Midwest NCSY Presents Israel Scholars Program for Chicago’s High School Students

10 Mar 2016

The Middle East is a hot topic, especially on the college campus. This spring semester, Midwest NCSY presents an opportunity for motivated and high-achieving high school students in Chicago to learn about Israel and to receive college credit. The course, titled the Israel Scholars Program, is co-sponsored by the Crain-Maling Foundation and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), is taking place on Tuesday nights beginning March 8 through June 14 at the Niles North High School, 9800 Lawler Avenue, Skokie.

NCSY is the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union.

The course is open to eleventh and twelfth grade students, who once accepted and upon completing the program will receive college credits through the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, a division of Touro College.

Rabbi Phil Karesh, an instructor for Hebrew Theological College and Director of Education and Alumni of NCSY Midwest, will be teaching the course with its curriculum on Jewish history, Zionism and politics in Israel today. Rabbi Karesh grew up on the North Side of Chicago and attended schools locally. He continued on to pursue a B.A. in Biology at Yeshiva University; a Master’s in Educational Administration at Loyola University School of Education; and his rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate.

The curriculum of the course was developed by Rabbi Michael Rovinsky, St. Louis Director of Midwest NCSY (He teaches the course in St. Louis which is accredited through Missouri State University) and Jerusalem U, a non-profit educational initiative which distributes feature films on Israel and Jewish history.

Rabbi Moshe Isenberg, Executive Director of Midwest NCSY, explained the enthusiastic support for the Chicago program from the prominent Illinois senator and the Crain-Maling Foundation. “We were looking for someone who is well-known who has strong ties to Illinois and Israel,” said Rabbi Isenberg. “Senator Kirk was a top choice as he is a strong supporter of Israel. We are also honored to be associated not only with a U.S. Senator such as Mark Kirk but with a foundation as respected and well-known as the Crain-Maling Foundation.”

The Crain-Maling Foundation, based in Chicago, supports Jewish education and spiritual growth, cultural activities and medical research.

Senator Kirk said of the Israel Scholars Program “The importance of programs like these are the cornerstone for a foundation steeped in right traditions. Through NCSY, teens have been enriched and inspired.”

For further information about the program, contact Rabbi Phil Karesh at kareshp@ncsy.org.