Listen to the Next Generation: Shabbat Message from the CEO

O beautiful, her spirit dimmed

As dawn was in our sight

With hatred near, we take our fear

And bend it toward the light

America, America, let’s live up to our creed

For equity, and people free

In work and soul and deed.

These are words from rising young songwriters Eliana Light, Eric Hunker, and Debra Winter written in the aftermath of Thursday’s events and posted on Facebook.

Reading these words closely, I hear deep disappointment tinged with steadfast hopefulness. It is a soulful plea by a generation growing up in a constant state of attack. An attack on their safety, an attack on their sense of justice, and an attack on their idealism. This is the world in which our young people are growing up.  And yet, they plead. When will we hear their cries? Or as we read in this week’s Parshat Shemot, when will Gcd hear their cries?

So, what is our responsibility as a pluralistic youth movement in this moment? We aim to create safe spaces for empathic dialogue and conversation. We listen and we teach them how to truly listen with open minds and hearts. Yesterday, we brought together the advisors and shlichim who work with our teens, to prepare them as they convene their teens around the country and plan the right peulah, activity, for this moment.

Together, they grappled with what it means to be a pluralistic movement at this moment of extreme polarization. Can we model what it means to honor many different perspectives under one tent? Are there any boundaries or limitations to how big the tent can be? Are there things that are clearly outside of the tent? Who decides?

They also grappled with how exhausting it is to constantly weigh competing values. As a movement committed to Israel and social justice, there are times when we find ourselves in a state of cognitive dissonance. The current political climate contributes to this as we are often forced to choose a single allegiance. Do we need to resolve the dissonance? Push away one value for another? Is it hypocritical not to live our competing truths?

In our daily work, whether in our year-round programming, camps, or Israel experiences, we have the privilege and responsibility of asking these difficult questions and creating emotionally safe spaces where the next generation can answer them for themselves.

As we step into 2021, we wish to thank all of you who support Young Judaea’s mission driven work and who made gift in 2020. If you did not have a chance and are now inspired to support our important work of building the next generation, support us here.

Praying for peaceful times ahead.

Shabbat Shalom,

Adina

Adina H. Frydman
CEO | Young Judaea Global

Update from the Board President

September 16, 2020
27 Elul, 5780
Dear Young Judaea Community,
As summer ends and we approach a new year, we all take stock of what has happened since last Rosh Hashanah. While there have been difficult moments, we’re moving through these hurdles with hope, excitement, and success.
Young Judaea, like many other organizations, faced huge challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our summer camps made the difficult decision to close for the summer of 2020, and as a result nearly 3,000 campers were unable to enjoy a summer with their best friends engaging with the Young Judaea values that can only be instilled at camp. Summer programs in Israel – Machon for our teenage Judaeans and Onward and Amirim for young adults – were cancelled or moved online, preventing more than 1,000 participants from experiencing Israel first-hand.
Despite these difficulties, Young Judaea leadership, staff, and alumni rose to the task and turned challenge into success.
Programmatically:
  • The seven Young Judaea camps ran a wide array of innovative, virtual programming to keep kids connected throughout the summer. To learn more about the creative and courageous ways in which the camps responded to the pandemic and their exciting plans for summer 2021 please click here.
  • Year-Round Young Judaea programming pivoted to virtual activities bringing together Judaean teens from across the country.
  • Young Judaea alumni and families reconnected in monumental fashion through Chaverim Online, a platform connecting thousands of Judaeans around the world through engaging virtual content.
  • Young Judaea Year Course welcomed 225 participants to Israel just twelve days ago – the largest group since Young Judaea became independent from Hadassah – kicking off a year of personal growth and unforgettable Jewish experiences.
Financially:
  • Our initial emergency campaign has already raised 90% of the goal set for December 2020.
  • Families across Young Judaea camps donated just over $900,000 of tuition paid and many families rolled over their camp tuition to summer 2021, thereby reducing the financial impact of Covid-19.
Thanks to everyone’s hard work and generosity, Young Judaea is weathering the Covid-19 storm and we are now poised to thrive over the coming months and years.
As we celebrate all the accomplishments of the past year and the promise of the next, I am thrilled to announce the hiring of Adina Frydman as CEO of Young Judaea Global. Most recently, as a member of senior management at UJA-Federation of New York and having worked with, synagogues, camps, and day schools for the past 18 years, Adina brings forward-thinking creativity, courage and spirit to leading Young Judaea Global forward. Her Judaean experiences as a member of the Florida regional chapter of HaMagshimim as well as a madricha at Camp Tel Yehudah give her personal knowledge of the powerful impact of Young Judaea. Her dedication to building Jewish identity, inspiring love of Israel, and catalyzing change in the world reflects the proud legacy of our movement.
Adina starts her new role on October 12th and is excited to engage a new generation of families, teens, and young adults as we move into the next chapter of our story. Please join me in wishing Adina much success in her new role. Her email address is: adina.frydman@youngjudaea.org.
Though uncertainty and difficulty persist in our lives, I only need to look at the dedication of Young Judaea’s participants, families, alumni, staff, leadership and friends to see how much good can result from even the most challenging situations. I wish you and your loved ones a sweet New Year – may it be filled with happiness, health, and peace.
Shanah Tovah,
Mike Berman
Young Judaea Global Board President