What is NFTY?
For over seventy five years, NFTY – The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, has offered thousands of young people the opportunity to explore and live Reform Judaism.
NFTY is a movement that builds strong, welcoming, inspired communities through teen-powered engagement. Together, we pursue tikkun olam, personal growth, youth empowerment, and deep connections, all rooted in Reform Judaism.
Stemming from a historic tradition of both Jewish and non-Jewish European youth movements, NFTY is the Reform Jewish youth movement that fosters leadership at the North American, regional and congregational level. Today, over 500 Reform congregations throughout North America sponsor Temple Youth Groups, bringing the NFTY experience to more than 6,000 high school-age young people in grades 9 through 12. Additionally, NFTY welcomes Jewish teens in grades 6-8 through an initiative called NFTY678. Through opportunities offered by congregations in the 19 NFTY regions, and on the North American level, NFTYites strive to forge an identity in consonance with the goals and values of Reform Judaism.
NFTY is advised in partnership between teen leaders and adult Jewish youth professionals. NFTY also functions as a youth organization, a program of the Union for Reform Judaism, a ‘snif’ (branch) of Netzer Olami, the international Reform Zionist youth organization, as well as a partner in the URJ Campaign for Youth Engagement.
Whether functioning as an organization, program, or youth movement, NFTY is a Reform Jewish community for all high school students who are interested in connecting to their Judaism. Teens forge a build friendships, lifelong Reform Jewish identities, and leadership skills through community building, worship, social action, and experiential youth-led Jewish educational programming. Many NFTYites serve as NFTY leaders on the local, TYG, regional, and even North American levels. Many NFTY Leaders continue on to become both lay and professional leaders of the Reform Jewish Movement.
What makes NFTY NFTY?
What makes NFTY NFTY is the commitment of our entire North American movement to:
- Help every child find meaning and relevance in Judaism in ways that inspire and challenge them to grow — intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally,
- Inspire our young people to make a difference in their own lives, in the lives of their families, in their communities, and in the world, and
- Create an inclusive, safe, and nurturing environment where our students can connect with each other and with trained, caring adults.
How do I Join NFTY?
NFTY’s heart and soul is the local URJ synagogue Temple Youth Group (TYG). While each local TYG differs in organization, focus, size, and character, the Temple Youth Group is the outlet for the highly engaged Reform Jewish teenager in a URJ Synagogue. While some TYG’s only meet 5 times a year for social programs, many TYG’s meet over 20 times each school year and offer a full variety of social, leadership, educational, and social action programs.
TYG’s are linked together by geographic region into NFTY’s 19 regions. While each NFTY Region is somewhat unique in character, program, and traditions, each NFTY Region runs leadership training for local TYG’s, as well as a series of camp, hotel, or home-hospitality based conclaves or institutes that focus on Jewish themes, building community, worship, and social action for general NFTY Membership.
What’s my NFTY Region?