electives offered in our jtx teen program. Electives will take place in-person on Sunday afternoons or online at other times as yet to be determined. Elective options for the 2021 – 2022 school year will be available later this summer. Please speak with Adra Lustig, Director of Education, if you are interested in this option.