Assistant Director, GW Hillel
USY International Rel/Ed VP, 2008
Seaboard USY Regional President, 2007-2008
It’s quite simple: USY gave me the tools to rethink, reimagine, and redefine Judaism.
As a USY leader, I was nurtured and supported by my staff and peers to think creatively about ritual, to ask critical questions, to seek meaning in aspects of our tradition that seemed outdated, and to hone my own creative skills.
Little did I know when I helped create Shacharit Live – with the assistance of my regional youth director Shira Kaplan and in partnership with dear friends and colleagues – that we were part of an effort to create accessible ways to interact with Jewish ritual and tradition. I never thought that Judaism had room for such inventions and innovation. USY not only taught me that Judaism’s framework allows for such creativity, but rather REQUIRES it. We each have an active role to play in finding meaningful ways to interact with our sacred tradition, and then making those dynamic ideas into powerful realities.
What does this mean for me today? I work with my college students each and every day to pass along to them what I learned in USY- you have the power to rethink your Judaism, you have the power to reimagine what your Judaism looks like, you have the power to redefine Jewish ritual. I continue to create new forms of meaningful ritual – like my most recent endeavor of creating Torah-infused and inspired cycling class videos (#peloTORAH)- to inspire myself to find the newest way, the newest path, the newest door of engaging with our Torah. If the status quo doesn’t work for me, how could it work for others?
A gift to USY is a gift that supports Jewish creativity. A gift to USY is a gift that supports Jewish renewal. A gift to USY is a gift that supports Jewish innovation. Without USY, I would not have found my Jewish voice. Join me in making a contribution to USY’s annual campaign to help thousands of Jewish teenagers find theirs.