Gesher Aish HaTorah

Goal of the Program

To Empower our students with the inspiration, knowledge, tools and resources to continue

to live as great Jews and make a meaningful impact on the Jewish future..

The Aish HaTorah Gesher Program is dedicated to provide aspiring post high school students with a warm, inspiring and rigorous environment that will enrich their lives and bring out their potential. We guide our students to discover for themselves a deep passion for Torah, Judaism and the Jewish People. Our students should leave with the inspiration and tools to continue growing, learning and contributing to the Jewish future for the rest of their lives.

Hashkafa

Aish Gesher believes in the power of every Jew to lead a passionate Jewish life and become a dynamic contributor to the Jewish people and the world. We direct our students to be knowledgeable and confident about Judaism, in order to fulfill Am Yisrael’s directive of being an “ohr lagoyim”. Aish Gesher students learn to engage the world around them through the lens of Torat Chaim , that the Torah is Wisdom for Living.  Aish HaTorah philosophy classes elucidate Judaism’s truths and inspire toward a feeling that a Torah way of life is the best way of life.

Attitude towards Israel and Medinat Yisrael of Program

Aish Gesher recognizes the centrality of the State of Israel as part of the destiny of the Jewish people. Through lessons in Tanach, tours of archeological sites, trips throughout the land of Israel, and intensive courses in the history of Israel and the modern Middle East crisis, students become intimately familiar with the centrality of Israel throughout the history of the Jewish people. Coordinating with Aish HaTorah’s Hasbara Fellowships, Gesher students can receive training in confronting anti-Israel rhetoric and hostility on college campuses.

Attitude towards University Studies

Aish Gesher encourages students to continue on to university studies in an environment that will allow maintaining a strong Jewish lifestyle. Yeshiva University and other programs that allow a student to have significant time for learning, plus a respectable degree are highly encouraged. Students who will be heading to secular campuses are guided toward setting up a lifestyle on campus that will include regular davening, learning, Kashrut, and Shabbat observance.

Attitude towards Extracurricular Activities-

Aish Gesher places a strong stress on leadership and self-development. To this end, students are encouraged to develop their own talents and abilities in order to foster their own success, as well as their contributions to the Jewish community at large. Every week, leadership courses are followed by opportunities for volunteering throughout the Jerusalem area. These options include visiting hospitals, tutoring orphans, shopping for the elderly, and many other opportunities. In addition, worked into the schedule are occasional “Rebbe & Student sports afternoons” which allow for fun and meaningful bonding, as well as a healthy outlet. The yeshiva also has a workout gym, and there are nearby soccer and basketball courts available for student use during their free time.

Preparation for Post Israel-

Aish Gesher provides its students with a solid foundation of Halachic commitment and Torah values to greet the larger world with confidence and vision. Students develop a love of Torah to engender a life-long commitment to learning Torah. The Aish HaTorah philosophy classes lay a solid foundation for an understanding of Judaism that gives students the knowledge and confidence they will need to confront questions to their faith in the future. In addition, the yeshiva provides several sessions throughout the course of the year to help make students aware of the challenges they will face on university campuses and in the workforce. Rebbeim work closely with students all year, but particularly in addressing end-of-year transition issues, there is a lot of one-on-one counseling.

Aish Gesher stays in touch with alumni on a regular basis as well, answering questions and advising students in their next stage of life. The yeshiva is always happy for students to return and visit the yeshiva to “recharge their batteries”. There are several alumni gatherings a year when Rebbeim are in the US/UK.

The "Successful" Student-

The successful Aish Gesher graduate is committed to a life of learning Torah, keeping mitzvos, and giving to the Jewish community. He will be typified by a confidence in his Judaism and a passion in his dedication to Torah and Am Yisrael.

Dress

Aish Gesher students are expected to help promote a serious learning environment. Students should wear shirts with collars (polo shirts are fine), long pants, and closed shoes.

