July 2018 -- Tammuz-Av 5778,  Volume 24, Issue 7

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NCSY’s Summer Program Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

NCSY, the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union (OU), is dedicated to connecting, inspiring and empowering Jewish teens and encouraging passionate Judaism through Torah and tradition. The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey (or TJJ as it is commonly known), one of NCSY’s most popular summer programs, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the summer of 2018..For two decades, TJJ has been bringing public-school students to Israel for a fun, educational and inspirational four-week trip to explore their homeland and connect to their Jewish identity.

“We are extremely proud of the fantastic work that TJJ does, inspiring thousands of teens to connect with Judaism and our homeland,” said Moishe Bane, OU President. “The impact of TJJ summer trips is incalculable and will surely bear fruit for many generations to come.”


To mark this landmark year, NCSY is establishing the TJJ Founders Scholarship in honor of Rabbi Barry Goldfischer (in photo), the beloved TJJ educator known for his warm and engaging personality. Rabbi Goldfischer is the current director of TJJ and has been involved with the program since its inception.


“Rabbi Goldfischer has been an enormous role model for me,” said Adele Lerner, a 2012 alumna of TJJ Ambassadors. “He is a giant in Torah and education, and yet carries himself with complete humility and gives endlessly to anyone he meets. He has inspired me to go above and beyond as an NCSY advisor and a teacher.”


On June 25, there was a one-time crowdfunding campaign to raise $20,000, which will provide a full scholarship for one TJJ participant for each of the next 5 years.

A festive celebration to mark TJJ’s 20th year will take place in Israel on July 25 at Yom NCSY, a highlight of the summer when 3,000 people from all of NCSY’s summer programs gather for a concert and fun-filled night of music and inspiration. TJJ staff, advisors and alumni from throughout the program’s history will be invited to join the celebration where TJJ’s leadership will be honored for their work. A website highlighting the impact of TJJ, TJJat20.ncsy.org, has been launched in the lead up to Yom NCSY.


“NCSY, and TJJ in particular, has been so successful at educating the next generation of Jewish leaders, and we look forward to celebrating this milestone,” added Rabbi Micah Greenland, international director of NCSY.


In 1999, TJJ recruited 35 teens for its inaugural summer.  Twenty years later, it has served more than 4,000 teenagers. The program’s growth and success has been partly attributed to its affordability as is it heavily subsidized by the Orthodox Union, NCSY’s parent organization; charitable foundations and individual donors. In 2014, The Jerusalem Journey was renamed The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey.

“Lee Samson’s vision, and generous philanthropy in memory of his beloved wife Anne, has enabled thousands of unaffiliated public-school students to connect with their Jewish heritage through an incomparable Israel experience,” said Allen Fagin, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union.


TJJ also runs a separate TJJ Ambassadors trip that combines touring, leadership training, and Israel advocacy, as well as TJJ Ambassadors Poland, which allows TJJ alumni to discover Jewish history in Poland before touring Israel through the lens of Jewish leadership and social action.


To learn more about The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey and the 20th anniversary, visit TJJat20.ncsy.org.


NCSY provides innovative, informal Jewish education, leadership training, retreats and summer programs that foster positive Jewish identity and connection to Israel, preparing the next generation of committed Jewish communal leaders. For more information, visit https://ncsy.org.