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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

200+ Jewish teens attend the NFTY Collab at Camp OSRUI

Image+credited+to+NFTY
Image credited to NFTY

During the weekend of Nov. 10-13, over 200 Jewish teens from across the country attended the NFTY Collab that took place at the URJ’s (Union for Reform Judaism) Camp OSRUI (Olin-Sang Ruby Union Institute) in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. This event was open to all Jewish teens part of the organized youth movement of Reform Judaism in North America known as NFTY (National Federation for Temple Youth

OSRUI in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Over the span of the weekend, teens attended programs concerning social justice, Israel, Judaism, self-fulfillment, and community. As it took place at a summer camp, teens lived a true camp experience by sleeping in cabins together, eating meals together, and attending morning and evening services where they prayed, sang, and danced together. For many Jewish teens who had previously attended OSRUI, the weekend was a homecoming of sorts. 

“It honestly just felt like I was going home this weekend. Everyone feels like family,” Lena, a junior from Chicago said. 

For many Jewish teens, sleepaway camp is a formative experience of childhood that fosters unbreakable lifelong bonds.

“Camp is important because it’s where I met all my best friends,” Rayna, a junior from the Chicago area said.

“Camp is important because it’s where I met all my best friends,”

— Rayna, A Jewish teen from the Chicago area

Teens say that Jewish sleepaway camp gives you more than friendships, though. When at camp, many teens experience an increased sense of spirituality, and observance of Judaism; a feeling of togetherness and community that is hard to find anywhere else.

“Camp is such an important part of my life that I wouldn’t have gotten without Judaism,” Ruth, a junior from Chicago said.

This weekend was extremely timely as America has seen record-breaking numbers of antisemitism lately. In fact, there has been a nearly 400 percent increase in anti-semitism in America following Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7th. This pain is felt deeply by Jews everywhere, especially by Jewish youth. But rather than polarizing the Jewish diaspora, this unprecedented hate has only seemed to unite it.

“I think that there is definitely some sort of layer of generational trauma that allows us to feel so close all the time,” Brynn, a teen from Wisconsin said.  

“I think that there is definitely some sort of layer of generational trauma that allows us to feel so close all the time,”

— Brynn, a Jewish teen from Wisconsin

Not only did the weekend boost morale with fun activities such as silent discos, but it also succeeded in the task of uniting Jewish youth across the nation; against antisemitism, terrorism, and stereotypes, and for peace, tolerance, and education. Because the event was so relevant, timely, and necessary, teens embraced the opportunity to be with so many others like themselves, with open arms.

“It’s really important for me to be with my closest Jewish friends, especially with everything going on in the world. They understand how I feel,” Georgia, a teen from Minnesota said. 

Teens who attended the event walked away with a heightened sense of togetherness and community, despite national attitudes of hate towards them and their people. 

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About the Contributor
Ruby Rosenberg, Reporter
Ruby is a Junior and this is her first year on North Star News. Ruby loves singing, playing with her corgi Maxine, and hanging out with friends.

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