Ben Zakkai Honor Society

The Ben Zakkai Honor Society raises critical funds to provide direct scholarships for NCSYers to continue their Jewish education after high school, or to participate in various NCSY programs, such as National Yarchei Kallah, Camp Sports for Boys, and the Summer Experience for Girls.

Ben Zakkai Honor Society

The Ben Zakkai Honor Society was founded in June of 1965 to provide a “means of recognizing the distinguished achievements of NCSY Alumni who have demonstrated personal Torah growth and the promise of future meaningful service to the Jewish people and the Orthodox community.”. The society is named after the great Tanna, Rav Yochanan Ben Zakkai, who helped assure the survival and continuity of the Jewish people after the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash by securing the safety of the Torah academy of Yavneh. Jerusalem was destroyed, but the study of Torah kept us alive through the centuries. The original ten Charter Members were presented at the 1965 National Convention and members ever since have been added in three ways: Ten to twenty graduating high school seniors are annually selected by preferential vote of the members as Candidate Members from among hundreds of graduating NCSYers. At the end of a year, those receiving a two-thirds vote of the membership receive full member status. Up to five NCSY alumni a year, who were not selected upon graduating high school, can receive Direct Inductee status by receiving a two-thirds preferential vote of the members. This is a particular honor, which is usually only granted to those who have become exceptional communal figures or Torah personalities. Honorary Membership is the highest honor that NCSY can grant to an individual who was never a member of the organization but who has, through many years of devoted service, earned this unique recognition. It has only been granted 40 times in 45 years and those so honored must receive a two-thirds vote of the membership. Suffice it to say that only eight have ever received this tribute the first time they were on the ballot. Ben Zakkai members are at the heart of contemporary Jewish life. Over forty of them serve on Boards of the Orthodox Union; almost one hundred live in Israel; over 97% of our over 900 living Members and Honorary Members are active in the Orthodox Community.

  • Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
  • Cindy Darrison
  • Dennis M. Eisenberg
  • Dr. David Hurwitz
  • Dr. Stanley Frohlinger
  • Rabbi Jeffrey Scott Greenberg
  • Ari Kahn
  • Dr. David Luchins
  • Vivian Luchins
  • Anne Merzel
  • Avery E. Neumark, Esq.
  • Isabelle Novak
  • Mr. Stuart Boyarsky

Honorary Trustees

  • Harvey Blitz
  • Michael C. Wimpfheimer
Ben Zakkai Chairs
1965-66: Shalom Strajcher
1966-67: Lea Weiner
1967-68: Barbara Billauer
1968-69: Nahum Twersky
1969-71: David Luchins
1971-72: Ellen Kurzer
1972-73: Steven Billauer
1973-75: Elcya Subar
1975-77: Linda Kurzer
1978-79: Melvyn Grant
1979-81: Robin Gordon
1981-83: Harriet Novit
1983-84: Sue Feuerstein
1984-88: Geoffrey Klein
1988-92: Marc Shaffel
1992-96: Miriam Esther Weiner
1996-97: Neil Harris
1997-2001: Jeffrey Scott Greenberg
2001-2005: Avery E. Neumark
2005-: Isabelle Novak
Kate Kramer, Vice Chair
Ari Kahn, Vice Chair
Allison Katz, Secretary
Elaine Grossman, Liaison to National Office
Vivian and David Luchins, Advisors to Ben Zakkai