Nominated and written by Shoshana Trombka, NCSYer
Last year, I was nervous to go away for the summer. I only knew three people who would be on Michlelet and it was the first NCSY activity I had ever been a part of. Two weeks before we left for Israel, Orly contacted me. We had never talked before, let alone met each other.
This is what she wrote:
“Hey Shoshana! Chana Aliza Miller told me that you going on Michlelet and i just wanted to say im super excited to meet you! and im so excited to spend the summer with you !!:D ”
We talked over the next few days. We talked about school, family, and of course, packing! When I arrived at the airport I recognized Orly right away, her personality made it seem like I was talking to someone who I’ve known for years, not minutes. When I got to my dorm, I was relieved to see that I would be sharing a dira with Orly. For six weeks I was lucky enough to witness someone who truly serves Hashem with joy – Ivdu et Hashem B’Simcha.
When tragedy struck, Orly accomplished from a hospital room what many people have been trying to achieve for years: Jewish unity. People from around the globe reconized Orly’s unique gift. Orly never lost sight of her goal and empowered others through her own stregnth and determination to heal. Just two days after the Keep Smiling for Orly campaign began, a Keep Smiling card (which I had gotten from a woman at the kotel the last time I was with Orly) fell out of my siddur. That was a sign to me from Hashem that He too, was on Orly’s side.
Orly likes to say that NCSY is an acronym for ‘Nothing Can Stop You.’ These are the words that Orly chooses to live by.
Nominated and written by Rachel Lelonek, NCSYer
Orly Ohayon was one of my role models when I decided to become more religious. When I first heard the name “Orly Ohayon,” I did not know her. I was a junior back in November of 2012. I had only heard stories that friends told me about her, and I told myself, “Hey, this girl seems to inspirational! I want to be like her!” I learned more about her from my friend, Jonathan Chansky, on National Board, and when Arielle Freedman set up Call of Inspiration last year and numerous chevrutot were being established in order to learn through this new program, I sought Orly out; I just had to learn with the girl I had heard so much about! Incidentally enough, when I sought her out, she had known who I was because she saw all of my pictures I had posted about Jewish growth on Instagram. We began learning together, and over the summer, I met her in Israel for the first time. After the tragedy with her mother occurred on Yom Kippur, I was devastated because one of the people who has become one of my closest friends had become tragically hurt. But Orly was still being strong and after waiting on hold for nearly two hours, I made sure I could somehow speak to her in the hospital. I was successful, and when I spoke with her for the first time after the accident, she seemed optimistic, something only Orly Ohayon could do in a situation so tragic. Now, nearly six months later, Orly is ahead of her scheduled recovery, is back in school, and continues to inspire K’lal Yisrael. Without doubt, she impacts the lives of everyone she meets. Orly might just be the biggest influential figure in my life to today and I am so glad to be able to call her one of my closest friends. I feel so fortunate to be able to say that about my role model!
Nominated and written by Sarah Engel
I was so privileged to spend the summer with Orly as my roommate on NCSY Michlelet. She inspired me daily, with her love of torah, passion for mitzvot and her true simcha. She is such a role model and I am so thankful I got to spend the time being able to watch and learn and grow from her. The second I got to the airport, Orly ran over to me and gave me a big hug :) She always makes everyone feel comfortable and happy, and she genuinely means it too! She really loves everyone, and she recognizes just how special people truly are, without focusing on externals. She is so eager to learn and grow, and constantly reminded me over the course of the summer just how precious it is that we get to spend our summer learning torah, in such a healthy, positive environment! She has a spark which burns brightly, and ignites everyone around her. Even when times are really tough, her emunah stays strong, her belief in Hashem never wavering. She is a true tzadekes, and we all learn and grow from her!