Lucy Greenwald represented Young Judaea at the Coalition of Jewish Teens, a national convention of Jewish youth groups that met in Atlanta this February. In this article, she describes her experience.
The two days we spent at the Coalition of Jewish Teens was a great way for the different youth movements to connect and showed everyone what is special about each one. We split up into different groups – with members of each BBYO, NFTY, YJ, NCSY, and USY in each – and discussed what it means to have meaningful dialogues, talked about our own mission and ways to implement change towards working together.
We finalized our mission statement as:
“We, the Coalition of Jewish Teens, stand united to shape the Jewish future through shared Jewish values”
Everyone there decided that it is important for us to collaborate our separate movements because we all have common goals. Having this experience also helped to highlight the strengths of the various movements. For example, BBYO is huge, there were 2,200 people there from all over the world while our convention held 65 chanichim. BBYO does a great job of connecting Jews throughout the world. At Young Judaea’s national convention we talked about our role in race relations and how that correlates to being Zionist in addition to debating what social action topics we think should be our priorities as a movement to take action with. Our movement is more cozy and comfortable and effective in engendering conversations, educating our youth, and causing them to become passionate about something. Our movements should work together in some ways because as BBYO said over and over at their convention, we are stronger together.
There were parts of the Coalition of Jewish Teen experience that could be improved upon. We needed more time to set concrete goals and plans about how to connect our youth movements in some way. A day and a half at a hotel is not enough time to create this change, especially when we also needed to go to various BBYO activities. As a group we plan to continue this discussion and work towards creating a connection between our movements. We currently have an active Facebook group and plan to move forward with some of the ideas we came up with. Overall, CJT was a unique experience that will hopefully allow all our youth movements to become stronger in the future.
Lucy is the outgoing Mazkira of Empire Young Judaea and working at Tel Yehudah this summer before heading off to Young Judaea Year Course.