Almost exactly six years ago, I ran for NFTY-TOR regional president. I lost. And yet when I look back at my election materials in a bout of nostalgia, I stand by absolutely everything I said, now having seen how much the ideas I mentioned still influence me and the way I think about leadership, both personally and as an organizer working with NFTY and Reform Jewish teen leadership.
Related Blog Posts on NFTY, teens, and Youth Engagement
NFTY has been very busy the past few months and will soon install a new North American board.
Aaron Wiener, youth director at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, brought together 10 congregations and youth groups from California for an in-person Temple Youth Group Leadership Training Retreat and it was a huge success.
This past summer, our 15 URJ camps across North America and Israel programs provided the space where more than 11,000 children, teens and young adults could breathe free. Summer 2021 was clearly a summer of healing at our camps, as children returned to immersive in-person living, learning, laughing, crying, hugging where they can share their fears and dreams in a loving and accepting environment.
How can centering human experience help build communities of belonging, as well as a Shabbat community?
A San Quentin inmate with a swastika tattooed on his hand greeted us as we stepped off the bus. The year was 1975, and we were a group of 30 counselors in training from Camp Swig (now Camp Newman).
Through the DREAM ISRAEL program, students can access various levels of grant funding toward their semester at URJ Heller High while learning about the act of tzedakah by fundraising for approved philanthropic causes in Israel.
On March 7, the NFTY General Board met to participate in our annual mid-term Asefah to elect our next NFTY North American Board and celebrate all of our successes in a year full of unprecedented challenges.
The weekend was extraordinary. Teens shared that it was the best virtual experience they had this year - that it felt as close as it could get to an in-person experience. Many said that they felt a new connection to NFTY.
Though the terrain may be uncertain, we are guided by our deep commitments to justice, learning, and action. As we walk hand-in-hand into 2021, let us make this year one filled with purpose, joy, nourishment, and a renewed sense of hope.