HBHA Students Have a Blast at USY’s Kinnus

Jacob Pellegrino


United Synagogue Youth’s (USY) Emtza region kicked off their 64th annual Kinnus on Thursday, Nov. 27. USY is a conservative Jewish youth group consisting of 17 regions. Kansas City is located in the Emtza, or “middle”, region. This year’s Kinnus was held at the Holiday Inn Coco Key Sports Complex in Kansas City, Mo. Every four years, Kansas City’s local chapter, Kansas City United Synagogue Youth (KCUSY), gets to host Kinnus. Kinnus is the biggest and longest regional convention of the year; it  attracts hundreds of high school students and starts on a Thursday afternoon and lasts until early Sunday morning.


This year’s Kinnus was extra special because, not only did it fall on Thanksgiving like it usually does, but it also happened to be on the first couple nights of Chanukah. USY’ers had the opportunity to not only celebrate with each other but also to bring the joy of both festivities to the hotel and the rest of the Kansas City Jewish community that celebrated with them over the weekend.


“One of the many aspects that makes hosting Kinnus in Kansas City so special is that we are the only city in our region that opens the convention to the entire community,” said Jonathan Edelman, Kinnus staffer, former USY’er, and Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy graduate. “Being given the opportunity to share such a special occasion with two communities that are very important made the convention all that much better.”


This year’s convention had 250 teenagers from around the midwest, including 28 from KCUSY and nine from HBHA.


“I had so much fun at my first Kinnus,” said Leah Sosland, HBHA freshman and first time Kinnus attendee. “At first, I was a little bit nervous because I wasn’t sure if I was going to know that many people, but I soon realized that the friends that I already had would help me to meet new people. I can’t wait to go back next year!”


The three tri-chairs selected to work with the Regional Executive Board in planning the convention were representatives of KCUSY, two of whom, senior Ricardo Zepeda and junior Moriah Abrams, attend HBHA. Both devoted many hours to the planning of the convention and were certainly pleased with the way it went.


“Kinnus is my favorite convention of the year,” said senior Ricardo Zepeda. “I can say without hesitation that this is the best one that I have ever been too. We worked really hard to plan this convention and I would just like to thank everybody that helped out along the way.”


“This years Kinnus was absolutely amazing,” said junior Moriah Abrams. “We put so much effort into planning a successful convention and I know that I will never forget it. It was amazing to hear all the positive remarks and ‘thank yous’ all throughout the weekend. I hope that everybody enjoyed themselves.”

Kinnus is one of the best moments of the year for those who attend, and the fact that it overlapped with Chanukah and Thanksgiving made it all the better. Moving forward, Emtza region looks to continue their success with three more conventions this year and the Kansas City community can’t wait until the convention returns four years from now.