Touro College to Sponsor Opening Shabbat of NCSY’s Give-USA Program
Lander College for Women-The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School (LCW) will sponsor the opening Shabbat of the NCSY’s GIVE-USA, a travel camp focusing on acts of chesed, loving-kindness. The event, which takes place Friday, June 28 through Sunday, June 30, kicks off the four-and-half-week long camp.
The opening Shabbat will feature LCW professor, Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, as the keynote speaker at the kickoff, which takes place at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa in Kerhonkson, NY. Rabbi Goldwasser is a best-selling author, whose latest book, “The Addicted Soul,” grapples with a variety of addictive behaviors. His work encompasses a wide range of subject matter including daily guides to Jewish living, personal stories of inspiration, and coping with eating disorders. Rabbi Goldwasser's radio feature Morning Chizuk is heard daily on JM in the AM (WFMU-FM and jmintheam.org) and The Nachum Segal Network. He is a weekly columnist for the Jewish Press, has been featured in a special series on WABC, and has appeared on CNN and CBS Television. He is also the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnei Yitzchok in Brooklyn.
GIVE-USA is patterned on NCSY’s successful GIVE program, a social action travel camp in Israel. Organizers of the domestic program wanted to offer young women a summer steeped in social action projects in their own country. The idea is to provide them with a lens on a world with which they may have little knowledge, says GIVE-USA Director Amy Tropp. The 40 participants, from all over the United States and Canada, most of whom attend yeshivot and will be entering 10th through 12th grades this fall, will work with both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. The girls had to be interviewed and accepted to the program.
“We want our campers to realize that they really can make a difference and have an impact in the world,” says Ms. Tropp, a teacher at Bruriah High School in New Jersey, and a veteran of NCSY summer programs. “At the same time, we want them to see how much they benefit. They too are the beneficiaries and will be richer for the experience.”
Some of the activities will include one-on-one volunteering, such as serving in a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly in senior centers, or working with special needs children, she notes. Other activities will be more anonymous, such as cleaning a cemetery. The impetus behind founding the program was NCSY participants themselves, who expressed a deep longing to “do something,” Tropp says.
The girls will start with one week in New York’s Catskills Mountains, then travel to New Orleans, Atlanta, Memphis, Albany and back to the Catskills to conclude the program.
LCW has a longstanding relationship with NCSY and the OU. Touro College’s founder, Dr. Bernard Lander was a driving force behind the Orthodox youth movement, which was founded in 1954. Sponsoring the opening event for GIVE-USA is an exciting opportunity for the college, which draws many of its incoming freshmen from the ranks of the national youth program, according to Dean Marian Stoltz-Loike. LCW students also work as counselors and leaders in NCSY, providing role models for their charges and fostering an ongoing partnership.
“Dr. Lander’s leading role in helping to create and nurture NCSY, and later Touro College, recognized that our youth need a place to foster their innate curiosity and intelligence while engaging in acts of chesed,” says Stoltz-Loike. “It is only fitting that LCW be a part of launching a new NCSY program that promotes those values as these young women seek their place in the world.”
NCSY reaches 35,000 teens from more than 200 cities across six countries each year. NCSY connects with Jewish teens through innovative, cutting-edge social and recreational programs to develop a positive Jewish identity; inspires Jewish teens through informal Jewish education, retreats and summer programs; and empowers teens through leadership development and guidance to become passionately-committed leaders of the Jewish community. For further information, see NCSY.org.