USY Spirit is Strong with Intern Shana Gitterman

Shana Gitterman’s USY journey started as a fourth grader in the Kadima program at Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, CA. Since then, USY has remained a focal point in her life—she spent four summers as a counselor at Camp Ramah and nine months studying and volunteering in Israel after high school as part of the Nativ College Leadership program—so it’s no surprise she’s excelled since beginning her internship with USY in January.

Shana hit the ground running, helping facilitate logistics and prepare for Jr. and Kadima Kinnus with USY Assistant Regional Director Darren Klein and Far West Schlichah Yaara Koren. Shana helped look over different programs for the events, organized name tags and sicha materials and coordinated the materials so that the madrichim would know how to run the various programs.

Recently, she worked on creating a detailed template for participants and USYers to use when planning programs in the future. The template saves time and simplifies the process of planning for programs such as Kadima or a USY Scavenger Hunt by including the purpose, expected outcome, the supplies needed and more. “Essentially, the idea of the template I created is for USYers to have more structure in building a program rather than trying to work off a blank sheet of paper,” Shana says. “The template would ideally help participants format a more well-rounded event that can be run with meaning and purpose.

Currently studying psychology at community college, Shana will soon be attending a four-year university with big plans to explore occupational therapy and child development. She believes the experience she’s gained with USY will help her tremendously as she furthers her career.

“Having a connection to USY and being able to have this experience as a counselor at Camp Ramah made for a nice transition to what I’m doing now at my internship,” Shana says. “Working with kids is something I’ve always enjoyed because I find it to be very meaningful work. This internship has been a great way to make connections and it’s allowed me to be a valuable resource to these kids.”

thicker-line2Kadima and Jr. Kinnus Weekend

On January 19-21, Far West had an incredible Shabbat with 60 Junior USYers, 120 Kadimanicks, 30 Madrichim, two NOAM teens from Israel and our wonderful staff members.

Most of our Madrichim experienced their first regional event being in charge and setting an example. They did an amazing job showing their fellow USYers and Kadimanicks what Far West USY is all about.

Each group had a schedule that included Sichot, SATO and Israel programs. Jr. USY heard from a speaker from “Jerusalem U” and had a movie night; Kadima got to meet and learn about different Jewish leaders; and all of the groups learned from Yuval and Avigail, the NOAM teens, and Torren, our IA (Israel Affairs) VP, about different populations within Israeli society.

We are grateful for a lovely Kinnus and looking forward to our next event together!


A Farewell Speech to Remember

Noah Lee of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles was a phenomenal president of the USY International Board. As USY now welcomes Zachary Zabib as the new president, we were touched by Noah’s recent farewell speech at the USY International Convention in December, where he talked about the importance of engagement with Jewish youth and the magic of USY. See it here.


Nativ 38 Registration Is Open

Graduating high school seniors can apply now for Nativ Israel, USCJ’s gap year program, which begins in September 2018. This pre-college program provides young adults with the opportunity to develop leadership skills, study, volunteer, travel and have a lot of fun in Israel!


Spend the Summer With USY

Did you know that USY has at least 10 different summer adventures to choose from? Find the perfect escape for your teen here.


Scholarships For USY Summer Programs

Don’t let money stand in the way of your best summer ever! Check out the scholarship database and see what funds are available in your area. Click here to get started.

Know of a scholarship that isn’t featured on our page? Email with the information.

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