Welcome to the first MVP Monday post, dedicated solely towards “What is NFTY: A Short History of NFTY.” This section from the TYG Starter Guide can be found in Chapter 1, page 7-8.
1939: NFTY did not always stand for North American Temple Youth; it actually was created by the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, with membership comprised of college-age youth. This did not change for 9 years! The only NFTY regions at this point were: Pennsylvania, Chicago, and New York.
1948: This was a big year for NFTY. The last National Convention for at least 30 years was held this year, membership changed to from college-age to high school-age youth, and regions played a larger role in programming and legislation.
1952: NFTY finally turned 13! Mitzvah programs became more prevalent during this year, still playing a major part to the NFTY we know and love today. Currently, every region has some type of Mitzvah Corps Project or take part in Social Action programming at each kallah.
1961: NFTY EIE stands for Eisendrath International Exchange Program. During this year, 3 boys from NFTY took a semester to study abroad in Haifa, Israel. EIE now sends more than 100 NFTYites to school in Israel per year.
1965: The URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY has been NFTY’s summer home for almost 50 summers. It continues to be the headquarters for NFTY Leadership Training. Here, close to 200 teens, NFTYites or not, learn leadership through art, study, Temple Youth Group and Regional tracks. The URJ Kutz Camp also often hosts events for regions in the New York and New Jersey areas.
1983: NFTY Convention was finally reinstated in Washington, D.C. Every other year, NFTY holds a North American event in a different North American city. Past host-cities include Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Dallas.
2005: During this year, NFTY joined Netzer Olami as an official snif (branch). Netzer Olami is the Worldwide Progressive Zionist youth movement. Though there are many sniffim around the world, NFTY makes up well over half of Netzer’s members.
2014: Now with 19 regions and almost 450-500 TYGs and counting, NFTY is having it’s 75th birthday! In 2015, Atlanta, GA will be home to NFTY Convention, where close to 1000 teens will be able to meet, learn, and have fun.
As current generation NFTYites, it’s so important to learn from our past, so we can better our future. Being able to provide potential new members a source for what NFTY is, is so crucial to being a MVP. Check back next week for more on NFTY’s Connection to Netzer Olami!