By Rachel Goldberg, NFTY-SW
Recently, NFTY-SWites spent their Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend helping the community for NFTY Southwest’s Social Action Weekend. After hanging out Thursday night and doing a quick friendship circle, participants headed home to rest up for the busy upcoming days. Programming Vice President Matt Wall and Membership Vice President Jordan Weissman started Friday morning with a karaoke mixer before everyone left for their service projects. The social action activities included: making fleece blankets, organizing medical supplies, working at Wilson Elementary School, playing at the Boys & Girls Club and helping at St. Vincent de Paul food bank. Later, the teens went back to their host homes to prepare for a beautiful Shabbat service lead by the clergy of Temple Emanuel and head songleader Taylor Wachman. Everyone mingled during dinner and danced during Shabbat Shira until Programming Vice President Matt Wall lead his program on #firstworldproblems where participants made a personal coat of arms and a collage of their first world problems and solutions. Head songleader Taylor Wachman closed the night with friendship circle and everyone went home after a fun, exhausting day.
On Saturday morning, the region welcomed our special guest, Kelly Biedinger, URJ Kutz Camp Assistant Director. Religious and Cultural Vice President Cody Rosen began the morning with services and Torah study and NFTYites discussed the plagues of the Egyptians, their own modern plagues and how to speak up about them. Once everyone shared their ideas, Camp Swift director Whitney Jacobson explained the Camp Swift carnival. Over 200 elementary school children spent the afternoon with NFTY-SWites and other volunteers. Activities included: face painting, spin art, bounce house, golf, mummy wrap, fortune telling, ring toss and many more games! When the carnival concluded, Social Action Vice President Maddy Ginis lead another program on mental health — participants learned about depression, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, Asperger Syndrome and how to help others with mental illness. To relax after a long day, on Saturday night NFTY-SW met at Golfland and played laser tag, mini golfed and drove go-carts. Everyone hung out, danced around and enjoyed their last night together. The regional board led a beautiful Havdallah followed by friendship circle.
On Sunday morning, Temple Emanuel was filled with teenagers and their luggage. Communications Vice President Kenny Levy showed historian Miranda Rosen’s slideshow from Fall Kallah and opened the NFTY store. Head songleader Taylor Wachman led the regional in the final friendship circle of the weekend and everyone said the final goodbye to their friends until Spring Kallah in April. Shortly after, the buses for the airport left and the Phoenix-area NFTYites left as well, leaving behind only wonderful memories from another incredible NFTY-SW Social Action Weekend.