Rel/Ed VP Packet - HaNegev

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Jan 16, 2014 ... are all down for together making this year in HaNegev Rel/Ed-fabulous (…if not, we can work on bumping up that enthusiasm). This packet is ...

S HANEGEV’ chapter board survival



Directed by: Lili Brown HaNegev Regional Religion/Education Vice President 2013-2014

Mazels, dude! What a freakin’ simcha! Hello and welcome to USY’s wonderful world of Religion/Education! From one Rel/Ed to another, congrats and mazel tov on gaining your new exclusive and prestigious title as chapter Rel/Ed Vice President. The upcoming year will be one of fun, fun learning, and some fun-loving Judaism. Get stoked! If we have not formally graced one another with each other’s presence, I’m Liliana Jacobus Brown and you’re someone I’m very excited to work with this year! I hope y’all are all down for together making this year in HaNegev Rel/Ed-fabulous (…if not, we can work on bumping up that enthusiasm). This packet is designed to be your #1 resource as you rock your chapter this year religiously and educationally. You’ve also got some good folks on your side: yours truly, your fellow board members, your youth director, and of course your Religion/Education General Board. No Rel/Ed walks alone! Something I’m guessing y’all already know but never hurts to reiterate is that we are the backbone of this fine organization! Give yourselves a pat on the back for that one. What would United Synagogue Youth be with Religion/Education?! The surface answer is just a “Y”, but the real answer is nothing. We love teens, we love Conservative Judaism, and we love making teens unite under a (slash our) love for Conservative Judaism! With that, the big numero uno of your job is to keep the Judaic morale of your chapter active and thriving – or else, in essence, your chapter isn’t embodying what USY’s all about. Do not be scared to hit me up on virtually (no pun intended) any social media forum – twitter (@lilijbrown), the Facebook, email…etc! I’m linked and ready to answer your q’s all the time anytime! And remember always – you’re a star. Shalom U’brachot, Lili Brown HaNegev Regional Religion/Education Vice President 2013-2014 (404)6063173 [email protected]



Rel/Ed 101 Your position, along with two other positions on the typical USY board, boasts a special format: two words and one symbolic symbol. Let’s do a formatting breakdown and keep it real simple…

Religion Here, USY is highlighting one of my favorite activities: abbreviating words (abbrevs). It is our blessed job to organize, plan, and oversee any and all Jewish programming here in our great seven states. What a task! There is always room for a dash of Rel/Ed in all of your chapter’s programming ventures, from Ace of Cakes to paintball. Live it, love it, keep it Jewish y’all.

/ We have come across a SLASH in our title, to mean that whatever words surround this mere slanted line are to be read as blank “and” blank. This punctuation mark separates our job into two defined, but usually coexisting, parts: religion and education. Don’t be scared to utilize all that this sign means, you don’t always have to focus on both together!

Education Even in the professional world this abbrev is given to the word education; my sister went to grad school to get a Masters of Ed! This aspect of your job gives you some flexibility. Your educational role doesn’t always have to be Jewish-related, but again religious education is easy and never hurts. Educating our fellow USYers on current events and worldwide issues can be a transformative program idea and sanctioned for us to do! And this all means… Your position is not 100% religion 24/7. Too often are we pegged as “that Jewish position” on board, but boy, oh are those ignorant people wrong! Education is an equally important aspect of your role. Throw in some info about international genocide or Jewish genetic diseases in there and boom – cuuuuurveball!



The Rel/Ed Code: Seven Acts of Heaven Common guidelines for us all to abide by

1. Dugma’im & Dugma’ot Us Rel/Ed ladies and gents are USY’s dugma’im, or Hebrew for role models (singular form: dugma). Duh having such a title under our names requires us to present our selves in a presentable manner and for others to follow us! I’ll break down being a stellar dugma into some do’s and don’ts… Do… • Assist someone if they need help…always! • Include everybody in programs and discussions, especially the people you aren’t typically close with • Look like you’re having a good time and an interest in what’s going on, even if what you’re participating in isn’t your fave • Go to synagogue regularly, because no one likes hypocrites telling them to go to services! (and no one likes hypocrites anyway) Don’t… • Chat it up (loudly) during services • Disrespect others in a discussion or group activity. • Use foul language or behave inappropriately • Eat non-kosher food at a USY event or even discuss the chicken burrito bowl you got with sour cream at Chipotle last night • Disrespect adults or higher authorities • Make a mess or destroy property

2. Proud Member of the (Conservative) Tribe What differentiates us USYers from other teens involved in Jewish youth is that we’ve got that “S” included in our acronym. It’s your priority job to ensure that the “S” is never removed or overseen in your chapter’s alphabet, as you are the top dog when it comes to religious activities. The future of religion is now in your hands!

