On Thursday, Dec. 7,while area Jewish preschools were closed for professional development, Gesher Jewish Day School (JDS) hosted its own special party; a community-wide preschool concert. Dan Finkel, Gesher JDS head of school said, “The concert captures a piece of Gesher’s mission, and Gesher’s heart and soul by creating an engaging opportunity for children and families from across the community to connect around Judaism, learning, and fun.”
As families arrived, they were welcomed by Gesher Middle School students, for whom the opportunity to engage in hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests) was a way to directly engage in an expression of the Jewish values we teach at school. The Gesher Gan (Kindergarten) opened the event with “Shalom Lachem,” a welcome song, and then handed the stage over to local musicians,Zig and Zug.
Zig (also known as Bobby Beetcut) and Zug (Mat Tonti, a rabbi and music teacher at Gesher) are good friends from childhood and have wonderful musical chemistry. They bring together Jewish songs, American children’s songs, dancing and movement, and ruach (spirit) in a seamless array of play and soul.
The event reached families from Jewish preschools across Northern Virginia, including families from Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Reston, Herndon, Leesburg, Ashburn, Gainesville, Manassas, and all points in between.
Erica Silverstein, a Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia preschool parent said, “This is one of my favorite events of the year with my daughter! This is our second year attending the Gesher preschool concert. Parents really appreciate having a well-planned and fun activity for the kids to do on their day off, and as an added bonus, all the dancing and movement helps guarantee a nap when we get home!”
Following the concert, families were invited to tour Gesher and to enjoy the free exploration time in the Gesher library. Parents snuggled up on the signature purple couches to delight in some quiet story time with the kids. It made for a perfect ending to the morning.
Gesher JDS is proud to provide this annual concert as a service for area Jewish preschool families during a day when those preschools are closed. This creates an opportunity for community building and outreach, and for many families, it is their first time walking through the halls of Gesher. We hope they walk away feeling inspired and joyful about Gesher, the Jewish Day School experience, and Jewish life in Northern Virginia.
By Jennifer Scher
Jennifer A. Scher is director of development at Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Virginia.