Chanukah is a time for making the world brighter. Each night of Chanukah we’ll be featuring stories from teens serving on the Jewish Teen Alliance of Chicago (JTAC) sharing how adding their Jewish experiences add light to our community. JTAC members are representatives of Chicago’s amazing teen programs. For the eight night, we will hear from Molly about her experience with NFTY.
My name is Molly Schless, and I am on the regional board for an organization called NFTY. NFTY stands for the North American Federation of Temple Youth. It is a place for Jewish teens to stay connected to their religion whilst having fun with their peers.
What has kept me involved in NFTY is how welcoming the environment is. From my first program in 6th grade, I could just tell how inclusive and inviting everyone was. There is such a diverse group of participants within NFTY that it is easy to find your people and quickly feel at home. For me, NFTY is a second home and a place where I can truly be myself.
My favorite event ever was the spring weekend retreat that I went to in 8th grade. My sister was very involved in NFTY at the time, so she told me stories about all the events that she went to, but this was my first high school event ever. I loved every second of it, from small things like a conversation I had with a new friend, to getting to participate in programs that were planned and led by teens. At the end of every spring retreat, every senior gets to talk about their experience in NFTY and what they will take from it since this would be their last event. I remember watching all the seniors, my sister included, with such joy in their eyes while they talked about NFTY like they could go on forever. Their words really stuck with me, and they inspire me to be the leader I am today. This event was the start of 3 years filled with amazing memories and even more amazing people.
About the Author: Molly Schless is a junior at Buffalo Grove High School. She enjoys singing in many of her school’s music programs such as vocal jazz, acapella, and choir. Molly also loves to read, cuddle with her pets, and spend time with her friends.