NCSY CITIES AND REGIONAL LEADERSHIP NCSY is the international youth movement of the OU.
EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP Rabbi Micah Greenland............ International Director, NCSY Keevy Fried................................... Associate International Director, NCSY Rabbi Moshe Benovitz.............. Managing Director, NCSY Rina Emerson............................... Managing Director, NCSY & CEO, NY NCSY Mark (Moishe) Bane................... President, OU Howard Tzvi Friedman.............Board of Directors Chair, OU Avi Katz.........................................National Youth Commission Chairman, OU Allen Fagin..................................... Executive Vice President, OU Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb....... Executive Vice President, Emeritus, OU Rabbi Steven Weil....................... Senior Managing Director, OU Shlomo Schwartz........................ Chief Financial Officer / Chief Administrative Officer, OU Arnold Gerson............................Chief Institutional Advancement Officer, OU Rabbi Lenny Bessler.................. Chief Human Resources Officer, OU Dr. Sam Davidovics.................... Chief Information Officer, OU Gary Magder................................. Director of Digital Media Marketing, OU
INTERNATIONAL STAFF Michal Azizollahoff..................... Summer Recruitment Associate Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin............ Director of Education Tess Blaustein.............................. Summer Recruitment Associate Nicole Chermak.........................NCSY Alumni Connections Associate Yoni Colman...............................Director of Organizational Innovation and Professional Advancement, NCSY Summer David Cutler.................................. Director of NCSY Summer Shira Epstein................................ NCSY Alumni Connections Associate Shayna Feiger.............................Summer Programs Associate Rachel First................................... Educational Content Manager & Designer Jen Goldman................................ Assistant Director of NCSY Summer Alyssa Goldwater......................Executive Assistant to International Director Dan Hazony................................... Director of Data and Evaluation Rabbi Yehoshua Kohl...............Special Projects Coordinator Jeffrey Korbman........................ Director of Development Rabbi Israel Lashak.................... Senior Educator Rabbi Yehoshua Marchuck..... Director of Alumni Amy Mauskopf............................. Director of Logistics, NCSY Summer Andres Moncayo......................... Graphic Designer Rabbi Menachem Nissel..........Senior Educator Rabbi Ari Rockoff........................Director of Leadership Development DY Rubin.........................................Data & Evaluations Associate Adam Rudich...............................Director of Operations and Finance Racheli Schwartz........................Summer Programs Associate Avi Sebbag..................................Summer Recruitment Associate Saadia Simon..............................Systems Support Manager Elliot Tanzman.............................. Director of NCSY Summer Recruitment Gabe Toran.................................... Marketing Team Manager Josh Weinberg............................. Creative Director
SUMMER LEADERSHIP BILT................................................... Rabbi Yudi Riesel Camp Maor..................................Sari Kahn Camp Sports................................. Rabbi Jon Green Euro ICE.......................................... Rabbi Israel Lashak GIVE................................................. Erin Cooper Stiebel GIVE West...................................... Leah Moskovich Israel ID........................................... Yoni Pollock JOLT................................................. Rabbi Eli Zians JOLT Israel ................................. Rabbi Dr. Noam Weinberg Kollel................................................ Rabbi Moshe Benovitz Michlelet......................................... Rivka Yudin Next Step: Israel Internships...Rabbi Adam Simon The Anne Samson: TJJ...................................Rabbi Barry Goldfischer TJJ Ambassadors........CM and Chaim Gerson TJJAP...............................Marc Fein
ON THE COVER:
Yossi Goldstone and Justin Iloulian, public school NCSYers from New York, ride camels on The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey (TJJ) this past summer in Israel. PHOTO: JOSH WEINBERG
Rabbi Jonah Lerner Dr. Michael Elman, Chair 410.358.6279 email@example.com atlanticseaboard. ncsy.org Baltimore, MD Columbia, MD Germantown, MD Gaithersburg, MD Olney, MD Potomac, MD Sandy Spring, MD Silver Spring, MD Towson, MD Cherry Hill, NJ Allentown, PA Harrisburg, PA Huntingdon Valley, PA Lancaster, PA Philadelphia, PA Lower Merion, PA Wilkes-Barre, PA Richmond, VA Norfolk, VA Virginia Beach, VA
CANADA Rabbi Glenn Black Larry Zeifman, Chair 905.761.6279 firstname.lastname@example.org canada.ncsy.org Calgary, AB Edmonton, AB Vancouver, BC Victoria, BC Hamilton, ON Kitchener-Waterloo, ON King City, ON Kingston, ON London, ON Ottawa, ON Toronto, ON Montreal, QC
CENTRAL EAST Rabbi Tzali Freedman Judge Daniel Butler, Chair 888.471.4514 email@example.com centraleast.ncsy.org Windsor, ON Ann Arbor, MI Bloomfield Hills, MI Farmington Hills, MI Huntington Woods, MI Oak Park, MI Southfield, MI West Bloomfield, MI Akron, OH Canton, OH Cincinnati, OH Cleveland, OH Columbus, OH Dayton, OH Solon, OH Toledo, OH Youngstown, OH Pittsburgh, PA
GREATER ATLANTA Rabbi Chaim Neiditch 404.486.8787 firstname.lastname@example.org
atlanta.ncsy.org Atlanta, GA Alpharetta, GA Buckhead, GA Chamblee, GA Duluth, GA Dunwoody, GA Johns Creek, GA Marietta, GA Milton, GA Roswell, GA Sandy Springs, GA
MIDWEST Rabbi Donny Schwartz Ari Shabat, Chair 847.677.6279 email@example.com midwest.ncsy.org Des Moines, IA Buffalo Grove, IL Chicago, IL Glenview, IL Northbrook, IL Skokie, IL Indianapolis, IN South Bend, IN Kansas City, KS Overland Park,KS St. Louis, MO Winnipeg, MB Minneapolis, MN Omaha, NE Memphis, TN Nashville, TN Milwaukee, WI
NEW ENGLAND Rabbi Simon Taylor Joyce Wertheimer, Chair 617.332.6279 newengland@ ncsy.org newengland.ncsy.org New Haven, CT Stamford, CT West Hartford, CT Brookline, MA Framingham, MA Lexington, MA Marlborough, MA Newton, MA Sharon, MA Waltham, MA Providence, RI
NEW JERSEY Rabbi Ethan Katz Dr. Murray Leben, Chair 201.862.0250 firstname.lastname@example.org newjersey.ncsy.org East Brunswick, NJ Englishtown, NJ Elizabeth, NJ Fair Lawn, NJ Freehold, NJ Hackensack, NJ Highland Park, NJ Hightstown, NJ Livingston, NJ Marlboro, NJ Manalapan, NJ Millburn, NJ Montclair, NJ Morristown, NJ
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Dan Hazony Tiffany Yankovich Israel Odesser Michael Sohn
Jennifer Goldman Avinoam Teplow-Phipps Tova Ross Fran Zelenetz
Ocean Township, NJ Paramus, NJ Passaic, NJ Randolph, NJ Teaneck, NJ Twin Rivers, NJ West Orange, NJ
NEW YORK Rina Emerson Kenny Sicklick, Chair 516.569.6279 email@example.com newyork.ncsy.org Bronx, NY Brooklyn, NY Cedarhurst, NY Commack, NY East Meadow, NY Great Neck, NY Hewlett, NY Inwood, NY Lawrence, NY Long Beach, NY Manhattan, NY Merrick, NY Oceanside, NY Plainview, NY Port Washington, NY Queens, NY Roslyn, NY Staten Island, NY Stony Brook, NY Westchester, NY West Hempstead, NY Woodmere, NY
SOUTHERN Todd Cohn Tammy Attias, Board Chair Saby Behar, Campaign Chair 1-866-887-5788 firstname.lastname@example.org southern.ncsy.org Little Rock, AK Birmingham, AL Aventura, FL Bal Harbour, FL Boca Raton, FL Coral Springs, FL Hollywood, FL Jacksonville, FL Kendall, FL Orlando, FL Miami Beach, FL North Miami Beach, FL Palm Beach, FL Parkland, FL Tampa, FL Savannah, GA Charlotte, NC Charleston, SC Myrtle Beach, SC Nashville, TN
UPSTATE NY Devora Weinstock Dr. David Hurwitz, Chair 646.459.5175 email@example.com upstate.ncsy.org Albany, NY Binghamton, NY Buffalo, NY Catskills District, NY Mount Kisco, NY Rochester, NY Schenectady, NY Syracuse, NY
WEST COAST Rabbi Derek Gormin Dr. Moshe Benarroch, Chair 310.229.9000 firstname.lastname@example.org westcoast.ncsy.org Phoenix, AZ Scottsdale, AZ Berkeley, CA Beverly Hills, CA Calabasas, CA Cupertino, CA Irvine, CA La Jolla, CA Los Angeles, CA North Hollywood, CA Oakland, CA Palo Alto, CA Piedmont, CA Sacramento, CA San Diego, CA San Francisco, CA San Jose, CA San Mateo, CA Santa Monica, CA Saratoga, CA Sunnyvale, CA Thousand Oaks, CA West Hills, CA Woodland Hills, CA Woodside, CA Las Vegas, NV Eugene, OR Portland, OR Mercer Island, WA Seattle, WA
ARGENTINA Rabbi Marcelo Krawiec Martin Lebovich 011.54.911.6802.5854 email@example.com
CHILE Michael Bengio 011.56.99.186.5575 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rabbi Gershon Meisel 972.934.9143 Rabbi Yosef Ginsberg email@example.com Rabbi Michael Kahn southwest.ncsy.org 054-953-8225 052-508-5091 Denver, CO firstname.lastname@example.org Dallas, TX email@example.com Houston, TX israel.ncsy.org San Antonio, TX
NCSY International Headquarters 11 Broadway New York, NY 10004 Phone: 212.613.8233 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.ncsy.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/myncsy Twitter: @ncsy YouTube: www.youtube.com/myncsy Instagram: www.instagram.com/myncsy
IT’S NOT TOO EARLY TO SIGN UP FOR ONE OF NCSY’S INCREDIBLE SUMMER PROGRAMS
REGISTER TODAY AT SUMMER.NCSY.ORG OR CALL 1-888-TOUR-4-YOU BILT
Boys Israel Leadership Training (BILT) is a leadership program for boys looking to challenge themselves and have an incredible adventure through the land of Israel.
described their JOLT experience in Poland, Denmark and Israel as having a transformational impact on their Jewish identity.
Located in the Pocono Mountains, Camp Maor is for girls entering 5th- 10th grade who are interested in exploring their passion for the performing arts.
JOLT Israel is for highly-motivated teens looking for a unique leadership experience. The culmination of the summer will be running a camp for Israeli children whose siblings have cancer.
Camp Sports focuses on recreational and highly competitive sports leagues in Baltimore, MD, combined with rigorous Torah learning and outstanding trips.
NCSY Kollel is an unforgettable summer experience for boys in Israel with interactive learning, intense sports and great trips.
Euro ICE brings Jewish history to life by exploring Budapest, Prague and Vienna, lands full of rich Jewish culture and history. This co-ed trip culminates in Israel by visiting all the popular sites.
Michlelet is an extraordinary program for teenage girls looking to spend their summer in a productive way by learning Torah, doing chesed and touring Israel.
Next Step aims to give teens a real workplace experience through highly sought after internships while working in one of the most innovative countries of the world - Israel.
Girls Israel Volunteer Experience (GIVE) is for exceptional high school girls looking to experience Judaism through the art of giving back in Israel.
GIVE West provides a select group of girls with a fun and meaningful summer by giving back to communities across the West Coast of the USA.
ISRAEL IN DEPTH
Israel ID takes boys and girls on an inspirational and exhilarating journey through the land of Israel.
Jewish Overseas Leadership Training (JOLT) is for teens who want to become leaders. Past participants have
NEXT STEP INTERNSHIPS
THE ANNE SAMSON JERUSALEM JOURNEY (TJJ)
The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey (TJJ) is the most affordable Israel trip for public school teens. Teens tour Israel and develop an appreciation for its history and their Jewish heritage.
THE ANNE SAMSON TJJ AMBASSADORS
THE ANNE SAMSON TJJ AMBASSADORS POLAND
On The Anne Samson TJJ Ambassadors Poland (TJJ AP) program, public school teens spend a week in Poland before traveling to Israel and touring the land through the lens of Jewish history.
NEW PROGRAMS SUMMER 2018 ReSURF
Travel and see Israel through the eyes of the locals and connect to your homeland on a whole new level. Be a part of ReSurf, mentor Israel's youth on this social entrepreneurship surfing adventure! No previous surfing experience is required!
Learn to make a difference in the world through your creativity and passion! Create, design, and implement your own project for goodness while touring Israel and learning how to give in a way that's impactful, personalized, and meaningful.
Travel through Europe on this once in a lifetime all-girls Euro trip. See Europe though the lens of Jewish eyes and visit countries across the continent.
Learn CPR, bleeding control, and how to be a First Responder! Volunteer on an ambulance, and learn how Hatzhalah's state of the art dispatch center operates in Israel.
The Anne Samson TJJ Ambassadors program takes public school teens to the best sights in Israel while they participate in social action, political advocacy and high-level Torah study. NCSY is the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union.
TABLE OF CONTENTS 12 16
DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE The Disappearing New Month: A message from NCSY’s International Director, Rabbi Micah Greenland.
CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE Mr. Avi Katz on the Journey vs. the Destination.
LESSONS FROM THE FIELD 08 Keevy Fried, NCSY’s Associate International Director, discusses four lessons learned from an NCSY professional.
09 10 12
WHO EXACTLY ARE WE HELPING Jeffrey Korbman, NCSY’s Director of Development, reflects on the true benefits of charitable giving. . TEEN PRESIDENT MESSAGE International Teen President, JJ Kampf, reflects on his year leading NCSY and new beginnings that lay ahead. SUMMER SNAPSHOTS Scenes from our most successful NCSY Summer yet.
NCSY 2017 16 AYOM summer night to remember, celebrating NCSY Summer and all that we do.
SNAPSHOTS 18 ACOMMUNITY look back at this year’s regional fundraisers. SPRING AWAKENING 20 Highlights from NCSY’s Spring Regionals.
INTO ACTION 22 AJUMPING look back at this year’s Jewish Unity Mentoring Program (JUMP) boardroom finals.
POETS OF PRAYER 23 NCSY hosts first every prayer-themed poetry slam for day school teens.
RIDING FOR INSPIRATION 24 Bike NCSY’s inagurual ride raises money for teens going on Israel gap-year programs.
CHARIDY NCSY raises more than $2 million in an inter-regional Charidy campaign.
ALL IN 28 Betting on a summer of Torah and growth, Las Vegas sends four teens to NCSY Kollel’s new Mechina track.
LIVE TO GIVE 30 Denver NCSYer, Caley Coughlan, demonstrates inspired leadership for a new generation of teens.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP 30 32 An in-depth look at one of NCSY’s newest summer programs, Next
Step Israel Internships.
THEN, NOW AND ALWAYS 36 Rabbi Moshe Benovitz: An NCSY Leader LETTER TO MY CHILDREN
leader and supporter, Phil Rosen, transmits Jewish values 38 NCSY to the next generation. AS A TEEN: RABBI YAAKOV BENDER
Director of Education, Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, sits with 40 NCSY Rabbi Yaakov Bender to discuss his teenage years. FACES & 5 QUESTIONS WITH AN NCSY SUPPORTER 42 Meet Rina Emerson, NCSY’s newest managing director and the
new CEO of NY NCSY, and hear why Michelle and Brian Levinson support NCSY.
HIGHLIGHTS 43 Happenings around the NCSY World. DOORS, OPEN AND CLOSED 50 Rabbi Moshe Benovitz
By Rabbi Micah Greenland, International Director
t makes for a pretty decent trivia question. “In a standard 12-month year (i.e. not a leap year), how many times do we bless the new month?”
