What an evening. What a celebration. There is no better place to grow and celebrate ones Jewish identity than in Israel. These kids are inspiring, thanks to a full summer of fun and growth with the NCSY youth organization.

I walked around the celebration this evening talking to these kids about their summer. You can’t help but be inspired by them. For some, it was their first time ever in Israel! After hearing what these kids have to say, I can’t help but feel that NCSY is doing something right!

Entering the Celebration

More Kids – Inspiration from them all

One of the 19 NCSY Summer programs

A Small Taste of Tonight’s Great Show

What is NCSY

NCSY is the youth organization of the Orthodox Union.  They are dedicated to connect, inspire and empower Jewish teens and encourage passionate Judaism through Torah and tradition. NCSY provides innovative, informal Jewish education, leadership training, retreats and summer programs that foster positive Jewish identity and connection to Israel, preparing the next generation of committed Jewish communal leaders.

What is this Celebration?

This celebration is called Yom NCSY which “represents the very the essence of what NCSY Summer is all about. At the event it doesn’t matter what your religious background is, it’s about a united non-judgmental, encouraging environment celebrating our shared connections in the home of the Jewish people,” said David Cutler, Director of NCSY Summer. “The palpable energy, the cheering, the singing, and the dancing has turned this evening into the highlight of the summer.”

“1,600 high school youth spending their summer in Israel. Together with other programs, the OU has over 5,000 adults and youth in Israel over the summer,” said Moishe Bane, President of the Orthodox Union. “What we are able to do through this program tonight is celebrate them all together in one place. We are messaging two fundamental points that the Orthodox Union stands for. Number one, our support for the State of Israel, our commitment to Israel and our involvement with Israel. Number two, our commitment to Judaism, growing in Judaism, growing our relationship to G-d, and there is no better place to do that than in the land of Israel. And that is what we are here to celebrate tonight.”

People Connecting to the Land

“What we are seeing here tonight is absolutely incredible,” said Rabbi Avi Berman, Executive Director of OU Israel. “It’s the people of Israel connecting to the land of Israel. Everyone is here together celebrating and just enjoying what it means to be Jewish. Enjoying what it means to be together. It makes no difference what background one comes from. Every kid is here celebrating. Understanding that they have connected to the one land that the Jewish people have, the land of Israel.”

And that is the beauty of NCSY. These kids are the future of the Jewish people. We are blessed to have NCSY help them connect to Israel, connect to their Judaism and strengthen their Jewish identity.