By Jonathan Brody, NFTY-CWR Communications Vice President
Overwhelming. I think this word describes the first few minutes of NFTY Convention perfectly. Walking up stairs to see literally 400 Jewish teenagers running and screaming out of excitement is pretty out of the ordinary, wouldn’t you say? Actually, in NFTY, it is quite normal for such a reaction to happen. This is what happens when you see friends from across the country that you haven’t seen in a year. Everywhere in the hotel you went, you could just feel the sense of excitement going around. The fact that there were just so many people was ridiculous—865 in total once everyone finally arrived.
The first time that everyone was together all at once was Shabbat shira/services on Friday night. A few times I actually had to take a double look just to fathom really how many Jewish high school students were in one room. Shira that night was incredible. Imagine a Shabbat shira at your camp. Quadruple that! The different versions of songs that I have never heard before instantly made me start dancing. I was jumping around with someone from Boston that I have never met in my life. Even though we have only been together for a matter of hours, you can tell that the atmosphere around this whole event is going to be incredible.
After a good 24 hours of not getting any fresh air, Sunday afternoon we all embarked on our off site workshops, with a quick detour at the beach for lunch. Throwing the Frisbee, eating, making new friends, taking pictures made for an awesome lunch at the beach. Then we were off to our off site workshops! Personally, my workshop was Jewish World Watch. This focused on the genocide that is happening and has been happening in Darfur and Congo. It was very informative and we did some educational games to keep us interested. Universal Studios! Hanging out with my closest friends, walking around Universal Studios, was such a fun time. Everything from being scared out of our minds at a haunted house to getting soaked on Jurassic Park was a blast. Everything about that day was perfect.
The next day was focused on the North American Board elections. There was “Meet the Candidates” and “Q&A” time to ask them different questions. After that, the General Board had Asefah and voted for next year’s board. Finally, we had final banquet, which included a nice dinner and some great Jewish music. Saying goodbye to people I feel like I just said hello to was awful. Convention went by so quick, but the memories that I made are endless.