Archive by Author

Building a New Model of Political Leadership: How Rabbi Stephanie Kolin Changed Our Community



by Steven Windmueller With the announcement this week of the appointment of Rabbi Stephanie Kolin to the position of Associate Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City, the progressive Jewish community has the opportunity to celebrate the evolution of Just Congregations, including its creation of Reform California, and the defining role played by its […]

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Today Matters: Make It Count



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg “This is the day that the Lord has made – let us exult and rejoice on it.” -Psalms 118:24 During the years I taught Jewish history on our Movement’s NFTY-EIE high school semester abroad program, at the end of each semester I would ask my students this question: “What are the […]

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Headlines from NFTY’s 75th Year



by The NFTY North American Board  As NFTY’s 75th year comes to a close, we find our Movement at a crucial moment in time. While we honor our rich history, we also look toward our vibrant future with much anticipation, joy, and excitement. This year it has been our privilege to serve as the leaders of […]

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What do Robotics Have to do With Israel and Judaism?



How do we bring alive ancient Jewish texts and long-gone maps for young children? One congregation uses programming, code and 3D modeling to help students bring Jewish history to life.

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Values in Action: A Service-Learning Program for Teens



Imagine a community service program for Jewish teens that does not once teach about, or mention, tikkun olam. One congregation embraces its imagination to create an innovative and enduring understanding of Jewish values brought to life through action.

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Youth Engagement in the Jewish Day School Recording Studio



Given the cost, the resources, and the time it takes to produce a studio album, one Jewish day school makes the case for why it’s worth it to keep recording.

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A Leader Looks Back



By Rabbi Allan Smith Rabbi Allan Smith, affectionately known as “Smitty” by NFTYites, is a great figure in the history of NFTY. He created the NFTY Leadership Academy at Kutz Camp in 1972, expanded the number of URJ Camps during his tenure, raised millions of dollars for the purchase of new camps and the improvement […]

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Three Memorable Moments



By Greg Kellner I can’t remember in great detail my time as a NFTYite or back 16 years ago when I was a camper at Eisner, but the moments I do remember are the ones that shaped who I am today and how I approach my life’s work: raising the next generation of Jewish youth.

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Moving Beyond Stones and Concrete to Worship of the Heart



by Beni Wajnberg A story in Avot de’Rabbi Natan, a midrashic text, illustrates perhaps one of the most important events that determined the future of Judaism following the destruction of the Temple. In it, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai is walking together with Rabbi Yehoshua. When they pass the ruins of the Temple in Jerusalem, Yehoshua […]

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Torateinu ARZA: Unto Zion Shall Go Torah



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg  “Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly.” Pirkei Avot 1:1 Dan, the official in customs, told me to have a seat with my Torah and wait. […]

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Sing Unto God a Newly Created Song



By Blaire Weinberg Our tradition tells us in Psalm 149, “Sing unto God a new song.” For 75 years, NFTY teenagers have shaped, written, and led songs that have allowed Reform Jewish teens to connect with Judaism in an entirely new way. NFTY musicians sit at the epicenter of Jewish music, experimenting with new takes […]

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Because of NFTY, I Learned…



By Amy Bebchick I was never a member of the NFTY North American Board or Regional Board. I attended some NEFTY (now NFTY-NE) regional events, but I can’t remember which ones or where. I didn’t meet my husband at a NFTY event, and my closest friends are not from my NFTY years. But my local […]

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What’s Jewish About These Laws?



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg May it be Thy will, my God and the God of my fathers, to protect me against the impudent and against impudence, from bad men and bad companions, from severe sentences and severe plaintiffs, whether a son of the covenant or not. – The personal prayer of Rabbi Y’hudah HaNasi, BT […]

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The Mi Shebeirach Quilt



by Shelley Schweitzer May the Source of strength, Who blessed the ones before us, Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing, And let us say: Amen. The year was 1999 and the NFTY-Northeast Lakes (NFTY-NEL) community learned that there were big changes ahead. Long-time regional advisors Terry Pollack and Neil Poch […]

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