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.

Rabbi Adam Simon

San Diego NCSY Director; Former NCSYer

Nominated and Written By Yali Cohen,  NCSY Alumna

Rabbi Adam Simon is a constant inspiration. It is unduly limiting to pinpoint only one or two specific things he has done to inspire me because he inspires me on a daily basis. Adam motivates me to be a better person by example—just by being himself. He is always working to improve himself, others, the community, the world. Adam doesn’t just do it graciously, but also selflessly; he and his wife, Chava, have been delaying their longed for Aliyah on account of their reluctance to leave behind their beloved NCSYers in San Diego. Their dedication to educate and inspire the Jewish future is itself enough to admire.

Adam Simon is a true builder of leaders. Not only does he know the meaning of bringing out potential, but Adam possesses a unique ability to ascertain and understand others’ strengths and weaknesses. He sees how each individual can participate and therefore come together as a powerful, working unit. The words “leader” and “leadership” have been removed from the San Diego NCSY vocabulary, because everyone is a leader. Instead of “training leaders”, Adam simply gives teens the tools they need to do great things. He is a firm believer in his mantra, “If you want to be something, do something.” Adam, in fact, personifies this motto.

Anyone who has ever met or had the privilege of forming a real relationship with Rabbi Simon can attest to the fact that he is an innovative, passionate, and genuine person. He is a deep-thinking individual with an incredible ability to express his thoughts in a way that is relatable and encourages others to think as well. His humility is astounding for one who has accomplished, and continues to accomplish, so much.

Rabbi Adam Simon doesn’t simply learn or teach Torah, he LIVES Torah.


Nominated and Written by Shiran Arusi, NCSY Alumna

For the two years that I was involved in San Diego NCSY, Rabbi Simon was always there for me. Watching him work so hard everyday for our chapter inspired me to want to do the same. I told him on my first San Diego Shabbaton that I wanted to be a Chapter Leader. His response: “So all you have to do is lead.” The simple response really stuck with me.

Rabbi Simon not only inspired me to do my best, but he helped me reach my goal, as well. Someone who truly cares that much is hard to find. It was overwhelming to start from scratch, especially in a new city that wasn’t my hometown, but Rabbi Simon helped me set up a strong foundation for myself and helped me through every step, every slump, and every challenge. Without an influence like Rabbi Simon I really don’t think I would be where I am today and I’m forever grateful. It is evident in our amazing chapter that he inspires each and every one of our NCSYers and Advisors. His passion and commitment for Torah learning, growth, and leadership is truly the flame that keeps the San Diego NCSY Chapter shining bright year after year.