May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

NCSY Winter Regional–Mitzvot and Fun for Everyone

Kerhonksen, NY–This year’s NCSY Winter Regional at the Hudson Valley Resort was a weekend like no other, according to high school attendees spanning all grade levels. Following Thursday evening learning opportunities, NCSYers were given the choice of participating in one of three mitzvah activities: CPR, mitzvah clowning, or American Sign Language.

The CPR course was taught via a video, with an assist by instructor Ari Lewitter. NCSYers learned “Friends & Family CPR Anytime.” This included basic CPR skills and AED awareness (how to use an automated exterior defibrillator).

Mitzvah clowning taught students the skills necessary to entertain the sick, elderly, or those with special needs. They learned how to apply clown make-up, create balloon animals, and initiate conversations with others who may be different from them.

The sign language group watched projector images on a wall, then participated as the instructor went through the sign language alphabet and asked specific people to “sign” their names. Then she went through common phrases like, “I don’t know sign language” and “nice to meet you.”

Friday offered activities that were simply meant to be fun. Attendees had the option of playing bubble soccer and/or foam archery. The activities were open all day, so students were able to participate as many times as they wanted.

Over Shabbos there were a number of speakers who shared their stories and knowledge with the NCSYers. One of the most powerful was the story of people who survived a plane hijacking. It was incredible and inspiring, and showed the courage of an amazing man and woman. The talk was given by Dr. Gerry and Rivka Berkowitz of Buffalo, NY.

Following a meaningful and fun havdalah program, Saturday night’s activity was a murder mystery. The advisors put on a skit and the NCSYers had papers and pens with which to take notes in order to solve the case. This was something new for the students who not only had a great time, but loved the bonding experience of working together.

NCSY runs two regional Shabbatons each year, one in the winter and a second in the spring. Students are hoping that the wonderful mitzvah activities they experienced at this Shabbaton will be repeated and expanded on during Shabbatons to come. They are already counting down the days until they can all be together again at the 2015 Spring Regional.

By Lindsey Blenden and Jill Kirsch

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