Guidance Personnel-

 Our 3:1 teacher-student ratio guarantees that students have personal guidance and attention that they need to grow in their learning skills and in their personal life. In necessary cases, the yeshiva has connections with reputable therapists to work with students.

Supervision

Security of our students is paramount. The Aish HaTorah buildings each have a security guard stationed at the entrance. In addition, the dorms and Beis Midrash buildings are locked to anyone other than staff and students.

Gesher students are supervised in the dormitories by trustworthy madrichim who are role-models for the students in their own right. There is a 12am curfew which is strictly enforced. Smoking, alcohol, or drugs are not allowed and are considered grounds for dismissal.

Curriculum

Makeup

The morning seder is focused on Gemara B’iyun, developing textual and analytical skills. A short Halacha seder starts off the morning.

The afternoon seder is based around Halacha B’iyun Chaburas, which give the students further grounding in Halachic authority. Examples include: Hilchos Shabbos, Hilchos Tefilla, Contemporary Halachic Issures, and Sefer HaChinuch. There is also a Chumash in-depth option.

Night Seder focuses on B’kius learning, covering ground in a particular masechta with a goal toward completing and making a siyum on an entire masechta over the course of the year.

Aish Philosophy courses cover topics such as:

  • How do we know there is a G-d?
  • How do we know Judaism is the TRUE religion?
  • How does man have free will if G-d knows the future?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • The World to Come

Courses Offered

Aish provides serious and enjoyable shiurim on all Torah topics at all levels. Whether Gemara, Halacha, Mussar , Philosophy, Tanach, Spirituality or Jewish History is desired, students can find shiurim and chavrusa learning to suit their needs.

 

Daily Schedule

7:45- Shachris

8:30 – 9:00- Breakfast

9:00- 11:00- Gemara and Halacha Seder               

11:00- 12:00- Morning Shiur and Mussar

12:10 – 1:00 Aish Essentials- Inspirational Jewish History, Discovery Seminar, Understanding Current Events, Growth through Torah, Practical Spirituality

OR 1 on 1 Chavrusas with Rebbaim

1:00 – 3:30          Lunch & Break

Optional: Ulpan

3:30        Aish Highlights- Proof of Judaism and Torah- Science and Torah, Leadership & Kiruv Training Seminar,      Intro to Jewish Philosophy,  Contemporary Philosophy

4:00    Moment of Inspiration followed by Mincha and announcements

4:20 – 6:30          Afternoon Seder Chaburas

6:30- 7:30            Dinner Break/Shnayim Mikra Seder

7:30                       Dinner 

8:00                        Maariv

8:15                        Older chavrusas and Gemara Bekiyus                                                                                          

Thursday- Afternoons:  Leadership & Kiruv Training Seminar

     Post Night Seder:  Mishmar

 

Language of Instruction

Classes are taught in English. Students who are looking to improve their Hebrew are encouraged to attend our famous Ulpan and/or ask for chavrusas with staff members in Hebrew.

Ulpan or Hebrew Class-

Our innovative and interactive Ulpan is world renowned for successfully teaching students Hebrew. These skills will help you become more comfortable in Israel as well as helping your reading and understanding Torah texts.

Assessment and Grading

Aish Gesher issues an official transcript to students who have earned credit appropriately. Full credit is given only to students with satisfactory attendance and participation in the program. Some students participate in optional tests given with incentives for extra study or review, however, no official tests or exams are part of the formal program.

 

Shana Bet

There is an official Shana Bet program, with a specialized Shana bet gemara shiur, as well as higher-level philosophy shiurim, and unique Shabbatonim. In addition, Shana bet students who are interested are able to take advantage of the many Aish HaTorah resources to enhance their own learning and leadership development on an individualized level. All shiurim, leadership training courses, and Aish speakers are accessible to the students.

In the past, approximately one-third to one-half of the students have stayed Shana Bet. Shana Bet is encouraged according to each student’s life situation regarding family, college, and learning ability.

Joint Program

Aish Gesher is an an official affiliate of Yeshiva University through the S. Daniel Abraham Joint Israel Program.

