Jonathan and Nechama Ackerman
By: Bayla Sheva Brenner
Jonathan Ackerman, New York NCSY North associate regional director, New York NCSY, grew up in Minneapolis, MN in a non-observant home. His grandfather, a Holocaust survivor who escaped Auschwitz three times and eventually fought in the Israeli Independence War, served as his “greatest Jewish role model.” He attended high school at Skokie Yeshiva in Chicago, IL, and went on to learn at Yeshiva University, where he majored in marketing and began his impressive NCSY career as an advisor in Long Island NCSY, from which he went on to become the chapter advisor of West Hempstead.
In 2003, he assumed the directorship of programming at New York NCSY, simultaneously entering the advertising field. In time, he returned to his calling, deciding to go full time with NCSY as assistant regional director under Rabbi Nahum Zak. In 2009, he joined Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, regional director of Long Island NCSY and together they oversaw the merger of the Long Island and New York regions.
Along with his role as associate regional director of the new super region of New York NCSY, he also serves as co-chair of the Long Island Jewish Teen Provider Round Table, a group of youth professionals who specialize in informal Jewish education. “My three greatest NCSY influences have been Rabbi Nahum Zak, Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, and Rabbi Steven Burg,” he says. “I am extraordinarily grateful to them for the opportunities, incites, and wisdom they have provided me.”
He and his wife, Nechama, a second-year medical student, live in The Bronx at Einstein medical school. Nechama grew up in Brooklyn, NY, went to Shulamith High School, Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim and then Stern College, where she majored in biology. During her first year at Stern, she became an NCSY advisor for the New York region under Rabbi Nahum Zak and Jonathan Ackerman (sound familiar?). The couple welcomes delighted NCSYers to their Shabbat table and Nechama eagerly accompanies her husband on many of the Shabbatonim.
They are, unsurprisingly, involved members of the Albert Einstein Synagogue community.