"What I am going to take coming out of TJJ is the feeling of being home when in Israel, because when you are there it is incredible. I will take the many lessons that I learned about facing my fears and the values of Judaism. I will take with me and forever hold dear to my heart the new and special family that was made on TJJ, because Bus 8 was One Bus. One Family." - Andie, JSU Teen, Baltimore NCSY
Baltimore, MD - Dec 2018 - Andie is one of the many teens that connected to both their fellow Jews and their personal Judaism through NCSY. NCSY has been addressing the challenge of “inspiring the Jewish future” for decades, including right here in Baltimore where they are entering their 57th year. NCSY takes on the twin challenges of Jewish assimilation and apathy head on, adapting throughout the years to reflect a changing Jewish landscape.
Many of today’s teens are not found in traditional Jewish spaces like synagogues and JCC’s. NCSY, through their signature Jewish Student Union (JSU) culture clubs, goes into public and secular private schools, offering something for the body and the soul. With a slice of pizza and some Jewish learning, teens find a way to connect at their level and at their pace. Clubs are only the beginning. These students are provided a myriad of programming, from hanging out and learning with staff in a local coffee shops, to lobbying on Capitol Hill, or spending summers in Jerusalem.
“We view ourselves as opening Jewish doors.” Says Rabbi Jonah Lerner, Atlantic Seaboard NCSY Regional Director. “Each teen is different, so we need to show the endless array of opportunity that Judaism offers. For some it’s the Shabbat table, for others it’s Israel Advocacy and for others it’s just a shmooze with a staff member that empowers him or her to take an active role in their Jewish destiny.”
Over 1,400 Jewish teens went to Israel last year with NCSY, falling in love with the land and becoming more committed to its people. Of those, over 130 were local Atlantic Seaboard teens, showcasing that a large portion of NCSY’s reach and impact is right here in our backyard.
NCSY ‘s Mordi Spero, now in his third year as NCSY’s JSU coordinator in Baltimore, oversees JSU programming at public and private high schools in the area. Over the past year and a half, Mordi has expanded into 10 different Baltimore area schools: Boys Latin, Franklin High School, Garrison Forest High School, George Washington Carver Center, Howard High School, McDonogh School, Owings Mills High School, Park School, Pikesville High School, and Towson High School. .
“The goal of JSU programming in Baltimore is to connect every Jewish teen to Judaism, however they are able to connect,” said Spero. “Whether that means a love for Israel, whether that means just a strong Jewish identity, proud to be a Jew, or whether that means being able to identify as a Jew in school.”
● As NCSYers continue to grow, they need more support than ever. There are thousands of teens who have yet to be connected to Judaism in any real way. One way to help NCSY reach them and enjoy a special time is to join over 2,000 others who come out each year to support NCSY at the annual Isaac H. Taylor Jewish Music Festival.
Join the movement that is Inspiring the Jewish Future! This year NCSY’s 44th Annual Isaac H. Taylor Jewish Music Festival will be held on December 23rd at Meyerhoff Symphony Orchestra in downtown Baltimore. It will feature the music of Simcha Leiner, 8th Day and Uri Davidi. This concert is Atlantic Seaboard NCSY’s single largest fundraising event of the year and generates the support needed to guarantee that no Jewish child is ever denied the opportunity to experience the beauty of Torah.
For more information, to become one of NCSY’s dedicated sponsors or to purchase tickets, please contact NCSY, at 410-358-6279, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website: www.atsncsy.org.