International Convention Blog

Introducing the ​91st Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the 71st International Board of the B'nai B'rith Girls

Posted on 02/15/2015 @ 07:03 PM


The ​91st Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the 71st International Board of the B'nai B'rith Girls

The 91st Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph

Grand Aleph Godol: Colin Silverman, BBYO Great Midwest Region

Grand Aleph S'gan: Cole Pergament, BBYO Nassau Suffolk Region

Grand Aleph Moreh: Jake Davis, BBYO Kentucky Indiana Ohio Region

Grand Aleph Mazkir: Matthew Rabinowitz, BBYO Eastern Region: North Carolina Council

Grand Aleph Shaliach: Hunter Cohn, BBYO Kentucky Indiana Ohio Region

The 71st International Board of the B'nai B'rith Girls

​International N'siah: Lauren Keats, BBYO Westchester Region

International S'ganit: Ellie Bodker, BBYO Mid-America Region: Kansas City Council

International Aym HaChaverot: Stephanie Hausman, BBYO Connecticut Valley Region

International Mazkirah: Meredith Galanti, BBYO Southern Region: Atlanta Council

International Sh'licha: Deena Notowich, BBYO Cotton States Region


Limmud Sessions

Posted on 02/15/2015 @ 03:28 PM

On Friday IC held a speakers series where individuals went to a Limmud session hosted by over 100 jewish speakers. And each Limmud session left teens feeling empowered and inspired. 

One of the sessions Changing the World with Your Phone was hosted by entrepreneur Max Stossel, creator of Ocho. Ocho is an 8 second video platform for people to share their opinions and try to spread global issues awareness and raise funds for important causes. Stossel talked about how the social media age affected teenagers and how they were the ones who understand it and could use it most effectively. During the session Stossel encouraged teens to use the hashtag #becauseimfree in response to a video talking about how slavery was still prevalent around the world and asked people to respond with saying what they're able to do because they're free. 

Yoga: Engaging the Mind, Body and Spirit through Movement was lead by educator and BBYO staff member Shalom Mayberg. Shalom created a yoga session for teens who wanted to be able to stretch out and feel more in tune with their bodies. Mayberg's session had teens trying yoga poses from beginner to the intermediate levels. During the session Mayberg asked the teens to say "oomm" very loudly when they breathed. This triggered mass laughter when the group originally tried to do it however in the end it provoked no laughter and only serious yoga practice. 

From Selma to Ferguson: Southern Rabbis and Bold Leadership was hosted by Rabbi Daniel Septimus. He is Rabbi to the Hillel at the University of Texas at Austin and he gave an interactive lecture about the Jewish people's role in the civil rights movement. Rabbi Septimus began with a small speech and video presentation about rabbis in the South who have stood up to separate but equal practices. This was followed by a break out group session where the teens were given scenarios of Jews in tough moral situations and discussed them and the ideas of inequality. After the groups reconvened, they read their scenarios and gave a explanation to their solution to the situations with the the rest of their peers. After they were all read Septimus told the teens "easier said than done." While it was very easy to create a solution that was good for the subject of the situation, many of these events were difficult to do in the civil rights era. Septimus had also showed excerpts of letters from rabbis and clergymen illustrating how segregation was a price no man should have to pay for being human.

Overall, the Limmud sessions were insightful, diverse and informative. The IC participants gained new perspectives and skills, and are ready to take them back to their respective communities.

 -Haruka Gerald, Lonestar Region, IC Press Corp 2015


Alephs and BBGs Show Off Their Skills at Chapter Programming Showcase

Posted on 02/15/2015 @ 04:03 AM

AZAs and BBGs alike experienced some of the Order's finest programs to date at IC'S Chapter Programming Showcase. The Showcase included more than 20 inspiring programs that covered multiple AZA and BBG folds. The programs were carefully curated from a large group of impressive submissions from across the country.

I attended the program "Experiment in Gratitude" and it was one of the best in which I have participated. Teens wrote letters about someone they admire who wasn't at IC, and later they called these special individuals to read them their letters. When I called my mom, she was in tears and many teens shared that their loved one reacted the same way. Later, participants watched the moving video, "The Science of Happiness" and were in awe of how truly rewarding it is to give rather than to receive. I definitely want to use this program in my own chapter or region because it was so motivational.

