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Mother and Daughter Reflect on Going to Kutz



by Julie Hollander Eichelbaum and Emma Eichelbaum As the URJ Kutz Camp enters its 50th year, campers emerge as members of a vast network of Kutz alumni. For a select few of those campers, the alumni network includes their parents, also products of NFTY’s campus for Reform Jewish teens. Emma Eichelbaum (Kutz ’12-‘14) and her […]

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NFTY in the 90s



by Rabbi Eve Rudin CAFTY, CFTY, CNYFTY, CRaFTY, JFTY, LIFTY, MAFTY, MoVFTY, MSTY, NEFTY, NELFTY, NOFTY, OVFTY, PAFTY, SCFTY, SEFTY, SOFTY, SWFTY, TOFTY, WEFTY, WESTY. Those are the names of the 21 NFTY Regions I grew up with in the 80s. And, yes, we used to have contests to see who could recite them the […]

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NFTY at 75 – Think Big



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg A Jew who participates in the suffering of his nation and its fate, but does not join in its destiny, which is expressed in a life of Torah and mitzvot, destroys the essence of Judaism and injures his own uniqueness. By the same token, a Jew who is observant but does […]

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5 Ways NFTY Teens are Helping the Reform Movement “Make it Big”



I have a dirty little secret. I’m a junkie, I’m addicted to NPR and LinkedIn. Today I’m going to confess my LinkedIn addiction, not so much for the networking but for the information digests they provide based on career interests. This week, I came across “5 Signs You’re Going to Make it Big One Day.” Thinking, “Who doesn’t want to make […]

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Hello, Muddah, Hello, Faddah: Camp Season is Here!



Perhaps some of you remember the incredibly popular camp song by Allan Sherman that was a hit in 1963. It speaks to how connections are quickly made at camp as well as how important it is to be connected back home. We often speak of “bringing camp home” – but really, it is about connecting what […]

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The Evolution of the NFTY Chordster



By Rabbi Lisa Silverstein Tzur In 1982, a rabbi placed a guitar in my arms, taught me four basic chords, and inspired by Hillel’s famous quote, declared, “With these four chords you can play any Jewish song. The rest is commentary. Go and learn it.” Indeed, in the 1980s, NFTY, the Reform Jewish Youth Movement, […]

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Celebrating NFTY’s Diamond Jubilee



Taking the words of the prophet Joel as the refrain of her 1981 classic song “And The Youth Shall See Visions,” Debbie Friedman captured the role of young people in our Movement: And the old shall dream dreams, and the youth shall see visions, And our hopes shall rise up to the sky. For 75 […]

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Chazak Chazak V’nitchazeik



By Andrew Keene and Debbie Rabinovich Our tradition teaches us to separate Shabbat from the rest of the week and make it holy. We mark this separation and transition into the regular week withHavdalah. On some weeks, we take the opportunity to savor the transition time and prolong the Havdalah experience. In NFTY, the Reform […]

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A Formula for Engaging Jewish Teenagers



Working with teenagers is simply heartwarming. We experienced this yet again at our recent Havdala Under the Stars, Congregation Or Ami’s year-end gathering of our Triple T (Tracks for Temple Teens) youth program. Picture this: a large group of teens, 7th to 12th grades, sitting around a campfire, singing songs, playing games, and grouping and regrouping […]

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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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