August 9th- Don’t Want It to End
Today was the last full day of normal Kollel and it certainly packed a punch. Morning seder was cut a little short for a special presentation thanking the morning shiur rebbeim for all their fantastic work this summer. Every Rebbe received a standing ovation and Rabbi Isaacson shared a few words of what Kollel means to him before everyone went to get lunch.
After mincha, Kollel started a brand-new initiative, where every chabura went around Beit Meir cleaning up garbage. For every garbage bag filled, the chabura received 40 shekel in food to buy sometime over the upcoming weekend.
The sports schedule was packed with the play-off semifinals and many All-Star games. One of the play-off games as well as the Rebbe-Talmid game were decided by buzzer beaters setting the stage for what is sure to be a thrilling conclusion to the sports league.
The final night seder of the summer was laden with emotion, and it was followed by one of the last chaburas of the summer. Rabbi Lebowitz then made a siyum on Seder Nezikin, continuing the Kollel tradition of finishing a seder of Mishnayot every year. He then announced that he will be learning Seder Kodshim and that all of Kollel was encouraged to do the same. After some cholent, mishmar continued late into the night with a guest shiur from Rav Reuven Taragin which concluded the amazing day.
August 8th- Creating Memories
As the summer winds down, Kollel keeps getting better and better, determined to end the summer maintaining its excellent standards of learning and programing. Morning seder has been strong all week and today was no exception. The afternoon contained the Playoff quarterfinals as well as an amazing trip to the beach where 2 busses enjoyed football, spikeball, and the massive waves.
Dinner started later than usual and saw the entire Kollel enjoying Burger’s Bar under the same roof (or tent as the case may be). This dinner was, in fact, a seudas mitzva thanks to the siyum made by Yis Richter on Massechet Yoma. Dinner was immediately followed by the first half of thank-yous to the staff. Rav Benovitz highlighted the immense contributions made by the EMTs, Tech Staff, Sports Staff, Junior Madrichim, and Shoelei Umeshivim, all of whom received standing ovations from the NCSYers in recognition of their nonstop work and dedication to the program.
The day ended with the Kollel leaving campus to two locations. Half of the camp visited iJump, a trampoline park complete with facilities for dodgeball, basketball, and gymnastics all with a little more bounce. The rest went bowling a timeless classic which delighted those who wished to remain a little closer to the ground. Both trips were fantastic and the campers returned to camp happy and looking forward to the fantastic days remaining.
August 7th- The Good Kind of War
Today was a day of friendly conflict and competition from start to finish. Immediately following Shachris, all off NCSY Kollel grouped into chaburas and headed to the center of Yerushalayim. Each chabura was dressed is a specific costume or matching theme.
Once in Yerushalayim, the Chabura Wars Scavenger Hunt began. Centered around Ben Yehuda and the Shuk, the competition saw the NCSYers completeing tasks, such as getting hired in local stores, performing acts of chesed, finding obscure products, and getting random strangers to dance. After a long morning of fun and excitement the chaburas of Matthew Wexler, Eli Goldberg, Jon Hurwitz, Zev Markowitz, Zev Jaroshow, and Avrumi Schoenbron emerged victorious.
Upon returning to Bet Meir, the playoffs resumed the next round which reduced each tournament from 16 teams to 8 as the season winds down.
After Night Seder, there were 6 independent shiur options for those who wanted to stay late to learn. The Beis was rocking late into the night once again as the day came to a close.
August 6th- Playoffs!!
The last week of Kollel continues with the camp constantly striving for bigger and better moments to conclude the summer. The day kicked off with an exciting visit from Rav Shalom Rosner, who spoke to staff and campers. Rav Rosner is both a former Kollel parent as well as a Rebbe and mentor to many of the campers and staff.
The excitement continued into the afternoon with the first round of playoffs. In addition to the 10 playoff and NIT games, several All-Star games were played which involved the post-10th graders, post- 11th graders, sports staff, madrichim, and Head Staff. Overall, it was a fun time which allowed for Kollel’s best players to share the court together and play some phenomenal basketball.
In lieu of traditional night seder, the Kollel had its 2nd and final Leil Iyun of the summer featuring a stacked line-up of speakers. There were 2 panels consisting of Rav Burg and Rav Bronfeld and Rav Blachman paired up with Rav Taragin. The action culminated with a schmooze from renowned speaker Charlie Hararay who was mechazek the Kollel with words of inspiration before maariv. There was a strong post-maariv learning presence in the Beis all the way up to curfew, which brought this amazing day to an end.
August 5th- Beginning of the End
As the last week of NCSY Kollel 2018 begins, the finish line for the summer is very much in sight. This has infused the campers and staff with a sense of urgency as every moment and opportunity presented must be capitalized on before the summer ends and we are forced to leave the wonderful environment we find ourselves in.
This intensity could be felt in morning and night sedarim as well as chaburas as the learning opportunities become increasingly limited. In addition to the normally scheduled learning there was a noticeable uptick in post-maariv learning as campers and staff joined together to maximize the hours spent in the Beis Medrash.
There was also something extra out on the courts as the final day of the regular season concluded with several play-off spots still up for grabs. Several crucial games went down to the wire and as the dust settled we officially have a 22-team Play-off bracket and 20 team NIT. More excitement s sure to follow as the summer winds down.
