Happy New Year!

Jeffrey Lewis, Evan Traylor, Liza Moskowitz, and Sammi Donchin after the Campaign for Youth Engagement Forum at the URJ Biennial in Washington D.C.

5…4…3…2…1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite nights of the entire year. I love watching the ball drop in Times Square, hearing the fireworks booming in the night sky, and wearing the crazy glasses and hats to ring in the New Year. It’s a time to look forward to a clean slate. We learn from the past year’s mistakes and will try to apply those lessons in the future. I love the new beginning and an opportunity to make a change to myself or the environment around me. Yet, something that stumps me every year is the daunting task of forming a New Year’s resolution.

There is a long line of mundane objectives that would be great if I achieved, but I want to make this year phenomenal and impactful for not only myself but also the people around me. For 2012, I want to challenge and push NFTY forward by looking at my personal past. My NFTY new year’s resolution is to reflect on my own experience and apply my thoughts to the last six months of my PVP term.

I believe that my NFTY experience can be broken down into three distinct pillars which I call the “3 ships”: ownership, relationships, and leadership.

Ownership – At the URJ Biennial, NFTY was at the forefront of the Campaign for Youth Engagement. This is our time to begin a strong dialogue between the adult leadership and us, the youth, about what engages us. NFTY is our youth movement and we should have a say in what direction the CYE and the Reform Movement goes in. Speak up and let’s get our unengaged peers engaged!

Relationships – If you ask any NFTYite why they keep coming back, the overwhelming response will be “to see my friends.” However, relationship building can’t stop at just your circle of close companions. I want to challenge everyone to expand the definition of relationship and become friends with new people. Everyone remembers being that lonely freshman. Go become friends with them! Don’t forget about your Jewish youth professionals. They are phenomenal individuals and resources. Get to know them during programs, free time, and on our favorite bus rides.

Leadership – For the next six months, I want to challenge all NFTYites to step up and take leadership positions within your regions. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a title on your regional or TYG board! Here are some ideas of how you can take leadership within your community:

1. Take initiative and write a program about the NFTY Study or Action Theme.

2. Attend your congregation’s Youth Committee Meeting and let them know about your TYG.

3. At a regional event, be a super star participant! Set an example for your friends.

Plus, empower others around you to be leaders as well. #Generationalleadership anyone?

I can’t believe that is 2012. NFTY has seen so many things in 2011 including NFTY Convention, NFTY Leaders Assembly at the URJ Biennial, and hundreds of fantastic regional events. Let’s make this year even better. How will you integrate the “ships” in your NFTY life? Will you take ownership of our youth movement? Empower others around you to be a leader and not a follower? Engage in meaningful conversations to form new relationships? It doesn’t matter how you do it but make NFTY an even stronger community in 2012. Happy New Year!

Liza Moskowitz is the NFTY North American Programming Vice President  and a freshman at Boston University.  You can see more pictures from her weekend on facebook at facebook.org/NFTYPVP and you can follow her on twitter at @NFTYPVP.

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