Source: The Jewish Student Union
The Jewish Student Union (JSU) is a national organization dedicated to establishing Jewish clubs in public high schools. Founded with 4 clubs in Los Angeles in 2002, JSU has enjoyed rapid growth and now serves more than 220 clubs across North America, reaching more than 9,000 teens annually. By fostering a social atmosphere, presenting engaging and entertaining educational programs, and lowering the barriers to participation, JSU reaches all types of teenagers from the under-engaged to the already involved.
Much like Hillel, the mission of JSU is to involve students in an active Jewish lifestyle. As a stand-alone informal Jewish education tool, the clubs are invaluable for creating a sense of Jewish community in a public school environment. They also provide Jewish teens in public school with an in-school educational experience focusing on issues of Jewish pride, identity, and connection to Israel. However, a larger goal of JSU is to act as a portal for connecting participants to the greater Jewish community.
By facilitating the formation of student run and school sanctioned clubs in Public High Schools, JSU seeks to provide teens with a deeper appreciation for their rich Jewish heritage and inspire them to live a fully committed Jewish life. JSU’s trained professionals present Judaism and Jewish life as appealing and accessible to a previously under-serviced population subset – Jewish teens attending public high school.
JSU helps Jewish teens establish official Jewish clubs in their public high schools which offer specially crafted programs designed to:
- Enhance each teen’s Jewish identity
- Nurture a connection to the State of Israel
- Inspire an enduring relationship with the Jewish people
- Provide a portal for deeper involvement with the Jewish community