Reform Judaism

Two Largest Jewish Youth Movements Join Together for Historic Inter-Camp Maccabiah Games

Annette Powers

July 19, 2012, New York, NY Yesterday teens from the leadership programs of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) joined with teens from BBYO for the first time ever.

Two hundred and forty teens and staff members from BBYO's International Kallah at B'nai B'rith Perlman Camp in Lake Como, Pennsylvania joined more than 250 teens and staff at the NFTY leadership experience at the URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, New York, to participate in an unprecedented inter-camp Maccabiah games. See photos and tweets from yesterday.

Maccabiah teams included a mix of participants and staff from both camps. Through the games, teens learned about both youth movements and shared ideas for how they can better collaborate on service projects in their local communities. They also had the opportunity to socialize and breakdown long-standing barriers that have existed between the two groups.

This is an historic moment for the two groups, who only recently united as founding members of the Coalition for Jewish Teens, which led the effort to create awareness about bullying and co-hosted viewings of the movie "Bully" in major cities across North America.

"This is truly a unified effort to begin building more meaningful bridges between the participants in our programs, and to support the ongoing work of the Coalition of Jewish Teens (CJT) and the Reform Movement's Campaign for Youth Engagement," said URJ Camp Kutz Director Melissa Frey. "In addition to the fun aspects of Maccabiah, there was very intentional messaging and programming around collaboration, unity, and responsibility as Jewish teen leaders."

At the core of the Reform Movement's Campaign for Youth Engagement , is the ideal of reaching out and building creative partnerships with organizations such as BBYO to create new pathways for youth engagement.