By Gilah Benson-Tilsen, BEKI Youth Group Coordinator
Congregation BEKI Kadima and United Synagogue Youth (USY) are youth groups that empower Jewish students in middle school and high school to plan and participate in educational, religious, community service, and social events. These activities provide opportunities to build future Jewish community leaders.
Congregation BEKI Kadima and USY are inclusive youth groups open to all Jewish youth, regardless of synagogue affiliation. Kadima and USY events are planned at the local (New Haven area), regional (CT, RI and MA), national, and international levels. For more information, see beki.org/youth/ kadima-usy/.
We started this September with kickoff events for USY and Kadima, at which we planned for this year’s activities, snacked, played games, listened to upbeat Hebrew tunes courtesy of DJ Noam BT, and introduced our Israeli Young Emissaries, Rotem Linchevski and Talya Machpood. In October, we met our regional counterparts at the Hanefesh Regional Opening Event at the Sports Center of Connecticut, enjoying an afternoon of laser tag, bowling, mini golf, arcade gaming and birthday cake. We also held a picnic and post-Sukkot apple harvest at Lyman Orchards and an Ice Cream Havdalah.
In November, USYers baked delicious, made-from-scratch challah, directed by a gracious USY parent. Our USY and Kadima volunteers then moved straight into an intensive Thanksgiving pie preparation marathon. The profits from this fundraiser were donated to recipients including our local Jewish Family Service Food Pantry.
Our USY Tikun Olam project on Sunday, Dec. 10, involved cleaning, organizing and taking inventory for the Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) storage room at BEKI. The furnishings stored in the large basement room are distributed to new refugee families when they are first resettled in New Haven. The group also plans to participate in snowtubing, hosting a movie night, and plan an exciting roster of activities for the winter and spring. Join us!
Our elected USY Board Officers for the year are:
USY President: Noam Benson-Tilsen
Communications: Aaron Bruce
Religious/Education: Benjamin Birn
Tikun Olam: Eitan Hirshfield
Membership/Kadima and Israel Affairs positions are still open.