By Michelle Shapiro Abraham, RJE, MAJE, Maya Levy & Fletcher Block
In the last five years, like many Jewish organizations, NFTY: The Reform Jewish Youth Movement has been making gradual, intentional changes. Faced with falling numbers at overnight events and navigating new models for teen engagement in our synagogues, we realized we needed to clarify NFTY’s purpose.
Through many conversations with teen leaders, stakeholders, and staff, we have seen more and more bright spots in recent few years as NFTY has started focusing more heavily on local events, engaging middle schoolers, holding joint events with URJ camps, and more. The change was slow, but the future was coming into focus, and it looked bright.
Then COVID-19 hit.
In a matter of weeks, NFTY’s intentional, methodical change process was kicked into overdrive. Due to our new financial reality, NFTY faced significant staffing changes and needed to quickly embrace a new organizational structure. Change is always difficult, but it’s especially difficult for an 80-year-old youth movement whose millions of alumni make up the current and future leadership of our Reform Jewish Movement.
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