Be strong, be strong, and we shall strengthen one another.

By Philip Blumenthal President, Gesher JDS Board of Trustees


Gesher community,

These are trying times. The entire world is enduring challenges and pressures that most of us could never have imagined. All of us have seen significant disruption to our routines, while many of us are concerned about the health of loved ones and the potential impact of economic uncertainty. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this new reality is its unpredictability: things are changing around us so rapidly that it consumes most of our energy just trying to keep up.

In the face of all of this, Gesher has mobilized to maintain a sense of stability for our students. I could not be more proud of the way that our professional team has adapted to our remote learning model. We had very little time to prepare for this transition and it required adaptability on the part of everyone – our teachers, our administrators, our students, and our parents. It will require continued patience and flexibility, but there is a powerful force urging us on through this time: mutual caring for one another as a community. We are all deeply invested in the success of Gesher’s students and we will overcome tremendous hurdles to sustain it.

Within my own house (where I’m spending all of my time these days) it is comforting to hear the sounds of Gesher classroom activities via Google Classroom. I know that my children are learning, staying connected, and having fun.

While our professionals’ pivot to remote teaching has been nothing less than spectacular, these are also trying times for Gesher. We are suddenly faced with new pressures and realities. We are managing and supporting a remote workforce, many of whom are dealing with their own family care situations. We are continuing to showcase Gesher’s best without being able to offer prospective families a tour of our beautiful campus. Our teachers and staff members are working extremely hard, absent the esprit de corps that comes from being together. On a more pragmatic level, our ongoing expenses remain virtually unchanged while our income from facility rentals and in-person events has ceased. And under the governance of our dedicated Board of Trustees, we are attempting to chart a solid path forward for Gesher into a future that is highly uncertain and evolving by the hour.

Despite all of these challenges, I am buoyed by the remarkable resilience of our community. The dedication of our faculty, always apparent in the halls of Gesher, is even more so when it’s amplified through electronic devices within our homes. 

Our community will be tested over the coming weeks. We must continue to adapt, to be resilient, to support one another. As we each struggle with a new temporary reality, I ask for your patience and flexibility in recognition that all of us — volunteers, teachers, administrators, parents, students — are facing similar challenges. I cannot predict what the future will hold, but I’m certain that it will be brighter if we continue to care for one another and act as a loving community. We need each other more than ever, and I’m extremely grateful to count you among the members of the Gesher family.

I can’t think of words more befitting our situation than the traditional recitation when we conclude the reading of a Sefer Torah, as we did with the book of Sh’mot (Exodus) last week:

חזק, חזק, ונתחזק

Be strong, be strong, and we shall strengthen one another.