Birkat Hachodesh, the blessing of the new month, is a special prayer customarily recited before the Torah is returned to the Ark on the Shabbat preceding an upcoming new month. It is a beautiful prayer filled with our hopes for spiritual and physical blessings in the month ahead. Most of us, whether or not we are familiar with the Shabbat Mevarchim concept, might impulsively respond that the answer to the above question is “twelve.” Twelve months in a year means twelve Shabbatot on which we pray for blessings in the month to come. But the correct answer, as you may have guessed by now, is eleven. We do not usher in the new month of Tishrei – the month that begins with Rosh Hashanah – by blessing the new month. In fact, we do not refer to the first day of Tishrei as Rosh Chodesh at all. It is Rosh Hashanah alone, and we intentionally bypass the opportunity to treat it as Rosh Chodesh too. As a result,
Rabbi Micah Greenland addresses over 2000 NCSYers, supporters and friends at this year’s Yom NCSY in Park Ra’anana.
while we include Birkat Hachodesh in our Shabbat prayers the other eleven months of the year, we omit it during the month of Elul, on the Shabbat that precedes Rosh Hashanah. This isn’t the only way in which the concept of “Rosh Chodesh Tishrei” disappears. In fact, the Torah itself alludes to the first day of Tishrei being a somewhat different sort of Rosh Chodesh. The Torah commands us regarding the special Mussaf sacrifices brought on Rosh Hashanah (Bamidbar 29:1-6) which include a young bull, a ram, and seven male lambs as an Olah offering; a corresponding Mincha offering, which accompanies each animal; and one male goat as a Chatat offering. However, most interestingly for our subject, the Torah concludes the instructions with the statement: “[This is] aside from (‘milvad’) the Olah offering for Rosh Chodesh and its corresponding Mincha offering…..” If the Torah was intending to command us explicitly to bring the Rosh Chodesh sacrifice on Rosh Hashanah, that seems to be a rather cryptic way to do so. Some commentaries1 go so far as to assert that the word “milvad” indicates that the Rosh Chodesh sacrifice is not brought on Rosh Hashanah! Moreover, even the majority of the commentaries who assume that the word “milvad” implies that we do in fact bring the Rosh Chodesh sacrifices on Rosh Hashanah, are not entirely comfortable with that. The majority opinion, which has been adopted in Ashkenazic liturgy for Rosh Hashanah2, do not have us refer explicitly to those offerings in our Mussaf of Rosh Hashanah! Instead, we exclusively mention the offerings that are specific to Rosh Hashanah, and then include the words “….in addition to the Rosh Chodesh sacrifices.” No direct reference to the korbanot of Rosh Chodesh whatsoever! Why?
Generally, we are encouraged to multitask, as we endeavor to balance competing concerns in our busy lives. We juggle our work or school and our personal relationships, doing the best we can to give adequate attention to everything. Even when it comes to our values, we attempt to commit ourselves simultaneously to everything we deem important, multitasking to the best of our ability, with little prioritization between values. The principle that the Torah and our rabbis are applying here runs counter to that. Essentially, the message3 is that there are in fact some times when one goal is so important that it warrants exclusive attention, when one activity does detract from our primary focus. Rosh Hashanah is simply too important a day, with too many crucial things to accomplish, for us to risk diminishing our degree of focus. Putting any sort of spotlight on the offerings of Rosh Chodesh would sidetrack us from the primary focus of the day. As such, we either minimize the degree to which we even reference those sacrifices (according to the majority opinion in the commentaries), or we do not even bring those korbanot at all. Rosh Hashanah is our reminder to stop juggling. Sometimes, the most impressive feat of all is juggling one ball at a time. With Torah blessings for the New Year,
Rabbi Micah Greenland
Rabbeinu Meshulam in Tosafot on Beitza 16a 2 See the Rema on Orach Chaim 591:2 3 Rav Soloveichik suggests an alternative explanation, brought in Chumash Mesoras HaRav (OU Press) on Bamidbar 29:6 1
NCSY’s Annual Gala ♦ HONORING ♦
R abbi Moshe & Serena Benovitz Guests of Honor
Jeffrey & Sharona Weinberg Guests of Honor
Binyamin & Esther K aminetzky Parents of the Year
Julia and Joe Macy Ben Zakkai Memorial Tribute
S UNDAY, NOVEMBER 12
Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, NY Following the Ben Zakkai 23rd Annual Scholarship Reception
FOR R ESERVATIONS, VISIT NCSY.ORG/DINNER NCSY is the international youth movement of the OU.
By Avi Katz, National Youth Commision Chairman, OU NCSY staff have produced outstanding results that the entire community can be proud of and give thanks to. In the face of massive cultural and societal headwinds, NCSY has engaged and impacted record numbers of teens who are motivated towards greater religious growth. The sheer ability to reach 25,000 Jewish teens each year, while meaningfully impacting nearly 10,000, is moving the needle on the challenge of Jewish continuity in our day.
What are the big questions in our lives, the ones we struggle with and come back to time and time again, the tough ones whose answer seems to shift with the winds, leading us to differing conclusions and wavering confidence? For me, a major challenge relates to how we guide our daily lives. Are we purely outcome driven, with our success contingent on arriving at preset destinations, or do we relish the journey and embrace the process, irrespective of the outcome? As always, our precious Torah has much to offer on this topic and the beginning of Parshat Ma’asei is particularly enlightening. There, the Torah describes in mechanical detail the 42 stops along the journey of Bnei Yisrael as they traveled from slavery in Egypt to their ultimate redemption in Eretz Yisrael. The commentators struggle with the seemingly unnecessary need for this information and ask what it is we can learn from the Torah’s inclusion of the Jewish people’s desert itinerary. Rashi, quoting Rebbi Tanchuma, suggests that the Torah is emphasizing the value of retrospection. By listing each of the places the Jewish people visited, the Torah enables us to look back on the amazing and complex journey taken. With this reflection, we can appreciate how far we have come and give thanks for that received. This message is particularly resonant for me as I look back at the remarkable journey NCSY has taken over the past few years. The combined efforts of the incredibly dedicated and passionate
The growth in NCSY Summer programs, which had 1,450 participants this past summer, has been most notable. The diversity, breadth and depth of these programs are a testament to the energy and creativity of the professionals involved. Each year brings new innovation and this year was no exception. In particular, I would highlight Next Step: Israel Internships, a program that combined world-class internships in Israel with deeply enriching Jewish learning and experiences. Teens from a wide variety of backgrounds came together to engage in a uniquely transformative experience. The outstanding NCSY Kollel scaled new heights as well. Most specifically, I was deeply impacted by the participants in the introductory Mechina track. Fifteen young men from public school devoted their summer to Torah engagement at the highest levels irrespective of their educational backgrounds. Their ability to fully integrate into the Kollel was something we can all admire and draw inspiration from as it stands as a testament to the potential in each of us. NCSY has traveled far on its journey and we all have much to give thanks for. That said, where do we go from here? What is the destination? Again, we turn to our sages and the very same Torah portion of the journeys. The Slonimer Rebbe, in his
Nesivos Shalom, provides a different perspective. Drawing on prior sources, he explains that we require each of the 42 locations to be written as each place reflects the preciously finite time we have in this world to accomplish our goal – to draw and project holiness in each phase of our lives. Rather than reflect nostalgically, the Torah urges us to seize the potential in each future moment. Each of us has a specific task and unique path towards our ultimate individual destination. By setting that lofty and holy target—our journey can be transformed. Indeed, with this prospective view, our destination shapes our journey. In my view, this concept has provided the foundation for the positive results described above. By setting a defined destination, NCSY’s 2020 Strategic Vision galvanized a coordinated effort to achieve its goal of doubling impact to 10,000 teens by 2020. Consequently, the journey was transformed and an organization harnessed its resources and talents towards a common purpose. Amazingly, and with siyata dishmaya, NCSY has almost reached this goal in just two years! The focus on maximizing each teen engagement has been transformative for NCSY and, in turn, for our community. Candidly, this was a goal and not the true destination—that being—impacting each member of Klal Yisrael that we can. To do that, we will need more— much more. More staff, more content, more creativity and more resources. For that, we turn to each of you to join us on this remarkable journey. Help us send every Jewish teen we can to Israel for the summer or on a gap year. Help us expand Torah learning and chessed opportunities. Help us bring forth the spark of holiness in each Jew. In the merit of this help, may we all be zocheh to merit the ultimate destination of the geula shleima speedily in our days.
Avi Katz is a managing member of Agam Capital Management. Prior to that, he was a partner at Apollo Management where he was the portfolio manager of the Apollo Strategic Value Fund and Apollo Value Investment Fund. Previously, he held many leadership positions in the world of finance and in the broader Jewish community. Mr. Katz graduated from New York University with a BS in Accounting and Economics, and he is also a Chartered Financial Analyst. He lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, with his wife Becky and their four children.
’ve learned a lot from the incredibly experienced field professionals in NCSY, who with the help and guidance of Hashem, transform the lives of teens in extraordinarily profound ways. One such professional who has worked with thousands of teens over the years and has merited being part of their transformative experiences, often shares with me one liners with extremely thoughtful insights. He is modest in discussing his personal success and vast accomplishments. However after much cajoling and prodding, as well as keeping notes after meaningful conversations with him, below are some of the reasons I believe he has had such incredible success in inspiring, impacting and transforming the lives of thousands of teenagers: 1.“DAVEN FOR EVERY TEEN LIKE YOU’D DAVEN FOR YOUR OWN CHILD.” The first step that this professional takes is that he genuinely and passionately pours his heart out for each teen, as if they were his own. He collects their Hebrew names (if they know it) and spends much time focusing on the uniqueness of each child. He takes time out to really focus, appreciate, and have a conversation with Hashem about each one of these teens as if they were his own children. But daven for them like your own child?! Well, that struck me and made me think about how much I daven for my own children and with what type of kavanah and intention I actually do so. Do I stop and focus on each of my own children? Am I in touch and do I understand what I need to ask for in order to raise them properly? Do I realize what their needs, wants, desires, strengths and challenges are? This NCSY professional says Perek Shira each day, having a different teen in mind for each creation of Hashem. Are we davening for others? Are we davening for our own? 2.“THERE ARE SOME SPECIAL NESHAMOS HERE... NO, EVERY 8
NESHAMA IS A SPECIAL ONE.” I was once at a program with this professional and the teens there were such sweet and good kids. I remarked to him that they were such special neshamos. Without batting an eye, he said to me: “It’s true, they are, but every neshama is a special one.” That’s the way he looks at people – with a deep sense and total appreciation that the Ribono Shel Olam created, bi’chvodo uvi’atzmo, each and every single one of the Jewish people. They all need to be looked at for the pure souls they are – with an appreciation of their holiness and what they have deep inside. I thought to myself, how profound is such a perspective when it comes to every teen. But what about every other person I might pass on the street, see in shul, or wait in line next to at a restaurant? Am I appreciating them for their innate holiness and giving them a chance, or am I quick to discount who they are because of my own misgivings? 3.“JUST GIVE A KID A CHANCE. THEN GIVE HIM A SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH CHANCE.” Like everyone, teens make mistakes… often. Their mistakes, however, are usually “boneheaded” mistakes that as adults, we tend to get worked up about, frustrated, and then upset at the teen. “How could they do/say/ act so non-sensibly?” or “how could they be so _____?” We are vehemently adamant that we will not stand for such behavior any longer and, at times, write the teen off. This field professional is an expert at communicating his frustration appropriately, yet giving teens a second, third, or even fourth chance. And because he invests in them, has patience with them and is willing to help them learn from their mistakes in an appropriate way, many have turned their lives around to inspiration, maturity, and to become contributing members of society. We all deserve a second chance. Everyone messes up at some point. But how many times do we
get fed up with a family member, friend, colleague, or community member and forget that they always deserve another chance? It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and to lose patience over something inappropriate, not thoughtful, or totally wrong -- but it’s about taking a deep breath, communicating coherently and confidently, and then giving that special soul, that special person, yet another chance. 4.“EVERY TEEN THAT STEPS INTO A PROGRAM I RUN, IS EXACTLY THE SAME.” People are usually judged by how they look and dress, how they speak, what job they have, where they live, etc. The ability to look at the person for who they actually are, not compare them or classify them, could have an incredible impact on them and do wonders for an incredible relationship with them. NCSY rarely turns anyone away and we don’t judge who comes to our programs. It makes no difference in NCSY how you do in school, what type of clothing you wear, or the size of your house. If you are a Jewish teen and want to be part of NCSY, we will make it work for you, without anyone knowing your personal situation. And since everyone is equal, everyone has the opportunity to be someone and grow. If only the world would function like that. To really be able to look at people for who they are, what they offer, and the innate uniqueness of “them,” instead of passing judgment and rushing to an immediate opinion of where they fit into the societal structure, is extremely challenging. Guiding our own children and instilling within them the ability to accept others with a clean slate is difficult, yet refreshing, as they learn to see the world through our eyes. If each of us would look at our own children that way, we stand a chance of creating an NCSY-like environment around the world, where everyone has the opportunity to grow, gain confidence, become unified with each other, and make a difference in the world.
It was Shabbos morning, and I was walking home from Shul. It was one of those rare moments when my daughter Aviva and I had time alone. Aviva was 12 and she had just started babysitting. I asked her how it was going and the conversation soon led to money. As she was making money for the first time in her life, I was curious to know if she was giving some to tzedakah. Thankfully, a fundraiser’s daughter, she answered affirmatively. Then I asked her, “Do you
think that’s the nice thing to do, or the right thing to do?” Aviva paused, looked up and said, “It’s the right thing.” I exhaled. My first lesson in tzedakah was taught to me by my father, Jack Korbman. Every Sunday morning, I would see him write endless checks to places that I rarely recognized. When I asked, he didn’t seem to know much about them either, but he told me, “Everyone should get something.” Later, my high school rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Snow, taught us to appreciate the philosophy of tzedakah. He took out his wallet, and pulled out 10 single dollar bills. He then began to count them out loud, “One for me, two for me, three for me, four, five and six for me, seven for me, eight for me, nine for me, and one for someone else.” That demonstration never left me. As I grew and ultimately decided to go into the “tzedekah business,” it was interesting to hear various reactions both in and out of the Jewish world. First, there was a world of varied opinion regarding those who make tzedekah a profession, from incredibly admirable to, let’s just say, less so. Second, attitudes about “giving” tzedekah were equally as varied regarding what is and what may not be a compelling and worthwhile cause. But the most important lesson which I gained over time is the belief that the primary beneficiary of tzedekah is not who we think. While many may benefit from tzedekah, the one who seems to benefit most is the giver, not the recipient. For example, a report in The Chronicle of Philanthropy (September 2015) cites Professor Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia who studied the health effects of giving of the donor. Simply put, giving makes us happy. Giving, she demonstrated, can actually lower the blood pressure of the donor after a gift is made. As she
wrote, giving “is not just heartwarming, it may be quite literally good for our hearts.” Dunn hardly uncovered something entirely new. In fact, Rabbi Yehoshua taught: “The poor man does more for the master of the house than the master of the house does for the poor man” (Midrash, Lev.Rabbah 34:8)]. When we give, when we share, we receive more in return. Perhaps that is why my dad never seemed to mind writing out those checks to places he barely knew….it made him happy. As Aviva and I walked home, I told her about her Zaide and about the checks. I then shared my favorite d’var Torah about Tzedakah in the Torah. When B’nai Yisrael were leaving Egypt, they followed Moshe’s instruction (Ex. 12:35): “Vayish’alu mi’Mitzrayim klei kesef u’klei zahav,” literally, to “ask the Egyptians for their silver and gold.” The more precise definition of “vayish’alu” means “to borrow,” that Moshe was instructing B’nai Yisrael to borrow the silver and gold. Many question the use of the term “borrow”; was Moshe implying that they would have to give it all back? I looked at Aviva and said, “Your Zaide came from a family of Gerrer Chasidim, and do you know what the Gerrer Rebbe (Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter 1798–1866) had to say about this? He taught: This was the first time B’nai Yisrael were coming into ownership; this was the first time they were going to have money. Don’t forget….it’s all borrowed.” As I write these words at the end of August, I am both aware and proud that NCSY just sent 1,450 Jewish teens from throughout the world on seventeen amazing summer experiences. I hope that when they come into money for the first time, they realize the opportunity and responsibility that comes with it. And I am deeply thankful to the thousands of NCSY supporters who role model that sacred behavior each and every year.
