NFTY is a movement that builds strong, welcoming, inspired communities through teen-powered engagement. Together, we pursue tikkun olam, personal growth, youth empowerment, and deep connections, all rooted in Reform Judaism.
For over eighty years, NFTY – The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, has offered thousands of young people the opportunity to explore and live Reform Judaism through teen-powered weekends and engaging social justice ventures.\
Stemming from a historic tradition of both Jewish and non-Jewish European youth movements, NFTY is the Reform Jewish youth movement that fosters leadership at the North American, regional and congregational level. Today, hundreds of Reform congregations throughout North America sponsor Temple Youth Groups, bringing the NFTY experience to thousands of teens. Through opportunities offered by congregations in the 19 NFTY regions, and on the North American level, NFTYites strive to forge an identity in consonance with the goals and values of Reform Judaism.
NFTY is advised in partnership between teen leaders and adult Jewish youth professionals. NFTY also functions as a youth organization, a program of the Union for Reform Judaism, a ‘snif‘ (branch) of Netzer Olami, the international Reform Zionist youth organization, as well as a partner in the URJ Campaign for Youth Engagement.
Whether functioning as an organization, program, or youth movement, NFTY is a Reform Jewish community for all high school students who are interested in connecting to their Judaism. Teens forge and build friendships, lifelong Reform Jewish identities, and leadership skills through community building, worship, social action, and experiential youth-led Jewish educational programming. Many NFTYites serve as NFTY leaders on the local, TYG, regional, and even North American levels. Many NFTY Leaders continue on to become both lay and professional leaders of the Reform Jewish Movement.
NFTY is Supported by a number of generous organizations and donors
NFTY is able to achieve incredible things thanks to the financial contributions of…
WRJ: Women of Reform Judaism
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago – JUF
Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
…and hundreds of individual donors
NFTY was founded in 1939 as the youth arm of the Union for Reform Judaism. It was created at the urging of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods in order to provide an outlet for young people to engage in the life of their synagogues.
Today, NFTY boasts hundreds of Temple Youth Groupss in 19 NFTY Regions throughout the United States and Canada, has both NFTY regional events and NFTYx events run by synagogues and supported by NFTY, and has sent tens of thousands of young people to Israel. In the more than eighty years of its existence, NFTY has touched the lives of literally thousands of young American Jews through the programs it runs and the relationships it fosters.
Take a moment to read about NFTY’s full and robust history.
Our Values in Practice
As a part of the Reform Jewish Youth movement, NFTY strives to provide meaningful and engaging experiences. These experiences are inspired by 13 values-based principles, ensuring that our movement’s mission and journey are based on our shared values. Together, these 13 Principles guide us as we create a holistic Jewish environment, allowing NFTY to continuously evolve, and remain a dynamic Jewish Reform Youth movement for years to come.
As a movement, we do our best to welcome participants into the community we shape as teens for teens. We seek to prioritize inclusion in the experiences we offer, upheld by the agreements we make in our shared community covenant – NFTY’s Brit Kehillah.
Listening, acting, and responding are central to our attitude in promoting the wellbeing of fellow teens. While we aim to make our teen spaces one of trust and safety, we will always acknowledge incidents that may make teens feel unsafe or unwelcome. If a teen feels this way at an event, NFTY’s Misconduct Reporting Form is always accessible by a QR code in bathroom stalls and with the link below.
As teens and adults, we understand it is our responsibility to uphold our Brit Kehillah and model exemplary leadership.
OUR PEOPLE – PROFESSIONAL STAFF
Logan Zinman Gerber
Director of Youth Organizing – Leadership Development
Logan Zinman Gerber (she/hers), the Director of Youth Organizing – Leadership Development, is a community organizer and Jewish educator whose Judaism is rooted in social justice.
