Are the fences coming down?
The desire to engage as many teens as possible in the Jewish community is part of the reason that two youth groups, BBYO (B’nai Brith Youth Organization) and NFTY, the youth movement of the Union for Reform Judaism are working together. How did such a thing occur?
A few years ago, the groups met in Boston and found out that their entire membership consisted of only 15% of the total pool of North American teens—combined. As we see elsewhere, boundaries become blurred often when economies of scale are at play. At the two group’s conventions in Atlanta, GA, they will be joined for a pre-convention meeting of 60 teens from the three other major Jewish youth organizations (NCSY, USY, and Young Judaea. Together, they form (more initials) the CJT, Coalition of Jewish Teens. This is worth a paragraph in the history books! The shared mission of CJT (actually created in 2010) is to unite Jewish teens focused on a shared mission of values and desire to engage more youth. Commendable, and hopefully contagious.
How different might things be if more boundaries were permeable, silos less stifling, and windows to opportunity were wide open to some fresh air.