Letter To Our SFUSY & Kadima Teens

SFUSY_May16Shalom, SFUSY and Kadima!

Welcome back! I hope you all had great summers, and I can’t wait to hear all about them. Whether you were at Camps Ramah, Newman, or Tawonga, on USY on Wheels or USY Pilgrimage, or hanging out in San Francisco, the fun doesn’t end when school starts again!

My name is David Herrera; I am the Youth Advisor for San Francisco USY and Kadima at Congregation Beth Sholom. During the year ahead, we have a number of incredible opportunities for you to continue the camp and summer program fun by connecting with other Jewish teens concerned with social action, Israel awareness, leadership skills, religious education, or simply watching a sports game. Whatever your passion, we have something for you.

The SFUSY Chapter Board has worked hard this summer to create a great year of really fun events for SFUSY. Likewise, our Kadima Vice President, Eli Ganz, has worked to plan some awesome events for the Kadima-niks this year.

Our events start up in September, but be sure to save all of the dates below! SFUSY events are for teens in Grades 9 – 12; Kadima is for kids in Grades 6 – 8. Check out our calendar below, save the dates, and drop in on an event!

For more information about SFUSY and Kadima send me an email, give me a call, visit the New Frontier USY Region’s website, or join our Facebook group.

It’s going to be a great year, everyone!

B’Shalom,
David Herrera
Youth Director, SFUSY and Kadima


SFUSY & Kadima Chapter Calendar

September 2016:

  • 9/18: SFUSY Goes to Urban Putt! (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)
  • 9/25: New Frontier Regional Kadima Day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, 11:30am-5:30pm, $45 per child (Kadima, Grades 6 – 8)

  • October 2016:

  • 10/3, 4, 12: Launch Kadima 5777; High Holy Day youth programming at CBS on Rosh Hashanah Days 1 & 2 and Yom Kippur, $50 per child includes cost of one year Kadima membership (Kadima, Grades 6 – 8)
  • 10/24: Simchat Torah Celebration with CBS (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)

  • November 2016:

  • 11/6: Peninsula Kadima @ Dave and Busters; an inter-chapter event with Kadima chapters from San Francisco, San Jose, Saratoga, Palo Alto, Foster City, and Redwood City at Dave and Busters in San Jose. 3pm-5pm, Congregation Sinai, San Jose (Grade 8 ONLY)
  • 11/18-20: New Frontier Regional Fall Kinnus; the first regional convention of the year for USY hosted at Camp Newman (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)

  • December 2016:

  • 12/4: SFUSY Event ( Grades 9 – 12)
  • 12/11: Kadima Event (Grades 6 – 8)
  • 12/25-29: USY International Convention; five days of programs and events for one thousand Jewish teens from all over the US and Canada, and parts of South America, Europe, and Israel aimed at building connections to Judaism, social action/justice, global Jewry, and new friends. Hosted in Dallas, TX. (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)

  • January 2017:

  • 1/15: New Frontier Regional Mini-Mission Mitzvah; a Regional USY day spent volunteering in one city in our beautiful New Frontier Region. Projects change every year, but past days have been spent sorting food at a food bank, building bikes and games for under-privileged youth, planting trees and picking up trash in local parks, and so much more! (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)

  • February 2017:

  • 2/5: SFUSY Israel Celebration (Grades 8 – 12)
  • 2/10-12: New Frontier Regional Winter Shabbaton; a regional convention hosted by Sacramento USY at Mosaic Law Congregation (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12, Grade 8 also invited)
  • 2/26: Kadima Event (Grades 6 – 7, Grade 5 also invited)

  • March 2017:

  • 3/5: SFUSY Day of (Social) Action (Grades 8 – 12)
  • 3/31-4/2: New Frontier Regional Kadima Konvention; a regional convention for Kadima! CBS will be hosting middle schoolers from all over Northern California and Reno, NV in this weekend long Kadima event!
    (Grades 6 – 7)

  • April 2017:

  • 4/23: SFUSY Event (Grades 8 – 12)
  • 4/30: Final Kadima Event of the Year (Grades 5 – 7)

  • May 2017:

  • 5/19-21: New Frontier Regional May Convention; the final convention of the year for USY. Hosted in Santa Rosa at the Flamingo Resort. (SFUSY, Grades 8 – 12)
  • Meet Claire Ambruster, JVS Summer Intern

    CBS is pleased to introduce our Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) Kohn Summer Intern, Claire Ambruster. Claire is supporting multiple departments at CBS during her internship (June 21 - August 12), including communications. Wearing her communications hat, Claire will learn about thoughtful development and management of social media strategy and also gain blogging experience. Today, we're sharing her first blog contribution.

    We've been very impressed with Claire so far, and are fortunate to have her on our team, even if only for the summer!

    * * * * *

    My Journey to Working in the Jewish World

    Facebook_ClaireAmbrusterLast week, I began my summer internship through the Kohn Summer Intern Program – a project of Jewish Vocational Service. My fellow interns and I met for the first time at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. We enjoyed a tour of the museum, schmoozed, and discussed our goals for the summer. As Kohn interns, we each work separately at different Bay Area Jewish nonprofits. On Fridays, we come together for interesting seminars, during which we discuss everything from Jewish life to job skills. I will be working with Congregation Beth Sholom (CBS) this summer, and am very excited for the opportunity to explore the inner workings of this synagogue – from drafting CBS Facebook posts to managing membership databases. I am also enjoying getting to know the Beth Sholom community. Simultaneously, I look forward to getting to know the other Kohn interns and learning about the different types of work they are doing to invest in the Jewish world.

    Although I now am committed to Jewish practice, I did not always envision that for myself. I grew up in a secular home in San Francisco. Although we lit Hanukkah candles each year, we also strung colored lights around our Christmas tree. As I grew older, I wanted to learn more about my tradition, and I asked my parents to enroll me in Hebrew school. Once enrolled, I quickly became inspired by Jewish teachings. When the time came to pick a high school, I decided to further my Jewish education and enrolled in a pluralistic Jewish high school. I soon fell in love with Jewish studies – from Talmud to contemporary Jewish thought. As I grew, I developed confidence in my faith. I began to contemplate taking larger concrete steps towards Judaism, and I pondered the idea of having a bat mitzvah ceremony and eventually going through conversion, as I am not yet considered halachically Jewish.

    Last summer, I was given the opportunity to have my long-anticipated bat mitzvah ceremony. I was participating in the Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI) summer program in Los Angeles, and had spent several weeks engaging in a whirlwind of profound learning with my peers. On the final Shabbat of the program, I stood before a crowded room, eagerly anticipating the ceremony. I read from the Torah, singing notes I had learned only weeks beforehand. Afterward, I reflected on the biblical passage, in which the daughters of Tzelafchad demanded to receive their father’s inheritance, which traditionally went to sons. In the same spirit of the daughters of Tzelafchad, I stood in front of the community to inherit and reaffirm my Jewish identity. After years of questioning my Jewish identity, it was incredibly redemptive and exhilarating to read from the Torah and feel the joy surrounding me.

    It is moments like this one – where communities come together in joy and in loss – which remind me how important Judaism is in my life. I look forward to helping build the Jewish world here at Beth Sholom for the remainder of the summer!