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September 1, 2014 | 6th Elul 5774

URJ Announces New NFTY Director to Transform Jewish Youth Movement

Micol Zimmerman Burkeman Charged with Expanding NFTY's Scope to Engage More Jewish Youth


May 2, 2014, New York, NY -- The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) announced that a new Director of NFTY. Micol Zimmerman Burkeman took the helm of the Reform Jewish Youth Movement this week.

"For 75 years, NFTY has had a profound impact on Jewish life in North America," said URJ Director of Youth Engagement Rabbi Bradley Solmsen. "Expanding NFTY is at the core of the Union for Reform Judaism's Campaign for Youth Engagement's new strategy and we are thrilled to have Micol on board to lead NFTY in this ambitious re-visioning."

Ms. Zimmerman Burkeman received her B.A. in Communication at the University of Southern California and her Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She was the recipient of the David and Shirley Toomim Foundation Scholarship and The Rabbi Mordecai and Eve Soloff Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. She has spent the past 13 years working in Jewish education, including camp, synagogues, and most recently at The Jewish Education Project in New York, where she worked to support youth professionals and elevate the field of Jewish teen engagement. Ms. Zimmerman Burkeman lives in Port Washington, NY, with her husband Reform Rabbi Danny Burkeman and their daughter Gabriella, and is a proud member of The Community Synagogue. Her brother, Rabbi Brian Zimmerman, and her father Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, are also Reform rabbis.

The URJ conducted an extensive North American search for NFTY Director and sought an individual with expertise in the area of professional development, which is a cornerstone of the Campaign for Youth Engagement. "Micol, is the right person for the job," said Rabbi Solmsen. "In her most recent position with the Jewish Education Project in New York, she focused on providing resources, training, and support to professionals who work with youth."

"As a proud URJ camp, NFTY, and NFTY in Israel alum, I know firsthand the transformative and life-changing impact that these experiences can have on the life of a teen," said Ms. Zimmerman Burkeman. "It is a dream come true to have the opportunity to help craft and share these experiences with a new generation of teens and generations to come. I am thrilled to join this exceptional team in creating an inspiring vision for youth engagement. And I am honored to accompany these incredible NFTY teens on the journey of a lifetime."

"I am excited to see how Micol brings her unique experience, expertise, and insight to the table when working with NFTY teens, professional staff, and the communities we serve," said current NFTY President Andrew Keene. "And I am confident she will elevate the work of NFTY as we continue to meaningfully engage more and more young people and in Reform Jewish life!"

About NFTY

For 75 years, NFTY--in congregations, in 19 geographic regions, and throughout North America--has offered thousands of young people the opportunity to explore and live Reform Judaism. NFTYites actively create their Jewish identity in consonance with the goals and values of Reform Judaism. In the coming year, NFTY will launch NFTY6, which will expand programming to 6th graders. Learn more at nfty.org.

In honor of NFTY's 75th year, the URJ will reconnect with 75,000 alumni from all its youth programs during the coming year, reengaging adults as mentors, advocates, and supporters of our young people. Alumni and friends are invited to join the network and share their memories for the NFTY archives.

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