Reform Movement Increases Youth Engagement in Pennsylvania

Inside Leadership

Reform Movement Increases Youth Engagement in Pennsylvania

Amanda Wachstein is New Regional Director of Youth Engagement for NFTY Pennsylvania Area Region

November 11, 2014, New York, NY - As part of the Reform Movement's Campaign for Youth Engagement, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) has committed to investing in those who work with youth and families, providing training, a career path and a valued staff role, and strengthening the status of the field. As such, the URJ has hired and promoted regional directors of youth engagement in several NFTY regions, one of the most recent promotions being NFTY-PAR (Pennsylvania Area Region). 

The Union for Reform Judaism has made youth engagement in the NFTY-PAR region a priority to serve this growing Jewish community, which is home to nearly 50 Reform congregations, Camp Harlam and the newly launched Harlam Day Camp.

Amanda Wachstein, who previously served as the part-time NFTY-PAR Regional Advisor for 12 years, is now taking on a full-time professional position as Regional Director of Youth Engagement for NFTY-PAR. Wachstein is responsible for expanding NFTY's reach in congregations and helping forge connections between congregations, NFTY youth groups and URJ Camp and Israel Programs by creating events, resources, and mentorship opportunities for Jewish teens. Wachstein will also be convening stakeholders around the region to incubate new programs around youth engagement, including NFTY's expansion to 6th, 7th and 8th graders in the region.

"The impact Amanda has had during her tenure can be seen through the relationships she has built with teens and professionals in the region, the overall success of the region, and the volume of Jewish communal leaders that have come out of NFTY-PAR, a number of whom hold leadership positions in the Reform Movement," said Director of NFTY Micol Zimmerman Burkeman.

"NFTY offers teens an opportunity to learn about themselves in a safe, nurturing environment," said Wachstein. "My role is to facilitate those opportunities and engage teens to activate their Jewish identities and self-awareness. Along that path, NFTYites create lifelong friendships, meet adult role models and learn to step into leadership. I am thrilled to continue and expand my role with NFTY."

Wachstein's passion and commitment to youth emanated from her own NFTY and URJ Camp Harlam experiences, where she started as a camper at age eight. Wachstein graduated from the Corcoran College of Art and Design with a BFA in Fine Arts and remains active in the arts. She previously served as the Philadelphia Sales Manager and Vice President of Surface Restoration Service, LLC. Wachstein is married to a fellow Camp Harlam alum, Ben Wachstein, and they live in Lancaster, PA, with their daughter Mila (6) and their miniature black lab, Mackenzie.

Published: 11/10/2014

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