Archive by Author

Life As A Youth Summit Intern



by Rachael Harvey As an individual who is passionate about the Movement and youth engagement, the Youth Summit marked the next big step towards my intentional career path of becoming a Jewish professional. I had never been to a Youth professional conference before, or even a NFTY Convention. Overall, I was not sure what to expect […]

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Green Eggs and Hamantaschen: Creative Purim Gift Bags Bring a Community Together



by Betsy Zalaznick Purim at Or Chadash, in Flemington, N.J., includes many of the usual traditions: putting on a Purim spiel (play), using boxes of pasta as gragers, baking hamantaschen with our students, reading the Megillah, and hosting a spectacular carnival that features Esther’s Salon, Mordecai’s March Madness, a photo booth, and plenty of prizes […]

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We’re Youth Educators, Not Youth Workers



by Rabbi Melissa Zalkin Stollman What went on at the Youth Summit? Yes, learning. Yes, networking. Yes, collaboration. But so much more. Experimentation. Visioning. Celebration. Inspiration. In addition to watching NFTY teens celebrate and pray together, we too needed this opportunity to join as a community.

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Understanding Teen Brains, Creating Jewish Adults



In our work as youth professionals, are we trying to create a youth community, or plant the seeds for vibrant, lifelong Jewish living? Understanding adolescent neurology can help unlock secrets for successful youth engagement.

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The Joy of Generational Leadership



by Dr. Madelyn Mishkin Katz It’s the summer of 1983. I’m a 28-year-old student at Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) preparing for a career in Jewish education, and spending my summer on staff at URJ Camp Swig (presently URJ Camp Newman) in Saratoga, California.

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Striking the Balance Between Formal and Informal Learning



By Adam Organ During NFTY Youth’s text study, Rabbi Aaron Panken, President of HUC-JIR (and former Regional Board member of NFTY-NAR, former trip leader for NFTY in Israel, and former Regional Advisor of NFTY-MAR) lead a discussion titled “The Study of Torah is Equal to Them All,” based on the teachings of RaMBam (Maimonides). The […]

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Why BBYO is Our Partner



What is the role of the synagogue in the “multiplex” of compelling local offerings for teenagers? One rabbi shares his congregation’s strategy for ensuring that there’s an option for every teen.

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Questioning the Essence of the B’nai Mitzvah



How might we imagine a bat mitzvah that developed from student learning rather than dictated by a set of prayer requirements? One congregation shares their insights and strategies from experimenting with the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution.

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Extending NFTY’s Tabernacle: A D’var Torah for Parashah T’rumah



by Logan Kramer Over the past three years, NFTY has taken me to plenty of random places. I’ve held events with my temple youth group in public parks, enjoyed extensive layovers in airports across the country, gone to socials at amusement parks, and visited more congregations than I can count. As I’ve traveled to all […]

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Shaareinu: The “Collateral Good” Cannot be Overstated



By Eva Rubin Steen The leaders of Temple Beth Torah, a community that always has held inclusion and acceptance as core tenets, realized a few years ago that we were not doing a good job of welcoming those who face physical, emotional, or cognitive challenges. We recognized, too, that by excluding even one family member […]

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How to Be a “Sponge” at the Youth Summit



by Adam Organ In a just a few hours, I’ll be joining more than a thousand Jewish teens and youth professionals from across North America in Atlanta for five days of learning, exploration, celebration and reunion at the NFTY 2015 Convention and Youth Summit.  As a community of teens, professionals and lay leaders invested in […]

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Be Our Guest at NFTY Convention: The Power of Audacious Southern Hospitality



by Micol Zimmerman Burkeman Over the last year, the Reform Movement has introduced audacious hospitality: an ongoing invitation to be part of our community. Audacious hospitality means extending a warm welcome to all individuals who seek a home within our movement—no exceptions. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of experiencing audacious southern hospitality. En route to […]

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A Rabbi’s Excitement for NFTY Convention



By Josh Leighton I’m currently in the midst of laundering, organizing, and preparing to fly off to Atlanta for NFTY Convention and the Youth Summit. Along with my clothes and NFTY “swag”, I am also packing and bringing with me my excitement for what is sure to be an amazing, insightful, and fruitful four days. […]

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Mining Diamonds in the Land of Milk and Honey



By Anat Hoffman Israel is not rich in natural resources: no oil ($50/barrel) or diamonds ($10,000/karat); only milk ($3.80/gallon) and honey ($10/16-ounces). This means that human resources are our biggest asset. Israeli men and women are who stand between Israel and its enemies, and who can transform dessert into fertile land. Every Israeli is essential […]

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