Atlanta NCSY and Yeshiva Atlanta
Win First Place in the National JUMP Competition
The Jewish Unity Mentorship Program (JUMP) is a training ground for tomorrow's community leaders. Led by Regional Director, Rabbi Chaim Neiditch, and in coordination with Yeshiva Atlanta, teen participants met on a weekly basis to learn valuable skills in leadership. These skills include: community service, planning and organization, timeline management, public speaking, and Israel advocacy.
The Yeshiva Atlanta NCSY JUMP team competed against 20 other yeshiva high schools around the country in four specific challenges: Community Service, Jewish Outreach, Fundraising, and Israel Advocacy. The YA NCSY JUMP team advanced through several elimination rounds to successfully reach the “boardroom round” which involved traveling to New York City to present to a panel of judges made up of successful Jewish leaders. The judges were J. Philip Rosen, David M. Friedman, and Charlie J. Harary. All are leading attorneys and philanthropists.
Led by Regional President, Ofek Regev, the student team, composed of Benjamin Brasch, Avi Ginsburg, Sarah Pepper, Cayley Stark, and Josh Weissmann, presented to “the board” on Monday, March 19, and emerged as champions. We are very proud of all of the students that participated in making JUMP a success, and helping us win this prestigious honor.
250 Teens from 35 Atlanta High Schools
attend Jewish Teen Unity Event
Jewish Student Union (JSU) of Atlanta and NCSY had an outstanding shabbos weekend that culminated with the second annual All Nighter at Andretti's Entertainment, which drew 250 Atlanta teens. This event had an incredible reach, as teens from 35 local high schools attended. To start off the event, teens gathered for a moving havdalah ceremony, officially ending Shabbat with words of inspiration from Rabbi Neiditch. Then, everyone hit the track for a JSU club presidents' race on the go-karts. Teens stayed wide awake with activities including Andretti's extreme ropes course, rock climbing wall, bowling alley and unlimited access arcade! An NCSY alumnus joined the party to DJ simcha dancing and music in the sky lounge which lasted early into the morning.
Yeshiva Atlanta NCSY JUMP Leaders Create a Holiday Carnival for Children
Yeshiva Atlanta's NCSY Jewish Unity Mentorship Program (JUMP) is the training ground for tomorrow's community leaders. Led by Rabbi Chaim Neiditch, a number of teens meet on a weekly basis at Yeshiva Atlanta's JUMP club to learn valuable skills in leadership. These skills include: community service, planning and organization, timeline management, public speaking, and Israel advocacy.
Recently, these teens had a chance to put their skills into practice by organizing and running a program for 120 non-Jewish underprivileged children. Fundraising for the event and planning the large-scale community service event to help the children gave the teens an invaluable hands-on leadership opportunity. In preparation for the event, the teens were fully involved in all the logistics, including:
Arranging for corporate sponsors including Kroger and Starbucks to provide food at the event
Booking event entertainment professionals including DJ's, a magician, and a juggler
Arranging for the setup of 2 inflatable moon bounces and a public sound system
The event itself was a tremendous success, as aside from the great food and entertainment, the kids enjoyed a variety of different activity stations including:
A coloring station
Music and a musical chairs station
A Santa station, which was the highlight of the event for most of the children
Rabbi Neiditch and members of the Jump club would like to thank Dr. Paul Oberman and the entire staff of Yeshiva Atlanta for their support in empowering the Jewish leaders of the future.
In addition to operating on a local level, the teens at Yeshiva Atlanta's JUMP club are also competing against other yeshiva high schools around the country in 3 challenges. The three challenges are Community Service, Jewish Outreach, and Israel Advocacy. The challenge finalists will present in front of a panel of judges including members of the OU and Trump Organization, including Donald's daughter Ivanka Trump.
Yeshiva Atlanta NCSY JUMP Leaders Teach Hundreds of teens about Chanukah at JSU Public School Clubs
One of the goals of Project JUMP is to create the next generation of Jewish leaders. To help them meet this objective, Rabbi Chaim Neiditch has been coaching the Yeshiva Atlanta NCSY JUMP team in Community Outreach. Yeshiva Atlanta NCSY JUMP members have been visiting local JSU Public School Clubs to teach teens about Chanukah under his auspices. Mutually beneficial, these meetings have been enlightening and transformative for both groups of teens.
400 Atlanta Teens Celebrate Chanukah in Local Public High Schools with JSU
When the Holiday season rolls around each December, Jews everywhere know that it's time to "light up the night, with candles burning bright" and celebrate Channukah. Excitement was in the air, as well as the overpowering smell of delicious sizzling latkes, as over 400 teens attended JSU club Channukah gatherings in 14 Atlanta high schools around the city.
