By Sarah Levinson, NFTY-MAR member and DRTY Social Action Vice President
Hi NFTY! My name is Sarah Levinson, and I’m the Social Action Vice President for Durham Regional Temple Youth (DRTY) in Durham, North Carolina. I love volunteering both in the local and global community and my ultimate goal is to make people in my youth group enjoy social action as much as I do.
I have been working with various community service organizations throughout high school and it wasn’t until this year that I translated my love for Tikkun Olam to DRTY. Beginning freshman year, I tutored Hispanic children in the Durham, North Carolina area, and there began my passion for community-based social action. Tutoring these students and spending my summers with them allowed me to experience a culture completely foreign to my own, while also seeing the immediate effects of my help.
I was thrilled to be elected to DRTY board this spring as Social Action Vice President. I became involved with DRTY and NFTY in my sophomore year and was amazed by the welcoming and supportive DRTY community. After seeing past social action vice presidents in action, I decided to combine my commitment to social action and my love for DRTY by running for SAVP on DRTY board.
This year in social action, DRTY has started working on several projects. Our first social action event of the year was focused on the misrepresentation of women in the media. We began the event with a discussion of our definition of beauty. Then we explored magazines and cut out pictures of “beautiful” women who were being used to sell a product. When we regrouped, each DRTYite shared what they found in the magazines and from there came up with what they believed the media’s definition of beauty to be. After the program, we joined other temple members in a video screening of the documentary “Miss Representation” which discusses the misportrayal of women in the media and the effect of media on a woman’s life.
For the rest of the year, DRTY is focusing on a new project idea. In conjunction with the NFTY social action theme of r’fuat hanefesh, DRTY is working to become more accessible for all teenagers. We are partnering with the temple’s inclusion committee to allow people with physical and mental disabilities to become part of, and enjoy DRTY events. Right now we are working to arrange a buddy system where a DRTYite is assigned a physically or mentally handicapped “buddy” that they will accompany to a specially planned, relevant, and accessible event.
And that’s the DRTY story. Until next time, NFTY!