Rabbi Glenn Black Becomes CEO of NCSY Canada

01 Oct 2009


Rabbi Glenn Black, former Regional Director of NCSY Canada, has become the first Chief Executive Officer of the Region, a role with additional responsibilities to help the area grow and to develop strategic programming. Rabbi Leib Irons, formerly of Detroit and Israel, has been hired to serve as the new Regional Director.

NCSY is the international youth organization of the Orthodox Union.

Rabbi Steven Burg, International Director of NCSY, declared, “Rabbi Black has 18 years of experience leading NCSY Canada, and has been instrumental in helping thousands of teens form a connection to Jewish observance. He is a dynamic leader who will undoubtedly use his numerous talents and skills in his new position as CEO to help the Canadian Region reach its optimal level of service to the Jewish people.”

For some time, Rabbi Black has been in discussion with OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Steven Weil and Rabbi Burg about the best ways to help NCSY Canada become a more effective Region. The Region includes Toronto, Ottowa, Montreal, Halifax, Hamilton, Kitchener, Oshawa, London and Kingston.

“In my new position as CEO, I will focus less on the day-to-day management of NCSY and more on building long-term strategic planning, programming and development of our professional staff,” explained Rabbi Black.

“My vision is to build on the incredible existing infrastructure of NCSY Canada to ensure that no Jewish teenagers get lost from their Jewish destiny,” Rabbi Black declared. “I hope to accomplish this by empowering the NCSYers to discover their leadership potential, create a comprehensive training program to maximize the advisors’ effectiveness, and involve parents to create an intergenerational connection. The opportunity is very exciting and I cherish the prospect of having an impact on the tapestry of our Jewish tomorrow.”

One of the areas Rabbi Black will now spend more time on is Torah High, an accredited after-school Jewish Studies program in which public school students learn Jewish subjects each week and receive credit for them that is accepted by their schools. Since its inception in 2003, Torah High has expanded from its original location in Toronto to include locations in Ottawa, Hamilton, Vancouver, and in the United States in Seattle, Chicago, and Cleveland.

Rabbi Black, who serves as the executive director of Torah High, said, “Torah High has really been breaking barriers and experiencing phenomenal growth since it first started. It has had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many teens, and I plan to devote a significant amount of time to help develop the curriculum and train staff members to be effective teachers to help this vital program reach even more teens in more cities.”

Other areas which Rabbi Black will now devote more time to in his new role are developing initiatives and programming for NCSY Regions across North America, including those in the U.S., and fund-raising for the organization and its many varied programs. “The Toronto-based region is a model where leading staff from other regions will come and learn,” Rabbi Black said.

“NCSY is the premier outreach organization in North America, and is continuing to improve its vision of reaching out to as many teens as possible to help them connect to their Jewish heritage, said Rabbi Black. “We are looking for ways to augment programming and to support regional staff members in a way we never have before, and to help attract the best and brightest people in their fields. It is a great honor and a privilege that in my new role as CEO, I will have a large part in helping achieve those goals, and to help shape the broad vision of NCSY.”

Rabbi Irons Comes Aboard:

Detroit native Rabbi Irons was hired this past summer to assume the position of Regional Director and has “already become a invaluable member of the staff,” stated Rabbi Black. “Within minutes of meeting him, I knew he was the right person for the role and sure to be a great addition to NCSY Canada.”

And Rabbi Burg, who knows Rabbi Irons from his time as NCSY Director in Detroit, said, “Rabbi Irons is a great addition to NCSY. His father, Rabbi Shmuel Irons, is a tremendous talmid chacham (Torah scholar) and Rabbi Irons grew up in that special Torah atmosphere.”

Rabbi Irons, a former NCSY advisor and who received rabbinic ordination from RIETS of Yeshiva University, is an experienced professional in the field of Jewish outreach in many diverse locations. He has held various roles of leadership and program coordination in Hong Kong; Israel; India; Thailand; San Francisco and Miami, and is a former rabbinic intern at the Riverdale Jewish Center and The Hampton Synagogue in New York.

Rabbi Irons plans to utilize what he has learned in his numerous experiences in Jewish outreach, including his involvement with many NCSY Regions across North America, to help optimize programming and staff development in Canada; identify core leadership among high school students and train them to become effective student leaders; develop more extensive training for advisors; and include parents of NCSY teens in programming. Already, a one-on-one learning program for parents is being set up, and future programs to help parents learn more about NCSY’s mission and Jewish observance are being planned.

Rabbi Irons declared, “”This is the most exciting position I’ve ever had, even taking into account my travels to far-flung and exotic places around the world. Canada is a landscape with so many Jews in relatively small concentrated areas, and the opportunities for outreach are many. Rabbi Black has done an excellent job setting up NCSY in Canada for the past 18 years, and while I certainly have large shoes to fill, I am eager to do my best in this wide-open field of outreach.”