Archive by Author

“We Must Live for Today; We Must Build for Tomorrow”: Social Action in NFTY



By Sophie Foxman The concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) was introduced into Judaism in the early rabbinic period. It was introduced to me — and has shaped my life in astonishing ways since then — when I entered NFTY. Growing up, I idealistically believed I could do anything and help everyone, a concept […]

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The “Wicked” Child of the Pew Study



by Rabbi Danny Burkeman Pesach is coming, and at s’darim across the Jewish community we will once again label four children as wise, wicked, simple, and the one who does not know how to ask. I have always struggled with this part of the seder for two reasons. All of my work with young people […]

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10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

A Fifth Cup – Going Beyond What is Required



By Joshua Weinberg Growing up, I struggled with the impression that being a Reform Jew meant that we did less. Fewer mitzvot, shorter holiday observance, and less time spent in Jewish education. It was a stigma that I carried with me as I wrestled with and contemplated my own Jewish identity. This lead me to […]

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Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah



By Alexa Maltby It isn’t every day that you have a life-changing experience, so to say I had a life-changing summer is a blessing. Urban Mitzvah Corps could easily be described as a six-week Jewish social action summer program. But life changing experiences aren’t that easy to describe. For the past two summers I took […]

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SING OUT! The Beginnings of NFTY Music: A Look at the First Songs We Sang, Part Two



By Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin The music and the style of song leading as it has been popularized among Reform youth has moved the Jewish world. Music in NFTY and Reform camps, which began in 1951 in Wisconsin, seems to have been defined by the era in which it was sung, affected greatly by world events, […]

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Community. Prayer. Holiness.



By Rose Snitz As people gather and voices come together in harmony, the holiness of the space begins to form. From Shabbat services in local communities to regional Havdalah services, to closing rituals during the North American Convention, there’s always an unexplainable feeling of connection and community at NFTY events. Picture yourself overlooking a group […]

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Blue Ridge Mountain High: The ECE-RJ Kallah



by Cathy Rolland How fortunate I was to be among a dedicated group of early childhood professionals who gathered last weekend in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains for a dose of spiritual renewal and time together with respected colleagues with whom I could share ideas, resources, and challenges around our sacred work to engage young […]

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10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

Unto Zion We Shall Give Torah



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg “All the people gathered themselves together as one man into the broad place that was before the water gate; and they spoke unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses, which Adonai had commanded to Israel. 2 And Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation, both […]

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The NFTY 50′s



By Eleanor Schwartz Excerpted from “Ani V’atah” NFTY Newsletter, February 2005. This decade was a Golden Era for NFTY; a time of innovation and creative energy, a search for and development of identity with an agenda for action within the congregation; the affirmation that teens and the Temple Youth Group (TYG) had come of age. […]

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Tivnu: Building Justice



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. By Steve Eisenbach-Budner Tivnu: Building Justice is a new organization based in Portland, Oregon. Tivnu is proud to partner with URJ’s Mitzvah Corps Portland this summer, and, […]

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Stronger Together: The Story of a Community’s Regrowth



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. By Ivy Cohen Five years ago, the three Reform Synagogues in the Metropolitan New Orleans Area, each with their own unique, rich and glorious histories faced a […]

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It Won’t Work If Congregations and Educators…



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. By Ava Kurnow only think about engaging post b’nai mitzvah students don’t look at the whole picture of their community don’t know what their short and long […]

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URJ Kutz Camp – NFTY’s Physical Address



By Melissa Frey When Hattie and Milton Kutz gifted $100,000 of their estate toward the creation of a Reform Movement leadership training summer program for teens, the impact of their vision likely could not have been imagined. Tens of thousands of people, both young and young at heart, including many of the most influential professional and volunteer […]

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Jay Ruderman: Disability Issues are Issues of Social Justice



by Jay Ruderman Wikipedia defines social justice as, “the ability people have to realize their potential in the society where they live.” This definition can be broken down into three parts: realizing potential, in society, and where they live. For Jewish people with disabilities, each of these parts presents a challenge – and for the […]

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