NCSY YouthCon, 8/21, National Leaders in Informal Jewish Education to Gather

02 Aug 2011


YouthCon 2011 has already become a groundbreaking international one-day convention – the inaugural event has an unprecedented line-up representing more than 90 of the world’s leading informal and formal educational organizations across the Jewish spectrum — and an overwhelming registration already of almost 300 people from across North America, Israel, England, and Germany.

Organized by NCSY | Jewish Youth Leadership, the Orthodox Union’s international youth movement and leader within the field of informal Jewish education, YouthCon will address the challenges and opportunities of defining Jewish education within the 21st Century. Registration is currently underway on the YouthCon website,

YouthCon 2011 will take place on Sunday, August 21 from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Stamford Hilton in Connecticut. The event is open to Jewish educators and lay leaders of all backgrounds.

YouthCon will consist of workshop sessions throughout the day, during which participants will be given six different track options to hear from leading speakers in various fields. The full schedule can be read at The website also includes a blog which features various questions and answers posed to presenters of the day.

Rabbi Steven Burg, International Director of NCSY, explained: “Informal Jewish experiences, from summer programs and camps, to after-school activities and youth groups, are essential to the development of a strong Jewish identity. As leaders in the greater Jewish community, we are responsible for providing quality Jewish experiences for today’s Jewish youth, and that demands that we address the hottest topics, trends, and tools to innovate how informal Jewish education plays a role in the lives of our youth.”

He continued, “YouthCon 2011 will unite the leaders of their fields from inside and outside of the classroom, and provide one-on-one mentoring opportunities with the biggest names in all backgrounds to create stronger, more creative Jewish educators.”

YouthCon Chair Rhoda Weisman, a Los Angeles-based communications specialist focusing on the next generation within the greater Jewish community, explained, “The goal of YouthCon is three-fold: To discover how to digitally connect with youth in the 21st century; to learn from those creating a paradigm shift in Jewish education; and to network with hundreds of educators who shape the lives of Jewish youth on a daily basis. This is a groundbreaking moment not to be missed!”

Presenters include:

• David Bryfman — Director, New Center for Collaborative Leadership at The Jewish Education Project: educational consultant;

• Robyn Faintich — Executive Education Consultant, JewishGPS: Her communal professional experience includes youth movements and community teen initiatives, early childhood education, congregational family education, and adult education;

• Aliza Goodman — Director, MZ Teen Israel Internship, iCenter: She develops and manages a new national leadership program for Jewish teens returning from summer Israel experiences;

• Charles Harary – OU National Vice President, and Founder, Milvado, an organization promoting innovative methods of teaching spirituality in a relevant and modern ways;

• Sarah Lefton — Founding Executive Director, She combines a fusion of a publishing career and a passion for Jewish community building;

• Rabbi Avi Orlow — Jewish Education Specialist, Foundation for Jewish Camp: He spent many years as an educator at Ramah Camps in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and YUSSR camps in the Former Soviet Union;

• Lori Palatnik — Founding Director, The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project: She is a highly sought-after speaker author, media personality and Jewish educator;

• Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt — Senior Rabbi, Riverdale Jewish Center: Under his leadership the RJC has become the largest ‘teaching synagogue’ in the country, through its rabbinic and pre-rabbinic internship programs.

Organizations represented at YouthCon will include: AIPAC; American Jewish World Service (AJWS); BBYO; Camp Stone; Chabad International;; Harvard JLIC; Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Life on Campus; Jewish Teen Funders Network; JTA Jewish News Archive; J-Teen Leadership; Lauder Yeshurun Foundation; MASA; NECHAMA Jewish Response to Disaster; NextGen Charity; NFTY; Ramaz; Sid Jacobson JCC; Stand With Us; Teva Learning Center; The David Project; The Foundation for Jewish Camp; The iCenter; UJA-Federation of New York; URJ Camp Kutz; Yeshiva University; and Young Judea. The complete list is posted on

For further information about YouthCon 2011, contact or go to

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