A Night to Remember

When Emily Green had an idea to create a support group for people who, like her, felt isolated after leaving the Charred community, she did not foresee just how successful it would become.  
“I knew I was groping in the dark,” she says, “But I was determined that no one would go through this journey alone. There would be support for those who choose to leave.” 

Now, 10 years on from its founding, GesherEU runs regular social events, Friday night dinners and biannual weekends away, including a summer camping trip. It provides one to one support, has an education fund and an emergency fund, and counsellors who are specially trained to support its members. It has recently launched out parenting group, which now runs twice a month.

10th Birthday Party

On 9th May, the charity celebrated its milestone anniversary with a big party at JW3. About 80 guests – members (from as far afield as Manchester), donors, volunteers and friends of GesherEU – came together to eat, drink, socialise and learn more about what the charity has been doing.

Entertainment was provided by Pini Brown and his Yiddishe Blues band, and guests were treated to a viewing of GesherEU’s promotional film, originally made to mark the Day of Choice in October 2023, which features accounts from members.

Five members received awards for their contributions

Recognising that GesherEU would be nothing without its members, the evening also served as a chance to reward those who have excelled and who have been recognised by their peers. Five members received awards for their contributions, in particular their support of other members. The recipients included Moishy Wajnsztok – now events organiser; Motti Kalikstein and Jacqueline Braun. Each award-winner was presented with a engraved trophy and an Amazon voucher, as a token of the charity’s thanks.

For many people, the highlight of the evening was a presentation by artist and GesherEU member, Charlie Lewin. Charlie movingly described their experience of growing up in, and then leaving, the Charedi community, while they displayed on a screen the graphic artwork they had created to illustrate each stage of their journey. One member said, “Hearing Charlie speak was inspirational!”

Feedback from the evening was overwhelmingly positive, with members’ only complaints that the party didn’t go on for long enough. One guest said, “It was good to hear the stories and to know that I wasn’t the only one who went through and felt this way. It was also nice to meet so many friends – some of them I haven’t met for a long time – and to see how many people the association helped and is helping.” This was echoed by another member who commented, “Great to see everyone and I had a really enjoyable time.”

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