To put it simply, our senior year is not going the way we planned.
If these few months had gone our way, we would have had many hours left with our friends in the community we love so much. We would have gone to more programs, sang our hearts out at a few more song sessions, and hugged our pals tightly a few more times.
The tears we are shedding now, are tears we envisioned crying alongside our friends and if nothing else, that was comforting. When looking past the tears, we would have said our final goodbyes to the community that has shaped us into the people we are today. But sadly, that has been taken away from us.
It is hard to imagine a life without NFTY when the whole world is turned upside down. But it can also be hard to imagine life without NFTY when it has been your rock for one year or five. When we began our NFTY careers, we watched and waited until we could be that goofy senior running around. We waited to give our own pass downs to those who we knew were going to change the NFTY world for the better. We waited to sit in the middle of the Havdalah spiral and to tell our community how much they changed our lives. We waited and waited, but now we are faced with coming to terms with the fact that those experiences will never be what we expected them to be.
And to state it bluntly, it sucks. Our feelings are valid and it is not what anyone ever wished for us or our NFTY experience. But know that in your sadness, you are not alone.
I want you to know that I write this letter to you with tears rolling down my face, wishing it could fix it all. I wish I could transport you to your last event and watch the smiles on your faces when I do. I wish I could grant you one more year, one more event or one more day, but this is our new reality.
I am unsure of how to tell you, that one day we will look back and remember only the positive memories. I am sure that when we think of our time in NFTY many of us will say, “We just loved each other, it felt like the safest home I ever knew”. While it is hard to fathom now, I know we will all look back on our days as a NFTY participant with nothing but smiles on our faces. We will remember the love that drew us in and the people that taught us how to love it back.
While our time in NFTY may be coming to an end, and this chapter of our book may be coming to a close, I want to leave you with a few thoughts.
If you want to continue to be a leader in your community, you will. If you want to continue to inspire the Jewish community, you will. If you want to see these people again, you will. If you want to ensure teens have NFTY for years to come, you will. And if you don’t want to forget all that NFTY gave you, you won’t.
And finally, as NFTY MAR would say, “Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeling”, because NFTY truly never dies, it lives on inside those who love it and lived for it.
A NFTY Senior