Regional Spotlight: Far West USY

Editor’s Note: Every region has its own quirks and traditions that make it special, and this year Achshav is going across USY, from Hanegev to Pinwheel, to show you what makes every single region special. Far West USY is no exception, and to know that you have to look about as far as their Parliamentarian. Today, however, juniors Lily Selznick, Maya Silberstein, Benji Levine, and Raquel Kelley , talk about one of their favorite Far West traditions, Shabbat Mincha, and why it is so special to their region.


Picture this…

It’s Saturday afternoon at a Far West convention, and USYers are all sitting in the sanctuary, anxiously waiting for their FAVORITE service to start… MINCHA (afternoon service)!

Given the relative lack of enthusiasm amongst USYers towards what is so often a dull or depressing service, it may be surprising that so many in Far West love this service so much. There’s a reason for that. Much like many of Far West’s traditions, our mincha service is far from typical.

There’s a unique sense of ruach (spirit) and fun that is ingrained in Far West mincha. Throughout the service there are USYers singing, dancing, and shouting at the top of their lungs. Though things tend to mellow out once it’s time for the Torah service, it by no means marks the end of the wave of eccentricity that is Far West mincha. Right after the Torah service, the room erupts into a dance of pinky waiving and USYers singing “Yump YUMP-A-DUMP-A-DUMP-A-DUMP-A-DUMP SHWEE!”

Let us explain.

Far West’s Executive Vice President picks seven groups of people (seven groups to represent the seven days of the week) to perform a “Yump-A-Dump” in front of the whole region.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself: “What in the world is a ‘Yump-A-Dump’?”

Well, imagine this…

You have made endless inside jokes all weekend, and you’re ready to go up and share them in the form of a “Yump-A-Dump”! All you have to do is reenact it, using only the words, “Vayehi erev, vayehi boker (and it was evening and morning).

You’re ready, you’re excited, and it goes like this…

You and a group of four people drop a Nalgene, completely freak out, and say, “Vayehi erev, vayehi boker.” You end with “YOM RISHON (SUNDAY)!” and the entire region stick out their pinkies, screaming “Yump a dump a dump a dump a dump SHWEE!” to a tune that we all know and love.

This is one of the most empowering moments during the entire convention. They aren’t Hebrew words, and they aren’t English words…they are an inside joke that only Far West people will ever understand.

If we’re ever having a bad day we can think of those ten words, and instantly a smile will be brought to our faces. When we’re 40 years old and we’re coming back for our reunion, we know we can walk up to any Far West USYer, and instantly they will know exactly what is going on. It is a connection that lasts a lifetime, and will always bring a smile to our faces.


Raquel Kelley is a junior from Far West USY. She currently serves as chapter Communications Vice President for Congregation B’Nai Israel (CBI) USY in Tustin, CA.

Benji Levine is Far West’s Communications Vice President and serves as a member of Communications International General Board. He is a proud member of Adat Ari El USY in Valley Village, CA.

Lily Selznick serves as a member of Religion/Education International General Board, and is a member of Anshei Israel USY in Tucson, AZ.

Maya Silberstein is junior from Far West USY. She currently serves as chapter President for Temple Etz Chayim (TEC) USY in Thousand Oaks, CA.

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