Miriam Chilton

Miriam Chilton

Inside Leadership
Group of campers

These days, the calendar seems to rush by faster than ever. The school year is winding down, the temperature is ticking up, and the URJ Youth team is eagerly counting down to summer!

In our collective efforts to engage young people in meaningful Jewish life, your partnership is invaluable. Together, we’ve achieved incredible successes of which we all can be proud:

At this year’s NFTY Convention, we welcomed 1,400 teens, alumni, and congregational leaders, launching NFTY’s powerful new racial justice campaign (and it’s not too late to get involved!) We’ve introduced a new... Read More

NFTY students riding in a donkey caravan seen from behind

Last week, as the calendar filled with important occasions for Israel, I thought about the role the country plays in shaping Jewish identity for our movement’s young people. For decades, the URJ has been sending teens to Israel for life-changing experiences. This summer, Sci-Tech Israel, a new specialty trip, will join our family of teen and young adult Israel programs, which includes NFTY in Israel, URJ Heller High, and URJ Kesher, the only Birthright trip associated with Reform Judaism.

On my recent visit with the URJ’s 2017 Board Mission, I had a chance to reflect on my own...

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Returning from Israel on the 2017 URJ Board Mission last week, I met a woman giving out mishloach manot, gift baskets of food, at Ben Gurion Airport. This woman was Rachelle Fraenkel, the mother of one of the three young men who were kidnapped and killed by terrorists in the summer of 2014. Rachelle, along with her family, chose to spend Purim at the airport giving out mishloach manot to strangers because she wanted her son’s life to stand for something. She wanted the world to know that Israel was built on the principles of unity, mutual responsibility, and a concern for the weak and the...

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NFTY convention participants enjoying the gathering

“As leaders and as change-makers, we can get so caught up in what we are pursuing individually that we forget the real strength of leadership comes from the love that leads to listening, sharing, working together, and realizing that what we will accomplish together is greater than anything we can ever do alone.”

I got chills down my spine as 17-year-old Joe Lichtenstein read the words above from his winning essay in this year’s Wendy Blickstein Memorial D’var Torah Competition, standing in front of 1,400 peers at NFTY Convention, the largest gathering of Reform Jewish teens in...

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Nearly a month ago, I participated in the Women’s March on Washington, DC. On Friday night before the march, I davened at Temple Sinai with clergy from different denominations, beginning services with the song Olam Chesed Yibanei and its powerful refrain “And all this world is built from love,” which framed the entire weekend. The next morning, we joined with the RAC and more than 1,200 Reform Jews, including NFTY President Kathryn Fleisher and NFTY alumni from across the country. Kathryn reflected:

“The sea of pink hat-clad people stretched out seemingly endlessly before me. Every...

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