During the COVID pandemic in southern California, we saw our Jewish communities weaken. From our camp spaces disappearing to our teen youth groups (TYG) struggling, many of us stopped programming and decreased in membership, while a few of us thrived the best way we knew how - by joining forces. For us, as youth directors, advisors, and educators, we knew this was the way to keep teens inspired and engaged with one another.
Almost exactly six years ago, I ran for NFTY-TOR regional president. I lost. And yet when I look back at my election materials in a bout of nostalgia, I stand by absolutely everything I said, now having seen how much the ideas I mentioned still influence me and the way I think about leadership, both personally and as an organizer working with NFTY and Reform Jewish teen leadership.
NFTY has been very busy the past few months and will soon install a new North American board.
Aaron Wiener, youth director at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, brought together 10 congregations and youth groups from California for an in-person Temple Youth Group Leadership Training Retreat and it was a huge success.
Stephanie Fink, MAJCS, RJE
Cathy Rolland, RJE
How can centering human experience help build communities of belonging, as well as a Shabbat community?