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USY / Gesher

Etz Chayim is pleased to offer Gesher & USY to Winnipeg Jewish youth! 


United Synagogue Youth inspires Jewish youth to explore, celebrate, and practice ethical values, Jewish living, Zionism, and community responsibility. USY’s mission is to empower Jewish youth to develop friendships, leadership skills, a sense of belonging to the Jewish People, a deep engagement with and love for Israel, and a commitment to inspired Jewish living through meaningful and fun experiences based on the ideology of Conservative Judaism. 



Between Hebrew school and bar/bat mitzvah lessons, it’s easy to stay connected to Jewish life. But what happens next? 

Gesher, USY’s program for pre-teens is for middle-schoolers with programming closely tied to USY including recreational activities, holiday celebrations, leadership development, weekend retreats, community service projects and more. 

Gesher (Hebrew for bridge) offers pre-teens in grades 5-8 (varies by region) the opportunity to: 

  • Meet new people and have fun 

  • Stay engaged in Jewish life and learning once Hebrew school is over 

  • Experience the joy of Judaism 

  • Develop leadership and social skills 

Activities include: 

  • Events such as bowling, laser tag or craft nights 

  • Jewish holiday celebrations 

  • Community service projects 

  • Weekend conventions 


There are 17 USY regions throughout the United States and Canada, which make up International USY. Membership in the chapter entitles your child to participate in programs at the chapter.


Congregation Etz Chayim is part of the Pinwheel chapter which is largely based in the Pacific Northwest and includes local chapters from Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba. 

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What kinds of programs do Gesher & USY provide? 

Programming includes social, cultural, religious and educational events. The USY philosophy of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) encourages our social action programming. We try to make every experience not only meaningful, but FUN! 


Who runs the USY program? 

USY is led by the youth. They decide which programs they’d like, and our adult Advisor is there to supervise and assist. 


Why is it important for my child to join Gesher/USY? 

Gesher and USY open doors for your child to interact with other Jewish youth in an organized and safe environment. These interactions among children happen within our chapter, as well as in the larger community and beyond. These relationships and experiences strengthen Jewish ties and encourage active involvement in Jewish life. During the course of the year, staff will ask parents to assist with transportation and/or chaperone duties, or to help with chapter events. Your participation in this part of your child’s life demonstrates the value you place on Jewish community. 

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