More than 35 teenagers from Ohio joined some 2,500 teenagers, staff and guests from 28 states, Canada, Israel, Argentina and the United Kingdom in summer programs operated by the Orthodox Union converged at Park Ra’anana in Ra’anana, Israel, for an American barbeque and live musical performances at Yom NCSY.

“Seeing kids who are not exposed to Judaism with kids who are super exposed to Judaism dancing together at Yom NCSY is life-changing and something I will never forget,” Ezra Shiller, 15, a Beachwood resident and student at Fuchs Mizrachi School in Beachwood, said in a news release. She spent the summer on NCSY Israel ID.

Ohioans came from Beachwood, Cleveland, Shaker Heights, Solon, University Heights, Hudson, Middlefield, Bexley, Columbus, Blacklick, Cincinnati and Mason.

“Yom NCSY represents the very essence of what NCSY Summer is all about. At the event it doesn’t matter what your religious background is, it’s about a united non-judgmental, encouraging environment celebrating our shared connections in the home of the Jewish people,” NCSY Summer director David Cutler said in the release. “The palpable energy, cheering, singing and dancing has made this the highlight of the summer.”

In addition to the festivities, the event marked the end of a 72-hour teen-led initiative to fund scholarships for next year’s summer programs as well as dedicate a United Hatzalah ambucycle, which will respond to emergency medical calls throughout the country.

“The energy and enthusiasm of these young people was contagious. It was wonderful to see them all come together – from all parts of the world and from many different religious backgrounds – to celebrate their summer together, sharing in a love of Torah and Israel,” Orthodox Union executive vice president Allen Fagin said in the release. “These NCSYers bringing such passion to their summers only highlight the goals of our programs—to inspire leadership, and the love and responsibility towards Israel and the Jewish people.”

“The Orthodox Union takes enormous pride in NCSY’s summer programs,” Moishe Bane, President of the Orthodox Union said in the statement. “The incredible array of styles and approaches reflects the OU approach to Judaism – that religious, Jewish growth must be made accessible and engaging for every Jew, regardless of educational, religious or cultural background. God has blessed the OU with NCSY staff that has the passion, commitment and brilliance to advance that aspiration.”

NCSY’s summer programs in attendance at the event included: 4G Euro, BILT, GIVE, Euro ICE, Israel ID, JOLT Israel, Kollel, Michlelet, Next Step, Hatzalah Rescue, Resurf, TJJ Ambassadors, TJJ, TJJ Ambassadors Poland. Additionally, U.S. based programs Camp Maor, GIVE EAST, GIVE WEST, RTC and NCSY Sports were able to take part through NCSY’s live stream. More than 200 participants of Yad B’Yad, the summer Israel-travel trip run by the OU’s Yachad division, also took part in the event. Entertainment was provided by New York-based DJZJ, singers Simcha Leiner and Ohad.

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