Becoming an NCSY Advisor

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  • #610909

    rebdoniel
    Member

    I’d like to learn more about how I can be a good hashpa’ah on young people who would like to become religious. I support NCSY largely, and want to know what one needs to do in order to get involved.

    #1178622

    yichusdik
    Participant

    You need to speak with your local chapter or city director, or Regional director. There are opportunities to be a mentor, advisor, chavrusa, etc.

    Expect that you may need to provide a criminal background check, references from a Rabbi or leader in the community, or other communities if you are new in town.

    Experience working with youth is useful, obviously.

    Advisors/mentors/chavrusas range from B’nei Akiva to YU to Yeshivish/chassidish hashkafos.

    #1178623

    JustARegularJew
    Participant

    You can apply directly via the national office here: http://ncsy.org/advisors/ or you can contact the local regional office and speak with the Regional Director or the programming director. The New York web site is newyork.ncsy.org.

    Good Luck

    #1178624

    rebdoniel
    Member

    I worked with developmentally-disabled youth, I teach bar mitzvah kids (our shul basically runs a bar mitzvah factory- teach the kid how to lay tefillin, we teach him how to have an aliyah, we help him write a dvar torah, we teach him to lead some of the prayers, and we help him learn Hebrew in order to read his Haftorah, all in a period of 6 months), I run services as a cantor twice a month (leyning, davening, sermon, afternoon shiur/class, coordinate bikur cholim, interfaith activities, outreach, etc.), I taught social studies in yeshivos, and therefore, have the experience needed to succeed in this capacity. I’ve helped grow our shul’s membership generally by focusing on offering activities that are attractive to 14-19 year olds, such as offering an oneg shabbat/Tisch with cholent, torah talks, sports themes, etc.

    In my case, I could definitely get rabbinical references, and will launch this process soon, IY”H.

    #1178625

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I don’t think NCSY believes in interfaith activities.

    #1178626

    yichusdik
    Participant

    I wish you luck. You do need to grasp that an advisor is not, or not only, a teacher. He or she needs to understand and relate to a teens world. If that teen is a yeshiva high school kid, as in some NCSY regions, it might be easier to relate. If that teen is a public school kid with no affiliation and little or no Jewish knowledge, as in other NCSY regions, it might be harder.

    There’s also age to consider. I don’t know how old you are; and there are some advisors (I’m thinking in particular of one very dedicated woman in Minneapolis)who are older (she is in her 50’s) but its uncommon, and 20-30 is the norm. There are also chavrusa and other learning opportunities with NCSY kids where age and relatability are less material to the kiruv relationship.

    #1178627

    rebdoniel
    Member

    DY- My work as an officiant/cantor is a matter unto itself.

    And, yichusdik, I’m 23, and while I went to public school, that is something to consider. I don’t know what the latest fads and whatnot among kids is nowadays. I was also never the typical kid. I always studied very seriously and generally didn’t partake in much else.

    #1178628

    Sam2
    Participant

    rd: No, it’s not. Advisors by definition have to be people that the kids should want to respect and emulate. That would be like an advisor saying “My affair with my neighbor’s wife is a matter unto itself.” Being an advisor is just as much about who you are as it is what you say. If you do activities that NCSY wouldn’t want these kids to emulate, they wouldn’t want you to be an advisor.

    #1178629

    rebdoniel
    Member

    I do nothing that Rav Jonathan Sacks, or Rav Haskel Lookstein, or Rav Shear Yashuv Cohen, or Rav Sperber, or Rav Ratzon Arussi, Rav David Bigman, Rav Alan Brill, Rav Yuval Cherlow, Rabbi David Rosen, or other Orthodox rabbis involved in interfaith relations wouldn’t do.

    To compare the work of these men (and what I do, sitting on a clergy association, organizing community service projects, furthering tolerance and dialogue, etc.) with adultery is asinine.

    Sharing the beauty of the Torah and mitzvot with others is my primary motivation in life. And NCSY is a respected Modern Orthodox kiruv organization, which has the support of many of the above-cited rabbis, whose involvement in interfaith matters is well-documented, halakhically-defensible, and constitutes a kiddush hashem.

    I think NCSY would be very happy to have their kids doing as I do. I learned nusach, trope, and developed public speaking skills to the point where I’m qualified to conduct services in an Orthodox shul. I’m proud of what I do, and I don’t need your animosity.