Rabbi Chaim Neiditch led the proceedings at each of the events, overseeing thrilling dreidel tournaments as well as teaching the teens the original Channukah story and the laws of lighting the menorah. The teens also participated in discussions about the significance of miracles in our lives and took part in other fun activities like decorating wooden dreidels and making edible menorahs. For many teens, these JSU events represented their sole celebration of Chanukah this year.
With a multitude of misinformation in the media, it is of the utmost importance that Jewish teens become educated about the relationship between the Jewish people and Israel, and learn the truth about the current conflict in the middle east. Recently, upwards of 300 teens from 15 Atlanta-area JSU clubs learned about the true history of the State of Israel and Jewish claims to the land. Rabbi Chaim Neiditch also told the teens the harrowing story of Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier held captive for over 5 years in enemy hands. As a way of showing their support for their brothers and sisters in arms, (only a couple years older than themselves), and increase their connection to Israel, the teens made and decorated almost 100 banners to be sent to Israeli soldiers on their army bases. It is hoped that this touching gesture will bolster the spirits of our troops as they guard and protect Israel.
350 Teens Experience the Light of Shabbos
The Jewish calendar is filled with exciting, meaningful, and joyous holidays, but no day has as much presence as Shabbat, the holy day of rest observed on a weekly basis. Recently, 13 JSU clubs in Greater Atlanta area high schools held Shabbat-themed meetings in which participants learned about various aspects of the holy day, including the mitzvah to light Shabbat candles and the special blessing said over them. Over 350 teens took part in the activities, which included making decorative Shabbat candles, and they received copies of the Hebrew blessing text, along with a translation and transliteration, so that they could perform the mitzvah themselves. Indeed, dozens of teens reported lighting Shabbat candles on the Friday night after their JSU club meeting, the first time most of them had ever done so.
Fall Regional Convention in Jacksonville, Florida
Over 180 teens joined together for Southern NCSY's monumental fall Regional Convention. The convention was held on November 11 -13 at the Aloft Tapestry Park Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida, and focused on the topic of "Why Be Jewish. Teens from Florida (South Florida and Jacksonville), Georgia (Savannah and Atlanta), North Carolina (Charlotte) and Alabama (Huntsville) enjoyed an energetic and inspirational Shabbat exploring their Jewish roots. "Shabbat with NCSY is unlike any other Shabbat you may have," said Simone Weisberg, regional vice president. "During ebbing, we were one - one family, one community, one region. After a powerful ebbing and Havdalah, everyone enjoyed a Saturday night filled with ice skating, soccer and basketball.
400 Sukkot crafted by Atlanta teens in JSU
400 teens in 15 greater Atlanta JSU high school clubs competed to build the best sukkah out of gingerbread and colorful candy treats. These hands on activities facilitated Rabbi Chaim Neiditch's Sukkot overview and teen discussions about the significance and fun of Sukkot. Many of the teens also shook the lulav and etrog (the four species). It was a first-ever Sukkot celebration for many. It was a sweet, fun and memorable one for all!
600 Teens Learn about and Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
Over 600 teens got into the Jewish New Year's spirit at exciting events at 15 Jewish Student Union (JSU) clubs across Atlanta. Traditional "dipping the apple into the honey" (for a sweet new year) was taken to a whole new level, as teens dipped their apples into melted caramel and then rolled them in a vast array of candies, including yummy M&Ms and Rolos.
While the events centered around making these delicious delicacies, Rabbi Chaim Neiditch infused the activities with meaning; teaching the teens about the deeper purpose of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The concept of Tshuva (repentance) was discussed. Numerous teens made Jewish New Year's resolutions to take actions that will help them grow spiritually. All in all, the events were a very auspicious start to the new academic year for Atlanta's Jewish youth, many of whom would have had no exposure to the importance and sweetness of the High Holidays if not for the JSU.
Fall Leadership Convention in Atlanta, GA
Teen leaders representing high schools throughout the Greater Atlanta area were invited to participate in NCSY's 2011 Fall Leadership Retreat. Hosted in the home of Rabbi and Mrs. Chaim Neiditch, the teens participated in social and educational programs that were designed to enhance and expand their leadership skills. The weekend ended with a Saturday night activity that included dinner at Broadway Cafe, dessert at Menchie's, and activities at the NCSY Community Teen Center. As a token of our appreciation, all of the teens received NCSY sweatshirts.
Highlights from the weekend:
* 6 teens experienced their first Shabbos during the weekend.
