Spiritually Fighting for Am Yisrael: NCSY Israel Launches Chavrutot Barzel Staff-Teen Learning Initiative

Posted on February 14, 2024

In response to the Charavot Barzel war in Israel, this year NCSY Israel launched a new staff-teen learning initiative titled Chavrutot Barzel. The idea is simple: to fight the war in the ways we can, through Torah learning.

Teens requested NCSY Israel staff members to learn with, whether a madrich or madricha or their Chapter Directors, and selected a sefer or topic of their choice. Some teens are learning one on one with a staff member and others have formed small “chaburot” together with 4 or 5 other teens.

“We saw that our NCSY Israel teens were searching for ways to be helpful during the war and wanted to feel like they were making a difference even if not fighting on the frontlines” said Emily Stemp, NCSY Israel Staff Development Director, who is coordinating the program. “At the same time, we wanted to be sure that our teens were supported spiritually and emotionally by our NCSY Israel staff and community during these challenging and scary times. Chavrutot Barzel provided the perfect model to accomplish both of these goals. The program not only provides an opportunity to use Torah as our spiritual weapon in the war for our nation, but also allows teens and staff alike to light the other’s spiritual flame and feel empowered by the mutual reward that comes from that.”

Ezra Silton, NCSY Israel Chapter Director in Modiin and Chashmonaim, leads a well-attended chabura on Derech Hashem weekly. “When NCSY presented the idea of a chabura I was skeptical. I didn’t think high schoolers would want to come and just learn Torah together” Ezra recalled. “I started a chabura without too much hope and baruch Hashem it has been one of the most successful things I have done this year and in my life. We have a consistent group of 10 teens that meet every Shabbat to learn together Derech Hashem. Never could I have imagined the depth of the conversations and the growing appreciation for Torah among these teens.”

Atara Serwatien from Bet Shemesh is learning the Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchim with her madricha, Meira Shapiro. She stated “I love it because it feels like a recreation of how David Hamelech would have one person sitting and learning for every soldier that he sent to war.”

“We’re learning Masechet Megillah with our amazing Chapter Director Shimmy Goldsmith” said Shua Golubtchik from Ra’anana. “We decided on Megillah as a good starting point for Gemara learning and we really enjoy it. I would highly recommend for others to get together with a madrich or madricha they connect to and pick up anything, even something small to learn. It will really help boost your Torah learning and motivation.”

If you are a NCSY Israel teen interested in joining Chavrutot Barzel visit israel.ncsy.org/chavrutot