IC Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about International Convention (IC)? Well, we’ve got answers! If you need more information or have questions that aren’t covered here, please contact us at [email protected] so we can help.

IC is USY’s unparalleled annual flagship event—a unique opportunity to do something new, innovative, and different with your winter break. Each year, hundreds of Jewish 9-12 graders from across North America come together to engage in Jewish learning, develop meaningful bonds to peers and mentors, actively participate in community service, and develop leadership skills that extend beyond the bounds of convention. While the specific themes, programs, and speakers shift from year to year (learn more below!), IC’s mission has remained consistent for 70 years of USYers. We are proud to provide a brave space for Conservative Jewish teens to be surrounded by the warm embrace of community as they engage in a week of social connection, identity development, learning, and chesed.

IC is a chance to leave behind the social and academic pressures of school for a community of diverse identities where your ideas, differences, and talents will be accepted. IC is a forum to establish bonds across North America that might help guide you to your college campus after graduation or help you land your first job interview in a new city. Your IC family helps establish your international Jewish community, providing lasting friendship no matter where your travels, education, career, and life may take you. IC is an opportunity to build your resume while having fun with friends, both old and new. IC is a chance to hear from inspiring thought leaders. IC is the best of USY.

Sunday, December 26-Thursday, December 30
Back in person in Washington, DC!

All Jewish teens in grades 9-12 are invited to attend IC, regardless of previous USY participation or experience.

Registration for IC 2021 opens on August 1. Register by October 1 to take advantage of the early-bird discount!

Click here to register!

Register between August 1-October 1: $1,345

Register between October 2-November 15: $1,450

Register between November 16-December 1: $1,499

The cancelation refund policy is as follows (though we hope no one will need it!):
August 1-October 15: full refund
October 16-November 30: $700 refund
After November 30: no refund

If IC is canceled, all registered participants will receive a full refund.

USY recognizes that the cost of programming can present financial barriers for some of our families. Our pledge is to work with you to lower the bar to entry to our programs and meet the needs of as many teens and families as possible. USY offers limited scholarships to those with a financial need. Please contact [email protected] for more information. 

We also recommend the following steps in order to help combine the collective resources of USY and the wider Jewish community to help pay your way to IC: 

  1. Upon paying the $200 registration fee, participants are automatically given the option of setting up a payment plan. We hope that monthly installments will help ease the financial burden of paying in full when registering. If you plan to take advantage of the payment plan option, we recommend registering early both to receive the greatest discount and spread out the payments over as many months as possible.
  2. Call your branch director to ask if your USY branch or region offers IC scholarships. We also recommend talking to your branch directors about additional scholarship resources in your area. Click here to find your branch director. Not sure which branch you belong to? No worries! Click here to learn about your local USY family.
  3. Call your local Jewish Federation and let their director know how much the opportunity to attend IC means to you, the tangible skills and lessons you plan to bring back to your local community, the ways IC will help impact your development as a Jewish teen, and the help you might need to experience this magical week in Washington D.C. Click here to locate your local Jewish Federation.
  4. Reach out to your synagogue’s rabbi, cantor, president, men’s club, or sisterhood and ask if they have any resources to help fund your IC journey. An investment in your IC experience will directly benefit the community upon your return. As part of your conversations you might discuss ways you can collaborate to bring what you’ve learned back to your synagogue and help grow your local USY chapter.
  5. Reach out to your support network and ask parents, grandparents, relatives, family friends, and others close to you to help aid your goal of attending IC. If you are interested in purchasing an IC gift certificate, please contact [email protected].

IC is planned by teens for teens, with the guidance of USY’s dedicated staff across North America. This year, our co-chairs are Sarah Hasson and Cameron Fields. (Click here to learn more about them!)

Click here for the 2021 schedule in formation! 

Whether you’re a returning participant (welcome back!), a first-timer (can’t wait to meet you!), or still debating whether IC is the right fit for you (we’re here to help!), here are some IC highlights: 

