From left to right: Adam and NFTY friends Rachael Dworsky and Matthew Grob
The year was 1979. Trivial Pursuit launched. Bungee jumping became a thing. Disco was just coming into its own. The first Sony Walkman was released.
But the most significant event of 1979 for a select group of strangers happened in October – high schoolers meeting at the corner of 65th and Fifth Avenue to board a yellow school bus bound for the CRaFTY Fall Conclave at Kutz Camp.
While they didn’t know it, by the time they hit Route 17, they were in the process of making lifelong friends with a shared love of learning, tradition, music and the ritual of the Reform Jewish movement. And they knew how to have a good time.
The group expanded and contracted over the next few years, but at the heart was Adam Lipton. He had an infectious laugh and marvelous sense of humor. He didn’t always get the girl. He wore an Arabian Shemagh to Shabbat services at camp. His friends played epic practical jokes on him. He hosted toga parties, went on grand (and not-so-grand) vacations, and infamous road trips.
Alongside the shenanigans, Adam found special connection with NFTY’s commitment to social justice. It continued to be a fundamental part of who he was throughout his life. After graduating from NYU he moved to Washington D.C. to earn his J.D. from the American University School of Law and stayed to set up roots. He practiced at two area law firms throughout his professional life, he was active in Democratic politics and was proud to celebrate at Bill Clinton’s inaugural balls (both times). He continued to hold memorable parties, but the togas were retired.
NFTY scholarships make it possible for future generations of Jewish kids to come together to learn, to pray, to sing, to play, to make lifelong friends and, if they’re lucky, to hold their own toga parties. Adam would be so pleased to see Reform Jewish teen leaders in the making and know he was part of making it possible.