Exceptional chapter programming is crucial in BBYO because it is the glue that keeps this movement together. A great program is what makes Alephs and BBGs want to join with their friends, and it is these programs that make us love BBYO.

The Chapter Programming Showcase was the perfect presentation to show the importance of meaningful programming. It inspired all of the delegates to want to bring back these types of programs to their regions, and make similar memories during their years in BBYO.

-Meredith Harris, Greater Jersey Hudson River Region: Northern Council


IC 2015 Embraces Shabbat with Meaningful and Unique Experiences

Posted on 02/15/2015 @ 03:52 AM


And we're back live from #AZABBGIC2015! Today, the theme Stronger Together overtook IC as NFTY joined us for an unprecedented moment in our history.

On Friday night the entire IC body gathered together to welcome in Shabbat. The participants came together in seven different kabbalat Shabbat service options. The offerings ranged from a traditional prayer service to prayer through spirit and dance. After services, teens enjoyed two Oneg Shabbat sessions, with nearly 20 different options. During the Oneg sessions, teens engaged in meaningful conversations such as “Worldwide Freedom of Speech”, while others enjoyed seeing old friends at BBYO Summer Experience 2014 reunions. The diversity of the options on Friday night allowed teens to experience Shabbat in new and unique ways.

Saturday morning opened with a wide variety of Shabbat service options. Teens participated in Hebrew Letter Yoga, meditation, prayer through movement and dance, prayer through storytelling, and much more. One session, Technology and Tefillah, taught the participants how to enhance their prayer experiences by utilizing their electronics.

The rest of Saturday was spent in sessions with participants from North American Federation of Temple Youth’s (NFTY) 2015 Convention. This monumental moment made history, as more than 3,000 teens came together to learn, sing and work to strengthen the Jewish people. Our teens joined with theirs to attend more than 100 program options. The sessions covered a huge range of topics, which again allowed for unique experiences for all. 

Several of the Limmud sessions were lead by guests, community partners and as always, BBYO and NFTY teens. These sessions gave participants access to amazing representatives from relevant and impactful organizations. Guest speakers included Rebecca Angel Baer from CNN, Aliza Goodman and Scott Frankel from The iCenter, Adam Maslia from Israel on Campus Coalition, and Emmanuelle Chirqui, film and TV actress and activist, among many other impressive individuals. A list of our speakers from throughout IC is here!​

Shabbat came to a close with a beautiful Havdallah ceremony lead by teens and the amazing group of IC 2015 song leaders. The entire Shabbat experience left the teens with a renewed energy for their Judaism and their time in BBYO. Shavuah tov, may your week be full of peace and joy as we bring IC 2015 to a close.

-Lindsey Rabinowitz, Great Midwest Region, IC 2015 Press Corps


Shabbat Shalom

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 05:29 PM

We’re coming to the close of our BBYO Leads Day, and wow – has it been in inspiring. After the plenary this morning kicking off the day, we went off to our 20 different BBYO Leadership Labs. We learned about advocacy, globalization, Israel, leadership, marketing and communications, philanthropy, political engagement, relationship building, service, chapter and program development, event management and design and more with experts from organizations and companies across Atlanta! See previous blog posts for details about a few of them!

Now, all 2,200 of us are coming together for a Shabbat like no other – between tonight and tomorrow morning, we have several onegs and 25 different Shabbat service options (all teen-led, of course!) to choose from! 

@BBYOInsider and all of our social media presences will go off-line in observance of Shabbat. We’ll be back at Havdalah tomorrow night, and you can re-join us live at that time and then later for streaming of BBYO Honors: State of the Order and Awards Gala.

We wish you and your communities a happy and peaceful Shabbat from Atlanta!

Shabbat Shalom from BBYO IC 2015!


BBYO Leadership Lab: Food Sustainability

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 05:14 PM


The BBYO Leadership Lab on Food Sustainability Leadership Lab was run by the local staff at the Atlanta-based urban farm, Truly Living Well. The farm is unique because it used to be the grounds of an apartment building, and it reuses some of the furniture found in the old apartment building. The featured speakers at the lab included Daron "Farmer D" Joffe, Chef Todd Ginsberg, Teens Turning Green founder Erin Schrode and Top Chef finalist Eli Kirshtein.

It was both an interactive and lecture-based program that included hands-on farm work. While enjoyed a homegrown, delicious meal by Chef Todd Ginsberg, there were multiple goals of the program. We were taught about the long, extensive process of growing organic food; unique gardening techniques; and the importance of food sustainability with its relationship to tikkun olam.


