200 Teens and Staff Gather for TamarFink NCSY Israel Regional Shabbaton in Tel Aviv

Posted on March 7, 2024

Last Shabbat over 200 teens, staff and guests came together in Northern Tel Aviv for the TamarFink NCSY Israel Regional Shabbaton. Participants were from NCSY Israel’s five chapters across the country where the organization serves 9-12 grade English-speaking teens with regular programming.

Photo credit Yoni Mugrabi

The Shabbaton kicked off with a Friday activity of ice skating in Holon. Participants then arrived for the Shabbat in Northern Tel Aviv right along the Yarkon River. Musical guest, Yosef Wildes led an energetic Kabbalat Shabbat filled with singing and dancing, as well as the musical Havdalah concert at the conclusion of Shabbat.

The Shabbat also included educational activities, games and workshops with the theme of NCSY Stories- telling our individual and national stories. NCSY Israel Educational Director Shlomo Rayman, together with the education team of Meira Shapiro, Ariel Blumstein and Avi Soclof created custom educational content for the teen participants which included Escape the Galut- a Geula themed Escape Room and a panel with NCSY Israel staff who served in the Chavrot Barzel war, to focus on our stories in the past, present and future.

Photo credit Yoni Mugrabi

“At NCSY Israel our focus in our education is engagement and connections” said Shlomo Rayman. “The main purpose is to have a connection with the madrich or madricha, to be engaged with the material, to be excited about the material, to have a positive learning experience. For me it was the highlight of the Shabbaton, after the peulot seeing some of the discussions with the madrichim and madrichot continue going on even after the activity was officially over because the teens wanted to have that conversation, they wanted that connection, they wanted that engagement.”

Emily Stemp is the NCSY Israel Staff Development Director and was significantly involved in the planning of the Shabbaton. She stated “The Shabbaton was everything NCSY is supposed to be — an outlet for our teens to build friendships, grow, inspire and be inspired. It was especially amazing that so many of our staff who had missed our previous Shabbaton because they were serving in the army, were now able to join us again and contribute to the incredible force we created together through singing, learning, davening and connecting. In fact, the impact of this Shabbaton continues to grow, and since Shabbat we have had 15 new registrations for our staff-teen learning program, Chavrutot Barzel!”

Photo credit Nochum Kozadayev

Aylon Mizrachi is currently in 11th grade originally from South Africa now living in Ra’anana. He joined NCSY Israel last year and this was his fourth NCSY Israel Shabbaton. He related “Something I took from the Shabbaton is that even in difficult times there is joy. Both this Shabbaton and the previous one felt like a bubble where we were escaping reality, that we didn’t need to worry about what’s going on in the country. I think in general the Shabbatonim are always self-focused which is amazing and gives you the ability to focus on the now, not before or after. So this Shabbaton was a time where even in the difficult time we’re still with our simcha and spreading that simcha to others.”

Dr. Ariella Agatstein, Jewish educator and board member of NCSY Israel joined the Shabbaton with her family. She said “I was amazed at the Shabbaton experience- the ruach and the Torah sessions- and hearing from NCSYers themselves about how much NCSY has impacted their spiritual lives. NCSY Israel is truly an essential organization for religious teen olim.”

The Shabbaton was sponsored by the TamarFink firm based in Minneapolis. TamarFink is a nationally recognized leader specializing in legacy maximization. To date TamarFink has helped families create over 1.5 billion in charitable giving through tax minimization and the creation of transformation legacy plans that provide families with the needed clarity to achieve their charitable visions and dreams.