Earlier this summer, the NFTY-TOR regional board and delegates traveled from the great state of Texas to the beautiful URJ Kutz camp in Warwick, New York for NFTY Mechina 2016. At Mechina, the delegations of the nineteen regions of NFTY come together to learn, educate, and of course have fun!
Particularly at this Mechina, we had intriguing programs revolving around subjects such as racial justice, political activism, and Israel. We also participated in an event called Ruach Bonanza in which each region performs in front of everyone to represent their region. NFTY-TOR had a blast dancing our hearts out to some good ‘ole country music! Below, you can see what our representatives have to say about their favorite parts of the week. Enjoy!
My favorite part of Mechina was an incredibly dynamic asefah, or business meeting. Asefah is where we get to decide the direction our movement will be going in throughout the upcoming year. A specifically poignant moment during the meeting of the 19 delegations of regional leaders is when the resolution PAR MVP & I wrote was passed unanimously. By passing the resolution, NFTY affirmed our stance on transgender and gender non-conforming rights and equality. That moment made me proud not only to have been one of two teens to write the legislation, but it made me immensely proud to be a part of such an inclusive, thoughtful, and intentional movement like NFTY.
–Maddie Newman, NFTY-TOR President
At NFTY Mechina, I had the amazing opportunity to return to my home at the URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY with some of my closest friends from NFTY. Here, I also had the opportunity to meet leaders from across our movement. Some of them are on their regional boards, others are on their cabinets, others are on TYG boards, and others do not have titles. Despite all of the different types of leaders that were present, everyone had some unique skills to bring to Mechina and I certainly learned something from everyone. I am so excited to continue my summer at Kutz, learning more and more from all the leaders around me- something that will significantly affect my NFTY knowledge as TOR’s Global Outreach Chair this coming year. I can’t wait to share everything I learn with our region! Lassos high, TOR!
–Lauren Stock, Global Outreach Chair
So that greeting I just gave you might have looked normal to your eyes as a fellow TORite, but when I used it with other NFTYites from all over North America, it was a huge indicator that I was from Texas. This past week, I was fortunate to be able to attend NFTY Mechina which is an annual meeting of the general boards and a great way to form connections between the different regions. Throughout the event, we were constantly meeting new people from all over North America who shared a common love for NFTY. My newfound friends taught me about how their regions worked and I let them in on the scoop with TOR. It was an incredible experience to meet people who come from different places but are all connected when it comes to judaism and NFTY. This opportunity to connect was not wasted and the bonds that the TOR delegation made serve to make our incredible region even stronger.
– Autumn Sparks, NFTY TOR MVP
Wherever you go there’s always someone Jewish. And at NFTY Mechina 2016 that was proven to be true. The event was packed full of amazing programs, educational sessions, and mixers, all designed to bring us together as leaders. But one thing stood out above all that helped us to form bonds with each other and it wasn’t even something planned. What I learned at this event is that we are all connected by some mutual friend whether it’s Lauren Stock or Maddie Newman we all found connections immediately. Urban Dictionary defines Jewish Geography as “When two or more Jews get together and discuss who knows who’s Jewish friends and relatives from where.” Being able tojust say you’re from TOR and then have that cool “I know them” moment is such an amazing experience that makes meeting new people exciting and it was by far my favorite experience from Mechina.
– Benji Hunt, North Texoma Subregional Chair
Hey TOR, it’s Sam! I’d say the best part of Mechina for me was either a tie between Ruach Bonanza or the invaluable network time provided. As a cabinet member, I got to participate in the Leaders At Large network meetings, which included various breakout sessions, with focuses such as Programming and Engagement. I learned so much about awesome ways to program events that everyone will love, so look out SoTex, awesome events coming your way! Ruach Bonanza was also a complete blast. Getting to see the other regions perform funny skits, dances, and songs to show regional pride made me super proud to be a TORite. There’s nothing like regional (and sub-regional) spirit!
See you guys at Summerpalooza!
– Sam Goldenberg, SoTex Sub-Regional Chair
While everyone else was preparing for Mechina, Benji Hunt and myself were in Washington D.C. meeting up with other regional Social Action VPs and regional delegates. While we were in D.C. there was a filibuster on gun violence prevention, in which the minority gave their opinion on the need for safer guns and better background checks. As Jewish teens, we are the minority, and NFTY gives us that ability to have a voice and make a difference. This is just one of the many examples of how amazing D.C. was and I cannot wait to bring so many of the things I learned back to TOR. See y’all at Summerpalooza!
– Tawni Rousch, NFTY-TOR SAVP
Our cabinet and board members had an incredibly exciting time at NFTY Mechina at the URJ Kutz Camp last weekend. At the event, we learned countless new leadership skills and made so many new friends. Asefah was my favorite part of the event because TOR had the opportunity to work together as a region to state our beliefs and discover what we’re passionate about. As a region we formed very firm stances on the resolutions being brought up and as a whole we were incredibly passionate about our beliefs. On the other hand, there was plenty of fun to counter serious things like Asefah. When TOR dressed up in typical Texan clothes and danced to Boot Scoot ‘n Boogie, we had an incredible time laughing and dancing together. Our few days at Kutz Camp were completely filled with exciting and interesting programming, huge dance sessions, spending time with our networks and our region, and so much more. The event was a blast and I couldn’t be more excited about the coming year with NFTY-TOR!
– Zoë Berman, NFTY-TOR PVP
Mechina was an amazing experience, filled with inspirational leaders, social action, and educational programs. The best part about being at a North American event is the people i met and the connections I made. Everyone has a unique opinion and story to how they became the NFTYite they are today, and it’s so interesting to here everyone’s different backgrounds. I loved being able to share ideas, programs, and new initiatives to take back to my region and TYG. There’s a reason why NFTY is so special and it’s because of the passion we all have to move our movement forward.
– Jordyn Shwartz, Fundraising Chair
As you can see, Mechina was an incredible learning experience, as well as a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, and learn from our fellow regions. The event was packed with leaders from all over, with all sorts of diverse experiences. Our NFTY-TOR leaders are absolutely pumped for the upcoming year and we can’t wait to see y’all soon and implement the things we learned.
–Yulie Yakir, NFTY-TOR CVP
Check out our fabulous delegation!