Aviel Usher Avidan
Aviel Avidan, a senior at Yeshiva University, currently lives in Teaneck, NJ. He currently has the opportunity to partake in a program like the Shevet Glaubach Fellow this coming year. Over the 20 years that Hashem has blessed him with, he has been in many different places—spiritually not geographically. He started off life as a nonobservant Jew. Aviel’s father spent a significant portion of his teenage years at an anti-religious kibbutz, while his mother, a Russian immigrant, was not familiar with being religious until her late teenage years. Although this was the case, ever since a young age, he had a natural draw to being an observant Jew, but was unable to make anything of it because of his family’s circumstance. As time went on, he slowly incorporated different Mitzvot into his everyday life. When it came to deciding his high school, he was at a crossroads between Solomon Schechter of Westchester, a conservative program he had just spent 13 years alongside many friends, versus Torah Academy of Bergen County, an all-boys modern-orthodox high school. Even though it was difficult for him to make the switch, he felt like TABC was the right move. In high school, for the most part, he was a classic modern orthodox teenager. Although he did not devote much time to learning and was not strict on keeping Halacha, being religious always had a special place in his heart, sparking his involvement with NCSY. Rabbi Reuven Lebowitz, his chapter director, encouraged him to spend a year in Israel. Although there was a large financial burden, NCSY gave tremendous help, and served as the main reason for why he went to Israel—an experience that changed his life!