New Jersey NCSY and the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School of Livingston have long shared a partnership, and next month, the two institutions will team up to send a group of especially motivated teenagers on a trip to New Orleans, where they will provide support and encouragement to the local Jewish community, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.
NCSY is the international youth program of the Orthodox Union.
“Student response to the idea of the trip, which will take place from February 18-22, was overwhelming,” says Rabbi Ethan Katz, Assistant Regional Director of New Jersey NCSY. Out of seventy-five applicants, ten Kushner students were chosen, via raffle, to participate in the program; among the group are several teens active in NCSY, which is largely subsidizing the trip.
The group will spend one day building and repairing houses with Habitat for Humanity, a strong presence in New Orleans since the hurricane struck in late summer 2005. Other student projects include visiting a residence for seniors and running educational programs at a local Jewish day school. The group plans to spend Shabbat at the Orthodox Union member Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, helping to make the minyan while filling the shul with youthful spirit and enthusiasm. Friday night will include a festive oneg at the home of Beth Israel’s Rabbi Uri Topolosky, and the group will share Shabbat lunch with the community before returning to New Jersey on Sunday.
Rabbi Katz declared, “It is so gratifying to partner with the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in providing teens with an opportunity to extend their definition of chessed beyond the boundaries of the Jewish world.” Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, New Jersey NCSY Regional Director, added proudly that “NCSY continues to be at the forefront of offering innovative and inspiring programming that will shape the future leaders of the Jewish community.”
Rabbi Motti Miller, Assistant Principle of Rae Kushner High School stated, “I think it is an incredible opportunity for our students to be involved in tikkun olam and to help a community in crisis. We look forward to working together with a Jewish community that does not benefit from all of the Jewish resources we have here.”