By: Shira Khotim NFTY-SW Editor
NFTY-SW spent our very first Winter Kallah in Scottsdale, AZ reuniting, learning about physical and mental health, and working on community service projects. Our first Winter Kallah was a true success and we are excited for many more in the upcoming future. Continuing reading for the top 10 moments from the weekend.
- NFTY-SW had an incredible time reuniting and began by participating in an energetic dance battle. NFTYites were split into 5 different groups and given different songs. Each group worked together as a team to choreograph and perform their dance for the panel of judges, our Southwest President, Abby Adelman, and Social Action Vice President, Hannah Miller.
- We enjoyed spending Shabbat dinner and services together. During dinner we all caught up and had a great time. Services were hosted by Temple Kol Ami, with NFTYites from Kol Ami helping to lead the service. We also recognized Lynne Butner for her 16 year anniversary serving as our amazing Regional Director.
- We were excited to spend Saturday at Congregation Beth Israel. Our song leaders Zach Schwaleson, and Eli Nelson helped lead services for the congregation along with our guest musician, Spike Kraus and Religious & Cultural Vice-President Max Cohen. We were very fortunate to hear from Hebrew Union College Chancellor Rabbi David Ellenson who gave the d’var Torah.
- NFTY-SW got a chance to turn in our phones to our youth advisors for an unplugged Shabbat Saturday morning and afternoon. About 70% of participants voluntarily turned in their cell phones for the day, and Temple Beth Shalom advisor Ellen Zieselman donated $3/phone for a total of $300 raised for Nothing but Nets and Clean water for Flint. One teen commented that this inspired them “to get off our phones and talk!.”
- We heard from different professionals about physical and mental health. Topics included “Mindful Eating”, “Dealing with Stress”, and “Being an ally.” We also learned about and participated in different healthy activities that relieve stress. Some of the activities included Yoga, Adult coloring books, Meditation, and gaga.
- Our region dressed up as “Memes” for the social. We then had the amazing opportunity to watch an improv troup perform for us. Some of our own NFTYites even got to participate in the performance.
- Hannah Miller, our Social Action Vice President led a program about racial discrimination within the Criminal Justice System. We discussed the issue in small groups together. TYG advisors then “impersonated” judges, police officers, and people who had been incarcerated. We got to share our diverse opinions within our non-judgemental, inclusive community.
- We came together to participate in a variety of different social action issues. Some of the projects included making stress relief toys for children in group homes, preparing a wall for a mural for Temple Kol Ami, making mats for homeless citizens, and making friendly phone calls to people battling long term illness.
- We had great friendship circles with our favorite songs and favorite song leaders.
- The weekend ended with a great closing program where we reflected on the weekend and what we learned about mental and physical health.