PHOTO: TALYA ROGOFF
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” During this transitional time of year, Semisonic’s oft-quoted lyrics from their 1998 hit “Closing Time” are especially apropos to consider on both a personal and communal level. After all, the fall season is undoubtedly a time for renewal and fresh starts. This idea of a new beginning comes in the form of apples dipped with honey and infinite amounts of food during Rosh Hashanah - our Jewish New Year. During this holiday, we are given a precious opportunity to start anew with a clean slate, not to mention the prospect of complete forgiveness with Yom Kippur - our day of repentance looming close in the distance. For some, this idea of a fresh start is terrifying. After all, as we tremulously admit in the famous prayer ונתנה תוקף, we have no idea how our lives will look one year into the future. However, I prefer to view the situation with a Semisonic-inspired attitude: the unknown is exciting. How lucky are we to possess decision-making power in our lives that, with the help of G-d, will shape our future? This is yet another reason to indulge in sweet, savory, and celebratory foods on Rosh Hashanah. 10
We are trying to convey a sense of appreciation for the fact that we have a new, unknown beginning at our fingertips, full of unfulfilled potential. Personally, this Rosh Hashanah is especially significant. I recently embarked on a new beginning of my own. For the first time in eighteen years, I’m not in Memphis, Tennessee during the High Holidays, listening to my father lead the congregation with his melodious voice. Instead, I’m in Israel, in the early stages of my gap year at Yeshivat Orayta. In dealing with this transition, I’ve drawn strength from my experiences in NCSY to continuously remember this important mindset of appreciation for new beginnings and the opportunities they provide. This year, I will have the chance to learn and form life-altering relationships with rebbeim and friends, all while living in Jerusalem, the center of the world and our Jewish faith. No matter how tough it may be to live away from home for an entire year, the sweet opportunity that I’m given every day helps me realize how important and beneficial this new chapter really is. But the transitions don’t end there. As the new National Board has been officially anointed, I sadly realize that this is the last message I will be privileged enough to write as your
President. On behalf of all of the 20162017 National Board Members, it was a fantastic year. We started strong by immediately launching our weekly parsha newsletter initiative, running a strong #8DaysOfSummer summer programs push during Chanukah, and leading the annual NCSY JUMP Shabbaton in New Jersey. An inspiring Yarchei Kallah in Decemeber helped us launch our Sunday Night Live program, where NCSYers were able to live-stream Divrei Torah to the entire national NCSY community. Finally, we capped off the year with a 22-page Shavuos Torah companion that enhanced the holidays of NCSYers around the world. Now, it’s time to pass the torch. While we did our best to create meaningful programming and content during our time on board, all of these things mean nothing if we don’t help welcome our new board members with open arms. Just as we experienced at this time last year, you will have a challenging adjustment period; it comes with the position. However, I am confident that you will take strength from our Rosh Hashanah tradition and realize that a new chapter is a blessing. Appreciate the sweetness of the unknown that lies ahead. Thank you for continuing the National Board legacy.
MAJOR EVENTS AROUND NCSY
SUMMER SNAPSHOTS Scenes from our most successful NCSY Summer yet.
YOM NCSY 2017 A summer night to remember, celebrating NCSY Summer and all that we do.
SNAPSHOTS 18 ACOMMUNITY look back at this year’s regional fundraisers. SPRING AWAKENING 20 Highlights from NCSY’s Spring Regionals. INTO ACTION 22 AJUMPING look back at this years Jewish Unity
Mentoring Program (JUMP) boardroom finals.
POETS OF PRAYER 23 NCSY hosts first every prayer-themed poetry slam for day school teens.
RIDING FOR INSPIRATION 24 Bike NCSY’s inagurual ride raises money for teens going on Israel gap-year programs.
CHARIDY 26 NCSY raises $2 million through an interregional Charidy campaign.
Abigail Millender, Natalie Wittenberg and Arielle Sass reach the bottom of Machtesh Ramon while rappelling in Israelâ€™s Negev desert on The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey.
Samantha Fern, Talia Rudy, Samantha Bardin, Sarah Kleinman and Sydney Sirot (L-R), all from New Jersey, visit the Old City and the Kotel on The Anne Samson Jerusaelm Journey.
Charlie Bendheim, Jon Greenberg and Eitan Winograd (L-R) learning in-depth during daily chaburas on NCSY Kollel in Beit Meir, Israel.
Flying high! Teens on The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey zipline over the scenic Gush this summer in Israel.
Ellie Zisblatt, Ayelet Topp, Yakira Robinson, Dasi Bitton and Tali Shabat paint with recent Ethiopian immigrants to Israel at Tzfatâ€™s Ehtiopian Absorbtion Center this summer on GIVE Nation.
Justin Galitzer from Potomac, Maryland feeds cows at an organic farm as part of a three day volunteer service with HaShomer HaChadash on BILT.
Isis Mizrachi and Eden Bouhadana (L-R) learn to write Hebrew letters like a scribe in Tzfat this summer on TJJ Bus 11 from Canada.
Dina Ross saddles up her donkey at Kfar Kedem in Northern Israel this summer.
BILT boys roll up their sleeves and get ready to work the land, volunteering with Israeli farmers in need.
Girls on GIVE have a blast while hosting a carnival for children from Sderot. FALL 2017
Reva Sanders, Sarah Yager and Danielle Dekelbaum stop for a photo op atop Mount Bental in Northern Israel this past summer on JOLT Israel.
Another day, another chessed! Girls on GIVE Roots break for a quick snapshot.
Teens on NCSY Kollel take part in the annual Kollel soccer tournament.
Meital Lindenberg from Cherry Hill, NJ rock climbs and volunteers at Tikvot this summer on Israel ID.
NCSY teens from Florida gear up for water sports in Eilat this summer on The Anne Samson Jerusalem journey
Southern region TJJers build their own rafts and sail them on the Kinneret this summer in Tiberias.
PHOTO: ZACH BROWN
The Anne Samson TJJ Ambassadors Poland exit Treblinka concentration camp united in spirit and song.
Teens on NCSY Kanfei hit the slopes this past summer in New Zealand.
Chani Kaminetsky, Emma Freiden, Leora Cohn and Rebecca Cohen (L-R) stop by Mickey Mouseâ€™s star on Hollywoodâ€™s Walk of Fame this summer on GIVE West.
Molly Horwitz serves as a human canvas at The Anne Samson TJJ Ambassadors carnival for children from Sderot in Yeruchum.
Riky Ratner, Eyliana Perkal, Atara Simon, Shirly Kapetas, Kayla Goldberg and Sari Dubin (L-R) catching some air during color war at Michlelet. FALL 2017
Old friends reunite as all NCSY Summer programs come together at this year’s Yom NCSY in Ra’anana, Israel.
NCSYers from across seventeen programs unite in Park Ra’anana to celebrate summer, Israel, and of course, NCSY.
The Anne Samson TJJ Ambassadors Poland crew is in the house! Alex Paul waves the bus flag proudly.
Cleveland teens from a mix of different summer programs stop to take a picture as they reunite in Park Ra’anana at this year’s big event.
Teens on The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey smile as their unbelievable 4-week adventure comes to an end at Yom NCSY.
Jewish musical sensation Mordechai Shapiro keeps NCSYers dancing all night long.
Teens on Yachad’s Yad B’Yad dance the night away to the music of Mordechai Shapiro.
Rabbi Glenn Black, CEO of NCSY Canada, kicks off this year’s Yom NCSY program as Master of Ceremonies.
NCSY International Director Rabbi Micah Greenland offers words of inspiration at this year’s event. FALL 2017
TORONTO Happy shoppers haul out bags of shoes and other designer ware at NCSY Canadaâ€™s fourth annual Designer Warehouse Sale.
WEST ORANGE, NJ In recognition of their years of service to the community of West Orange, New Jersey honored City Directors Eric Israeli and Jen Saibel. Pictured here are Jen and Eric (center) with their son, Judah, and their family at the West Orange Scholarship Breakfast.
TEANECK, NJ This yearâ€™s Bergen County Scholarship Breakfast was hosted by the Horn Family in Teaneck, New Jersey. Honorees were Dr. Drora and Lior Arussy, Esther and Dr. Jerald Friedman, Heidi Fuchs, and Rabbi Josh Schulman. Pictured here is the Friedman family and Regional Director, Rabbi Ethan Katz.
ST. LOUIS, MO St.Louis JSU Director and scribe Rabbi Mike Rovinsky prepares to write a letter in JSU’s new Torah of Unity as Ramot Amoona campers look on in anticipation. The fundraiser raised much need funds for St. Louis JSU programming.
BALTIMORE, MD The Richmond NCSY Appreciation Dinner recognized Chuck and Judy Lessin for their support for NCSY and JSU. Pictured here (L to R) Altantic Seaboard NCSY Regional Director, Rabbi Jonah Lerner, presenting an award to hosts and Richmond NCSY & JSU supporters, Chuck and Judy Lessin.
MONTREAL, QUEBECLauren and Alvin Suissa, City Director Mindy Zobin, Shlomo and Sari Drazin joined 65 others at the Montreal NCSY Dessert Reception and heard inspiring words from Rabbi Yaakov Glasser.
CANADA David Ulmer, Adam Klasner, Seth Greenspan, Eli Shochet enjoying the delicious hors d’oeuvres at NCSY Canada’s 6th Annual Exclusive Gourmet Dining Experience. The guests were treated to a 7-course gourmet meal prepared by the incomparable Chef David Blum.
SOUTHERN Southern NCSY holds their first ever charity marathon in Miami Beach. Teens ran to raise much needed scholarship dollars to send fellow NCSYers on NCSY Summer programs.
CANADA Pictured here are (L-R) Saul Greenberg, Michael Hart, David and Jonathan Spiegelman golfing on the greens at NCSY Canada’s Kishka Klassic Golf Tournament. The successful event raised scholarship funds for NCSY and Torah High.
LAS VEGAS, NV On a mission to raise 40K in 40 Hours, Las Vegas NCSY reaches their goal, enabling 20 Las Vegas Public School Students to attend Israel Trips, NCSY Summer Programs and for some, a full gap year in Israel. FALL 2017
NEW JERSEY NJ NCSY’s Regional Board commemorate their final NCSY havdallah with Regional Director, R’ Ethan Katz, at this year’s Spring Regional.
VANCOUVER Sixty-one Vancouver NCSYers on their way to Western Canada Spring Regional.
TORONTO Shlomo Mandel, City Director of NCSY Toronto, and Milka Beker, Jr. NCSY Program Coordinator, lead a group of mudsoaked NCSYers in ATVing at NCSY Canada’s Spring Regional Shabbaton at the Pinehurst Resort.
NEW ENGLAND New England NCSY graduating seniors at Spring Regional Banquet.
MIDWEST Rabbi Donny Schwartz, Jason Sulzberger, Jeremy Schaechter, Sarah Immerman, Mira Shere, Blaire Ellenberg, Yonit Krebs, Zoe Berman, Ilana Paskoff and Ruchama Borg (L-R) at Midwest Spring Regional Shabbaton, being recognized for their dedication to the Learning Online Program.
ATLANTA Teens lighting Shabbos candles prior to experiencing Shabbos at Greater Atlanta NCSY’s Spring Regional Convention.
UPSTATE NEW YORK Upstate New York NCSYers showing their NCSY Pride in the photo booth during the end of year banquet at Spring Regional.
NEW YORK Naomi Sanft, Chana Kolber, Jewel Glass, Sarah Stuart (top L-R) pictured here with Tali Bean, Adina Cohen, Hudy Berger, Linda Wang, Ahuva Blass (L-R) at this past year’s New York NCSY Spring Regional in Camp Kaylie.
SOUTHWEST Nathan Lashak, Rabbi Israel Lashak, Chaim Gerlitz, Yari Garner, Ephie Wiederman, Dani Treisman and Akivah Garner (L-R) are all smiles at the Southwest NCSY Spring Regional.
ATLANTIC SEABOARD Maxx Kronisch, Zev Namrow, Yaakov Reches, Betzalel Miller, Lili Panitch and Danielle Dekelbaum (L-R) get ready for a day of activities on the lake at the ATS NCSY Spring Conclave 2017.
JUMP (Jewish Unity Mentoring Program) is the NCSY National Leadership Program that trains and empowers high school students from day schools across the United States to become the leaders of tomorrow. JUMP participants are given the tools and training to make positive changes in their schools and communities, while broadening their understanding of local and global issues facing the Jewish people today. Whether it be awareness, fundraising for charity, Israel advocacy or social action, JUMP puts teens in the driver’s seat, giving students the skills needed to be positive forces in their Jewish communities. The annual competition begins with a
leadership conference in late October where teams are given the year’s challenges. The top five schools are invited to the Boardroom Finals in May held at Goldman Sachs headquarters in downtown Manhattan. This Years JUMP Boardroom Finalists:
• RASG Hebrew Academy, Miami Beach, FL - Winner • DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys, Woodmere, NY • Ulpanat Orot Girls School, Toronto, ON • Midreshet Shalhevet High School for Girls, Valley Stream, NY • Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central), Hollis, NY
Teen leaders from the Central JUMP team pose for a team picture at this year’s finals.
Regional Director Southern NCSY
The judges panel is made up of a series of Jewish leaders and influencers. Pictured here are (L-R) Raanan Agus, Phil Rosen, Tami Radinsky and Avi Katz.
Southern NCSY Regional Director Todd Teams present their social action initiatives Cohn gives a pep talk to the RASG Hebrew before the panel of judges at Goldman Sachs Academy JUMP team from Miami, FL. Headquarters in New York City.
“The endgame of leadership development is to learn to turn vision into action. In the case of JUMP, we are training teens to dream about a better future for the Jewish people and how to translate that dream into a reality. This year, no one demonstrated the ability to do this better than the powerhouse team of students from Miami’s RASG Hebrew Academy.”
Competing students look on as each of the five schools present their projects to the judges at this year’s JUMP boardroom finals.
It was an exciting night at Lincoln Square Synagogue, which played host to Prayer Slam, the first ever collaboration between Yeshiva Poetry Society and NCSY. NCSY Prayer Slam is a program that highlights spokenword poetry developed by teens related to prayer. In partnership with the Yeshiva Poetry Society, the program highlighted creative teen content related to spirituality. The Prayer Slam affirmed NCSY’s mission of empowered teen-driven programming related to
inspiration and spirituality. The event challenged students to create original prayers and poets showed up from Rambam, Central, HAFTR, SAR, The Frisch School, SKA and Ma’ayanot. There were also readings by special guest judges: Samantha Turk, of the No Tokens literary journal, and Yehoshua November, author of two collections of poetry, including the recently released “Two Worlds Exist.”
WINNER: • Joey Yudelson, SAR RUNNERS UP: • Odelia Fried, SAR • Maya Stiefel, Ma’ayanot • Ruth Yudelson, SAR • Chani Swimmer, HAFTR
How many cyclists does it take to impact the Jewish future? Over 65 of them made their mark this past June at Bike NCSY! The sun had barely risen on Sunday, June 25th, but in Poughkeepsie, NY things were buzzing. Planes, trains, and automobiles abound, people amassed into the area from across the Eastern Seaboard, eager to get on their bikes and impact the Jewish future. These men, women, and teens rode with Bike NCSY, a fundraiser conceived by Director of NCSY Alumni Rabbi Yehoshua Marchuck, to raise money for scholarships for NCSY teens to spend a
gap year of Torah and growth in Israel. “As I was cycling through the Hudson Valley and seeing my fellow Bike NCSY riders, I was overwhelmed by the excitement and the energy surrounding biking for a meaningful cause,” said Marchuck. “Bike NCSY’s inaugural ride has set the route for this to become a bigger and greater event each and every year.” Though Gary Weltman, father of three NCSY alumna and an avid cyclist, was certainly very excited about the challenge of the hilly terrain in New York, as his rides in his home state of Florida are relatively flat, his
enthusiasm was most reserved for riding for a cause so important to him. “I have been an avid cyclist for years. My daughters Aviela and Sarita were both active in NCSY - both were Jacksonville Chapter presidents. Bike NCSY enables me to rejoice in my daughters’ achievements, to give back to a cherished cause, and to challenge my stamina on the hills of the Hudson Valley.” With the success of Bike NCSY 2017, plans are already underway for the upcoming year’s ride. Learn more and see how you can get involved at bike. ncsy.org.
Gary Weltman gears up for a meaningful ride as part of a Bike NCSY Esther Ray, Ahuva Pollak, Nicole Chermak and Shira Epstein (L-R) stand by as Rosh Chodesh minyan. Bike NCSY volunteers on the big day.
SPOTLIGHT: SAM TRAVIS
Phil Goldfeder, Ken Podziba, CEO of Bike NY, and Rabbi Yehoshua Marchuck celebrate at the ride’s end.
