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February 23, 2015, New York, NY -- Six outstanding teen leaders will lead NFTY, the Reform Jewish youth movement, for the 2015-2016 program year. They were elected to serve on NFTY's North American Board at NFTY Convention in Atlanta, GA, last week.
The NFTY North American Board works to advance Reform Judaism from generation to generation by representing the voice of teens within the Reform Movement. Serving on the NFTY North American Board has often been a stepping stone to even greater leadership in the Reform Movement. Past NFTY North American Board members include URJ President Emeritus Rabbi Eric Yoffie; Loui Dobin, Director of URJ Greene Family Camp; Sean Thibault, Communications Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; and dozens of the Movement's leading rabbis.
This year's NFTY North American Board members will focus on building knowledge and awareness of gun violence prevention and methods of inclusion by working with their peers and mentors to discover and explore methods of change.
The newly-elected NFTY North American Board is:
NFTY President - Jeremy Cronig, Temple Emanu El, Orange Village, OH
NFTY Programming Vice President - Lexi Chavin, Kahal Kodesh Beth Elohim, Charleston, SC
NFTY Social Action Vice President - Taylor Gleeson, Temple Emanuel, Denver, CO
NFTY Religious and Cultural Vice President - Celia Tedde, Beth Israel, San Diego, CA
NFTY Membership Vice President - Joey Penn, Congregation Shalom, Chelmsford, MA
NFTY Communications Vice President - Aly Silverberg, Har Zion, Thornhill, ON, Canada
To be considered as candidates for NFTY North American Board, teens had to submit letters of intent, which described their future goals for NFTY. All of these teens are major change agents in their communities. President Jeremy Cronig plays the banjo and ukulele, worked as a teacher's assistant in his synagogue for four years, and works with Metro-IAF Greater Cleveland to advocate for gun violence protection. Programming Vice President Lexi Chavin served as a counselor at Camp Jenny (a program at URJ Camp Coleman, dedicated to serving underprivileged youth,) plays the guitar, and is interested in programs that explore achievement gaps based on socioeconomic factors.
These teen leaders have all formerly held positions on the regional level, are alumni of the URJ Camps, and are deeply invested in enacting positive social change.
"I worked with Jeremy all year on Gun Violence Prevention and developing NFTY's new mission statement," said Debbie Rabinovich, President of NFTY. "I am so impressed with his thoughtfulness and love for our Movement. I know he will do a wonderful job."
"This newly elected NFTY Board is comprised of passionate, committed leaders. The Reform Movement is fortunate to have these new voices helping us to grow, engage, and empower higher levels of participation in Jewish life," said Rabbi Bradley Solmsen, Director of Youth Engagement for the Union for Reform Judaism.
For 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.