Vancouver Teens Explore Hollywood from a Jewish Perspective

11 Jan 2008


In late December, more than seventy Jewish teens from Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix participated in Northwest NCSY’s Caravan West, a six-day highly inspirational and action-packed adventure in Los Angeles. The theme of the trip was to explore how the values and ideals communicated by the media and entertainment industry play a role in influencing teens’ values and perceptions.

The Northwest Region of NCSY, the OU’s North American youth program, is based in Vancouver under the leadership of Rabbi Stephen Berger.

One highlight of the experience was meeting Emmy award-winning Hollywood writer and producer David Sacks, who has worked on many popular television shows, including The Simpsons, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Malcolm in the Middle. Sacks, an observant Jew, discussed how Judaism plays a role in his life and career. He shared his initial challenges in integrating traditional Shabbat observance and Jewish ethical values with the demands of his Hollywood career.

Teens also enjoyed days in Disneyland and Universal Studios, dining at the many kosher restaurants on Pico Boulevard, visiting the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, as well having as a powerful Shabbat experience at Beth Jacob Synagogue in Beverly Hills, where they were joined by local Los Angeles teens. The group was able to experience first-hand one of North America’s largest centers of Jewish life. Each day of the trip began with interactive group discussions and short video clips which guided the participants in critically examining the lifestyle, ideals and values that Hollywood presents.
Rebecca Dales, an eighth grade student at King David High School in Vancouver, found the experience enlightening. “It was an opportunity to see Judaism from a different perspective. Before this trip, I thought of Hollywood as all about fashion and famous people, and now I see it from a Jewish perspective.”

Northwest NCSY will be hosting its annual Vancouver Shabbaton, March 28-30, in addition to many other social, recreational, and inspirational programs in the coming months. NCSY is the premier organization dedicated to connect, inspire, and empower Jewish teens and encourage passionate Judaism through Torah and Tradition. For more information about Northwest NCSY programs and events, please call 604-736-7607 ext. 315. Visit Northwest NCSY on the web at