NCSY’s Ben Zakkai to Honor Jessica Hoffman, of Seattle, January 30
NCSY | Jewish Youth Leadership, the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union, will honor Jessica Hoffman, of Seattle, as an inductee into the Ben Zakkai Honor Society (BZHS) at its Annual Scholarship Reception Sunday, January 30 in New York. At the reception, the OU will also pay tribute to the remarkable legacy of Dr. Bernard Lander z”l, the founder and for 40 years, president of Touro College. Dr. Lander died on February 8, 2010 at the age of 94.
"Dr. Bernard Lander's historic role in helping to create and nurture NCSY ensured him a special place in contemporary American History even before he set out to revolutionize higher education by founding Touro College," declared Dr. David Luchins, Chairman of the Political Science Department of Touro College, and with his wife, Vivian, has been an NCSYer since the program was founded 50 years ago.
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 will be the 15th Annual Scholarship Reception.
Declared Rabbi Steven Burg, International Director of NCSY, “Jessica’s warmth, commitment, and passion for Judaism have resonated with so many Jewish teens over the years and I feel very fortunate to have her as part of the NCSY family.”
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!
A key part of the reception will be the honoring of the memory of Dr. Lander.
"Dr. Bernard Lander's historic role in helping to create and nurture NCSY ensured him a special place in contemporary American History even before he set out to revolutionize higher education by founding Touro College," declared Dr. David Luchins, Chairman of the Political Science Department of Touro College, and who, with his wife, Vivian, has been an NCSYer since 1961.
For information on attending the BZHS Annual Scholarship Reception or to contribute to its Souvenir Journal, contact www.ou.org/bzdinner or Elaine Grossman at 212-613-8350 or Grossman@ou.org.
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