* Teens listened intently as world renowned speaker Rabbi Lavi Greenspan spoke about believing in G-d in the face of adversity.
* Rabbi Ilan Feldman, Rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob, addressed the group about finding something special in everyone.
* A special Candle Lighting ceremony was led by Mrs. Chava Neiditch discussing the meaning behind the mitzvah and beauty of Shabbos.
* Rabbi Chaim Neiditch inspired the group talking about the essence of leadership and the greatness and challenges of being a leader.
We would like to publicly thank our sponsors: Kosher Gourmet, Chai Peking, Mr. Steve Gilmer, Mr. & Mrs. Reuvein Robbins, Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Klein, and Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Rolnick.
NCSY awards $3,500 in scholarships to the Yeshiva Atlanta Graduating class of 2011
NCSY awarded $3,500 dollars to members of the 2011 graduating class from Yeshiva Atlanta towards Torah study in Israel. During this challenging economic time, we are happy to be able to provide assistance to Jewish teens pursuing life changing experiences in Israel. Congratulations to Akiva Halpern and Feivel Glaser who both received meritorious leadership scholarships.
Held at a luxurious resort overlooking the tranquil Nantahala River and Forest in Andrews, North Carolina, teens from the Greater Atlanta area gathered for the end of the year bash, the 2011 Spring Regional Convention. This event kicked off with a big surprise as teens found out they were riding in style to the convention in Hummer Limousines. Over shabbos teens enjoyed a variety of activities including educational sessions led by our outstanding advisory staff, ice-breakers, and games. Shabbat culminated in an inspiring havdalah service that included a moving story and powerful message by Rabbi Chaim Neiditch. The weekend concluded with a fun day trip to Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park. The highlight of the convention was our annual awards ceremony honoring teens that have made great strides in their personal growth and made significant contributions to the Jewish community. Many of the awardees and graduating seniors were moved to share their own reflections about their time in JSU and NCSY, and the impact it has had on them during high school.
Excerpts from moving speeches made by our graduating seniors:
"I grew up in a house with a Christian Dad and Jewish Mom. I celebrated Chanukah and Christmas but I was never really into Judaism...When I got to high school I ended up joining JSU and NCSY... After every convention I try to take something home with me. I started keeping kosher and now talk to G-d every day. Without NCSY I would not be the person I am today in terms of my Jewish identity."
"When I was in 8th grade I begged my parents to let me go to a Jewish high school. When I got there I started to forget why I went....NCSY saved me. It reminded me why I want to be religious."
"I grew up in an Orthodox home. I had the background. I had everything but didn't want to admit it. Starting around my bar mitzvah I tried to prove to everyone that I wasn't religious. That I didn't have any Judaism...Now I am more in touch with who I am religiously and I am ok with expressing it. Thank you Rabbi Neiditch for sticking with me, for standing by my side and helping me get through bad times."
The 2011 Regional awardees are:
Community Service Award
Meritorious Regional Service Award
Ahavas Torah Award
Kesser Sheim Tov Award
Ner Torah Award
Etz Chaim Award
NCSYers of the Year
Over 300 teens made decorative pillow cases for children attending Camp Simcha, a camp for Jewish children that have cancer and debilitating conditions, at 13 JSU Public School Clubs in Atlanta, Georgia. This activity was very meaningful and moving, as well teens were amazed to discover such an organization exists for Jewish children. Teens learned about the mitzvah bikur cholim (caring for those who are sick) and discussed their own experiences with family members that have serious illnesses. This led to a deep discussion where teens learned the Jewish perspective on why bad things happen to good people.
NCSY featured on the Cover of the Jewish Georgian
Jewish Student Union (JSU) of Atlanta and NCSY made history this November by hosting Atlanta's largest overnight Jewish teen event! Held at Andretti's Entertainment, the first ever "All-Nighter" drew over 250 Atlanta teens from 23 local high schools. To start off the event, teens gathered for a moving havdalah ceremony, officially ending Shabbat with words of inspiration from Rabbi Neiditch. Then, everyone hit the track for a JSU club presidents' race on the go-karts. Teens stayed wide awake with activities including Andretti's extreme ropes course, rock climbing wall, bowling alley and unlimited access arcade! An NCSY alumnus joined the party to DJ simcha dancing and music in the sky lounge which lasted early into the morning.
Congratulations to Rabbi Chaim Neiditch on the completion of his book "How to Run a Successful Jewish Club!" This book is about Rabbi Neiditch's experiences building 13 JSU public school Jewish clubs in Atlanta and his innovative educational methodology that inspires over 1,100 Atlanta teens annually. The book is now being used as a primer to prepare public school Jewish club leaders across the country.