Whether he’s snapping gears in the Cadence Cycling shop or snapping photos on his bike’s GoPro, Sam Travis lives and breathes cycling. From the age of eight he could be found biking down the streets of Cedarhurst, NY, and by the time he was in Denver for high school, he used a bicycle as a means of transportation around the city. In 2013, Sam became involved in what he calls “heavy duty cycling” where he would ride longer routes, climb higher elevations, and really make cycling a core part of his life. In Long Island, Travis started rounding up riders, and organized a group of passionate cyclists who coordinate daily rides and motivate each other to reach and beat their goals. It’s no surprise that Travis became a lay leader for Bike NCSY, not because of his passion for cycling, rather because NCSY is very close to his heart; his parents, Avraham and Batya Travis, actually met through NCSY at a national convention in 1968. Now, as a father himself, Sam recognizes the importance NCSY played in his parents’ lives and sees it as being so critical to the teens of today. With Bike NCSY, Sam saw an opportunity to channel his passion for cycling into raising tzedakah for the Jewish future. His business, Cadence Cycling Center, served as a corporate sponsor of the event, and Sam dedicated his time and efforts to help the event be a success.
Great Neck NCSY’s Jon Zar is all smiles as he supports his NCSYers’ dreams of spending a gap year in Israel at this year’s Bike NCSY.
Eliana Biel enjoying the Hudson Valley bikes in support of Bike NCSY.
When asked about Bike NCSY 2018, Sam responded, “My bike chain will be all lubed up and I’ll be out there ready to roll.” FALL 2017
NCSY RAISES MORE THAN $2 MILLION IN AN INTER-REGIONAL CHARIDY CAMPAIGN Ask anyone who was involved – there came a moment, just before our deadline, where we wondered: are we going to have to return nearly $2 million in donations? Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. This past June, NCSY pulled off an incredible fundraising feat, raising $2.1 Million in donations over a 24-hour
period, in an often-frenzied all-or-nothing campaign.
emails to their friends and family, and posting incessantly to social media.
Ten NCSY regions met their own individual fundraising goals including NCSY Canada, Southern, Atlantic Seaboard, West Coast, New Jersey, New England and Midwest. Each region, along with the National NCSY staff, spread word of the campaign far and wide, whether it was getting donors on the phone, sending
“Raising $2.1 million for NCSY will make the difference for our number one issue - inspiring our teens to carry Judaism forward,” said NCSY Development Director Jeff Korbman. “It’s not about the money. It’s about what that money will enable us to do.”
NCSY friend and supporter, Mr. Yossi Stechler, picks up the phone to call for donations at the National NCSY Charidy headquarters in Teaneck, NJ.
Debbie Stone solicits her first donation at the NCSY Charidy fundraiser.
NCSY’s Director of Development, Jeffrey Korbman, works the phones in pursuit of NCSY’s $2 million goal.
Elliot Tanzman stops for a quick photo op while on the phone with a potential NCSY donor.
DY Rubin and Amy Mauskopf register volunteers at the campaign headquarters on the big day.
Orthodox Union leadership pose with $2.1 million check after the campaign.
PROFILES OF THE PEOPLE AND PLACES THAT MATTER
ALL IN 28 Betting on a Summer of Torah and Growth,
Las Vegas Sends Four Teens to NCSY Kollel’s New Mechina Track.
LIVE TO GIVE 30 Denver NCSYer, Caley Coughlan, Demonstrates Inspired Leadership for a New Generation of Teens.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP 32 An in-depth look at one of NCSY’s newest summer programs, Next Step Israel Internships.
THEN, NOW AND ALWAYS 36 Rabbi Moshe Benovitz: An NCSY Leader LETTER TO MY CHILDREN 38 NCSY Leader and Supporter, Phil Rosen Transmits Jewish Values to the Next Generation.
AS A TEEN: RABBI YAAKOV BENDER 40 NCSY Director of Education, Rabbi Dovid
Bashevkin, sits with Rabbi Yaakov Bender to discuss his teenage years.
& 5 QUESTIONS WITH AN NCSY 42 FACES SUPPORTER
Meet Rina Emerson, NCSY’s newest managing director and the new CEO of NY NCSY, and hear why Michelle and Brian Levinson support NCSY.
Betting on a Summer of Torah and Growth, Las Vegas Sends Four Teens to NCSY Kollel’s New Mechina Track
CSY Kollel is one of NCSY’s most successful summer programs. The six-week, all-boys learning program in Israel is geared for high school students who are motivated to study Torah in a unique environment that also offers sports, touring and other fun. Hundreds of boys from the finest yeshiva high schools across North America participate each summer. In the many years that NCSY Kollel has been in existence—almost three decades—never before has it had a track exclusively for public school teens from a very limited Jewish background. This past summer, that all changed with the debut of the new Mechina track. Thanks to the initiative of Rabbi Derek Gormin, Interim Regional Director of West Coast NCSY, and Rabbi Moshe Benovitz, Director of NCSY Kollel and International Managing Director of NCSY, 15 boys from public schools around the country flew to Israel to enrich their Jewish journeys, expand their Torah knowledge, and be part of this inaugural Mechina experience. Of all the U.S. cities that count NCSY presences, Las Vegas NCSY was the best represented at Mechina this summer. The NCSY chapter sent four teens to Israel: Gavi Arnell, Zachary Gray, Aron Polonsky, Dean Glover, all 17 and rising high school seniors. The boys became involved with NCSY a couple of years ago, attending Latte n Learn sessions. Torah High, a Jewish studies program that meets after the school day and allows public school teens to earn academic credit, proved to be a turning point in their growth. Each week, the boys would meet at the Las Vegas Kollel, which hosted Torah High, and study Pirkei Avot. “The boys grew very interested in learning Torah for the sake of learning
as a result of their experience with Torah High,” explained Rabbi Yehuda Maryles, director of NCSY Las Vegas. “When I asked them if they’d be interested in spending the summer continuing that learning in Israel, they all said yes right away. I knew it would be a healthy experience for them.” Thanks to funding from the Orthodox Union and Olami, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enabling unaffiliated Jewish students to engage with their religion and heritage, the program was heavily subsidized so participants had only a modest fee. NCSY Kollel structures its days with plenty of activities like sports, touring and other fun, but the primary focus is Torah learning—paging through the volumes of Gemara for hours each day, both with a rebbe in a traditional shiur style and in chavruta. This can be intense even for teens who sit in yeshiva day school each day during the year but Gavi, Zachary, Aron and Dean exalted in their summer experience. “I learned more this past summer than I had my entire life before I went to Israel as part of NCSY,” said Gavi. “This summer was beyond fantastic, and, aside from the learning, this experience has helped anchor me to my Judaism and helped me retain a real sense of Jewish pride.” “The first week I was here, it went by slowly and I felt it wasn’t the program for me,” recalled Zach. “At the end of the program, however, I couldn’t believe how fast time flew by. I loved it, and I think one of the most interesting things was being able to sit and learn the same exact thing as the yeshiva students were learning. Our different backgrounds allowed us to have different perspectives on the same material, and the yeshiva
Rabbi Derek Gormin leads a discussion with NCSY Kollel’s first ever Mechina track for public school teens.
students were really interested to see what my Mechina peers and I thought of the topics that were raised. I think it made for a richer experience overall for everyone on Kollel.” “The tractate of Talmud that Mechina students learned was the same as the Kollel’s yeshiva students,” confirmed Gormin. “The Mechina track wasn’t seen as something separate, just a means to integrate teens with limited Jewish knowledge into the world of learning Torah in a real and meaningful way, and help them develop the tools for learning on their own. This allows them to take control of their Jewish learning after the summer, and return to their communities to inspire their families and peers.” “When they arrived, I’d say that the teens from Las Vegas had the least amount of Jewish background of all the Mechina participants,” continued Gormin. “But their drive for learning was obvious from the moment they came.” Rabbi Maryles flew to visit his NCSYers for a long Shabbat weekend toward the end of the program. “It felt only right to check on them, make sure they didn’t feel too out of place, and try to help make them a few new friends in this very new environment,” said Maryles of his short trip, which included a belated bar mitzvah celebration for Dean Glover, who learned the aleph bet as part of his Mechina experience so he would be able to be called to the Torah and recite the berachot in Hebrew. Maryles thought he was flying in for a small, intimate celebration, but when he got to Israel, he witnessed Dean surrounded by over 100 friends, mentors and madrichim, and rabbis who forged strong relationships with him over the preceding weeks. “I was simply blown away by this incredible atmosphere,” said Maryles. “The bar mitzvah was only a small sample of the revolutionary Jewish milestones created and relationships formed as part of this new Mechina program.” As for Gavi, who is one of the only Jewish students at his public high school (his brother is the other Jewish student), being a part of the Mechina track has helped him acquire more Jewish knowledge—but not just for his sake. “Being one of the only Jews in a place means people are constantly asking you questions and I, for one, never knew how to answer questions people asked of me about why Jews do certain things or follow certain rules,” he explained. “Participating in NCSY Kollel means that I returned home equipped with Jewish knowledge to be able to effectively respond to these questions and let people know what it means to be a Jew. I’m truly grateful for my experience this past summer.” FALL 2017
CSY not only attracts teens who seek to inject more meaning into their Jewish journeys, but teens who are already demonstrated leaders—after all, it takes a special measure of initiative for a young person to take control of his or her Jewish journey. Caley Coughlan, currently of Denver, CO, is one such teen. When Coughlan was 13 and in the 8th grade, she volunteered for Chabad’s Friendship Circle of Charlotte, North Carolina (where she lived at the time), joining the organization’s Mitzvah Volunteer Program. “My mom always encouraged me to treat others how I’d want to be treated,” explained Coughlan of her decision to volunteer at such a young age. “The world is full of people who need help, and if I can be an agent of positive change, why wouldn’t I do that?” Friendship Circle paired Coughlan with a 40-year old man named Jeremy Alpern Cantor, and Coughlan accompanied him on weekly trips to the bowling alley. Although Jeremy was non-verbal and couldn’t communicate with Coughlan via traditional means, Coughlan discerned that Jeremy enjoyed their outings by his constant smile and laughter. “When Jeremy passed away five years ago at age 41, I was heartbroken,” recalled Coughlan. “At the same time, I was so inspired by him and his ability to enjoy as much of life as he possibly could. Doctors predicted he wouldn’t live past five years old, and Jeremy proved them wrong for another 36 years, treating each day like a blessing and a miracle. I decided to start a fundraising initiative in Jeremy’s memory and donate the proceeds to Friendship Circle. In this way, not only would his memory live on, but it would positively impact the lives of so many other people with special needs.” Coughlan founded Jeremy’s Jump
in November of 2013. The 6-10-hour relay jump-a-thon fundraiser has individuals obtain sponsorship for hours of jumping, and raises awareness and funds for organizations that assist people with special needs and promote their inclusion in general society. The event was an instant hit with members of the greater Charlotte community, in two years raising over $15,000 for the Friendship Circle, and more than $100,000 over five years. Coughlan’s efforts were praised by her community, local media and Chabad—in 2014, Chabad flew Coughlan to New York to be formally recognized at the Tzivos Hashem’s annual gala. When Coughlan moved to Denver, CO in 2014, she wanted to bring Jeremy’s Jump with her, but because Denver’s Friendship Circle presence is not as coordinated as it is in Charlotte, Coughlan bade her time researching a cause that particularly spoke to her. Meanwhile, she discovered NCSY. NCSY in Denver had been defunct for several years before being revitalized at the initiative of Rebbetzin Melissa Friedman, a former Atlantic Seaboard NCSY regional president and Denver resident, in 2016, and with the arrival of Yisrael Katz later that year. Katz had previously overseen the Valley NCSY Region and as Denver’s new city director, he helped significantly strengthen NCSY’s presence there. Coughlan immediately became involved, serving as the burgeoning chapter’s co-president. “We started the year with about 10 teens, and by the end of the year, we had over 150 teens who attended meetings and Shabbatonim on a regular basis,” said Coughlan. “Like Jeremy’s Jump, I think this only shows the kind of excitement and passion that can be generated when you have a product or program like NCSY, that inspires people
to do and be better.” Inspired by her NCSY involvement and leadership, and encouraged by regional advisor Beth Gindi, Coughlan participated on NCSY GIVE program in Israel this past summer. She spent five weeks volunteering for chesed organizations and experiencing handson Judaism—which she called her “best summer ever.” “GIVE and my general experiences with NCSY have inspired me to take on more mitzvot, like lighting Shabbat candles and davening on a regular basis,” said Coughlan. “Most importantly, being involved with NCSY has helped me more deeply connect to my Judaism and helped me better identify who I am and the kind of person I want to be, Jewishly. I love to learn Jewish topics and I would never have known that about myself if not for NCSY.” On GIVE, Coughlan also discovered another charitable cause which touched her deeply—Shalva, an Israel-based non-profit which promotes the care and inclusion into general society of people with special needs. This year, Coughlan is determined to bring a Jeremy’s Jump fundraiser to Denver with the proceeds going to Shalva, and balance her academic demands—she is in her senior year of high school—and holds the position of Teen Managing Director for Southwest NCSY’s regional board. Coughlan, however, expects the balancing act to come naturally. “Setting aside time for things about which I’m passionate, like Jeremy’s Jump and NCSY, is pretty simple,” she explained. “I’m motivated because I know that as I promote and fundraise for Jeremy’s Jump, I’m giving back and making the world a better place. As far as NCSY goes, not only is it also a social outlet for me, but it has changed me for the better and the way I view the world. I’m always looking forward to creating new programming and attending events.” Coughlan plans to study in a seminary in Israel after graduating high school. “Caley gives her heart and soul to NCSY and everything she does,” said Katz. “When I learned that she had started Jeremy’s Jump from her application for NCSY president, it didn’t surprise me at all. As I’ve gotten to know her, I’ve seen just how much she cares about the Jewish community and, when something affects her, she takes that experience and turns it into positive action. Actions speak louder than words, and Caley’s actions speak volumes about the kind of empathetic, compassionate and motivated teen that she is. NCSY is lucky to have her on board.”
Caley learning with friends and advisors this past summer on NCSY’s GIVE Nation. FALL 2017
his past summer, 31 Jewish teens had the unique opportunity as the inaugural participants on NCSY’s newest summer program, Next Step Israel Internships. Teens traveled to Israel to spend four days a week working at various companies and organizations throughout the Jerusalem area, spending evenings and weekends traveling and learning about Israel, Judaism, working life and personal responsibility. “The structure of this program was built like a 90’s cell phone plan,” says Rabbi Adam Simon, director of Next Step. “We spend nights and weekends connecting with each other processing our work experiences, while also exploring our own Jewish identities and relationship to Israel.” The program is then structured around weekly educational themes: Torah (the intellect), Avodah (emotion), Gemilus Chassadim (actions) and Human Perfection through Creativity. Each week, Rav Adam, as the participants call him, gives them a set of questions relating to both the week’s theme and the realities of work. They are then asked to reflect and share their answers. As modeled by this experience, Next Step is built with a very high level of intentionality. The experience began before the summer when Rabbi Simon had at least one phone call with each participant to better understand what they were looking for out of an internship. After these conversations, Simon worked with NCSY’s Jerusalem-based partners to help find teens the right match based on their interests. Teens interned in fields varying from tech startups, to research labs at Hadassah Hospital, to interning at Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization responsible for facilitating North American Aliyah. Outside of the internship itself, the daily structure of the program was modeled after what it means to be a practicing Jew and working adult in the modern era. Each morning a variety of prayer opportunities were offered: a traditional Orthodox minyan or a meditative tefillah experience led by Simon himself. A 30-minute slot dedicated to Jewish learning was followed by breakfast and then teens set out for the morning commute to their various places of work. After a long day, the group returned for dinner and often there would be flexibility of how to spend the evening. Balancing choices, including when to go out, when to go to sleep, and when to wake up, are all skills important in maintaining a healthy working life and Simon and his team recognized that these were skills they wanted to impart to participants. The structure of the program had the benefit of programmatic and financial partnership from the New York Teen Initiative, a partnership of the Jim Joseph Foundation and UJA Federation of New York, facilitated by the Jewish Education Project. NCSY pitched the idea of an internship experience for Jewish high school teens and was chosen as one of five organizations to participate in the Initiative’s second cohort. Aside for financial support, the program more importantly offered the NCSY team an opportunity to learn through monthly seminars and one-on-one consulting from various mentors. “Working with NCSY through our work in the New York Teen Initiative provided an exciting opportunity to introduce skills, resources and ideas to the entire NCSY summer enterprise – but most importantly to help them launch an innovative and exciting new experience for Jewish teens,” said Susan Wachstock, Managing Director of Teen Engagement at the Jewish Education Project. “Visiting Next Step in July provided clear evidence that teens today want to not only be recipients of fun summer experiences, but to engage as active participants in meaningful growth opportunities during these precious summer months.” “Next Step Israel is among the first of a new era in Israel travel. For years, specialty camping has been welcoming children to Jewish summer camp who might otherwise not have opted into typical camping experiences. With Next Step and the other new Israel experiences launched through the New York Teen Initiative, specialty camping has arrived for the Israel Experience.” What’s next for Next Step? In Summer 2018, the program plans to grow its participant base, while expanding their network of internship opportunities. The mixed model of interning and traveling is a unique paradigm for NCSY and, on top of a first successful year, the program will learn from this past summer in order to make Summer 2018 an even better one. Visit www.NextStepIsrael.com for more information or to register for NCSY Summer 2018. FALL 2017
ZOE LEVIN:, 16
PIEDMONT, CA 12TH GRADE, PIEDMONT HIGH SCHOOL
WHERE ARE YOU INTERNING THIS SUMMER?
