Stephen Belsky grew up in a Modern Orthodox family in New York City, going to Jewish day schools. When he was in high school, another student at his school who lived in his neighborhood started a local chapter of NCSY, and encouraged him to join. Unfortunately, his experience with NCSY did not last.
After high school, Stephen went to college at Binghamton University (SUNY) in Upstate New York, where he was active in not just the on-campus student Jewish community, but also became an active member of the local Orthodox shul community as well. As a step toward realizing his dream of going into hhinukh, he spent two years in Jerusalem at an educators program, after which he returned to the NYC area to teach. A few years later, Stephen decided to go back to school for a few years to learn for semikha, which brought him back to NCSY…
After learning the halakhot of kashrut, Stephen looked around for opportunities to put his knowledge to the practical test of hashgahha work. At the time, his yeshivamate, Mordechai Harris, was Associate Regional Director of Upstate New York NCSY, as well as being an OU-trained mashgiahh. For two years, Stephen assisted Mordechai in the kitchen at Upstate NCSY’s Spring Regional Convention, and as “the mashgiahh’s apprentice” (and an honorary Upstater himself) got to see from behind the scenes the amazing work that Upstate NCSY does with all Jewish kids. He came away from those experiences with new skills, new friends, and an impression of NCSY much changed for the better.
Now a rabbi and a day school teacher in Detroit, Michigan (whose snowy climate reminds him of Binghamton), Stephen is proud of his students who are active in NCSY, even when they miss class to plan shabbatons.
Like this article?
Sign up for our Shabbat Shalom e-newsletter, a weekly roundup of inspirational thoughts, insight into current events, divrei torah, relationship advice, recipes and so much more!