Conservative Jewish youth group USY cancels summer travel programs due to COVID-19


(JTA) — The Conservative Jewish youth group United Synagogue Youth is canceling its summer travel programs for teens, the latest in a string of canceled Jewish summer programs.

The announcement, made Thursday, comes as several Conservative Ramah summer camps are set to announce that they are canceling their sessions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some two dozen camps, including those run by the Union for Reform Judaism, already have announced that they will cancel this summer.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share this news with you, that due to the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are canceling all USY Travel Experiences for the summer of 2020,” an online message from the youth group’s leadership read. “At this time, we do not believe that we could provide trips that could guarantee the safety and health of our teens while providing an exceptional experience. We are all disappointed.”

USY has put on summer programs for nearly 70 years. Its schedule this year included trips to Israel, Europe, the Dominican Republic and across North America.

In an email to parents, USY said they could seek a full tuition refund or credit for a future program, or donate a portion or all of the money to the youth group. According to the email, 12% of the tuition money has already gone to fund the group’s operations.

USY is planning to offer virtual programming for teens over the summer.

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