Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

USY offers many ways for teens to get involved including through chapter, regional and international events, clubs and societies, and leadership opportunities. USYers often refer to programs colloquially or by their internal abbreviations, which, given our robust offering, can be confusing.

Read on to learn how to “Speak USY.”


  • International Convention, five days of celebration, sightseeing, Jewish learning, and giving back to the local community held annually during the last week in December


Referred to by some regions as kallah or kinnus

  • A regional, weekend-long event typically from Friday afternoon through Sunday
  • These events typically include theme-based programming, teen-led services, educational sichot (study groups) and opportunities for teens to bond
  • During Spring Convention,  USYers typically hold elections for the incoming year’s regional officers (as this is usually the last event of the year)

Summer Experience

  • USY’s summer travel programs for teens grades 7-12
  • Trips generally fall under two categories:
    • North America – includes USY on Wheels teen tours and DREAM USY, a 10-day service trip in the Dominican Republic
    • Israel/Europe – includes USY Pilgrimage trips


  • A week-long sleep away camp program held at the end of the summer in select regions



  • International Executive Board, a group of six USYers who govern USY at the international level
    • President
    • Israel Affairs (IA) Vice President
    • Religion/Education (Rel/Ed) Vice President
    • Social Action/Tikun Olam (SA/TO) Vice President
    • Membership/Kadima (Mem/Kad) Vice President
    • Communications (Comm) Vice President
  • They select and oversee the IGB (see below)
  • They coordinate with their position counterparts in the different USY regions


  • International General Board, teens from different USY regions who develop and run initiatives and programming for their peers


  • Regional Executive Board, a group of USYers who govern USY at the regional level (depending on the region, the board can include anywhere from six to ten USYers)
  • They select and oversee their respective RGB (see below)
  • They coordinate with their counterparts in different USY chapters


  • Regional General Board, teens from different chapters who run initiatives and programming for their peers

Chapter Board

  • USYers that represent their local chapter in the synagogue and aid in planning chapter events
  • Elected at the end of the school year


  • Translated to “spirit,” this is the name of lively singing sessions that takes place during Shabbat at Conventions or Encampments (usually before Birkat Hamazon, the blessing after a meal)

Slow Ruach or Sloach

  • A song session much like ruach, but slower and more sentimental to represent the culmination of Shabbat (prior to Havdalah, the service that ends Shabbat and brings in the new week)


  • An abbreviation for Social Action/Tikun Olam, this is a catch-all term for USY’s community service and fundraising efforts

Tikun Olam (TO)

  • Literally translated to “repairing the world,” this is also the name of USY’s tzedakah (charity) fund
    The money raised for TO is allocated to several charities as well as used for scholarships to help teens go on USY summer programs or on Nativ, USCJ’s college leadership program in Israel