WHAT IS RUACH?
Literally, ruach translates to spirit. At convention, we use this word to describe huge sessions where we sing Hebrew songs and chants. Led by our Rel/Ed and Ruach Co-Chairs, we read out of the B'kol Echad, the USCJ's bencher, adding extra words, hand motions, and chants to make songs our own. These singing sessions happen three times at convention, with two sessions of fast ruach and one session of slow ruach. All sessions are followed by the singing of Birkat Hamazon.
Fast Ruach (usually just called Ruach) happens during Shabbat on Friday night and on Saturday after kiddush. For these sessions, we create a circle from tables and chairs. Seniors stand on the floor and bang on the tables while all other USYers stand behind them on chairs. Our Rel/Ed, Ruach Co-Chairs, E-Board members, and members of the region lead us in the chanting of songs as loudly as possible. USYers without named positions can be chosen to lead a song for a year by getting the song "passed down" from a previous USYer.
After Saturday night dinner, but before havdalah, our region congregates in the soft singing of our Slow Ruach (often called slowach) songs. These songs are often more spiritual, and this session is taken very seriously by most CRUSYites. This is widely considered people's favorite part of convention. In these sessions, our region will lay down on the floor, often on top of one another, and sing hymns led by our Rel/Ed and Ruach Co-Chairs. This singing is immediately followed by Birkat, Ma'ariv, and Havdalah.
HOW DO I LEARN RUACH SONGS?
While ruach can only truly be learned through experience, you can practice songs outside of convention. Go on our Soundcloud for tracks of all our ruach songs. You can also go on YouTube to find videos of full slowach sessions. If you don't know the songs when you come to convention, don't worry! The songs are easy to learn and other CRUSYites are always happy to help!
For the YouTube Video