3. Teach Me Your Ways... Another big part of your job is to educate your fellow USYers (education in execution!). Whether you’re leading a learner’s minyan or participating a Sicha session on Jewish/non-Jewish topics, it’s of utmost importance that you are always !


prepared and know what words are coming out of your mouth…beforehand! If you are presenting a d’var torah, I heavily suggest not winging it. If you’re about to enter a Sicha you’re leading, look at the material beforehand. Being unprepared ruins the experience of learning for everyone involved. We all hate that teacher who assumes way more authority than is deserved for themselves, so make note to not talk down to your fellow USYers. If you aren’t sure about something, do not hesitate to ask someone! You can refer to me, your Rabbi, your parents…each of us (myself especially included) are accessible and always want to help out when needed.

4. Our Man AJH The Rel/Ed mentor is Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a prominent Jewish leader during Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement. Within international USY we have the Rel/Ed club called the Abraham Joshua Heschel Society. Heschel is a great program for those excited about being Jewish and for those who have awesome ruach. For Heschel members, there is an international Heschel kinnus, or convention, held every spring, some late-night study sessions at regional and international conventions, and a Heschel newsletter. In order to be accepted into Heschel (and a copy off the app is included in this packet), a USYer must demonstrate his or her commitment to the study of Torah, prayer, and gemilut hasadim, or acts of loving-kindness. Make sure you spread the word about this special club, and try to plan study sessions with fun and interesting topics that show how great Heschel really is.

5. Secular Education & HC6 We’ve spent all this time discussing the Religion aspect of the position, but don’t forget about that education too. Secular education is just as important to being a Rel/Ed, though sometimes that is neglected. Group discussions are a great way to let everyone speak their opinions on certain secular issues. Even hot topics like abortion and eating disorders have a Judaic aspect you can always throw in there. It’s also pretty easy for Rel/Ed to overlap with SA/TO or IA, but the fact is that Rel/Ed is an all-encompassing job. In HaNegev, we call this overlapping HC6, an acronym of the three clubs in USY. H(that’s us! Heschel Society)C(HeChalutzim; IA)6(613 Mitzvah Corps; SA/TO). Don’t be afraid to educate Rel/Ed style or HC6 style!



6. Planning Services and Davening Them Too Though not our easiest task when comes to implementing Judaism interestingly, services are our backbone. In reality, it is all about how you set them up and execute them to your fellow USYers. Planning chapter services gives your chapter members a chance to both show off and hone their religious skills; a USY Shabbat at your synagogue could be facilitated by members of your chapter and followed by a dinner where your chapter comes together to do some rockin’ ruach. Your synagogue will see you and your chapter’s religious abilities and thus have faith that its $$$ is a good investment towards keeping Jewish continuation alive.

7. No Rel/Ed Walks Alone I’ve said it once before and I’ll most def say it again, you are not alone and have a never-ending set of resources! Besides the lovely people looking out for you regionally, sub-regionally, and at home in your chapter, you should always refer to that lovely thing we call the Internet. Though Judaism seems really only akin to us, the Internet is filled with Jewish resources (books are too! But something tells me y’all are quicker to use Google than driving to your public library). Obviously the only thing required to do your work is your brain, but it only improves your work to use the resources at your disposal. Turn to what you can in times of need, because those emergency programming crash times will show up over the course of this year. Refer to the great list of resources at the end of this packet.



#DvarTorahProblems Divrei Torah: The most controversial aspect of Rel/Ed The idea of giving divrei Torah can be a turnoff for some, be it because they’ve got stage fright, because they think people won’t care about what they’re saying, or because people won’t get the message of their d’var. Here a few guidelines in easing some of those anxieties to make you a star d’var Torah giver and inspire others to be also!

Step 1: Shaping the Scene When you’re starting to being writing your d’var, you must first know your audience. Typically, this will be all of your best friends, your fellow USYers. But sometimes, your job can get you to the place where you’re speaking in front of Kadimaniks, your whole congregation, or your synagogue’s Youth Commission. Obviously, who you’re talking to will be a huge factor in your word choice and especially in your topic. For example, don’t focus on the rape of Dina when giving a d’var on Vayishlach to Kadimaniks! Just my slice of humble pie.

