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 Yaakov Glasser

Reginal Director NCSY

Nominated and written by Edon Freiner, NCSYer

Every time I speak to kids from other NCSY regions and tell them I am from New Jersey, they say, “Your regional director is that incredible speaker!” They couldn’t be more right. His speeches, tied in with ebbing (some may argue that they are one entity), are my favorite parts of an NCSY regional. Honestly, ebbing is not ebbing without Rabbi Glasser’s speech. Before his speeches, I always sit in the front, half singing and half waiting for him to step on stage. As soon as he steps to the middle of the circle, everyone becomes louder and much more involved… and then silent, ready to laugh and to be inspired. Without fail, he makes us laugh and inspires us again and again.

At the end of his speeches I always stay around to watch the newest kids congratulate him on the amazing job he has done. They always say, “That was the best speech I have ever heard. It really was.” He smiles humbly, and thanks them, and thereby doesn’t really convey the enormous amount of time and effort that goes into such a speech.

Rabbi Glasser is a phenomenal speaker, but what sets him apart from so many others is not his charm, nor his ability to be a combination of cool, understanding, loud and intimidating. It is that he speaks from his heart. He loves what he does, and it shows in the way he speaks. He looks at you in the eye and makes a connection. He transfers Torah like no other. He teaches and amuses, educates and humors all in one, merging Torah and comedy. He is the best in the business because of his passion for Judaism and a life filled with Torah.

Rabbi Glasser not only verbalizes Torah, but his life revolves around it. From being a rabbi in a Shul to running a remarkable region, he discovers ways to implement Judaism in everyone he meets. Last Winter Regional Convention, we spread the Jewish love and support in Hoboken, New Jersey. We ran a carnival for the victims of Hurricane Sandy that hit prior to our convention. I saw Rabbi Glasser and the mayor of Hoboken talking and laughing. We were doing kindness for people we did not know. Three hundred and fifty teens from across New Jersey doing one act of kindness.

For the few that do not already know, Rabbi Glasser is one of the masterminds behind National Yarchei Kallah, a program run by Jewish leaders across the country to teach Torah to public school teens during winter break. Yarchei Kallah is known to be one of the most life-changing and inspiring programs that NCSY has to offer. Many times leaders go into Shabbatons and Conventions to inspire teens, but what actually ends up happening is that they are the ones to come out inspired, and as great as Rabbi Glasser is, he is no different. As one of the greatest Jewish leaders of this time, Rabbi Glasser says, “All year NCSY does an extraordinary job of teaching kids about Judaism. Yarchei Kallah is not about it, Yarchie Kallah is it.” Yarchei Kallah is a program that inspires Rabbi Glasser himself and that is why he helped shape National NCSY into what it is today. Spanning almost two decades with NCSY, Rabbi Glasser has grown into an enormous role model for countless NCSYers across the world, embodying a fundamental attribute of leadership—uncovering the potential of individuals who otherwise may not see it, pushing them to grow and raising themselves and those around them to greatness.