Photo Credit: Shlomo Lipschitz


For more than 60 years, USY, USCJ’s youth movement, has brought the joy of Judaism to life for teens, inspiring them to deepen their Jewish practice, become leaders, make a positive impact on the world, and develop lasting connections to their Jewish identities.

USY, for grades 9-12, and Gesher, a program of USY for preteens grades 6-8 (though grades vary by region) allow your kehilla to engage youth with fun, meaningful experiences based on the ideology of Conservative Judaism.

USY helps you keep teens (and their parents) involved in your community long beyond their b’nai mitzvah years.

Toward a Thriving Future: A new structure and approach for USY

USY will continue to enrich the lives of thousands of teens each year through an array of international conventions, immersive experiences, virtual offerings, leadership training, and targeted community programming.

USY has always been — and remains — unique among youth organizations in offering experiences that are rooted in Torah, hesed (justice and kindness towards others), avodah (deep spiritual connections), and love for Israel in a religious-egalitarian framework.

At a moment when the Jewish community and teens are facing unprecedented challenges and rising antisemitism, USY’s re-energized approach builds on five pillars:  We will create accessible Judaism and nurture a spiritual home for life that is also a magnetic core for Jewish experiences as we engage with a network of advocates and community partners to grow the leaders of tomorrow.

Recognizing that the traditional regional structure no longer fits the lives of many of today’s teens in the Conservative/Masorti movement, we spent two years speaking directly with them about what the future should look like and piloting a range of programs to find the recipes for success.

As we introduce this new structure, all programs will be heavily subsidized through philanthropy and other sources so more USYers can attend. Our approach includes:

  • Chapter outreach and support: Synagogues are continuing to sponsor chapters, with International USY offering training, creating cohorts for teens and staff to connect across communities, providing grants, and supporting grassroots programming where chapters don’t exist.
  • North America-wide immersive experiences:  Teens will have multiple, dynamic ways to build a network with the larger USY community across North America. Six conventions a year will provide hundreds of teens from across North America a “deep dive” into areas like Jewish activism, Israel, and social justice. Summer immersives will keep rolling, including USY on Wheels, which has multiple buses planned for 2024.
  • Targeted community programs: In cities with multiple thriving chapters, such as Chicago and Los Angeles, community directors are already fostering year-round programs. Their success stems from a partnership between USCJ, synagogues, and community philanthropy. We plan to launch similar efforts in several other areas in 2024-2025 as we expand this model. If your community is interested, let us know and we’ll help you get there.
  • Leadership training: Proven, best-in-class leadership training through an annual North American-wide convention for teens, and a restructured, teen-led model that will provide opportunities for USYers to serve on boards and chair events.

Online educational offerings: USY webinars that already draw hundreds of students a year are being expanded around such topics as Israel education and advocacy, standing up to antisemitism, preparing for the college campus, and social activism. We are also expanding our Heschel Fellowship, through which teens study online with rabbinical students, and expanding USY’s social media engagement.

Learn more Here!

As president of the Poughkeepsie chapter, I helped revive the youth group at my synagogue and improved the local Jewish environment for kids and teenagers. USY has played a major role in the formation of a close-knit, inclusive Jewish community at my synagogue.

Ariella Fessler

USY programming for your congregation:

USY partners with teens to elevate everyday high school life into places of meaning, wholeness, and holiness…it enables them to collect experiences and interactions that shape their future as Jewish leaders.

Rabbi David Levy
Former Senior Director, Teen Learning, USCJ


of teens say USY makes Judaism more relevant and meaingful


of teens say involvement in USY has made them want to increase their Jewish observance


of parents say that traveling on one of USY’s immersive summer programs enhanced their child’s understanding and appreciation of Jewish traditions and practices

Take Action

  • Contact your branch staff to learn more about USY programming in your area or to get information about starting a chapter in your synagogue


Related Blog Posts

View all Posts