Tani made Aliyah from West Hempstead, NY with his family when he was 7 years old, along with a twin sister and two older siblings. Although he integrated well into Israeli society, and speaks Hebrew fluently with an Israeli accent, he found a welcoming place in NCSY with like-minded people.
“We had all left family and friends behind and not everyone in Israel understands that,” explains Tani. “In NCSY, you meet other people just like you.”
“The advisors showed me that you can be cool and learn Torah at the same time,” says Tani. “They are amazing roles models, especially my Chapter Director Shlomo Rayman. With programs like Latte & Learning, I was able to really grasp the nuts and bolts of Zionism, and it definitely helped shape my identity as a Zionist.”
One highlight for Tani was receiving ‘Torah 4 Teens By Teens,’ NCSY Israel’s weekly Torah column in the OU Israel’s ‘Torah Tidbits’ publication. “It helped me feel connected even when everything had to be virtual because of coronavirus. It was really special when my dvar Torah was featured.”
When asked what he would share with other olim, Tani says, “There are a lot of struggles, especially with missing family and friends, but remember that this is the place for the Jewish People. NCSY can give you a lot of emotional support because they are all olim, and we help each other. I’ve been here longer than most people, so I can help my friends, and then they can help their friends and so on. NCSY keeps us all connected.”
Tani is looking forward to beginning his army service with Yeshivat Hesder Ma’alot up north in the coming year.
By Pnina Baim