Rina grew up in New Jersey and lived in Cedarhurst for thirteen years, before moving to LA four years ago with her husband, Rabbi Dov Emerson, who became head of YULA Boys High School. They will be moving back to the tri-state area in the summer where Rina will begin her new role as CEO of the New York region and join part of the national structure of NCSY. Rabbi Emerson will be incoming Director of Teaching and Learning at Yeshiva University’s Marsha Stern Talmudic Academy.
The 38-year old mother of five kids (ages 16, 14, 12, 9 and 5) holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College for Women. Her oldest is spending his second year on the NCSY Summer Kollel; her boys will go to MTA and younger kids will go to RYNJ in North Jersey.
Rina has extensive NCSY experience, having been involved in the organization since she was a teenager. She has been working for NCSY and the OU for 19 years, currently as Regional Director of the West Coast NCSY region, which has reached over 4,000 teens this year. Prior to that, she worked in the development office at OU and in management and development in the New Jersey, Long Island and New York regions.
Rina shares her thoughts about her upcoming position at the OU’s National office at 11 Broadway:
What prepared you for your current leadership role?
I would say it would be my long-term involvement in NCSY. I have experienced almost every job in NCSY, from Office Manager to Club Director to Fundraising Staff and my combined experience and jobs at NCSY and the OU has prepared me for this next step
In what way would you encourage young Orthodox women to take on leadership roles? What would you say is the best preparation for those inspired to do so?
I think it is so important for women to get involved in communal leadership. We need to model behavior to young girls that women can be involved in the community. People are so focused on the “no” of women’s leadership and instead we should be focused on the “yes” – what women can do, how they can be involved, how they can develop.
What do you think you’re bringing as a woman to your new role as CEO?
There are different character traits needed for this job, it’s not specifically because I’m a woman that I was hired. It’s not what I bring to the table as a woman, but rather it’s that I’m a woman that is unique here, currently I’m the only female regional director at NCSY, although there have been others before me.
Coming from four years in LA, how do you think it will be different working on the East Coast? What will you miss about the West Coast?
I loved working with the staff and people of West Coast NCSY. When I came in, they were already doing wonderful things and had a fantastic staff in place. We were able to grow the region and accomplish great things, engaging more teens, by growing our programming, expanding our reach, and developing a strong network of community partners. I am going to miss working with everyone on a daily basis in WC, but I am confident that through my new position our paths will cross often.
What new opportunities are you most excited about as CEO in NY?
I’m excited to work with the staff of NY to grow an already great program into something bigger with the team. I am excited to work closely with the National office of NCSY and utilize their resources to strengthen our programming and content. The value of being able to work at 11 Broadway in the National office is very exciting to me. To be able to speak with the Education department, to discuss programming or to work with the amazing NCSY summer staff and learn from their successes with the community, learn from the Director of Development or the Professional Development teams on a daily in person basis is such a unique opportunity for me and the rest of the NY staff.