By Lindsay Morgenstein, 10th, BESHTY (Cary, NC)
Midway through eighth grade, I stumbled upon the diamond in my dull life, NFTY-MAR. NFTY-MAR gave me the opportunity to spend an exciting, impactful, fantastic weekend with my best friends a few times a year. The only thing that could have enhanced my experience would be a longer MAR event. A really, really, really long MAR event. I was excited to find out that the URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY could deliver just that.
I decided to attend Kutz this past summer, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done with my time. Kutz is an intense four week long leadership camp full of dancing, singing, laughing, cheering, learning, exploring, and Judaism. I made the best friends I’ve ever made and learned more than I thought possible. I spent most of my time in the Mitzvah Corps major, which was focused on learning about and spending time with teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am extremely passionate about the inclusion of people with special needs, so the major was perfect for me.
Beyond learning, I gained a new appreciation for NFTY-MAR and Reform Judaism. I am so blessed to be a part of such amazing communities. As soon as camp ended, I began searching for a way to use my experience for a good cause, and I was led back to the beginning of my journey to Kutz, NFTY-MAR. I know for the remainder of my time in MAR, I want to take what I learned and use it to better the wonderful region I call home. I plan to pursue the inclusion of people with special needs, and make MAR the safe place it is for me, the same safe place it should be for them. I was also greatly impacted by many other social justice programs I participated in this summer, so I joined the programming and social action committees, so I may learn to enact change throughout the region and my youth group. I am so thankful for the wonderful things that have, and will come from my summer experience.