My dearest NFTY-TOR,
It was such an honor being able to witness the knowledge and the appreciation for social action and religion that emanates off of your region. Na’aseh V’nishma was always the event that was spoken so highly around NFTY, and so when I had the opportunity to attend, I could not be more thrilled.
One of the things that surprised me the most out of the entire weekend was on Saturday morning at the University of Texas – Austin Hillel. While there were a few different wonderful religious and cultural programs that morning, one program was specifically talked about more than others. TORites exclaimed that the Israel program was one of the best programs they’ve ever taken part in. This program worked towards understanding the Middle Eastern conflict, revolving not only around Israel’s side, but also on Hamas’ side. I’ll be honest, during my four going on five years in NFTY, I’ve never been so engaged in an Israel program like I was during that Saturday morning at NVN. Something that I was really inspired about was hearing so many different opinions on this topic, and in turn, that help me learn the importance of listening to everyone’s thoughts, no matter your own.
Really, throughout the entirety of the weekend, I was amazed. There was not a single program that didn’t cause a debate or spark numerous conversations, both during and after the program. Further, during the advocacy program that was run on Saturday afternoon, it was so cool to watch each of you fight for something you believed in. Learning about how to form an opinion and debate it is so essential to making change in your communities. I know that NFTY TOR will be at the forefront of advocating on important issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, suicide prevention, and substance addiction recovery.
Finally, and quite possibly my favorite part of the weekend, was when Josh Halff, Fred Traylor, and I had the opportunity to answer your questions about NFTY Convention. There was delicious cake, lots of conversation, and a ton of excitement. There were questions on speakers, evening programs, workshops, Atlanta, and musicians. The most amazing question that was asked was when someone said, “How many people are going to register for NFTY Convention?” and we got to watch almost all 58 hands shoot up in the air.
Something so inspiring about those 5 seconds was seeing your region being so engaged on a North American level. Though I said before, it was such an honor witnessing the knowledge and appreciation for social action and religion the emanates off your region, but there’s so much more to it. Your region is filled with passionate teen leaders, ready to take on all of NFTY. So, it was such an honor to be able to spend a weekend in a region that made me curious about the world around me through talks of God and made me want to strive to make an impact in my community through advocacy, but it was also such an honor to be able to spend a weekend in a region that solidified the reason I love NFTY. Thank you for the memories I will surely never forget.
NFTY Membership Vice President, 5774-5775