Contact: David Billotti, 646-732-2733
February 8, 2019; New York, NY – Representing the next generation of congregational and community leaders, NFTY – the North American Reform Jewish Youth Movement - will hold its biennial Convention Friday, February 15 through 18, 2019, in Dallas, TX. They will be joined by adult lay leaders, professionals, clergy, and stakeholders who will attend the concurrent Youth Summit – an opportunity for them to learn and share best practices and new ideas.
NFTY Convention brings together the creativity, energy and passion of teen leaders with the strength of the North American Reform Movement to build a community filled will song, dance, and learning that is primed to enact change. The convention will feature a variety of presentations, workshops, and off-site experiences which builds upon the passions of our emerging leaders and propels them to the next level.
“We are deeply committed to cultivating the skills, voice, curiosity and leadership of our teens,” said URJ Vice President of Youth, Miriam Chilton. “Our teens define the critical issues of our day. Together, we are able to create and sustain a youth movement that honors tradition while embracing innovative approaches to providing teens what they need to be Jewishly-inspired 21st century leaders.”
Highlights of NFTY Convention will include:
- Keynote address by Teen Activist & March for Our Lives Co-Founder David Hogg
- Workshops around the themes of how to make change and features a series titled “Let’s Talk About It, Not Scream About It” that offers tools on how to discuss today’s most challenging topics in addition to opportunities for music-making and learning new skills
- Off-site opportunities will include learning experiences at places like Jewish Family Services Dallas, Multi-Cultural Alliance, and the Dallas Holocaust Museum, along with fun adventures at places like the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Urban Adventure Quest, and the National Videogame Museum
- Election of leaders for the 2019-2020 North American Board of NFTY, the governing body of youth leaders who work to maintain and progress the Reform Youth Movement
- A performance by Dan Nichols and E18teen
“In alignment with NFTY’s core value of Shutafut (partnership), this special experience is the result of collaboration between adult and teen leaders,” said Beth Rodin, NFTY Managing Director. “While part of the intention is for the adults to mentor young leaders through the process, we rely on the teens’ creativity, passion, and curiosity to inform the direction of our important work. Hundreds of teens were consulted in the design of this year’s convention – and more than 75 teens are presenting and leading workshops and worship experiences throughout the weekend.”
The Youth Summit at NFTY Convention is the leading professional conference for adults working specifically with teens in Reform Jewish congregations, giving teens and adult participants opportunities to study, worship, learn, and network together.
Highlights of the Youth Summit will include:
- Keynote Speaker Joe Beckman, who will offer three strategies on how to reclaim the joy of human connection in an increasingly digital world
- Uplifting Shabbat dinner, services, and song session with teens, adults, and leaders from across the Reform movement
- Innovative and informative workshops on a variety of topics including the #metoo movement, using data as a tool, mental health, and re-imagining teen youth groups
- Other speakers will include: Danny Herz, Jo-Ellen Unger, and Jordanna Flores, Directors of three of URJ’s 6 Points Specialty Camps; David Bryfman, incoming CEO of The Jewish Education Project
- Evening receptions with Youth Summit participants to network and socialize
“NFTY Convention and Youth Summit is an amazing representation of the whole of the NFTY experience,” said NFTY President Lila Greene. “Our 19 regions across North America come together to have fun, network, and collaborate around how our Reform Jewish values can propel us to shape the future and change the world.”
For those unable to attend, highlights of the event will be broadcast at nfty.org/livestream starting Friday evening, including Kabbalat Shabbat, the opening ceremony, and a concert from Dan Nichols.
For 80 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. Visit us at www.nfty.org .
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.
Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 900 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.
Visit us at www.URJ.org to learn about our social justice initiatives, camps and programs for young Jews, services for congregations and communities, and how you can work with us to create a more just, whole, and compassionate world. Enjoy related content at ReformJudaism.org and connect with URJ on Twitter and Facebook.