BRIDGEPORT - The United Jewish Appeal of Eastern Fairfield County says it won't be able to send 25 area high school students to Israel next summer because it lost $50,000 of a matching grant affiliated with New York investor Bernie Madoff.

The organization was picked by the Robert Lappin Foundation to send high school students on a two-week trip in July. They would visit sites of Jewish history and culture. Now that the investor admitted to losing these funds and those of countless others, the trip has been postponed.

U.J.A.'s director Eli Kornreich calls Madoff "an embarrassment to the Jewish community."

"What he did was unconscionable, inexcusable, repulsive, repugnant," said Kornreich. "It's everything we should stand against."

Kornreich said the students have already collected more than $30,000 and plan to raise additional funds. The trip has been rescheduled for 2010.

To see an extended interview with Eli Kornreich, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.