Posts Tagged: Youth Engagement Conference

Four Questions to Ask Ourselves When It Comes to Youth Engagement



After spending time with more than 3,000 teens – as well as many youth professionals and other stakeholders – at the 2015 NFTY Convention and Youth Summit, I am more convinced than ever that everybody is a winner when it comes to youth engagement. I don’t mean that we all get little plastic trophies to […]

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Drinking From the Fountain of Youth at the URJ Youth Summit



Today’s studies and statistics provide proof that engaged youngsters become actively practicing Jewish adults. While practicing remains a matter of degree, anyone who has worked with young people recognizes that relationships built during these formative years facilitate engagement long after the conclusion of temple youth group days. Creating those relationships requires incredibly dedicated adults who […]

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What We’ve Learned from the Consultancy on Youth Engagement



Last fall, the URJ received a matching grant from The Jim Joseph Foundation to support the development of a strategic plan for youth engagement. Over the past four months we have been intensively working with two consulting firms to develop this plan: BTW informing change and The Center for Leadership Initiatives. The first phase of […]

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Painted Ponies, Passover, and Youth Engagement



“And the painted ponies go up and down We’re captive on the carousel of time…” (Joni Mitchell, “The Circle Game”) For years, this song has been an integral part of our Passover seder.  It comes right after we talk about the roasted egg and is one of the more poignant moments of the evening. I’ve […]

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What Makes for Great Prayer?



by Rabbi Dan Medwin Last week, I was given a wonderfully challenging task as the CCAR rabbinic staff member at the NFTY Convention:  Take fifty participants from the Youth Engagement Conference and a two-hour prayer lab session, and plan multiple services for about 900 NFTY Convention participants.  While seemingly impossible, I jumped at the opportunity.   […]

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When it Comes to Full Inclusion, It’s Time to Make (Y)our Move



Most of the time I see the Jewish world through my Jewish Special educator lens. For me, last week’s NFTY Convention and Youth Engagement Conference were no exception. Three significant things happened: 1.  Rabbi Rick Jacobs spoke of special needs and Jewish Disability Awareness Month from the bimah on Shabbat morning.  He shared the bimah […]

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Getting Engaged: A Journey of Great Importance



by Jeffrey Kagan With the 2013 Youth Engagement Conference in the books, I’ve been processing what exactly happened for four days in Los Angeles. Having attended seven previous conferences dedicated to honing the skills of NFTY’s youth workers, I’ve seen many different approaches, all with the best of intentions but with varying degrees of success. […]

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One Hundred Jewish Youth Professionals Walk Into a Church…



by Barb Shimansky, MSW I knew going into the Youth Engagement Conference that our Sunday morning trip to the First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church would be a highlight of the weekend. Learning how another faith organization engages their youth would surely provide some insight into how we as Jewish professionals can do the same. […]

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URJ & NFTY Presidents’ Joint D’var



Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs and NFTY President Evan Traylor delivered a joint D’var Torah during Saturday morning T’fillah at last weekend’s NFTY Convention and Youth Engagement Conference, which run concurrently. An abridged text and full video of their address follows; you can also find the full text of Rabbi Jacobs Friday […]

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Tweets, Texts, and T’fillah



by Lauren Biletsky Cell phones and services: It’s often frowned upon when someone takes out their cell phone during services. Why? Well, let’s go back to the question of “Why?” Why what? Why are cell phones being taken out? Why is it frowned upon? And what are we doing on our cell phones? We’re using […]

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Then & Now: The Evolution of the Jewish Youth Professional



by Hope Chernak I’ve spent the last four days at my eighth NFTY Convention/Youth Professional Conference (now known as the Youth Engagement Conference), and I can’t help but reflect on events past. In 1999, there were 13 of us full-time “youth workers.” We came from all over the United States, and this was the first […]

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Why Are You Here?



by Rabbi Kimberly Herzog Cohen It was 10:30 at night (12:30 Dallas time). We were in another windowless room, and it had been a long day of travel. But I was pumped. Why? Because I just witnessed 860 teens sing their heart out and delight in being together. The energy is palpable here at the […]

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Let Every Voice be Heard



Since starting my blog, Jewish Special Needs Education, I realize that I am noticing inclusion – and the absence of inclusion – all the time. It kind of reminds me of being pregnant and noticing other pregnant woman everywhere you go! But more on this in a moment. I spent this Shabbat in Los Angeles […]

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What Does “Youth Engagement” Even Mean?



by Lindsey Morgan Youth Advisor A asks, “Are you going to the URJ’s Youth Engagement Conference?” Youth Advisor B answers, “Well, I’m not entirely sure yet. I haven’t talked to my temple, board and it hasn’t been approved. To be perfectly honest, I also have no idea what ‘youth engagement’ really means and whether there’s […]

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