Step 2: Do’s and Don’ts Do’s • Focus on a specific part of the parsha; research questions that could be answered directly by the audience • Use your resources!!! Primary sources encouraged • Always include a base pasuk from the parsha (*make sure you’re pulling from the correct section of your triennial reading, if applicable*) • Write about something global that your audience can equally relate to • Spice it up with some side-jokes and commentary (controlled) • Show your personality! • Leave the deep thinking of your message to the individual – don’t brain wash your audience with your views • Take a deep breath, preach, and have fun!

Don’ts • Avoid simply summarizing the parsha which can easily lead to boredom • Don’t talk around Hebrew – add some in there to add ethnicity! • Avoid having the fixed idea that only what you say is correct • Don’t take too much of a ideological risk that would make you seem a wee bit radical • Understand that no one is judging you so don’t be too nervous/serious!

Step 3: Know you’re gonna kill it! !

Cause you will, you little Rel/Ed Star 7

Abraham Joshua Heschel Society “The dignity of being a Jew is in the sense of commitment.” – AJH himself It's relatively easy to join USY. Becoming a committed and active member of the Jewish community is not so easy. But the future of the North American Jewish community lies in the hands of those who are conscientiously learning about Judaism and practicing what they learn. To encourage USYers to learn more about Judaism and the observance of Mitzvot, USY established the Abraham Joshua Heschel Honor Society in 1979. The society is named after Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), a faculty member of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and one of the most influential Jewish figures of modern times. Through the development of his original philosophy of Judaism and the application of that philosophy to the problems of modern times, Rabbi Heschel became a man to honor and emulate. The Heschel Society is a very special core group of USYers who are committed to their Judaism. Because Heschel Society members are a significant and elite group within USY, USY offers special programs for them. Some of these programs are: · The annual International Heschel Study Kinnus (convention) held in a different city each year · Special mailings of various topics sent to Heschel Society members throughout the year · Subscription to the newsletter of the society, Bo'er B'aesh · Special activities which take place at Regional and International USY Conventions Most regions hold special study sessions and receptions open only to Heschel members (we do that) Many regions also honor their Heschel Society members with small gifts (we do that too!) The annual USY International Convention is the site of the Heschel Society induction. This is in addition to a special educational program at the convention only for Heschel Society members. If you are already a Heschel Society member, you may re-certify yourself using the online form. The Heschel Society requires a USYer to demonstrate active involvement in each of the following three areas: 1. The Study of Torah: Society members must take part in at least two hours of supervised Jewish study per week or enroll in the USY Home Study Program. 2. Prayer (Avodah): Society members must participate in congregational prayer at least four times a month - three of which should be on Shabbat. 3. Acts of Loving Kindness (G'milut Chasadim): At least once a month, society members must engage in a community service project such as visiting the sick, tutoring, assisting in Hebrew Schools, etc. Heschel Society members are currently involved in many of these projects. How to apply: fill out the application (go to and send it to: USY Heschel Honor Society 155 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010 !


Creative Services Done Right They’re fun to write and fun to do! Quick breakdown:

What is a creative service? Our creative services take a traditional Jewish prayer service and put a creative twist on it to make it more engaging. We typically use them for shacharits at convention but they really can be for any service!

Why do we do them? Creative services give USYers the opportunity to have a new prayer experience while also keeping with the traditional prayer structure of the service. It isn’t uncommon for teenagers these days to be a bit apathetic to traditional prayer, so we must find a way to show them the best of what we’ve got. These services help build a strong bridge between USYers and tefilah.

How do you do a creative service? Your #1 resource here is your lovely imagination. The opportunities here are truly endless (unless you’re doing one for Shabbat, in which Shabbat regulations in regards to electricity, etc are to be abided)! Use your senses as you make a creative service. You can use different tools and techniques such as music, art, discussion, humor, stories, movement, contemplation, text study, chevruta (partner) exercises, games, trivia, and more!

What if I don’t know how to make one? It can be easier to execute these things than to actually plan them, so don’t be afraid to ask me and/or the Regional General Board for help! We can give you previous successful ones to get you started or help you organize your ideas into a kickin’ service.



Shabbat Versus Yom Tov Whas the dif?!? Here is an unofficial, easy to follow guide to observing both Shabbatot and Yom Tovs. Know ahead of time though that this is not a complete guide! For further instruction or if you have any further questions, consult either your rabbi or another prominent religious leader in your community.

