Blog  NFTY-SAR: To Inclusion and Beyond!

NFTY-SAR: To Inclusion and Beyond!

Jessica Hartz and Rachel Morochnik are leading members of NFTY-SAR.

In 2011, NFTY-SAR’s Fall Kallah theme was Jersey-SAR and the concept of inclusion. MAFTY board craftily explained how “no matter your coat pattern, all should be included.” The cast of The Jersey Shore was used as the springboard for discussions about the many groups in society that do not typically “fit in”. We engaged in conversations about the ways we can make our community more inclusive for those who typically feel shut out.

Coincidentally, that same weekend, Benjamin Fader, a young man with mitochondrial myopathy, a disorder that attacks the energy generators within each cell of a human body, became a bar mitzvah during Friday night services. At the time, we were only freshmen experiencing our first kallah as high school students. Little did we know that Benjamin would join us at a NFTY-SAR event three years later.

Benjamin’s enthusiasm and interest throughout programs is contagious. He dances to the music and taps his feet during services – evidence of his avid excitement and happiness. For us, as seniors, we lead and mold the NFTY year through programming and participation in every kallah. The opportunity to participate in services, programs, and song sessions with Benjamin at this year’s Fall Kallah was exciting. Hanging out with him brought another perspective to the programs and services.

NFTY’s policies and outlook on inclusion are morphing in an effort to accommodate, accept, and involve every Jewish teen in NFTY, as well as promoting inclusion beyond NFTY. With Benjamin eager to attend, NFTY-SAR welcomed Benjamin into our Fall Kallah in November.

NFTY-SAR is stepping up to be sure kallot are experiences all teens can share. We love our region and want to share how amazing and rewarding the experience can be for everyone. We believe that many more teens should have the opportunity to attend events. In the process of including all individuals, we can create a more diverse and open community. We hope NFTYites across the country will continue to open their hearts and arms to guide others into sharing their incredible experiences. As for Benjamin, he hopes to attend more kallot in the future, and he may even come to NFTY Convention in Atlanta in February!