This year METNY Encampment, a nine-day camp for sixth to twelfth graders run by USY at the end of summer right before school starts, ends on Rosh Hodesh Elul, the first of the month of Elul. Elul is the month in which we evaluate ourselves, trying to figure out how to be better people, in preparation for the high holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Though Elul is the last month in the Jewish year, the end of Encampment is the beginning of the youth group program year at the Woodbury Jewish Center, and this year the two coincide. This is particularly appropriate because Elul in Jewish tradition is associated with a verse from Song of Songs, “I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine” (6:3), a four word phrase whose first letters spell out the letters of the word Elul. This acronym is fitting because during Elul we become closer to God, recognizing the Jewish people as God’s beloved people and our own love of God, and in the first month of the youth group program, we realize how much we love Pre-Kadima, Kadima, or USY.
I’m excited to be the Woodbury Jewish Center Youth Director this year because of my love for outstanding youth programming. I’ve loved working with USY over the past three years, growing our program and our teen peer-leadership, and I love that I can continue where Nina left off with the vibrant Pre-Kadima and exuberant Kadima groups. I love bringing experiential Jewish learning to youth group activities, love creating new programs, and love getting a youth program involved on the divisional, regional, and international level in Conservative Judaism. I’d love to meet all of you, and look forward to doing so!