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BBYO Executive Director Installs Jeremy and Arielle

Posted on 08/12/2010 @ 11:08 PM


Execs got right to business tonight with the installation of Jeremy Sherman and Arielle Braude as the Grand Aleph Godol and International N'siah and some special remarks from BBYO's Executive Director, Matthew Grossman:

I had the pleasure of seeing several of you this summer whether it was at CLTC, ILSI or at Impact DC. I enjoy immensely learning with you and from you when we spend time together and I want to share a quote from one the pieces that the Impact DC group studied this summer:

“The youth are humanity’s eternal possibility for happiness. This possibility occurs repeatedly and humanity misses it again and again. Generations of young people return to the stage again and again with the passion of absolute yearning in their hearts, devoted to ideals, ready and waiting to break through the blocked gates of Eden. Nothing stands between this generation and the fulfillment of its obligation but the deed itself; and hence they prepare themselves.”

The quote so struck me as representing this weekend’s activities – to prepare ourselves to break through the blocked gates of Eden – to prepare ourselves to repair the world.

You are here because you all share something in common. You were elected by your peers because they saw something in you which inspired them. Over 14,000 AZA and BBG members felt in their hearts that you best represent all that they stand for. And now you have an enormous opportunity and responsibility.

You have been given a platform on which to do great things. You are the leaders of an organization that reached almost 30,000 Jewish teens this past year. You performed more than 60,000 hours of community service including the implementation of JServe the Jewish teen day of service which engaged 8,000 teens in one day. You raised more than $120,000 for all sorts of charities, including those which reached out to our brothers and sisters overseas to make sure that they could be a part of this wonderful community you have created. And, on behalf of the entire Jewish community, you have reached out to your younger peers – at the moment after their bnei mitzvah - when so many of them disappear from Jewish life – you have shown them that they can own their Jewish journey - a journey that can be fun, meaningful and inspiring.

But all of that was last year and now it’s your responsibility to define our destiny for the year to come. Over the next few days you are going to be discussing your priorities for the year, legislating on the issues that will become permanent in our organization’s history and figuring out the best way that you, as a team of 80 leaders, can communicate and work together throughout the year. Having spent some time with the I-board and having gotten to know Jeremy and Arielle, I can tell you – you are being led by a very talented and committed group that is ready to work very hard.

One thing that I hope you will take time to ask yourself over the next few days is “what kind of leader do you want to be?” What skills are you going to develop within yourself that are going to strengthen your own character and your own ability to lead?

In this week’s torah portion, SHOFTIM, we read Moses last speech to the Israelites before he dies. He reviews certain laws with them and explores the meaning of justice. In fact, it is in this parasha that we get the well-known phrase “justice, justice, shall you pursue.”

There is a portion of the parsha that speaks directly to the concept of leadership and I’d like you to think about it. The portion says that a Jewish king is commended to write for himself a Torah scroll and to carry it with him at all times. The reason for this is so that the leader will always be guided by something greater than him or herself. This notion of humility is a critical leadership trait in Judaism, as Moses is actually singled out in the Torah as being the “most humble man of all.” A humble leader is one who puts the needs of others far ahead of his or her own need for power.

In many ancient cultures the people served the king, but in Judaism it’s different. In Judaism the leader serves the people. I bring this up because I want you to be mindful of the incredible responsibility you have to the 14,000 members of AZA and BBG. As you go about your meetings this weekend, think about what’s best for them, what’s best for BBYO and what’s best for the Jewish people. BBYO and your peers have given you an amazing gift – the chance to make a difference in the world and to show that world that Jewish teens stand for something great.

And as we begin to work together toward this noble goal, it is my pleasure to invite your Grand Aleph Godol, Jeremy Sherman and your International Nsiah, Arielle Braude to join me.

We begin the year with the first order of business of this executive body – the installation of Jeremy and Arielle:

“By the power vested in me by BBYO, Inc. and its Board of Directors it is my proud honor to install you, Jeremy Sherman as the 86th Grand Aleph Godol of the Aleph Tzadik Aleph…and you, Arielle Braude as the 66th International N’siah of the B’nai B’rith Girls.”


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