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What is Tikun Olam?

Tikun Olam is the vehicle through which money is contributed to Tzedakah by United Synagogue Youth. We recognize the value of the individual of giving Tzedakah, and we realize the importance of helping others. One major way that this is done in the world today is through financial assistance.

Who benefits?

The limited financial resources of Tikun Olam (“Building a Better World”) allow that only Jewish causes be included on the approved list of Tzedakot. If a chapter wishes to allocate funds to a local non-Jewish Tzedakah, it must write the USY International Office for approval. The list of approved Tzedakot includes hospitals, orphanages, and social service organizations, and also Tzedakot that provide for the development of individual Jewish communities worldwide.

Tikun Olam also benefits the growth and success of the Conservative Movement in North America and Israel, through the support of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Noam Masorti, our sister organization in Israel.

Support for Programs in Israel and Scholarship Assistance

Our commitment to the Conservative Movement’s programs in Israel and USY summer and long-term programs is obvious and essential because they serve each chapter and region directly. The programs in Israel provide many of the future teaches and rabbis to guide our communities.

Scholarships to USYers participating on USY summer and long-term programs are beneficial because of the special spirit and enthusiasm that develop during these trips. One look into the eyes of a recent Wheelnik or Pilgrim will convince anyone of the importance of these programs.

For these reasons, Tikun Olam is structured to provide 40% to Tzedakot (see below), 30% of its funds to the Conservative Movement Programs in Israel, scholarships for NATIV, and scholarships for USY Summer Programs, while another 30% is returned to regions to provide scholarships for USYers participating in summer and long-term programs. (Approximately 7% total is used for educational materials including the USY Israel Pilgrimage Scholar-in-Residence program, USY on Wheels Mission: Mitzvah programming, and other program operating expenses.)

USYers Raise and Allocate All Funds

Basic to the Jewish concept of Tzedakah is the direct participation of every individual. Therefore, our chapters and regions do not contribute what is “left over” in their treasury for Tikun Olam; instead they plan specific events and drives in which their members actively raise money. Therefore, each chapter and region individually decides which Tzedakot the remaining 40% of this contribution will assist. Click here to download a copy of the Tikun Olam Allocations Form.

Tikun Olam is the Exclusive Tzedakah Fund for USY

In order to assist the Tzedakot that we support, Tikun Olam collects its funds centrally. By donating our contribution in one lump sum, we allow our Tzedakot to plan special programs meeting their major needs, whereas small contributions only allow these charities to pay for operating expenses. Most importantly, since the Tikun Olam program was created and is run by USYers, all tzedakah is contributed through Tikun Olam.

To Clarify

The Tikun Olam money is allocated as follows:

  • 30% – Scholarships for USY programs
  • 30% – Tzedakah Education, Israel Outreach, and additional Scholarships
  • 40% – Chapters/Regions Allocate to Tzedakot
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