    #1178630

    Sam2
    Participant

    rd: Meh. I compared it to adultery because that was the first thing that came to mind. I wasn’t making a direct comparison. I’m sorry you took it that way.

    But, since according to most of the Gedolim of the last generation, both are Yeihareg V’al Ya’avor, the comparison might not be so asinine. And no one you mention, respectable though some might be, holds even close to a candle to any of the Rabbonim on the list signed against interfaith dialogue. Even the main leaders of “Modern Orthodoxy” (R’ Schachter, R’ Willig, the Rav, R’ Aviner, R’ Melamed, R’ Rimon, and more) are very against interfaith dialogue of any sort.

    #1178631

    yichusdik
    Participant

    Reb Doniel, I don’t doubt you are a learned and upstanding member of the community. I am happy to hear you are involved so much in your kehilah. I applaud your interest in helping our youth.

    I’m talking practicality, and you’re giving a list of Rabonim, most of whom I am familiar with and honor, but that is entirely beside the point. And the fact that you don’t realize it is beside the point is troubling. Practically speaking, not every regional director or chapter director has exactly the same hashkafic approach. For some, the idea is to simply identify those non frum kids most likely to respond to kiruv and turn them into frum Jews. Those will reach relatively few but have a high proportion of “successful” frum adults as an outcome. Others will work to reach many more kids, teaching them and influencing them and inspiring them, so that they make Jewish choices in their lives. So that they dont intermarry, so that they live lives guided by the ethical principles of our tradition. and some of these will want more, so they will be learning at Yarchei Kallah conventions, they will go to the kollel program in Israel, and maybe spend a year in yeshiva. And they will see all of that as success.

    Regardless, though, of the particular outlook of the city or region, the point of contact has to be genuine and it has to be on terms that will engage the youth. If you can’t relate to their world, its not for you. If you cant stop yourself from justifying or even introducing your particular approach to hashkafa or halacha, its not for you. Because, Reb Doniel, ITS NOT ABOUT YOU. Its about them. Their journey, their needs, their relationships, their friends, their interests. If you don’t get that, you will not be a successful NCSY advisor.

    I strongly suggest you consider what I am telling you. If you still want to be involved, speak to a local or regional director. They are some of the most learned and well rounded and tolerant and good humored and dedicated frum yidden that I know, and I know most of them across the continent. I hope there is some way in which you can be involved, because the work is very rewarding – in a spiritual, not material way.

    #1178632

    JustARegularJew
    Participant

    But I think your plan is a great one. Make a meeting with your local NCSY regional director, and when he tells you that interfaith dialogue etc is not the type of role model they’re looking for in an advisor, throw a whole bunch of names at him, none of whom will mean anything to him, and see how far that gets you. Are you looking to expose Jews to the beauty of Yiddishkeit, or campaign for your own personal niche brand of orthodoxy?

    #1178633

    rebdoniel
    Member

    Why would trying to get kids keep kosher, daven, shabbat, etc. have anything to do with my professional duties? What does one have to do with the other? Many people from our circles are involved with NCSY (Shearith Israel, HIR, and many of shuls with rabbis affiliated with Open Orthodoxy have NCSY programs).

    #1178634

    JustARegularJew
    Participant

    Really? Which ones?

    #1178635

    Vogue
    Member

    That conservative shul with orthodox union affiliation in denver has usy.

    #1178636

    rebdoniel
    Member

    JRJ,

    I listed 2 fairly liberal Orthodox shuls with NCSY programming.

    This isn’t about hashkafic wars. It’s about exposing our youngsters to the beauty and truth of Judaism.

    #1178637

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    I wouldn’t want my kids exposed to interfaith activities. But then again I didn’t want my kids exposed to the Macarena either.

    #1178638

    Sparkly
    Member

    anyone that can answer my question about ncsy since you seem to know lots about ncsy?!?!

    #1178639

    dovrosenbaum
    Participant

    I don’t think ncsy is meant for kids raised in frum homes.

    Its a Modern Orthodox tzach by definition.

    #1178640

    Sparkly
    Member

    dovrosenbaum – what do you mean? i know plenty of girls who went to bais yaakov for high school and graduated and went to ncsy. but in the end of the day lets be honest those girls ARENT frum no more. its meant for kiruv. thats why you go as an adviser NOT as an ncsyer. the ones who do become frum and stay frum are the baal teshuvas that come out of it NOT the bais yaakov girls who went otd in exchange for the others becoming religious.

