URJ congregations, camps, and NFTY programs offer a safe and familiar environment in which to explore Reform Jewish values. Living those values in the world is more challenging, and requires courage, perseverance, and resilience in the face of setbacks and disappointment.
Reform Jewish teens are a model for how to take the foundations that our movement are built on and turn it into tikkun olam — into action that heals the world.
Below are just a few recent examples. We are so proud of them, and hope they give you encouragement and inspiration on this U.S. Election Day, when adults have the power to decide what kind of world they want these young people to inherit.
Gracie Silverstein has taken her feeling of powerlessness after Pittsburgh and used it as inspiration for art making. She has created bracelets with the resounding phrase “Stronger than Hate” in Hebrew, and will donate the proceeds from the sales to HIAS. Learn more about Gracie’s vision here and watch news coverage of Gracie here and here. Then, buy a necklace in support of her art and her universal message.
Eric Goldberg, Temple Ner Tamid, NJ student and Camp Harlam alum helped lead a moving Havdalah service at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, NC that was covered by CBS news.
Lucy Adelman, a high school junior, adapted this piece, featured on CNN, from a NFTY event held at The Temple in Atlanta in response to the shooting in Pittsburgh. “I will continue to pray for peace, and for the strength to fight for it. I will continue to march, and sing, and stand up to injustice,” says Adelman.
Trick-or-Treating for civic engagement? “While two 17-year-olds traipsing through one neighborhood might not seem like a lot, it’s a continuation of the great tradition of working to get people to vote,” writes Mar Silkes, member of Temple Beth Am in Seattle and previous participant in the RAC’s L’Taken Teen Social Justice Seminar and the RAC Teen Justice Fellowship.
Past NFTY president Kathryn Fleisher shared her thoughts on how to curb gun violence in the Huffington Post, in a piece about how Jewish organizations, including the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism (RAC), is taking action following the tragedy in Pittsburgh.
It’s not too late to vote. Check out RAC.org/CEC to find your polling place and other election resources.