We know there have been a lot of questions swirling about NFTY. It’s been a rough two years as we have navigated the pandemic and the changes it has brought. That said, NFTY isn’t gone! In fact, thousands of teens took part in NFTY virtual experiences run by our teen leaders over the last two years. Congregations have experimented alongside us, running in-person NFTYx events and discussing new models of leadership. We recently had our first in-person NFTY camp event in two years, with events planned across North America in the coming months. We are so grateful to the volunteers, staff, synagogue leaders, and teens who stepped up and kept NFTY going.
NFTY is undergoing some changes to reinvigorate the program. It needed a rehaul before the pandemic, as the number of teens involved was slowly decreasing despite having hundreds of in-person events and robust full-time staff across North America.
Over the last six months, we have worked closely with an external consultant and have conducted over 100 one-on-one action meetings with teen leaders, young alumni, and youth professionals. We have learned that many people want to help reinvigorate NFTY.
Currently, we are talking to people, discussing what is possible, and experimenting with new ways of functioning. The work has evolved to focus on four strategies:
- Centering teen leadership
- Focusing on relationship and movement building
- Building back in 22-23 to having part-time staff in every region
- Partnering with congregations to run local programming
While we are making progress, we know that many people are not aware of the work going on behind the scenes. We apologize for our lack of communication and realize that it has caused confusion and concern.
This is an invitation for you to join us in this space. It is an exciting, dynamic space filled with possibilities.
- Please read this blog written by NFTY President Lev Mosbacher. In this post, Lev shares their perspective on the last year and where NFTY is headed.
- Read this overview and vision of where we are headed with NFTY. It also highlights the work that has been happening behind the scenes over the last two years.
- Add your name to receive an invitation to join us at an informational meeting in the coming weeks. This meeting will give you an overview of what is happening, what has been decided upon, and what is still in motion. Our teen leaders will help gather us in more geographically defined groups to discuss NFTY from a regional perspective in the coming months.
We look forward to working with you and our teens to reinvigorate NFTY!
Michelle Shapiro Abraham
Executive Director of Strategic Innovation and Program, Camps and Immersive Experiences
Vice President for URJ Camps, NFTY, and Immersive Experiences
Rabbi Rick Jacobs
President of the URJ
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman
Chair, URJ North American Board of Trustees
Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism & Senior Vice President of the URJ