Related Blog Posts on NFTY, Summer Youth Experiences, Journal of Youth Engagement, and Youth Engagement

Helping Teens Embrace the Journey Up the Mountain

Julie Fortune
May 18, 2016

 How can Judaism help both parents and teens slow down, showing them that the journey up the mountain is more meaningful than reaching the top? Learn how one congregation is designing experiences that help teens slow down enough to live in the present.

The Making of Messy Maccabiah

Ethan Lane-Miller
April 27, 2016

It was a warm August day and I had shaving cream and chocolate syrup splattered across me. The “Messy Maccabiah” event for our middle schoolers was just ending. Seeing everyone cleaning whipped cream, maple syrup, and other condiments off themselves, I realized I was one of the lucky ones who escaped relatively unscathed. It was the silliest youth group event I had ever run! So how did it come to be?

Creating Community from the Wilderness to the Seder Table

Miriam Chilton
April 14, 2016

It is not every day I get to study Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, a major American Orthodox rabbi, Talmudist and modern Jewish philosopher. Rabbi Esther Lederman shared his teaching several months back on a pasuk in the Torah, set during the time the Israelites trekked through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land:

4 Ways NFTY Will Make a Big Impact in the Coming Year

Elizabeth Wood
March 21, 2016

NFTY recently convened its annual leadership retreat, Veida, to set priorities for the 2016-17 program year. Teen leaders representing all 19 regions came together to vigorously debate and brainstorm new types of programs, the role of teens in shaping peer experiences, and the social justice issues they would dedicate themselves to in the coming year – such as racial injustice, global climate change, and gun violence prevention. And, they elected the next NFTY North American board members who will begin their new roles this summer.

How Do We Teach the Full Story of Israel?

March 17, 2016

When it comes to teaching our youth about Israel, how do we foster both a deep love and a nuanced understanding of the issues at the same time? How and when do we teach a view of Israel to our children that embraces her beauty and history, her challenges and shortcomings? How do we equip our youth to learn, to enquire, and to develop their own informed understanding of her complexities? How do we teach the full story while fostering a love for our homeland?

Israel Education Demands Putting the Learner at the Center

Lori Sagarin
March 16, 2016

How do we teach the full story while fostering a love for our homeland? The Israel I grew up with – the Israel of the 6-Day war, the Israel of the Munich massacre, of Entebbe and the 1977 European Basketball championship – is not the Israel that resonates with young people today. Today’s youth are not as willing to take on Israel “hook, line and sinker” the way many of my generation did. They have easy access to information, form their own opinions, and want to be heard. They demand discourse, diversity and accountability.

Growing Pains: How to Teach a Young Israel to Embrace Its Diversity

Nadav Savaia
March 16, 2016

How do we teach the full story while fostering a love for our homeland? Recently, I led a URJ Roswell Klal Yisrael Fellowship program Israel trip for a group of international Reform teens. We got to meet Rabbi Noa Sattath, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). Noa discussed how, in some of Israel’s religious neighborhoods, when an advertisement features an “exposed” female model (sometimes the only part ‘exposed’ being her face!), religious men hurry to cover it up.

How to Teach About a Land of Milk, Honey and Other Ingredients

Omer Gady
March 13, 2016

How do we teach the full story while fostering a love for our homeland? Two years ago, I became a full-time Israeli Shaliach at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach. For the past three summers, I’ve also served as the head of the Israeli delegation at URJ Camp Coleman in Cleveland, Georgia. My job is to strengthen the bond between Israel and local communities in the United States. Israel is clearly my home, but how can I help others feel closer to it?

A New Introduction to My Homeland

Lavi Hoffmann
March 13, 2016

How do we teach the full story while fostering a love for our homeland? Growing up in Israel, I visited almost all the places that groups from Birthright, Masa and other organizations visit – many times. During those visits I was with fellow Israelis who, like me, didn't find much significance in being at these historic sites. Masada, the Western Wall and the Dead Sea had always been a natural part of our horizon. That changed when I led NFTY in Israel and URJ Kesher Birthright trips.