An NCSY prison story

An NCSY prison story

One of the benefits of this golden age of streaming television is the portal it opens up to other parts of our globalized village.

We talk a lot about the Israeli imports — “Shtisel,” to take the most prominent example.

But for those viewers willing to venture beyond comfortable languages like English, Hebrew, and Yiddish to Spanish — or who don’t mind reading subtitles — streaming services offer a plethora of foreign TV shows.

Take for example “El marginal,” a three-season drama set in an Argentine prison.

A distant place, far from our suburban experience, where a recent episode featured a character wearing — an NCSY tee shirt?

And not just any NCSY tee shirt, but one from the Orthodox Jewish youth group’s Har Sinai region, which covers upstate New York?

I grew up in Rochester and was active in NCSY in high school. In my senior year I edited the Har Sinai regional newsletter.

And it is fair to say that whatever our youthful visions for the success of Har Sinai NCSY — as young Americans, we always fantasized about growth and success — they did not include tee shirts showing up in a South American prison.

So what’s going on?

Rabbi David Bashevkin of Teaneck, NCSY’s director of education, posted the image to Twitter. He said that an NCSYer in Chile forwarded it to him. Jessica Russak-Hoffman came up with one of the most convincing theories about how the shirt might have ended up on Netflix. She speculated that it might have been left behind when an OU delegation visited Argentina in 2008 to open an NCSY chapter there.

Having not yet viewed the episode, I can’t report whether the person wearing the NCSY tee shirt was devoted to “Torah and mitzvos” — to quote a phrase from one of our 1980s NCSY songs. Or whether he offered inspiration, to quote a contemporary NCSY catchphrase.

But one thing is clear: It’s a small world after all.

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