- United Synagogue Youth
United Synagogue Youth is the youth movement of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaismor USCJ.
United Synagogue Youth, more commonly known as USY, is a youth group with members from the
United Statesand Canadadedicated to creating a fun, educational environment where Jewishteenagers can connect in hopes of meeting other Jewish teens in a comfortable atmosphere, combating assimilation, supporting Israeland giving and performing charity. The organization is open to all Jewish teenagers. While synagogue membership is not a requirement, most affiliate with the Conservative movement.
The goals of USY
The general aim of the United Synagogue Youth program is to bring about a meaningful and fully reciprocal encounter of Judaism, the Jewish people, and the synagogue on one side, and the Jewish teenager on the other. As a result of this encounter, the Jewish teenager will, firstly, demonstrate and experience how the Jewish way of living, through study, action and fellowship, leads to personal fulfillment and growth while meeting his spiritual and social needs, and secondly, make a significant contribution to his synagogue, community, society and the Jewish people.
USY provides its members with optional membership to any or all of its three specialty clubs. Admission to such clubs requires either a small monetary payment to the USY international office, or fulfillment of various standards. Each club represents a specific quality of USY; respectively, in the order below, religious education, Israel awareness, and social action.
Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society
The Heschel Honor Society is a club for USY members of secular and religious academic excellence. The club is named after
Abraham Joshua Heschel. AJ Heschel Honor Society members often have Heschel meetings during regional conventions in which they discuss and debate topics that AJ Heschel wrote about. The Heschel Honor society holds a convention in March each year for a group of about 75 involved members. The Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society Convention was held in Albany, New York this year.
HeChalutzim is a club for USY members interested in Israel Affairs and
Religious Zionism. Members of HeChalutzim often attend unique regional weekends for the club, or enjoy special programming at regional conventions and International Convention. In addition, every year one HeChalutzim member from each region goes to Israelwith the HeChalutzim Israel Seminar, and returns to the regions to advocate for and encourage others to visit Israel.
613 Mitzvah Corps
The 613 Mitzvah Corps is the Social Action club for USY memberships interested in the ideals of social action and the Tikun Olam program. It deals with helping out the Jewish and general communities.
USY runs a large number of summer trips and programs through the "USY: Great Escape" initiative.
USY sends hundreds of teens to Israel each summer. Trips vary in locations, programming, and mood, but every trip stays in or visits at least the following locations:
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat, kibbutz Sa'ad, Masada, the Dead Sea, and Rosh HaNikra. Security is provided by Israeli staffers with military experience and the Jewish Agency.
[http://www.usy.org/programs/ip/default0.asp Israel Adventure] is a four-week, Israel-only trip which consists of three weeks touring around Israel and one week spent in a mock army training called Gadna.
=Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgr
[http://www.usy.org/programs/eastern-ip/ Eastern Europe Israel Pilgrimage] consists of exploring the history and cultures of
Poland, the Czech Republic, and Lithuaniafor two weeks and spending the remaining four weeks touring Israel. The trip's itinerary before 2008 inlcuded Hungaryinstead of Lithuania.
[http://www.usy.org/programs/spain-ip/ Spain/Israel Pilgrimage] consists of one week touring prominent historical locations in
Spainand Portugal and then four weeks touring Israel.
Israel Pilgrimage/Poland Seminar
[http://www.usy.org/programs/poland-ip/ Israel Pilgrimage/Poland Seminar] consists of nine days spent touring prominent Jewish locations, former Jewish communities, and
concentration campsin Polandbefore spending four weeks touring Israel. Past groups have visited Sobibor, Majdanek, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Treblinka, Warsaw, Cracow, Lublin, Kielce, and many others.
Etgar! Outdoor Adventure: Israel
[http://www.usy.org/programs/etgar/ Etgar! Outdoor Adventure: Israel] is a five-week program that goes beyond the souvenir stands to discover the Israeli side of Israel, combining volunteer work with challenging nature hikes in the
Galilee, Golan Heights, and the Negev.
