Blog  New Opportunity for Teens: Israel Engagement Committee

New Opportunity for Teens: Israel Engagement Committee

By Kathryn Fleisher, NFTY President 2016-17, and Jordan Iserson, NFTY Programming Vice President, 2016-17

The 2016 race for the United States Presidency has been unlike any other in recent memory. From reproductive rights to minimum wage to the Keystone Pipeline, candidates are taking divisive stances on a wide range of topics. As seen through NFTY’s Voice Your Choice Campaign, it is essential for us to be engaged and informed on the issues that are important to ourselves and our Jewish communities. One such issue that directly impacts the American Jewish population is the relationship between Israel and the United States. This valuable relationship hinges on the outcome of November’s election. The results will have long standing consequences on both the political and economic climate of our country as well as our cultural identity as American Jews.

NFTY has always been at the forefront of movements for change and progress. Much of our programming is built upon taking a critical look at current issues and investigating how they are relevant to us. We find connections, we question what we do not know, and we advocate for and take action to create the change we believe is necessary. NFTY, as a movement of actively engaged teens, needs to be starting and having conversations that involve the United States and Israel. This means discussing Israel as both a modern nation with political relevance as well as Israel as the Jewish homeland.

The URJ has established its position on Israel. As a movement, our stance on Israel includes condemning the BDS movement, supporting a two state solution, and encouraging people to be critical of Israel when they see fit. We understand that this is where we stand, but all too often we neglect to actually talk about what this means and how it is relevant to NFTYites. Our Israel programming has tended to avoid “the conflict”, Israeli politics, the importance of Israel on the global political stage, and many other topics that may significantly impact a teen’s ability to connect to Israel and understand why the URJ stands where it stands on Israel.

In response to the need for our movement to advance its Israel education and engagement efforts, NFTY is looking for applicants for its first ever Israel Engagement Committee. This committee, comprised of current NFTYites, will work with the NFTY President and NFTY Programming Vice President to address our movement’s approach to Israel engagement. The goal of NFTY’s Israel Engagement Committee is to refocus NFTY’s Israel engagement content and implementation techniques, in order to ensure that the movement is active and NFTY teens have the knowledge and opportunity to connect to Israel both independently and through the Reform Movement. If being a part of these conversations interests you, please fill out the Israel Engagement Committee application below. Feel free to direct any questions you may have to Kathryn Fleisher, NFTY President, at nftypres@nfty.org or on social media.

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