Logan worked for seven years as the NFTY Chicago Director, partnering with student leaders to create programs and experiential learning for hundreds of high schoolers. As National Campaign Organizer for the Religious Action Center for the past four years, Logan taught high schoolers, college students, and young adults how to be community organizers and use their skills and stories to mobilize their communities to make change. Logan loves learning almost as much as creating educational experiences for others. She holds a BA in Jewish Studies and Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, masters in Social Administration and Social Work from the University of Chicago.
You can find Logan running by the lake in Chicago with her dogs, searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, and singing a lot of Shabbat songs with her partner, Ben, and her small humans, Judah and Pearl. She is humbled to get to wake up every day and support our youth leaders in the development of their youth movement and pursuit of justice.
Rabbi Isaama Goldstein-Stoll
Director of Youth Organizing – North America
Rabbi Isaama Goldstein-Stoll (she/her) is the new Director of Youth Organizing-Local Communities and Synagogues. A product of the Reform Movement, Rabbi Isaama grew up in NFTY and at URJ Camp Harlam, and is an ordinee of HUC-JIR (Cincinnati).
She brings an expertise in building Jewish community, a passion for life-long Jewish learning, and a commitment to affirming and celebrating Jewish diversity. After serving as the Senior Jewish Educator at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University, and as a Religious Life Consultant at Be’chol Lashon, Rabbi Isaama is glad to return “home” to the Reform Movement.
Director – NFTY
Julie Marsh (she/her) serves as the Associate Director, Youth Organizing – NFTY . She’s an alum of CNYFTY, NFTY, Camp Harlam and Kutz. Julie has worked as a Congregation Youth Professional at Temple Beth Sholom, New City and Temple Israel, West Palm Beach where she was also the Clergy Assistant. On her 10-year anniversary at Temple Israel in 2011, she accepted the position of NFTY-STR Regional Director where she worked with hundreds of teens and many Congregational Professionals creating hands-on programs.
Julie also had the privilege to run Camp Jenny alongside her teen partners. In January 2022 Julie returned to the URJ still fully believing in the impact teenagers can have in the Reform Jewish Movement. Julie is a forward thinker, decision maker and teen partner, which always promises success. She fully believes that children are not just our future, they are our present which means they need to be present in the conversation.
Julie resides in Lake Worth, Florida with her husband, Lee. Together, they have a daughter, Kiley and two Golden Doodles, Bella and Bear. When not working Julie enjoys spending time at Disney World, or loafing on the couch watching Friends or The Prom. Julie does not take this amazing work with teens for granted, she is always proud watching her teens grow prouder of themselves.
Bryan Hanan Oren
Director, Youth Organizing – Israel
Bryan Hanan Oren (he/him) is the Director of Youth Organizing-Israel. Bryan grew up in Miami Beach, FL and Los Angeles, CA. Bryan grew up attending URJ Camp Coleman and served as NFTY So Cal’s President and PVP from 2004-2006.
Bryan is a seasoned program facilitator, curriculum developer, and education researcher. Most recently, Bryan worked as a Program Director at M2: the Institute for Experiential Jewish Education and as a Dialogue Facilitator and Curriculum Writer for Makom Israel. While living in Brooklyn, New York from 2017-2020, Bryan served Facing History and Ourselves, where he led the Jewish Education Program’s work on race and equity in Jewish settings. For the first six years of his career, Bryan was a teacher in low-income communities of color. Bryan is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Learning, Instruction, and Teacher Education from the University of Haifa. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife Tamar and daughter Aviv.
Teen Justice Fellowship Organizer
Shoshana Maniscalco (she/her) is thrilled to be joining the Youth Organizing Team as the Teen Justice Fellowship Organizer!
She previously worked at Jews United for Justice as a community organizer focusing on labor and housing justice at the county and state level in Maryland.
Originally from Western Massachusetts, Shoshana attended Ithaca College where she studied sociology and counseling. She also spent 15 summers attending and working at URJ Eisner Camp.
Emma Jaszczak Maszi
Program & Operations Associate, Leaders in Action
Emma Jaszczak Maszi (she/her) serves as the Strategic Innovation and Program Associate for the URJ, assisting with the Reform Movement’s teen strategies, Israel Immersives, and camp-related initiatives and grants.
