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Photo: Phil Angel
June 16, 2017, New York, NY -- Six outstanding teen leaders have been elected to serve on the North American Board of NFTY, the Reform Jewish youth movement, for the 2017-2018 program year. Reform Judaism is the largest and most diverse movement in Jewish life, reaching nearly 900 congregations and more than 1.5 million people.
For more than 75 years, NFTY has been taking action to create a more just, whole, and compassionate world. A primary focus of these teen leaders will be NFTY’s newly launched Racial Justice Campaign to begin to address the issues of systemic racism in North America.
Beginning their new roles on June 17, NFTY’s newly-elected North American Board members are:
NFTY President – Zachary Herrmann, Congregation Kol Ami, Vancouver, WA
NFTY Programming Vice President – Max Zucker, Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
NFTY Social Action Vice President – Adam Friedman, Congregation Rodef Sholom, San Rafael, CA
NFTY Religious and Cultural Vice President – Eliza Lieberman, Temple Beth El, Charlotte, NC
NFTY Membership Vice President – William Saltzburg, Congregation Keneseth Israel, Elkins Park, PA
NFTY Communications Vice President – Asher Suloway-Baker, Congregation Beth Israel, Bellingham, WA
The NFTY North American Board works to advance Reform Judaism from generation to generation by representing the voice of teens within the Reform Movement. NFTY’s Racial Justice Campaign, built by NFTY teens, is focused on helping their peers take meaningful action on matters of racial injustice, such as mass incarceration and voting rights.
“The newly elected NFTY North American Board members are passionate about working with their peers to shape the future of Jewish life and make a difference toward important causes that affect us all. Their creativity, commitment, and dedication have led them to these leadership roles. We know their actions this year will have a dynamic impact on NFTY and the world we live in,” said Miriam Chilton, Vice President for Youth.
"Now I get a chance to continue the legacy of the organization that has given me so much. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the next year as a leader of the Reform Jewish Youth Movement in North America. I’m proud to say that my synagogue and my community have helped make me the person I am today, and helped broaden my perspective so that I feel prepared and excited to tackle the year ahead,” said Zachary Herrmann, NFTY President.
To be considered as candidates for NFTY North American Board, teens had to submit letters of intent, which described their future goals for NFTY, and participate in “Meet the Candidates,” explaining their platforms to voting delegates. All of these teens are major change agents in their communities who have held positions on the regional level. They are alumni of URJ Camps, and are deeply invested in enacting positive social change. Photos and bios of the new board members can be found on the NFTY website.
As NFTY President, Zachary Herrmann also serves on the Union for Reform Judaism’s North American Board of Trustees. Serving on the NFTY North American Board has often been a stepping stone to even greater leadership in the Reform Movement and beyond. Past NFTY North American Board members include URJ President Emeritus Rabbi Eric Yoffie, Loui Dobin, Executive Director of URJ Greene Family Camp, and dozens of the Reform Movement's leading rabbis.
The incoming NFTY North American Board was elected at NFTY Convention in Chicago in February and will take office on June 17 at Mechina (a Hebrew word meaning “Preparation”), which is NFTY’s annual regional leadership gathering, at the URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY. The newly-elected and installed regional board members representing NFTY’s 19 regions around North America gather for informative workshops, cross-continental networking, creative worship services, and a general board meeting where these young leaders determine the future of this dynamic youth movement.
For more than 75 years, NFTY (the Reform Jewish Youth Movement) has offered thousands of young people the opportunity to explore and live Reform Judaism. Through programs that are offered by nearly 500 Reform congregations, 19 geographic NFTY regions, and on a North American level, teens are encouraged to forge Jewish identities in consonance with the values of Reform Judaism. Participation in NFTY helps teens build confidence, friendships, and leadership skills through experiential youth-led educational programming including social justice projects, worship, and community-building initiatives. NFTY, open to teens in grades 6-12, is part of the network of programs and camps of the Union for Reform Judaism.