At NFTY-GER’s Winter Kallah at URJ Camp Harlam more than 100 teens gathered together to discuss social action, Jewish values, and to have fun with both new and old friends. Casey Sherman, a member of NFTY-STR, joined NFTY-GER for the week and details her experience:
My name is Casey Sherman and I have been a member of the NFTY-STR region for three years. After participating in Urban Mitzvah Corps (UMC) this past summer, I decided to attend NFTY-GER’s Winter Kallah to reunite with the friends I created this summer. Since I was coming from Florida, I did not know anyone who would be attending Winter Kallah besides the friends that I made at UMC, which was a bit nerve wracking to say the least. My nerves were eased the moment I arrived; I felt welcomed by the entire region and its members. I was able to see my UMC friends, along with some camp friends that I had not seen for years, and I was soon introduced to many other participants and staff members.
Throughout the event I was impressed by the adept execution of each program. All were extremely successful in portraying impactful messages such as the effect of sexual violence or the degree to which chronic homelessness both exists and persists. What also stuck out to me were the differences in tradition and structure between NFTY-GER and NFTY-STR. The concept of cabinet members was unknown to me as it is not part of the structure of NFTY-STR, but it is something that I came to find fairly inventive. It further alleviates some of the hefty responsibilities of board members, as well as gives other participants who are not regional board members the chance to take an active leadership role in the region. NFTY-GER also has many small traditions, evident in their friendship circle at the close of every event, and by their own unique ending to the well-known NFTY chant. All of these things exemplify the differences between my region and NFTY-GER, which express the true individuality that each region holds and how the participants really do impact the way a region runs. The participants in NFTY-STR and those in NFTY-GER are very different from one another, but what each individual brings to the table is what makes their respective region so special. I will forever be grateful for having had the chance to go to NFTY-GER’s Winter Kallah, as it gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizons as a young, Jewish teen in terms of the friendships I forge, the values I carry, and the view I have on the world.
NFTY-GER had a truly incredible time at Winter Kallah! Join NFTY-GER for Maccabiah on March 17th- registration now open!