By Aliza Gazek
NFTY President 2009-2010
I love sitting at tables to eat with participants I don’t know. Last night, my MCVP Alyssa Kress and I sat at a table with NFTYites from GER and MV. I got to know Jonah, a junior from Denver who’s exploring a potential future in architecture. I learned about his amazing family, complete with grandparents who circumnavigated and Bar Mitzvahs in Israel, and I shared with him my passions and stories of life in college.
Inevitably, a certain question comes up after a time—this time, it came from across the table: “Aren’t you guys former board members?” We play this part of our identity off with a shrug of the shoulders, because we’re not that big of a deal and don’t want our titles to get in the way of our conversations—we’re just as cool as anyone else.
I love writing down ideas and talking about them with NFTYites and staff. At the General Board Meeting yesterday, Asefah, I caught myself filling up a Fairmont Hotel notepad with my thoughts about the aims of our Study and Action Themes and how we can more effectively brainstorm, create, and implement them. I keep engaging with NFTYites about what they care about, what they want to see, and how they’re going to make it happen.
As my leadership experiences from NFTY translate more and more into roles at Stanford and the greater world, continuing to grow, I return to NFTY with a renewed vigor and passion for challenging and affirming what we do here.
This morning, NFTY President Daniel Landesberg told me that someone said Ex-Officio is the best job at NFTY Convention: you get to run around and have fun and not really worry about doing anything. I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing, but it’s great to be in Dallas, spend time with inspiring people I love, make new friends, and see the NFTY energy flood the Fairmont.