By Asher Rigler
I’ve attended NFTY Nashir: Teen Songleading Institute twice, in Freshman and Sophomore years, and have had a blast and learned something new both times. Not to mention, I made some incredible new friends.
I was initially reluctant to go after my cantor told me about it, thinking “I already songlead three days a week, and have been doing it for a while, why would I want to spend a whole weekend at a workshop learning things that I already know?”. The first year I went mainly because my friend was going, but when I arrived, I was blown away at how many people shared similar interests as me, and how many people have songled just as much as me, but in vastly different scenarios. I learned a lot of new skills from the teachers, but especially from the other teens there. I learned tips, tricks, and techniques that I’ve never even considered. I learned new guitar skills, how to work with students, and how to improvise when you’re presented with new or unexpected situations. At the end of the weekend, we had an opportunity to use the skills we had learned at that week’s Sunday school, and I had a blast teaching the kids I have taught every week, but with new skills, and alongside new friends.
But for me, the program was only half of the fun. Because I live so close to the synagogue that it’s led at (and the synagogue that I go to), I had the amazing opportunity of being a host family. After a long, but fun day of songleading, I couldn’t have asked for anything more than being able to come home with some of my new friends, watch a movie, eat pizza, and have a blast with everyone loving my dog. I think being a host family, is so much fun. I’ve met some of the most interesting people being a host family, and I can’t imagine the weekend without that burst of fun every night. Whether you’re hosting or being hosted, spending the night with your new (and old) friends will be a highlight of your weekend.
Nashir is about learning skills, playing music, singing, making friends, and just overall having a great time. This weekend was my introduction to NFTY, and I’m so glad that I could be a part of it. If you want to meet great people, learn some new skills that you can use at your own synagogue, and have an excellent experience, then coming to Nashir is a no brainer. Hope to see you at Nashir next month!
NFTY Nashir Chicago is Friday, November 22 – Sunday, November 24, 2019 at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, IL. It is open to all 7th-12th graders from around North America. The event includes all meals and housing (home hosted). Click here to learn more about NFTY Nashir and register. Registration moves to space available after Wednesday, November 6.
Nashir is great for teens who play any instrument or just love to sing. All skill levels are welcomed and will receive appropriate training depending on their songleading experience.
For questions, contact Naomi Looper, NFTY Chicago Regional Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.