Teens Build Special Skills While Exploring Jewish Identity
September 11, 2013, New York, NY NFTY, the Reform Youth Movement, has embarked on a series of new initiatives aimed at attracting teens who may not typically attend their traditional programs. NFTY Institutes offer teens specialized programming to enable them to explore niche areas of interest that are taught through a Jewish lens or in a Jewish environment.
Teens select from a variety of programs in songleading, Israeli dance, Jewish learning, choral singing and social media. In each opportunity they have the opportunity to hone skills they can utilize in their home communities.
"Our pilot programs have been highly rated at every level. Never before have we offered intensive weekends of learning to a North American teen audience with programs that combine Jewish living and modern day content," said Beth Rodin, associate director of NFTY. "NFTY Institutes go beyond the surface to offer in-depth skill-building, training, and exposure to Jewish leaders in specialty fields." Current NFTY Institutes include:
Nashir: Songleading Institute gives teens the skills, through hands-on small-group worksghops, to return home and enable them to take advantage of songleading opportunities at their congregation, religious school, youth group and much more.? November 15-17 in Glencoe, Illinois. Additional dates will soon be announced in Ft Worth, TX and Las Vegas, NV. Visit nfty.org/institutes for more information.
Binah: Jewish Learning Institute brings teens together for a weekend of growing, learning and leadership development by engaging with the Reform Movement's most dedicated scholars and teachers. Teens return home invigorated to explore the world through the text and teachings of our tradition.? October 18-20 / January 31-February 2, 2014 / March 28-30, 2014 all at HUC Cincinnati.
Nirkod: Israeli Dance Institute teaches teens an extensive repertoire of dances and understanding of Israeli Folk Dance that empower them to teach and share these skills with their home communities. Visit nfty.org/institutes for future dates.
Other institutes will be added throughout the year to allow teens the chance to expand their skills for those who might not be enticed by traditional Jewish teen programs. Plans are already underway for social media, health and wellness, and choral music institutes.
"We intend to continue building this initiative into a series of programs that offers something to teens in every level of engagement," said Rodin.
"I learned a lot of new things about songleading and leading services that I will bring back home with me," said Josh Gellerman, a teen at Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, CA. "I also found an immediate connection to the greater Jewish community."