Year Round Programs Virtual Northeast Convention 2020
Due to COVID-19, we were unable to host Northeast Convention at Tel Yehudah like we typically do. While this was disappointing, the Northeast Mazkirut made the best of the situation and decided to shift convention to an online format. With over 100 participants, the virtual convention was a huge success! The theme of convention was Connecting Kehilah, because during this time especially, it’s crucial that we unite as a community. The Northeast Mazkirut wanted to learn and share about the many ways to stay connected to our Jewish identity through the current pandemic or any time where we may feel disconnected from our Judaism. The discussions included virtual Bat Mitzvahs, Zoom calls with local Synagogues, and a continuation of keeping meaningful holidays and weekly Shabbat dinners.
On Thursday, we kicked off the weekend with some icebreakers by splitting into breakout rooms for dyadic encounters, a Young Judaea style of small group icebreakers. Each participant got to know a few other Judaeans through meaningful, intimate conversations about how they have stayed connected to their friends, family, and Judaism during quarantine. Friday night was not the same as the traditional Shabbat at Tel Yehudah, but it was lovely to see everyone dressed up, welcoming in Shabbat as a community — even if we were doing so over zoom. We wrote Shabbatograms and heartfelt letters to senior citizens through the Met Council, helping us connect to others in the larger Jewish community. We concluded Friday with a guided meditation that transported participants back to TY for a magical Shabbat. Saturday night was an incredibly exciting and emotional part of convention. The evening was not exclusively for the teens signed up for convention, but rather for the larger Young Judaea community. Saturday night is arguably the best night of camp or convention, and it was so special that we were able to bring it online! Young Judaea alum and former National Mazkir Maccabee Raileanu started off the evening with playing some classic Shira Shketa songs, then LINYC AVP Matan Marcus-Neuman led us in Havdalah, where we welcomed in the new week and national OTP Nikki Lerner led a super fun Rikkud session. With the recent announcement of Tel Yehudah’s cancellation, it was especially meaningful to foster a camp-like environment for the evening. Our special guest, David Weinstein, director of camp Tel Yehudah, spoke to convention. Finally, the night concluded with a concert from Noah Wilker– everyone’s favorite way to end Saturday night at camp.
Sunday was our last day of convention, and we wrapped up with some final activities: a scavenger hunt that each participant completed from their own home where they searched for items that reminded them of different parts of their Jewish identity or life before quarantine. The activity concluded with conversations relating to the theme of the weekend. Each northeast region (LINYC, New Jersey, and Empire) then split up for Asepha (elections). The regions then selected a new Mazkirut for the upcoming year, showing how nothing can part the Young Judaea community from its traditions. We are so excited to see how each region grows and continues to thrive over the next year and beyond proud of everyone who participated and their willingness to stay connected to the movement in a difficult time!
-Your Northeast Mazkirim
Allegra Wertheim, LINYC
Manni Burach, New Jersey
Max Canning, Empire