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Praying with Our Feet: Rally Against Gun Violence

Wednesday, December 26th at 1 p.m.

 Copley Square, Boston


More than 800 United Synagogue Youth

Will Gather to Protest Gun Violence

Pastor Corey Brooks of Project Hood

Colin Goddard of the Brady Campaign

Local Community Leaders; Many Others Expected



CONTACT: Shira Dicker -

Andrea Glick -

Matthew Halpern - 908.896.2024

December 17, 2012 (New York, NY) – The scourge of gun violence in America was at the top of the agenda when United Synagogue Youth (USY) leaders met this past summer to discuss the programming for the annual international convention, traditionally held over the winter holiday vacation.

Inspired by the partnership forged by Chicago’s Pastor Corey Brooks of Project Hood and Rabbi Steven Wernick of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) over the issue of gun violence, USY has planned a large-scale rally in Boston’s Copley Square on December 26th.

In a nod to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel – whose iconic phrase that he was “praying with his feet” when he marched in Selma, Ala. with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965 was adapted by Pastor Brooks earlier this year in his Walk Across America to End Gun Violence -- USY called its event Praying with Our Feet: Rally Against Gun Violence.

After the unspeakable horror of Friday’s shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the timeliness of taking action against gun violence in America becomes chillingly clear. And when the organizers of such an effort are teenage students themselves, the message is resounding.

At 1 p.m. on December 26th, at Praying with Our Feet: Rally Against Gun Violence, Rabbi Wernick and Pastor Brooks will join over 1,000 teen members and staff of USY; Colin Goddard, Advocate for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and survivor, Virginia Tech shooting, 2007; and the singer Josh Nelson of the Josh Nelson Project. Hundreds of local participants are also anticipated.

The list of speakers for the rally is still in formation. Additional press advisories will be sent as the information is updated.

USY is a vibrant, 60-year-old Jewish youth organization whose alumni have gone on to assume positions of leadership in religious, civic and political life. The teen members are informed and involved with the pressing issues of the day. A cornerstone of the USY annual international conventions is a call to action.

“The issue of gun violence touches every community our USYers come from and our teens are ready to raise their voices and make a difference,” said Rabbi David Levy, director of teen learning for USCJ. “Now, more than ever, we must act in the spirit of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, showing up to be counted at the December 26th rally in Copley Square against gun violence on our nation’s streets, in our houses of worship, in our workplaces and in our schools.”

Joshua Ull, the international teen president of USY, received news of the Newtown shooting while in Israel on Nativ, a USCJ gap year program. He is planning to fly to the States for the December 26th rally.

“These deadly shootings need to stop and our government must make this prevalent issue a priority. First innocent adults, now kids; who's next? I am angry, I am sad and I am confused. Yet, I am proud to represent an organization that continues to produce incredible leaders who are jump-starting the Jewish community in taking a stand against this wretched violence. Through our efforts, USY is making a difference. We are the voice for the children who unfortunately did not have a chance to to speak up for themselves,” he said.

USY is the youth arm of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which is on record for ratifying resolutions against the ownership of assault guns and magazines in 1993, 1995 and 2012. In its resolutions, USCJ has called upon the US President and Congress to take action. The group’s Public Policy Committee is working on a new resolution with its sister organization, the Rabbinical Assembly.

“It is unconscionable that -- with the escalation of gun violence in our nation --there has been no real progress on the federal level,” said Rabbi Wernick. “It is time to force the hand of Congress to confront the National Rifle Association and their supporters. The massacre in Newtown, CT wounded the very soul of America. I am touched as a parent as well as a rabbi. The time has come to act.”

Praying with Our Feet: Rally Against Gun Violence is a central event of the USY annual international convention. It will be held at 1 p.m. at Copley Square in Boston on Wednesday, December 26, 2012.

Members of the press are invited to attend Praying with Our Feet: Rally Against Gun Violence. To request interviews with any members of United Synagogue Youth or the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, please contact Shira Dicker at 917.403.3989, Andrea Glick at 347.564.7228 or Matthew Halpern at 908.896.2024.

About United Synagogue Youth

USY is the high school affiliate of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the association of Conservative synagogues, representing more two million Conservative Jews throughout North America. USY is comprised of 17 regions with over 350 local chapters. Along with its pre-teen affiliate, it includes 20,000 members throughout the United States and Canada. Founded in 1913 by Dr. Solomon Schechter as the association of Conservative synagogues in North America, The United Synagogue serves as a resource to its affiliated congregations and works to formulate a Conservative Jewish response to pressing social and religious issues.

About United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is a community of nearly 630 North American and another 200 worldwide kehillot – sacred communities -- committed to a dynamic Judaism that is learned and passionate, authentic and pluralistic, joyful and accessible, egalitarian or traditional.   Our kehillot create the conditions for a powerful and vibrant Jewish life, empowering Jews in North America to seek the presence of God, to seek meaning and purpose in Torah and mitzvot, to fully engage with Israel, and to be inspired by Judaism to improve the world and the Jewish people.   It serves over 200,000 households, representing more than one million people. More information is available at


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