NFTY prides itself on the educational, Judaic, and social programming that it provides for our participants. The majority of this programming is written and run by NFTYites for their peers.
All programs, from educational to social, provide an environment for NFTYites to interact in a positive environment. The focus of a NFTY weekend retreat is often based on an educational theme such as leadership, b'tzelem Elohim (in the image of God), tikkun olam (repairing the word), the Prophets and much more. Throughout the weekend there will be three or four programs that center around these themes. Unlike a traditional learning setting, these informal educational programs combine the needs of many different learning styles through activities such as creative games, skits, art projects, and deep discussions which last far beyond the allotted time of the programs.
In addition to the educational programs, there are always mixers at the beginning of events to help integrate new NFTYites into the community. These programs help break the ice and get people laughing, talking, and forming friendships from the moment that the participants arrive.
Most programs are created and written by the youth leadership in the region or a temple youth group (TYG) with guidance from the youth group advisor and clergy members. The process involved in writing a program is very thorough and involves a large time commitment from everyone involved. Through this process NFTYites research Jewish topics and world events and do a great deal of learning before they begin to teach others. We are very proud of the seriousness that our youth leaders devote to writing these programs.
Some programs that involve greater knowledge and sensitivity, coverving topics such as kidushat ha'guf (holiness of the body) or destructive behaviors, for example, are written by highly skilled and trained youth workers who often work with social workers and clergy to ensure that our participants are making safe, smart, and Jewish choices with regard to the way that they treat themselves and others.
NFTY programs offer a great way for your teen to grow and develop his/her Jewish identity. Participants look forward to the opportunity to learn about Judaism outside of the classroom and have great discussions with their peers. From generation to generation we watch as new Jewish leaders pass through NFTY—transforming their Jewish identities and developing a lifelong commitment to their Jewish education.
For examples of the outstanding programs that have been written for NFTY events, please visit our online NFTY Program Bank.