For the first time, NFTY and BBYO Conventions came together for an incredible moment, with over 3,500 Jewish teens all sharing an afternoon of learning together. This is just some of what NFTY teens and youth professionals had to say about their experience:
“It was amazing to see how both of the youth movements are more alike than I initially thought. The passion, spirit, and belief in our values were so palpable.”
-Ellie Singer is a senior from NFTY-SW. She represents Temple Emanuel in Tempe, Arizona.
“It was really incredible to see how many mutual friends everyone had within each movement. To see them come together as one Jewish youth movement was extremely special.”
-Jordy Frankel is a senior from NFTY-SAR. She represents Temple Sinai in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I loved it [the time with BBYO]. I thought it was amazing that we all knew the same songs and shared similar values. I also learned that BBYO is completely non-denominational, so they pull from many different perspectives. Some of them are Reform, some of them are Conservative, and they have different perspectives to contribute to this gathering of Jews, which I found very interesting.”
– Dalilah Bernier is a junior from NFTY-SAR. She represents Temple Israel in Tallahassee, Florida.
“I thought it was great that we all were so invested in the material we were learning in our workshops. When we were learning about Jacob and Esau, there was a spirit of brotherhood that I look forward to bringing back with me to NFTY.”
– Brian Solomon is a senior from NFTY-NAR. He represents Temple Shaaray Teflia in New York, New York.
“Coming from a smaller Jewish community in Arizona, it was especially amazing to see all of these Jewish teens come together. It was really fulfilling to see this many people who are similar to me, and to share in this experience with BBYO.”
– Derby Reeves is a sophomore from NFTy-SW. He represents Temple Kol Ami in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“It felt really powerful to be a part of a such a beautiful moment, but also to be able to feel that while we are two different youth movements, we really are all about the same things. We know the same songs, we all have ruach, and we share such a similar purpose.”
– Ariel Milan-Polisar is a Youth Professional at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts
“This experience made me feel like there is a bright future for the Jewish people. Everything we are doing for teen programming and teen engagement is helping us to get there.”
– Aaron Gurvis is a Youth Professional at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, Massachusetts
“It was like watching the last seven years of my life come together in one place. I knew a lot of the staff and teens from both organizations, and was getting hugs from everyone. Since a lot of the work I do is bringing the two organizations together, it was really beautiful to see it in action.”
– Rona Goldstein is the Regional Director of Youth Engagement for NFTY-NO, and is a BBYO alum