Welcome to NFTY-GER’s Lit Team corner! Here you’ll find great personal stories, poems, pictures, and other things created by NFTY-GER participants. Since we all need a little more NFTY-GER in our lives, this is a great place to come to bring back memories from our events. It’s sure to make you smile every time you stop by! Also, feel free to add your own stories in the comments below!
-Pam, NFTY-GER Youth Programs Manager
Have you ever felt like you have come full circle?
In my precalculus class, we are learning about co-terminal angles. And for those of you out there that think I could have just switched to the Wingdings font on my computer, I will explain, just stick with me. Co-terminal angles are angles in a circle that look the same without arrows drawn, showing that they are in fact, different. As I was on the bus ride home from New Member Kallah, I was thinking about this math concept as a metaphor (of course). The curious thing about co-terminal angles is that an angle that is 390° looks the same as one that has just begun its journey around the circle at 30°.
During my weekend at Kutz, I had this funny feeling of coming full circle, 360°. After a full day of learning about self-growth, group leading programs, and living Jewishly, I would head back to my cabin to spend time with the newest addition to my NFTY family: a group of freshman girls. We laughed until at least 3 in the morning both nights of New Member, and as I sat snuggled with my young friends, I realized that they were my co-terminals. And as I rotated comfortably around the Havdallah spiral, feeling many memories of my many Havdallahs at Urban Mitzvah Corps and four years of NFTY events, my co-terminal angle rotated beside me for her first time. This feeling that had been out of reach before culminated and sparked a brilliant flame within me then. I squeezed her hand to let her know we are the same angle. I see myself in her, and I see her in me; but take a closer look and our arrows are pointing in different directions.
The thought that I will be off at college next year while GER continues to rotate is saddening, but during my time in NFTY I have come to learn that the way our arrows point is much less significant when compared to the passion for life that make up our angle measures. The wonderful thing about circles is that they have no end. This also goes for the friendships formed at NFTY GER, and it is my hope that NFTY GER. After all, happiness runs in a circular motion.
– Haley Peckman
New Member Kallah is the beginning of NFTY for many, or it is just the continuation of their summer. With a record number of new members I am overwhelmed to know that NFTY will continue to grow. As this was my third new member, I never felt so much love from everyone. From reading during Friday Night services to placing my shoe in the center during friendship circle, I felt involved the whole event. I hope that all new members come back for Winter Kallah, my favorite event. As I reflect on my time at my last new member, I think about all the people I met and my hope that they will all return and continue making NFTY feel like home. As I cried placing my left shoe in the center, I also remember those tears of joy for all the love and sense of community NFTY has given me. Thank you to everyone for coming to New Member and making it unforgettable. I wish I was able to go to Winter Kallah, but I know that everyone is going to have an amazing time.
– Hannah Bass
So many different faces surrounded me as I walked on the bus
Some were unknown, and others had my trust
We were escaping the world for only one weekend
Who knew after three days you could meet such great friends?
Finally, we walked off the bus and walked through the rain
But after reuniting with my best friends I couldn’t complain
New members and old were led through touching mixers
We may have a similar background, yet all our opinions differ
Havdallah created magic as candle’s sizzling sound filled the room
And the rippling water reflected all the stars and shining moon
When it came to goodbye, we sat in a circle and shared our memories
We laughed aloud to the GERams and listened to Pam’s talking specialties
So many different faces surrounded me as I walked off the bus
All were known, and all had my trust
– Rachel Kahn
About 48 hours it takes us,
From the beginning until very end.
Some of that time may be spent on a bus,
Yet the time spent equals a great weekend.
What could you even ever imagine,
or expect when sleeping in a cabin.
Not having fun may almost be a crime,
As in GER, you’ll surely have a great time.
Did you ever believe that you would be,
Somewhere like this with new things to see.
Meeting many others, similar to you,
Or for one thing meeting that many Jews.
And in only 48 hours,
With so many participants.
You are sure to show your inner silliness.
And even in only two days’ time,
You’ll find a place where you truly shine.
A weekend of abundant memories…
You’ll learn a lot, but not like in chemistry.
With services, song sessions, and programs,
You are sure to have a favorite part.
Maybe you will even make a good friend or two,
And also write NFTY GER on your heart.
Here, in little time, so much can happen.
And forever your memories will be a distraction.
– Jenna Wyatt
Driving into the large camp,
Happy teenagers gather at a house.
It is the beginning of the NFTY event,
I was still silent as a mouse.
I only knew few from home,
I never met some many different teens.
When we all sang together and danced,
I knew this strip will have many scenes.
From jamming at song session,
To learning about you and me.
NFTY-GER is our new family,
It is where I always want to be.
– Jake Cameron
Perspective of a First Time Group Leader
The program starts
My hands shake
Back of nametag
Find your place
For an hour or so
What if I mess up?
What if I sound weird?
What if this bore’s people
Then am I to blame?
As time speeds by
I find my pace
Isn’t as terrifying as I think
It’s quite fun
From being a participant
To being one
Of those people
Who for the past two years
I looked up to
And I hope I am not as intimidating as those people were to me.
First off, L’Shanah Tova to everyone!
This was my second New Member, and my first event at Kutz. The theme this time was “Im Ein Ani Li” – “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? (If I am only for me then, what will I be? And if the time is not now, when will it be, when will it be?”) Though a bit of a more serious theme then I’ve experienced in the past, the experience was still great. The activities, like most Kallahs, had a great range, and some were more centered then others. Overall, the event was very…eventful. It was a good experience, and the music, as always, was great! Mazel Tov and Yasher Ko-ach to the Board and Chair Members for a fantastic first Kallah! You worked really hard and not only did it show, but it paid off! I hope that you all keep coming back, because I would like to meet you if I haven’t, and if I have, I would like to see you again! If you didn’t have a great time at this event, be it your first or twenty-seventh, don’t give up. There’s always another chance, but how will you know if you like it if you’ve only come once?
– Jenna Levine
Jared Plaxe and I spent the summer together. I knew how he felt about being accepting and being accepted, because he and I had had a few of these discussions ourselves while we were participating at Urban Mitzvah Corps, or UMC. But the impact session he created for Friday night blew me away. The way that he had everyone focus on themselves first, and then brought it back to the rest of the group really spoke to me. It showed everyone, including me, that they have to be true to themselves before they can be true to anyone else. Nobody can help you face your enemy if you don’t even know what the enemy is. So embrace you as you, for all of your perfections and flaws, all of your happiness and sadness, all of your level-headedness and insanity… Then and only then can you truly allow everyone else to see who you are and be proud of that. As my good friend Jared Plaxe would constantly quote from Lady Gaga: “Same DNA, But Born This Way.”
– Michelle Bivas
– Rebecca Warnock