Rabbi Dave and Chani Felsenthal of Passaic will be honored, receiving the Rebbetzin Elaine and Rabbi Pinchas Stolper Service Award at the NCSY Ben Zakkai Honor Society (BZHS) National Scholarship Reception on Sunday, January 10 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.
NCSY is the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union with the mission of connecting Jewish teens to their heritage through extracurricular activities, weekend retreats, and summer programs. BZHS was founded in 1965 to provide a means of recognizing the achievements of NCSY Alumni who have demonstrated personal Torah growth and the promise of future meaningful service to the Jewish people and the Orthodox community. The society raises critical funds to provide direct scholarships for NCSYers to continue their Jewish education after high school or to participate in various NCSY programs.
“The vitality and success of NCSY is largely a tribute to the devotion, dedication and passion that our inductees and honorees such as Rabbi Dave and Chani who bring to every aspect of their personal and communal lives,” declared OU National Vice President Dr. David Luchins, the dinner’s co-chair with his wife Vivian, chair of the NCSY Summer Programs Committee.
Rabbi Dave Felsenthal is the director of the Orthodox Union’s Next Gen division, which provides college and post-college outreach programs across the U.S. and Israel. This includes OU Israel Free Spirit Birthright Israel (which sends 2,500 students to Israel annually); Heart to Heart—a grassroots college student leadership program reaching 2,000; and OU’s Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, which sends Torah educators to thousands of Orthodox students spread across more than 20 college campuses.
“Rabbi Dave”, as he prefers to be called, has NCSY in his blood. He grew up in Baltimore and joined NCSY as a fifth grade student at the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School. There, he climbed the ranks and ultimately dedicated more than 30 years at the youth organization, serving various capacities, including National NCSY.
As he grew up he started the senior chapter and became its president, eventually leading his NCSY region and advanced in the ranks as NCSY head boys advisor; field coordinator for NCSY Atlantic Seaboard; and NCSYer of the year. Rabbi Dave has received the Aryeh Kaplan Award and has served in various NCSY staff capacities in New York, Virginia, Ohio and New Jersey.
He studied at Yeshiva University, Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel, Ner Israel in Baltimore and received his rabbinic ordination from Aish HaTorah in Israel. He also earned both a Bachelors and Master’s degree from the University of Maryland (bachelor’s degree in computer science and master’s degree in business).
Rabbi Dave also serves as a board member of the Association of Jewish Outreach Professionals (AJOP) and lectures throughout North America on topics including marketing (internet, social networking, direct mail, telemarketing and network marketing), time management, relationships and more.
Raised in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village in a family with four siblings, Chani pursued a career in education, earning a bachelor’s degree at Thomas Edison State College and then a masters in special education at the City University of New York.
Chani works in the resource room at Yeshiva K’tana of Passaic for Boys, engaging students across a broad spectrum of academic and social backgrounds.
Chani combines her passions for synagogue and education at the Young Israel of Passaic-Clifton. She plays a critical role in advancing the shul’s growing educational opportunities for women, including the Rosh Chodesh Rebbetzins program and YIPC’s popular annual Shavuot lectures for women. Chani is also a member of a Pninim group in Passaic.
The Felsenthals have six children and one grandchild.