By Cullin Coyle, NFTY-Southwest Member
“If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.”
Mark Twain has the words to make us think, as always. And what I have been asked to make all of us think about today is what I have seen as the role which Judaism plays in NFTY. Of course NFTY is, by definition, a Jewish youth organization but the ways in which it helps all of us build our Jewish Identities is always up to us as individuals. I can’t honestly remember what I thought when I arrived at my Freshman Fall Kallah but without a doubt, I gained some amazing friendships and experienced some deeply touching revelations about my own beliefs. What I want to identify as the most crucial pieces of NFTY’s Jewish situation are; the Jewish ideas which are interpreted for many current social situations, the open minded discussions that our programs achieve and the opportunity to interact with a variety of Jewish peers.
- Jewish education with current impacts has always been at the heart of the events that I have attended, this is so fantastic to me because they really do ask what our opinions are and get us thinking about what is important to us. Because at NFTY its for fun but you will also likely walk away with a new perspective or some idea that will capture your imagination.
- Religious discussions are, whether at Torah Study or the afternoon program, open minded and always good food for thought. It sounds close to the Jewish Education I mentioned before and I find that there is usually a combination of the two. But whichever you prefer, you will always hear the groups honest opinion.
- And finally, All of the people that you’ll meet during your NFTY life are as individual as you are, but at the same time you know that they share a big part of their personal identities with you. And regardless of how secular or religious you are there will always be this fantastic environment that people create here, an environment where your opinion not only matters but is valued and appreciated all the time.
This isn’t even close to all of what I could say on behalf of the NFTY and specifically the NFTY-SW communities. The atmosphere that develops is one of friendships that last and memories that are unforgettable. The one thing that I hope you all walk away from here tonight with is that with every two Jews there will always be three opinions, and If you ever want to talk about them then NFTY is the perfect place.