On Sunday December 8, 2013 more than one hundred fifty teens from the greater New York area gathered at Temple Sinai in Roslyn for the annual NFTY Social Justice Day. NFTY, the National Federation of Temple Youth, is the youth movement of the Union for Reform Judaism.
This year, Temple Sinai of Roslyn’s senior youth group, SORTY, hosted the event. A strong focus of the SORTY program is community service and social justice issues, so it was a perfect fit.
The day was led by teens for teens. The teens reached out to the NYC Department of Homeless Services and arranged to join 75 children who live in homeless shelters and transitional housing for a fun day at the Cradle of Aviation, including lunch & an IMAX.
With their teen buddies, the kids toured the museum, climbed into cockpits, learned about aerospace, and tried out the flight simulators. Most of the children had never been on a plane before so the experience was unique and thrilling.
After saying goodbye to their new friends, the teens headed back to Temple Sinai where they split up into a dozen groups to participate in a variety of projects. They baked cookies for the Interfaith Nutrition Network, painted a mural in the youth lounge, called local representatives to lobby for gun control, did an “Upstander” training certification program led by LIGALY, and created craft kits for Sunrise on Wheels to bring to children in hospitals receiving cancer treatment.
When asked how it felt to coordinate Social Justice Day, Sinai teen Molly Yelon responded “Planning an event for such a large group was a fun challenge, and seeing the results made all the hard work worth it!”
Allie Schreiber, junior at the Wheatley School said “I have never felt so rewarded by helping other people. This experience helped me realize what I want to do with my life after I graduate from college.”
For the more than 150 teens that participated, Social Justice Day was a day that they will never forget! For Temple Sinai’s SORTY group, it is just one part of the Temple’s comprehensive teen program. Temple Sinai has a deep commitment to social justice, and provides these high level opportunities for our teens on a regular basis.
For more information about Temple Sinai and our youth programs for children grades 4 and up, contact Director of Youth Engagement, Alison Stamm 516 621-6800 ex.116 firstname.lastname@example.org.