At NCSY, the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union, we realized that education is changing. The challenges educators face today — while I wouldn’t say they are harder — are different than the challenges educators faced twenty, even ten years, ago. I’ve seen the changes in the education of my own children. When Aryeh started school, cell phones were barely a rumor; nowadays, my youngest, Ayelet, is already clamoring for an iPhone. Jewish education, especially informal and experiential education, where most of our youth get their information, needs to adapt. We’ve brought together an impressive array of educators and practitioners under one roof for one day to understand how we can maximize what and how our teens and students learn.
2. What do you think of the effect of technology on the Jewish community?
Technology is simply a tool. It doesn’t have an effect in of itself; it’s how we use it. For NCSY, technology has been an invaluable asset. It allows us to have unprecedented levels of interactions with our teens. A small example of this is the hundreds of teens that learn about NCSY activities through Facebook groups and twitter feeds. Additionally, as part of our 300 JSU Clubs, we meet with thousands of public school teens every month and we need to understand how to talk to them.
3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
We’ve recruited the best and the brightest for this conference — not just the presenters, but also the participants. At YouthCon, everyone brings something to the table and I'm delighted to be a part of it.
Rabbi Steven Burg is the Managing Director of the Orthodox Union (OU) and the International Director of NCSY. Rabbi Burg began his career with the OU over 20 years ago as a college advisor for NCSY. With Rabbi Burg’s vision and leadership, NCSY launched JSU, a network of over 200 public school Jewish culture clubs and TJJ, a transformative Israel summer experience for public school teens. As Managing Director of the OU, Rabbi Burg has developed greater programming synergy among the OU’s many branches and redefined the organization’s focus.
A graduate of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Burg received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). He currently resides in Bergenfield, New Jersey with his wife Rachel and their six children, Aryeh, Elie, Devorah, Zevi, Natan, and Ayelet.