Once upon a time, in a state far away, two regions fell in love and slowly became one.
(Okay maybe Maury and Ethan haven’t fully approved the merge, but we’re working on it.)
Okay back to the story…
As a sophomore walking into my first International Convention knowing only EMTZA people, it was kind of scary. Being at the Baltimore airport, BWI, after over 8 hours of traveling and layovers, it was a relief to be done traveling for the day. Being at the BWI airport was also a reality shock and a reminder that I was going into IC as a newbie. I saw EMTZAniks reuniting with friends from Fall Boards Weekend and Pilgrimage, while I stood idly by meeting new faces. Though most of the faces were a blur, I distinctly remember waiting by the luggage carousel, and hearing the screams as EMTZA and SWUSY reunited. I saw Jessie Goldberg sprint to tackle Rachel Shapiro and heard countless screams from them and many others of “OH MY GOSH I MISSED YOU SO MUCH!” and “ I’M SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN!” (Caps are necessary when describing USY reunions.)
By that point in the night it was pretty late and we were all exhausted from travel. The happily reunited USYers boarded a bus to Har Shalom Synagogue in Potomac, MD. Immediately SWUSY and EMTZA hit it off to a great start by blasting music and screaming along to the words of the official SWEMTZA song, 3005 by Childish Gambino. Once we got to Har Shalom and received our homestay assignments, I got lucky enough to share a house with the amazing Rachel Shapiro. Being a sophomore and staying with a senior, not to mention the regional president, was kind of intimidating to say the least. On the first night of homestay, we talked and talked for way too long about what I should expect at my first IC.
Over the next two days SWEMTZA enjoyed some Iced Aroma, way too many name games, classic Helfand moments, an awesome Shabbat, and Maury riding around Har Shalom on a trike meant for ages 2-6. I never thought I could become so comfortable with a group a strangers so fast. I guess that’s the magic of USY.
The day was finally here, time to leave the safety of SWEMTZA and go into the real deal, IC. Yet again we had an eventful SWEMTZA bus ride, blaring music and screaming along to 3005 as we anticipated the dream-like first day of IC. As convention got underway and everyone reunited with their respective friends, there was always a smile, a hug or a hi between a SWUSYite and an EMTZAnik whenever they would passed each other. I always knew that at convention I always had a friend to go to in SWUSY, and knowing I not only had EMTZA but SWUSY as well to rely on was an indescribable feeling.
When it was time for the IC recap video, there was a buzz in the air while waiting to find out where IC 2016 will be. The graphic of IC Dallas 2016 came up on the screen I immediately jumped up screaming along with the rest of the room. I grabbed the first SWUSY person in sight, which just happened to be Kira, and we screamed and hugged and screamed some more and once we could catch our breath I looked at Kira and screamed, “I’M GOING TO SWUSY, SWEMTZA IS HOSTING IC!” The next day when convention came to a close, we said our goodbyes to everyone, but the hardest for me was saying goodbye to the friends I had made in SWUSY. Goodbyes consisted of, “Come to SWUSY’s Spring!” and “Please come to EMTZA’s Spring Kallah!” Everyone was desperate to have another weekend where SWEMTZA would be together once again.
As I walked back into the BWI airport, my life completely different since I was last there, I saw some SWUSYites all sitting together waiting for their flights at the food court. We reminisced about the good times at pre-con and IC, but we all had one thought on our minds; Why can’t IC last longer? As the majority of SWUSY and EMTZA departed on their separate flights, there was a small group of 6 SWEMTZAniks left. I along with the rest of the remaining SWEMTZAniks went to go get milkshakes, and in the Silver Diner in the BWI airport was where the first ever (self-appointed) SWEMTZA board was made along with Rachel Shapiro as the official RYD. On December 31st, the day SWEMTZA disbanded, we made a group chat and everything called SWEMTZA and CHILL, so you know it’s super official.
Although we may not be together physically anymore, and we have had our respective conventions since IC, the group chat is always a reminder of the love SWEMTZA will always have. From establishing that debate is NOT a sport, to the day where we all took on different identities by changing our names and confusing everyone, discussing politics, sending quizzes about Texas or Midwest stereotypes for everyone to take to see how Texan/Midwestern you really are, and so much more. You could say we all lived happily ever after.
So now you know up about the love story of SWEMTZA. But what point does this all have? Well, that scared sophomore walking into her first IC will always remember the moment she met SWUSY and the lessons they all taught her. I learned that in USY you will find some of the most amazing people, who although you may not be with physically, or even see every couple of months at USY conventions, will always be just a text, FaceTime, call, or Group Me away. I cannot wait to have my “home” region host IC next year. See you soon SWUSY! I’m looking forward to being on your turf.
Why IC Should Be for You
In case you somehow haven’t heard, USY’s 2016 International Convention is going to be held in Dallas, TX!! This is a huge deal, as SWUSY has only hosted IC once before, and it’s the first time that it will be in Texas. Although IC is still almost a year away, and registration information won’t come out for several months, it’s never too early to start thinking about signing up for IC! As someone who was lucky enough to attend IC 3 times, I figured that I would share with you just a few of the reasons that I think everyone who can should go to IC.
