UNITED SYNAGOGUE’S ALUMNI ASSOCIATION PLANS USY 60TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS FOR 2011 - 2012 AND ANNOUNCES NEW ENDOWMENTS AND HONOREES
In 1951, United Synagogue’s leaders, building upon the vibrant programming for teenagers that had taken solid root in Conservative synagogues throughout North America, created the international organization called United Synagogue Youth.
USY is an organization where Jewish teenagers come together to celebrate and learn about Judaism, develop a sense of Jewish identity, acquire leadership skills and build lifelong friendships. It has become one of the largest and most active Jewish youth groups in the world.
Fifty-nine years after its founding, USY and Kadima, its program for middle school students, continue to play a significant role in shaping the lives of young Conservative Jews and future Jewish leaders. Tens of thousands of young people have been USY members during these nearly sixty years, and USY alumni have taken on significant leadership roles, serving in the United States Congress, as CEOs of major corporations, and presidents of influential Jewish organizations and prominent universities.
In honor of USY’s upcoming 60th anniversary, the USCJ Alumni Association began a yearlong celebration in December 2010 and has events slated to take place until summer 2012. We look forward to reconnecting with our alumni around the world as the festivities continue.
“Each generation has had its unique challenges and for 60 years USY has helped Jewish teenagers define their Jewish identity and shape their Jewish future,” said Richard Moline, Chief Outreach Officer. “USY is committed to continuing its efforts to help young people make informed Jewish choices that we hope will lead to productive, fulfilling and active Jewish lives in this ever-changing world.”
To raise awareness of its work and to respond to the diverse needs and interest of teenagers today, USY will honor four notable alumni and the founding synagogues through new initiatives and scholarship programs. We are pleased to announce the following international honorees and endowment funds:
The Danny Siegel Mitzvah Heroes Fellowship Program: Danny Siegel was USY’s International President in 1962. He became one of the world’s foremost experts in microphilanthropy and through his tireless teachings Danny has modeled Jewish philanthropy for generations of teenagers. From 1981, when he created it, to 2009, when he closed it, Danny was the heart and soul of the Ziv Tzedakah fund. He is also a poet as well as the author of many works of prose. The Social Action/Tikkun Olam program named for him will train Jewish teens in both the practical and the ethical dimensions of social action work.
The Founders USY Scholarship Fund: This fund honors four Conservative synagogues in Minnesota’s Twin Cities – USY’s founding congregations, Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Beth El Synagogue, B’nai Emet Synagogue, and Temple of Aaron – and their rabbis. Rabbi Kassel Abelson, Rabbi Emeritus of Beth El and past International President of the Rabbinical Assembly, will represent his colleagues in launching this initiative. We will also celebrate the future by recognizing Beth Jacob Congregation of Mendota Heights, and their Rabbi Morris Allen. By honoring our past and celebrating our future, this fund will give teens the opportunity to participate in USY’s transformative programs, including regional conventions, summer programs such as USY on Wheels and Israel Pilgrimage, and Nativ, a yearlong program in Israel for recent high school graduates.
The Jackie Saltz Alumni Fund: More than 20 years ago, Jackie Saltz, together with a small volunteer committee, created Project Reconnect as a vehicle to reengage alumni from all youth and young adult programs of the Conservative movement. Through Project Reconnect, Jackie has reunited alumni from across the movement, focusing particularly on USY, the heart and soul of her vision. Her tireless work has been invaluable as we celebrate USY’s 60th anniversary and begin the formation of United Synagogue’s Alumni Association. Jackie has strong ties to USY in both professional and volunteer roles Jackie was a synagogue chapter Youth Director and worked on United Synagogue’s staff as a Regional Youth Director. Later she became Chair of the Regional Youth Commission and President of United Synagogue’s Pacific Southwest region, and continues to serve on United Synagogue’s Board of Directors. This fund will provide much-needed support for the United Synagogue Alumni Association, USY on Wheels, Pilgrimage summer programs and for future programs for USYers and USY alumni.
The Jules Gutin Leaders Fellowship Fund: Jules Gutin has been USY and Kadima’s International Director for 20 years. His leadership, creativity and ability to connect with our teenagers is well-known. USY and Kadima have flourished under Jules’s leadership. Alumni throughout the world claim him as their mentor, citing his influence in the choices they have made and the success they have achieved in their adult lives. To continue the spirit of teaching and mentoring provided to the thousands of USYers who have been guided by Jules, the Jules Gutin Leaders Fellowship fund will provide ongoing leadership training to Jewish teens and USY advisors and youth directors throughout North America and Israel.
USY 60 General Alumni Fund: This general fund will allow for grants and allocations to be made to youth and young adults programs with a focus on leadership, learning and community service.
Please join us at any of our events across the continent throughout the year as we remember USY’s glorious past and look forward with great excitement to its bright future. Visit us at http://facebook.com/USY60 and http://twitter.com/USY60 to keep up to date on upcoming events and to connect with fellow alumni.
USY: Shaping the future of Conservative Judaism...one soul at a time.