Every moment I spent participating in USY was didactic.
I grew up in a small town in Northeast PA. When I began going to regional USY conventions, I was absolutely stunned to learn that there were so many other interesting Conservative Jewish kids—who knew a lot more about Judaism than I did. Being in USY made me want to continue to learn more and do more; my Jewish observance and commitment to Jewish education was greatly informed by the other kids and staff that I met through USY. USY also taught me how to “pay it forward” by teaching others what I had learned. And it was not just about saying the words… I found out how important it is to have a sense of kavannah (intentionality) in everything I brought to my Judaism.
While the Orthodox say that they build a fence around the Torah to protect it, I have always said that as Conservative Jews, we build fences so that we can sit on them. Yes, that’s funny but it has actually allowed our Judaism to progress and thrive. To this day, I stay involved in my synagogue and my Jewish Community because USY taught me to care about the future of the Jewish people.
USY empowers thousands of Jewish teenagers through creating exceptional Jewish experiences, yet it can do so much more than that. Please consider making a contribution to USY’s annual campaign to ensure that USY has the resources to expand its programs throughout the Jewish world.