Posted on 11/24/2014 @ 09:00 AM
Coming from Cotton States Region, a region spanning three states, regional conventions were the highlights of my year. I got to see my friends from all over, and I got to see the brotherhood and sisterhood that my region values so much. Traveling this year so far, I have had the privilege to participate in the traditions and conventions of six regions.
What makes my journey from convention to convention so special is how unique each one is in its own ways. I am a big proponent of tradition, so each tradition of the region is something I have been on the lookout for. I also find it unique how all conventions have a connection to bond them together as one. Recently, I attended two conventions on the opposite side of the country, which have both been unique, yet they each have a connection.
I went to Michigan Region’s convention in Ortonville, Michigan at Tamarack Camp. After about an hour bus ride, we arrived at the camp with it already dark and pretty cold. It was definitely the coldest convention I have been to this year, yet one of the most fun and meaningful ones. We had an incredible Global Shabbat program and service, which all members definitely enjoyed. Saturday morning, the last thing I expected to wake up to early in November was snowfall and falling temperatures, but it was actually kind of fun with the snow. Saturday was a day full of exciting programming in frigid temperatures highlighted by an awesome Israel program led by two StandWithUs MZ Teen interns. Saturday night is what truly made this convention special. We made our way up to the bonfire circle together as one collective convention community for Havdalah and a meaningful bonfire. I absolutely love bonfires, but this one was special. A member of a chapter in Michigan Region passed away a few years ago, and the bonfire circle was named after that member. A chapter tradition is to sing a song the member wrote, and hearing members of the chapter honor him with that song was powerful and moving. That was a bonfire experience that I will never forget, and I thank Michigan Region for the incredible memories.
The next convention I went to was Pacific Western Region’s Battle of the Chapters. Contrary to the weather in Michigan, there was no sign of snow in Los Angeles. Coming into the weekend, I was very excited to see the passion and spirit of the chapters of PWR, but I never expected to see the spirit I saw. The weekend started with a great Friday night where PWR showed their spirit. There was also an incredible AZA separates where we were able to look at some of AZA history from perspectives of older members and reflect. Then came Saturday, where there were chapter challenges and fun games including an awesome water balloon fight. Saturday night was where Edan Levanon and Rotem Azariya gave their thoughts on the state of the region in great speeches. Just like in Michigan Region, we finished our night with a bonfire where we were able to embrace each other and show our brotherhood and sisterhood. PWR was an incredible experience and I thank them for a great Battle of the Chapters.
This past weekend, I will attended Central Region West’s Leadership Summit. Stay tuned for what I found and felt there.
Fraternally submitted with an undying love for,
Athens of the South AZA #258, Cotton States Region #72, CLTC 5 2011, CLTC 7 2014, the Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the 7 Cardinal Principles upon which it stands,
I will forever remain Aleph Samuel Albert Perlen