Evening Focused on Saluting the Past, Supporting the Future of Jewish Youth
LOS ANGELES – More than 225 people attended NCSY West Coast’s 50th anniversary celebration on Wednesday evening, February 26 at THE MARK for EVENTS in Los Angeles. The evening centered around “Saluting the Past, Supporting the Future” and focused on the organization’s work over the last five decades inspiring Jewish teens on the West Coast.
The evening paid tribute to Steve and Eytan Darrison of the LA Valley and Daphne & Jesse Orenshein of Los Angeles, two parent and child pairs who are involved in various aspects of NCSY and continue to care greatly about impacting the Jewish communities around them. Famed comedian and actor Elon Gold hosted an NCSY family gameshow during the festivities.
Stephen Darrison became involved with NCSY while growing up in San Jose, CA. He first connected with NCSY as a teenager growing up in a public-school environment. He moved to Los Angeles to finish high school, eventually attending Valley Torah High School, Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Israel and later on, Yeshiva University in NY. At one point, he started a Sephardic chapter of NCSY in the Valley. His son Eytan follows closely in his father’s footsteps and has served as a West Coast NCSY advisor for Shabbatonim and regional events.
As a teen, Daphne Orenshein was introduced to all kinds of Jews through NCSY programs and Shabbatons, laying the foundation for her open and giving home. Her son Jesse follows closely in his mother’s footsteps and has been involved with NCSY in a variety of capacities, including: president of the West Coast NCSY’s City chapter and as a participant of BILT Summer Program. As a recent contestant on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, Jesse furthered this inspiration worldwide.
The West Coast is the largest NCSY region in the United States and is the founding chapter of the first Jewish Student Union Club (JSU) for Jewish teens on public school campuses. Since its successful launch on the West Coast, NCSY has launched 200 clubs on public high school campuses around the country.
“NCSY’s West Coast region has been a leader in educating Jewish teens and enhancing the spirituality and growth of thousands of our young people through innovative programs and services. We are so proud of their efforts as we celebrate this important milestone,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane.
“NCSY West Coast has reached and enriched the lives of tens of thousands of teens over the last five decades. This is a tremendous accomplishment that has had an enormous impact on our community,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin.
“Thousands of students now have a deeper sense of Jewish connection, pride and education, all served on the bedrock of an authentic commitment to living an inspired Jewish life,” said NCSY West Coast Regional Director Rabbi Derek Gormin. “We are looking forward to continuing the legacy of NCSY and building upon this strong foundation for our future.”
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.