NFTY has been the Reform Jewish Youth Movement for the last 83 years, but the pandemic presented challenges to its
future. Now NFTY is back, in its entirety, and led by ambitious leaders looking
to pick back up where we left off.
Collab' was a monumental event for the future of the Jewish youth movement. It
had been several years since an in-person NFTY North American event, and in my time
involved in NFTY, this made it my first.
first found out this event was happening, I was beyond excited. And the fact
that my home camp, OSRUI, was hosting was just an added bonus. The group
comprised of people from across the U.S., from the east coast to the west
coast, the midwest, north and south, all regions across the board were present
and made an effort to join in on the fun. This event was oriented toward
enhancing the leadership skills of Jewish high schoolers in the Reform
Movement. And this event was important for setting NFTY back on track.
arrived on Shabbat and after some ice breakers and many rounds of Jewish
geography (some unplanned!) we were instantly connected despite our diversely
different backgrounds. The first dinner was a little quiet. We were all happy
to be together, but not fully introduced as a group, just excited for what was
next day, things were really kicking off with a plethora of activities planned
for us. The day was guided toward our own personal leadership skills and
growth. We attended a storytelling training program where we learned how to
better public speak and narrate interesting stories, cultivating more
captivating ways of communication. We learned about a 1:1 conversation, which is a very intentional
and formal conversation that aims away from the “what” and toward the “why”.
Shortly after 1:1’s we had a voting program, which was organized and led by
friends of mine that I met this summer on NFTY in Israel! I was thrilled to be asked to
help lead in this program about restrictions and language barriers in voting. This is under-represented topic that I personally became more educated through in
preparing to present to our rotating groups. We moved on to other programming,
some more regional specific, to further develop connections between our local
groups, and even a mock trial to gear in on more politically active aspects of
what justice looks like.
NFTY events are enriching; whether through social action, fun programming,
social justice initiatives, or just through exploring new friendships in an
accepting and inclusive Jewish community. ‘The Collab’ was action packed and I
couldn’t possibly summarize everything. I came back from this
weekend really inspired and with a smile on my face. There was definitely an
energy with this group that I’ll never forget. And I met many amazing new
friends just in those few days. For everyone who attended, although the weekend
is over, it’s clear that this is just the beginning of something new and
exciting ahead for all of us.
About the Author: Josh Jury is a member of temple Etz Chaim and a junior
at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. In his free time he likes to read, bike,
travel, and he enjoys photography. Josh is active in NFTY-CAR and has served on
the social action committee and is currently the NFTY-CAR Israel Chair. He
enjoys spending his summers at URJ OSRUI.