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Shana Tova, NCSY GIVE 2015! (Corrected Email)
Shana tova, NCSY GIVErs!
While reviewing and assessing this past year, I can’t help but reflect our summer on NCSY GIVE 2015- and what a summer it was! I am overcome with pride for how much each and every one of you grew. Whether you realize it or not, you have a lot to be proud of entering Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur this year. Perhaps you had your first meaningful davening, learned more about Judaism than ever before, developed a deep connection to Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael, or decided to get involved in chessed in your local communities. Maybe you have been working on proper speech or respecting your parents, or maybe you have just been trying to feel more confident in your Jewish pride. Whatever it is, and only you know exactly what that is, you should feel very proud and know with great confidence that Hashem is also beaming with pride.
In this past weeks Torah portion, Parshas Netzavim, we read the verse “Ki Karov Eilecha HaDavar Meod B’ficha U’bilvavcha La’asoso“- “For the matter is close to you, in your words and in your heart, to do it”. (Perek 30, Passuk 14). “The matter” mentioned here is the Torah and a life of Judaism. The passuk is trying to say that even if parts of Judaism may seem challenging and hard to achieve, we should remember that whatever the “matter” is, no matter how far away and unachievable it may seem, it is within our reach.
But how do we accomplish it?
The verse continues, “in your words and in your heart, to do it”. It’s not enough to just SAY we want to do something or to just FEEL a desire in our hearts, rather we need both of these aspects actualized in our ACTIONS. Thinking back on our summer together and your time home since then, you have each accomplished so much. Think of all of the ill people you brought simcha to, all of the hungry people you helped feed, all of the buildings you helped beautify… When you face Melech Malchai HaMelachim, you will have all of these mitzvos in your book of accomplishments, all of these people’s beautiful, holy faces behind you, ready to show Hashem how committed you are, and have been, to am yisrael. How incredibly powerful.
But there is much more out there to learn and to contribute. Each of your little steps in the direction of questioning and learning will lead to your own personal growth as well as the betterment of your greater communities and families. “It’s close to you!” Just take the small steps to search it out and act on “it” in your heart, in your words and in your actions.
As we enter Rosh Hashanah 5776, may we all have the strength to admit our wrongs and be proud of our accomplishments, allowing us to begin our new year with confidence and aspirations for growth in the coming year, both for ourselves and for all of am yisrael. And may we be zoche to see the coming of Moshiach and our return to Eretz Yisrael, b’mhairah v’yameinu, amen!

Thank you for all you have taught me and for giving me endless inspiration. Shana Tova! Kesiva v’chasima tovah!

Erin, David and Alexander
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