“Classic” USY on Wheels

Spend six-and-a-half weeks traveling coast to coast and experience North America, from sunrise on the rim of the Grand Canyon to pizza and blues in Chicago. Along the way, you’ll meet the famous mouse at Disneyland, feel a mile high in Denver, eat some fiery Texas chili, and discover a rainbow of Redwoods, Yellowstone, and Blue Ridge Mountains, as you connect with the people and places of this great continent.

Don’t miss the bus!

Your Wheels bus will be grouped by age and supervised by five staff members. You’ll travel on a fully equipped motor coach, driven by a professional driver who remains with each bus for the duration of the trip. The Wheels staff is comprised of responsible, mature individuals who have made working with Jewish youth a priority in their lives. Your bus will be in daily contact with the central USY office and the program director is on call 24 hours a day.

On the road

Three full meals and numerous snacks are provided each day for you. All the food is kosher and is supplied by kosher caterers throughout North America. Most nights are spent at major hotels fully equipped with swimming pools and recreational facilities. The number of Wheelniks per room varies from three to four depending on the facility.

Be a part of the big picture

A unique aspect of USY on Wheels is the Home Hospitality program. For about ten nights of the trip, Wheelniks are hosted in local United Synagogue congregants’ homes and will have the opportunity to experience Jewish life in a number of communities throughout North America. You will also spend time with the local USYers, participating in activities and seeing what USY is like from Buffalo to Baltimore, Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

What makes USY on Wheels so special?

Through the Wheels program, the participants enrich and develop their awareness and appreciation of Conservative Judaism. Thus, for the length of the program, all Wheelniks observe Shabbat and Kashrut, participate in daily prayers and take part in structured classes that follow a prescribed curriculum. This unusual melding of Jewish education and observance, the personal experience of meeting both Jews and non-Jews while traveling across the country, and the thrill of seeing the historical and exciting sights of North America, adds up to a growing and learning experience which has been unique to USY since 1960.

An opportunity to give back through community service

Social action and community service projects are an important component of the USY on Wheels program. During the course of the summer, students will participate in at least three hours of volunteer work. Past projects have included:

  • Volunteering at The Ark, a soup kitchen and food distribution center in Chicago
  • Visiting sick patients in hospitals
  • Singing songs at a the Jewish Home for the Elderly in New Orleans

Let’s go North America

The cost of USY on Wheels includes travel, room and board, gratuities and admission fees. Scholarships are available through the USY regions, local congregations and their affiliated groups. For further information contact your synagogue or regional USY director. You must be in grades 9-11 as of September 2013 to participate in the program.

Want more information?