I have been interning at a start-up called WriteOn, based in the AtoBe accelerator at Azrieli College of Engineering. HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
I heard about this program through a friend of mine. I’m an active member of NCSY back home and originally wanted to go on JOLT, but then decided I needed to spend this summer doing something more directed toward college. Next Step was proposed to me as the perfect compromise.
As someone who is very adaptive to my environment, I am constantly frustrated that things that are so easy for me to uphold in NCSY and other Jewish environments become immensely more difficult when I return to my everyday life. My hope is to be able to remember that no matter where I am, G-d is there too and that makes him my environment. Hopefully with this in mind, I will be able to uphold any and all practices that are important to me without feeling out of place.
into an incredible learning experience by allowing me to attend the internship and tour Israel at the same time.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING THAT YOU’VE LEARNED AT YOUR INTERNSHIP THIS SUMMER?
WHAT DO YOU PLAN ON DOING DIFFERENTLY, IF ANYTHING, WHEN YOU RETURN HOME?
I think the most interesting thing that I’ve learned through my internship this summer is the importance of being assertive. Often, especially as young adults, we are taught to be grateful with the opportunities that are given to us and to try our best to succeed at the tasks placed before us. However, I have come to realize that this message, though undeniably valuable, does not incorporate any semblance of striving for more than what you are given, or of pushing yourself out of your comfort and success zone in order to truly take the next steps towards success.
I am going to go back and start davening and learning Hebrew. I am going to stay in touch with the mentors and Adam in case I have any religious questions I need answered.
HOW HAS THE PROGRAM AFFECTED YOU AND/OR YOUR JEWISH IDENTITY?
This program has gotten me more in touch with my Jewish identity. By giving us an opportunity to go to tefillah and services, while also introducing us to interesting conversations in our mentor sessions, I have learned more about Judaism and my connection to G-d.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING THAT YOU’VE LEARNED AT YOUR INTERNSHIP THIS SUMMER?
I have had the privilege to be active in a professional working environment for the first time. This is also the first time that I have had a boss that I have had to work with and respond to. I have learned a bit about collaboration in the workspace and education on working using video editing software.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PROGRAM THUS FAR?
My favorite part of the program so far has been the autonomy that is given to the teens, especially within the workplace. Instead of solving our issues for us, the mentors guide us towards figuring out what we want and being assertive for ourselves. This helping hand has been unbelievably formative in terms of making the summer my own. HOW HAS THE PROGRAM AFFECTED YOU AND/OR YOUR JEWISH IDENTITY?
This program has really helped me to solidify my Jewish identity in environments other than those that are strictly religious. Doing everyday things like going to work, answering emails, or even getting lunch, while all the while wearing my Judaism on my sleeve has proven to be unparalleled practice for the kind of person that I aspire to present as, both at public school and more. WHAT DO YOU PLAN ON DOING DIFFERENTLY, IF ANYTHING, WHEN YOU RETURN HOME?
With my return home, my hope is to be able to successfully incorporate certain religious practices into my everyday life. 34
CAMERON KHOLOS, 16
HERTZYLIA PITUACH, ISRAEL 11TH GRADE, WALWORTH BARBOUR AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
WHERE ARE YOU INTERNING THIS SUMMER?
I am interning at a video game startup called Capricia Productions. WHAT KIND OF PROJECT(S) ARE YOU WORKING ON AT YOUR INTERNSHIP?
I am working as part of a video production group of the company designing a few videos for their social media pages. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PROGRAM THUS FAR?
My favorite part of the program so far has been the internship. I feel that this program has transformed my summer
DINAH SEDAGHATPOUR, 15
GREAT NECK, NEW YORK 11TH GRADE AT GREAT NECK NORTH HIGH SCHOOL
WHERE ARE YOU INTERNING THIS SUMMER?
This summer, I interned at Speak, an on demand language learning website that launched recently this summer. WHAT KIND OF PROJECT(S) ARE YOU WORKING ON AT YOUR INTERNSHIP?
I helped run the company’s social media presence, interview potential teachers, and test prototypes of the company’s app.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PROGRAM THUS FAR?
My favorite part of this summer has most definitely been being able to connect with people from such a variety of backgrounds. Living in Great Neck, NY, I live in a bubble which prevents me from experiencing different forms of culture and traditions in Judaism. I find it fascinating that considering our differences, the program was able to come together and now I get to leave with friends that will last me a lifetime. WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING THAT YOU’VE LEARNED AT YOUR INTERNSHIP THIS SUMMER?
The most interesting thing I’ve learned at my internship is that to build a successful company, you need to be ready to research for days and days. You need to identify a market, then a target market, then you need channels of distribution and the list goes on and on. To start a company, you need to be 100% invested and if you’re not, don’t even bother starting.
religious background, this program has still affected me. It opened my eyes to the fact that there are other sects of religion out there. It taught me that just because someone was brought up differently, doesn’t mean that you should push them away. Not only that, but it helped me realize that I can help teach those who may know less about Judaism and want it.
your heart desires.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING THAT YOU’VE LEARNED AT YOUR INTERNSHIP THIS SUMMER?
Singing zmirot (songs) at the end of Shabbat has been my favorite part of the summer. For me, singing is directly connected to spirituality and I get chills as each song passes by. As everyone locks arms with one another you can feel the songs as you move back and forth - there is nothing like it. It ends with a beautiful havdalla, dancing and some more singing. I love all of Shabbat, but the last hour or so is what I look forward to all week.
In the world of computer assisted design, the software program gives you a certain toolset. It is your job as a designer to be able to take that toolset and create something with it. I feel like this internship has really given me the ability to expand my knowledge of just how capable this toolset is and it opens up new worlds of design that I have never experienced before.
SHOSHI BLECH, 16
YAIR OPPENHEIM, 16
WHERE ARE YOU INTERNING THIS SUMMER?
I am working in market research and I collect data, and make surveys and distribute them to collect as much info as possible about the target markets. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PROGRAM THUS FAR?
HOW HAS THE PROGRAM AFFECTED YOU AND/OR YOUR JEWISH IDENTITY?
Because of the wide range of religiosity, I have been able to see many points of views about Judaism which really made me appreciate my Modern Orthodox upbringing. The program treats you like an adult and allows you to make your own decisions every day. It really makes you appreciate every little thing that you do because you choose to do it and, it really makes you think about things that you would normally take for granted as given. TEANECK NJ 11TH GRADE, MAAYANOT YESHIVA HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
WOODMERE, NY 11TH GRADE, RAMBAM MESIVTA
WHAT KIND OF PROJECT(S) ARE YOU WORKING ON AT YOUR INTERNSHIP?
WHERE ARE YOU INTERNING THIS SUMMER?
I am interning at Navida, an architecture company developing homes that can compartmentalize to travel wherever
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING THAT YOU’VE LEARNED AT YOUR INTERNSHIP THIS SUMMER?
I’ve learned that I’m not too young to work. When I started my internship, I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to do the work that my CEO asked me to do. As the weeks passed, I realized that I could and I worked really hard to get the job done.
I am interning for the Beit Shemesh 3D Printing Lab WHAT KIND OF PROJECT(S) ARE YOU WORKING ON AT YOUR INTERNSHIP?
I create models which are then used to 3D print with. I’ve designed everything from name tags, to bookends, to cars, and much more WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PROGRAM THUS FAR?
While I pride myself in believing that I have one of the most fun jobs on the program, the activities on this program have been great. I feel like my favorite activity was Escape the Room. HOW HAS THE PROGRAM AFFECTED YOU AND/OR YOUR JEWISH IDENTITY?
I feel like while I came from a very FALL 2017
ot everyone can meld the personal and professional, but Rabbi Moshe Benovitz, the longtime Director of NCSY Kollel and, since 2015, Managing Director of NCSY, is not just anyone. In advance of being honored at the annual NCSY dinner this November, Rabbi Benovitz reflected on his start with NCSY as a teenager in Teaneck, NJ, in the 1980s. “I attended my first NCSY Shabbaton in Monsey in 1986, and I was immediately hooked on the obvious passion for Judaism and the desire for genuine growth on the part of everybody in the room,” Benovitz recalled. “It was an upwardly mobile place in terms of everyone wanting to ascend to new spiritual heights and places of real religious meaning.” Rabbi Benovitz also shared that Lenny Bessler, currently the Orthodox Union’s Director for Human Resources, was NCSY’s Monsey chapter director, and Rabbi Menachem Penner, currently the dean of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), was the regional president of NJ NCSY, during that time. Benovitz continued to attend NCSY Shabbatons and other programming— particularly enjoying the learning opportunities—and served for two years on the NJ regional board. The programming created by Yisroel Kaminetsky, now the principal of the DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys in Woodmere, New York (and, also, Benovitz’s brother-in-law), had a big impact on him. Benovitz was inducted into the Ben Zakkai Honor Society by the time he graduated high school. After studying at Kerem B’Yavneh for two years, he returned to serve NCSY as a regional advisor and, later, chapter advisor in Teaneck, before being tapped to help as an advisor at the fledgling NCSY Kollel. Benovitz came on board in 1993 and has been heading the increasingly-popular summer program since 2001. “I’m now entering my 31st year now as someone who has been involved with NCSY as a teen and, later, professional,” continued Benovitz. “Those core values of NCSY have remained constant.” Other values that appealed to Benovitz about NCSY were the empowerment of teenagers to take control of their Jewish growth, and the inclusivity of the organization. “It’s a unique thing to be able to equip teenagers with the tools for their own spiritual growth,” said Benovitz. “Nobody is spoon-feeding kids at NCSY; rather, we are enabling them to take what we teach, internalize the message, and take on what feels meaningful
to them and their individual Jewish journeys.” Benovitz has had a hand in pioneering several early programs that, today, exist in stronger, more progressive form. As the longtime director of NCSY Kollel, Benovitz oversees one of the most popular NCSY summer programs offered, in which high school boys come to Israel to tour the land, play sports, but, above all, learn Torah with their madrichim and peers. And the program keeps progressing—this year, for the first time ever, NCSY Kollel added a Mechina track for teens from public school and with very little Jewish background. 15 teens from across the U.S. participated in the inaugural program, and Benovitz expects more next year. Benovitz has also helped develop other summer programming, such as TJJ Ambassadors, a five-week program in Israel for public school teens, now in its fifth year. Benovitz also helped develop NCSY’s Mission to Washington, an early precursor to the many political advocacy initiatives that exist in the OU today. Of all the NCSY programming and developments in which he has had a hand, Benovitz is most proud of the increased Torah content. “Aside from the overall improvement in Torah content across the board, there has been phenomenal success in the Yarchei Kallah programming at both the National and Regional levels, and in summer programs like NCSY Kollel and Michlelet,” said Benovitz. “It’s a real testament to our teens that they are clearly responding to our Torahcentered approach, amid all the other activities like touring and sports.” “NCSY is needed now more than
ever both in the public and day school realms, because teens today are, unfortunately, more distracted than ever before by temptations that are potentially harmful and destructive for them,” continued Benovitz. “NCSY is the only organization I know of that has the power, the tools and the experience to generate a tangible sense of excitement for yiddishkeit. NCSY remains a singular entity and unique on the Jewish educational landscape.” While Benovitz said that some methodologies have changed somewhat over the years, the core principles remain since he got involved back in 1986. “Recent technological developments have transformed the way we interact and the way we learn, so conventional wisdom dictates that this cannot be your grandfather’s NCSY,” he explained. “NCSY’s continuing survival and success requires a strong emphasis on innovation and timely change, which I think we have done admirably.” Benovitz generally shies away from public recognition of his long and storied NCSY career thus far, but he is honored to be acknowledged by the organization this November, at it vs annual gala dinner. “NCSY has played a vital role in my development, both personally and professionally,” he declared. “I am indebted to the organization and feel fortunate to be associated with it.” A respected and longtime Jewish educator, Benovitz also teaches at Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim and lectures internationally on Jewish topics, in addition to his roles with NCSY. Benovitz lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel, with his wife, Serena (Goldstein). They have six children, one daughter-in-law, and a lifelong connection to NCSY.
“He cared about and fought for every Jew.” Most people don’t think about, or even discuss, what they want their headstone to read when they die. But Phil Rosen, a noted attorney, author, philanthropist and influencer of many, has thought long and hard about it for most of his life. As the oldest of three children born to Holocaust survivors, Phil would argue that he’s thought about life and death issues starting in his childhood. When his school in Great Neck, NY, would host grandparent’s day, he would come alone. When he would walk to shul with his father at the tender age of six, he would ask his father questions about his life and would listen to his stories. And when the last of his father’s brothers died, Phil became his confidant. “Sometimes I think he forgot I was his son and not his brother. He would say, ‘do you remember…?’ but I never corrected him. I wanted to be respectful,” Phil recalls. These early experiences not only gave Phil a way to frame his life as he entered adulthood, got married, and started a family – but they also gave him the motivation to teach the next generation. “We have to take the lessons of our past and teach them 38
to our children. They have to know, learn and understand our past – both the terrible parts, and the really great parts.” Phil doesn’t believe in only passing his lessons to his own children, but to as many of the next generation as possible. This is why he is involved with NCSY today. As a teen, Phil participated in NCSY Shabbatons and hosted onegs at his home, where his father would mesmerize the teens with stories of his past. He grew up connected to Judaism, but loved the additional spark that NCSY International Director Baruch Taub brought to his community. It was not until many years later that he became reengaged as a funder and leader in the organization. “I’m involved with NCSY because the future is the young people,” says Phil. “I’m very worried about young people distancing themselves from Torah Judaism, and I see NCSY bringing people back at a very young age. This generation exhibits the worst distancing yet because of the 75% intermarriage rate. And NCSY has the standing chance to fight intermarriage in the most authentic, inspirational, life-changing way.” In the fall of 2006, he worked with NCSY to found JUMP – the Jewish Unity Mentoring Program – to provide
meaningful and creative chessed (loving kindness) and leadership programs for yeshiva day schools. “We founded JUMP because we wanted to do something that would involve a large quantity of kids and get them excited. We realized the answer was a competition around Zionism, tzedakah, Torah, and more.” He has served as a judge ever since, and even secured Donald and Ivanka Trump as judges in the competition’s early years. Today, JUMP has expanded nation-wide, with last year’s winners hailing from Miami Beach. His motivation to help change the world by focusing on young people led Phil to another big project. He explains, “Most of my involvement in Jewish causes are with children to bring them close to Judaism and to teach them the lessons of our past. And that’s why I write the ‘Letters to My Children.’” In 2002, Phil penned his first “Letter to my Children” on the plane as he was leaving Germany. After opening the letter with his love for his family, he wrote, “Last Monday I left on a business trip to Munich, Germany. Kids, I have avoided going to Germany my whole life, but for various reasons, I felt I had to go – in fact, something was drawing me there.” He wrote about taking a cab to visit the Dachau concentration
camp and being surprised that inside the walls, he could so easily hear life that was going on outside of the camp. He heard babies crying, teenagers laughing. He realized that if he could hear them, they could have heard the people inside the camp…and that the Germans’ excuses of not knowing what was happening inside the camps were all lies. Phil didn’t just write about these things for his own children’s benefit. He wanted them to be public so that as many people could learn from his experiences as possible. Phil had regularly published op-ed pieces in the past, and he had built up an email list of nearly 3500 people over time. He shared this “Letter to My Children,” and soon he heard from a publisher at Arutz Sheva asking to publish it. Soon came more letters, and more publishing in the Five Towns Jewish Times, The Jewish Week, The Jewish Voice, and more. Phil strongly believes that parents should pass down their family stories to their children, and their children’s children. “I want them to understand their family history, and what they are all about,” says Phil. “We need the next generation to keep the truth alive so that when they are faced with anti-Semitism and other anti-Jewish behavior, they have a strong knowledge base and can argue based on facts.” And if someone doesn’t know about their family, or doesn’t want to share it with their kids? “So take my articles and share them with your kids!” says Phil. “Most of my articles have little to do with me and mostly to do with what I see in the world. I share not only the bad, but the great things as well. In my first letter about my trip to Dachau, the terror of being there was balanced by my meeting a family in the airport who were on their way to Israel and making Aliyah. We live in a complicated world. A difficult world. But a hopeful world as well. They need to see that.” Because of Phil’s constant involvement in NCSY and his “Letters to My Children,” they certainly will.
