Naftuli was born and raised in the Hassidic enclave of Borough Park, Brooklyn, where, immersed in the Hassidic way of life, he spoke only Yiddish and was taught primarily religious studies. Receiving only minimal secular education in basic English and arithmetic until age 13, he then received no secular instruction at all, instead spending as many as fourteen hours a day engaged in religious study. At the age of twenty, Naftuli decided to pursue a college degree in psychology. It was then that he learned that, due to a lack of a basic secular education, he was woefully unprepared for college-level coursework. This inspired him to advocate on behalf of the tens of thousands of Hassidic youth who are being unlawfully denied a basic education. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, against all odds, Naftuli went on to found Young Advocates for Fair Education (Yaffed), a nonprofit dedicated to improving secular education in Hassidic yeshivas. He later received his M.A. in social work from Hunter College and today serves as the executive director of the organization he founded six years ago. In 2019, Naftuli was accepted into the prestigious Wexner Foundation Field Fellowship.