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The Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society

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What is the Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society?

The Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society recognizes USYers committed to the study of Torah, prayer, and performance of G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness).


It was established in 1979 to encourage teens to learn more about Judaism and the observance of mitzvot (good deeds).

What are the benefits of membership?

Members have opportunities to participate in special programming focused on Jewish education and practice including:

  • Special programming at regional and International conventions. Most regions hold special study sessions and receptions open only to Heschel members
  • A special induction ceremony at USY’s annual International Convention
What do I have to do to become a member?

The Heschel Society requires USYers to demonstrate active involvement in each of the following three areas:

  • The Study of Torah
    • You must take part in at least two hours of supervised Jewish study per week or enroll in the USY Home Study Program
  • Avodah (Prayer)
    • You must participate in congregational prayer at least four times a month, three of which should be on Shabbat
  • G’milut Chasadim 
    • At least once a month, you must engage in a community service project such as visiting the sick, tutoring, assisting in Hebrew Schools, etc.
Why should I join?

Membership in the honor society:

  • Shows uou are a committed and active member of your Jewish community
  • Helps further your Jewish education
  • Connects you to other teens who are passionate about Judaism
Who was Abraham Joshua Heschel?

Photo courtesy of The Jewish Week

One of the most influential rabbis of modern times, Rabbi Heschel (1907-1972) was a teacher, philosopher, and activist for social justice.

A professor of Jewish ethics and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary, he was an outspoken advocate for human rights as:

  • One of the first major Jewish figures to join the Civil Rights Movement
  • A protester against the Vietnam War
  • An activist for aiding Soviet Jewry

We celebrate Rabbi Heschel as a living embodiment of the Jewish principles of prayer and action, lessons we strive to impart to you.


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