Rabbi David Russo

  • SHMUSY, ECRUSY, and International USY President

  • Rabbi at Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago

  • USY Alum

A note from David:

When I was in grades 6 to 12, I did have friends at school. But no one who I felt deeply connected to. I remember that sometimes, school felt anything from lonely to just a place where I didn’t feel like I fully belonged.

And then, there were all of these people who said, David, or Dave, you’ve got to be a part of USY. I will never forget my first Kadima convention. I vividly remember that one of the staff members looked at me at one point and said, David, I believe in you. I think that you are such a strong leader. I cannot wait to see the change that you make in our world in the future.

Now, I’m pretty sure that she said that to every middle schooler who was there. But I never forgot it. She made me feel like I was going to make a difference.

And that was just the beginning. After that, I went to every program, every convention that I could go to. School was something I went to because I had to. Homework was something that I finished as quickly as possible. In order for me to go to a program, or plan a program, or call someone to attend the next event, or pack up my suitcase to go away to a convention.

USY became my life, and my home. ECRUSY is the place where I met some of my best friends to this day. ECRUSY is the place where I spent more time with my family, my siblings, and more. International USY is where I met my then girlfriend, now wife, Rebecca. ECRUSY is the place that deepened my ruach and neshama (Jewish spirit and soul). 

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