By Erica Strauss, NFTY-PAR SAVP
What makes NFTY the place people can be themselves? It is not always the programs or the bunk bonding you have at night but rather the unintentional moments people have throughout the event. The relationships that form or the laughter you hear are not planned parts of the events but rather unintentional moments that make NFTY the greatest place to grow. Although these moments are not planned they are appreciated every time because they help bring a service or program to its greatest potential.
While planning the evening service for NFTY-PAR’s Summer Leadership Kallah, Skippy (Jonathan Neff, NFTY-PAR MVP) and I, decided to create a service where anybody had a chance to lead a group and everyone contributed to the service. The participants were divided into six groups and each group created a skit based on the prayer they were given. No group leaders were chosen and everyone in the group had the chance to decide how the skit would be put together. Each person participated in the service and helped create a spiritual service which depicted the leadership skills of each person at the event.
Our initial vision did not include any readings during the service, however; two participants, both going into ninth grade, approached us and asked if they could read their favorite poem before the Mourners Kaddish. These two participants really engulfed the meaning of this service and took it to new heights. Both of these people would not have been chosen to lead a group because of their age but shined with the opportunity this service had given them.
It may have been unintentional for them to read the poem but it made the service that much better. These two participants knew how to make these little moments they are offered, into the most important moments at the event. This is what makes NFTY a place where teens can step out of their normal comfort zone and do things they would not normally do otherwise.