Nominated and written by Netanya Stein, NCSYer
Zahava was my advisor on TJJ (The Jerusalem Journey) Bus 6 three summers ago. Before TJJ, I had never kept shabbos, and I had never been exposed to orthodox Judaism in a positive light before. From the day I met Zahava at JFK, I saw that Orthodox Judaism could be fun. She was crazy- running up to all 42 of us, making everyone feel excited and comfortable.
Throughout the summer, Zahava showed me the beauty of Judaism. She inspired me to keep shabbos while in Israel, and every week since TJJ. After the summer was over, she invited me to spend shabbos in her home, where I saw how an orthodox family spends each Saturday. She made me realize that this is how I want to raise my family when I am older. She took me to an NCSY oneg, where I met other teenagers my age, and gained instant friends. Each time I would return to Zahava’s home for shabbos, I would meet more observant friends, who helped make my transition from a non-observant lifestyle to an observant lifestyle so much easier.
Because of Zahava, I spent the next summer on NCSY GIVE, and I now serve as New Jersey’s representative in NCSY’s International Board. Judaism isn’t only my religion, its my way of life. I am inspired by Zahava and all of my advisors – thank you so much!