This past year, we continued to celebrate growth and innovation. 1691 teens from across North America and across the spectrum of Jewish affiliation attended NCSY summer programs, up from 941 five years ago. Over the past two years, Yachad has added three new drop-in centers in New York, New Jersey, and New England, where individuals with disabilities are able to attend hundreds of daily programs. In just a few short years, our Teach Coalition has helped secure over $1.5 billion in state and local funding to help contain the cost of yeshivah and day school security and educational needs.
These few examples demonstrate a unifying theme you’ll notice throughout the pages of this annual report: exponential growth in both reach and impact is reflected in the stories of our broad array of programs and initiatives. And, as we scale our existing programs to meet the increasing needs of Klal Yisrael, we continually search for innovative and cost-effective ways to extend support to multiple segments of our community.
This past year, the OU launched the Center for Communal Research, whose mission is to inform and guide the decision-making of the OU and the Jewish community at large. Among other studies, the Center is now working on an examination of the “shidduch crisis,” an analysis of the behaviors and beliefs of those who are part of the Orthodox dating system.
Most recently, NCSY has begun a major new initiative, The Shevet Glaubach Fellowship, funded by a record $5 million gift from the Glaubach family. The Fellowship will strengthen, inspire, and educate college-aged NCSY advisors, helping them to become more effective future leaders of our Jewish communities. And, as part of its leadership development initiatives, NCSY Relief Missions was launched. This transformative program provides volunteer experiences that put teens on the front lines in the aftermath of natural disasters.
This year, in addition to Torah New York at Citi Field, the OU’s signature Torah learning event, the OU ran similar days of learning in Los Angeles and Jerusalem. Further deepening our commitment to Torah learning, the OU Semichas Chaver partnership was established. Founded by Rav Elyada Goldwicht with programs in the U.S., Canada, Chile, Israel, Australia, and the UK, this exciting and innovative halacha study program makes Torah learning more accessible to people in our communities.
None of this would have been possible without the support of our partners, donors, lay leaders, and the extraordinarily talented and dedicated professionals at the OU – who give of their time and resources to improve the lives of the people we serve and Klal Yisrael at large. We are deeply grateful for their partnership and unyielding commitment to our mission. We are especially grateful to the OU Benefactor Circle, whose members form the cornerstone of the OU, and to all those who lead through their philanthropy.
As you browse this report and witness the remarkable scope and breadth of the OU’s communal work in all areas of Jewish life, I invite you to partner with us to continue furthering our vision and building on the enormous momentum and success of the past several years. May we continue, together, to go m’chayil el chayil.