  1. Inspirational Special Guests
    Each year at IC, we are proud to bring in speakers, workshop leaders, performers, and thought leaders that inspire USYers on their own secular and Jewish journeys. Past guests have included, Sarah Hurwitz (former chief speechwriter to Michelle Obama), General Norton Schwartz (former USYer and Chief of Staff of the United States Airforce), Andy Fickman (movie and television producer and director), Michael Oren (former Israeli ambassador to the United States), Jessica Abo (philanthropist, author, and TV reporter), and many more. USY has also been proud to welcome musical guests, such as Hativah 6, Matisyahu, and The Urban Voices Project to add to IC’s special energy. USY strives to invite guests whose values align with our mission and who will enrich our participants’ lives. Stay tuned for announcements on our 2021 guests, speakers, and performers.
  2. Dynamic, Thoughtful, and In-depth Leadership Workshops
    Opportunities to build leadership skills are at the core of the IC experience, however, that doesn’t mean sitting in lectures for hours on end. In USY, our teen leaders are clear that leadership development should not be at the expense of fun. IC participants choose from a curated list of interactive leadership opportunities that match their individual interests and curiosities. In addition, this year we will take advantage of the history and museums Washington D.C. has to offer. Each year, our teens form connections with adults and peers alike, and gain both tangible, resume-building skills and intangible, new experiences that guide them on the next stages of their high school careers and beyond.
  3. Unmatched Energy
    Imagine an empty ballroom at a hotel in Washington D.C. Suddenly, the room fills with hundreds of USYers from across North America joining together in song, both in Hebrew and English. Old friends are reuniting while new friendships are being forged as we share the experience of celebrating our identities as proud Jewish teens. The excitement that fills that ballroom extends for the duration of IC as our community forms for this special moment in time—what was once just a hotel in Washington D.C. transforms into a unique and proud Jewish space.
  4. Giving Back to the Host Community
    Each year at IC, USY works alongside our host community to provide opportunities for our USYers to engage in direct service. At IC, USYers will be able to join with partners across the Washington D.C. area to give back and engage in acts of loving kindness, instilling a sense of social activism within our participants. In USY we don’t just learn—we take action to build with love. While our USYers are always appreciative of getting additional community service hours towards high school requirements and for college applications,we are always even more proud to hear about the ways these experiences impact our teens’ lives and the ways in which they serve as volunteers and activists within their own communities after IC.
  5. Sightseeing
    While all that takes place at our hotel makes for a jam-packed event, our USY winter break would not be complete without getting to know our host cities. This year we are lucky to be in Washington, D.C., and we’ll be touring the historic neighborhood housing our hotel, the National Mall, tidal basin, the Potomac, monuments, museums, and more as a group. Whether this is your first time visiting Washington D.C. or you’re a monument pro, sightseeing with your USY friends is a whole new kind of adventure.
  6. Social Connection
    There is nothing quite like being yourself and feeling accepted for who you are, all while having fun with like-minded peers. At IC, we strive for USYers to feel unburdened by academic expectations and adolescent difficulties so they can explore who they are and hope to become both Jewishly and secularly. With this mindset, our teens are able to build friendships that last a lifetime. It warms our hearts to hear about IC reunions across the country years after high school as USYers reminisce about their favorite speakers, best sightseeing moments, or laughs shared in their rooms at night. We are humbled to provide an experience that helps teens feel part of something bigger than themselves and create so many ‘feel good’ moments during their time at IC.
  7. Authentic and Dynamic Judaism
    At IC, there is no expectation of our participants’ level of religious observance, knowledge of prayer, or Jewish identity. Throughout IC, we provide immersive experiences, through a Conservative Jewish framework, which allow them to live Jewishly in a way that feels authentic and dynamic to each teen individually. While we pray two to three times a day, services may feature musical accompaniment or take place in small groups that relate Jewish prayer to sports, science, art, or meditation (just to name a few). This year’s theme, Build With Love, will infuse a Jewish perspective on community building that we hope helps our USYers determine for themselves how they wish to bring these values into their lives. We think of IC as the world’s biggest Jewish playground, at which USYers can begin to explore what being Jewish means to them and what tools USY can offer to help them get there.

The USY medical committee oversees and supports all programs and activities, and will continue to update guidance for IC in the coming months. Most recently, the medical committee has approved the launch of registration for IC 2021. Please read below for information about the COVID protocols that must be followed for USYers to safely join us at IC 2021.

All attendees must show proof of full vaccination. Vaccination cards must be uploaded as part of the registration process.

The USY medical committee oversees all programs and activities based on current public health recommendations and will continue to provide guidance for IC 2021. The safety of our participants continues to be our highest priority.

Protocols will be updated based on CDC guidelines for gatherings and will be sent out to all registered participants prior to IC.

All participants are in rooms with two double beds. There are four participants assigned to each room. 

Participants can request up to three friends in their USY branch, however, we cannot guarantee that all requests are fulfilled. We will do our best to fulfill mutual requests.

Travel is not included in the cost of IC.  

If you would like to coordinate your flights with a USY staff member, please reach out to your branch staff. (If you’re not sure which branch you belong to, click here to find out!)

If you have paid your airline for your child to travel as an unaccompanied minor, please email [email protected], so we can let you know in advance which staff member will be at the airport to meet your child (the airline will need this information to release your child). An unaccompanied minor is defined as an individual, five to 14 years old, traveling without a companion 15 years of age or older on the same domestic flight and in the same compartment.

We will provide transportation to the hotel from Union Station and Dulles, Reagan, and BWI airports. For Union Station and Dulles and Reagan airports, all flights/trains must arrive by 1 p.m.on Sunday, December 26, 2021 and departing flights/trains must be no earlier than 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 30, 2021. For BWI, all flights must arrive by noon on Sunday, December 26, 2021 and depart no earlier than 4 p.m. on Thursday, December 30, 2021. 

If you are driving, dropoff is from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, December 26 and pick up is at noon on Thursday, December 30.