Thirty-eight Jewish teens from Los Angeles were among about 2,500 NCSY summer program participants who attended Yom NCSY, an evening of celebration and inspiration at the Latrun Tank Museum in Israel on July 25.
Many of the L.A. youths traveled with the Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey, which provides an opportunity for public school and unaffiliated teens to explore sites in Israel. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the NCSY summer program, which is named for Samson, a local philanthropist who died in 2013.
The gathering included young people from 15 different NCSY summer programs in Israel, the U.S. and Europe, who met
with newly installed Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog. They enjoyed Jewish music from New York-based DJZJ, singers Eitan and Shlomo Katz and other Israeli singers.
“Yom NCSY represents the very essence of what NCSY Summer is all about,” NCSY Summer Director David Cutler said. “At the event, it doesn’t matter what your religious background is. It’s about a united, nonjudgmental,
encouraging environment celebrating our shared connections in the home of the Jewish people. The palpable energy, cheering, singing, and dancing has made this the highlight of the summer.”
Formerly known as the National Conference for Synagogue Youth, NCSY is the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union. According to its website, NCSY’s programs are designed to provide Jewish teens with a strong connection to their Jewish roots through inspiration and leadership skills.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ annual Summer Soiree was held on Aug. 1 at Tiato in Santa Monica, bringing together more than 500 young Jewish Angelenos for a night of music, drinks, games, art and summer fun.
The Summer Soiree is Federation’s biggest event of the year for young adults. It is part of an effort to provide opportunities for young adults in their 20s and 30s to redefine and reimagine Jewish life and build community through social and networking events, leadership programs, travel opportunities and other activities.
Israeli-American Council National chairman Adam Milstein, Jewish Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Suissa and Club Z Executive Director Masha Merkulova participated in a discussion about Zionism during an evening celebrating the launch of the Los Angeles chapter of Club Z, a Zionist youth movement.
The Aug. 2 event, “Zionism: A Love Story,” was held at the Museum of Tolerance before an audience of about 150 people. The panelists discussed Zionism, their dedication to Israel and engaging tomorrow’s Jewish leaders.
“Club Z is thrilled to be open for business in Los Angeles,” Merkulova said. “We are meeting a critical need for high school students by bringing them together around
their Jewish identity, developing their leadership skills and creating a powerful network of proactive and effective advocates.”
Based in Northern California, Club Z has sought to engage Jewish teenagers whose parents emigrated from the Former Soviet Union, and it is now expanding its programming to other Jewish communities in the United States.
Milstein, an Israeli-American philanthropist, said he is optimistic Club Z will help increase pride for Israel among young people. “Club Z is inspiring the model for the next generation in the Russian Jewish community that is engaged, philanthropic and Zionistic,” he said.
On display at the gathering was an exhibition examining the period leading up to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, titled “The Birth of Israel: 18 Months That Changed Jewish Destiny.” Attendees also enjoyed a private tour of the museum’s Anne Frank exhibit.