Standing Together: The Gann Community’s Educational and Social-Action Initiatives in Solidarity with Israel  

The Gann community has been deeply impacted by the violent and baseless attacks on innocent children and civilians in Israel. This week, we have come together as a community to reflect, process, and express solidarity and support for Israel.

Many Gann students, families, faculty, and alumni rallied at Boston Common on Monday to show their support for Israel and demonstrate their commitment to the safety of all those affected. On Tuesday morning, memorial candles were provided in the lobby for community members to light in memory of the victims. Students and faculty then held a special ceremony to honor the men, women, and children lost over the weekend, showing our support for all individuals and families impacted by the attacks. The program included multiple student stories connected to family and friends in Israel and an address from an IDF officer sharing his perspective on the current state of Israel and his dedication to return to the IDF to fight, as he joined 360,000 reservists who were summoned to fight in Gaza.

On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, members of the Gann community gathered at Boston Logan Airport to thank and pray for local families and reservists heading to Tel Aviv. In an emotional send-off, Gann students provided care packages, homemade cards, and posters bearing messages of hope and strength for the Israeli forces.

During our community block this week, students were given the opportunity to “Serve the Moment” and engage in various activities to raise awareness. In the lobby, students could write letters to Israeli families and soldiers in either English or Hebrew, to be sent to Israel in the coming week. They also created posters to show their support for Israel, either to take home, display around Gann, or use at an upcoming rally. Additionally, they wrote to government officials in response to the request from the relatives of the Israelis held hostage by Hamas, urging the North American Jewish community to pressure the United States Government to prioritize their release.

In our Beit Midrash, Simon Luxemburg facilitated a discussion focusing on volunteering and fundraising, planning future steps for the Gann community to support Israel and Israelis during this difficult time. Rav Dena Glasgow, Director of Jewish Education, held another discussion for students with questions about the current situation in Israel and to talk about integrating current events through educational programming at Gann.

At Gann, we take pride in being a safe space for all students, staff, and faculty, recognizing the importance of seeking solace in one another during these uncertain times. Throughout the week, our student support staff offered spaces for reflection, allowing all students to take time for processing. A dedicated moment during Mincha provided an opportunity for spiritual reflection through the reading of Tehillim (Psalms). Optional processing sessions during lunch, flex, and wellness blocks were made available for any student to share their feelings or thoughts regarding recent events.

Students who are looking to take action should stay tuned for more information regarding upcoming projects to support Israeli soldiers, those who are wounded, and the entirety of Israeli society as soon as the details of these projects are finalized and arranged.

We are initiating a series of ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions, where students will have the opportunity to explore and discuss a diverse array of topics. These discussions will largely focus on navigating our emotions surrounding the current war and the broader conflict, along with delving into the significant communal challenges and responsibilities we hold as a Jewish community. We will share more details as the planning for the sessions progresses.

As a community, we deeply value Gann’s connection to Israel and the relationships our community members hold with victims, Israeli soldiers, reservists, and the IDF. The commitment to embracing our Jewish history and culture lies at the heart of the Gann Academy mission, dedicated to educating and inspiring the next generation of Jewish leaders. This commitment involves seamlessly integrating the exploration of our Jewish identities, encompassing our history and the themes we delve into in Jewish Studies and our Hebrew Curriculum. We acknowledge the importance of standing in prayer and solidarity with Israelis and Jews worldwide during these challenging times.

Kol Yisrael arevim zeh l’zeh, “All Jews are responsible for each other.”

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