Public School Teen Energizes Hundreds with Her Story of Growth
Rena, congratulations on your new role, and thank you for all you are doing for your peers and the Jewish Future. Tell us, and our investors, what being a leader means to you? I believe an NCSY leader should be a role model for teens and to the people around them. I’ve got to be confident but willing to learn, able to speak and relate to anyone and know how to get others m otivated for our common goal.
Exclusive Inside Information for Southern NCSY Investors and Friends
Before you share your visions with us, tell us a bit about how NCSY has affected you? NCSY is m y family, my second home, my inspiration, and my Jewish anchor. It's weird to look back now and see that not even two years ago, I was a completely estranged. The past two years I’ve been involved with N CSY have changed my life. NCSY has had such a positive impact on my life that I only wish to share this same feeling with everyone around me.
Rena, we heard you had an exciting summer with NCSY in Israel. Tell us about it. I chose to attend Michlelet, hoping this "intense learning" program would fill the gaps in my Judaic knowledge and provide me with the Jewish education I lack during the year. And I came away with so much more! I now have a newfound love for my Jewish homeland, a stronger sense of Jewish values, friends that will last a lifetime, an intense love for the learning of Torah and a clear picture of what I'd like to do with my post-‐high school future. What are your big plans for this year? In a word, “Recruitment!” We’ll do three things. First, we’ll advertise more in the local Jewish shopping centers, synagogues, Jewish meeting places and newspapers, next, we’ve got to social network more efficiently. Finally, we’ll
Our local teens are lucky to have Bernie and Melanie Kaminetsky as Jewish communal leaders. The Kaminetskys support everything from Israel Advocacy to Jewish education and outreach. In fact, Bernie is currently an AIPAC National Board Member, and Melanie is a longtime Executive Board Member of the Weinbaum Yeshiva High School of Boca Raton.
empower our best asset – the teens themselves! Maybe we’ll even have sessions during our shabbatonim on how we can spread the word and get our friends involved!
Q. What do you think are the most successful engagement programs for Jewish teens? A. Israel programs! We MUST get teens excited and passionate about Israel and teach them all we can about our country and heritage. That’s why we were thrilled to sponsor NCSYers traveling to Israel this summer on TJJ.
Any last messages? Sure – I want to make sure our donors know how much we love them. Although we, the teens, get to have all the fun, THEY get all the credit!
To follow Rena and her friend’s growth, visit us at southern.ncsy.org.
And They’re Off…RegBo Grabs the Reigns Even b efore last year's school session let out, your investments inspired a new generation of leaders to take the helm. On June 13th, Shaani and Dr. Adam Splaver of Hollywood, FL, hosted the first 2012-‐13 Southern NCSY Regional Board (RegBo) meeting. It was there that outgoing officers passed the baton to incoming leaders and even participated in peer-‐to-‐peer mentoring. Fifteen teens gathered together with seven more video and phone conferencing in from remote locations all around our nine state district. Regbo members discussed their roles and responsibilities, what it m eans to be leaders amongst their peers and how to become Jewish activists. They began their strategic planning for the upcoming school year and presented programming ideas in front of their fellow officers for consideration. Teens were divided into four committees, and made commitments to themselves and each other to take active roles in the arenas of Publicity, Recruitment, Finance or Social Action/Education.
Q. You’ve raised your own teens and been involved with their peers. What trends do you see? A. Teenagers are a critical demographic, but we see them growing less enthusiastic about Judaism. Fewer and fewer are spending a year in Israel studying and that’s a shame, as it was the absolute norm for our kids and their friends a few years ago. It’s our conviction that by sending NCSYers to Israel, we’ll start to reverse that downward trend.
Q. What’s new and exciting on the horizon, in your view, for Jewish kids out there? A. Last year, I [Bernie] attended N CSY’s YouthCon – the Informal and Experiential Jewish Educators Convention. It’s the common ground for Jewish Educators to network, inspire and learn from one another’s accomplishments. I had a complete paradigm shift in my understanding of what’s going on in the outreach world and all the creative solutions being implemented for our teens. What’s new and exciting? Ask them! But for us, it will always be getting more kids to Israel to learn and to grow!
Thanks to the Kaminetskys and donors like you, teens are falling in love with Israel. Visit www.southern.ncsy.org to learn more.
7200 Camino Real, Suite #104 ~ Boca Raton, FL 33433 ~ southern.ncsy.org
A New Generation of Leaders Tackles Challenges Facing the Jewish Future The leaders you are creating are taking Rosh Hashanah and the New Year very seriously. In fact, we've invited our new Southern NCSY Regional Board members to do a bit of introspection. Here are a few of the most revealing quotes from tomorrow's leaders -‐-‐ not only reflections from their pasts, but their commitments to our Jewish Future. Make your gift today and empower our teens to live out their dreams. “Over the last few years, NCSY built my confidence while introducing me to friends I've kept throughout high school. This year, I want others to also use this “When I walk into a shabbaton, I see a room of people I can’t wait to opportunity to find themselves and a solid group of friends.” meet! This year, I want to get everyone in the room more involved with Dean Tansman (right), Weinbaum Yeshiva High School, Boca Raton chesed/social learning events.” -‐ Sarita Weltman (center), Wolfson High School, Jacksonville “My friends at school live univolved Jewish lives. After my summer experience with NCSY this year, I want to give everyone in my JSU club the chance to spend a summer in Israel.” -‐ Jesse Salver (center), Miami Arts Charter School, Bal Harbour NCSY is my home away from home where I feel comfortable to live and act Jewish. I'm only a year away from college and I want to make sure this year we involve new, younger freshmen so that after I graduate, they'll lead Jewish teens into the future. -‐ Joseph Ginzburg, Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School, Aventura
Everyone knows that your first shabbaton stays with you forever. That’s why I want to help raise enough funds this year to help EVERYONE I know enjoy their first shabbatons.” -‐ Eli Barrocos (second from right), Weinbaum Yeshiva High School, Boca Raton
“I enjoy the mix of different places, backgrounds and religious involvement NCSYers represent. This year, I am going to help others appreciate the diversity in our Jewish community.” -‐ Jacob Epstein (left), Weinbaum Yeshiva High School, Boca Raton
“NCSY has inspired me to become passionate about my Jewish identity, heritage and religion. This year on Regional Board, I want to learn how to plan and execute events and programs like the ones I’ve been involved with since my freshman year.” -‐ Avi Colonomos (right), The Weber School, Atlanta
“Southern NCSY has provided me with abundant learning opportunities, introduced me to inspirational friends and advisors and has helped me grow in my appreciation for Judaism. This year, I want to help NCSY increase their social media presence and affect hundreds more teens through the Internet.” -‐ Jackie Farber (right), Huntsville High School, Huntsville
“Learning about different topics in NCSY gives me an understanding of who I really am. This year, I want to give that to others, so they can see themselves in different ways as well.” -‐ Rachel Altfield (left), Palmetto Senior High, Kendall
NCSY is the premier organization dedicated to connecting, inspiring and empowering Jewish teens and encouraging passionate Judaism through Torah and Tradition.