by Daniel Jenks, NFTY678 Fellow, NFTY Chicago
On a sunny day in September, as I was driving up I-94 toward Northfield from my home in Oak Park, I reached into a paper bag on my passenger seat. I had stopped to get a bagel with lox and a knish from a local deli. You know, because I was on my way to a NFTY event – you gotta have yourself in the right mindset! As I reached into my bag, I found my bagel but it seemed that my knish was not there. I ate my bagel in a somber sort of disbelief and angst. They didn’t give me my knish! Cranky, I exited and headed to Temple Jeremiah, where I would be helping run the first NFTY Chicago 678 event.
It turns out I didn’t need a knish to get into the right mindset – a group of thoughtful, creative, and interesting young adults who will be leading the next generation of NFTY, and then the next generation of the reform movement, got me there instead.
Don’t believe in the potential and power of middle schoolers? Watch this video, which we made when the participants took part in a program that aimed to empower them, and show them the value of their stories. They spoke with small groups about themselves and their lives, and then interviewed a partner. Then, their goal was to tell their story. Their stories are important, they have meaning and nuance, and it makes up who they are and who we all really are.
In NFTY Chicago, we’re two NFTY678 events in and pursuing that mission of empowerment in young people, just like NFTY does with high schoolers already. Sign up for our February retreat to see what we’ll do with the rest of this year, and how NFTY678 will go on to shape NFTY Chicago and the nation.