Friday, October 12, 2012

YGRS - Youth Group Reunion Shabbat!

Some of my fondest memories of Shabbat come from my years in the Conservative Jewish Youth Group - United Synagogue Youth. It started when I went on the USY on Wheels summer program in 2006. It was essentially a six and a half week bus tour around the country with 46 other Jewish teenagers and 5 college-aged staff members. We stopped in dozens of cities along the way, staying at hotels or with local synagogue members as we took in the sights. Usually these sites included museum tours, free time to explore the city, and prayer - lots of praying. Even on some of the longer bus rides, we broke into groups to practice leading prayers and learning new ones. We created friendships and bonds that are still going strong while learning what it means to be Jews in America today. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most incredible summers in my life.

After that experience, I was hooked. I spent the next summer with USY again, but this time in Israel taking in the breadth of the country with 26 of my new best friends plus our 4 phenomenal staff members. During the school year I was also highly involved in my chapter (KAUSY...Moo), Sub-Region (Olive Mercaz and always will), Region (H-A-Negev, H-A-negev, go HaNegev!), and International USY events. I served on the HaNegev Regional Executive board as the Israel Affairs Vice President my senior year of high school and have the fondest memories of all the conventions I attended. It is hard to explain what USY means to me in just this short blog post, but it truly has a special place in my heart. It had the greatest impact in shaping me into a better Jew and person while I was in high school. I am forever grateful for my experience in USY and am sure that others can say the same for their similar youth group experiences. If you would like to share your story to potentially be highlighted in next week’s blog post, please feel free to email me at shabbatandholidays@ufhillel.org.


The Shabbat and Holidays team along with the Jewish Learning team under Missy Goldstein, are hosting a Youth Group Reunion Shabbat (or YGRS to abbrev) on October 19th to bring together students who are alumni of USY, BBYO, NFTY, and NCSY youth groups. UF Hillel is hoping to personally invite Jewish youth group alumni at UF and other Florida universities that are looking to participate. Please consider joining us to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. For those of you who did not have this experience, we also encourage you to see this youth group reunion in action and meet new friends as well. For more information or to invite others, please visit the Facebook event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/118667544953144/

As a reminder, Traditional, Conservative and Reform services will begin at 7:30pm tonight followed by a delicious and FREE (thanks to our generous donors) kosher Shabbat dinner
at 8:45pm. We hope that you will join us!


Shabbat Shalom and Beat Vandy!
-Sarah



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