The following e-mail was sent to parents of NFTY Convention participants on the evening of Sunday, February 20th:
“I wanna be an author of the future,” a teen texted his youth advisor. “I love this dude,” he wrote as he listened to the inspiring words of Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) and NFTY Lifetime Member.
During his address, interrupted periodically by enthusiastic cheers and applause, Rabbi Saperstein encouraged each teen to continue “raising your voice of conscience.
“You and I together – we really have changed the world and this world is better for it,” he told them as he thanked NFTY for its partnership throughout the RAC’s 50-year history. Honoring Social Action Vice Presidents – past and present – he talked of the many times that teen issues and concerns have driven the social justice agenda of the Movement.
Rabbi Saperstein’s remarks set the tone for a day of social conscience-raising.
An outing to Cowboy Stadium raised awareness about environmental issues. The two-year-old Stadium was constructed with a commitment to renewable energy, recycling and waste management. Of course the behind-the-scenes tour offered some fun photo opportunities as teens posed in front of Tony Romo’s locker.
Off-shore drilling was the topic for an advocacy simulation exercise that taught participants about lobbying. They considered the myriad avenues available to communicate their message, from media and advertising campaigns to public rallies and personal visits to government officials. Learning about the economic realities and inner-workings of the political process helped to prepare our teens to be the difference in our world.
And after a day of social activism, we had a chance to relax. Picture 700 teens line dancing, roping plastic steers and chowing down on BBQ brisket. It was quite a party at Gilley’s – a Texas landmark!
I hope that you have been following our adventures on NFTY Convention Live! to get a feel for how the convention experience is impacting teens and youth workers alike. We’re posting lots of exciting highlights, including a video of our Shabbat together here in Dallas. It really is gratifying to me to read and watch these sometimes funny, often moving glimpses into the minds of NFTYites.
NFTY Convention Program Director