USY is an international Jewish youth group that helps Jewish middle schoolers and teens across the U.S. learn more about how they practice Judaism, become leaders in their communities, give back to the world, and create lifelong connections with other Jewish teens. USYers can engage with this Jewish community through local chapter events, regional and international conventions, and summer programs.

Kadima is the branch of USY specifically geared toward 6th–8th graders. Middle schoolers participate in fun and meaningful activities similar to those done in USY so that they are already familiar with their local community by the time they get to high school and start attending conventions and summer programs.

To learn more about USY, you can visit the International USY website.

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Kaleil Salomon Jacob, Chapter President: What USY Means to Me

I don’t remember how I ended up going to my first USY convention in the winter of 8th grade. I do remember how uncomfortable I felt as the new kid in a group of people who already knew each other so well. Yet, despite the awkwardness, I knew from the start that USY was a community I wanted to be a part of. The high schoolers at USY were genuine, outgoing, and self-assured. They had their own traditions and their own personal relationships to Judaism. I admired them and wanted to become one of them.

As I attended more chapter events and conventions, realized that my social anxiety was unwarranted, because people at USY were not interested in judging me but in getting to know me as a person. As I have moved through high school, USY has been a constant uplifting presence outside the stress of school, as well as the source of some amazing friendships. As Chapter President this year, I want to pass on the welcoming, supportive, transformative experience of USY to the next generation of high schoolers.

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