Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society
Click here to join the Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society.
Click here to re-certify if you are already a member of the Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society.
It’s relatively easy to join USY. Becoming a committed and active member of the Jewish community is not so easy. But the future of the North American Jewish community lies in the hands of those who are conscientiously learning about Judaism and practicing what they learn.
To encourage USYers to learn more about Judaism and the observance of Mitzvot, USY established the Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society in 1979. The society is named after Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), a faculty member of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and one of the most influential Jewish figures of modern times. Through the development of his original philosophy of Judaism and the application of that philosophy to the problems of modern times, Rabbi Heschel became a man to honor and emulate.
The Heschel Society is a very special core group of USYers who are committed to their Judaism. Because Heschel Society members are a significant and elite group within USY, USY offers special programs for them.
Some of these programs are:
- The annual International Heschel Study Kinnus (convention) held in a different city each year.
- Special mailings of various topics sent to Heschel Society members throughout the year
- Special activities which take place at Regional and International USY Conventions. Most regions hold special study sessions and receptions open only to Heschel members. Many regions also honor their Heschel Society members with small gifts.
- The annual USY International Convention is the site of the Heschel Society induction. This is in addition to a special educational program at the convention only for Heschel Society members.
The Heschel Society requires a USYer to demonstrate active involvement in each of the following three areas:
- The Study of Torah – Society members must take part in at least two hours of supervised Jewish study per week or enroll in the USY Home Study Program.
- Prayer (Avodah) – Society members must participate In congregational prayer at least four times a month – three of which should be on Shabbat.
- Acts of Loving Kindness (G’milut Chasadim) – At least once a month, society members must engage in a community service project such as visiting the sick, tutoring, assisting in Hebrew Schools, etc. Heschel Society members are currently involved in many of these worthwhile projects.