So today is Yom Hashoah - local ceremonies, ceremonies in schools and then its over. But for me and thousands of other second generations it’s never over. It haunts us and always will. We lived mostly normal lives growing up. But just mostly. There were giant pieces missing. I had no grandparents. My father had one living relative - his brother. Nearly everyone else (his parents, 2 brothers, a sister and many cousins) were murdered in a concentration camp. Murder is an understatement. They were gassed and their bodies were burned. They didn’t have a chance. Yom Hashoah is a day to remember; so let’s remember. Think about Shiya and Perel, our grandparents who were in their 40s when they were killed, Leon and Gittel Masha, aunt and uncle in their 20s and Noach Rozen, 12 years old. They were fine people and good Jews. They were killed solely because they were Jews. I always wonder what life would’ve been like had they survived. My parents gave us a very normal life. But every once in a while... I would wake up in the middle of the night (even back then I couldn’t sleep) and find my father staring at the pictures of his mother and father that hung in our living room (and that currently hang in our living room). And there would be tears in his eyes (unlike me he never cried). And sometimes he would call me by one of his brothers’ names - Henry or Leon or Noychele (Reuven Noach) or Pinyale (Pinchas) who survived in a Siberian camp, only to be killed as a soldier in Israel’s War of Independence. When my brother, sister or I did something good in school (always my brother or sister) or sports (me) the pride they had was almost beyond normal. We were everything to them. My father survived because of a series of miracles. And so my survival and yours is because of an additional series of miracles. And if I ever seem over-protective of you, that’s why. One very special thing my father taught us was to care about Jews all over the world, in every nook and cranny. As you know I spend lots of time worrying about Israel and Jews in trouble. The Jews who survived felt and feel that the whole world abandoned them - for 6 years the concentration camps existed, thousands of Jews were tortured and murdered every single day and no one, no one did a damn thing. Simply amazing. And the argument that no one knew is just not true. A few years ago I was on a business trip to Munich. On my way back from a meeting outside of town I saw a sign to Dachau - 15 kilometers away. I asked the driver if the camp was inside of town; he said he didn’t believe there was a camp there. So I changed my plans and had this driver pick me up at 8am the next day and we drove the 10 minutes to Dachau. The Camp was smack in the middle of the City with very old apartment buildings, 5 and 6 stories high, and a slew of retail establishments all around the Camp. The Camp wasn’t open yet so we drove around the camp from the gallows to the crematorium. When the camp opened there was a German school group visiting the camp - 50-70 teenagers. I asked if I could join their tour. The teacher agreed. So my driver and I joined. The teacher was germanic in the precision of her description of the camp during the war. It was a torture camp, not an extermination camp like Auschwitz. The teacher described the many tortures the prisoners went through in great detail. She said they hung the prisoners from their hands or legs, but in a way to break their shoulders or knees or ankles. She said there was screaming non-stop 24 hours a day. At the end of the tour she asked me if I wanted to say something (I guess my yarmulke gave it away). I said no, but I would like all the kids to sit on the ground and tell me what they hear. They did. Kids started to yell out - I hear a child crying, I hear a car starting, I hear a wife yelling at her husband. As they yelled these out, it became clear to the teacher and then the kids what this exercise was all about - if we can hear these sounds, the people who lived anywhere near the camps heard the screaming from inside. They all knew. Everyone knew. So my lesson on this Yom Hashoah is Care - care about your brethren, care about those that are suffering. Don’t ever let yourselves be silent. And don’t ever forget. Shiya and Perel, your great-grandparents, Leon, Gittel Masha and Noach, your great-aunt and uncles. Please. Remember.
Mr. Rosen offers words of wisdom and announces this year’s winner at the NCSY JUMP competition this past April in NYC. FALL 2017
NCSY Director of Education, Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, sits with Rav Yaakov Bender, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway, to discuss Rabbi Bender’s teenage years. RABBI DOVID BASHEVKIN: Rabbi Bender, thank you so much for joining us. We’ve been speaking to Jewish leaders about their teenage years. Where did you grow up? What hobbies, if any, did you have? And what, would you say, were the biggest challenges or difficulties you faced as a teenager? RAV YAAKOV BENDER: I was a regular guy. I grew up in Williamsburg and went to Torah Vodaas where the rest of America went at that time. When I was a kid growing up, there were about 2,000 students – it was a huge yeshiva. I was a little bit of a macher because my father was the menahel of the junior high school, but I had a regular uneventful childhood. One thing we didn’t have was money, obviously. We grew up without anything. I learned well - I was one of the winners of the Gemara Award at the 8th grade graduation - but at the same time, I loved sports; we all did. There were probably very few boys in our neighborhood that weren’t Yankees fan (some guys were still Dodgers fans
because 10 years earlier the Dodgers had moved from NY to Los Angeles). We were all into sports, but the main thing was that we played sports - we had nothing else. A rich kid had a baseball glove, but the rest of us - we didn’t have any gloves or bats. Your mother would have a broomstick and when the broom got old and the brush wasn’t working anymore she would give us the stick. We’d saw it down and play stickball. You had a 25 cent Spalding ball and a stick. If you hit it past one sewer (in the middle of the street) you got a single, two sewers a double, three sewers a triple, and if you said you hit four sewers you were a liar, it didn’t happen. We also played a game called stoopball where you threw the ball against a stoop - the stoop is the big front cement staircase in front of the ground of the houses we lived in. If it went up the street it was a single, if it hit the sidewalk across the street it was a double, the front yard of the neighbor across the street was a triple, and if you hit the wall across the street it was a home run. We had to improvise our own games because we didn’t have much. Punchball was also a big game. I don’t remember as a kid ever really playing baseball because we couldn’t afford the bat, the ball, the glove. That was one major difference. It was a healthy time and we were happy. We played in the park for hours, literally hours. There were very few televisions in our community - television was about 20 years old when I grew up. We read a lot of books. There were no Jewish books in those days so you’d read The Hardy Boys, things as such. We had night seder once in a while in yeshiva. We had a very uneventful, a happy life, and we didn’t need anything - that was the biggest thing. We had derech eretz for our parents. I think there was maybe more respect in those days for your elders. There were always difficult kids. I don’t think the phenomenon of OTD children is so new in those days it happened too. I remember
the rebbeim and teachers weren’t nearly as good as today. Rebbeim today are far, far superior. The rebbeim we had, many of them were Holocaust survivors, they were very rough on us. They didn’t pay rebbeim well and it was not considered chashuv to be a rebbi. The city shlemazel became a rebbi. That was certainly true in Europe but even in America somewhat. I remember the hero: we had a teacher Rabbi Skurnick (he was active in the OU for a while) and he was a frum, good looking, young guy - he was very special. Things started changing when I left elementary school. They started getting some good guys into the English teaching profession. Rabbi Sruly Singer is an example of that. Rabbi Sruly Singer was the head of the American Jewish Congress for a long time. He was a wonderful guy, we loved him, but there were not that many people like that. We had to sing all kinds of crazy songs at our graduations. The man in charge of our graduation was a totally non-Orthodox Jew. I don’t know if he was a secular Jew, he was Jewish. We had to
the pieces and get to work. Do something with your life! Complaining and crying might make you feel good for a bit, but it doesn’t do anything for you. That was a lesson I learned the hard way, that just because you get a lot of sympathy from people, doesn’t make you a better person. It’s nice to feel the sympathy, nice to feel cared about, but you’re doing nothing with your life. That was my story, and then I got married Baruch Hashem later on, and you know, the rest – we’re not teenagers anymore. RDB: How do you think the teenage experience has changed over the years? Are the challenges of teenagers different in this generation?
Rabbi Bender discusses and responds to chinuch related questions with NCSY professionals at this past year’s Senior Director’s Conference in New York. sing the craziest songs at our graduations. We didn’t know what they meant, but it was a different world in those days. But you know what? We were happy kids, we really were. Remember also, most of us were the children of Holocaust survivors. To me, it is incredible that that generation of Holocaust survivors, built up Yiddishkeit - they built yeshivas, they built shuls, they built so many things. There were shuls in the early 1900’s, but when I was growing up in the 60’s, these people came, the survivors, and they really did a tremendous job in changing things around. Looking back now, it’s hard to believe these people - the tzaros they went through – and still they were so wonderful. I left Torah Vodaas in 1965 to go to the Philadelphia Yeshiva. That was considered, in my circles, as if you made it to the top. There were three out-of-town yeshivas: there was Telz in Cleveland - they were big for the Midwest, and there was Ner Yisroel in Baltimore, and there was Philadelphia. I was there for four weeks and my father, suddenly, he passed away from a heart attack. I was somewhat homesick before that, so my brother-in-law Rav Chaim Epstein zt”l, decided I should be the one to stay home with my mother. I came back to New York and I was a very angry young man, angry enough because I left Philadelphia, but angry because really my whole life had turned upside down. We had nothing financially, and my mother was a very sick woman, though a great, great lady. So I switched to Mir on Ocean Parkway and I was my mother’s roommate for eight years. The night before I arrived at Mir Yeshiva, I was crying all night long, after all, I was going in the middle of the zman to a new yeshiva and I was really down in the dumps. In the morning, I was exhausted from being up all night long. I had studied the subway map and I knew exactly where I would get off - Kings Highway. Because of my exhaustion, on my
second train, I fell asleep. When I woke up I looked up at the first stop we pulled into, it said Avem. I said to myself, ‘Hey, I don’t remember seeing the Avem stop on the subway map.’ I got excited for a moment that I was lost and thought: ‘Thank G-d I don’t have to go to a new yeshiva.’ Except the train pulled out of Avem into Ave. P, and I figured out that Avem wasn’t Avem but was Avenue M and I wasn’t lost after all. I got off at Kings Highway, walked to yeshiva, and I walked into the big place where every seat was taken by one of the 400 guys. For the next two years I was not a happy teenager, until finally, really, I was around 16 or 17 years old and I started saying to myself: ‘Bender, nobody cares. Your life is going by you. You gotta do something with your life.’ So I started making friends and getting active, learning with different boys and then Baruch Hashem things turned out ok. But it was a very, very difficult couple of years. I finished high school obviously - I did ok - I had a 90 average. I had great rebbeim who were very nice to me. There was a rebbi, Rav Shmuel Brudny, who used to live on my block in Williamsburg, who used to invite me for Shabbos and Yamim Tovim. I’d be in yeshiva Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkos, Simchas Torah. And I would stay for some meals there - Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, the rosh yeshiva, was very, very good to me; the mashgiach, Rav Hirsch Feldman, was very good to me. And I ended up really straightening myself out somewhat, and my whole life took a different route. I was in Mir Yeshiva, I didn’t go to Eretz Yisrael as a bochur, but in those days not too many boys went to Eretz Yisrael in general. I had every excuse to feel sorry for myself until finally I said - and I tell the bochurim today all the time don’t feel sorry for yourself, even if you’re right, because nobody really cares. Pick up
RYB: I don’t know if I could have withstood the yetzer hara of technology that exists today.Every 15 and 16 year old is interested in seeing things he shouldn’t be seeing. And today it’s the flick of a switch, a little thing, that’s all, you push a button and you see whatever you want. Obviously that’s a tremendous yetzer hara today. We didn’t have that problem, which was a good thing, a very, very good thing. We didn’t have the problem of the richies. We didn’t have any jealousy because no one had cars, my father got a drivers license and a car two years before he died, that’s it. He died in 1965. And we managed. RDB: What advice would you give to the teenagers of today based on those experiences that you went through? RYB: Looking back, I would really urge teenagers: If you have bumps in the road and everybody is destined to have bumps in the road, especially teenagers – you’ve got to overcome them, that’s it. Life is not always going to be perfect for you. I remember my mother was sick her whole life. We had no air conditioning in the house, but she needed an air conditioner. So we had to get an air conditioner for her bedroom (which for me turned out to be good because I slept in her bedroom.) We all had to chip in, the kids, so I went to deliver meat for a store on Lee Avenue in order to get a dime in delivery to help her buy an air conditioner. It’s hard to believe that an air conditioner was $220, but what could we do? What could we do? We couldn’t do anything else, and we did it. We did what we had to do. And Baruch Hashem, all of us did well. We went through stages, hard stages in life, all of us - my brothers, my sisters. I had one sister who was married, almost a mazel in a way, because she got married very, very young. So my father would not have seen any grandchildren if not for them. But the rest of us - everybody in the family were teenagers and below. But you’ve got to face your challenges and overcome them.
QUESTIONS WITH QUESTIONS FOR MICHELLE & BRIAN LEVINSON NCSY SUPPORTERS Brian and Michelle Levinson live in Chicago, IL with their four children Chaya, Hannah, Sarah and Jonah. Brian is a principal at JB Healthcare and serves in various communal roles as well as serving as a member of the Midwest NCSY Youth Commission. Michelle is an active volunteer in the community serving on the board of The Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago, Past President of Sharlene Levinson Bikur Cholim, as well as being actively involved at Arie Crown Hebrew Day School.
RINA EMERSON CEO, New York NCSY and Managing Director, NCSY
When Rina Friedman (now Emerson) walked into shul all dolled up for her Bat Mitzvah party in August of 1990, she heard about an NCSY chapter board meeting taking place in the basement. It was her big day, but on a lark, she walked downstairs to introduce herself. It was only years later that she realized the profound impact that the chance meeting had on her life and her lifelong relationship with NCSY. Emerson grew up in New Jersey and lived in Cedarhurst for thirteen years, before moving to Los Angeles four years ago with her husband, Rabbi Dov Emerson, who became head of YULA Boys High School. Emerson moved back to the tri-state area this summer where she will begin her new role as CEO of the New York NCSY region and join part of the national structure of NCSY. Rina has extensive NCSY experience, having been involved in the organization since she was a teenager. She has been working for NCSY and the OU for 19 years, most recently as Regional Director of the West Coast NCSY region, which had reached over 4,000 teens under her management. Prior to that, she worked in the development office at OU and in management and development in the New Jersey, Long Island and New York regions. “Rina really led the West Coast NCSY to new heights, and we are confident in Rina’s strong leadership capabilities,” said Rabbi Micah Greenland, International Director of NCSY. “She is incredibly accomplished, both in running programs for teens, as well as in administration and management, and has succeeded in every realm. As West Coast Regional Director, she has earned the respect and admiration of the teens and of the staff, and I am confident that the New York region will achieve unprecedented growth and success under her leadership going forward.” “I’m thrilled to continue with NCSY and the Orthodox Union in New York,” said Emerson. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity and am eager to work towards expanding the region together with all of the stakeholders and I am excited to work closely with the National office of NCSY, utilizing their resources to strengthen our programming and content.” “We are most excited to have Rina join us in New York,” said Allen Fagin, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union. “It is wonderful to have such a qualified Jewish education professional in the highest ranks of the Orthodox Union, additionally serving not only as the CEO of the NY region, but also as a Managing Director of NCSY, working along Rabbi Micah Greenland, Rabbi Keevy Fried, and Rabbi Moshe Benovitz in the strategic leadership and vision of the organization.”
