November 2020 -- Cheshvan-Kislev 5781,  Volume 26, Issue 11

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Naomi Nachman

NCSY’S “One Shabbos” Initiative

More than 1,000 teens participated in NCSY’s “One Shabbos” initiative, part of the global “Shabbos Project” celebrations held around the world on the first weekend of November. From Thursday evening through Saturday night, 85 programs took place in 43 cities across the United States, Canada and Israel under the auspices of the Orthodox Union’s flagship youth movement.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many aspects of our daily lives, including Shabbos, a time when we come together with family and friends to share meals, sing songs, share divrei torah and usher out Shabbos together with communal Havdallahs. NCSY Shabbatonim center around creating these magical moments for teens around the world. As Jewish communities celebrated the Shabbos Project, NCSY created the “One Shabbos” initiative to bring the magic and beauty of Shabbos to every teen.

 

The weekend kicked-off on Thursday night with a challah bake for Jr. NCSYers and their families with famed kosher cookbook author and personal chef Naomi Nachman. Simultaneously, Dean of the JSU Leadership Institute Rabbi Derek Gormin hosted a JSU Shabbos Workshop. This was followed by the worldwide launch of “One Shabbos” and then a panel for parents on the topic of “Making the Shabbos Table Engaging,” where OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer offered introductory remarks The panel was moderated by Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin and featured Rabbi Judah Mischel, Mrs. Elisheva Kaminsetsky and Rabbi Efrem Goldberg. Simultaneously, the organization’s national board hosted a virtual “Latte & Learning” for teens with Rabbi Israel Lashak. The evening culminated with a special mishmar program for NCSY advisors led by Rabbi Moshe Benovitz, managing director of NCSY. The organization partnered with the Nachum Segal Network to do a special Shabbos song countdown where people around the country voted for their favorite Shabbos song and the top three winning songs were presented on Thursday evening with media notable Nachum Segal.

 

Participating teens received physical or digital packages to enhance their Shabbos experience and each teen took on something special for Shabbos for this past week, such as lighting candles earlier or committing to not use their phones in observance of Shabbos. They participated in local and regional programming that NCSY organized in 43 cities around the country which took place at various times throughout Shabbos.

“The NCSY Shabbos experience has been a life-changing event for so many members of our community. Before the pandemic, I would visit Jewish communities around the world and people would always come over to tell me that their experience at an NCSY Shabbaton inspired them and impacted their lives,” said OU President Moishe Bane. “I’m so glad to see NCSY bringing this program to communities in North America and Israel even in these difficult times.”

 

“Shabbos is such a central and integral part of our week. We are incredibly proud of the NCSY leadership team who – at a time when they are unable to run conventional Shabbatonim - developed the One Shabbos initiative so that teens around the world could come together to celebrate this one Shabbos and be inspired with NCSY’s trademark spirit and creativity,” said OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer.

 

“We have brought the allure of the NCSY Shabbos experience to every teen and their families this past weekend. Each program was carefully designed to offer similar inspiration and opportunity for spiritual connection that you would find at any of our Shabbatonim,” said NCSY International Director Rabbi Micah Greenland. “I’m so appreciative of all of the time and effort that our staff has put into developing this incredibly dynamic program that is so important to our teens.”

 

For more information, visit: https://ncsy.org/oneshabbos/

 

Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs. For more information, visit https://www.ou.org/.