• Find us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Watch us on YouTube

Today is May 22, 2024 -



(If you would like to add your testimonial, just email it to joyce@nerusy.org)

“More than anything, I developed confidence in USY. Confidence in myself, my personal values and my ability to achieve whatever I set out to achieve. I also developed amazing friendships that are integral in my life today and a love of Judaism and Israel that I only got from USY. I am so grateful for my USY experiences because they shaped who I am today.” Becky Cole Lurie (NERUSY President 1996-1997, Becky is currently working at Staples, Inc as the Director of Talent Management for their US Stores)


“My time as a USY leader shaped the man I grew up to be, probably more than any other experience in my youth. And one thing became clear to me as a teenager: when I grew up, I wanted to be an involved Jewish layperson. But I definitely did not want to be a Jewish communal professional. Oops. I’m now in my ninth year of full-time Jewish professional work, and every day I draw on skills I learned as a USYer.” David Levy (NERUSY President 1995-1996. David is currently the editor of JewishBoston.com)


“I can honestly say that my time as regional Mem/Kad was my most life-changing experience. It wasn’t just about learning how to plan an event, or how to motivate a team of people to a single goal, but learning how to behave as an adult. I learned how to handle the responsibility that came with my position and, looking back at it now, I matured more than I ever thought I would. It was, without a doubt, the most rewarding experience of my life.” Mike Zissman (NERUSY Membership Kadima Vice President 2009-10. Mike is currently a student at Wash U)


“USY changed my life in every possible way. It introduced me to the closest group of friends I can ever hope to have.  It showed me a new perspective on my role in impacting the world through social action. It provided me with the opportunity to see the country and the world in a way I could never have imagined. And above all, it taught me about my place in the Jewish and greater global community, and it helped me forge a powerful Jewish identity which will only grow stronger with time.” Joshua Block (International USY President 2010, NERUSY Mem/Kad VP 2008-9. Josh is currently a student at Brown University)


“My father passed away during my senior year of high school and while I was chapter president of Peabody USY.  While we were sitting shiva, I was incredibly uplifted by the number of USYers and USY staff members who came to pay their respects and give me their support.  The USY community brought me comfort and joy at one of the most painful times in my life, and I will be forever grateful.” Eric Black (NERUSY class of 1990. Eric is currently the Sr. Manager of Post-Production at Scholastic Corporation)


“USY connected me joyfully and profoundly to my culture, pride and religion in ways I never thought were possible- Ways that have lasted a lifetime.  Coming from a school where being Jewish was looked down upon, having a group of USY friends who appreciated me for who I was literally saved my life.” Gerry Katzman (NERUSY class of 1989. Gerry is currently an actor/director in LA)


“NERUSY is an extraordinarily unique program for youth, not only Jewishly but in the larger context of our world. NERUSY’s efforts to involved youth in peer leadership of programming that significantly influences a broad array of communities and individuals teaches each and every involved member that they are integral members of our world who can effect positive change in sincere, lasting, and outstandingly fun ways.  My experiences in NERUSY have substantiated my passion to build a better world.  They have inspired me to involve myself in community building initiatives as well as efforts to create a more equitable and just humanity.  Furthermore, my appreciation for and love of life that I express in my Jewish practice undoubtedly stems from NERUSY.  I am confident that my involvement in NERUSY will remain integral to my character for many years to come.” Nadav Slovin (NERUSY President 2007-8. Nadav is currently a student at McGill University)


“USY was not only an opportunity to make friends, but also provided a chance to have an active role in developing great programming, take a leadership role, continue to evolve in my Jewish identity and form some of the best memories that I have.”  Jerald Korn (NERUSY class of 1996. Jerald is currently the Deputy Compliance Officer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals)


“It was to have a place to be, a whole world to explore, where I was one of the ‘cool kids.’ Something I could never quite pull off at school.” Josh Kaplan (NERUSY class of 1994. Josh currently lives in Jerusalem)


“There are thoughts and ideas that only your USY friends understand, and some incredible experiences that only your USY friends can relate to. That connection between friends in USY is what lasts. Hope you’re enjoying every moment…I wish I were back in NERUSY!” Hannah Moverman (NERUSY class of 2008. Hannah is currently a student at UMass Amherst)


“My favorite part of USY was always Ruach. Ruach, which is Hebrew for “spirit,” were the post-Shabbat-meal singing and dancing sessions when we would all congregate in the center of whatever room we were using as a dining hall to rejoice in Shabbat songs. While Ruach was always the most fun part of USY conventions and events, it also seemed to me to be the worst-named. After all, while it is true that Ruach had a surplus of “spirit,” so did every other USY event. Social action projects were tackled with spirit; trips to museums and amusement parks were attended with spirit; hanging out in lounge was accomplished with spirit. Spirit is the defining element of any USY event– it pervades the atmosphere, infects every USYer, and creates community. It is the overall spirit more than the particular Ruach that I most miss about USY.” Sam Gardenswartz (NERUSY Social Action Tikun Vice President 2008-2009. Sam is currently a student at Yale University)


“Recalling my years in USY makes me smile: great programming and ruach sessions (especially Shabbat afternoons), NERUSY at Fenway Park, and friendships that last a lifetime. Last week I saw a USYer from the 70’s, back when we served on our Chapter Board together. We laughed and chatted as if our USY years together were just yesterday, not 35 years ago! My husband and I are so glad that USY was just as vital to our children’s lives (from the late 90’s until recently) as it was for each of us. I truly credit my, Steve’s, Melissa’s, and especially Jonathan’s involvement in USY for instilling in us the Jewish values, love for the Jewish community, and leadership skills that were pivotal in making us the people we are today. Our lifelong friendships with those we met in USY have grown and continue today — some 10, 15, even 40 years later.” Myrna Dress (Myrna is a former USYer, parent of 2 former USYers, and currently works for Causes International)


