NCSY Inducts Jessica Hoffman, of Seattle, into Ben Zakkai Honor Society
From left: Rabbi Steven Weil, Executive Vice President of the OU, with Jessica Hoffman
NCSY | Jewish Youth Leadership, the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union, inducted Jessica Hoffman, of Seattle, into its Ben Zakkai Honor Society (BZHS) last Sunday at its Annual Scholarship Reception.
BZHS is an alumni “Hall of Fame” whose new members are nominated by, and voted on, by its current members based on the nominees' service to NCSY and the Jewish community. The Society’s main function is to raise funds for scholarships for high school NCSYers for summer programs in North America and Israel and for teens to continue their Jewish education after high school. The Society has helped pay tribute for more than forty years to esteemed NCSY alumni and community leaders who have demonstrated their dedication to Torah and their service to the Jewish people. The January 30 event was the 15th Annual Scholarship Reception.
Jessica Hoffman and her husband Ari serve as the directors of the Seattle NCSY team. In the past six years, the Seattle chapter has grown to include Jewish Student Union clubs, Hebrew High, Shabbaton attendance of over 200 teens, and popular annual community events. Thanks to their dynamic efforts, the triumphs keep coming.
Jessica first discovered NCSY in the eighth grade. Immediately smitten by the inimitable NCSY ruach, she became an active member of both the Seattle and West Coast Regions the remainder of her high school years, gladly taking on various board positions. Her devotion to NCSY continued throughout her studies at Stern College for Women in New York, where she became an advisor for the New York Region, via her then fiancée – Ari Hoffman. After the couple married, they moved back to Seattle, only to realize the Seattle chapter lacked an advisor; Jessica enthusiastically volunteered. Soon thereafter, the Northwest chapters broke off into the Northwest Region, giving the Hoffmans the chance to add new programming. They developed the Seattle NCSY Chapter Ruach HaTzafon into a highly effective, all-encompassing kiruv (outreach) program.
“Watching high schoolers grow from knowing nothing about their Judaism to attending yeshiva/seminary and then YU/Stern and moving on to living Torah-observant lives is why I remain involved with NCSY,” says Jessica. “These teens become religious because they make a real and meaningful connection with someone who truly cares,” she says. “NCSY's programming delivers that connection. I consider it a privilege to be a part of NCSY and to accept the honor of induction into Ben Zakkai.” The feeling is definitely mutual!
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