Nominated and written by Rachel Lelonek, NCSYer
Eli Weinstein’s full name is Elinatan Chaim. His name literally translates to “G-d gave life.” And his name totally suits him! Eli, who became a Plainview advisor earlier this year, helped breathe life into a chapter that was completely under the radar. When you thought of New York NCSY until this year, you would only think the most prominent chapters were Queens, Brooklyn and maybe Oceanside. Because of Eli, Plainview is on the map and is probably the best chapter in the region.
When you think of the Face of New York NCSY, the person who should pop up in your head is Eli. Eli has one of the kindest hearts in the entire world. His devotion comes through in everything he does and makes everyone around him feel comfortable. Even to a stranger, Eli extends himself and would bend over backwards to make him or her feel comfortable. His smile shines so bright and his heart is filled with so much love. It’s hard not to become friends with Eli after the first meeting.
A former Miami Boy Choir member and NCSYer, Eli always has stories to tell from his childhood and adolescence and never forgets to throw in a joke or two. But aside from joking around, Eli is there for anyone in his or her time of need. He makes sure to stay on top of someone who is going through hardships and makes sure that no one is ever feeling alone or excluded. He laughs and smiles when one is happy and his heart goes out to someone in pain.
I have had the privilege of knowing Eli for about a year and for being in his chapter since September. Every week, when Eli comes to Latte and Learning, he comes with a hype of energy and a vast array of knowledge. It is because of Eli that I was able to have the confidence to give a D’var Torah at Yarchei Kallah, decide to go to seminary, and desire to become an advisor after Israel. He is the older brother I’ve always wanted and I know that he’ll always be there for me and is one of the best advisors an NCSYer could ever have!
Nominated and written by Nicole Swerdloff
Where in the world do I start with Eli?
The first time I met Eli Weinstein was at Oceanside Latte and Learning in January of 2013. I had heard about him and how amazing he is from other kids and I was all “who the heck is this guy?!” It was my first time ever going to Lattes, and I had no idea what I was in for. Honestly, I don’t think Eli did either. He quickly learned that my attention span basically doesn’t exist by 8 pm. Despite this, he continued to speak, pausing patiently every time I blurted out a comment or a question. After that first week, I kept coming back, and Eli kept making me WANT to learn about Judaism. I never wanted to miss a Latte and to learn with Eli. Week after week I kept coming back, and week after week, Eli kept inspiring me.
When I learned that Eli would be doing Plainview Lattes this year and not Oceanside, I was devestated. (Not as much anymore, we still have awesome advisors). But then I realized that we have facebook. I can still talk to him and learn with him whenever.
Since I met Eli, he’s been my go-to person for every single one of my Judaism-related questions, and he’s always there for me if I ever need to talk.
This past Spring Regional was my last regional and I had been on regional board for the past year. Moments after I blew out my candle, I started crying. Eli saw me crying and motioned for me to come over to the side to talk to me. The first sentence out of his mouth was “is it okay if I make you cry a little more?” And then continued to tell me that no matter what, he’ll always be there for me, and that even in like, 10 years if I need to talk to someone, I could go to him. I hadn’t completely realized that the connections you make with specific advisors won’t die out when you leave NCSY. Those connections will stick with you forever, and those advisors that you personally connect with will continue being an inspiration for you years after you leave NCSY.
Eli’s been a huge inspiration not only to me, but to so many other New York NCSYers. I’m so grateful I met him, and honestly, I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t had an advisor like Eli, who instantly connected with me and never gave up on trying to teach me about Judaism, even when I wasn’t focused at all. He never gave up, and that’s what makes Eli so inspirational.