    #1178641

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    NCSY has changed drastically over the decades.

    I was a member 50 years ago, and it served as a social networking mechanism for OOT orthodox Jews. The word Hareidi was generally unknown outside the NY Yeshiva world. NCSY’s goal was to develop observant adults who could lead OOT orthodox synagogues in the future. The vast majority of members were public school kids with some day school kids (usually the children of the LOR). This a a place Eurotraditional parents could send their children to meet eligible Jewish mates and the food at weekend events and conventions would be kosher. It was not so frum. Local chapters in OU shuls held mixed dances, etc. The goal was tp get NCSYers to continue Jewish education by steering them to YU or Stern, later to Touro.

    Each 10 years since, NCSY has moved farther to the right and has far more members not form public schools. This is not because NCSY doesn’t appeal or reach out to them, but because the subsequent generations to the post WWII baby boom of orthodox or Eurotraditional OOT Jews left the public schools at cities became more Nd more minority and public education went down hill.

    In the 1970s there was a wave of advisors from Shor Yoshuv and Rebitzen Friefelds (sp?) in Far Rockaway, the 1980s brought the Chofetz Chaim crowd. Then there were the sexual scandals that forced out certain leadership. Ever since the Founding Director Rabbi Pinchas Stolper moved on the organization has drifted right.

    That said chapter advosors who are paid are hired and paid by individual synagogues and OOT they are not amenable to advisors trying to make kids more frum than their parents and wanting to move their shuls to the right.

    NCSY is an arm of the UOJCA. It is NOT an umbrella organization for frum young people. Originally it brought together new chapteres in UO synagogues, YUSCY (Yeshiva University Synagogue Youth) and from Chicagoland- TSY (Traditional Synagogue Youth) many of whose congregations had an orthodox siddur but no mechitza.

    <y oldest grandchildren are now 3rd generation members, but they live OOT and are on the more observant side of membership. I have been a member of the adult board and the National Honor Society more more than 40 years. It has an important place in making sure that orthodox communities can survive OOT, but it is not a place for yeshiva yungerleit and Bais Yaakov girls to spend time.

    Yes, they are a Kiruv organization but their is the need to understand the politics of association. If you consider yourself a Black Hatter and not Kipah Serugah, NCSY is not the place for you.

    #1178642

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    sorry for all the typos in the above post. I was a at friend’s home this evening and had an allergic reaction to something and my eyesight is a bit fuzzy

    #1178643

    Sparkly
    Member

    CTLAWYER – i already told you im more mo. the advisers are my type of people. just i know their friends NOT them and their friends are their type. i DONT need to get paid for being an adviser im doing it for the mitzvah to help be mekerv people NOT for the money.

    #1178644

    Sparkly
    Member

    CTLAWYER – its fine. refuah shleima:)

    #1178645

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Sparkly,

    I think that you are referring to the type of ‘occasional’ advisor who staffs a Shabbaton or other event. These are not paid chapter advisors, but young college aged people recruited by the regional director and through networking of other advisors.

    It is the chapter advisors, usually at least grad school age or married members of the local community who are hired by the host synagogue, paid a salary and responsible for programming regular meetings and events throughout the academic year.

    50 years ago when I started the local advisor was a teacher in the public high school who taught history and Hebrew language. He was MO and required all students in his Hebrew classes to join NCSY for the tarbut component of the class.

    While in college and law school I was an advisor at many a Shabbaton and regional convention, and when early on in our marriage Mrs. CTL and I were advisors at Nation Convention for a few years.

    From a practical standpoint, if you are being shutout from being an advisor at these events it is usually for the following reasons:

    1. You are not an NCSY alumna..familiar to the regional director

    2. There is not a contingent of advisors being raised from your school dorm (Stern or Touro)

    3. The cost of housing and/or transporting you may be against you. You don’t live in the neighborhood of the event, or you don’t have a car and there are only so many spots in available vehicles

    I was involved in New England Region…it was much more economical to seek event advisors from colleges in the Boston area for Massachusetts, RI or Maine events than bear the cost of bringing young adults from NYC. I always had my own car, don’t ask how many times I met the MetroNorth train in New Haven loaded up with advisors from NY and drove another 3-6 hours to events.

