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Rebekah's Book

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S: NCSY Summer Programs

BC: Todah Rabah! | NCSY is the Youth Movement of the Orthodox Union


1: NCSY Summer Programs | Camp Sports GIVE ICE JOLT Kollel Michlelet TJJ TJJ Ambassadors

2: Back in America and Canada, our lives are much different than those of the children in the Golan. Depending on where one lives, children can run freely, play in cul-de-sacs, and live normal lives. Here, streets and highways wind through mine fields. Everywhere, signs exclaiming “!” remind us that thousands of mines from previous wars still riddle our homeland. The concept of minefields is something American and Canadian teenage boys deal with only in video games. This is real. Although I have traveled to Israel before, I find myself perceiving this situation much more seriously than before; at any given moment, someone could foolishly wander into an open space of land and die from a land mine explosion. Surprisingly to me, I find myself mesmerized by the barbed wire surrounding these mine fields. In the Golan Heights, a place that we love so much and have fought so dearly for, a majority of land is uninhabitable – whether the mountain too steep, the ground too rocky, or the danger of spontaneous detonation too great. Yet, with all the potential danger of the Golan Heights, every citizen of its many settlements carries on with his or her daily activities. To speak for everyone else, I would say that we all feel safe in this part of the country. Surrounded by towering mountains owned by Lebanon and Syria, we may feel insignificant at first, but we are part of something much larger – a nation of Jews protecting our homeland, the place to which we can always return. The Golan is very different than Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that’s for sure. With much love, Judah (Cherry Hill,NJ)

3: TJJ | I, and every one of my peers from TJJ, have had the greatest of pleasures to share our summer with you. You,your excellently selected staff, and your lovely wife, made this summers experience the best thus far. When I think back to all of the scenery,earthiness, and the people. I cry tears of joy. I am now proud to say "I am a Jew!" and I have my own identity and my own worlds to change and learn about! So from the bottom of my heart I thank you for making everything I had, am doing, and will continue to do, a reality. -Eric (Livingston,NJ) | Words cannot describe just how amazing the TJJ trip was! Jordan will have the most incredible memories to last him a lifetime! thank you to everyone on your team fro all their efforts! Sincerely, Shari (Toronto,ON)

4: Words cannot describe the glow on Carly's face from this trip! You know i was apprehensive in the beginning, and I am so happy I sent her. Aside from the wonderful friendships that she made, she experienced such joy in prayer and a deeper understanding of Judaism. She loved leaning with you and the advisors. Thank you so much! Jackie (San Diego,CA) | I just wanted to tell you that Avigayil had a wonderful time. She loved her madricha, and she was so enthusiastic about the learning,trips,chesed opportunities and new friends. Thank you! Nicole (Highland Park,NJ)

5: I had the time of my life this summer. From water sports in Eilat, to meeting with distinguished Knesset members in Jerusalem, to talking with Kabbalists in Tzfat - it was a trip to remember and a trip to learn from. Not only did I learn so much about my homeland, I learned about what being a Jewish advocate for Israel is really about. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share this extremely life changing experience with s many amazing Jewish teens and madrichim. You have truly touched the lives of so many people this summer and I want to thank you for that. Sincerely, Josh (Creuve Coeur,MO) | TJJ Ambassadors

6: Michlelet

7: I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you have done this summer. I truly had the summer of my life and i could not have asked for a better program for me.Every single day was another experience filled with learning, chesed, and all around fun. The madrichot were beyond unbelievable and i was able to learn so much from each and every one of them. i thank you for all your evident hard work and devotion to make Michlelet the best program out there. Tali (Monsey,NY) | I really wanted to thank you for such an amazing summer. It honestly changed my life. The friends I made this summer I know will last forever. I really didn't know that people like this even existed. This summer was truly the summer of a lifetime. I'd love to come back next year! Thank you again for the most amazing experience I could have asked for. Maiah (Los Angeles,CA) | I can't thank you and your staff enough for giving Nechama the best summer of her life! Ellen (Toronto,ON)

8: NCSY Kollel by far exceeded our expectations. Our son Eli had an incredible summer of continued spiritual growth! Your staff inspired him to learn, and created an environment that he truly appreciated and flourished under. As a chassid who is devoted to his family and chinoch. I just want to thank you for creating an atmosphere of Ahavas Yisroel and an opportunity for our son to have an amazing experience. All the best! Micheal (West Hartford,CT) | First of all I have to commend you on the incredible programs you run through NCSY. Adam had an incredible time on the Kollel program and just so you know impact, my child, who does not attend day school, wears a kippah and tzitzit to school every day and continues to learn and enjoys doing it. He really does want to go back. Thank you, Elaine (Atlanta,GA)

9: Kollel | We have just finished a day of listening to Gavi's tales of the summer and we have been blown away by his enthusiasm. Thank you so much for giving him an amazing summer and for inspiring him to increase his learning every day. the tiyulim sound incredible and Gavi's pictures were great. Thank you so much for everything! Linda and Murray (Teaneck,NJ) | First and foremost, words cannot adequately convey the hakaras hatov my wife and I have for you and your madrichim for the summer you have given Shai. Quite simply, Shai has been transformed. On almost a daily basis, he has breathlessly described the learning, shiurim, chaburos, shmoozim (okay, and basketball!) he has had and how it has affected him to the core. I was skeptical when our friends describe the "kollel magic"- but you have made me a believer! Thank you! Benjamin (Woodmere,NY)