Shabbat It is a mitzvah to hear the Torah being read on Shabbat, so go to shul y’all! Abide by the following regulations: o Carrying objects (unless an Eruv is provided) o Lighting fire o Driving (unless to and fro shul or a hospital/place of emergency) o Cooking things that are not already cooked o Writing o Igniting electricity and using electronics o Traveling • For a good sense of when Shabbat starts and ends in your neck of the woods, see the following link. Under “Shabbat Times”, fill in your zip code:

• •

Yom Tov • •


Same as Shabbat, but you’re allowed to cook food Shabbat law trumps Yom Tov law if they fall on the same day


SAT and ACT Testing Lucky for us, the College Board is super accepting of everyone’s needs and allows Jews who keep Shabbat to take their tests on Sundays! It’s also a great way to sneak around getting less people in your testing room, which easily decreases the amount of stress as you enter testing and easily decreases the number of people who might vomit in your testing room (this has happened. To me. For real). Follow the following instructions on how to get your name on the Sunday test center lists for both tests. For the SAT/SAT Subject Tests: Your first time registering for Sunday testing MUST be done by mail! 1. Obtain a regular SAT/SAT Subject Test form. 2. In the section to pick your test center location, fill in 01-000 (leave the second choice blank). Educational Testing Services guarantees to list a Sunday test center for you. Call them for more info: (866) 756 7346. 3. In the area designated for your desired test date, indicate the Saturday date that is the day before you would like to take the Sunday exam. 4. With your application, enclose a letter from your Rabbi or Youth Director that explains you’re taking the test on Sunday for religious reasons. 5. Mail in your application at least a week before the registration deadline. 6. After your first registration you can register for Sunday tests for later dates on College Board’s site or by phone. For the ACT Test: 1. Obtain a regular ACT application form. 2. In the section where you note your test center location, fill in the test center code for the non-Saturday date relating to your test choice. These codes for Sunday tests all end with a “1” and are listed at the end of the section for each state. Sunday dates for the 2013-2014 ACTs: • September 22, 2013 • October 27, 2013 • December 15, 2013 • February 9, 2014 • April 13, 2014 • June 15, 2014



Resources Duh you’ve got some things to help ya out! Remember that your Rabbi is always your golden resource for info, help, and support! Online Resources: International USY Website Has international Rel/Ed projects, a program bank, divrei Torah, and anything else you could possibly desire from your counterparts! HaNegev Website Regional program bank, Heschel Society app, Sunday standardized testing info, ways to contact all members of the Regional Board, and all lovely things HaNegev! Mavensearch A reliable online Jewish search engine. Virtual Jerusalem Probably the largest and most up to date Jewish online resource. Lots of useful links! Ask Moses Here you can talk a Rabbi 24/6 (excluding Shabs obvs) as well as access an online Jewish search engine. Hebrew Verbs A search engine that helps beginners learn basic Hebrew roots and 300+ verbs in Hebrew. Good resource when it comes to Hebrew lessons or if you want to wow your chapter with your new nachas. AISH A great website home to fun articles and videos on the weekly parsha, holidays, and all things Judaic. A very used website during my elementary day school days! Don’t be afraid to exploit all the Judaic texts located at your synagogue’s library! Books are fun toooooo!



2013-2014 Holiday Calendar 5773-5774 Shavuot Sunset of May 14, 2013 to sunset of May 16, 2013 Tisha B’A Sunset of July 14, 2013 to sunset of July 15, 2013 Rosh HaShanah Sunset of September 4, 2013 to sunset of September 6, 2013 Yom Kippur Sunset of September 13, 2013 (Kol Nidre) to sunset of September 14, 2013 Sukkot Sunset of September 18, 2013 to sunset of September 25, 2013 Work not permitted sunset of September 18 to sunset of September 20 Shemini Atzeret Sunset of September 25, 2013 to sunset of September 26, 2013 Simchat Torah Nightfall of September 26, 2013 to sunset of September 27, 2013 Hanukkah Sunset of November 27, 2013 to sunset of December 5, 2013 Asara B’Tevet (minor Fast Day) Sunrise of December 13, 2013 to sunset of December 13, 2013 Tu B’Shevat January 16, 2014 Ta’anit Esther (minor Fast Day) Sunrise of March 13, 2014 to sunset of March 13, 2014 Purim March 16, 2014 Passover Sunset of April 14, 2014 to sunset of April 22, 2014 Work not permitted sunset of April 14 to sunset of April 16 Work not permitted sunset of April 20 to sunset of April 22 Yom HaShoah April 28, 2014 Yom HaZikaron May 5, 2014 Yom Ha’atzmaut May 6, 2014 Key: Lag B’Omer Work permitted May 18, 2014 Work not permitted Yom Yerushalayim Mix holidays May 28, 2014 !