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May 5-8, Greece

Gesher is one of the largest annual events in the Balkans for young Jewish adults, bringing people together to explore and celebrate what it means to be Jewish through Balkan, European, and global lenses. This year will mark 15 years of Gesher, and with it, 15 years of friendships, Jewish learning, exploration, and growth.


Gesher is a space for young adults to both explore and celebrate international Jewish life and their own Jewish identities. Gesher operates on the principle that learning and going deeper into our Judaism can lead to growth, inspiration, and ultimately fun and celebration. It is more than a festival – it is a meeting point for young people from all over Europe to come together and share their unique experiences, passions, and values, and to explore what connects them as Jews.


Participants will have the opportunity to hear from renowned speakers from all over the world about a wide range of Jewish topics. They will have the chance to examine pressing questions of today, and examine the ways Judaism might be relevant in their own lives. A central part of their experience will also be the chance to examine these topics together – to express themselves, share, debate, and discuss.


Learning leads to a deeper appreciation of our identities as Jews, and we can celebrate this appreciation together through different activities. Gesher will feature workshops and booths dedicated to the many enjoyable and fun elements of being Jewish. They will explore and connect with their Judaism in a fun, refreshing, modern way.


When and Where is Gesher?

Gesher 2016 will take place in Halkidiki, Greece – one hour away from Thessaloniki – from May 5th to 8th. The event will be starting at 14:00 on Thursday and ending at 14:00 on Sunday. There will be buses from the Thessaloniki airport to the hotel.

Who can participate?

You can come to Gesher if you are Jewish, between the ages of 18 and 35, and living in Europe.

Why is Gesher Balkan-based? Why is it open to international participation this year?

When Gesher first started in 2002, its purpose was to create a cross-regional community of young Balkan Jews. It was one of the only events of its kind, and in the past fifteen years has created hundreds of friendships and connections, and become a central meeting point for young Balkan Jewry.

Now in 2016, the world has become a lot smaller. Traveling around the world is much easier today, and the borders between geographic regions are becoming much blurrier. Gesher is now open to international participation in order to expand our global Jewish community and connections, to follow suit in a dynamic world.

How much does Gesher cost? How do I pay?

The participation fee for Gesher 2016 is 100 euro. This includes your hotel stay, meals, and program. It does not include your travel costs. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email with payment instructions.

Junction is also providing a limited number of half-price scholarships for committed participants who would like to extend their involvement in Gesher. Participants who are already subsidized by JDC offices are not eligible for this additional scholarship. There is an additional application for the scholarship, linked here.

What is the registration deadline?

Participants must register for Gesher by April 15th.

Gesher Team

The Gesher team is a group of dedicated individuals from all over Europe who help plan and execute Gesher throughout the year. Members of the Gesher Team are divided into Celebration, Exploration, Experience, and Storytelling Teams. All members of the Gesher team are responsible for bringing their local community interests and values to the planning process, as well as brainstorming ideas in all areas. The team also helps set up the event and ensures that it runs smoothly. Members of the Gesher team gain valuable skills in event planning, Jewish learning, and project management, and have the chance to participate in strong team bonding and develop meaningful friendships with people from all over the world.

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“I really enjoy meeting new people and interacting with them, and I believe Gesher is the best opportunity for Jews between the ages of 18 and 35 to do so. Gesher is a means of creating connections that wouldn't otherwise exist!”

-Ileana Manoua, Thessaloniki, Greece