She is an alum of NFTY-STR and the URJ Kutz Camp, as well as a staffing alum of NFTY in Israel, URJ Camp Newman, and URJ 6 Points West. In addition to the URJ, Emma has worked at organizations such as BimBam and Tkiya Music, and is a curriculum consultant in the intersectional field of Jewish civic engagement. A passionate Jewish and arts educator, she holds master’s degrees in Arts Education from The Florida State University and in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, as well as a master’s concentration in Israel Education from the iCenter.
She lives in Cleveland, OH with her wife, Emily, their two dogs, Aggie and Franklin, and their guineapig, Hank, and in her free time she enjoys spending time with family, watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, and laying in her hammock.
Teen Jews of Color Fellowship Organizer
Kelly Whitehead (she/they) is a fifth year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with an MS in Jewish Nonprofit Management, and is excited to be the Teen JOC Fellowship Organizer.
Kelly participated in the Reform Movement’s JewV’Nation Jews of Color Fellowship, where they learned to create and facilitate Anti-Racial Bias training for Jewish Professionals. Prior to Rabbinical School, she worked in a shared youth position between URJ Camp Harlam and Temple Sinai DC. They serve on the board of T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights and was selected as one of The Jewish Week’s 36 under 36 for 2021.
Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) Fellowship Organizer
Tess Levinson (she/her) is an educator and researcher focused on civic empowerment and community building through STEM practices. She is excited to be the Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) Fellowship Organizer, bringing her practices of meaningful research for action to the teens of the Reform Movement.
Tess was a member of Pioneer Staff at the URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, where she also developed and leads the Sci-Techkun Olam Teen Leadership Incubator. She is a PhD Candidate at Boston College in Applied Psychology and Human Development, where she works with local and international nonprofits and NGOs to co-develop culturally and contextually relevant programs to bring coding and robotics to young children. Her research focuses on how STEM processes can serve as a path for youth expression, community building, and empowerment. She is so excited to be supporting URJ teens in exploring research design through YPAR this year.
Lauren Stock (she/her) is so excited to be a part-time organizer with the new URJ Youth Organizing Team after almost a year working with the NFTY, RAC, and URJ teams to vision and kickstart this campaign.
Her passion for teen leadership development comes from her involvement with Kutz, NFTY, and numerous other RAC and URJ Youth experiences as a teen and throughout college. She is an alum of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT where she graduated with her B.A. in Theater, Sociology, and Dance.
Originally from Dallas, TX, Lauren is making New York City her home starting this fall where she hopes to find ways to merge her identities as a theater director and community organizer. Lauren also works as a Product Specialist, Elfa Designer, and occasional In-Home Organizer at The Container Store where she organizes everything else in her life!
Director, Integrated Program Implementation & Business Management
Julie Lambert, RJE (she/her) is the Director of Program Integration and Business Management for Leaders in Action of the URJ. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and Hebrew Union College-JIR with a Join Masters Degree in Jewish Educational and Jewish Non Profit Management. In 2022 Julie received her Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew Union College in Jewish Education.
Julie facilitates collaboration and integration with other URJ teams to ensure the successful implementation of strategic initiatives across the organization and aligns with URJ annual targets for measuring impact with a particular focus on mobilizing leaders across the system. Julie brings over 25 years in Jewish professional leadership with experience in congregational leadership, educational leadership, and program design, implementation, and evaluation. A proud NFTY Alum, NFTY parent, Camp Jenny supporter, URJ Camp Coleman parent, and URJ OSRUI alum, she is thrilled to be a part of the team imagining, building, and strengthening the Reform Jewish Youth movement. In addition, Julie is an adjunct professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in the School of Education teaching professional learning to current executive masters students. Julie works from her Miami home office with her 3 canine associates, Clyde, Charley, and Lou Lou. When not working Julie loves to bake, read and travel with her husband Lawrence, and two daughters Abbie and Sydney.
