Archive by Author

A New Sound for a New Generation: NFTY’s Music in the 2000s



by Caryn Roman There was a time when the term “Jewish Rock” might have been considered an oxymoron. In my own NFTY and camp days in the mid-to-late 90s, most of the music in services and song sessions reflected the Movement’s folk roots and didn’t sound much like what we listened to on the radio […]

Read more

Shaping Israel’s Soul is Up to Us



by Rabbi Bennett Miller Earlier this month, Jews the world over poured into synagogues to “afflict our souls” on the holy day of Yom Kippur – to search within ourselves to atone, forgive, and ultimately emerge renewed. K’lal Yisrael (the community of Israel) is afflicting its own soul right now, too. Both real and existential […]

Read more

Saying YES to Youth



by Rosanne Selfon Over 100 years ago, 156 American women representing 5,000 women in 51 sisterhoods gathered to found the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (NFTS), renamed Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) in 1993. These women united to fortify their Jewish identities, perform mitzvot, and collectively support the Reform movement. One of their first endeavors […]

Read more

“And you shall order schnitzel…”



By Bradley Egel People frequently talk about generational leadership. The Hebrew phrase, l’dor vador, literally means “from generation to generation,” and is most often applied to the handing down of leadership from one generation to the next. If a person is lucky enough to be present at a bar or bat mitzvah, they likely will […]

Read more

A Pilgrimage for Our Day



by Rabbi Josh Weinberg Mark, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the yield of your land, you shall observe the festival of the Eternal [to last] seven days: a complete rest on the first day, and a complete rest on the eighth day. Leviticus 23:39 Walk around Zion, […]

Read more

Awesome Power In Numbers



By Jonathan Cohen and Beth Rodin The first “modern” NFTY Convention was held in 1983. I was there. A sophomore from Tupelo, Mississippi, getting to attend Convention was an unbelievable thrill. I still carry vivid memories from that Convention, not the least of which being our group – the biggest number of Jewish teens, make […]

Read more

Engaging Effective Madrichim Training



The Journal of Youth Engagement is an online forum of ideas and dialogue for those committed to engaging youth in vibrant Jewish life and living. Join the discussion and become a contributor. Many congregations engage teens as madrichim (“guides”) in Religious School classrooms to serve as role models of continued Jewish involvement, to assist with administrative tasks, and […]

Read more

MASA: A Journey to Family Engagement



The Journal of Youth Engagement is an online forum of ideas and dialogue for those committed to engaging youth in vibrant Jewish life and living. Join the discussion and become a contributor. On a Friday night this past spring, 26 families shared Shabbat in 7 homes across New York City. They said the blessings, ate their festive meals, […]

Read more

Transformation that Sticks: How to Create Long-Lasting Change in Your Education Programs



The Journal of Youth Engagement is an online forum of ideas and dialogue for those committed to engaging youth in vibrant Jewish life and living. Join the discussion and become a contributor. In March of 2010, our congregation was approached by Combined Jewish Philanthropies (Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation) and invited to begin a process of transforming our synagogue’s […]

Read more

NFTY and BBYO: Two Movements, One Mission



By Ariel Schwartz NFTY, the Reform Jewish Youth Movement, and BBYO are two incredible Jewish teen movements that aim to engage Jewish teens across the world. Though they are organized and operate differently, cherish different histories, and engage different types of Jewish teens, ultimately they both work to build a stronger Jewish future. I am […]

Read more

A Songleader’s Journey



by Rabbi Ramie Arian Throughout the nearly four decades of my career, I’ve been privileged to serve the Jewish people in a variety of non-congregational rabbinic roles – national director of NFTY, the Reform Jewish youth movement for most of the 1980s, as well as vice president of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, national director of Young […]

Read more

“You Say You Want a Revolution”



By Mark S. Anshan I had the privilege of serving as the National Federation of Temple Youth’s president from 1970-1971. In those years, my wife Brenda (from Bradford, PA) and I (a Torontonian) belonged to NELFTY (North Eastern Lakes Federation of Temple Youth), where I had served as president from 1968-1969. We were witness to […]

Read more

Mitzvah Corps: The Power of Community, The Power of Self



By Alex Rogers, Avra Bossov, and Matt Liebman As a central tenet of Reform Judaism, tikkun olam – repairing the world – can seem overwhelming. How does one take on such a task as an individual? For over 50 years, Mitzvah Corps has empowered Jewish teenagers across the continent to infuse this concept into their […]

Read more

A Force to be Reckoned With



by Cantor Ellen Dreskin I remember the first time I met Debbie Friedman. In the fall of 1974, I was a college freshman. Rabbi Sam Karff from Congregation Beth Israel in Houston (my home) let me know that Debbie would be spending a Shabbat at Beth Israel, presenting her new Hanukkah service, “Not by Might, […]

Read more