10: Thank you so so much to each and every counselor and advisor and all the behind the scene people who worked so hard to make this summer an incredible one for Shoshana and her fellow GIVE '11 campers! What an amazing feat to be able to fashion a program that is not only fun but fosters spiritual and emotional growth!We look forward to debriefing her and hearing every detail about a remarkable summer that she will never forget! All our thanks and best wishes, Rachel and David (Baltimore, MD) | I just picked Leah up at the airport. Leah had the most magnificent and developmental experience in your care. She is brimming with inspiration in her yiddishkeit and love of our Homeland. You took an inspired young lady and added kosher rocket fuel to her reservoir. Thank you! Meir (Toronto,ON) | GIVE

12: Rabbi Lashak, I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am to have ever met you, you have inspired me so much and you are the reason I am going to Israel for the year, you are such a huge inspiration in my life! Thank you Taylor (Miami,FL) | ICE

13: There was something I wanted to thank you for other than an awesome experience. What I really want to thank you for was opening my eyes to Orthodoxy, and for allowing me to become more comfortable with it. Let me explain...before I moved to Houston, I didn’t really have any exposure to Orthodoxy. All I knew was that the Chabad house was the after party for Simchat Torah and Purim. Other than that, I never really lived the lifestyle until I moved to Houston and my mom told me she wanted to convert to Orthodoxy and that things around the house were going to change. I wasn’t all too excited when I was enrolled in the Orthodox school here, but I hoped I could make the best of it. So when I came on ICE you can imagine my hesitation and worry. But what I learned was that the point of Orthodoxy wasn't to shut others out- it was to bring them in. All throughout ICE I felt included and accepted by everyone. Not only did I feel accepted, I felt liked. What made me feel different at my school was what made me stand out among my friends on the trip. Aside from that, I could feel all of us come together, especially on Shabbat. Even though I didn’t know any of the songs we sang, I still felt like part of the group and I could feel the closeness as if we were a family. So what I'm trying to say is thank you for teaching me that its not the religion's fault for how people act- its of their own doing. So now when I go back to school, I won’t have such negative feelings for Orthodoxy. I on the other hand am going to grow from what I learned on ICE and hold on to the feeling of a better self awareness that I gained on this trip :) Sincerely, Tiana (Houston,TX)

14: You have the magic touch. My son loved the program and can't wait to return next year. We can't thank you enough for everything! Mark (Pittsburg,PA) | Thanks to you all, Jared arrived home today and we are still catching up with him on his wonderful experiences with NCSY. I will definitely recommend the programs to friends and relatives as well as consider having my sons participate in future sessions. Leanda (Toronto,ON)

15: First of all, thanks a million for providing my son with an opportunity to enjoy an inspiring fun-filled summer. He seems to have really enjoyed himself & I hope this will serve as a springboard for his continued involvement with more shomer shabbos teens. Thank you! Steven (Montreal,QC) | Camp Sports

17: JOLT | Dear David, Elana, and all the family members of JOLT: We were so pleased with the wonderful programs you ran this summer. Our girls had THE BEST time. Thank you for all the hard work, organization,and strong efforts that went into the wonderful experiences. From Houston, around the world and back, you have left our daughters with great memories that will last a lifetime with longlasting friendships. Kol Hakavod, Yocheved and Marc (Houston, Texas) | I just wanted to thank you and Avi and Chani and the staff for giving Ariela the trip of a lifetime. The trip was so meaningful for her and gave her a much deeper appreciation for Eretz Yisroel and what more could we ask for really. Thank you for everything. Hope you feel you had a successful trip with your group this year. Ariela misses her new friends already. Hope you had a good Shabbat in Israel. Ariela is home safe and we are so happy to have her home but even more happy that she got to experience Jolt. Thanks. Meg (Los Angeles,CA)

18: I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to you for your sponsorship of the TJJ Ambassadors program, in which I was a participant. The program was particularly effective in strengthening three areas - my feeling of Jewish identity and pride, my connection to Medinat Yisrael, and my commitment to defending the State of Israel at college, which I will begin to attend this coming January. Nothing is as validating of one’s own Judaism as feeling the Jewish spirit present among the thousands of Jews gathered at the Kotel on Friday night. Often, as Jews living among those unlike us in the United States, we are tempted to give in, to conclude that living "Jewishly" is too difficult when those around us influence us in the opposite direction. Those feelings fall away, however, when we are at home in Eretz Yisrael, where we feel the tangible attraction of a life lived Jewishly. And it is thanks to your generosity that we were able to experience that feeling. I kept a daily journal during the trip. After I returned, I made one final entry summing up the change in my relationship with the State of Israel. I will repeat them here for you:

19: “Before the trip, it was Israel. Now it is My Country Israel.” Whether or not we choose to make Aliyah in the future, it is imperative for a Jew in the 21st century to understand the significance of the State of Israel, a miracle of modern Jewish History. Not only must we understand the significance of Israel, but we must also be, as we were called, Ambassadors, for the State as it unfortunately suffers from many uninformed attackers at colleges and universities around the world whose message we have been given the mandate to deflect, drown out, and correct. As one of three Ambassadors who graduated from high school this past June, I know that I will be one of the first to put myself in the line of fire as an Ambassador. But I feel prepared, much as a result of the training I received this past summer, particularly from Neil Lazarus and the Dale Carnegie seminar. None of this would have been possible without you, and I extend to you my deepest thanks. -Albert

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Anna S
  • By: Anna S.
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  • Title: Rebekah's Book
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  • Started: over 7 years ago
  • Updated: over 7 years ago