The Ben Zakkai Honor Society (BZHS) of NCSY, the international youth program of the Orthodox Union, inducted Rabbi Israel Lashak of Dallas as a new member at the 14th BZHS Scholarship Reception, earlier this month in New York. Besides being inducted, Rabbi Lashak received the Rebbetzin Elaine and Pinchas Stolper Service Award.
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.
Rabbi Lashak has been involved in NCSY for almost two decades, becoming Director of the Southwest Region in 1996. For 13 eventful years he has helped remake the face of Texas Orthodoxy, reaching hundreds of public school teens and strengthening jaded and apathetic day school students. As creator of Euro Trip; as a leader on last summer’s recording breaking TJJ (The Jerusalem Journey); as the cofounder of NCSY in Latin America — he is a trilingual kiruv machine, bringing the passionate message of Torah to thousands of teenagers and adults in English, Spanish and Hebrew in 27 countries.
In his acceptance speech, Rabbi Lashak shared a memory that inspired him as a young teenager. Rabbi Yakov Weinberg, the late Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva Ner Israel of Baltimore which Lashak attended, would pose the question every Parshas Noach: “Do you want to be a Noach or do you want to be an Abraham? Noach saved only himself and his family, but Avraham saved the world,” Lashak recounted. “It had a tremendous impression on us that, ‘Yes we can’, we can do it.”
“It is an inspiration and honor to have joined the ranks of an organization dedicated to creating – and being – Abrahams.”