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What Is the Gesher Campaign?


Gesher is Hebrew for “bridge.” 


The Federation’s Israeli Emissary Program serves as a living bridge, connecting the Upper Fairfield Jewish community to our extended Jewish family in Israel by bringing recent high-school graduates from Israel each year to serve in our community, teaching in religious schools, working with area organizations, and bonding with families and people of all ages.


This Israeli Young Emissary Program, which today functions across the world with more than 200 young "ambassadors," started 20 years ago as a collaborative pilot program here in Upper Fairfield County with the Jewish Agency For Israel. Simply put, the Federation Israeli Emissary Program is our community’s gift to the Jewish world. 


The Gesher Campaign aims to raise $500,000 in five-year pledges, building a bridge to ensure that our Federation’s Israeli Emissary Program is sustained through its 25th year.


Why Support the Gesher Campaign?


The Federation Israeli Emissary Program is the crown jewel of our communal programming. In a community without a Jewish Community Center, the Emissary program serves as our virtual JCC, as no single program makes a difference for more members of our Jewish community, and in particular, our children. We must ensure that this jewel is sustained in order to impact future generations of children, teens, and community-members of all ages.


  • Our Emissaries serve each year in 11 congregational religious schools, seven nursery schools, three Jewish supplemental high school programs, Jewish Senior Services, Circle of Friends, the Kesher Project, Fairfield University, 10 public high schools, the Westport Library, local youth groups, and many more programs and locations.

  • Each month, our Emissaries come face-to-face with more than 1,200 community-members at 27 locations; and each year, 12 different families serve as Emissary hosts, fostering many powerful lifelong connections.

  • The Emissary program powerfully serves to give a human face to Israel for our secular community at a time when antisemitism and anti-Zionism are prevalent through the world.

  • The Emissary program creates a vital living bridge with Israel, linking our community to our Jewish Agency For Israel partnership region of Afula-Gilboa. Countless members of our community, including many Emissary host families, have visited the region to meet with past Emissaries and meet our local beneficiary partners.


How to Support the Gesher Campaign


Our goal is to sustain the Federation Israeli Emissary Program through its 25th year by raising $500,000 to provide $100,000 in support for the Emissary program for each of the next five years. To that end, the Federation is seeking five-year pledges to the Gesher Campaign. The minimum suggested pledge level for this campaign is $1,000 ($200 per year over five years). First pledge payments may be made in 2019 or 2020. 


To make your pledge, please complete a Gesher Campaign pledge card



Contact Janet Wainright / 203-226-8198

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