In just a few hours, I will be leaving for Israel. As rockets continue to fall on Southern Israel, and as Hamas is targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, I believe it is critical that, on behalf of our entire Movement, I demonstrate our solidarity with, and commitment to, the people of Israel. I realize, of course, that Thanksgiving week is a time of travel and family gatherings for those in the United States. But, as the rockets continue to fall, I know that this week will not be “as usual” for many of us. This evening, I will be traveling [...]Read more
NFTY in Israel alum Marlana Fireman writes about the incredible journey that a rock from Auschwitz took with her as she traveled from Europe to Israel and back to her home in Ohio. Read about the awe she discovered while contemplating the meaning her experiences this past summer, and find out why she says that “in my travels, no matter where I go or what I learn, I will do for those who couldn’t.”Read more
Why welcome home our kids? We want our kids to know that we support them, missed them, and are glad to have them back in our congregational home as well, back at their Jewish address. We want them to know they are important to us and to the future of our Judaism. We want it to be clear to them that we are interested in what they have to say.Read more
by Rabbi Benjamin David Once upon a time, you either went to camp or you didn’t. Such days are behind us. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, there were essentially two groups amongst my close-knit group of friends, a group populated by various cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, and religious affiliations. There were those who stayed at home, working, volunteering, or competing as part of our local swim team or basketball club. Then there were those of us who left for four weeks, maybe eight weeks, to experience the rhythm of summer in different terms. I was, am, and always will be a [...]Read more
by Rabbi Barbara Symons and Rabbi Ron Symons We are writing to you in this special joint article from our modest room at URJ Camp Harlam, where we are now serving as faculty for two weeks of vibrant Jewish learning and living with 500 campers and another 200 staff in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. This is the seventh year that we have served at Harlam in this way. Our connections with URJ camping run deep. When Ron was entering 7th-9th grades, his parents sent him to the URJ Camp Eisner in Great Barrington, MA. As the child of a NYC [...]Read more
We’re bringing some of the excitement of NFTY in Israel experiences directly to our communities in North America! Watch exclusive documentary interviews of participants sharing their thoughts and feelings about their experiences so far and their relationship with Israel.
This is part one of the interview series, featuring teens from Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, Texas.
Stay tuned, more are coming over the summer!Read more
by Hope Chernak With all of the exciting and wonderful opportunities I have as a Jewish educator, it might be hard to believe that going to camp is my favorite one. No, I don’t want to be Peter Pan—I’m quite happy to be an adult—but I am blessed to be an adult who has camp as a central part of her life (and hope that it will always be that way). For 11 months each year, not unlike campers, I find myself thinking about the two weeks I get to spend away from New York City at a URJ camp! [...]Read more
During the journey, questions that arose were, “What would I have done?” “How would I have reacted?” “How could this have happened?” “Where was the rest of the world?” “How can I ensure such atrocities never occur again?” To say that everyone was excited to reach Israel is an understatement. To now understand some of the reasons why a Jewish homeland is so important to the Jewish people turned their excitement of visiting Israel into a much deeper yearning. As the plane landed in Tel Aviv, everyone applauded. The next steps on our Journey were about to begin.Read more