New Jersey NCSY is the on the move again, sending a delegation of 17 Jewish teen leaders from both public high schools and yeshivas to Boulder, CO from Sunday, October 20-Wednesday, October 23 to assist with flood relief in the area. This will be will be New Jersey NCSY’s twenty-second student leadership disaster relief mission in five years.
NCSY is the international youth program of the Orthodox Union. Its New Jersey Region leads the way nationally in sending out these humanitarian missions to locations far from home.
Rabbi Rael Blumenthal, director of the Bergen County NCSY chapter, will lead students from the Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC) and local public schools such as Freehold Boro High School, Marlboro High School, and Teaneck High School
The student mission is coordinated with NECHAMA: Jewish Response to Disaster,“>NECHAMA: Jewish Response to Disaster, a Minnesota-based organization that provides volunteer-based disaster cleanup assistance to communities, to coordinate relief work plans and locations. Students will be assigned specific work based upon needs closer to arrival. Past flood relief work has included cleaning-out basements, clearing debris, hauling trash to curbside, and ripping out ruined carpets and dry wall.
The students’ activities will be announced closer to the date of their arrival.
The New Jersey NCSY volunteer missions, coordinated by Rabbi Ethan Katz, regional director of New Jersey NCSY, sends Jewish teen leaders across the country two-fold: as proud Americans, teens assist communities damaged by natural disasters, regardless of the faith and cultures of those citizens; and proud as Jews, they invest energy and love to inspire and strengthen the local Jewish communities by their presence.
Student participants are chosen by their schools based on various qualities: scholastics, character development, leadership potential and content of a qualifying essay they write. Students attend training seminars before the trip, covering topics such as the concept of what a person’s own responsibility is to mankind and the country in which he or she lives; the Jewish ideals of tikkun olam, repairing the world; and responses to expect from non-Jews unfamiliar with Jewish clothing or ways of life.
“New Jersey NCSY is always ready to answer the call, having already taken more than 300 teens on these missions which have been a very rewarding experience,” said Rabbi Katz.
New Jersey NCSY has worked with Habitat for Humanity for past missions in New Orleans, Alabama and Buffalo; with SouthEast Recovery in Nashville; Hike for Katrina; Hands on New Orleans and Green light New Orleans. Last fall, New Jersey NCSY coordinated a carnival in Hoboken, NJ for more than 1,000 children whose homes were impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
A student leadership mission is also planned to return to New Orleans in February 2014.