Blog  URJ Summer Program Experience: What I Learned at the Kutz Camp

URJ Summer Program Experience: What I Learned at the Kutz Camp

This summer, a number of NFTY-MAR teens participated in a variety of URJ Summer Experiences. We asked a few teens to share with us a highlight of their experience and how their summer will help impact their year in NFTY. Below is a blog post, written by Alicia Steiman, who attended the URJ Kutz Camp.  Registration is now open for Summer 2017!


“Da lifnei mi atah omed-Know before whom you stand.”

These words were presented to me as I stood on a rock in the woods peering through the trees to see the lake in front of me. My session long minor teacher, Noah, had just finished telling us the story of Hillel in which a prospective covert to Judaism asked that the Torah be taught to him as he stands on one foot. Hillel responded, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this – go and study it!” This is considered to be the Golden Rule of Judaism, and I never understood why it was so important until that moment. As I stood out there in the woods, Noah had asked each one of us a question and instructed us to answer it while standing on one foot. When he asked me my question, I took a second to think about the story of Hillel and the intention of my answer rather than the answer itself. I realized that in life we are taught very basic lessons, but it is up to us to learn their meaning and understand how it applies to our life.

This past summer, I spent my time at the URJ Kutz Camp. In the Regional Leadership minor, we focused a lot on generational leadership and how our work now will affect what is done in the future. I was able to think a lot about my impact as an individual and the mark I want to leave behind. My work as a regional board member is not just about what I do in the present, but about how it will shape the future of NFTY-MAR. Being at Kutz this summer made me think about how much NFTY has given me. The people I have met are some of my closest friends and it has provided me with a community where I can be completely myself. We have the potential as members of this community to make great change for the NFTYites who follow. Our actions now will influence future actions, allowing NFTY to grow as this holy community in which people feel free to be themselves.