BBYO's History Timeline: 1923-2011
1923: The first chapter of the Aleph Zadik Aleph was formed in Omaha, Nebraska
1924: The Aleph Zadik Aleph was officially declared an International Order by Sam Beber. First Supreme Court Advisory Council is created. First International Convention is held.
1925: AZA was adopted by B’nai B’rith International.
1926: First national headquarters opened in Omaha, Nebraska. AZA became a truly International Organization with the founding of the first Canadian Chapter in Calgary, Alberta.
1927: The first permanent chapter of BBG was organized in San Francisco. First district AZA tournaments are held. These featured competition in oratory, debate and basketball.
1928: AZA “Five-Fold-and-Full” Programming was created by Dr. Boris D. Bogen. Most chapter BBG activities were modeled after this program with an emphasis on social, community service, educational, religious and recreational programs.
1931: Temporary chapters inaugurated. Mother’s Day becomes AZA Parents’ Day. AZA’s work with the Boy Scouts of America is initiated.
1932: First International Convention in Canada is held. Scholarship Loan Fund is founded.
1933: Tenth Anniversary of the Aleph Zadik Aleph. 100 AZA chapters within North America.
1935: A free, circulating library created. The minimum age requirement of an Aleph lowered to 15. Anita Perlman becomes Chairwoman of District 6.
1936: Karmen Chapter formed in Bulgaria, the first chapter to exist outside of North America.
1938: Chapters installed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Tel Aviv, Palestine.
1939: AZA raised $3,091.50 for Lapidus Memorial Fund after having established the Lapidus Memorial Forest in 1935. Secrecy of rituals and password abolished. AZA was instrumental in forming National Conference of Jewish Youth Groups.
1940: B’nai B’rith Women formed the Women’s Supreme Council and became a National Organization. Successful campaign held to raise $10,000 for Aleph Jerry Safur, infantile paralysis victim. First British chapter established in Leeds.
1941: The Women’s Supreme Council adopted the name of “B’nai B’rith Girls.” The age limit was set at 21, total membership at this point was about 7,000 girls. Fifty English children under five who have been evacuated from English cities to the countryside for the duration of the war were cared for a full year by the Aleph Zadik Aleph.
1942: AZA turned its efforts to an all-out “Help Win the War Campaign,” with scrap drives, bond sales, and hospitality for service men. William Suckle first Grand Aleph Godol to be re-elected. AZA and B’nai B’rith Women cooperation inaugurated.
1943: Minimum age requirement for membership reduced to 14 years. National convention elections and motions voted on by mail. Over $6,343,720 worth of U.S. war bonds were sold by AZA. The original goal was $750,000.
1944: B’nai B’rith officially recognized B’nai B’rith Girls and BBYO was born. Supreme Advisory Council becomes B’nai B’rith Youth Commission and is comprised of both men and women.
1945: The First National Convention of the B’nai B’rith Girls was called to order by Anita Perlman. The Menorah was adopted as the official BBG symbol. Twenty delegates were present who represented all 7 districts. The Menorah Pledge, Opening Rituals, and other ceremonies were written. The first International N'siah was elected.
1948: AZA recognized State of Israel ahead of independence.
1949: Silver Anniversary Ceremony for AZA. The organization reached a 25-year milestone of service to the Jewish Community. BBYO lauds President Truman’s stance on Civil Rights and for his efforts liberalize the Displaced Persons Act of 1948.
1950: BBYO endorsed President Truman’s and the United Nations efforts in Korea.
1955: International Kallah established at B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp.
1956: Israel Summer Institute established.
1957: AZA stated, “In accordance with the American concept of the division of church and state, we believe that the home, church or synagogue are places for religious education.”
1958: BBYO discussed desegregation in the American South – prefered integrated schools.
1959: AZA and BBG expressed concern that adults are legislating decisions affecting youth across the Jewish community, while giving youth not enough opportunity to make its views known.
1961: Noar Lenoar, BBYO’s first counterpart in Israel, founded.
