Being a part of Gesher gave me two keys that were crucial to helping me learn and grow in my avodas Hashem. First, Gesher is incorporated into Yeshivas Aish Hatorah, which means that Gesher talmidim get the opportunity to hear philosophical and scientific classes and seminars that help strengthen emunah and deal with the questions we've always been too afraid to ask. Second, the rebbeim at Gesher are the "best in the business". The rebbeim at Gesher teach talmidim do develop a real passion and love for learning Torah.
After leaving Gesher, I came to Yeshiva University where I'm working on a business degree at the same time as learning Torah in a yeshiva environment.
Even though I left Gesher, I've come back to the yeshiva during my school breaks to take advantage of the amazing learning environment that Aish offers. In addition, I'm in touch with my Gesher rebbeim on a regular basis.
New York, 2014-15
The time I spent at Gesher was extremely transformative and impactful. Being in the holy Old City was extremely conducive towards my personal growth and development. Additionally, I loved that the learning at Gesher was both serious and enjoyable. However, hands down, the best part of Gesher for me was the warm Rebbeim. They truly made me feel like my life and growth mattered to them. Having their support and encouragement was extremely empowering.
After Gesher I started University at Baruch College in New York City. Currently, I am a senior at Baruch, and work part time for National NCSY. Additionally, I am a New England NCSY advisor, specifically for Providence, Rhode Island.
Since I left Gesher, I have stayed in touch with the Rebbeim. Whether it is a message before Shabbos, or a long phone conversation, the Rebbeim I had gotten close to have kept in touch. If I ever have a question, whether it be halachic or for general guidance in life, the Rebbeim are always there for me.
Whenever I visit Israel I always make sure to stop by Aish to see old friends and the Rebbeim.
There were so many elements of both my character and my Judaism that were developed during my time at Gesher. Not only did I garner a more mature outlook on life and my goals for the future, but I was also gifted the answers to all my Jewish philosophical questions as well as the opportunity to truly enjoy the world of Jewish textual learning. Gesher also gave me the confidence, skills and opportunities to teach and spread Torah around the world. In short, Gesher changed my life for the better and gave me the tools to live a healthy, balanced Jewish life.
I currently study Computer Science at University College London (UCL) during the day and do my best to engage in either Torah learning or teaching in my spare time. Gesher made Torah a pleasure, not a chore. Gesher also gave me the leadership skills and drive to be involved with the Jewish student Society at UCL, helping and assisting Jews from all walks of life.
My connections to Gesher are still plentiful. I try to learn with my Rabbi (Rabbi Hershman) every week over Skype and he’s always there to lend a listening ear or share a good piece of advice. He is like a second father to me! I regularly message my friends from around the world and we keep in touch, always on the lookout for the next reunion.
St. Louis, 2013-14
My year at Gesher was truly life-changing. I made lifelong connections with rebbeim and friends that I know will be there for me through everything. I developed a much deeper appreciation for and experienced enjoyment in Judaism as a whole. I learned the importance of asking penetrating questions in all areas of life.
Since my year at Gesher I spent two years at a different yeshiva called Tehilas Shlomo. From there I joined Lander College for Men where I’m currently learning and getting a degree in computer science. One of my close friends, who I met on Gesher, introduced me to my amazing wife.
I do my best to stay connected to Gesher as much as possible. I made strong connections with so many people. Rabbi Rosman, Rabbi Lock and Rabbi Riber all play instrumental roles in my life. They continue to teach me even though I’m across the world. I continue to get advice from them in all areas of life from dating/marriage to college/parnasa. I don't know what I would do without my rebbeim. After all the help he gave me, Rabbi Rosman was so kind as to make sure to be in America for my wedding and be my m'sader kiddushin. This past winter I went to England and spent a shabbos with Rabbi Fine. I maintain a close relationship with my eim bayis Mrs. Deutsch. The friendships that I forged at Gesher are growing stronger each year.
So much of who I am is due to my time in Gesher. And I thank G-d every day I ended up there for a year.
Words fail to do justice to explain the amount I owe to Gesher. Every day of my experience was filled with meaningful content that continues to enhance my life to this day. My Jewish journey through life will be infinitely enhanced because of my experience on the program. The Rabbis are both inspiring and down to earth. The location is unbeatable. And I have made friends for life on the program.
After I left Gesher I went to college in London and towards the end, with the inspiration and commitment to the Jewish Poeple impressed within me in Gesher, decided it was time for Jewish outreach to blast into the social media world. I launched J-TV: The Global Jewish Channel – an online Jewish channel which provides content that aims to inspire positive Jewish identity. We do content on Jewish wisdom, current affairs, entertainment and more. Check out a short highlights video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZzozdTdKCU
I am still in regular contact with both Rabbis and friends I made on the Gesher program. These connections continue to enhance my Jewish life – day in, day out, to this day.