Jewish Life & Learning

Students who come to Gann are choosing a Jewish school. For some, this may be the first time in their lives that they have been a part of a Jewish community where Judaism and Jewish culture are front and center. Others have grown up in Jewish communities, but are unfamiliar with the varieties of Jewish experience. Orthodox, Conservative or Reform—Gann may be their first experience being part of a community where there is so much diversity with respect to Jewish practice.

Jewish culture, traditions, history and practice are part of Gann. It’s in our DNA. It’s who we are as a school and gives us purpose.

We encourage students to think about what being Jewish means to them. How do they think about Jewish observance and culture? Where do they see themselves in relation to a community? Through rituals and traditions, through conversations and discussions, presentations and lectures, prayer or reflections, students take up the challenge of defining for themselves what values they will carry with them as adults.

More formal activities such as those described below are complemented by informal conversations—a chat with an advisor, a sleep-over at a friend’s house, a story shared with a classmate. What we have at Gann is a community that encourages mutual respect as well as curiosity and makes a place for the serious consideration of personal values, community values and life’s meaning and purpose.

How Gann Celebrates and Reflects on Jewish Life

List of 4 items.

  • Zeman Kodesh (Sacred Time)

    Gann is committed to starting every day as a community with Zeman Kodesh (sacred or separate time) dedicated to worship, religious practice spirituality. Tefilla (prayer) has been a critical component of Jewish life throughout the ages. As such, Gann Academy gives the opportunity to students to attend daily prayer services that are both educationally and spiritually meaningful. Through traditional and alternative Minyanim (prayer groups), students are able to personally and communally reflect on their lives beyond the normal academic routine.

    We offer diverse options for prayer where students and teachers of different backgrounds, commitments, and beliefs can fulfill their religious obligations and/or nurture their minds and souls in ways that are compelling to them. There are also school-wide communal tefillah. All students must attend a minyan (tefillah group) at least twice a week and have the option of attending tefillah two, three, four, or five times per week.

    Zman Kodesh Options for Freshmen

    Mechitza Minyan: A traditional prayer group where prayers are in Hebrew, men and women sit separately (divided by a mechitzah), and only men can lead services, read and be called to the Torah. 

    Traditional Egalitarian Minyan (Trad Egal):
    A traditional prayer group that is fully egalitarian between men and women. Seating is mixed and all prayers are said in Hebrew. Includes the full weekday Torah reading.

    Reform Minyan:
    Using the Reform prayer book, prayers are said in Hebrew or in English, often accompanied by guitar. Engages the Torah in a variety of ways, including discussion, art, and music.
  • Limud Clali (Communal Study)

    Limud Clali provides an opportunity for the entire Gann community to learn together. This weekly time takes many forms including grade level meetings to discuss teen issues, presentations by outside speakers and community blocks for students to meet with teachers and their peers. The richness of the student body and faculty enables these times to become meaningful and reflective.
  • Holiday Programming (Jewish Celebrations)

    Through our holiday programming we seek to celebrate and explore Jewish festivals within our mission as a pluralistic Jewish high school.

    Jewish festivals are a unique and integral part of Jewish life and learning. At Gann we observe many Jewish holidays, including Sukkot, Chanukah candle lightings, Purim festivities and a Yamim programming in the spring.
  • Shabbatonim (Sabbath Retreat)

    During the course of the academic year, Gann Academy sponsors many different Shabbatonim that reflect the diverse religious practice of our student body. Within a broad range of options, all students are certain to find a Shabbat experience that feels right to them.

    All students are required to attend a grade-level shabbaton during the school year. Students may also choose to attend Shabbatonim sponsored by the different clubs and communities at Gann Academy.

    The goal of this program is to expose students to a wide range of Shabbat experiences and to allow students to participate in these experiences in the company of their friends and peers as they choose. Shabbatonim serves to broaden the horizons of our students, deepen friendships and build community.

Israel Term

Want to spend three months of your junior year learning and living in Israel with your classmates? If so, check out our Israel Term.

Chanoch LaNa’ar

Gann's innovative Chanoch LaNa’ar program provides a framework for character education and the development of a meaningful Jewish identity.

Talk to us!

Contact Matt Conti, Chair of Jewish Life, if you have any questions about Jewish Life at Gann. 
  • 333 Forest Street
  • Waltham, MA 02452
  • P: 781.642.6800
  • F: 781.642.6805