By Austin Zoot, NFTY Religious & Cultural Vice-President
As the school year comes to an end, there are hundreds of NFTYites who will be graduating and taking their Judaic leadership to the next big thing. Whether that is Hillel at a University campus, some form of religious education or forming one’s own religious identity, there will most definitely be a transition period. The most important part of that transition, though, is to not forget where you came from.
In NFTY, we are each given very distinctive skills. Some of them are intentional training: we are often taught prayers, organizational tactics and group-leading. So many of these things, though, are not taught so much as brought out within us. We are given the voice that we always had, but never knew how to use. We are given the opportunity to be leaders without being show-offs. We are given the opportunity to mean the world to someone, when we would have felt worthless before.
In all of the other endeavors that NFTYites take on, there are people who did not receive these gifts. There are those who lack the creativity to make extraordinary things happen. There are those who even resent the enthusiasm that we bring to the table, simply because they do not want to change their own way of thinking to reflect the “new” image that we bring to the situation.
Don’t let that stop you, though. Let your passion sweep you away and take you to new heights. Don’t be afraid to let the extraordinary become the norm. Show anyone and everyone who is around to watch exactly what it is that NFTYites can do for the world, and how much better it will be for it.
All of the gifts that NFTY has given us are too valuable to squander. For that, we have to take them to whole new heights. When we leave NFTY, it can often feel like an ending. The best four years of our lives coming to an end. Yet, NFTY does not want these to be the best four years of our life. Instead, NFTY is looking to give us the tools to make every year of our life amazing.
For those of you not graduating, though, there is still so much to be done. There is more to soak in, more to learn and more ways to grow. That being said, the clichéd “Don’t waste even one minute,” holds truer here than anywhere else. Because when you are done you can’t get that time back. You can only take the amazing things you learned and run to the future.