Nominated and written by Benji Cheirif, NCSY Alumnus and former Advisor
After being kicked out of public school my sophomore year, I was given an option by my parents: Military school or Jewish Day School. I chose military school. My parents sent me to the Jewish Day School. Little did I know that the decision which was made for me some 14 years ago would lead me to the person that has influenced my life the most and is responsible for the person I am today.
After meeting Rabbi Lashak, we connected instantaneosly. He inspired me with his speeches and showed me the beauty of the world through the Torah’s perspective. After graduating from high school, he took me under his wing as an advisor for NCSY. We traveled to thirteen countries together. Through our time together on these NCSY programs, he inspired me to inspire others. Through his guidance I became the person I am today. Baruch Hashem, I am now living in Jerusalem with a loving wife & three beautiful boys. I am learning full time in Kollel and giving shiurim at a yeshiva here in Jerusalem. Just yesterday I used one of his “hero” classes to inspire two bochurim that are trying out yeshiva for the first time. Thanks to Rabbi Lashak, I have the ability to help others get closer to Judaism.
Rabbi Lashak is one of the most incredible people on the planet. Anyone who has ever spent five minutes with him knows exactly what I am talking about. If it wasn’t for him and NCSY, hundreds of Jews, including myself, would have no connection to Judaism at all.
Nominated and written by Aliza Blum, NCSY Alumna
I met Rabbi Israel Lashak right after 11th grade in 2011. After years of hoping that I would go on a summer program with NCSY, the time finally arrived. When I chose ICE, I went in with the idea that so many others have: the chance to travel around Europe and Israel without any parents. What I didn’t expect was that I would meet one of the most influential rabbis of my life. Before I signed up for ICE, I did not think that I would ever be the type of girl to go to seminary and wear skirts. After spending only a month in Israel with Rabbi Lashak and seeing his love for the land of Israel, I knew that I had to spend more time there. I applied to seminary and got into an amazing school and had the most inspirational year of my life.
When I think of people who inspire me, the first person that comes to mind is Rabbi Lashak. Rabbi Lashak is the person that I go out of my way to talk to; the first person I want to tell when I hit a new spiritual milestone, and the person who has inspired me with his stories and his Divrei Torah that I heard every week on ICE. He did not only inspire me that summer, but he also inspired me in life to be a better person and to realize the beauty that God does for us everyday.
There is one story I will never forget. We were on a bus riding through the Italian countryside on our way to Florence when we passed fields upon fields of flowers and greenery. While all of us we’re taking pictures so that we could post it to Facebook later on, Rabbi Lashak sat in the front of the bus saying “Ma Rabu Ma’secha Hashem,” these things that God created are beautiful. With those four Hebrew words I realized that that summer was going to be one that I would never forget, and I was right.