“You can go to services to feel Jewish. You go to NFTY events to feel included.” This past weekend at Greene Family Camp, NFTY-TOR led an amazing 6-8th grade event. So to share with our friends who got a taste of NFTY before they entered high school, the NFTY-TOR Regional Board wanted to share why we fell in love with NFTY in the first place.
When I was in 6th grade, I went to the 6-8th event at GFC just because it was the thing to do. My mom was in NFTY as a teen, and my brother was an active member too, so I knew that NFTY was a place where I could feel at home. Lo and behold, my predictions rang true! I enjoyed every minute of the event and looked forward to attending the same event a year later and even becoming a NFTYite in high school as well.
Fred Traylor, NFTY-TOR President
It’s really hard to pinpoint one thing that drew me into NFTY, but If I HAD to pick something, it would be the sense of inclusion I feel in this amazing community. Because I had never gone to camp, I didn’t know many people at my first few events, and I’m really bad at meeting people, so I never would’ve made friends without the help of others. It started with one person taking the time to introduce me to their friends, and over time, there was a snowball effect. Nobody told me “you can’t join our group” or made me feel like any less because I wasn’t a camp alum/JYGer. I’ve always been the odd one out, and what kept me coming back to NFTY was that for once, I wasn’t.
With infinite love, Amanda Leventhal, NFTY-TOR Programming VP
What brought me into NFTY? Community. My first event brought me into a new world that I had never felt apart of before. The environment of NFTY is so accepting and inclusive, I instantly felt apart of something. Being apart of NFTY-TOR, we all share so many things in common and balance each other out with our differences. Experiencing the close knit community, Kehilah Kedoshah is absolutely incredible and simply life changing.
Sarah Kaplan, NFTY-TOR Social Action VP
If you saw me (and how obsessed I am with NFTY) now, you would never have guessed that I wasn’t quite sure about NFTY when I first tried it. I had a good time at JYG in eighth grade, came back to Summer Kallah my freshman year, and just wasn’t sure if I really loved NFTY. NVN (Na’aseh v’Nishmah) my freshman year was the event that sealed the deal for me. There was incredible programming and I felt more comfortable meeting new people at the smaller event. I even met and got to know Amanda, and two years later we are on regional board together! At NVN as a freshman, I truly got the feeling that I was part of a community where I belonged and I mattered and that feeling has kept me around ever since.
Logan Kramer, NFTY-TOR Religious and Cultural VP
Before coming to NFTY, I had spent several summers here at Greene Family Camp. As I boarded the bus to my first NFTY event, I was most excited to see my old camp friends and make new ones. I had no clue what we were going to do, I just knew my friends would be there. Walking away from the event, I was surprised by two things: first, the programming was exceptionally good. I had a ton of fun during all the activities. The best part, however, was the community. I was expecting to see my friends. I walked away from a weekend full of people I had known and people I had just met. By the end of the weekend, each and every one of them was my family.
Josh Halff, NFTY-TOR Membership VP
I was almost literally dragged into NFTY, and the guy who dragged me is now my best friend. I never really hung out with Jewish kids, never went to Greene. The only thing I did was a Jewish day camp in the summer. But for that one Temple Youth Group event in 8th grade, I was surrounded by people who welcomed me and hugged me more times in five minutes than I thought possible. I was so glad that I’d been led into this community, this group of people who were funny and slightly weird. And I’ve never looked back. Once I made my first friend in NFTY, I had no choice but to care about this awesome group of people.
Jason Taper, NFTY-TOR Communications VP
8th Graders, see you at Spring Kallah!