Reform Judaism magazine - World's Largest Circulated Jewish Magazine 1st Place Award Winner for Excellence in Jewish Journalism and a Benefit of Membership in a Union Congregation

by Aliza Gazek

2010 A “family portrait” of NFTY Board members.
I am on the lower left.

I write to you as the youngest member of the Reform Think Tank, an 18-month-long collaboration among the URJ, CCAR, and HUC-JIR to assess Reform Judaism at this juncture in our history and to reenvision the future of the Reform Movement.

My involvement in the Reform Jewish world dates back to my Daddy-and-Me toddler group. I started Sunday school in second grade, spent summers at URJ Camps Newman and Kutz, and participated in the North American Federation of Temple Youth, serving as NFTY's 60th president from 2009 to 2010. Now a college student, I'm excited and honored to continue serving as a Reform leader alongside other Think Tank participants, facilitating conversation and debate among ourselves and our constellation of more than 900 congregations and their members. Already, I've learned that the central challenges NFTY faces mirror those at the highest levels of our Movement, all pointing to the central question: What part does Reform Judaism play in our evolving North American lives?

Reform Judaism magazine's editors created the following Focus section, "Reforming Judaism," to help us understand the fascinating trajectory of our collective history, providing insights into our past and present as we imagine our future. On behalf of the Think Tank members, I invite you to read these articles and consider the guiding questions posed alongside them as you reflect on your own Jewish story.

Your input fuels the Think Tank's success. Join the conversation at, where you'll read my ideas, reflections, and responses to these questions, as well as contributions from youth leaders and Think Tank members. Most importantly, please add your voice. Your story and your responses are pieces of the mosaic of North American Reform Jewry. All of our perspectives are key as we shape our community's future together.

I look forward to meeting you, both through this online exchange of thoughts and ideas and at the Biennial outside DC this December. We have a lot to talk about!

Aliza Gazek, a former NFTY president, is a member of Temple Beth El in Aptos, California and a sophomore at Stanford University.


Union for Reform Judaism.