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August Execs from an Advisor Perspective

Posted on 08/13/2011 @ 08:00 PM


Central Region West Advisor Noah Zaves shares his perspective on staffing August Execs:

It’s a new experience for me to watch my teens rise to international prominence. My former chapter Gadol has now become the CRW regional Gadol, and I’m watching him shine this weekend at BBYO’s international August Executives conference. Alex Finkelstein, growing from his roots in Oakland’s Dreidel AZA #2525, stood up yesterday in front of the entire Executives body with a candle representing Albania, in a program celebrating BBYO’s increasing global presence. Later, he presented and defended a successful resolution establishing a week for Stand Up, BBYO’s teen activism initiative.

For an advisor who’s been watching Alex preside over chapter meetings and coach our chapter executives, it’s a significant shock (though not a surprise) to see him stand out on the international stage. It’s even more of a shock to see the Grand Aleph Gadol and Grand Aleph Moreh, both from Central Region West, step into their new roles as leaders of the international movement.

The coolest part for me is to watch Alex build on the skills he developed in the chapter, as he takes an active role in the international business meetings, and to watch him gain new skills that he’ll bring back to the region after this conference. The international boards are presenting programming in a variety of styles, designed to inspire the regional presidents to expand their “tool box,” and critically examining the new international priorities. After Execs, I’m excited for CRW (and all of the regions) to diversify their regional programming.

I also got to share some of my own programming with the group. Yesterday, as the teens attended rotations with the leaders of several prominent Jewish organizations, I ran a session highlighting the difficult choices faced by Southern Jews during the civil rights movement. Based on the Jewish Women’s Archive’s new curriculum “Living the Legacy,” the program simulated a board meeting at a Jewish synagogue in 1964 Mississippi, as they decided whether to provide housing and assistance to a group of Jewish Freedom Riders. I was impressed by the caliber of the teens’ participation, and they surprised me with a few perspectives that I hadn’t before heard!

Most of all, as the only chapter advisor here, it’s been fun to experience the dynamics of international business. August Execs is the place where international policy is created and updated, and where the new I-Board trains the regional presidents to follow their vision for the year. The rest of the staff is regional Program Directors or international staff, who have regular interaction with the central office, but it’s been a real treat for me to see this side of the BBYO organization, and I’ve been inspired to continue volunteering for both regional and international programs.

Noah Zaves is the advisor of Dreidel AZA #2525 in Oakland, CA. By day, he is the director of the Institute for Modern Judaism, where he creates original, engaging lesson plans for a variety of Jewish settings, and runs programs about Jewish identity and American Jewish culture. Noah also consults with schools and organizations across the country to help make their programs more engaging and interactive.


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