60 Faces of NCSY

Often, a person has no idea of the impact he or she has made on someone else. 60 Faces of NCSY was created to change that. The people we feature every day were nominated by NCSY alumni and NCSYers to express gratitude to someone that inspired them.

Joey Pollak

Nominated and written by Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, Director NCSY Alumni


I first met Joey when his wife Bonnie Sue was the secretary in the Regional office (Bonnie went on to be an outstanding Regional Director of Atlantic Seaboard NCSY). I remember visiting their house on Glenn Avenue and wondering who was this crazy person who had more fun during a Shabbos meal then should be legal for any three people. When I began to explore Judaism more seriously years later, their home was a natural place for me to start.

Hanging with Joey was non-stop fun. Here was the adult who never grew up and I wanted to be just like him. He was a successful accountant, played all sports well, had an arm like a NFL quarterback and when he got hold of softball, forget about finding it! Most of all he was a huge machshiv Torah. He taught me to respect Talmidei Chachamin and to strive to learn as much Torah as I could. He set me up with the coolest chavrusas in Ner Israel and got my public school to let me out early and get credit for learning. When I did not act up to his standards he let me know in ways I could never forget it and even today quite often I find myself wondering, what would Joey do.

After I became a Yeshiva Bochur, I had an open invitation to bring all my friends to his “Man Cave” always had the best air conditioning, the best sports, thanks to Bonnie the best food and of course for Joey always nothing but cold Pepsi.

Bonnie set me up with my wife Chani (together with her sister and my wife’s Aunt Idie) and of course I wanted Joey to be a witness at my wedding. In typical Joey style, they made it to the wedding but too late for that honour. Need to guess why? A football game went overtime of course with Joey as always being the winning quarterback!