More than a half century ago, the Orthodox Union founded NCSY to provide Jewish teens with an opportunity to build a strong connection to their Jewish roots through inspiration and leadership skills. Today, NCSY is the premier organization committed to providing a safe space where teens can celebrate their Jewish heritage, embrace Torah and tradition, develop a positive Jewish identity, acquire invaluable leadership skills, connect with dedicated Jewish role models, and learn to live passionately Jewish lives.
According to Rabbi Steven Burg, NCSY’s International Director, and Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, NCSY’s Alumni Director: “NCSY is in the business of inspiring Jewish teens, but even we were caught off guard when 12-year-old Edan Pinchot from Chicago, Illinois inspired us with his beautiful rendition of John Lennon’s classic “Imagine” to help promote NCSY’s upcoming Online Fundraising Auction.”
Edan, who has been dubbed the “Jewish Justin Bieber” is now famous; his previous YouTube music videos have already exceeded 100,000 views by fans across the world. This past week, NCSY announced that Edan and NCSY have collaborated to release a new music video, intended to boost awareness and increase participation in NCSY’s groundbreaking National Chinese Auction. The music video is based on the auction’s theme: “Imagine”, and was inspired by John Lennon’s song of the same title. The auction will raise funds to send Jewish public school teens to Israel.
Like NCSY, Edan has used his imagination to improve the world around him. Edan does this through music and his stirring voice. Although he always loved singing, his “stardom” began this past summer when his sister posted videos of him on YouTube for her friends. The videos quickly went viral as thousands of people discovered his talent, including pop singer Sara Bareilles, who tweeted about one of his videos. His voice can be heard on laptops and iPods from California to Jerusalem, and fan clubs have now been established in Long Island and Spain.
The partnership with NCSY was born when Duvi Stahler, Marketing Director for NCSY, approached Edan about collaborating to promote the cause. Edan jumped at the chance, explaining that “singing has become so inspirational for me; I realized that NCSY and this event are trying to do the same for kids by bringing them to Israel. The truth is I don’t know where my singing will lead, but I do know that this auction is a great place for it to start.”
Based on his YouTube performances, Edan was recruited to participate in the upcoming Shalsheles Junior album. Edan admits he couldn’t have dreamed that he would end up where he is now, paralleling the “never-could-have-dreamt-of” experiences which NCSY is able to provide for public school teens by bringing them to the Israel for the first time.
The theme “Imagine” reflects the increased aspirations of this year’s fundraiser, as it will be the first time NCSY’s Chinese Auction is moving beyond its New York limits, and its remarkable range of prizes reflect its national expansion. The Grand Prize is the choice of a sefer Torah or $18,000, and other prizes include package trips to various tropical and international locales, as well as room makeovers and valuable product offers.
The song first premiered on the Nachum Segal Show, “JM in the AM,” radio program in the New York Metropolitan area, on Monday, February 21. The YouTube video, directed by Shmuel Hoffman, can be seen below.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.