As summer kicks off, we say goodbye (for now) to our amazing Class of 2019 seniors. Maya Evers reflects on her time in NFTY-MAR and what the community means to her.
Senior year is an incredible, emotional, and chaotic time. It is the year of college apps, prom, graduation, lasts, and goodbyes. It is crazy to say that it is over and it flew by with a blink of an eye. This year made me put the past eighteen years in retrospect… especially when a college essay asked me to describe a community that I have been apart of and what brings the community together. Obviously, the first thing that came to my mind was the Jewish community. Compared to other groups I am apart of, this one in particular has shaped me into the person I am today. When I was younger I was a very shy person and was afraid of expressing myself. I was eventually encouraged to come out of my shell because of the warmth and welcoming nature of my Jewish family. Even with all the differences between Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Judaism, the entire Jewish community has faced a lot of adversity in the many years of its existence, and we have remained strong. The hardships we have faced bring us all together and we always celebrate with a feast, music, and dancing. This strength and love of life gave me the inspiration to keep moving forward having faith that in the end everything will be okay. For the past six years, I have been apart of a lovely group of Jewish youth trying to make the world a better place: NFTY-MAR.
When I first started going to NFTY events I was overwhelmed at first with everyone’s enthusiasm. There were sooo many people and so much happening all at once. Thankfully some of the older kids, including my sister Mariel, showed me fun little traditions and pass-downs that made me feel welcome. Overtime, I was able to learn how big these little traditions are, and pass them on to the next generation of MAR, which happens to include my little sister Magen. At this past Spring Kallah, the upperclassman had an incredible opportunity to partner with the underclassman during Saturday morning Shabbat services to create new traditions, and in turn new friendships. I was thrilled to see all the laughs and new ideas that were formed when we were put together to achieve a common goal. I passed down a fun tradition of the triangle jump dance to Max Leblang, Elyse Seldowitz, and Jonathan Lerdau. It was a blast creating something new with them and it was crazy to “pass the torch” onto them as they continue to grow as leaders within the Jewish community. As graduation approaches, it is sad to say that this was my last year with MAR, however I am confident I will see great things come of it. My time at MAR is something that I will hold dear to my heart forever and I thank all the youth professionals and youths for making my time extraordinary. The end is surely bittersweet, but I am glad to see that the future holds a lot more for all of MAR, NFTY, and the entire Jewish community. Thank you for coming to my TEDTalk. Senior season has come to a close, peace out my dudes!