- Ruach– One of my favorite things about SWUSY is that we are filled with ruach. We have so much energy, passion, and love for USY. Now imagine the amazing ruach of our region, and multiply it times 1000. That’s what it’s like to be in a room with so many USYers from all over North America, singing, dancing, praying, and having the absolute best time together.
- Programming– Another thing I love about IC is the unique programming that we are able to take part in. We have had inspiring speakers, such as Ruth Messinger, the president of American Jewish World Service, partnered with incredible organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League and Keshet, and been able to visit exciting locations such as the World of Coke, the National Civil Rights Museum, Camden Yards, and so much more. By coming to IC, you get the opportunity to experience programming that can’t be replicated at any other USY event.
- Summer Programs Reunions– Whether you toured the country on USY on Wheels, travelled to Israel with USY Israel Pilgrimage, or attend Camp Ramah every summer, IC provides the perfect opportunity to reunite with all of your friends from summer. I know from experience just how exciting it is to be able to see all of your friends after having been apart for 6 months or more.
- Friendships– IC gives each and every USYer the opportunity to make incredible new friendships with other teens from all over North America. The number of friends I have made at past ICs astounds me. I love that wherever I go in the country, I have someone who I call up to visit, because I truly have friends everywhere. Not only that, but the quality of these friendships is amazing considering the fact that I’ve only spent a handful of days with most of these people in real life. The friendships you form at IC are so incredibly special, and are something that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
So start thinking today about registering for IC Dallas 2016!
In one week, SWUSY will be celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans! Get to know some popular lingo below so you can sound like a native next week!
- Ball (bal masque, tableau ball)- A Mardi Gras krewe’s formal event and dance
- Banquette (ban’ ket)- Sidewalk–French meaning a small bank along the road
- Bayou (by’ you)- Slow stream, or body of water running through a marsh or swamp.
- Beaucoup Crasseux (boo coo cra sue)- Translated: very dirty
- Big Easy– “The Big Easy” became the official nickname for New Orleans after a contest was run years ago.
- Bourre (BOO ray)- Translated: A French card game. “Wildly popular way to gamble on the old riverboats, and still is among Cajuns.
- Cajun (kay’ jun)- French Acadians who settled here after immigrating from Canada.
- Camelback (cam’ l bak)- A single row house with the back half made into a two-story. The front section remains a single.
- Captain– Leader of a Carnival organization.
- Carnival- The party season before Mardi Gras. Starts on January 6 (Twelfth Night). Celebrated with king cakes at Mardi Gras parties.
- Cayoodle– A mixed breed dog.
- Cher– New Orleans Translation: An expression many use when greeting another. A term of affection meaning “dear” or “love”
- Chute-the-chute- Playground slide.
- Crescent City– A nickname for New Orleans, originating from the shape of the Mississippi River as it bends around the city.
- Creole (cree’ ole)- Descendents of French, Spanish, and Carribean slaves and natives; has also come to mean any person whose ancestry derives from the Caribbean’s mixed nationalities.
- Den– Mardi Gras float warehouse.
- Doubloons (duh bloons’)- Aluminum coins stamped with a parade krewe’s insignia and theme.
- Do-do (dough dough–not du-du!)- In New Orleans, it’s a cute word children use when tired and sleepy (from the French “to sleep”: dormir).
- Dressed– Sandwiches served with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise: “the works” (and, of course…the way those with class catch their Mardi Gras throws!).
- Fat City– A region of Metairie (see below) and a popular place to party during Mardi Gras, originating from the term Fat Tuesday (the literal translation of Mardi Gras).
- “Fixin’ to”– About to
- Flambeaux (flam’ bo)- Lit torches historically carried during night parades.
- “Four Major Points on the NO Compass”– Of course the four major points on the NO compass are: Lakeside, Riverside, East Bank, and West Bank (over which the sun rises every day!)
- Gallery (galllll rreeeee)- Balcony–walkway outside of homes on the second floor.
- GNO– Greater New Orleans area.
- Gris gris (gree gree)- Voodoo good luck charm
- Gumbo Ya-Ya– Translated: everybody talking all at once; i.e., at a loud party.
- Hurricane Party– What some residents do after securing their houses for a hurricane: throw a party! (If it’s safe to stay, that is!) Get some snacks, drinks, and buddies, and hunker down to watch the TV news give hurricane updates! Hurricane is also the name of a famous New Orleans drink. Be careful; they sneak up on you.
- “It don’ madda”– Translated: “It doesn’t matter.”
- King cake– Extra-large oval doughnut pastry dusted with colored candied sugar. A plastic baby doll is hidden inside the cake–the lucky person who gets the piece of cake with the doll inside (and doesn’t break a tooth or swallow it in the process!) buys the king cake for the next party of the Mardi Gras season.
- Krewe (crue)- A Carnival organization’s members.
- Lagniappe (lan’ yap)- Something extra that you didn’t pay for–thrown in to sweeten the deal–like a baker’s dozen.
- Laissez les bons temps rouler (Lazay Lay Bon Tom Roulay)- Let the good times roll.
- Lundi Gras– The day before Mardi Gras, when King Rex and King Zulu arrive on the riverfront.
