NCSY, the international youth organization of the Orthodox Union, recently welcomed its new national president, Miriam Shapiro, of Great Neck on Long Island, NY. Miriam is a senior at the Yeshiva University High School for Girls, in Queens.
“I first became involved with NCSY during my freshman year of high school, after friends kept telling me how wonderful it was,” explained Miriam. “From the time I attended my first Winter Regional that year, I was hooked – and the rest is history.”
Immediately following the Winter Regional, Miriam approached Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, the former director of the Long Island Region of NCSY and now the director of New York NCSY, wanting to know what she could do to allow for a greater NCSY presence in Great Neck. After speaking with him, Miriam was instrumental in establishing a Great Neck chapter and being active in many Shabbatons and other events, such as Friday Night Lights, a popular national NCSY program in which the lights refers to Shabbat candles rather than lights at high school football games. In fact, under her guidance, Great Neck won the title of “Friday Night Lights of the Year,” thanks to the incredible participation of almost 100 teens.
Rabbi Steven Burg, International Director of NCSY, stated, “Miriam will no doubt be great in her role as NCSY president – she is very responsible, passionate, and committed to NCSY. She brings essential leadership qualities to the table and is an inspiration for all her peers.”
And Rabbi Lightstone declared, “Miriam is a very accomplished teen. She has led a wonderful team in helping Great Neck NCSY reach its wonderful heights. Miriam’s creativity and charisma will enable the national board to reach its full potential.”
If the success in Great Neck is any indication, Miriam will no doubt flourish in her new role as NCSY national president, a position in which she will interact with the over 200 Jewish communities with an NCSY presence; create innovative programming for the coming year; and engage teens in NCSY’s mission. The role’s duties sound like a tall order, but Miriam is accustomed to balancing many responsibilities: she is the vice president of her high school’s honor society, head of the school’s extemporaneous speaking team and active in its Model Congress. Inspired by her example, her younger brother Solomon, who was just bar mitzvah, is now also involved in NCSY after seeing what an impact his older sister made within the organization.
Like other high school seniors, Miriam is currently planning to apply to a yeshiva in Israel and college. Though she doesn’t know where she’ll end up, she is certain that she will pursue a career in teaching Judaic Studies. “I’m very passionate about Navi (Prophets) and Tanach (Torah, Prophets, and Writings), and I think I would enjoy teaching those subjects almost as much as I love learning them,” she explained.