On Shabbat, August 4, the Young Israel of New Rochelle (YINR) bade farewell to Daniel and Rayli Kanter. The couple has served as the youth directors of the shul for the past three years.
YINR always seeks to recruit couples for this position who are energetic, creative and passionate, with strong organization and leadership skills, coupled with a deep love of Judaism, and a passion for developing and inspiring the next generation.
The youth directors are in charge of running Shabbat groups and other youth activities throughout the year. “We both enjoy working with children and teens, having spent years in NCSY, Bnei Akiva and numerous summer camps,” explained the Kanters, describing what attracted them to the job. “When we began looking for youth director positions, we were tipped off by our friends that there was a community in New Rochelle that was known to be very friendly and welcoming, and we decided to look into it.”
Having just gotten married and very early in their professional careers, walking into the position, “We expected to run youth groups, events during the chagim and to create meaningful relationships with the teens in New Rochelle,” recounted the Kanters. However, over the past three years, “the biggest challenge for us coming in was getting used to running such a dynamic youth department, with so many different components, and using our ideas to enhance the youth department and elevate it to new heights. Our biggest achievement would have to be the revolutionary YINR winner coins, which created a much greater sense of excitement among the children for groups and raised our attendance significantly. Another achievement was our very successful parent-child learning program on Shabbos afternoon in the summer, with attendance at times exceeding 100 people!”
When reminiscing over their time in New Rochelle, “Our fondest specific memory would probably be Simchat Torah of this past year, when the entire youth department was so involved in the dancing that they out-danced many of the parents and brought tremendous ruach to the shul.”
Other parts of their responsibilities included organizing and directing Shabbat and Yom Tov programming for the YINR youth, such as Shabbat groups, as well as leading youth davening groups and overseeing teen minyan. They were charged with developing and implementing various other innovative programming, such as Sunday activities, Friday night teen onegs and Saturday night learning/social activities. Further, they were required to recruit, train and supervise youth leaders.
Many YINR youth reminisced about making sukkah decorations with the Kanters and really enjoyed the sukkah movie night. Most will always remember how the Kanters created table trivia during parent-child learning and will never forget Daniel’s enthusiasm when calling out the winning ticket numbers.
In summing up their experience, “We have both learned to appreciate the complexity of a shul and the hard work that so many people put into it to make the shul successful. In addition, over the past few years we have observed the most effective ways to teach children and are excited to put what we have learned in New Rochelle to good use.”
The Kanters have moved back home to Chicago. Daniel will be joining the YU Torah Mitzion Kollel and Rayli will be working as a pediatric speech therapist.
Malky and Ilan Scher have recently joined the community and will serve as the next YINR youth directors.
By Judy Berger