By Allison K., NFTY-TOR Parent
Allison recently wrote this letter to her daughter, Logan. Allison’s daughter is a freshman in NFTY-TOR, the same region she grew up in over 25 years ago.
After dropping you off for your Freshman Spring Kallah, I was overcome with emotions. I was trying to sort through them and knew I needed to write them down to share with you.
- Joy – For your enthusiastic energy towards getting to go to this place of utter comfort.
- Excitement – You can hangout with incredible teens that truly know you.
- Pride – Watching you grow as a leader.
- Love – For your shining spirit.
- Happiness – Knowing these events, these people will help you define what Judiasm means to you.
Mostly, I realized I felt gratitude. Gratitude to NFTY for giving you and other teens the gift it gave me over 25 years ago. The feelings you had before getting on the bus Friday, I had those too. The feelings you had while participating in Shabbat, song sessions & “NFTY” fun, I know those feelings. I remember being in the experience and struggling to define what that feeling was. (You know the one that only other NFTYites get). It took me seeing it your eyes 25 years later to identify it.
IT IS GRATITUDE!
Gratitude for giving teens that place to escape to every couple months where you are just free to be you. It is about getting to leave behind the stress and pressure of High School and all the drama that comes with it. Leaving your family, their annoyances, opinions and judgement at home. Being able to be with people that you were born with a connection too and understand why that connection is so important.
It is not until I now that I realize how much my NFTY years shaped who I am. As a Jew, as a leader, and definitely as a parent. I learned a lot of life lessons those weekends, but what I learned most was who I was and what was important to me. Being Jewish has been an incredible blessing in my life. It has given me lifelong friendships, lead me to your father, offered me comfort, but most of all it has giving my life value.
Logan, seeing where your NFTY experiences take you is truly a gift for me. Thank you for reminding me of mine and letting me witness you make your own.
I love you,