USY on Wheels
[http://www.usy.org/programs/wheels/ USY on Wheels] is a six and half-week bus tour across the United States and Canada, which visits different Jewish communities and tourist attractions across America, including the
Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Mount Rushmore, and many others. In addition to several buses simply touring, there is one [http://www.usy.org/programs/mm/ Mission Mitzvah] bus, which focuses on community service projects and social action. [http://www.usy.org/programs/wheels/wheels_east.asp Wheels East] , a four-week East Coast trip for entering 9th graders, was added in Summer 2007.
ummer in the City
[http://www.usy.org/programs/sitc/ Summer in the City] is a co-ed, four week pre-college program that takes place in
New York City. The USYers live in the List College dorm. Participants choose a class to take at Barnard Collegein the morning with students participating in Barnard's Pre-College Program and the entire group takes a class at the Jewish Theological Seminary in the afternoon. In the evenings and on weekends, the group goes out to see the various sights and activities New York has to offer, including a New York Yankeesgame, a Broadway show, museums, and other social attractions. The group spends one weekend at the New Jersey shore. There is also some community service once a week.
chool year programs
USY International Convention
[http://www.usy.org/programs/ic/ International Convention] , also referred to as IC, is a yearly gathering of over 1200 USYers from across North America in a different city each year. They gather for study sessions, specialty club meetings, Summer Program reunions (see above) and socializing. The new officers of United Synagogue Youth are also elected at this time. The convention takes place in December, and the 2008 convention is in
Washington, D.C..Past International Conventions have been held in:
1993 - Irvine, CA
East Brunswick, NJ
1996 - Orlando, FL
1999 - San Jose, CA
2002 - Orlando, FL
[http://www.usy.org/programs/high/ USY High] is an eight-week program in which high schoolers (juniors and seniors) live at the Goldstein Youth Village in
Jerusalem, studying and exploring Israel. In the campus classroom, participants are introduced chronologically to each historical period. Campus class time is interspersed with time experiencing the "classroom without walls" - the Land of Israel. Participants learn in an ancient cave, a mountain fortress, an army bunker, riding on a camel, or at the beach. It is the sister program of Tichon Ramah Yerushalaim (TRY), which is done by Ramah. TRY is seventeen weeks long and is for sophomores and juniors.
[http://www.nativ.org Nativ] is a 9-month program in Israel for recent high school graduates. Paticipants go on trips around Israel, attend leadership seminars and study at either
Hebrew Universityor the Conservative Yeshiva(aligned with the Masortimovement in Israel). Participants also choose between living on a kibbutz(specifically, Kibbutz Sa'ador Kibbutz Ein Tzurim) or living and volunteering in a developing community.
There are six officers on the International Executive Board (IEB). These USYers are responsible for the executive leadership of the organization. They are elected to one year terms at the yearly International Convention. The 2008 Leadership is as follows: [ [http://www.usy.org/yourusy/directory/ieb.asp International Executive Board :: Directory Information :: United Synagogue Youth ] ]
*President: Adam Berman (
*Israel Affairs Vice President: Deborah Hoffman (Hanegev)
*Religion/Education Vice President: Daniel Novick (Seaboard)
*Social Action/Tikun Olam Vice President: Missy Mandell (Hagalil)
*Membership/Kadima¹ Vice President: Joshua Warshawsky(CHUSY)
*Communications Vice President: Scott E. Strenger (METNY)
¹Kadima (translated literally as "forward") is the middle school age affiliate of USY and
USCJ. [ [http://www.usy.org/kadima Kadima :: United Synagogue Youth ] ]
These positions are mirrored in Regional and Chapter Executive Boards when possible.
The USY office in New York, NY is home to the professional leadership of USY which collaborates with the above USY officers. They have greater responsibilities in summer programs, Nativ and long-term planning. Jules Gutin is currently the International Director of USY. [ [http://www.usy.org/yourusy/directory/istaff.asp International Staff :: People & Places :: United Synagogue Youth ] ]
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism(USCJ)
KOACH, the college outreach arm of USCJ
North American Federation of Temple Youth(NFTY), the youth group of Reform Judaism
National Conference of Synagogue Youth, the youth group of Orthodox Judaism
* [http://www.usy.org United Synagogue Youth (USY)]
* [http://www.nativ.org Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel]
* [http://www.usy.org/programs/escape USY Summer Programs]
* [http://www.uscj.org/ The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism] (USY's parent organization)
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