United Synagogue Youth

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USY Logo
United Synagogue Youth
Abbreviation USY
Formation 1951[1]
Type Youth Organization
Purpose Religious
Headquarters New York, NY 10017
Location
  • 820 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Region served North America[2]
Membership 15,000[2]
Director Rabbi Dave Levy
President Aaron Pluemer
Main organ International Executive Board, International General Board, International Youth Commission
Parent organization United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ)
Affiliations Conservative Judaism
Website http://www.usy.org/

United Synagogue Youth (USY) is the youth movement of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.[3] USY operates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Uganda. The goal of the movement is to bring Jewish teenagers closer to Judaism and Israel through learning and social interaction. The organization was founded in 1951, under the auspices of the Youth Commission of what was then the United Synagogue of America.[1]

Structure[edit]

USY has three main levels of entry into the organization, the chapter level, the regional level, and the international level.

Chapter[edit]

The chapter is the most basic organizational level of USY. Chapters are associated with a local synagogue affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Typically, a given chapter's name is an acronym of the city or synagogue of a chapter followed by the letters "USY".

Regional[edit]

At the regional level, chapters come together for regional events, such as weekend-long kinnusim and conventions, and week-long encampments. Regions comprise of chapters in the same geographical area. There are 17 USY regions each with a Regional Executive Board.

Sub-Regional/Divisional[edit]

Larger USY regions are occasionally split into sub-regions or divisions. The sub-regions/divisions act much like regions, holding their own conventions and elections. Currently, there are two regions with sub-regions/divisions, the HaNegev region and the Metny region. HaNegev's three sub-regions, are Arvot (South Florida), Mercaz (North and Central Florida), and Ein Gedi (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina). Metny's three divisions are Emek (Hudson Valley), Sababa (Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn), and Ruach (Long Island).

International[edit]

On the International level, USYers from all over North America come together for weekend-long kinnusim, International Convention, and summer programs. The International Board is composed of the 6-person Executive board and their committees, the International General Board.

Summer programs[edit]

USY runs summer programs across the United States and in Europe with all European trips going to Israel.

North America[edit]

USY on Wheels is a six-week bus tour throughout the continental United States, Canada, and Alaska.

Israel and Europe[edit]

USY's trips to Israel, USY Israel Pilgrimage, consist of a optional week in Italy, Poland, or Eastern Europe followed by a month in Israel. The month in Israel has three different focuses, tourism, social action, and Gadna, IDF boot camp.

USY International Convention[edit]

International Convention is the largest annual gathering for Untied Synagogue Youth. USY holds an annual convention during the winter school vacation season. The Convention includes regional delegations totaling approximately 800 teenagers ages 14 –18, plus an additional 150 staff members. The location changes from year to year, covering several regions of North America over a period of a few years.

This year’s International Convention will take place in Atlanta (HaNegev) on December 21–25, 2014. During the week of the Convention, USYers will participate in community service, leadership, religious, educational, cultural, and social programming.

Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel[edit]

Nativ is a post-high-school gap-year program that draws a lot of its participants from USY and who's alumni often become USY staff. Nativ's mission is to create and inspire the Conservative Jewish leaders of tomorrow. Nativ, which means “path” in Hebrew, aims to provide a unique opportunity to explore new directions on the journey to becoming a Jewish adult. From September to May, Nativ participants are immersed in Israeli society and a Conservative Jewish lifestyle.

The program includes academic university classes, intensive Hebrew classes, Judaic and Yeshiva studies, and leadership training workshops. Nativ enables recent high school graduates to earn college credits for their studies while on the gap-year program.

High school programs[edit]

USY High is an eight-week program in which high schoolers (juniors and seniors) live at the Israel 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.[4]

International Clubs[edit]

USY offers three clubs for USY members, the Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society, HeChalutzim, and the 613 Mitzvah Corps.

Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society[edit]

The Heschel Honor Society is a club for USY members of secular and religious academic excellence. The club is named after Abraham Joshua Heschel. Members meet during regional conventions to discuss topics that Heschel wrote about. The Heschel Honor society holds an annual convention in March. The 2012 Heschel Kinnus will be held in Washington DC.

HeChalutzim[edit]

HeChalutzim (Hebrew for "The pioneers") is a club for USY members interested in Israel affairs and Religious Zionism. Members of HeChalutzim convene for regional weekends and special programs. In addition, a delegate from each region is sent to Israel with the Hechalutzim Israel Seminar.

613 Mitzvah Corps[edit]

The 613 Mitzvah Corps is the Social Action and Tikun Olam club within USY. The goal of the club is to provide members with the tools to take action.

Regions[edit]

Name of region Details of name Areas covered
CHUSY Chicagoland USY Northern Illinois, Milwaukee, Madison
CRUSY Central Region USY Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana,

Kentucky, West Virginia

ECRUSY Eastern Canadian Region USY Southern Ontario; Toronto, Hamilton, London, Richmond hill, and Ottowa
Emtza USY Hebrew: אמצע, "Middle" Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri,

Nebraska, Western Wisconsin, Manitoba

EPA USY Eastern Pennsylvania USY Eastern and Northern Pennsylvania from Harrisburg to Scranton
Far West USY Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada,

Hawaii, and Utah

Hagalil USY Hebrew: הגליל, "The Galilee" Northern and Central New Jersey
Hagesher USY Hebrew: הגשר, "The bridge" Philadelphia area, Main Line, Brynmawr, South Jersey.
Hanefesh USY Hebrew: הנפש, "The soul" Connecticut and Western Massachusetts
HaNegev USY Hebrew: הנגב, "The Negev" Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Southern North Carolina, South Carolina, Barbados and Puerto Rico.
METNY USY Metropolitan New York USY Greater New York City and Long Island
NERUSY New England Region USY Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire,

Vermont, Rhode Island

New Frontier USY Northern California, and Reno, Nevada
Pinwheel USY Pacific Northwest USY Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia, and Alberta
Seaboard USY Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Northeastern North Carolina
SWUSY Southwest USY Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mexico
Tzafon USY Hebrew: צפון, "North" Upstate New York, Western Massachusetts, Southwestern Vermont

International Executive Board[edit]

In December 2013, International USY Voting Delegates at International Convention in New Orleans voted in the following 6 members of International Executive Board 2014:[5]

  • President - Aaron Pluemer (New Frontier)
  • Israel Affairs Vice President - Ariel Weinstein (EMTZA)
  • Religion/Education Vice President - Gila Fridkis (Seaboard)
  • Social Action/Tikun Olam Vice President - Joseph Goldberg (EMTZA)
  • Membership/Kadima Vice President - Abraham Bayer (Hanefesh)
  • Communications Vice President - Brandon Ginsberg (Hanegev)

Famous USY Alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]