Category: Camps & NFTY RSS feed for this section

Camp Jenny: Impacting Lives Year After Year



By Richard Rosenthal Partaking in annual traditions are what highlight family values to me. For example, watching the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade together, using the same afikoman cover year after year, and preparing a special meal for Rosh HaShanah are some special traditions that come to mind. Along that continuum, there is a tradition that […]

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“Spirited” Singing of the Seventies



By  Merri Lovinger Arian I can still hear the exuberant voices, clapping hands, and stomping feet! I can see bodies swaying, sometimes setting the dining room light fixtures into motion! It was what many NFTYites described as “spirited singing,” unlike any they had experienced before. We all knew how precious those moments were. But looking back, […]

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Tradition Welcomes Change in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin



By Ilene Weismehl For as long as I can remember, it was a given that my brother and I would go to Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute, commonly known as OSRUI (pronounced Os-roo-ee), and even more commonly known as Oconomowoc (the camp’s Wisconsin town name).  Although none of the above-mentioned names hint at the Debbie […]

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Finding My Life Role Models at NFTY



When I was growing up, I never met any rabbis other than my congregation’s rabbi. Dr. Renov (we never called him ‘rabbi’) was a scholar. Our congregation, Temple Judea, was small and he served there part-time. Dr. Renov also taught college and perhaps the academic arena was his first love. While he was a nice […]

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Immersive Israel Engagement



By Morgan Weidner This past February, NFTY held its Mid Year Leadership Summit: NFTY Veida at the URJ Greene Family Camp. It was a weekend of networking and leadership development, and an opportunity to have important conversations about the values, priorities, and direction of NFTY. Our first discussion was to assess how well we as […]

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We Had to Use Music to Change the World



By Louis J. Dobin Recently I flew in from Israel and stopped in New York on my way to Texas to attend the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) Gala. It was a wonderful evening, and put me in touch with people from every generation of my life – those with whom I work now, […]

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“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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NFTY of the 1960s



NFTY in the 1960s was remarkably like NFTY today.  Except in those areas where it was different. It was the same because, in most ways, kids are the same. Adolescence is a tumultuous time when kids are suddenly vulnerable and suddenly sexual.  They are desperate to know who cares about them.  They want to find […]

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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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WRJ Grants Encourage Female Enrollment at URJ Sci-Tech Academy



As the enrollment level of boys surpasses that of girls for the inaugural summer at the URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) has made a $5,000 grant from its YES (Youth, Education, & Special Projects) Fund to provide scholarships for female campers. The scholarships are meant to encourage and support the […]

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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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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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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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