Thanksgiving! Here at OU Alumni we have an amazing list of blessings to be thankful for. The latest blessing that I want to focus on our the new alumni I've been meeting on college campuses lately.
Two weeks ago I spoke at the OU Alumni Thursday night mishmar at Rutgers University hosted in the Hillel. NCSY Alumnus Andrew Cohen arranges it each week and I was able to reconnect with several alumni including new OU Alumni Intern Leah, Anat Litwok, Rabbi Matt and Amy Tropp's son Ephraim, one of the Chaise boys from Englishtown, Mirital Atlas and many more. Leah and I ate dinner with the JLIC couple OU Alumni Rabbi Akiva and Nataly (Battash) Weiss and started planning some great events for our alumni at Rutgers.
Then on the following Monday I went to Toronto for Alumnus' (Development Director for Canada NCXSY and now NJ) Rabbi Dovid Cofnas Wedding and visited with JLIC Rabbi at York University Rabbi Aaaron Greenberg and OU Alumni intern Mark Rootenberg. Their mentoring program called “Connect'd” connects Senior Class-men with incoming Freshman to show them the ropes on campus and introduce them to Jewish programs and is a huge success.
This past Shabbos I was at NYU for the “Heart to Heart” leadership Shabbaton. Hart Levine has created a grass-root movement of modern Orthodox students (mostly OU alumni) reaching out to their peers through Friday Night dinners in dorm rooms, chavrusahs, Pesach Sedarim and more to connect them to the Jewish community on campus. I met student leaders from NYU, Hopkins, Maryland, Penn, Binghamton, Columbia, Queens, UMASS and many more and I was inspired by their Mesirat Nefesh. I truly believe they can inspire an entire generation of Jews through their efforts.
Last but not Least, I'd like to welcome aboard my dear and old buddy Ronald S. Wilheim as the new Chair of the OU Alumni Connections Commission. Ronald used to be an advisor with me in Seaboard back in the day, was a frequent ben bayis by former Regional Directors Bonnie and Joey Pollak and brings tons of energy and enthusiasm to this new role. I am very excited!
Have an awesome Shabbos,