Chabura Spotlight: Shloimy Eichler
Shloimy Eichler is returning to NCSY Kollel for his second year as a Staff member and first year as a madrich. After making Aliyah in 2008, Shloimy went to Sha’alei Torah in Bet Shemesh for high school. He just completed his fifth year in the KBY hesder program which included a year and a half in the army.
Shloimy is joined this summer by four of the best campers kollel has to offer: Avraham Frohlich (Heichal Hatorah) from Bergenfield, NJ; Zevi Cohen (Herzog Bnei Brak) from Raanana; Shuey Feierman (MAY) from Far Rockaway, NY; and Ethan Teigman (TABC) from Teaneck, NJ.
Shloimy and the ‘Bura have spent the summer learning about Chagim and Moadim. Specifically, the crew has focused on asking smart questions about each of the chagim as a springboard into broader discussions of Torah values. Shloimy really makes the torah come alive, and everyone leaves chabura with a memorable experience.
It should continue to be a summer of growth and fun. We wish the chabura haltzlacha going forward.
Chabura Spotlight: Etan Soclof
Etan Soclof is a former Kollel camper and staffer who is returning for his first year as a Madrich. Eitan attended Mizrachi for High School followed by 2 years at Gush. Eitan is respected amongst the staff for his hasmadah and dedication to the program. In addition to his job as a Madrich, Eitan helps out with Rav Gotlieb’s Night shiur.
Etan is joined by four amazing campers. Yoni Benezra (Farber Hebrew Day School) from West Bloomfield MI; Meir Rehany (Hebrew Academy of Montreal) from Malone, NY; Zach Kaufman (Yeshiva of Far Rockaway) from Woodmere, NY; and last but not least, Avi Paley from (Yeshivat Shaalvim) from Nof Ayalon in Eretz Yisrael.
Etan and his guys will spend this summer learning sugyas in tzitzit and tefillin. Through group discussion and an intense analysis of various biblical Talmudic and halachick sources the chabbura will compare and contrast different topics in the sugyot through fundamental questions with the goal of walking away from every day of Chabburas with a new exciting and more in depth understanding of these mitzvot.
August 2nd- Working Hard Till the End
Today marked a strong end to a strong week 5 on NCSY Kollel. The day started with a special late shachris after all the fun and excitement of the previous night in Yerushalayim. This was followed by a normal schedule until the sports break which included two unique additions.
First, was the 3-on-3 championship which entertained a large audience all the way to its thrilling overtime conclusion when Josh Kaufman hit a layup at the buzzer to give his team a narrow but hard-fought victory. The day also say NCSY Kollel play against NCSY Bilt in a basketball All-Star game which Kollel won. All of this took place amongst a nearly full slate of league games which were filled with intensity as the regular season winds down.
Before night seder, the Kollel staff had the privilege of hearing from Rav Aryeh Lebowitz, who spoke about how to teach halacha. Rav Lebowitz also gave one of the night shiurim which was attended by about 100 campers and staff.
After Maariv, Rav Burg gave his Thursday night shiur and the beis stayed packed until 11:30 with campers who elected to stay later for Mishmar. Chulent was served at 11:30 to the entire camp and everyone went to sleep in anticipation of the upcoming free weekend.
Chabura Spotlight: Avi Weschler
Avi Weschler is a former Kollel camper and staffer who is returning as a Madrich for the second straight year. Avi grew up in West Hempstead and attended MTA for high school. After a year of learning in Israel he returned to the Heights to learn in YU and is currently the Shiur Assistant to Rav Aharon Kahn.
Avi is joined this summer by four amazing campers. Yitzchak Lowy (DRS) is from Lawrence, NY; Mordechai Shekhter (Katz Yeshiva High School) lives in Hollywood, Fl; Gavriel Toplan (Rambam) lives in West Hempstead, NY; and Yaakov Wilner (YULA) hails from Los Angeles, CA. The campers all add their personal hometown touch to the chabura. The cross-globe membership really pushes the chabura over the top.
This summer, the ‘Bura will be learning about davening. The sessions pull from a variety of sources which aim to demonstrate how and why we daven. The campers have already learnt a lot and are eager to continue to grow as the summer continues.
We wish the chabura much hatzlacha going forward. It should be the Best Summer Ever.
Chabura Spotlight: Eitan Rolnick
Eitan Rolnick is returning to NCSY Kollel for his second summer as a madrich on NCSY Kollel. Eitan spent his high school years in Yeshivat Frisch and then spent 2 years at Yeshivat Torat Shraga. He is currently learning and studying in YU. Eitan’s friendly demeanor makes him a popular staff member and aids him in forging strong relationships with his campers.
Eitan’s chabura consists of 6 kids from three different parts of North America. Eitan Levy and Binyamin Freundlich are from Montreal and attend Hebrew Academy. Aaron Kraut and Benji Marcus live in Pittsburgh and go to Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. Jonathan Rogoff and Hilly Schreiber are from the Five Towns and learn in MAY.
Eitan and the crew will spend the summer learning about how to be mekadesh shem shamayim on a daily basis. The sessions are designed to introduce the campers the idea of Judaism being an all-encompassing way of life that has something to say about every aspect of our lives.
The guys have been having an amazing summer learning and chilling together and the good times should hopefully continue for the remaining weeks.