OU’s Ben Zakka to Honor Howard Shapiro of Brookline and LA at its 14th Annual Reception, January 10

21 Dec 2009

The Ben Zakkai Honor Society (BZHS) of NCSY, the international youth program of the Orthodox Union, will induct Howard Shapiro of Brookline and Los Angeles as a new member at the 14th Annual Ben Zakkai Honor Society Scholarship Reception, Sunday, January 10 at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City. The evening will also pay tribute to the legendary legacy of Moses I. Feuerstein, z”l, honor three individuals and induct four other new members.

BZHS is an alumni “Hall of Fame” whose new members are nominated by, and voted on, by its current members based on the nominees’ service to NCSY and the Jewish community. The Society’s main function is to raise funds for scholarships for high school NCSYers for summer programs in North America and Israel. The Society has helped pay tribute for more than forty years to esteemed NCSY alumni and community leaders who have demonstrated their dedication to Torah and their service to the Jewish people. Isabel Novak of Los Angeles serves as Chair of the BZHS.

Dinner proceeds go towards direct scholarships for NCSY members to continue their Jewish education after high school, or to participate in national NCSY programs, such as Camp Sports for Boys, National Yarchei Kallah, and Summer Experience for Girls.

Howard’s career in NCSY hardly ended when he graduated from high school. While attending Yeshiva College he served as a devoted chapter advisor in New Haven, introducing him to the NCSY New England Region. He also served as an outstanding intern on the staff of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York.

Howard went to Boston for graduate work in psychology, serving as an NCSY chapter advisor in Newton and, in the best NCSY tradition, married the Brookline chapter advisor, the charismatic and tenacious Mor Reis. The Shapiros had the rare distinction of moving to Los Angeles from Boston on September 11, 2001– not the easiest time to fly cross country from Boston.

Howard became deeply involved in Jewish communal life in Los Angeles while working as a JFS school psychologist. He played a major role in the design and construction of the Los Angeles eruv, maintaining it weekly for five years before being summoned back to Brookline to work as a psychologist in the local public school and raise their children, Akiva and their newest addition, Elie. A respected expert in Communal eruvim, Howard has helped design and build seven in California and has consulted on many others throughout North America.

Howard Shapiro may be soft spoken, but he remains the “go to guy” he was in high school. He served two terms as the youngest Chair of the West Coast OU Torah Convention, and for the past four years, has served on the National Board of the Directors of the Orthodox Union.

A quick search of the comprehensive NCSY/OU alumni database reveals that only three individuals have ever served as Chapter, Regional and National officers of NCSY as well as on the National Board of the Orthodox Union. The other two are leaders of Ben Zakkai. Howard Shapiro will join them in the “Hall of Fame.”