May 5, 2020

Spark Note: NFTY-SAR & The One on Zoom

Tags: Teen Voice

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. NFTY’s Southern Area Region includes South Carolina; Georgia; Charlotte, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Montgomery, AL; Jacksonville, FL; and Tallahassee, FL.  

When we realized that Spring Kallah would not be happening as we intended it, we were shocked. Our plans for closure with our four years in NFTY were changed drastically in an instant. Leah, the current Religious and Cultural Vice President of NFTY-SAR, and Sarah, the current President of NFTY-SAR, along with the rest of the board, knew that we had to finish our terms to the best of our abilities.

The planning process was very different from what we were used to. We partnered with next year’s recently elected regional board to plan programs and create experiences which would translate virtually. As we began our planning process a lot of questions came to mind. What does a virtual kallah look like?  What are people expecting?  How do we still feel the love and strength of our community via Zoom? These questions were our driving force as we began planning the weekend-long virtual experience. We quickly found the balance between content-rich and simply fun programs. The program plans were solid, but we knew we needed to do something more to bring this all together. 

Adam Griff, our Regional Director came up with the idea of sending everyone an “event in a box,” a way to still give everyone some of the tangible things they’d normally get at an event. This is where our partners at JumpSpark came in! JumpSpark agreed to help sponsor our  “event in a box” idea seeing that it would help keep the NFTY-SAR community strong. With that support, we began creating the boxes for the 150 registered participants. We featured unboxing videos from our participants on our Instagram, showcasing how ecstatic they felt to receive the box, which not only contained a tshirt, name tag, and supplies for programming, but also a handwritten note from a board member. The senior class also received a gift to commemorate their time in NFTY. 

As soon as we blinked, our Virtual Spring Kallah was here, ready or not! The weekend was a huge success! Over 120 people participated in most of the weekend’s programs and services. Activities included making bird feeders, baking, and an engaging Israel program (just to name 3 of the over 30 different activities planned). Although this was not at all how we envisioned our last event, seniors were still honored in a beautiful Havdallah service and our senior circle speech tradition. 

In the end, all of our hard work was completely worth it when we got to hear about how much SARites loved participating. Jennah Brill, a Junior from Tallahassee said “I still felt really connected…the programs were really well put together and they flowed well too!” We are so grateful to JumpSpark for allowing us to put on the virtual event we dreamed of executing, and are so proud of all of the work our teen leaders put in to plan the weekend.

Related Stories

Planning Early: How I Spent my Senior Year Preparing for my Gap Year
August 16, 2021

Planning Early: How I Spent my Senior Year Preparing for my Gap Year

By Zoe Glickman
When I got to the start of my senior year and the overwhelming question of “what are you doing next year?” became the subject of every conversation between peers, parents, and teachers, something inside of...
Continue Reading
Final Learnings From Our Engagement Manager
August 13, 2021

Final Learnings From Our Engagement Manager

By Annie Fortnow
“I hope to gain a better understanding of what obstacles woman must deal with every day and how to become a better leader to impact my community.”  “I hope to further my leadership experience and learn new ways to...
Continue Reading
A Word from our New Director
July 26, 2021

A Word from our New Director

By Nathan Brodsky
JumpSpark is pleased to announce Nathan Brodsky will lead JumpSpark as our new Director. As a kid growing up in Sarasota, Florida, I often looked at the copy of The Jewish Book of Why that...
Continue Reading
We’re Hiring
July 7, 2021

We’re Hiring

By developer
We’re ready to expand the JumpSpark team! JumpSpark is the Jewish teen initiative out of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, and we’re hiring for two full-time positions. Do you think you have what it...
Continue Reading
COVID’s Ripple Effects on Youth
June 3, 2021

COVID’s Ripple Effects on Youth

By Atlanta Jewish Times
Jewish Atlanta is responding to the mental health fallout of the pandemic on today’s youth, from specialized services and counselors to programs to help parents and camps. Annie Fortnow, said helping parents “ultimately supports the...
Continue Reading
Jewish Teens Guide To Understanding the Current Israeli-Palestinian Crisis
June 2, 2021

Jewish Teens Guide To Understanding the Current Israeli-Palestinian Crisis

By Jewish Boston Teens
Resources and opportunities for connection and conversation for Jewish teens, parents, educators and professionals. The current situation in Israel is complex and there are many narratives, viewpoints and resources filling our news and social media...
Continue Reading