OUR PEOPLE – North American Teen Leaders
Hello NFTY, My name is Henry Barron (He/Him) and I am very excited to be your President for the 5783-5784 year. I am from Durham, North Carolina, and have been involved in NFTY since 2016.
This coming year I am on a gap year and will be giving the majority of my time to the growth and development of NFTY. In my free time, I like to run cross country, travel, and spend time with friends. I look forward to meeting everyone this year and can’t wait for the year to come.
Barak Landis (He/Him/His) is currently living in New York City. He has spent the last two years on NFTY NAR’s regional board as Programming Vice President.
He has been involved in NFTY for 9 years, but is still excited to see it grow and evolve more! He’s participated in NFTY programs spanning from NFTY Nashir to URJ Heller High! When he’s not in NFTY or songleading at URJ Camp Harlam, he can be found playing soccer or ice hockey, or playing music!
Finally, in the free time he has, besides sleeping he loves hanging out with friends, watching movies, and reading!
Hi, my name is Espi Reynolds (He/Him) and I am on this year’s North American Leadership Team. I am from Culver City, California, and a member of Temple Akiba. Through Temple Akiba, I have been involved in NFTY since 8th grade. NFTY Socal helped me grow as a leader and I had the privilege of being the 2022-2023 Co-President.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends, playing guitar, and surfing. I am looking forward to this next year helping NFTY and NALT grow as a movement.
Ezra Frohlich (she/he/they) is from Davis California. They have been a part of the NFTY community since eighth grade and most recently served as the NFTY CWR president. He loves meeting new people and bringing as many people into NFTY as possible. They love skateboarding, taking long walks, and thrifting. They love engaging with NFTYites and would love it if you reached out!
Lainey Weissman (she/her/hers) is a senior from Atlanta (SAR). She previously served as the Camp Jenny Co-Director and Social Action Area Rep for NFTY-SAR. She has led many programs throughout her time in NFTY and is forever grateful for all the relationships and opportunities NFTY has provided.
Outside of NFTY, Lainey attends URJ Camp Coleman, is passionate about musical theater, and loves to snuggle with her Goldendoodle puppy, Gracie.
Hi NFTY, my name is Nadine Katz (she/her/hers) and I am from Larchmont New York. I have been deeply involved in NFTY throughout my high school career, alongside joining NFTY-NAR Board, where this past year I had the privilege to serve as NFTY NAR President. The community within NFTY makes me feel at home, and I am so excited to be a part of continuing NFTY’s growth and importance.
In my free time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my friends. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, I would love to hear from you.
Netzer stands for Noar Tzioni Reformi (meaning ‘Reform Zionist Youth’) and is the International Reform Zionist youth movement, home to thousands of young people in a range of countries spread over four continents. Netzer Olami (meaning ‘Worldwide Netzer’) is based in Jerusalem and serves as the headquarters for all of Netzer’s sniffim (branches) around the world.
NFTY is Netzer’s snif in North America. We share common values, and both work to advance Progressive Judaism in our respective areas. Every year, our leadership joins together at Netzer Veida, a leadership summit in Israel. Netzer even runs a gap year program open to NFTYites called Shnat Netzer!
Both NFTY and Netzer believe in youth empowerment and in young people running things for themselves. A central feature of Netzer snifim is that young people organize and run the activities, as well as taking responsibility for the major decisions affecting the movement.
While Netzer’s most recently updated platform contains 14 operatives, the ideology is set forth in three main pillars that help guide chapter programs, including NFTY events.
- Progressive Zionism
We are a Reform Zionist Youth movement, who encourage our members to develop a personal relationship with Israel.
- Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)
We strive to be active in our commitment to Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World) on all levels, from self (Tikkun Atzmi) to social action on a range of communal and global issues.
- Youth Empowerment
Youth Empowerment is fundamental to the running of our Youth Movement. Camps and programs are organized and run by youth members, for youth members.