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 is adopted by B’nai B’rith International.
1926: First national headquarters opens in Omaha, Nebraska. AZA becomes 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 feature 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. This was the first chapter to exist outside of North America.
1938: Chapters installed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Tel Aviv, Palestine.
1939: Order raised $3,091.50 for Lapidus Memorial Fund. Secrecy of rituals and password abolished. AZA 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 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.
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 bonds sold.
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 recognizes State of Israel ahead of independence.
1949: Silver Anniversary Ceremony for AZA. The organization reaches a 25-year milestone of service to the Jewish Community.
1955: International Kallah established at B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp.
1956: Israel Summer Institute established.
1961: Noar Lenoar, BBYO’s first counterpart in Israel, founded.
1974: AZA celebrates 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.
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.
1989: Teen Connection (now BBYO Connect) is established.
1990: AZA and BBG send largest delegation on the March of the Living. First BBYO program held in Soviet Union with more than 200 Soviet Jewish 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.
1995: The Aleph Zadik Aleph International Board vote 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 from B’nai B’rith International to become a new and legally independent organization under the name of BBYO, Inc. It is no longer officially recognized by its former full name, “B’nai B’rith Youth Organization.”
2005: Final International Convention at Camp Perlman takes place.
2006: AZA and BBG deliver 10,000 signatures to the White House to end nuclear proliferation in Iran.
2008: At International Convention, the My 2 Cents for Change campaign encouraged teen involvement in the 2008 Presidential election. 2009: BBYO’s Stand UP 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.