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Yeshivat Akiva grad is uplifted by his first year
of study in Israel.
of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) region
that are currently studying in Israel.
Special to the Jewish News
I recently participated in the first
National NCSY Alumni Reunion in
Mevaseret Tzion, Israel.
Israel. Each year there are 400-500
ast year, as a high school
senior, I had a vast array of NCSY alumni who study in a
plethora of Israeli yeshivot. This
choices, like most other
year, nine of 12 regional directors
high school seniors do.
from across the country came
But mine were very different than
most other sen-
iors. My choices
were to go to
ering of alumni
in a show of sup-
port for us, those
who came here
despite the situa-
and several others.
These places all
It was great to
see old friends
ited yeshivot, but
from our region
and kids we've
they are all in
met at various
Israel. Some might
call me crazy, but
programs and to
I made up my
mind that I had to
other. Each of us
be in Israel despite
what the news
media and every-
one else were say-
see each other,
so it was great to
Yes, people are
be under one
scared, but I
roof together. It
thought of no bet-
gave us more
ter way to spend
reasons for opti-
my first year away
mism and hope for the future.
from home; strengthening my
Judaism through Torah and support-
ing Israel in the best way possible.
Israel is my home, my birthright.
Twenty-six boys from our region
On a recent Friday night at the
who are here had the extreme good
Kotel (Western Wall), I couldn't
fortune to spend the weekend
have felt more reassured that I had
together with our regional director,
made the right decision. The Kotel
Rabbi Tzali Freedman of Oak Park,
plaza was as packed as it typically is
for a mini-Shabbaton. Our Shabbat
on any summer Friday night in the
meals were spent together sharing
best of times. Not only was it full of words of Torah and Shabbat songs
people, but it was full of Jewish
while appreciating the growth that
pride, enthusiasm, passion, opti-
each one of us has been experiencing
mism and genuine spirituality.
in our respective yeshivot.
There were tourists from all over
It was on a whole new level from
the world. Many of the 6,000 col-
the Shabbatons of our high school
lege students who came to Israel this
days. Together we walked the streets
winter break as part of Birthright
of Mea Shearim and Geula and
Israel were there in force.
attended two chassidic tishes.
I also met many of the 61 fellow
members of my National Conference THE PLACE To BE on page 72
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