In the late nineties, a teenage girl named Rina from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, began her involvement in the local chapter of NCSY. Her decision to join NCSY, the Orthodox Union’s international youth movement, would mark the start of her purposeful career inspiring Jewish youth. Now in 2015, Rina Emerson resides in the opposite side of the country with her family in Los Angeles and has been appointed West Coast NCSY Regional Director.
“Last year we moved from Woodmere, New York, to Los Angeles when my husband, Rabbi Dov Emerson, took a position as the Head of School at YULA,” she explained. “When Solly Hess stepped down as Regional Director last October, the National NCSY office called me to see if I was available to take his place. I was involved as a board member in NCSY last year when we moved and knew most of the staff and West Coast NCSY Executive Director Rabbi Effie Goldberg. I look forward to continuing Solly’s amazing work.”
After serving for several months as the Interim Regional Director for West Coast NCSY, the “interim” was dropped from her title.
Rabbi Micah Greenland, international director of NCSY, declared, “Rina Emerson is incredibly accomplished, both in running programs for teens, as well as in administration and management. She has served NCSY in many capacities over the years, having staffed the first The Jerusalem Journey (known as TJJ, now The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey); worked in management and development in our Long Island and New York regions, as well as in multiple capacities at the OU; with the NCSY Alumni department; and most recently, in the development department at the OU. Under her direction and working together with Rabbi Goldberg, I am confident that the West Coast Region will continue to grow and realize even greater success in its vital work.”
Rabbi Goldberg agreed. “I have known Rina for many years and have worked on a variety of projects under her leadership,” he explained. “Adding her to the West Coast team as regional director will bring our success to a whole new level. I am honored to work side by side as a partner.”
Rina Emerson eagerly expressed her enthusiasm for West Coast NCSY. “The staff of West Coast NCSY is really amazing,” she exclaimed. “I enjoy working with each of them and I am thankful to Solly Hess and Rabbi Goldberg for recruiting an all-star team of advisors.”
There is no typical workday for the new regional director as Rina works outside the office frequently. “I travel often, visiting the NCSY city chapter directors in their areas, and speak to them on a constant basis,” she explained.
Rina has a positive outlook for the future of West Coast NCSY and its recently increased staff. “West Coast is growing,” she said. “We have appointed former West Coast NCSY Education Director Rabbi Derek Gormin as Assistant Regional Director; and San Diego NCSY Director Rabbi Adam Simon as Director of Innovation and Projects to make sure that the region continues expanding while maintaining the excellence of the programs. We also had two professional development days in Los Angeles, in which all the West Coast NCSY directors got together to learn about and discuss activities in the region, as well as having the entire region at our two conventions.”
Rina and Rabbi Dov Emerson live in the Pico Robertson area of Los Angeles with their five children. They are members of Young Israel of Century City and the Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, both of which are OU member synagogues.