Legacy of Anne Samson of Beverly Hills to be Celebrated At NCSY’s BZHS Dinner

09 Jan 2014

The Ben Zakkai Honor Society’s NCSY National Scholarship Dinner on Sunday evening, January 26 in New York will celebrate the legacy of Anne Samson a”h of Beverly Hills, who was tragically taken from family, friends and the Jewish community she served so well in a horrific August automobile accident in Los Angeles.

NCSY is the Orthodox Union’s international youth movement and the Ben Zakkai Honor Society (BZHS) is NCSY’s Alumni Hall of Fame. Proceeds from the scholarship dinner will be used to enable teens to attend NCSY life-changing national initiatives, including summer travel and study programs and the National Yarchei Kallah experience of five days of intense Torah study for public school teens during their winter break. As an ongoing effort in Anne’s memory, this year, the Samson family has helped establish the Anne Samson Memorial Fund which will provide additional assistance to such programs as NCSY’s prestigious Jerusalem Journey summer program, in which hundreds of public school students have their very first Israel experience.

Anne and her husband, Lee, have been associated with the Orthodox Union for more than four decades. Lee was the first fulltime NCSY regional director and helped create the West Coast regions of both NCSY and the OU. Anne and Lee worked closely together innovating creative programs to reach teenagers, most notably, the first NCSY summer program — Camp NCSY — where young people from all over the West Coast found inspiration and education.

As they matured in their community activities and Lee moved on to the business world, they remained involved and connected to NCSY and the OU in many ways. According to dinner co-chair Vivian Luchins, “As a mother, wife and community leader, there was always a special smile which radiated from Anne. You always wanted to be near her; she warmed up a room and she cared so much about her family and yours.”

Anne will be posthumously inducted into the Ben Zakkai Honor Society and presented with the coveted Ezra Ben Zion Lightman Memorial Award, named for a legendary National NCSY advisor who died at a young age in 1971 and had an abiding influence on hundreds of teens during his short life.

“I met Anne Samson at the first West Coast NCSY Regional Convention in Oakland, California in March of 1970,” wrote Isabelle Novak of Los Angeles, Ben Zakkai chair. “She was the discreet, but vital force behind everything Lee did in creating West Coast NCSY and the prototype summer program, Camp NCSY.”

A further tribute to Mrs. Samson’s legacy will take place at the Orthodox Union’s Israel Center in Jerusalem, on Sunday evening, February 9. Marc Rohatiner of Los Angeles, tribute chair with his wife, Lynn, said, “It is most appropriate that Anne Samson’s NCSY family will be celebrating her legacy of chesed and communal leadership at this year’s Ben Zakkai Dinner in New York City and at the Israel Center in Jerusalem.”

For further information about the dinner, contact Elaine Grossman at {encode=”grossmane@ou.org” title=”grossmane@ou.org”} or 212-613-8350.

OU | Enhancing Jewish Life