“Until I got to college, I never realized how much I really enjoyed singing z’mirot and doing ruach on Shabbat. In college, I get lucky if we sing 2-3 z’mirot on Friday night…which is nothing compared to the seemingly endless ruach sessions that we have at every USY event. It’s really amazing to come spend Shabbat with NERUSY, because everyone is so happy to be there, so happy to be celebrating Shabbat with their friends and fellow USYers, and everyone gets so into ruach, it’s a truly incredible experience, and something that I miss a lot.” Corey Robins (NERUSY Communications Vice President 2009-2010. Corey is currently a student at University of Maryland)


USY was one of the biggest influences on my life. Between friends that I made 15 years ago while in USY and those that I met while an advisor for 7 years in my 20’s, there were more former USYers at my wedding than friends from college and high school – combined. USY is where I learned that Judaism is more than a religion – it’s a culture that promotes amazing values like friendship, charity, and life-long learning. I owe a great deal to my USY experience – my life wouldn’t be the same without it.” Josh Bob (NERUSY class of 1997. Josh is currently the CEO of TurnStar)


“While a majority of the friendships I formed in high school and college have faded over the years, the relationships that came out of NERUSY are as strong today as they were at during all the Encampments, boat cruises, dances and conventions where they were formed. Even when years go by between reunions none of us miss a beat.  Also, the Jewish traditions and ruach I picked up during my years in NERUSY continue to this day, playing an active role in my everyday life and influencing my involvement in Hillel and Chabad.” Yaron Guez (NERUSY class of 2002. Yaron is currently the Director of Technology at Trestian LLC, an internet solutions firm for businesses based in San Diego and Boston)


“My chapter, Lexington USY, was my family for six years. Last year, I addressed my fellow LUSYers saying, ‘I can’t count how many laughs and good times we’ve had. Every event has been spectacular but I just can’t put it all into words. I’ve found that at events half the time I’m not even talking: I’m laughing, smiling, singing, or hugging. And really, that’s what makes LUSY so amazing: that we have the ability to be so incredible without needing to say a word.’ USY starts from the ground up and as a region, NERUSY is lucky to have the best chapters in USY. My chapter was my go-to-community from my very first Encampment when I didn’t know anyone else, to my last Spring Convention, where they offered me their shoulders to cry on. Truly, my NERUSY experience would not have been the same without my LUSY family.” Hilana Ezekiel (Lexington USY President 2010-11. Hilana is currently a student at Barnard Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary)


“Having the chance to be a leader definitely changed my life. During my term on the International General Board, I learned valuable skills in terms of leadership, marketing, and communication. USY taught me these skills literally hands on, doing real world things for a real world organization. USY really gave me skills that I will use for my entire life.” David Harary (Int. Communications General Board Member 2010. David is currently a student at SUNY Buffalo)


“NERUSY saved my life growing up. I was part of a group that accepted me for who I was and never once asked me to change. I could express myself as a teenager AND as a Jew which, looking back on it, was so vital to my development during such a rocky time. I could also become a leader to my peers in a less threatening environment than in my high school. Some of my closest friends are ones I made through USY and one of those friends introduced me to my husband!

“It is such a special feeling to think back to high school with a smile on my face because of NERUSY, Pilgrimage and IC experiences. One of my clearest memories is attending IC in FL for the first time. Entering the ball room filled with Jewish teenagers from all over the country was amazing. I had already visited Israel and experienced the feeling of belonging in a Jewish state. But being at IC was so different because the feeling of belonging was much stronger and more meaningful in a different way. It helped me to realize that I am never alone and that there are tons of teenagers like me all over the country. Coming to that understanding was like having a guardian angel on my back; I knew I would always have people around me who understood my experience and connected to Judaism in the same way I did. It was a very comforting feeling that helped guide me through college and beyond.”  Elisa Rotman (NERUSY Regional Vice President 1991-92, Elisa is  currently living in Northbrook, IL with her husband and two children. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker working at the Solomon Schechter Day School)


“Although I enjoyed every aspect of USY something that I found appealing was the opportunity to be a dugmah a leader to my peers and younger USYers.  Although I am no longer in USY, the skills I developed as a leader have transferred over into the next phase of my life. Throughout all of the different leadership positions I held in USY, from chapter board to regional general board and regional president, I have learned to work with others and have become more self confident all while having the ability to explore my Jewish identity.  USY was life changing for me and it can be life changing for you.” Allison Levine (NERUSY President 2010-11. Allie is currently a student at UMass Amherst)


“One of my greatest memories from my years in NERUSY took place at International Convention 2000 in Boston. I’d always been a huge history buff so I was excited to go to the JFK museum and library with all my USY friends. When we were done looking at the exhibits everyone gathered in the glass atrium and davened Mincha. There must have been 500 Jews there, but it felt like so many more as I was only 14 years old. It was such an incredible feeling to be in a public place with so many Jewish people expressing our devotion to Hashem. Words cannot express the profound impact USY had on my life, and this memory will be with me forever.” Mike Goldman (NERUSY class of 2004. Mike is currently an Executive Assistant Manager with Walgreen Co.)


“NERUSY was amazing for 8 years. From Encampment to IC to Israel Adventure, and various chapter events were all amazing. To me, this was home away from my actual house. It’s been almost four years since I left the region but the ruach, friendship, IC’s, Encampments, three years on general board, the class of 2008 was amazing. Ben Ellis (NERUSY class of 2008. Ben is currently a student at MassBay Community College)