Coast-to-Coast Partnership: Gesher Chai

Below are just a few of the ways Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA , with its partner agencies in Israel, is building living bridges between youth, professionals and institutions in Israel and Canada.


Hundreds of students from Israel and the communities of Atlantic Canada, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg develop strong connections on mifgashim throughout the year. In 2014, Winnipeg’s Grey Academy High School celebrated the 18th year of its Gesher Chai connection with Danciger High School. Each year, Vancouver’s King David High School sends the biggest delegation of over 45 students.

The coast-to-coast partnership connects educators in the Diaspora and Israel and at annual educators conference in Israel.


“I want to thank you all for a wonderful week in Israel. I got so much out of this. I’m excited for the year ahead, both in terms of P2G opportunities and in terms of school-to-school opportunities within the borders of Canada as well.” - Abba Brodt, Vancouver -  Principal of Richmond Jewish Day School about the 2012 CTC Educators Conference in Israel


Friends Across the Sea

“Children from different schools and different countries find many things in common because of their Jewish culture and age. They love to talk to their ‘friends across the sea’ at the end of each chapter. They learn about the difficulties that Jewish students around the world face because they don’t live in Israel and not everyone around them understands.”  - Haddas Itamar Elmalich, teacher at Hamaginim elementary school in Kiryat Shmona

Friends Across the Sea is an academic program about Diaspora Jewry that has been introduced as formal curriculum for Grade 5 classes in all of the twinned elementary schools in the Coast-to-Coast partnership region. Hebrew/ English textbooks and classwork focus on Jewish Peoplehood.

The program has elevated individual and group understanding of Jewish Peoplehood. Israeli students learn about Jews living in the Diaspora one hour each week during the course of the school year:

  • Where do Jews live in the world?
  • How do they live?
  • What is important to them?
  • What bothers them?
  • How do they practice their Judaism?
  • What do they feel towards the State of Israel?
  • What should the relationship be between the State of Israel and Diaspora Jewry?