Blog  NFTY-NEL: Pushing Boundaries to Promote Gender Equality

NFTY-NEL: Pushing Boundaries to Promote Gender Equality

Naomi Abrahams is a senior in NFTY-NEL.

When I joined NFTY NEL there was a huge amount of weight put on equality and acceptance. I noticed how welcoming everyone was, no matter your sexual orientation, or your sexual preference. I also noticed how welcome everyone felt being able to express themselves freely. This fact was very important to me when I attempted to come up with a resolution for Asefah.

NFTY NEL’s Winter Kallah recently occurred in Toronto, Ontario at Temple Emanu-el. The weekend consisted of focusing on the core NFTY Value of Social Action and Tikkun Olam. Along with these activities, we had Asefah, our board meeting.  This being my third event, I wanted to write a resolution so I could help make a difference in NEL no matter the amount of events I’d been to. After a couple drafts, the resolution was finalized to be “Resolution to Promote Gender Neutrality in Relation to Bathrooms”(when possible depending on the hosting Temple).  I believe this to be the next step in increasing inclusivity in NFTY, and I’m happy to say that the resolution was passed and will now be included in NFTY NEL’s Constitution! Keeping in mind this resolution may not always be possible to put into action at each hosting temple due to bathroom availability, when a temple requests to host there will be the question of whether or not they can accommodate the option. What we’re hoping to be able to do is consider a family bathroom or handicap bathroom gender neutral just like it would be anyways. This means that any member who feels comfortable using this bathroom may. Taking into account that some temples do not have that extra bathroom, it was important that I explained it would not hinder their chances of hosting. I spoke to a few other member of different regions who also agreed with me that this could be a huge step for a NFTY region and it was a definite need as they knew of people who could benefit from this. I’m hoping that now that this resolution has been passed there could possibly be a slight increase in membership for NFTY NEL due to the fact that teens who do associate themselves as gender neutral can feel comfortable in an aspect of the event.

As well as the resolution for gender-neutral bathrooms, I also wrote a resolution to create a Gender Inclusion Task Force to ensure that NEL continues to increase their inclusivity. This Task Force will attempt to come up with more ideas to guarantee that NFTY NEL does not just stop at gender neutral bathrooms but continues to attempt to make all aspects of the events inclusive for all!

I believe all regions can start taking into account different aspects of their events and how they can make them equal for all to make NFTY the best it can be. I encourage all regions to start getting the ball rolling for equality. The outcome can only be positive.