Getting Ready: Four Questions Before the Youth Engagement Conference

by Rachel Kasten

In a few hours, we’ll be hopping off a plane at LAX with a dream and a cardigan, but right now we’re a youth professional and an involved teen getting excited about attending the Youth Engagement Conference and NFTY Convention, respectively.

I’m the Assistant Director of Education & Youth Programs at Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, OH, attending the Youth Engagement Conference while Alyssa Weisman, a NFTY-Ohio Valley Regional Board member and a madricha at Wise Temple’s Religious School, attends NFTY Convention. This is my third time attending NFTY Convention – once as a student, and twice as a Jewish professional. Alyssa interviewed me a bit about Youth Engagement Conference before we arrive!

  1. Why were you interested in attending the Youth Engagement Conference?
    I’m really interested to see how the new Campaign for Youth Engagement is going to change the Youth Engagement Conference (beyond the name change from Youth Workers Conference). What has the CYE been up to since the big launch at Biennial last year? With so much change and innovation within the movement, including the new Reform Youth Professionals Association, it’s an exciting time to be a youth professional
  1. What are you most looking forward to?
    I think every NFTY kid is forever and always a NFTY kid – so of course I’m excited about all of the great concerts and song sessions. The ruach of nearly 1,000 people singing and cheering in unison is amazing and unforgettable.
  1. What do you hope to bring back to Wise Temple?
    Proven ideas and programs – I want to hear about what has already been done and actually works. And the best part about the Youth Engagement Conference running concurrently with NFTY Convention is that we get to hear straight from the teens about what they want and need their synagogues to provide.
  1. How are you feeling right now?
    Excited – and a little anxious. There’s always some anxiety when going to one of these big conferences, but you’re immediately put it at ease when you realize how many people you already know!

This is Alyssa’s first time attending NFTY Convention, too. Check out the NFTY blog for four questions about her attendance!

Rachel Kasten is the assistant director of education & youth Programs at Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, OH.