This December 24-28, nearly 1,000 Jewish teenagers, educators, staff, and alumni gathered in Chicago at USY’s 67th International Convention.
The largest gathering of Conservative and Masorti Jewish teens, the convention welcomed young adults from across the globe to experience engage in interactive learning, gain leadership skills, build a strong Jewish future and give back to the local Chicago community.
USY partnered with several organizations to educate and equip teens to be a voice for change including StandWithUs, AIPAC, Repair the World, HIAS, the iCenter, Jewish Child & Family Services, Anshe Emet Synagogue, and the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago.
Reflecting on the current political and cultural landscape, teens will examine the concept of freedom through interactive educational workshops focusing on hot topics at home and abroad including religious freedom in Israel, freedom of expression, human rights, current refugee crises, and how sociopolitical factors affect choice.
Translating learning into action, teens participated in hands-on social action projects, volunteering at more than 30 local organizations around the Chicagoland area on Christmas Day including FCHN Soup Kitchen, The Ark, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, the Anixter Center, and H.O.M.E.
The teens will also take part in ongoing charitable activities over the course of the convention, collecting donations for local Chicago agencies including Tree Hugs, Cradles to Crayons, and Open Books.
The convention is sponsored by Vivian and Jeff Saper, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Keshet, Am Yisrael Conservative Congregation, ZBT, AEPhi, Butler Motor, the Jewish Youth Directors Association, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El Highland Park, IL, NOAM Olami, AEPI, Hillel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago.