Written and nominated by Miriam Moshkovski, NCSY Alumna
I have always been deeply passionate about Judaism and leading a Jewish lifestyle. It is important to me to play an active role in the Jewish community – as such, I had been chapter president and on regional council a number of years in high school. As an avid participator in NCSY, I lived for meeting new people who are passionate about Judaism and for the people who came looking to discover that passion with whom I could share my own enthusiasm for the beauty of Judaism.
Jon Ackerman had been a mentor for me in NCSY and a role model as someone who works for the greater good of the Jewish youth and future of Am Yisrael. As much as I am committed to being a proud Jew, I have had my days of questioning and doubt as does any average teenager. He was also the one who helped me see past those more confusing days at a critical point in my life.
Just as I was nearing the end of senior year, I found myself uncertain about what lies ahead and where I want to go. I had to make a decision about whether to go to seminary – to commit a whole year to torah learning and self discovery, or go straight to university. I remember one particular conversation on a shabbaton that year in which Jon helped me understand the importance of dedicating that year to my future. He helped me make a decision that became a remarkable turning point in my life.
That single decision of attending seminary which I made with Jon’s help and guidance led to a series of other events which have changed my life and brought me to where I am today. I am currently a Lieutenant in the Israel Defense Force working in the Education Corps to help young Israeli soldiers build a love and appreciation for the Land of Israel and a better understanding of its people by exploring our history – ancient and modern, traveling the land of israel, speaking of ethics and values, and volunteering around the country. It was Jon’s words to always think of a “5 year plan,” of where I want my life to go and what person I want to be 5 years from any given moment that stayed with me and rang loudly when I found myself face to face with real life decisions in that seminary year. It was Jon’s passion for Judaism and dedication to the Jewish youth that led me to a similar path of educating Israel’s youth in the Israel Defense Force.
I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today or the person that I am today without the values and experiences that I received in NCSY and from the people who were a part of that experience with me.