Archive by Author

Small but Mighty



“When you grow up, you’ll understand.”

Have you heard this sentiment recited to young people by parents, and perhaps teachers who didn’t know the answer to a probing question, or were simply hesitant to approach it?

Read more
Uncategorized

These Shoes are Made for Walking: Our Collective Path in the New Year



TOMS Shoes have fascinated me for years. I am taken by the company’s business model and how it brought social entrepreneurship into every day vernacular. I am also grateful the shoes are priced reasonably, given my daughter wears them all the time and it makes us both feel good there is social benefit to the transaction.

Read more
Uncategorized

Sliding into Fall: Successful Transitions



With the end of summer approaching and the high holidays just around the corner, it can feel like a moment of transition from our extraordinary summer lives – vacation, camp, and family time – to our ordinary lives – work, school, and busy schedules for everyone. But, there is actually something holy in these moments of transitions. As Jews, we celebrate the transition of moments in time: lifecycle events mark the transitions from who we were to who we will become, the transition in and out of Shabbat, and even the transition between day and night.

Read more
Uncategorized

Tishah B’Av, the Grateful Dead, and the Power of Our Youth Work – Let’s continue it at the Biennial



“Wave that flag, wave it wide and high. Summertime done come and gone, my, oh, my…” –The Grateful Dead, “U.S. Blues” A few weeks ago, the Grateful Dead held their last concert celebrating 50 years. I, like so many of you, was a fan of the Dead. I think I was attracted to them because […]

Read more
Uncategorized

Motivated and Ready to Work: Mechina Prepares NFTY’s Leaders for the Year Ahead



The past several months have been very sobering; the Charleston Church shooting, the attack on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore on the heels of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Pope’s encyclical on climate change and so on. Our children’s world is shaped by a mix of crisis and opportunity. After attending NFTY’s Mechina, the four-day leadership training event for regional leaders held at URJ Kutz Camp, I remain hopeful. I’m hopeful because I got to meet, study and pray with amazing teens who are ready and willing to wrestle with the important issues of our time and the Reform Movement has what to offer to help them with that important task.

Read more
Uncategorized

Summer 2015: The Season’s Looking Bright



With just a week until the launch of the URJ’s 2015 camp season, there’s innovative programming on tap, all of which promises to make this summer the best ever! Throughout the season, we’ll engage 13,000+ campers and young adults from more than 660 congregations (along with 600 congregational clergy, educators, and youth professionals who will […]

Read more
Uncategorized

Asefa: A Training Ground for Future Management Consultants?



NFTY Convention (#NC15) means many things to many people. One of the key elements of every convention is Asefa, NFTY’s North American board meeting. Close to 200 teens participated in Asefa while their peers were engaged in off-site programming. Before I explain about Asefa, I want to share what the NFTY board members had to give […]

Read more
Uncategorized

Hanukkah’s Lessons Apply to our Work with Jewish Youth



As we approach the eighth night of Hanukkah, I know I’m not alone when I say I’ve almost reached my fill of latkes! Still, I can never get my fill of family and community gatherings that are bursting with joy, spirituality, and a sense of awe for the enduring, illuminating light of the menorah. Of […]

Read more
Uncategorized

5 Ways NFTY Teens are Helping the Reform Movement “Make it Big”



I have a dirty little secret. I’m a junkie, I’m addicted to NPR and LinkedIn. Today I’m going to confess my LinkedIn addiction, not so much for the networking but for the information digests they provide based on career interests. This week, I came across “5 Signs You’re Going to Make it Big One Day.” Thinking, “Who doesn’t want to make […]

Read more
Uncategorized

Hello, Muddah, Hello, Faddah: Camp Season is Here!



Perhaps some of you remember the incredibly popular camp song by Allan Sherman that was a hit in 1963. It speaks to how connections are quickly made at camp as well as how important it is to be connected back home. We often speak of “bringing camp home” – but really, it is about connecting what […]

Read more
Uncategorized

This Should Be a Word: “Congfirmation”



Every week I look for the “That Should Be a Word” column in The One-Page Magazine in the Sunday New York Times. The column, if you can call it that, has an amazing knack for coining a good neologism – a new word or phrase. The humor, smarts, and creativity of the words inspired me to create my own […]

Read more
Uncategorized

Remembering Gail Littman



When I first joined the URJ, Gail Littman, as Chair of the North American Camping Committee (NAC), introduced me to the Twelve Principles of Governance That Power Exceptional Boards. The list included things like being mission driven, focusing on building constructive partnerships, thinking strategically, creating a culture of inquiry, and the like. I quickly learned the […]

Read more
Uncategorized

Camp Works – and We Can Prove It!



Recently, the URJ Camp and Israel Programs leadership was able to study with Bob Ditter, M.ED., LCSW, who helped us articulate what our campers know so intrinsically: URJ Camps and Israel Programs provide our children the opportunity to be vitally engaged. Wow. The word “vital” alone gets me, let alone the “engagement” part! Our children […]

Read more
Uncategorized

True Grit: Camp and Important Life Lessons



As a parent of a rising ninth grader and a graduating high school senior, dinner conversation is often peppered with talk of what needs to be done for exams, who got into which college and, of course, who needs to go where and when. Interestingly, we just as often talk about summer plans. OK, I admit my professional choices may have something to do with that, but I also think there are other motivations at play.

Read more
Uncategorized