Project Gesher Chai Schools: Summary
Since July 1997, Gesher Chai has been building living bridges between schools in Jewish Communities in Montreal, Beer Sheva, and B’nei Shimon.
With the involvement of the Jewish Agency, Board of Education, Municipalities of Beer Sheva and B’nei Shimon, and the Canadian Federation, this project has expanded over the years and currently fosters partnerships between 14 schools in Israel and Canada. (9 elementary schools and 5 high schools) This includes 1000 students, 100 teachers, as well as parents.
The goals of the connections within Gesher Chai are to strengthen Jewish identity, build bonds with Israel and the Jewish nation, and form solid relationships between Jewish communities on both personal and professional bases.
The connections between schools in the partnership are expressed in different ways and are suited to the programs built by teacher teams in linked schools. The programs are planned through meetings, phone calls, video conferencing, letters, and emails.
Throughout the school year the children are busy with projects based on the following topics:
- Jewish culture, tradition and history.
- Heritage, identity and pluralism.
- Lessons about Montreal and Canada.
- Trips and workshops.
These activies are led by Gesher Chai student trustees.
The activities are aimed at the formation of personal bonds between the students in Israel and Canada.
Learning that is relevant and significant comes through real life experiences—active and diverse. Gesher Chai’s program has been designed with this idea in mind; children learn from the activities and mostly from their own personal contributions to this unique project.
Our program is designed as a “spiral”—it continues and deepens over the years, from first grade to high school, it aims to fit the interests and needs of all ages. The project takes into consideration each school’s individuality and offers various modes of learning within each.
- Teacher delegations.
- Activities to help build relationships between staff members.
- Educational tours.
- Continuing educational programs.
- Routine staff meetings.
- Planning activities via web conferencing.
- Student delegations.
- Gesher Chai Leadership.
- Deepening personal and class-wide bonds.
- Communication via letters, meetings, email, video conferencing.
- Initiating and producing joint project materials including newspapers and exhibition.