Through songs and instruments, music opens up the minds and hearts of individuals in a unique way. Countless times Isaiah Rothstein witnessed the impact of music on people. Isaiah saw the power that music has to create remarkable connections and relationships during his NCSY career. Although Isaiah began NCSY for the same reasons as any typical 6th grader does, he connected to the music and the spirituality, which he has now incorporated into his professional life. Rothstein witnessed how music has the ability to make a real experience, as he said, “Instrument and song is so powerful and NCSY has shown me that song is a form of connecting.” He uses this tool when he plays in the band for New England NCSY Shabbatons, as a Social Worker and Rabbi at the community day school in Stamford Connecticut.
Isaiah has channeled his undeniable passion for giving to the Jewish people into his professional career. Isaiah attended Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary program for his rabbinical ordination and Wurzweiler School of Social Work, both help to qualify him to accomplish his dream of becoming a chaplain on a college campus. He wishes to model the work of Rabbi Yehudi Sarnov and speak to various groups on college campus. Rothstein expressed, “I play the guitar, piano and sing, so I will use music as a tool to bring the different groups together.” He plans to help create a deep mutual understanding between diverse groups on a college campus. It is obvious that Isaiah believes music creates a distinct experience, which brings people closer together.
Although Isaiah no longer serves as an advisor and has never worked for the New England Region, he continues to attend their shabbatons as a member of their band, showing his consistent dedication to the Jewish People. He explained, “Music is such a vital part of the Shabbaton, arguably the most important part, it’s the glue.” As a member of the band he helps create a spiritual, communal zone for NCSYers during pre-shabbos ruach, havdalah, kumzitzes or optional meditation sessions. Rothstein recalled, “On Winter Regional in 2013, I was at the kumzitz and every NCSYer was there because they wanted to be part of something greater than themselves. The Torah and songs were flowing and once the music stopped it was silent – the whole room was a kehila, it was a real moment.”
Rothstein believes that the Jewish people are one with the world, our connection and deeper understanding of each other and those around us is entangled in our existence. Rothstein concluded, “It’s all about relationship and connection, the ruach that I bring to the table helps create something meaningful.”