USY #ICDallas Daily Update | December 26

Today we began delving into the convention’s educational theme, Chazak, Chazak, v’Nitchazek; Be Strong, Be Strong, Let Us Be Strengthened, with interactive learning tracks led by educators and partner organizations such as KESHET, Hillel, and Stand With Us. By focusing on several topics including college advocacy, Jewish history, contemporary Israeli politics and culture, diversity, disabilities, and more, teens explored different ways in which they as individuals and the Jewish people at large can use their power and persevere.

“This summer I went on Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgrimage so it was more meaningful knowing that I’ve been to all these places and seen the remnants of what happened. I could relate to what she was talking about.”

– Alyssa Osman, METNY; On listening to the daughter of Holocaust survivors tell her story in Building a Life after the Shoah

“I thought the story [the daughter of Holocaust survivors] shared was very impactful. To have so close a connection to the Holocaust was very powerful. I think [the Holocaust] is at the core of modern Jewish strength, persevering and moving on and surviving as a Jewish people.”

– Ben Wolfson, Tzafon; On what he gained from Building a Life after the Shoah

“I think its important [to study this] as we’re being groomed to be the leaders of our movement. We’re the future, its important to face the reality of what’s happening to our movement and how we’re the exception and we can make more exceptions.Its important for us to accept change and understand that what our movement looks like now might not be the same thing in 20 years, but that we have to be accepting of that change and mold it in to make it a more accepting and welcoming community, but also a dynamic and enlightened community.”
– Sophie Libow, Hanegev; On why she chose American Jewish Community

“I realize that our Jewish community is important. We should be accepting to other forms of Judaism, but there’s also ways that we can improve Conservative Judaism and as the leaders of tomorrow and future its important that we realize that.”

– Alan Imar, HaNegev; Reflecting on American Jewish Community

“I have concerns about going to a college that doesn’t have a lot of Jewish life, but I feel passionate that I want to incorporate my Judaism in a way that’s going to make my next four years at college as beneficial to me as possible…[I learned that] its ok for when your interests are different from the existing trends of the [campus] Hillel and I can make whatever I want to happen and it will just change the Hillel for the future, for other kids like me.”

– Sydney Weiser, Hanefesh; On Hillel’s Exerting Your Power on Campus

“The program showed us ways to take the leadership opportunities created inside and outside of USY but make them stand out among a large pool of applicants for a college. It was beneficial to do this at IC, rather than in a school setting, because it created an environment without pressure for USYers to receive answers to their questions from a professional.”

– Danielle Gershen, EPA/Hagesher on Using Your Strengths to Prepare and Compete in the College Admissions Process

The thematic programming continued later in the day when Rohan Murphy, former star wrestler/professional motivational speaker, addressed the teens. Murphy spoke about his personal journey in overcoming physical obstacles to wrestle professionally without legs. He inspired the teens with his story and encouraged them to think about their own challenges.
“We all have to overcome some kind of hardship or adversity in life. That comes in all shapes and forms,” he said, “But if I can overcome this and be successful, why can’t you?”

The day concluded with a private evening at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, where teens exercised their brains through hands-on activities and educational games about engineering, technology, and conservation, engaging in the museum’s living science lessons.

Laila tov from all of us cowboys and cowgirls here at #ICDallas!