1962: BBYO endorsed President Kennedy’s call for an intensification of religious practices in homes and more regular attendance at church and synagogue services, as substitutes for prayers in schools. BBYO was asked to develop activities in European lands “where Jewish life has been slow in recovering” following Nazi occupation.
1963: BBYO issued a statement that Jewish heritage demands “Jews be in the forefront of the current civil rights struggle in America.” BBYO calls on U.S. government to ratify U.N. genocide convention.
1966: BBYO lauds the Jewish “passion for justice and freedom” and states that “directly or indirectly all of us have been nurtured in the timeless Jewish concepts of human worth, individual dignity, morality and freedom.”
1967: BBYO passed a resolution calling upon the Soviet Government to permit American Jewish youth organizations to establish relations with Jewish youth in Russia. BBYO urged the free nations of the world to make arms, particularly aircraft, available to Israel as a deterrent to further outbreaks of hostilities in the Middle East.
1969: BBYO called for dialogue between young Jews, Negroes to heal community tensions.
1970: AZA Condemned French Sale of Jet Planes to Libya in letter to French President Georges Pompidou.
1971: AZA and BBG claimed that every Jewish teenager is entitled to a visit to Israel when s/he graduates from high school “whether or not his parents can afford it.”
1973: BBYO delegates from Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Jamaica gathered in Mexico City to send cables to the United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim advocating for an end to the harassment of Jews in Syria and for their right to emigrate to Israel.
1974: AZA celebrated its Golden Anniversary. Fifty years of service to the Jewish community. Establishment of the International AZA Alumni Association. AZA and BBG members appointed to all B’nai B’rith Youth Commission.
1977: Chapter Leadership Training Conference established at B’nai B’rith Beber Camp. International Convention votes to disband the District level.
1980s: BBYO lobbied, advocated and rallied for the freedom of Soviet Jewry across the Soviet Union.
1981: District level completely phased out within North America to be replaced with the regional level.
1983: First office opened in continental Europe. Chapters begun in France, Spain, Holland, Germany, and Austria.
1987: BBYO opened first chapters for teens with special needs.
1989: Teen Connection (now BBYO Connect) was established.
1990: AZA and BBG sent largest delegation on the March of the Living. First BBYO program held in Soviet Union with hundreds of teens in attendance.
1993: Israel Leadership Summer Institute (ILSI) established.
1994: The International basketball tournament of old revived under a new name, the AZAA (AZA Athletics). BBG adopted the Mind, Body and Attitude program (MBA). International Spirit Award and Chapter of the Year awards established. BBYO Cheres Forest is established outside of Jerusalem and designated as a community gathering place.
1995: The Aleph Zadik Aleph International Board voted to change the Five Folds to increase the folds’ usefulness in the chapters. First Hungarian Leadership Institute established.
2000 and Beyond
2002: BBYO transitioned to independence under the name of BBYO and is no longer recognized by its former full name “B’nai B’rith Youth Organization.”
2003: BBYO purchased an ambulance for the Magen David Adom in Israel during the Second Intifadah
2005: Final International Convention at Camp Perlman took place.
2006: AZA and BBG delivered 10,000 signatures to the White House to end nuclear proliferation in Iran.
2007: AZA and BBG gathered with thousands in New York to protest the genocide in Darfur.
2008: At International Convention, the My 2 Cents for Change campaign encouraged teen involvement in the 2008 Presidential election.
2009: BBYO Stand UP, BBYO’s grassroots service, advocacy and philanthropy campaign, was launched.
2010: At August International Executive’s Conference, the “Speak UP for Israel” and “Stand UP for Each Other” campaigns launched; the Degrees of Programming were introduced; The International Service Fund was redefined for Globalization; the Global Ambassadors Network was created and the Coalition of Jewish Teen Leaders (CJTL) was motioned into action.
2012: BBYO Speak UP Week was revitalized and the Global Ambassadors Network transformed into the Global Networking Committee.
2013: International Convention in Washington, DC had the largest attendance in history with 1,500 teens and 18 countries represented.