More Than 270 NCSY Alumni Reunite for A Second Time in NJ for an Adult Inspiration Retreat
NCSY Alumni sponsored an Adult Inspiration Retreat at the Sheraton Parsippany over President’s Day Weekend. More than 270 alumni and those seeking an inspiring Shabbat gathered from as far as Los Angeles and Israel.
There were many NCSY families comprised of grandparents, kids and grandkids as well as 30 singles, and even several Belz Chasidim, all turning to NCSY for an uplifting and unforgettable time.
"It was a Shabbaton of reawakening, inspiration and resolution," declared Isabelle Novak, Chairperson of Ben Zakkai, the NCSY Alumni honor society. "We were reawakened to a way to help the Jewish people once again; people who never attended a NCSY Shabbaton before were inspired by the NCSY magic; and everyone resolved to make a difference," she explained.
Current NCSY National Director Rabbi Steven Burg and Founding National Director Rabbi Pinchas Stolper opened with a plenary session for the entire Shabbaton with passionate addresses about The Three M's of NCSY Today (Find ‘Em, Inspire ‘Em and Empower ‘Em) by Rabbi Burg; and How NCSY Began and Does NCSY Today Fill the Original Vision? by Rabbi Stolper.
There were other fascinating speakers, including Rabbi Yonason Sacks, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University and Rabbi of the Agudah synagogue of Passaic, on Inspiring our Youth; and decorated war hero Sergeant Adam Campbell, on Keeping the Faith in Iraq.
The Hall-of-Fame Jewish band Ruach Revival reunited for the first time since 1973 and delivered the same quality Havdala and rock concert that made them famous.
“Havdala and the dancing afterwards were like old times," observed Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, Director of NCSY Alumni. “When I looked out at the crowd as I was speaking at Havdala, I saw all the faces of the peirut (fruits) of NCSY -- the Jewish kids and grandkids of alumni. I was overcome with emotion of the beauty of what we have accomplished in the last 52 years."
The alumni also enjoyed a premiere of the movie "Home Game," which documents a story of graduating twelfth graders who compete on the basketball court while their homes in Gush Katif, Gaza are being taken away. The movie was followed by a Q&A with producer and NCSY alum, Avi Abelow.
Sunday morning, alumni made over 150 Shaloch Manot (gift baskets) for the poor elderly in North Jersey non-Jewish nursing homes and members of NCSY public school clubs.
Rabbi Burg emphasized, “A recurring theme of the weekend is that we have 7,500 twelfth grade NCSY participants graduating every year who love Judaism because of NCSY. We need to keep that spark in their souls alive as they leave our warm environment and enter the college scene. Who better to mentor them in that process than NCSY alumni? Who better to galvanize the support needed than NCSY alumni as well?"
"Several participants have already pledged monthly donations and we hope the alumni will spread this response all over the general Orthodox Jewish community to become a huge grass root campaign," Rabbi Burg said.
For more information about NCSY alumni and for future programming, visit the website ncsyalum.org, or contact Rabbi Felsenthal, at email@example.com, 212-613-8153.