|NFTY-NE Spring Conclavette has been an annual weekend event on the NFTY-NE calendar for decades. We had a host congregation lined up. Teen leaders planning away. Teen participants already registered. And then everything changed.
It was hard to imagine how we could ever replace this in-person gathering with a series of virtual experiences. Everyone had already worked so hard to write programs and services that would build community while being engaging and educational. It was hard to put those plans aside in order to develop something new in an online space.
As always, NFTY-NE rose to the occasion, quickly putting together a weekend that was a combination of already created SPRONC activities and newly written programs that would be more adaptable to our digital platform. Innovation and change are exciting, scary, and hard. It takes courage to embrace new ideas while honoring existing ones.
Virtual SPRONC was quite a success. We offered 10 different virtual gatherings throughout the weekend ranging from a mixer to text study and lunch to regional elections. It was incredible to see new relationships being formed, old friends reuniting, and our community coming together to sing, learn, worship, laugh, innovate, elect a new board, and just enjoy each other’s company. While it wasn’t what we had originally planned, it was certainly a weekend to remember!
Don’t just take our word for it! See what some of the participants had to say!
- Emily Schwartz, WAFTY class of 2020: This whole weekend was definitely in the top ten of my favorite events I have ever participated in. I loved going to all the activities on zoom and meeting new people. So many people immediately reached out to me saying hi because they had never seen me before and it just made me feel so welcomed. After my Havdalah service I went on the zoom call for the womanhood group and I stayed on talking to people until 10:30 that night! I love meeting new people and of course doing some major Jewish geography. It was shocking how many people I was connected to through friends.
- Sophia Kachel, TEMTY class of 2022: Being able to participate in Spronc from the comfort of my home was different, but I loved being able to see my friends faces and still have a NFTY experience. With all the chaos going on it was familiar and very comforting.
- Eva Drotch, WAFTY class of 2020: It was really cool to see everyone connecting during such a tough time. We are all trying to adjust to this “new normal”, and NFTY-NE helped create a sense of community this weekend.
- Fiana Herscovici, NFTY-NE Regional Board Member (BATY) class of 2020: Going into Virtual SPRONC, I had very low expectations. For me, NFTY has always been a place to hug and cuddle puddle and physically be with the people you love. However, hopping from room to room on Zoom during the mixer on Friday night completely transformed that belief. I heard conversations, saw the smiles, and felt the warmth that makes this community so special all through a screen. Even with miles between us, the members of NFTY-NE were closer than ever in that moment.
Here’s a short video from the board of NFTY Northeast to all!