Written by Liam Nielsenshultz, a member of BOFTY
There is comfort in security. There is comfort in routine. There is comfort in knowing what your future holds. Then there is change, and the ever-so-daunting unknown. The bridge between these two vastly different things is transition. Having moved recently from NFTY-MV to NFTY-PAR, I’ve learned quite a bit about transition.
One year ago, I had an amazing time at Missouri Valley’s Winter Chavurah, and just like all the other NFTY kids, I was wishing the next NFTY event could come faster. The next event was NFTY Convention, and while I was unable to attend, my dad went with my TYG as our advisor. Although I was not even at Convention, it is probably one of the defining moments of who I am today. My dad went to a presentation by staff from Congregation Beth Or, a Pennsylvania synagogue, and he hit it off with them. One thing led to another, and next thing I knew we were more-than-likely moving to Pennsylvania, and then that more-than-likely turned into a definitely. With no more than a month’s lead time, I had to transition from Kansas City to Philadelphia.
I sent a long paragraph to my friends via Twitter and Instagram talking about the upcoming move, and it did not take long for general members and Regional Board members of NFTY-PAR to start Facebook friending me, messaging me, and welcoming me to the region. I had never been to Pennsylvania in my life, nor had I ever spoken to anybody from PAR, and I was already feeling welcome.
The transition was incredible. I had never really experienced any other NFTY culture other than Missouri Valley’s. I was anxious, for some reason that PAR’s culture would differ vastly from what I was accustomed to. Boy, was I wrong. At SLK, PAR’s Summer Leadership Kallah, I quickly met so many people, all of whom had said that leaders in Missouri Valley told them wonderful things about me. I was blown away. It felt weird being somewhere completely new to me, yet at the same time, somewhere that I felt like I had been for the past two years of high school. So much was the same. Everything from the exciting and welcoming atmosphere, to the traditions that occur solely from coincidentally doing something twice, to longing for sleep, but not falling asleep because of how incredible those two o’clock in the morning conversations with your rarely seen best friends can be. The move from one region to another was barely a transition; it felt like a small change, with that change being the people. It was as if Missouri Valley acquired entirely new members, with those members being just as amazing as the last.
Transitions can be hard. There is no question about that. On my not NFTY side of life I changed schools with no clue of what was to come of my future. The NFTY side of my life, however, was more constant than I would have ever imagined. In my transition from one region to another I learned many, many things. Of all the things I’ve learned, I think the most important is that with NFTY friends and cultures, there really isn’t a transition at all.