Categorized | NFTY Veida, NFTY Board

Announcing the 2014-15/5774-75 NFTY North American Board-elect

Over President’s Day weekend, 130 teen leaders from our 19 NFTY regions participated in a leadership retreat and board meeting at URJ Greene Family Camp. They elected a new North American board for 2014-2015/5774-5775. We are pleased to introduce you to the NFTY board-elect. They will officially be installed during the next NFTY general board meeting in June at URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY.

2014-15 NFTY North American Board

From left to right: Debbie Rabinovich, Scott Rubenstein, Olivia Kessler, Max Spivak, Talia Capozzoli, and Jacob Maier

Debbie RabinovichDebbie Rabinovich, President-elect

Current Leadership Position:
President, NFTY Southern Area Region (SAR)
Home Congregation:
Congregation Beth El in Charlotte, NC

Debbie joined her Temple Youth Group, LIBERTY, in 8th grade. Since then she has served on the LIBERTY Board, the RAC’s Commission for Social Action, the URJ Resolutions committee and was a NFTY delegate to the URJ Biennial. Debbie also served NFTY-SAR last year as the Social Action Vice President. Debbie is an alumna of URJ Kutz Camp.

Scott RubensteinScott Rubenstein, Programming Vice President-elect

Current leadership position:
Religious and Cultural Vice President, NFTY’s Southwest Region (SW)
Home Congregation:
Temple Chai in Phoenix, Arizona

Scott has also served on the Temple Youth Group board of Temple Chai, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix Grants Committee and the Youth Philanthropy Board. He is a proud two-time alum of the URJ Kutz Kamp, where he was a Kutz Fellow and served in the programming department of the Kutz Council. Scott has also participated in the RAC’s L’taken Seminar in Washington DC, Jewish Student Union in Arizona, and attended Camp Hess Kramer.

Olivia KesslerOlivia Kessler, Social Action Vice President

Current leadership position:
Social Action Vice President, NFTY Mid-Atlantic Region (MAR)
Home Congregation:
Temple Micah in Washington, DC

Olivia served on her youth group board as Social Action Vice-president for two years. In addition, Olivia is a proud alumna of the URJ Kutz Camp’s Regional Board Major, Mitzvah Corps at Kutz, and NFTY in Israel’s Adventure program. This spring, she is serving as an intern with the Religious Action Center in Washington D.C. Olivia participated in URJ Biennial and Jewish Culture Club in Washington D.C.

Max SpivakMax Spivak, Religious & Cultural Vice President-elect

Current leadership position:
Religious and Cultural Vice President, NFTY Southern California Region (SoCal)
Home congregation:
Temple Beth Shir Shalom, Santa Monica, California

Max has previously served as the Religious and Cultural Vice-President for his temple youth group and is an alumnus of the many NFTY/URJ programs including Binah: NFTY study institute at Hebrew Union College, URJ Biennial, Religious Action Center’s L’Taken seminar and NFTY in Israel’s L’Dor V’Dor trip. Max has played baseball since he was four and has been playing on varsity since Freshman year.

Talia CapozzoliTalia Capozzoli, Membership Vice President-elect

Current leadership position:
Membership and Communications Vice President, NFTY Southern Area Region (SAR)
Home congregation:
Congregation Dor Tamid, Atlanta, Georgia.

Talia is an alumna of the URJ Kutz Camp and NFTY’s Camp Jenny. In addition, she is a participant in the Atlanta Jewish Teen Foundation which is a major contributor to URJ Jacobs Camp Dream Street Program and the Jewish Student Union in Atlanta.

Jacob MaierJacob Maier, Communications Vice President-elect

Current leadership position:
President, Central Reform Temple Youth (CRFTY)
Home congregation: 
Central Reform Congregation, St. Louis, Missouri

Jacob has been the President of his youth group for the past two years. During his time as the president of CRAFTY, membership has grown exponentially! He is an alum of the URJ Kutz Camp and currently serves as the Regional Kutz Representative NFTY’s Missouri Valley Region (MV). Jacob is a lifetime member of Hadassah.


NFTY Board elections were held during NFTY Veida, our leadership weekend and general board meeting at URJ Greene Family Camp in Texas. 130 teen leaders from our 19 NFTY regions were in attendance! Other highlights of the weekend include:

  • At the board meeting NFTY committed to a year-long action theme with a call to actively make NFTY more inclusive for those all Gender and Sexuality Identities and adopted Wrestling with God as the study theme.
  • NFTY honors selected individuals for their years of commitment to the youth of Reform Judaism. At this meeting NFTY awarded NFTY Life Membership awards to Subie Banaszynski (former NFTY Director) and Mary Levy (retiring as NFTY-TOR advisor after 10 years).
  • Atlanta was announced as NFTY Convention 2015 host city. Our next NFTY Convention for teens and URJ Youth Engagement Conference for youth professionals, clergy, and lay leaders will be held in Atlanta, February 13-17, 2015.
  • Our teens were joined in Texas by the entire NFTY regional staff team. Rabbi Bradley Solmsen led a three-day training for our new NFTY6 initiative. NFTY6 leverages older teens as mentors and leaders to engage sixth graders and in the coming weeks our staff will begin working with congregations to develop and implement this new programming in close partnership with older teens.
  • In addition to Veida, thirty-five teen leaders from NFTY and thirty five teen leaders from BBYO met in Dallas to discuss the power and potential of working together. These teens, who hail from all across North America, shared their perceptions of the Jewish teen landscape and started to think about how together they could do more. Rabbi Rick Jacobs joined the NFTY board and spoke at BBYO’s International Convention. Read Rick’s blog post for more about his visit; and for the mifgash through the eyes of our teens, read this blog post by Blake Dickler from NFTY-MAR.

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