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT NCSY? Brian: Growing up in the Chicago day school system, I was aware of NCSY, but was actually much more involved in Bnei Akiva. At that time, NCSY’s reach in the Midwest was predominantly with public school kids. Ironically, one of the few people that I knew involved in NCSY was the pre-semicha Micah Greenland. It wasn’t until many years later when the post-semicha Rabbi Micah Greenland became the regional director of Midwest NCSY that our family became more involved. Rabbi Greenland invited us to our first conclave, and then our first Spring Regional Shabbaton, and the rest was history. We then became regular attendees to conventions and we were the house that was crazy enough to host fifteen girls for Shabbatonim. Michelle: Growing up a day school student in Long Island, NY, I also was not really exposed to NCSY as a teen. It wasn’t until we moved to Chicago and attended our first conclave as a family that I really understood the power of NCSY. WHY IS NCSY CRITICAL TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY? NCSY says it better than anyone else: Inspiring the Jewish Future. Our family has the privilege of being involved in various organizations in our community. Many of them are about bringing together and connecting the greater Jewish community, observant and non-observant, with the goal of insuring Jewish continuity. NCSY, though, is by far the most effective organization in accomplishing this with our youth today. Their ability to inspire public school kids, day school kids, and indirectly the parents of those kids is nothing short of critical in keeping the next generation of Jews connected. WHAT MAKES NCSY UNIQUE? NCSY’s unique ability to bring together public school and day school teens and inspire them both in their Judaism is something that we have not seen anywhere else. There is no one else that can unite teens of every background, in a weekday activity, a more intense Shabbaton, or an even more intense Israel program, and see them bond and grow because of the common denominator of a shared Jewish heritage. HOW HAS NCSY IMPACTED YOU AND YOUR FAMILY? Beyond being able to share in the classic NCSY Havdalah at various Shabbatonim, which by itself is enough to impact a family, we have hosted large groups for Shabbos, we serve on the Youth Commission, and have had the privilege of being close with Rabbi Micah and Rivkie Greenland. Sharing Shabbos and Yom Tov meals with them and being part of the informal NCSY family has motivated our children to get involved. Our three daughters have attended NCSY Summer programs. Our oldest daughter attended Michlelet twice and our next two daughters attended GIVE. They are involved in NCSY4G (for girls) in Chicago. They have formed what we hope to be lifelong friendships with girls that they have met on these programs and they have experienced and appreciate Israel in a way that a family trip could never accomplish. NCSY has inspired them. They have gone on to take leadership roles in the OU sister program Yachad, which is a program focused on working with Jewish teens with special needs. WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR OUR READERS? If you are reading this issue of Ignite, you probably are already somewhat connected to NCSY - but we urge everyone to strengthen that connection. Host a teen for a meal or Shabbos, attend an NCSY fundraiser, learn more about NCSY’s successes. Most importantly, be a part of insuring that our youth are inspired and continue to keep the inspiration for generations to come.
HAPPENINGS FROM AROUND THE NCSY UNIVERSE
ATLANTIC SEABOARD Rabbi Jonah Lerner, Regional Director 410.358.6279 // email@example.com atlanticseaboard.ncsy.org
Balitmore, MD Aryeh Wieldgus -firstname.lastname@example.org
BALTIMORE JSU END OF THE YEAR BBQ
Over 30 Baltimore JSU teens spent four and half hours at an unforgettable end of the year barbecue and bonfire! It was amazing to see so many teens end off the year with such an amazing final event.
Greater Washington, MD Rabbi Yudi Riesel - email@example.com
SENATOR BEN CARDIN JEWISH SCHOLARS GRADUATION
A record breaking number of Greater Washington teens celebrated the successful completion of Atlantic Seaboard NCSY’s Senator Ben Cardin Jewish Scholars Program. This past year, the Greater Washington chapter ran three different Cardin tracks totaling over 65 Cardin scholars. At the combined graduation ceremony, teens and parents alike celebrated the growth and experience of the future leaders of the Jewish people.
SHAVUOS LEARNING PROGRAM
Shavuos in Potomac has become an experience not to be missed! Each year close to 70 teens show up to learn from the many advisors who join us in group and chavrusa sessions. Combining the incredible learning with our NCSY Kumzitz to end off the Yom Tov, every person walked away inspired!
Rabbi Yitz Levi - firstname.lastname@example.org Lea Bekhar - email@example.com
Rabbi Josh Stein -firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILLY EXPANDS REACH
Philadelphia NCSY has hit another growth spurt! They have expanded to the northern suburbs of Philly with the hire of Meir Freund. Meir is focused on expanding our JSU clubs in schools in Elkins Park, Richboro, Bensalem and Yardley areas. We are looking forward to a successful year!
Richmond, VA Ariella Sherman -email@example.com
RICHMOND NCSY IS EXPANDING THROUGH THE ROOF!
This year we are are going from 3 to 6 JSU clubs. In addition to Maggie Walker, Freeman and Godwin we will have fun talking about Judaism at Steward, Glen Allen, and Hermitage high school.
CANADA Rabbi Glenn Black, CEO 905.761.6279 // firstname.lastname@example.org canada.ncsy.org
Montreal, QC Mindy Zobin - email@example.com
MAZAL TOV REUVEN TANNY
Montreal NCSY wishes Reuven Tanny a mazel tov on his recent high school graduation. Reuven just got accepted to Derech and will be spending a year learning in yeshiva in Israel! He has been a part of our student board this year, and spearheaded the Monday night learning club that is held at the Adath.
A NIGHT OF INSPIRATION ON SHAVUOT
On Shavuot night, over 50 Toronto NCSYers joined together for a night of learning and inspiration. The evening began with students enjoying a wonderful Yom Tov meal at staff members’ homes and then making their way to the BAYT synagogue for a night filled with programs. Students stayed up until the late hours of the night as they enjoyed a midnight BBQ and inspiring talks from their NCSY staff and advisors. Teens walked away with a newfound appreciation for the holiday of Shavuot and the beauty of studying Torah.
Toronto, ON Rabbi Gavry Mandel -firstname.lastname@example.org
TORAH HIGH LEADERSHIP COURSE
This summer, Torah High students entering the 12th grade participated in a Torah High leadership course, at Bnei Brith Camp Northland. The leadership course is a new joint initiative between Torah High and Bnei Brith Camp Northland. The leadership course led by Laura Stein and Milka Beker, focuses on Jewish values and ethics. The program allows the NCSYers to earn high school credits and enjoy a camp experience.
Vancouver, British Columbia Rabbi Samuel and Gila Ross - email@example.com
VANCOUVER KEEPS ON GROWING
Vancouver NCSY had a number of amazing and record successes this year. Over 125 Vancouver NCSY teens attended Shabbatons this year, 17 teens on NCSY Summer programs and 12 teens will be attending a Torah gap year program this upcoming fall. Because of the growth of attendees for Vancouver NCSY, the chapter was able to assist Canada NCSY to reach its fundraising goal for the Charidy campaign this past June.
CENTRAL EAST Rabbi Tzali Freedman, Regional Director 888.471.4514 // firstname.lastname@example.org centraleast.ncsy.org
Cleveland, OH Rabbi Arieh Friedner - email@example.com
RECORD NUMBER OF TEENS TO SUMMER PROGRAMS While NCSY Summer Programs grows every year, the amount of teens from Cleveland who have transformative summer experiences grows as well. This summer, 50 teens had their Best.Summer.Ever. on TJJ, Camp Sports, TJJ Ambassadors Poland, Euro ICE, Kollel, Yad B’Yad and others. Next summer we’re shooting for 70!
Columbus, OH Rabbi Dovid Kimche - firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBUS-CINCINNATI JOINT SHABBATON Over 400 teens participated in Atlanta JSU’s Teen Challah Bake this past April.
Over 40 teens from Columbus NCSY, together with 20 teens from the nascent Cincinnati chapter, joined forces to enjoy a phenomenal Shabbaton. Hosted in
Cincinnati at the Shaarei Torah shul, the teens enjoyed a full program, including spirited davening, a large Friday-night meal, an oneg where they heard from a former IDF soldier, and full Shabbos day programming. The Shabbaton was a tremendous success, and it really put the Cincinnati chapter on the map.
Detroit, MI Rabbi Dovid Lichtig - email@example.com
RECORD NUMBER OF DETROIT NCSYERS ON GAP YEAR Detroit NCSY is extremely proud of the 19 NCSYers who will be attending a Gap Year Yeshiva in Israel this fall, seven of whom are graduating from public schools. This is quite astounding for a single chapter from one graduating class and is the result of consistent and excellence in programming on the Chapter, Regional and National level which has created an environment amongst the teens of learning and passion that leads to growth.
GREATER ATLANTA Rabbi Chaim Neiditch, Regional Director 404.486.8787 // firstname.lastname@example.org atlanta.ncsy.org
Atlanta, GA 400 TEENS ATTEND JSU CHALLAH BAKE Over 400 teens participated in Atlanta JSU’s Teen Challah Bake this past April. Rabbi Chaim Neiditch, Atlanta NCSY Regional Director, taught teens the biblical origins of Challah, why it is a significant part of every Shabbos and Yom Tov meal. Each teen was provided with challah dough to braid and garnish with delicious toppings! Teens took their challahs home to bake and share with their families.
Johns Creek, GA PICNIC FOR PEACE
Rabbi Chaim Neiditch, Atlanta NCSY Regional Director, was a keynote speaker at the Picnic for Peace in Johns Creek, GA. The event brought together Jews, Christians and Muslims to build bridges in the community, and educate our young people about peace and tolerance, and mentioned the recent rise in anti-semitism. NCSY had sizable turnout at the event and Johns Creek High School JSU teen leaders served in various capacities throughout the event to make it successful.
Students learn about Israeli culture and defending Israel in Phoenix JSU clubs.
campus. Chicagoland NCSY brought Souza and his project manager Berel Hahn to Chicago to run a series of events through a generous grant from the Ember Foundation.
Kansas City, KS Rachel Prero - email@example.com
SENATOR JERRY MORAN ISRAEL SCHOLARS
Ten Kansas City teens completed an eight-week course about Israel’s history and it’s complex relationship with their Palestinian neighbors and surrounding Arab countries. The teens were fully engaged during classes and asked excellent questions. As the weeks went on, teens paid more attention to Israel in the media and brought up current events during class. As the final piece of the program, the teens look forward to meeting with Senator Jerry Moran.
Rabbi Donny Schwartz, Regional Director 847.677.6279 // firstname.lastname@example.org midwest.ncsy.org
Daniel Epstein - email@example.com
Chicago, IL Levi Zeffren - firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the inaugural Hebrew Student Exchange trip to Israel with 15 Niles North High School Hebrew students, Niles North JSU brought the impact of the trip back home. Solomon Souza, famed graffiti artist of the Machane Yehuda Marketplace in Jerusalem, led dozens of teens in a graffiti project that spans 40+ feet of wall space in the busiest hallway in Niles North. The mural is a great representation of the proud Jewish and Israel supportive community on the 2100+ student
PAINT NIGHT IN MEMPHIS
The girls of Memphis NCSY had a Sunday night Paint Night event, given by their very own Chapter Board CoPresident, Yehudit Fleishhacker. The girls enjoyed a night of art, refreshments, and time with their advisor.
St. Louis, MO Rabbi Mike Rovinsky - email@example.com Sam Zitin - firstname.lastname@example.org
AMAZING ANNUAL RAFTING TRIP
the Meramec River. The NCSYers joined together for fun, floating, and taking in the peace and tranquility of a slow river trip. This was on the heels of reaching new attendance records for Shabbatons through out 2016-2017 and finishing it off by receiving Chapter of the Year honors at the Midwest Spring Regional Shabbaton at Camp Chi.
Minneapolis, MN Tzvi Kupfer - email@example.com
Thanks to a grant sponsored by the Minneapolis Jewish Federation towards JSU expansion, Minneapolis NCSY provided 8 free Dinner n’Learns throughout the year. Averaging 25+ teens per monthly event, the programs featured guest speakers talking on a variety of relevant and timely topics followed by a delicious complimentary dinner at a local restaurant. The event was a great recruitment tool to get participation of JSU teens at an off school grounds program which led to further involvement in other NCSY programming.
South Bend, IN Akiva Gutnicki - firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTH BEND INITIATIVE
On Sunday, May 21, 2017, 10 NCSYers gathered together to learn Torah in a very deep and meaningful way. The NCSYers learned about different Torah topics, ranging from making a “Blessing on learning Torah”, the “laws of meat and milk”, and “digitally uploading Torah to your brain”. There were Chavrutot (learning partners), learning groups and Shiurim (lectures) throughout the day. The NCSYers learned for over 6 hours straight, while doing so they also raised over $500 for the NCSY Education Fund.
St. Louis NCSY capped off 2017 with a rafting trip down FALL 2017
NEW ENGLAND Rabbi Simon Taylor, Regional Director 617.332.6279 // email@example.com newengland.ncsy.org
Boston, MA Rabbi Simon Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org
80 TEENS JOIN TIKKUN LEIL SHAVUOT!
50 teens joined New England NCSY’s Teen Dinner & Tikkun Leil Shavuot in Newton, MA where NCSY advisors partnered with B’nei Akiva, Beth El, and Shaarei Tefilah for an amazing night of Torah learning. Another 30 teens at our Young Israel of Brookline all night learning enjoyed learning with advisors and staff all night long.
TZNIUT FASHION SHOW
150 Boston girls and moms came out for a fashion show in conjunction with the MaiModesty club, featuring modest fashions at Maimondes. It was another great NCSY and Maimonides collaboration and a wonderful time was had by all!
Providence, RI Shira Krinsky - email@example.com
PROVIDENCE NCSY GROWTH
Providence NCSY had a great Pre-Pesach Latte and Learn, where we learned about Karpas and about the importance of starting from where it all began. We had a great attendance at Spring Regional, where two of our own -- Menucha Krinsky and Jack Goodman -- were elected to Regional Board! Shavuot featured some late-night learning and then an incredible Tikkun Boker Shavuot, where we had great discussions and learned a lot of Torah. On the second day, we played a fun game of Jeopardy featuring some Providence, Shavuot, and advisor trivia.
Stamford, CT Sammy Aronson - firstname.lastname@example.org
EXTREME SHABBAT MAKEOVER IN WESTPORT
Stamford teens led an Extreme Shabbat Makeover in April, 2017. Our NCSY van picked up NCSYers from their schools to take them to spend Shabbos with Congregation Beit Chaverim in Westport, CT. Teens and advisors shared divrei Torah, games, and top notch ruach and enjoyed meeting the Westport Jewish community.
NEW JERSEY Rabbi Ethan Katz, Regional Director 201.862.0250 // email@example.com newjersey.ncsy.org
ISRAEL DAY PARADE
On June 5th, public school and day school teens came together to march at the Israel Day Parade in Manhattan as one NCSY Region. The teens marched with Jews from all over the tri-state area representing New Jersey NCSY in support for Israel. The parade was a great way for the region to come together before the summer!
Teaneck Rabbi Reuven Lebovitz - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacksonville NCSYers gather for an end of year event.
ICE CREAM CHILL
Ice Cream Chill is a new “Latte N’ Learn” style program for public school teens in Bergen County, New Jersey. Teens enjoy free ice cream, hang out with their NCSY advisors and other Jewish teens in their area. Each program includes an engaging discussion about various topics in Judaism. The teens always have fun spending time together and learning more about Judaism!
NEW YORK Rina Emerson, CEO email@example.com // firstname.lastname@example.org newyork.ncsy.org
Brooklyn, NY Nechama Kamelhar - email@example.com Rabbi Moish Zucker - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rabbi Shmuel Greene - email@example.com
MOMS DO NCSY TOO!
TWIN RIVERS CLOSING BBQ
For the first time ever, New York NCSY partnered with Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project to select a group of 15 women to go on an 8 day TJJ for Moms trip to Israel. Classes before prepared for a trip filled with incredible speakers, tremendous emotion, learning about themselves, how to relate to their families and their history. Classes after the trip will help strengthen inspiration and the memories made on a journey of a lifetime.
The Twin Rivers chapter ended the year by getting together to say goodbye at a final NCSY style BBQ and wish each other well for the upcoming summer. The teens are anticipating the next Twin Rivers event!
Highland Park Ari Zucker- firstname.lastname@example.org
WEST POINT SHABBATON
In March, Highland Park NCSY participated in a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend Shabbos with West Point cadets. The NCSYers shared a meaningful Shabbaton and learned what it’s like to be a cadet at West Point.
BIO TECH JSU REBUILDS A HOUSE
The Bio Tech JSU club chose to finish the year by participating in a Chessed project. They chose to give back by rebuilding a house on the Jersey Shore. Before starting the project, the teens were introduced to Jewish ideas that connected to their rebuilding efforts.
JSU CHOCOLATE SEDERS
Jennifer Romanoff, introduced the Passover seders to her JSU clubs with a mock chocolate seder. The teens learned symbols and meanings of the seder through eating delicious chocolate.
The Five Towns, NY Yossi Schwartz- email@example.com
FIVE TOWNS YESHIVA DAY SCHOOLS GET INVOLVED Rabbi Yossi Schwartz has started “Kiruv Clubs” in local Five Towns High Schools: SKA, and DRS where they discuss practical tips on how to do kiruv. Ten girls from the SKA club joined him at the Lawrence High School JSU and helped run a program, setting the stage for our club members to get involved with JSU and build stronger bridges between NCSY and JSU!
