April 21, 2024
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April 21, 2024
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Michlelet NCSY Rolls Out New Mechina Program

From California to Washington, from Canada to Israel, 154 girls set off last week for a fun and meaningful summer with NCSY Michlelet, a program that seeks to balance Torat Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael.

Assistant Director Ora Schrier explained, “Michlelet NCSY is all about creating a fun-filled and fulfilling summer. Girls leave the summer feeling that they had the most incredible time while simultaneously feeling so proud of how that time was spent. Michlelet strives to create a balance of fostering love for Eretz Yisrael, the Jewish people and Torah without compromising on having an exciting and fun camp experience. To achieve this, each week the girls have a balance of touring and trips to help connect them to the land, volunteering and chesed opportunities, and chaburas and Torah learning. One of our goals is for girls to see that being a well-balanced ovedet Hashem (servant of God) means being able to dance like crazy at a chagiga, dole out dinner at a soup kitchen, travel to Tzfat, enjoy exciting activities filled with laughter and ask questions during a chabura, all in the same week.”

However, before the amazing experience can start, the girls must travel to Israel. This year’s cohort is Michlelet’s biggest-ever group of girls, and for the first time, Michlelet sent the girls to Israel on two separate flights. At 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, JFK airport was a flurry of activity as campers and their families congregated to say goodbye. After checking in their luggage, the girls and their families made their way together to a staging area, where they received T-shirts, drawstring bags, electrical adaptors and name tags. The girls, together with their families, then had some time to talk to other girls and their madrichot.

Schrier explained, “The departure is an exciting time but we definitely understand it can be nerve-wracking for campers (and their parents), many of whom have never been away from home for six weeks or in Israel on their own. Our staff comes prepared to greet each camper, welcoming them and their families and are ready to answer any last-minute questions. Our primary goal is making sure all campers feel welcome and looking out for any girl who might be feeling homesick or need a little extra TLC. Baruch Hashem, one of the most positive things we hear from campers at the end of the summer is how comfortable all of the staff made them feel at the airport and on the plane.”

Also congregating at JFK were 14 young women without yeshiva backgrounds, who were also participating in the Michlelet program. Schrier explained that Michlelet “just started a mechina program this year where 14 incredible young women enrolled in public high schools will be joining the program. In previous years we’ve had a few public school students join us, but this is the first year where we will have such a large group with a specially tailored learning program. We’re really confident everyone on Michlelet this summer will gain tremendously from this experience.”

The girls were looking forward to their summer on Michlelet. Atara said she was “most excited for touring the Land of Israel in a unique and different way with many special people.” For Chava it was her first time ever going to Israel, so she was looking forward to “going to Israel, doing chesed and learning Torah and falling in love with the land.” Chani said she wanted to “meet new people and form new relationships while having a good Israel experience.” Rachel was excited mostly for the learning.

The parents also were excited for their daughters. One father said he was looking for his daughter “to get a break from the routine and to have the revach (respite) in her life to be inspired and grow with her friends.” Another mother stated that it was her daughter’s “first visit to Israel and I want her to see the land and learn to love the land in a great environment.” Another mother, whose daughter is a returning Michlelet NCSYer, said that her daughter considered Michlelet a utopia and she hopes that her experience this year is as great as the last.

However, it is not only the girls going on the program and their parents who are excited. Director Rivka Yudin said she and her staff are also excited for “another wonderful summer on Michlelet. We know how Michlelet really creates friendships for a lifetime with fellow Michlelet NCSYers and unbelievable madrichot. I am often told you can spot a Michlelet NCSYer from far with the passion she has for Yiddishkeit while being so wholesome and balanced and normal. It is a real honor and privilege for me to be part of Michlelet NCSY and experience the summer with such phenomenal quality young women. We are looking forward to another unparalleled summer on Michlelet.”

By Sara Schapiro

Sara Schapiro is a rising sophomore at Stern College for Women and a resident of Bergenfield.

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