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nfty in Israel

Group photo of NFTY in Israel teens at the Western Wall

NFTY in Israel teens ask one basic question: How did Jews stay together over so much time? Retracing our history helps them find the glue that connects them to the story.

Rabbi Rich Kirschen
A group of Heller High students, including the author's daughter in the front row all the way to the left

URJ Heller High integrates academic, social, and emotional learning, powerfully transforming teens’ Jewish identities. Learn how it prepared my daughter for her future.

Susan Morrel, RJE
Five NFTY in Israel leaders, two young men and three young women, all smiling

The relationship between North American and Israeli Jews is complicated. NFTY in Israel leaders, Israelis and Americans, represent the best each community has to offer. 

Rabbi Rich Kirschen
Two NFTY participants praying at the Kotel

At the Kotel, the stark contrasts between Reform and Orthodox Jews and the physical separation of males and females left me ambivalent during my recent visit.

Daniel Goldberg
Six teens walking in an open expanse of the Negev Desert

Recently, I followed 40 teens and their leaders into the Negev at the start of their discovery journey in Israel. May the experience touch their emotions and their souls.

Rabbi Reuven Greenvald
View from an airplane window with the planes tail end and clouds in a sunset

Though the NFTY-EIE program has changed greatly over the years, including a recent name change, it is still inspiring teenagers to love Israel in ways that can only happen by living there.

Karen Lipschutz Goodis

Recently, together with new Israeli friends who joined them for a week, participants in the URJ’s NFTY in Israel program learned the story of the modern state of Israel. There are so many amazing parts of this country that are connected to living in a public culture that is Jewish and so many ways that Jewishness shapes the realms of language, literature, film, TV, social media, and more. In Israel, public space is Jewish space, and having a public culture that reflects this reality is one of the most important reasons the Jewish people needs its own country (like all other peoples). However, our young people also have learned about the challenges of needing a Jewish sovereign state so that we can control our own political destiny (again, like all other peoples), and why Zionism was the liberation movement of the Jewish people.

Rabbi Rich Kirschen
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