Great Neck, NY Jon Zar - firstname.lastname@example.org
TU BISHVAT WITH GREAT NECK NCSY Great Neck had a Tu Bishvat seminar club-wide that discussed environmental importance and seeing G-d through the natural world. They did a dried fruit tasting and learned how to check dried fruit for bugs.
SOUTHERN Todd Cohn, Executive Director 1-866-887-5788 // email@example.com southern.ncsy.org
Broward, FL David Cohen - firstname.lastname@example.org
RECORD NUMBER OF BROWARD TEENS ON TJJ
This summer, Broward chapter soared to new heights and broke records! Over 40 students attended NCSY summer programs, 30 of which went on TJJ. These Broward NCSYer came together from more than 15 different high schools in order to have the Best. Summer.Ever.
Coral Springs, FL Shmuel Barak - email@example.com
CORAL SPRINGS CHAPTER OF THE YEAR/END OF THE YEAR BBQ The Coral Springs Chapter joined together for an unbelievable BBQ on the beautiful beach of Boca Raton in South Florida. The chapter came together to celebrate winning the award of Southern NCSY Chapter of the year. Games and gourmet BBQ food was served including a special dish called hassle back salami. 20 teens attended the event where every teen had a chance to tell their NCSY growth story from the past year and share where they see their Judaism going in the future.
EMTZA NCSY Jason Segelbaum- firstname.lastname@example.org
EMTZA NCSY - SHABBATON IN SOUTH MIAMI
Emtza NCSY ran it’s second annual Shabbaton in South Miami. With over 50 participants and over 10 staff, our Shabbaton not only inspired our teens, but brought a huge presence to Young Israel of Kendall. We wrapped up the Shabbaton with an incredible Saturday night activity at X-Treme Rock Climbing Gym in South Miami. The teens can’t wait for the third Emtza Shabbaton in South Miami next spring!
Jacksonville, FL AY Cohen - email@example.com
JSU KICKOFF IN JACKSONVILLE! This fall, Jacksonville NCSY will be starting it’s first JSU club! Rabbi A.Y. Cohen will be leading the JSU club at Stanton College Preparatory School, which has over 1,500 students! Travis and Brandon Melamed have been recruiting for the club and they have been met such excitement from within the Jacksonville community that in time we are sure that there will be JSU clubs at all the high schools in Jacksonville! The club will attract teens from all backgrounds and is expected to start in late September.
Miami Beach, FL Adir Shimon - firstname.lastname@example.org
MIAMI BEACH KEEPS PUSHING FORWARD It’s been an amazing year for Miami Beach NCSY. Miami Beach NCSY hosted over 25 teens including teens from JSU for an end of the year bash filled with
sports, chilling and of course a delicious BBQ. It was incredible to see yeshiva day school teens come together with teens from JSU to make this awesome event happen. It’s truly amazing to see the exponential growth and expansion of the Miami Beach Chapter over the years.
Savannah, GA Rabbi Eli Lob - email@example.com
SMALL CITY, BIG TEEN LEADERS Savannah had lots of activity going on this past year with plenty of shabbatons, latte and learns and many other events. The year culminated with teens going on Israel summer programs,and getting ready to attend Yeshivah next year. Savannah NCSY was very honored when Tomer Locker was nominated to join the Ben Zackai society and Shani Locker was installed as regional president!
South Miami Daniel Nabatian - firstname.lastname@example.org
THE LAUNCH OF ORLANDO JSU Southern NCSY opened their first JSU club in Orlando. The JSU club at Oveido High School has helped not only educate the Jewish teens about Israel and Jewish customs, but broadened the minds of their peers. There are now 6 schools in the Greater Orlando area with JSU clubs.
SOUTHWEST Rabbi Gershon Meisel, Regional Director 972.934.9143 // email@example.com southwest.ncsy.org
The Montreal NCSY community hears from NCSYer, Eitan Kovac, about how NCSY has impacted him. FALL 2017
Savannah NCSYers gather for Ice Cream and Learning to study and discuss Jewish topics.
Dallas, TX Rabbi Michel Lomner - firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBANY CHAPTER CLOSING BBQ!
Samy Soussan - email@example.com
The Albany Chapter ended off an incredible year with our closing Shabbaton! We elected our chapter board for the upcoming year, and enjoyed a delicious annual Closing BBQ! The teens can’t wait to see what’s in store for this upcoming year.
YOUTH UNITY SHABBATON
The Dallas NCSY Social Action teens join in Plano, TX, to visit with, sing and perform for the elderly residing at the Legacy Assisted Living home.
Houston NCSY joined together with Bnei Akiva and Yachad for a memorable Unity Shabbaton, bringing together teens from 3 different organizations and creating a strong youth presence in the Houston Jewish Community.
DALLAS NCSY SHABBAT SHABANG Congregation Shaare Tefilla of Dallas hosts another amazing Shabbat Shabang. Teens from Frisco, Plano, Richardson and Dallas joined together for an inspirational Shabbaton to end another great year of NCSY programming.
Denver, CO Yisrael Katz - firstname.lastname@example.org
DENVER NCSY SENDS 17 TEENS ON NCSY SUMMER After a tremendous year of programming Denver NCSY was fortunate enough to send 17 amazing NCSYers on many difference NCSY summer programs such as GIVE, Camp Sports, TJJAP, TJJA, EURO ICE, and Camp Maor. With it’s second year right around the corner, Denver NCSY will take the summer programs momentum and turn it into the BEST. YEAR. EVER.
San Antonio, TX Asher Gluck - email@example.com
San Antonio ended their year with an inspirational Shabbos. San Antonio NCSY had an amazing End of Year Shabbat Shabbang. Nearly 30 teens came together to be inspired, connect with one another, and experience an uplifting Shabbos. It was a truly beautiful way to cap off the year.
UPSTATE NEW YORK Devora Weinstock, Regional Coordinator 646.459.5175 // firstname.lastname@example.org upstate.ncsy.org
Albany, NY Jeanette Goldstein - email@example.com
Buffalo, NY Devora Weinstock - firstname.lastname@example.org
ROCKING WINTER REGIONAL
Buffalo NCSY had an awesome winter event with a night out at laser tag! Teens came out for this teen-run event featuring snacks, an epic laser tag tournament and great chapter pride. Buffalo had it’s largest group ever at Winter Regional in Hartford, even though they had the longest trip!
Rochester, NY Rachel Hoffman - email@example.com
ROCKING ROCHESTER Junior NCSY in Rochester is really rocking! At the Winter Chapter Shabbaton, chapter board members organized tefillah workshops and a Shabbaton afternoon hangout for Junior NCSYers. They also had the chance to join an inter-regional Shabbaton with Canada & Central East NCSY in Ohio!
WEST COAST Derek Gormin, Interim Regional Director 310.229.9000 // firstname.lastname@example.org westcoast.ncsy.org
Oakland, CA Ariella Weinstein - email@example.com
BREAKING FREE SHABBATON NorCal NCSY had an amazing Shavuot program with 6 of our inspiring advisors, learning all night and even starting the day before with a special Latte n Learning with Eli Weinstein. It was a great way to end off an incredible year.
WINTER THEMED SHABBACATION
On the weekend of December 9th-10th, Oregon NCSY hosted its first ever winter themed Shabbacation! The students had an amazing time at our elegant restaurant themed Shabbat dinner, Shabbat lunch & board games, Saturday night ice skating, and Sunday skiing. It was a tremendous success with more than 35 unique teens attending various events over the weekend.
Carol Mirkin - Mirkinc@ncsy.org
SAN FRANCISCO FNL
38 NorCal teens spent an amazing Shabbos in San Francisco at Congregation Chevre Thillim followed by some bouncing fun at House of Air!
Every Rosh Chodesh, Seattle NCSY gets together on Chodesh Tov to learn about the coming month and do fun themed projects. On Rosh Chodesh Tevet, we learned about Asara B’Tevet and then packaged bags of supplies for homeless people. Everyone took them home to keep in their cars to distribute around Seattle. It was such a fun and inspiring night!
Las Vegas, NV Rabbi Yehuda Maryles - firstname.lastname@example.org
CHAPTER OF THE YEAR At this year’s West Coast Spring Regional, Las Vegas NCSY was the recipient of the highest award as Chapter of the Year. Las Vegas NCSY is overjoyed (although bittersweet) to see off close to 20 Las Vegas NCSYers attending Summer Programs and Gap Year programs in Israel. Wishing an incredibly inspiring year in the Holy Land!
LAS VEGAS NCSY’S 40K IN 40HRS
On March 29th and 30th, Las Vegas NCSY set out on a mission to raise “40K in 40hrs”. Reaching this goal, would have enable 20 Las Vegas Public School Students to attend Israel Trips, NCSY Summer Programs and for some, a full GAP year in Israel. Not only did the online campaign reach its goal of 40K, Las Vegas NCSY far surpassed its goal raising over 60K in 37 Hours! Special Thanks to our Las Vegas NCSY Partners: Dovid Moshe Ben Shraga Fishel Mr. and Mrs. Andi & Les Silver and Mr. and Mrs Shelley & Bob Dubin J. Samuel Harwit Z”L and Manya Harwit-Aviv Charitable Trust Las Vegas NCSY Director Yehuda Maryles and Associate Director Bari Mitzman have much gratitude to all partners, supporters and volunteers who aided in this incredible achievement.
CHILE Michael Bengio, Regional Director 011.56.99.186.5575 // email@example.com chile.ncsy.org
Santiago, Chile Alan Geni - firstname.lastname@example.org
NCSY Chile has been unstoppable this year, and is bringing all the action to the teenagers in Chile. We started the school year with an awesome opening, and had great classes through the year. This year’s Shavuot event was the one with most NCSYers attending ever! After winter vacation we are just getting back from our annual trip to Argentina for ninth graders, where we had a blast! We also had the honor to have Rabbi Nissel along with us! We are now preparing for our first ever trip to the south of Chile with our tenth graders, and our classic Costa Rica Adventure with our eleventh graders. NCSY Chile is stronger than ever, and we are ready to bring it on for this year’s Yarchei Kallah, where we will have some of our twelfth graders show what an amazing experience NCSY has been for them.
ISRAEL Rabbi Yosef Ginsberg 054-9538225 // email@example.com Rabbi Michael Kahn 052-5085091 // firstname.lastname@example.org israel.ncsy.org
FINAL SHABBATON IN KATZRIN The final shabbaton of the year was also the largest yet! Around 85 NCSYers and staff spent shabbat in the beautiful Katzrin, in Israel’s north. The shabbaton began with exploring the Golan Heights on a hike in the area. Shabbat was brought in with a beautiful kabalat shabbat and an evening of zemirot and divrei Torah.
GOLAN SHABBATON The final Shabbaton of the year was also our largest yet! Close to 85 NCSYers and staff spent Shabbat in the beautiful Katzrin (Golan Heights) for the Spring Regional Shabbaton. The Shabbaton began with exploring the Golan Heights on a hike in the area overlooking the breathtaking mountain region. Shabbat was filled with beautiful singing, engaging sessions, Tefillah, and an unforgettable Havdalah.
NATIONAL Eleven Broadway, 13th Fl New York, NY 10004 212.613.8233 // email@example.com ncsy.org
NCSY SUMMER STAFF TRAINING WEEKEND Over 500 staff and guests came together at the Stamford Hilton for a weekend of training and inspiration in preparation for NCSY Summer 2017. With scholar in residence, Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Weinberg, and guest chazan, Mordechai Shapiro, the staff left inspired and charged to lead the way for over 1450 teens on their best summer ever.
Shmuli Josephson - firstname.lastname@example.org
JSU OF ARIZONA CELEBRATES ISRAEL Over the course of the school year at our growing network of ten JSU clubs, we introduced students to the general culture and happenings in the state of Israel, then came together to write Thank you letters and support messages on a large poster for Israeli troops. Additionally, we discussed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and ran informative educational gamification via the online platform called Kahoot. Before students face anti-Israel activity on college campuses, JSU equips them with the tools they need to confidently respond. JSU of Arizona continues to develop new initiatives to educate.
Portland, OR Doovie Jacoby - Doovie@ncsy.org
Charlie Harary inspires NCSY Summer staff at this year’s Summer Staff Training Shabbaton in Stamford, CT. FALL 2017
BY RABBI MOSHE BENOVITZ
ant-to-be Jewish comedians and astute, albeit cynical, observers of our community have long speculated on the calendar connection between the summer months and the High Holidays that follow. The famous, if not completely serious, suggestion contends that the vacation and camp months provide ample cause for contrition. How many sins can we really commit while in routine and close to home? But while away? After a summer of frivolity and lack of restraint, 10 days of repentance can be just what the doctor ordered. Perhaps. It may well be true that our annual accounting of our “year” is disproportionally focused on the most recent months. But this may be due to other factors and, far more significantly, those extraordinary times spent away or off schedule may motivate the process of self-improvement in much more wholesome and wonderful ways. The culmination of the New Year Holiday celebrations is the prayer service of “Ne’ila.” The word is translated as the “closing,” and in English usage this is apt. It comes at the end and marks the completion of a process. However, Hebrew is less universal with its language and has different words for particular applications. Ne’ila only refers to the closing or locking of something, never its ending or completion. Traditionally, this is understood as a reference to the heavenly gates and their slow but imminent swinging shut. And here we are left with more questions than answers. A children’s riddle wonders why a convenience store that is open 24/7/365 bothers to install locks on the doors. Similarly, which Architect designed heavenly gates at all, and to what purpose? When, and why, are they ever locked? Do prayers on the day after Yom Kippur hit a wall?
One explanation is that while God is steady and constant, our closeness to him is hardly so. The closing gates represent the finishing of a particularly auspicious time and the end of an annual opportunity. There is no wall to block our entry, but there is limited likelihood of equally inspired prayer after the pomp and glory of High Holidays has faded. Carpe Diem of the highest order.
of holidays disrupts our routine and encourages us to dream. As much time we spend on reflections on the past, the overall context is one of imagining all that can be. It is therefore natural to consider the final moments of this experience a special and unique time. The doors are closing. We are going back into our boxes and our smaller existences. We savor one last glimpse of the vistas that wait behind the walls.
But another, and not altogether different, approach takes us back to summer bungalows and overnight hikes.
Regularly, when NCSYers on life altering summer programs delineate the highlights of their trips, they will refer to the classic experience of sunrise morning prayers atop one of Israel’s majestic desert mountains. It is the kind of encounter that can inform more typical prayers for years to come. Why?
Walls and boundaries are ever-present in healthy lives. They are vital for our security and for our secure growth. Structure and discipline provide us with the foundation that allows progress and advancement. Our entire legal system and communal organizations are built on these tested and proven assumptions. Alas, there is a price we pay for this kind of constant confinement. Our walls are built ever higher, and our containment is ever stronger. We develop expertise in “dont’s” and spend precious little time on dreaming of “do’s”. We more frequently encounter our limitations, while our potential and ambitions are banished beyond. The silos and parochialism that often mark our communities has a welldocumented impact on our social constructs and outreach efforts. At the same time, this insularity is part of a broader pattern of seclusion that denies us our greatest possible personal and institutional growth. The more closed our environment, the more we lack the vision and foresight to imagine a full range of outcomes and destinations. During the season of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur we break free a bit. The perspective afforded by the highest
Certainly, the natural beauty of these scenes provides an inspiring backdrop to conversation with God. Perhaps, appreciation for the artistry in creation allows for deeper connection with the Artist. In the case of Israel’s hilltops, there is an added dimension of Jewish History and a greater sense of belonging and peoplehood. But when actually standing and praying in such a place, the most overwhelming and positive feeling is freedom. These mountains transcend walls and barriers. The soul soars and returns to its boundless essence. All is open, and anything is possible again. For all ages, summers are replete with these awakenings. It is the bookend to the Ne’ila service. It is the ultimate preparation to meaningful and high holidays. Happy openings. Rabbi Moshe Benovitz, an NCSY alumnus, is the managing director of NCSY and the director of NCSY Kollel. He can be reached at benovitzm@ ncsy.org.
THE ANNE SAMSON
THE ANNE SAMSON
THE ANNE SAMSON
WHICH WILL YOU
BE WEARING THIS SUMMER? Find the right fit for you at summer.ncsy.org
NCSY is the international youth movement of the OU.