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Learn How to Speak USY

In USY, we offer several ways for teens to get involved including local and national events, interest-specific clubs, and leadership opportunities.

Often USYers will refer to these colloquially or by their internal abbreviations, which, given our robust program offering, can be confusing.

To help familiarize you with the names of these groups and events, we’ve created a glossary of terms.


There are several opportunities for teens to get involved within their areas of interest, beyond participation at regional events. Teens can elect to enroll in several of our “extracurricular” clubs including:

  • The Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society
    • An honor society for USYers committed to standards of Judaic study, prayer and Gmilut Chassadim (community service)
    • Named after Rabbi Heschel (1907-1972), the honor society was established in 1979 to encourage teens to learn more about Judaism and the observance of mitzvot (good deeds)
  • Chalutzim
    • Literally translated as “pioneers,” this is our Israel advocacy club dedicated to building strong relationships with the Jewish homeland through programming, activism, and fun activities
  • 613 Mitzvah Corps
    • Our social action/tikun olam (repairing the world) club for teens who wish to be more involved in community service and learn about social activism in a Jewish context
  • Encampment/Kamp Kadima
    • A week-long sleep away camp program held at the end of the summer in select regions
  • International Convention
    • Commonly referred to as IC, this is our largest gathering of Conservative Jewish teens
    • Held annually the last full week in December, it convenes hundreds for five days of celebration, sightseeing, Jewish learning, and giving back to the local community
  • Kallah or Kinnus
    • A home hospitality convention held over Shabbat from Friday afternoon until Sunday
    • These events typically include theme-based programming, educational sichot (study groups), and opportunities for teens to bond
  • USY Summer Experience
    • Our summer travel program for teens grades 7-12
    • Trip destinations include North America, Israel, Europe, and beyond. To learn more click here

Our group for Jewish pre-teens, grades 5-8 (varies by region).

Leadership Development
  • Executive Board
    • A group of six USYers who govern their chapter, region, or the international organization
    • Though the positions on USY’s board vary, typically the Executive Board includes a:
      • 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 Vice President
  • General Board
    • Selected by the Executive Board, these teens assist in running initiatives and programming for their peers
Tzedakah & Community Service
  • SA/TO 
    • An abbreviation for Social Action/Tikun Olam, this is a catch-all term for our community service and fundraising efforts
  • Tikun Olam 
    • Literally translated to “repairing the world,” this is also the name of our tzedakah (charity) fund. It is often abbreviated as TO
    • The money raised for TO is allocated to several charities and organizations, as well as scholarship funds for USY events
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