- Mardi Gras- Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent…The day to celebrate before the traditional Catholic tradition of sacrificing and fasting during the 40 days of Lent.
- Maskers– Float riders and anyone dressed in costume.
- Metairie (Met’ tree)- A suburb of New Orleans–between the airport and New Orleans.
- MY-Nez– Translated: “mayonnaise”
- “N’awlins”– “New Orleans”–It’s faster that way!
- Neutral Ground– Median or grassy area between the paved areas on a boulevard. Named for the original Canal St division between the Americans and Creoles, who did not like each other.
- Pantry (pan-tree)- Cupboard.
- The Parish (da Parish)- Louisiana has parishes, not counties, but this often refers to Chalmette, a suburb outside of New Orleans.
- “Pass a Good Time”– Translated: Have a good time.
- Picayune (Pic’ ee yoon)
- Small, nit-picky (It was a Spanish coin worth more than a nickel and less than a dime: 6 1/4 cents, to be precise)
- Name of our newspaper, the “Times-Picayune”
- Small town north of New Orleans in Mississippi.
- Pirogue (Pee’ row) Yes, it sure looks funny!- Flat-bottomed canoe, perfect in the bayous.
- Praline (Praw’ leen)- Brown sugar pecan-filled candy patty. (Very sweet and so delicious you can’t eat just one!)
- Shotgun– Usually part of a “double”–a single row house in which all rooms on one side are connected by a long single hallway–you can open the front door and shoot a gun straight through the back door, without hitting a single wall…now, I have no idea who has tried this, or even why this is the way one describes these houses!
- Slave Quarters– Houses behind the main building of large plantation homes where slaves used to live.
- Soc Au’ Lait (Sock-o-lay)- Translated: sack of milk. Used in place of “What the?”, “Ouch!”, or “WOW!”
- Tchoupitoulas Street (Chop a two’ les)- Interesting street name. One of the trickiest to pronounce–and spell!
- Throws– Trinkets such as beads, cups, and doubloons tossed from the floats to the crowds during Mardi Gras parades.
- “Throw Me Something, Mister!”– What everyone yells at parades to get throws from the maskers on the floats!
- Uptown (uhp’ tawn)- Area “upriver” from the French Quarter.
- Vieux Carre’ (Vooo ca ray’) (View ca ray’)- French for “Old Quarter,” this is a term used for the French Quarter, including world-famous Bourbon Street…experience it in any of our French Quarter Hotels.
- Voodoo (Voo’ doo)- A form of witchcraft.
- West Bank– You have to look east to see the “other” side of New Orleans, on the west bank of the Mississippi.
- “Who Dat?”– A New Orleans Saints fan and a chant. “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”
- Yat– Standard greeting–(“Where yat?” is “Hello, how are you doing?”). “Yat”
- is also used as as noun to describe a true native New Orleanian.
- “Yea, you right!”– Translated: “Yes, you are right!”
Lingo courtesy of experienceneworleans.com
“I’M A GOLDEN BOYYYYYYY, COME HERE TO ENJOYYYYY” I scream at the top of my lungs about 3 octaves off from the actual pitch of the song. I turn onto the road and take another sip of my tea. A flashback of IC sets into my head as I remember jumping up and down in my hotel room dancing with my roommates. Excitement rushes back through my body. Spring convention. Two weeks away. My family.
I think more about what I could possibly write for this next Swizzle post.
Fast forward to my AP US history class and here I am on my computer typing away.
Spring convention. A convention in between Fall Kallah and Regionals that never was actually during the springtime. If you were to choose what convention to go to and only could choose one for the year, I would tell you to come to Spring. I have several different reasons for this:
- It is the perfect time to be able to take a break for a weekend because it is in the middle of the school year.
- IT IS IN NEW ORLEANS
- We are getting to take a regional bus and drive together as one unit. This is the perfect opportunity to bond.
- The regional bus gives you the opportunity to do any homework if necessary because there is such a long drive.
- We get to experience Mardi Gras!
- Some of the best programs I have ever experienced are going to be at this convention. I can’t tell you what, but they are going to be soooo much fun!!!
- This gives people an opportunity to not just go to another state, but learn about a whole different culture separate of your own.
No, this isn’t a long article. But I will tell you this, there isn’t much to say. USY gives you the opportunity to do amazing things, and going to conventions is just another one of those things.
We’ll give you a CLUE… We are hard at work planning an incredible weekend that you’ll be SORRY if you miss! Yup, it’s a message from your convention chairs.
We want to make this convention the biggest and best ever! After all, we shouldn’t have a MONOPOLY on fun! You can CONNECT 4 friends with USY/Kadima or TAKE 5 friends with you to camp. Don’t let your friends miss out on what could be the best weekend of their LIFE!
Ready, SET, GO! Put that CRANIUM to work and sign up today because you don’t want to RISK missing out! In fact – there is UNO person that convention wouldn’t be the same without, and that is you! If you have TROUBLE signing up, Maury can help!
As convention gets closer, your advisor will be in touch with instructions regarding your TICKET TO RIDE and other travel plans. We can’t wait to see you at camp!