by Abby Adelman, NFTY-SW President
What a phenomenal time we had at Mechina at URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY. Throughout the week we met teens from all over North America, especially other participants from the West Coast Alliance (NFTY-SOCAL, NFTY-NW, NFTY-CWR, and NFTY-SW) where we proudly showed our ruach with the west coast at our sides. We partook in programs, services, workshops, and network time lead by the new and old North American Boards to gain ideas to bring back to our home regions.
What I took away from Mechina the most is the power of a strong network. I got the chance to learn from Kathryn Fleisher (incoming NFTY President) and Jeremy Cronig (outgoing NFTY President). We learned how to think outside of the box, especially when things do not work out as expected like what to do with a bike when it has no tires, or how to add and better traditions specific to each individual region. Most importantly, I learned that Kathryn and every other regional president will always have my back. A few weeks before Mechina we were all asked to send Kathryn our biggest fear going into the upcoming term, a pretty intimidating task since I did not know Kathryn yet but I was suddenly sharing my vulnerabilities with her. During network time I learned the purpose of this, we were all paired with other presidents who had the same or similar fears and we were left to just talk to that person about those fears. My partner and I both shared that our biggest fear was letting down our regions. As my partner and I talked, I learned I will never be alone and I can turn to both my partner and my network for anything. In the five days spent at Kutz I walked away from my network with people I can work with throughout the year but more importantly 19 new family members. We may not have known each other for very long but in this upcoming year serving as the NFTY-SW President, I know they will be my number one asset.
Mechina taught me how incredibly lucky I am to be a part of NFTY where I get to meet so many amazing people and share my passion for Judaism and making the world a better place with other teens who have similar values as me. We ended our week on the stage at Ruach Bonanza with the West Coast Alliance at screaming our hearts out and showing everyone the power of working together with other regions. It was not easy saying goodbye to all of the new friends I met but we are all so excited to see each other again this February in Chicago for NFTY Convention.