Staff

Aish has direct access to some of the most sought after and inspiring Torah lecturers in the entire world. These world-famous teachers are accessible daily to the Gesher students. Gesher students have often enjoyed Shabbos meals at their homes as well!

Rabbi Steve Burg – CEO Aish HaTorah

Rabbi Dovid Rosman- Director of Yeshiva Aish HaTorah

Rabbi Nachman Elsant- Educational Director

Rabbi Ephy Greene – Mashgiach/Director of Admissions

Rabbi Yoni Miller -  Director of Programming

Rabbi Reu Berman – Night Seder Mashgiach

Rabbi Gavriel Friedman

Rabbi Chaim Yagoda

Rabbi Yonason Caller

Rabbi Aryeh Bruekheimer

Rabbi Micha Sklar

Rabbi Moshe Chaime Eade

Rabbi Binyamin Wolff

Rabbi Dovid Mintz

Rabbi Moshe Zeldman

Rabbi Ken Spiro

Rabbi Moti Berger

Rabbi Ari Wasserman

Rabbi Dov Ber Cohen

Rabbi Yom Tov Glaser

Dr. Gerald Schroeder

Rabbi Eric Coopersmith

Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith

Mr. Patrick Amar

Rabbi Dovid Schoonmaker

Rabbi Aaron Neckamyer

Rabbi Asher Resnick

Rabbi Eliezer Blatt

Rabbi Dovid Warmen

Rabbi Menashe Rosen

Rabbi Yosef Hershman

Mrs. Rivka Deutsch – Eim Bayit

Extra-Curricular Activities

Interaction with Israel-

Through our Leadership & Chesed programs students engage in Israeli society and participate in various acts of kindness on behalf of Israel's needy and victims of terror. By giving back to Israeli society and making Israel a better place, our students identify with the needs of Israel and deeply connect with Israel today.

Living in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, gives the students an appreciation and first-hand experience of interacting with native Israelis. Students help local residents build their Sukkot, help elderly residents with shopping, etc. Often, families from the Jewish Quarter neighborhood welcome our students for Shabbat meals. The feeling that one is at the epicenter of spirituality is inescapable.

 

Special Informal programs

  • Every Thursday night there is Mishmar in the yeshiva. This program includes extra learning until late at night, accompanied by delicious food and often music and dancing. This spiritual atmosphere gives a feeling of climax to the week’s learning and sets a wonderful tone to go into Shabbos.
  • Yemei Iyun are offered preceding many holidays throughout the year in order to familiarize the students with the Halachic, Historical, and Spiritual significance of the Holiday. Guest speakers are often included in this program, exposing students to some of the great Torah personalities of our time (aside from the ones in Aish HaTorah).
  • Guest speakers are common in Aish HaTorah. Our location and the prestige of the yeshiva makes it a place that great personalities are drawn toward. There is always a thirsty audience, as well. Speakers have included: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Eitan Feiner, Rabbi Dr. Dovid Lieberman, Charlie Harary, Saul Blinkoff, as well as Roshei Yeshiva and Mashgichim from Yeshiva University, Lander’s College, HTC, and other yeshivot.
  • Musical Events such as Kumsitz’s and Chagigot are common in Aish HaTorah throughout the schedule of the year. Whether a Simchas Beis Shoeva chagiga on Sukkos, or a Tu B’shvat Seder Kumsitz, we enjoy singing and bonding together .

 

Sports Facilities

Basketball and Soccer facilities are located close by in Jerusalem parks. There are foosball and ping pong tables in the dorms and a fully equipped workout room on campus.