    #1178646

    Sparkly
    Member

    CTLAWYER – that was what i was thinking which is why i was saying that maybe ill go to some events and ask if they need help since they DONT know me and i NEVER went as a teen since ive been frum my WHOLE life which is ridiculous if you think about since they should WANT ffb to be the advisers NOT the baal teshuvas but okay… also the people who i heard of that work their DID go as teens but they were also otd so i dont get ncsy….

    #1178647

    Sparkly
    Member

    ctlawyer – also since you as someone who knows a LOT about it and are agreeing with what i was thinking before. it just makes me NOT want to donate or help a program like that. it makes me want to start my own kiruv organization. it it a LOT of work but h’h i will get around to it and since im gonna be a pharmacist and my husband will also work h’h im sure we can help cover some of the costs and donate to our own organization and do something similar BUT not the same and make the ncsy you were describing 50 years ago….

    #1178648

    Sparkly
    Member

    ctlawyer – another thing i forgot to add does it make sense to you that theirs 2 brothers in this example and 2 im specifically thinking about. 1 went otd and went to ncsy as a otd teen, the other a good yeshiva bochur who was frum his whole life and never went otd. these brothers are very close b’h and the frum one is trying to help the not frum one become religious and b’h its working. ncsy will accept the otd now gonna be religious one h’h to work for them but the one that was frum his whole life they wont accept because he never went to ncsy????

    #1178649

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Sparkly………

    What I am really saying is that NCSY in NYC, and parts pf northern NJ is quite different from the rest of the country and has ffb members and staff. Outside NYC area there is a big difference between ffb and Hareidi. FFB OOT is often the LOR’s kids who went to the only day school available, not the Bais Yaakov model. OOT there is less politics and the entire shomer shabbas world mixes well.

    #1178650

    Sparkly
    Member

    CTLAWYER – back to my original question since i already gave up applying after what you told me i have no interest in applying to become an adviser. my main question was can you go as a year older than the rest of the people meaning are their other 1 year post high schoolers that go i heard that you CANT even volunteer until your 2 years post high school so maybe your allowed to go 1 year post high school and that way i can ask about how to volunteer when i go even if im NOT signed up as an adviser?

    #1178651

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Sparkly………..

    NCSY used to be for HS students only…it was refocused as an organization to serve teens. So, if you are over 12 and less than 20 you should be able to participate.

    In the olden days HS seniors and college freshman were often used as volunteers helping with Junior NCSY groups (grades 7 and 8). I don’t know the current model.

    #1178652

    Sparkly
    Member

    CTLAWYER – but i dont want to just show up and be like im in that age range but in college for the past 3 years. i want to help rather than go as an ncsyer because im so use to being one of the “older” people meaning that ive been in college and go to other events where even tho im the youngest im so use to be the youngest and going to events for younger people would be strange for me. please dont ask what my age is.

    #1178653

    Sparkly
    Member

    CTlawyer – im going to ask another question. would you recomend ncsy for a young teenage (upper teens) frum college girl who is on the more mo side and has LOTS of not jewish friends and she might get married within the year to a good yeshiva bochur?

    #1178654

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Sparkly……….

    No, I would not recommend it. NCSY is an organization that functions best for members who belong through their teenage years, not join in college. A newbie in college would feel totally out of place. It is not the purpose of the organization to serve that demographic.

    In my day the MO organization serving college students was Yavneh (I don’t believe it exists anymore). Very,very few NCSY girls get married within a year of ending being a teen (and certainly most not to Yeshiva bochrim). You say you are more on the MO side, but you appear to be to the right of most MO.

    I’m sorry you have not found the right group to volunteer in Kiruv efforts. I think you should look for a non-membership based organization who does not develop its own leadership so you will not be automatically excluded.

    Try volunteering at events hosted by NJOP (National Jewish Outreach Program) they are a dot org, not dot com and you can google their website for contact info

    #1178655

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Sparkly – what about Aish HaTorah? That might be up your alley.

