My 16-year-old son Levi went to Israel with NCSY this past summer. He made many new friends with whom he is in regular contact. After making a deal with one new friend in Buffalo that they would attend each other’s youth conventions, he sheepishly asked me for my permission. “Dad, would it be all right if I go to the USY convention in Albany next month?”
“Levi,” I replied, “you may go to any organized gathering of Jewish kids. I don’t care if it’s USY, NCSY, NFTY, BBYO, Young Judaea, etc. – anytime – anywhere.”
Several kids from his Israel trip live in the Baltimore area and are part of the Atlantic Seaboard region of NCSY. Levi asked me if he could go to their regional conference in Harrisburg. “Levi, anytime – anywhere.” I don’t think that he has any idea where Harrisburg is, but he’s there now.
It takes a single spark to start the fire that can illuminate the world. That spark can be different for each person, but it is Federation’s responsibility to create those sparks. Is it PJ Library? Is it a trip to Israel?
Dr. David Morrison is the chair of Federation’s Next Dor Young Adult group. About eight years ago, David attended one of our Young Adult programs. He got active, joined our scholarship committee and, eventually, our board of directors. He helped start our current young adult efforts. He joined the National Young Leadership Cabinet and now travels all over the world as part of that program.
But the program travel is really only the beginning. The Cabinet has exposed him to scores of new friends, giving him many new travel opportunities, of which our community is the fortunate beneficiary. We are now copying program ideas from the Houston and Chicago Federations. I can just imagine the conversation in the Morrison family. “Dad, (Dr. Lew Morrison, past president of our Federation) I’m going to the Chicago Federation’s young adult program this weekend?”
“David, anytime – anywhere.”