 

Programming for Shabbat and Yom Tov

There are 4 types of Shabbatot in Gesher. On an “In Shabbos” students are expected to stay in Yeshiva for an awesome, inspiring, and ruach-filled Old City Shabbos experience with special programming with the rest of Aish HaTorah. On an “Optional Shabbos” students have the option to choose to go visit friends or family or they can stay in Yeshiva where meals are provided. On an “Out Shabbos” the Yeshiva is open but the dining room is closed; students can go spend Shabbos with friends and family or they can stay in Yeshiva and eat meals at their Aish Rebbeim or other local hosts. On a “Gesher Shabbaton” students join the Gesher program for an exciting shabbaton somewhere in Israel. We take responsibility to make sure that the student is taken care of every Shabbos.

Field Trips

Our amazing trips all over Israel are fun-filled and relaxing. Activities like rafting, hiking and jeeping provide much-appreciated fun and recreation. On these trips, students develop a personal connection to the land of Israel and their Jewish Heritage. Trips also serve as educational tools to give students outdoor and hands-on learning experiences. Tiyulim are also great opportunities for our Rabbis and students to bond in a fun environment.

Eligibility

Aish Gesher enrollment is open to any Jewish boy finishing high school who is looking to grow in learning and appreciating Torah and Judaism.

Level of Learning Offered- From Beginner to Advanced

Students will find a vast breadth of learning levels in Aish Gesher. Whether a novice learner, who is still working on deciphering a Hebrew text, or an advanced learner, ready to delve into Chakiras in the Achronim, the shiurim span a wide spectrum of skill-levels.

Hebrew Knowledge Required

Students should be proficient in reading Hebrew.

Religious Observance Required

Students are expected to be Shomer Shabbat, Kashrut, etc. on the program.

Population

Approximately three quarters of the student body are graduates of yeshiva high schools throughout the US and England. About a quarter of the students attended public schools and have become religious with their families, or through organizations like Ncsy, Aish HaTorah, etc.

Overall Number of Students (Kollel, Israeli, Foreign)

There are approximately 40 Kollel students, 35 students from France and Latin America, 80 students in the Beis Midrash and Intermediate programs, and approximately 50-60 in the Gesher program.

Foreign Student Percentage (see above)

Number of 1st Year American Students 

Currently 44

Number of 2nd Year American Students

Approximately 10-15

Other Nationalities (see above)

Number of Students per Class

Gemara  and Halacha classes are kept to a smaller number of about 8-12 students per class to maintain personal guidance for each student. Other lectures can be for larger groups.

Accommodations

The dormitories are located about a 3 minute walk from the Beis Medrash buildings, in a secure area of the Jewish quarter. Students share rooms for 4 people each (most rooms) with each student given a bed and closet. The facilities are cleaned daily. Washing machine and dryer are available in the dormitory. (There is a weekly laundry service as well.) Students have access to the dormitory roof which has a beautiful view of Har HaZeitim and the Southern Wall.

Living Quarters (see above)

Availability of Private Kitchen Facilities

A small kitchenette is available in the dormitory. All meals are provided by the yeshiva, including vegetarian options.

Facility use during Shabbat and Yom Tov

Students can always stay in the dorms and meals are provided by the Yeshiva even during vacation. On the few days that the kitchen is closed (like the first day of Yom Tov of Pesach) we take responsibility to assist students to find meals at their Aish Rabbis or other hosts.

Curfew

12:00 AM

Security Arrangements

We coordinate our protocols with the police in the old city. We follow whatever security precautions they recommend.

History

Aish HaTorah is a Jewish outreach organization started in Jerusalem by Rabbi Noah Weinberg z"l in 1974. Aish HaTorah's goal is to revitalize the Jewish people by providing opportunities for Jews of all backgrounds to deepen their connection to their heritage in an atmosphere of open inquiry and mutual respect. Aish HaTorah is regarded as a world leader in creative Jewish educational programs and leadership training.

Accrediting Universities

We have an official joint program with YU

Tuition

The tuition amount for 2017 is $24,000

Additional Information

Contact Information

gesher@aish.edu

Israel Office

Aish HaTorah – Gesher Program

POB 14149

Old City, Jerusalem

Phone: 073 229 3400

Email: gesher@aish.edu

Website: www.aishgesher.com