United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Reorganizes USY

United Synagogue Youth’s 2014 national convention; photo courtesy USCJ.
United Synagogue Youth’s 2014 national convention; photo courtesy USCJ.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is reorganizing its youth movement, United Synagogue Youth (USY), to better achieve USY’s mission of helping kehillot empower Jewish youth to develop leadership skills, a sense of belonging to the Jewish people, and a commitment to inspired Jewish living through meaningful and fun experiences rooted in authentic Jewish values.

Guided by USY’s mission and vision, a committee spent the past several months collecting feedback from more than 1,000 parents, chapter staff and current USYers to evaluate the organization’s current strategy, business process and structural design. The committee was led by professional and lay leaders and included congregants, rabbis, teens, alumni and youth professionals.

Their work resulted in several changes designed to invigorate the organization, including doubling the number of field staff and centralizing operational functions. Specifically:

  • Establishing Field Engagement Associates and Teen Engagement Interns across North America. This additional staff will enable USY to supplement congregations’ capabilities and capacity to directly engage more teens locally providing compelling Jewish experiences
  • Aligning regions and staff with USCJ districts to better engage local communities in a collaboative, passionate, and welcoming Jewish future
  • Centralizing operations staff to coordinate logistics allowing field staff to focus on relationship building
  • Establishing an education manager to develop turn-key programs for chapters/regions focused on shared educational themes that allow for in-depth “Continental Conversations” across the organization
  • Continuing to assess USY’s programming and policies to make sure that they remain in alignment with our vision

These changes will roll out over the next 12 months as part of an implementation plan currently in development.

“USY lets teens make meaningful connections and inspires and empowers the next generation of passionate, committed Jewish leaders,” said Ethan Feuer, USY International President. “The changes will allow even more teens access to inspirational role models who can help us find our voices in the world.”