Growing Kehilat Gesher

By: Amy Pernick, Director of Admissions

The late-winter and early-spring seasons are exceptionally busy times for the Gesher JDS admissions office as new applications are coming in, classroom visits for prospective students are scheduled and faculty are given the first opportunity to meet the new students eager to join our Kehilat Gesher (Gesher Community) next year.

While this is my first year working with the Gesher JDS team and families, I have over a decade of experience working with prospective families who are seeking out the best fit school for their child and their family. It is such an honor and a pleasure to work with the amazing families who seek out Gesher as their school of choice. I am continually impressed by both the incredible diversity of our families and at the common vision they share for their children. This vision emphasizes an outstanding education anchored in Jewish values that enables our children to grow into adults engaged in healthy relationships, creative and meaningful work, ethical leadership, and communal involvement.

Learning about the achievements of our alumni and having the opportunity to meet many of them has been a special honor. Our alumni are doing amazing things in the world. For example, in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) Gesher alumni are making an impact; Eliah Shamir, MD Ph.D (class of 1998) researches breast cancer and how it spreads. She is an award winning Pathologist, Molecular Biologist, Biomedical Engineer Pathology Resident at the University of California in San Francisco. Eran Brown (Class of 2007) graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in 2011. Eran earned a B.S. in Bioengineering from Penn State University. He is currently working on his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Oregon Health and Science University. He plans to enter a career in Biomedical Engineering. Danny Ackerman (Class of 2003) attended the University of Michigan where he majored in Economics and Political Science. Danny has spent his career at Oak Hill Advisors in Manhattan, where he focuses on making investments in software and technology companies. Nessyah Buder (Class of 2000) received a Bachelor of Music in music education and saxophone performance from Northwestern University (2011), a Master’s of Music in Ethnomusicology from the University of Miami (2013), and a Doctor of Musical Arts in saxophone performance from Shenandoah Conservatory (2016). Nessyah was recently accepted into a PhD program in Musicology at the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. Rachel Prunier, Ph.D (Class of 1993) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences at Western Connecticut State University. She uses genetic and field-based tools to study the role of ecology in the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity.

The love of learning, fostering curiosity, exploration, and critical thinking, it started here at Gesher JDS! In the spirit of STEAM, I hope you and your families will all join us for STEAM Day 2020 Destination: Innovation being held at Gesher JDS from 3:00PM – 5:00PM this Sunday, Jan. 26th. We are proud to share that we have over 200 from around the community registered for this event!

This year, Gesher not only prepares to welcome new students and families, but a new leader as well. Gesher faculty and staff were delighted to learn that Ms. Aviva Walls has been selected as the new Head of School beginning this July. Bringing with her with a wealth of Day School administrative experience, a solid understanding of business and extensive admissions experience, Ms. Walls is exceptionally well-equipped to lead us forward into this exciting new chapter. As she has already made clear to our Gesher JDS team, she is eager to partner with each of us at the school and with each of you in the greater community to ensure the legacy of our founders continues to thrive into the next generation.

As we look towards the early spring, crocuses emerge and share their beauty with the world, leading the way for other flowers to bloom, the promise of these new families, students and school leadership are a signal that great things lay ahead for Kehilat Gesher. I am so grateful to be a part of this welcoming community.

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