Every fall each region of the North American Federation of Temple Youth holds a chavurah, or conclave, and this year the Missouri Valley regional chavurah is being held in Omaha beginning on Friday, November 2.
Temple Israel and the Omaha Temple Youth Group will host high schoolers from around the region for a “fun, social weekend with religious, cultural and social action components,” according to Youth Group Advisor Amy Katz. Including OTYG, approximately 120 kids from Jewish youth groups in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Wyoming are expected to attend.
The study theme of this year’s chavurah is “Am I My Brother’s Keeper,” and as such the teens will participate in a community service project.
“We’re for social action,” said OTYG Fall Conclave Co-Chair Morissa Miller. “We’re going to different shelters. We’re going to food banks. We’re doing a bunch of different things that have to do with homelessness.”
On Saturday, the teens will split up into six groups, each one visiting a different social justice organization for a hands on experience: Food Bank for the Heartland; Habitat for Humanity; HELP Omaha; Open Door Mission; Together; and the Youth Emergency Shelter.
With the presidential election the Tuesday following the chavurah, and with some NFTY members eligible to vote for the first time, the teens will also hold a debate of each presidential candidate’s position on social issues, without knowing which positions belong to which candidate, followed by a mock election between Candidate A and Candidate B.
“This way they’re voting on the issues instead of the candidates,” Katz said.
There will also be a social Saturday night, titled “A Social of Olympic Proportions,” in honor of the Olympics, during which the kids will have time to socialize as they participate in various physical activities.
The chavurah begins Friday evening, November 2 and runs through Sunday, November 4. To register for the chavurah, teens can go to www.nfty.org/mv. When prompted, the username is “NFTYMV” and the password is “victor.”
Early registration runs through October 16 and costs $140. Regular registration ends on October 23 and is $160. Late registration is available after the 23rd for $180. The chavurah is open to all Omaha-area Jewish high schoolers, but they must be members of OTYG in order to attend. Teens are urged to contact Amy Katz for information on how to join.
Beber Scholarships are available no later than two weeks prior to an event by contacting Center for Jewish Education Director Mary Sue Grossman at 402-334-6445 or visit www.jewishomaha.org. Families can also contact Amy Katz at firstname.lastname@example.org for confidential assistance or with questions.
With the influx of NFTY teenagers for chavurah, host families are needed to house them all. Please contact Program Director Wendy Goldberg at email@example.com if you’re interested.