Jamie Mafdali is the Youth Director at Temple Dor Dorim in Weston, FL.
When teens from two different Temple Youth Groups (TYGs) came to me at the end of a Kallah and asked to do a program together, my eyes lit up. Here we were at dismissal and the teens were already setting up their next opportunity to be together. As the Youth Director for TOUCHY at Temple Dor Dorim in Weston, FL, it was my goal to help facilitate the program and make it a reality. The other TYG teen was from PARTY, the TYG of Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland, FL. The two teens who approached me wanted to have a TOUCHY PARTY event, and from there the idea budded.
After confirming a date, I began to drive home from the NFTY-STR Spring Kallah. By the time I got home, there was already a Facebook event created and it continued to blossom. As nearby teens heard of the dinner program, they too wanted to be involved. The relationships between the youth professionals in our area are so strong that we recognize that our teens are looking for congregation-to-congregation interaction. We are not competing with each other but rather working together. Not only were we able to include KAFTY from Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation, FL but we were also able to welcome Hazak, the Weston area BBYO chapter. While numbers may have been a barrier for some, we knew that, as long as our teen to adult ratio was maintained, we were even able to include teens whose youth professionals were unable to attend.
Our goal was to be inclusive and welcoming to all who wished to participate. With over 60 Jewish teens, we were successful. We are already planning on including more joint programming in the coming year and know that value of partnerships is immeasurable.