    #1178656

    Sparkly
    Member
    #1178657

    Sparkly
    Member

    lilmod ulelamaid – i was going to volunteer for them. but its a program that they make me go to the college and hand out flyers to people that i know that are jewish and get them to go to like poland and i didnt find that interesting. i MUCH rather get involved with a program like ncsy the have hillel BUT hillel DOESNT mekerev anyone at ALL so much so that the people that go there some arent even jewish!! i know people that go there and that work there and there NOT frum!! so no point to me working for hillel its literally a hang out for not frum people since MOST if not all people that go there are not frum and some arent even jewish. so basically i dont really know any program besides for hillel thats not really made for kiruv. Also another reason why is read above what I posted to ctlawyer about wanting to be around other jews its NOT for that.

    #1178658

    Sparkly
    Member

    CTLAWYER – national jewish outreach program is NOT what im looking for. im looking for a program where you go and meet other jews. im already going to shiurim. but when you go to these shiurim you DONT go to meet other jews!! thats the reason why i want to get involved in kiruv because you meet other jews and share your jewish knowledge with them. thats what i want.

    #1178659

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Sparkly, I just posted this on the “Twenty Questions thread” but I’m reposting here:

    Not sure what you’re asking. Do you want to know if I have any ideas for you? The answer is no. I’m not sure where you live so I have no way of knowing what’s available there. I’m also not that up on kiruv organizations. If I knew where you lived, maybe I could do some research for you, but I don’t know if it would be a good idea for you to give personal information online.

    It sounds like what you are looking for is a way to stay connected Jewishly/with other Jews. Maybe you can start some kind of beis medrash/learning program for Frum girls in your college (you mentioned there are a lot of BJJ & Bnos Sara girls – I’m sure they would appreciate it!) You can have different speakers every week (I’d come if you flew me in – I actually am a speaker, although not so famous yet!), or you can have a program where every week a different girl has to give a shiur, or you can organize chevrusas for Frum girls to learn with each other. You can also organize a Partners-in-Torah program on campus where you set up chevrusas between Frum girls and not-Frum girls. Maybe you can call Partners-In-Torah and ask them for help setting up such a thing. They are a really good program, and they might be helpful.

    You can also try contacting OORAH – they may also have ideas for you.

    I take back my first paragraph! Once I started writing, I guess I did have ideas! Let me know if any of them sound reasonable to you.

    #1178660

    Sparkly
    Member

    lilmod ulelamaid – i DONT want to get oorah involved. also i cant imagine having people come to my college and talking. that would be funny! so out of the norm! everyone just comes in takes classes and leaves and doesnt say a word to anyone (maybe im being a bit sarcastic because we talk right before and right after class but like 10 minutes before and after its as if no one was there!!)

    #1178661

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Sparkly – it doesn’t have to be in the college itself. I just meant that you can get the other students in the college involved. But it can take place elsewhere – someone’s house or a shul maybe.

    #1178662

    Sparkly
    Member

    lilmod ulelamaid – how i said before thats my rav speech. the girls and guys that go are from my college and other colleges near by.

    #1178663

    Sparkly
    Member

    lilmod ulelamaid – it happens once per week but recently they stopped having it every week unfortunately hopefully it will start again but for right now it hasnt so im looking for alternatives.

    #1178664

    Sparkly
    Member

    CTLAWYER – i was in college the majority of my teenage years. i started VERY young!! so i dont know if your taking that into consideration!!

    #1178665

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Sparkly – so organize something else.

    #1178666

    Sparkly
    Member

    lilmod ulelamaid – i rather help out then make my own thing!!

    #1178667

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Sparkly – so find someone else to organize it and offer to help!

    I’d love to help you out with this -it sounds like a very worthwhile cause – but I’m in EY & don’t even know where you live. If there are Frum college-aged girls in your college & neighborhood, it is really important that someone do SOMETHING!

    Can you talk to other girls from the shiur and see if one of them wants to organize something? Maybe you guys can find another Rabbi/Rebbetzin in the neighborhood who is willing to give a shiur? If you offer to pay, I can’t imagine that there aren’t people who would be happy to do it.

    #1178668

    Sparkly
    Member

    lilmod ulelamaid – im in college RIGHT NOW which means i DONT have money for that kind of thing!! i was talking about when im finished h’h.

    #1178669

    Sparkly
    Member

    VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION PLEASE ANSWER!!

    ncsy is having a national ncsy adviser night. who is that for? only for advisers? why do thy keep sending this to me?

    #1178670

    Meno
    Participant

    Why are you asking this VERY important question here? I’m sure whatever notification you are receiving contains some sort of contact information.

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