Emek Kinnus is an overnight convention in which USYers (teens grades 8-12) come together from all over the Hudson Valley, and CT, to spend Shabbat together in a synagogue.
During Kinnus teens hang out and celebrate Shabbat together as a community in a way that they may not in their every-day lives. Throughout Shabbat teens participate in fun ice breaker/ mixers to get to know each other and develop relationships. There are also sichot or discussion breakout sessions, which engage the teens with an aspect of Judaism and makes the teens think of the toughest issues and how they would go about solving them. The topics spur interesting debates and teens often continue the discussions even after the session ends. There are also social action activities ranging from making care packages for the homeless to learning about how to create an inclusive community and even learning how to advocate and stand up for issues they are passionate about. There are also Israel programs spanning from learning about the lifestyle in various cities throughout Israel to making a candy map of Israel and learning about the special culture. These events are filled with Ruach (singing), Chugim (electives), a rocking Saturday night program and plenty of time to meet new friends!
The most amazing part of a Kinnus is that all of the programs are written, planned, and executed by teen leaders. They are the stars of the show and the teen leadership spends hours planning interactive programs for their peers.
These events are the perfect break from reality and school. It’s a time to meet new people and have fun without having to worry about responsibilities and homework. It’s a time to connect with Judaism and realize how unique, amazing, and lively the Jewish community can be. These events make Judaism fun and relatable for teens.
These events are home hospitality style. This means, for Shabbat you will be staying with other teens at a congregants’ home. The communities are so welcoming and it’s lovely seeing the teens interact with the families
Although this is a good sparknote breakdown on what a Kinnus is, the only way to tell the full story, the only way to really appreciate what we do, is to give it a shot and attend an event. Emek USY has impacted thousands of teens throughout the years and they credit USY for their leadership skills, confidence, outgoing personality, and so much more.
Stay tuned for the theme! Can't wait to see you there!