United Synagogue Youth
|Headquarters||New York, NY 10017|
|Region served||North America|
|Director||Rabbi Dave Levy|
|Main organ||International Executive Board, International General Board, International Youth Commission|
|Parent organization||United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ)|
United Synagogue Youth (USY) is the youth movement of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. 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
- 2 Summer programs
- 3 USY International Convention
- 4 Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel
- 5 High school programs
- 6 International Clubs
- 7 Regions
- 8 International Executive Board
- 9 Famous USY Alumni
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
USY has three main levels of entry into the organization, the chapter level, the regional level, and the international level.
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".
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.
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. Each Sub-Region/Division is lead by a 6 person Executive Board. 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), lead by Ethan Richter, Sababa (Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn), lead by Rachel Coons, and Ruach (Long Island ), lead by Ethan Feuer.
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.
USY runs summer programs across the United States and in Europe with all European trips going to Israel.
USY on Wheels is a six-week bus tour throughout the continental United States, Canada, and Alaska.
Israel and Europe
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
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
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
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.
USY offers three clubs for USY members, the Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society, HeChalutzim, and the 613 Mitzvah Corps.
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. 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 (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
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.
|Name of region||Details of name||Areas covered|
|CHUSY||Chicagoland USY||Northern Illinois, Milwaukee, Madison|
|CRUSY||Central Region USY||Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana,|
|ECRUSY||Eastern Canadian Region USY||Southern Ontario; Toronto, Hamilton, London, Richmond hill, and Ottowa|
|Emtza USY||Hebrew: אמצע, "Middle"||Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri,|
|EPA USY||Eastern Pennsylvania USY||Eastern and Northern Pennsylvania from Harrisburg to Scranton|
|Far West USY||Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada,|
|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,|
|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
In December 2013, International USY Voting Delegates at International Convention in New Orleans voted in the following 6 members of International Executive Board 2014:
- 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
- Norton Schwartz - United States Air Force general 
- Michael Oren - former Israeli ambassador to the United States 
- Howie Mandel - comedian, actor, television host
- Bruce Vilanch - comedy writer, songwriter, actor, and six-time Emmy Award-winner 
- Debra Winger - actress and producer
- Bryan Greenberg - actor and musician 
- Robert Freedman - screenwriter and dramatist
- Alexander Gould - actor and voice artist 
- Danny Siegel - best-selling author, lecturer, poet 
- Joe Purdy - folk singer
- Andy Fickman - film and television director 
- Michael Levin - Israeli national hero 
- Kelly Gould - actress
- Yossi Katz - author and former Israeli National Boxing Champion 
- Jessica Abo - award-winning television journalist, philanthropist, and actress 
- Aaron Jacobs - Girl Meets World screenwriter and production assistant
- Jeff Dachis - founder of Razorfish
- Rachel Shukert - author
- United Synagogue Youth (USY)
- CHUSY Website
- CRUSY Website
- ECRUSY Website
- EMTZA USY Website
- EPA USY Website
- Far West USY Website
- Hagalil USY Website
- Hagesher USY Website
- Hanefesh USY Website
- Hanegev USY Website
- METNY USY Website
- NERUSY Website
- New Frontier USY Website
- Pinwheel USY Website
- Seaboard USY Website
- SWUSY Website
- Tzafon USY Website
- Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel
- KOACH College Outreach Program
- The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USY's parent organization)