In true USY icebreaker fashion- what’s your name, grade, chapter, region, and favorite kitchen utensil?
Hi! My name is Samantha Brody, and I’m a senior from CHUSY region! My favorite kitchen utensil is a ladle because it reminds me of matzo ball soup!
What is your favorite moment from your USY experience?
There are so many moments that make up my USY experience, but one that sticks out was at CHUSYfest this November. During late-night sessions, I was leading a small group of USYers in a Chalutzim discussion about approaching Israel on campuses. The freshmen were some of the most active participants in the discussion, and I realized in that moment that the future of the Jewish community and of Israel advocates is stronger than I had ever imagined.
Why did you choose to pursue your position on International Executive Board?
I never saw myself as a strong leader before USY, but being a part of this organization helped me find my place and my passion for Israel and for Conservative Judaism. Being on International General Board in 2018 really helped me build my confidence and ultimately changed my life, and I want to be able to help other Jewish teens find their passion just as I have found mine.
What do you want to achieve this year as USY’s International Israel Affairs Vice President?
As Israel Affairs VP, I want to help USYers connect to Israel in ways that are meaningful to each individual, guiding teens in finding their own unique passion for Israel. It is also my goal to educate USYers on historical, political, cultural, and other such events in Israel and then prepare people to turn this knowledge into action, advocacy, and education for others. This year, we are going to eat, sleep, and breathe Israel, and it is my hope that everyone will be able to find something to connect to.
The advice you would give to a freshman just starting out in USY is:
Don’t be afraid. Trying new things is what USY is all about, and you never know what could become your favorite part of USY. Go to a late night session, join a Torah Bytes call, lead a song at ruach, really pay attention in sichot, or sit by someone new at Shabbat dinner. Something might surprise you, and it could even change your life.
Tell us your six-word USY memoir:
Came for friends, stayed for life.
If you could have International Convention happen anywhere – where would it be?
IC Tel Aviv, of course! Picture this: chofesh on the beach, walks around Neve Tzedek, and a concert featuring Omer Adam! I can see it already… L’shana haba’ah b’Tel Aviv?
What does USY mean to you?
USY is a place of personal transformation. I have seen so many of my friends find their place in USY, and I have watched myself become the best version of myself throughout my years in this organization. USYers are some of the most passionate, driven, and caring people I have had the privilege of knowing, and being a part of such an incredible community has changed my life in the best ways.