Editor’s Note: Over the past two months, USY, we’ve heard seniors from regions across the continent share there USY stories. As the last spring conventions have come to a close, and the final chapter boards are being installed, it is finally time to OFFICIALLY say one last goodbye to the class of 2019. For our final senior reflection, Hagalil’s Meital Oshri shares how her USY community became her family, her home.
If someone asked me how to describe USY in one word, I would easily say “home”. I did not start USY as early as my peers, and looking back, I wish I had. However, the experience I had is something I am beyond thankful for. I did not only make meaningful friendships and learn about my roots, but I also found my second home.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I thought school was everything and I was ignorant to the fact that there was much more waiting for me. I focused solely on my schoolwork and succeeding. When my parents tried to convinced me to go to a USY convention, I reluctantly agreed, though I had many reservations. When I finally signed up for my first convention I was nervous; nervous that no one would talk to me and anxious that nobody would like me. However, it was not like that at all. From the second I stepped into the temple people came up to me and introduced me to their friends. People I didn’t even know started random conversations with me. I was shocked because high school was not like that at all. USY is a community, a family rather, that I was fortunate enough to be a part of.
USY gifted me with amazing friendships that I will forever be thankful for. I never would have imagined that I would become so close with so many Jewish teenagers across New Jersey. As a girl from a small town I thought the people I grew up with were it, but that was not true. I met some of my closest friends through USY and I am so grateful that USY gave me such an incredible group of friends. Metuchen, South Brunswick, Millburn, West Orange and Marlboro are only some of the chapters that I have met some of my closest friends from. If someone would have told me years ago that I would have friends from across New Jersey I would not have believed them.
USY not only gave me an amazing new group of friends, but it also taught me the importance of Judaism. Being able to enjoy Israeli food, daven Mincha with my friends and scream Israeli songs at the top of my lungs during Ruach are only some of the events I always looked forward to. Through Divrei Torah and Sichot I was able to learn so much about Judaism and I will never let go of that knowledge. Thinking back now, my life would not have been the same without being a part of USY.
Each time I return from a convention or any USY event I share my experience with my friends and family. However, often times I find myself at a loss for words because nothing can explain the feeling I get when I come into the temple. The atmosphere is like no other; it is a mixture of community, family, happiness, love and acceptance. That is what USY is.
Meital Oshri is a graduating senior from Hagalil USY. She is a proud member of Millbusy in Millburn, New Jersey.