2015-04-01 / Columns

NFTY-PAR’s new president looking to future

By MATT NUSSBAUM For the Voice

The 2015-2016 NFTY-PAR Board (from left), Matt Nussbaum, Mikey Pliskin, Mikey Simon, Hannah Carr, Lilly Zeitlin, Isaac Kravitz, and Anna Keilly. The 2015-2016 NFTY-PAR Board (from left), Matt Nussbaum, Mikey Pliskin, Mikey Simon, Hannah Carr, Lilly Zeitlin, Isaac Kravitz, and Anna Keilly. Over the past four years I have learned more about Judaism and connected with my religion more than I did for the previous 13 years combined. The effect that the youth group at Temple Emanuel, TEFTY, and NFTY-PAR has had on me is immense and I attribute my experiences in them to who I am today.

This past year I have served as the NFTY-PAR regional programming vice president, and I am extremely honored to have been recently elected to be the NFTY-PAR president for the upcoming 5775-5776 term. NFTY-PAR encompasses all of Pennsylvania, Southern Jersey, Northern Delaware, and Northern West Virginia . I am excited to represent South Jersey and TEFTY and show that our South Jersey community is creating the next generation of Jewish leaders. I will use my tenure as president of the region to increase South Jersey’s voice.

TEFTY and NFTY-PAR have given me opportunities to understand what it truly means to be a Reform Jew. I have been able to learn and grow as a leader, and I will forever be thankful for that. It has been a pleasure to work with and for my fellow tyg (temple youth group) and NFTY-ites. Their friendships have provided such support for me, and now it is my turn to support them. I am extremely excited to continue to give back to the community that has given me so much.

This past February in Atlanta when I was surrounded by 1,000 fellow Reform Jewish teens at NFTY Convention I was able to really understand the power of community. When we all gather together for a common cause we learn not only the power of a group, but also the power of an individual. Finding a balance between the individual and the communal is crucial to Judaism. Prayer, an intimate, personal conversation with the divine takes place in a public setting as our community forms a single voice. The same goes for social action projects, educational activities, and Israel engagement. At the heart of Judaism is the idea that every person can make a difference in the world as long as they have a vision and go for it, and I have learned that through my experiences in TEFTY and NFTY-PAR. I have loved seeing all the new faces from the South Jersey area come to the community that I call home.

For me, being a Jew in today’s world is about creating the change you want to see in the world. Tikkun Olam is crucial, as it provides us with the opportunity to be active partners with God in creating the world. By coming together as one in support of the important topics we care about, we are able to make an impact. It may not completely change the world, but it is a start. This is why I am excited to stand with the NFTY-PAR Executive Board for the upcoming year in our effort to engage more teens and help them grow their Jewish enrichment, and in turn grow our ability to create change. .

Matt Nussbaum is the NFTY- PAR programming vice president and NFTYPAR president- elect.

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