Aaron Goldschmidt, Congregation Beth Israel – Temple Youth Communications Vice President
Shira Khotim, NFTY-SW Editor
Your first few NFTY events can be little overwhelming. Starting off your journey in NFTY-SW may be challenging, however, you will be surrounded by an amazing Kehillah Kedoshah (holy community) to help get you started and support you. Whether it be going outside of your comfort zone and talking to new people, or singing in Fall Kallah’s talent show, all of NFTY-SW is right by your side to support you. There is a lot you can do to make your time in NFTY the best it can be! Below are some tips for new members to NFTY.
REACH OUT TO NEW PEOPLE:
Reaching out to new people you don’t know or talked to can be a daunting experience. When I first joined NFTY, I was so nervous to talk to anyone besides the few friends I already knew before the event. I built up barriers for myself during my first event and was too timid to try to make friends. My amazing fellow NFTY-ites reached out to me during my first Fall Kallah and I was too nervous to be open enough with them. However when I came back to my second event in the Spring, everything was different. I started talking to new people and I was astonished by how welcoming everyone is. I want each of you to know that I know how intimidating making new friends can be, but part of the wonder of NFTY is how we will accept you with open and loving arms. Talk to people you haven’t talked to before, and be yourself around them! There is not one bit of harm in reaching out to somebody new. NFTY-SW identifies itself as a Kehilah Kedoshah: a holy and tight-knit community. The bonds you can make in NFTY are unforgettable bonds you will carry with you for a lifetime. Two years ago, I only had two or three Jewish friends, and we were not particularly close. Today, I can not even count the amount of best friends I have made through NFTY. Being around NFTYites allows me to my happiest and best self. I am so grateful to NFTY for the endless amount of connections I have been able to make. So please, reach out. Reach out to us, reach out to the Regional Board, reach out to General Board, reach out to anybody. I can guarantee that after you reach out to others, or let them reach out to you, you will form a connection. You do not know the possible connections you may have with others until you take that first step. Your first step is waiting for you… go ahead and take it.
STEP OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE:
NFTY-SW provides you with an abundance of opportunities to be a leader. At each event, there is an opportunity waiting for you to grow as a leader and as an individual. At a recent event, many people were chosen to help lead stations throughout our various programs. Each of these individuals took a leadership role and helped build up their fellow NFTYites and community. At school it may be more difficult to go out of your comfort zone at times. NFTY is a safer, accepting space where you have the ability to try something new in a comfortable environment. Many individuals who start off with little or no leadership experience are able to gain this experience through NFTY. I started off with very little leadership experience and I have been able to progress to be a member of general board. No matter what it is, take a risk and try something new!
NFTY is an amazing community made up of the most amazing people. We know that joining NFTY can be a bit scary and that’s challenging. Know that we are here to support you and make your experience the best that it can be. All you have to do is take the first step.