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Parent Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

How old does my child have to be to join?

High school aged teens, grades 9-12, can join USY. Preteens, grades 5-8* (varies by region), can join Kadima.

How can my child get involved?

  • Locally: At regular chapter meetings hosted at USCJ kehillot (Jewish communities inside and outside the walls of a synagogue), teens engage in social and educational programs connecting them to Jewish and synagogue life
  • Regionally: USY is divided into 15 geographical areas or regions across North America
  • Internationally: We connect teens from across North America on our immersive summer trips (for grades 7-12) and annually, at our International Convention

What is USY/Kadima religious programming like?

We endeavor to make our religious programming engaging, fun, and accessible for all teens.

Our programming is pluralistic and egalitarian, in accordance with the values and practices of an authentic and dynamic Judaism, as determined by our parent organization, USCJ.

Does USY help prepare my child for college?

We offer a rich and varied extracurricular program to build your teen’s college resume.

Many past participants have used their program planning and logged volunteer hours as the subject of college essays.

Furthermore, our graduates thrive on campus, serving as leaders in the Jewish and secular community.

How does my child become a member?

Please contact your local synagogue and/or chapter to register your teen for USY/Kadima.

Each chapter has different membership fees and requirements. To find your closest USY/Kadima chapter, contact your Regional Teen Enagement Director.

What are the membership costs?

Membership fees vary by chapter/synagogue.

To find your closest USY/Kadima chapter, contact your Regional Teen Engagement Director.

Are scholarships available for USY programs?

Scholarships are available for USY programs, as we feel that every teen deserves the opportunity to participate in USY

  • For chapter events, please speak to your local synagogue
  • For regional and international events, please speak to your Regional Teen Engagement Director about possible scholarship opportunities

If you are looking for scholarships for USY Summer Experience, please click here

Who can I contact for more information?

For more information about programs taking place in your region, please contact your Regional Teen Engagement Director.

For more information about international USY programs or general queries, please email [email protected].

Glossary of Terms

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.

Read on to learn how to “speak USY,” or click here to download the glossary.

Clubs

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
Events

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. To learn more, click here

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
Kadima

Our group for Jewish pre-teens, grades 6-8* (*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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