Every silver lining begins in a cloud.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, schools moved online, people were isolated and programming stopped. NCSY, like many organizations, questioned how to pivot and move forward. What would happen to West Coast’s 64 highly successful lunchtime Jewish clubs in public high schools? Enter the JSU Leadership Institute, a leadership cohort which empowers teens through real life experiences and Torah learning. And it can be done in-person or in a virtual space. The response has been amazing! Since August, 110 hand-selected West Coast teens have been accepted into the Institute to earn the honored “Jewish Influencer” title. One such teen shared, “I have always had a desire to put myself out there and inspire others to do more. I find it extremely frustrating that I live in an area that has a number of Jewish communities, yet I am unable to find even a handful in my public high school who want to embrace the culture. Judaism has always been kept separate from the rest of my day-to-day activities. This feeling of separation should not exist and I hope to develop the tools I need to re-create this mindset through the Institute.”
After participating in three leadership masterclasses given by NCSY greats, the teens are preparing to engage their peers and continue their leadership training. NCSY is excited to see the teens grow in their commitment to their Heritage and leading the Jewish People.