The urban farm was very inviting, and on the 6 acre premises, we were divided into various tasks including setting up the marketplace, weeding, layering cardboard and more. Learning from these members of the Atlanta community was very unique because it proved how even in a large city like Atlanta, there can still be farms and there are still ways to help support local farmers.

The Leadership Lab definitely inspired teens, including myself, because it showed how much hard work goes into growing the food we think so little of when we eat. It also made us think how even just planting a seed and starting a garden of our own can make a difference.


Personally, I love cooking and baking, so this Leadership Lab taught me the "behind the scenes" of what it takes to make my ingredients before I buy them. It also taught me that we should be more aware of what we eat because it not only affects us, but also our environment.

-Meredith Harris, Greater Jersey Hudson River Region: Northern Council, IC 2015 Press Corps​


BBYO Leadership Lab: Atlanta: the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. And Civil Rights

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 05:05 PM


Martin Luther King Jr.

During the Civil Rights BBYO Leadership Lab, we toured Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood home and visited various exhibits that documented our country's road to "freedom and justice for all." In this self guided tour, we were able to experience history by visiting various rooms dedicated to Rosa Parks, Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. himself.

After exploring the freedom museum, we had an "Asking Big Questions" session with a panel of professionals from the Anti-Defamation League’s World of Difference, The Temple and SOJOURN who answered our questions on racism, human trafficking, LGBTQ rights and immigration in the United States.

This session helped broaden our knowledge and made us more aware of what's going on in our society today and what we can do to stand up for others.

Lindsey Rabinowitz, Great Midwest Region, IC 2015 Press Corps​


BBYO Leadership Lab: BBYO Stand UP: Adult Developmental Disabilities

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 05:00 PM


BBYO Leadership Lab: Philanthropy

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 04:39 PM

This Friday, teens from all over the globe participated in different BBYO Leadership Labs, ranging from AZA and BBG Leadership to globalization to political engagement to to creative design. My track was the philanthropy BBYO Leadership Lab held at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.

It was incredible to hear from the various speakers from the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, the Jewish Teen Funders Network and the Anti-Defamation League. It was incredible because, even though they had different backgrounds, they all shared one common passion: philanthropy.

It’s important to know what philanthropy really means in order to make a difference in the field. Here’s what we decided on as a definition: "the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes."

During the lab, we formed groups to brainstorm about how one person can fundraise for a certain cause effectively and in a way that will be impactful. It was very reassuring to see so many teens have an interest in funding non-profits. It definitely restores faith in humanity.

One of the speakers said one of the most interesting and helpful tips when he explained the best way to find donors: "You gotta fish where the fish are."

The most important thing I learned today is that, if we have passion and drive, anything is possible. It's all about delivery and confidence. Deliver your pitch well and confidently, and you’ll be an effective fundraiser.

- Josh Lang, Northern Region East: DC Council, IC 2015 Press Corps


BBYO Leads Plenary: Inspiring

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 03:30 PM

This morning was the BBYO Leads Plenary. The program featured 19 different speakers, ranging anywhere from BBYO teens to famous actresses to Holocaust survivors. Each speaker stood up in front of over 2,000 people to talk about their personal beliefs and to inspire Jewish teens to create their own Jewish identity.

See a full list of our guests and speakers here.

For example, Juliette Hochberg, President of BBYO France, and Julia Kovalova, member of BBYO Ukraine, told the audience about the hard times they face at home, but it is comforting to know they have support from the BBYO community.

Bobby Dishell, Student Government President at University of Michigan and BBYO alum, shared a poignant story about how he received hateful remarks on campus because he is Jewish. However, Dishell was proud of his Jewish identity, so he spoke up on behalf of the Jewish community. In the end, he ended up winning his election as Student Government President by the largest margin in history.

Michael Steinhardt, one of the founders of Birthright, spoke about how and why he invested in that venture. He believes that every Jew deserves a chance to visit his/her homeland as a way to explore his/her Jewish identity. Steinhardt also believes that Jewish teens should stand up for what they believe in—making his achievement of winning the 2015 BBYO Stand UP Award for inspirational leadership.

Kat Graham, a Jewish actress on The Vampire Diaries, definitely received the loudest cheer. Along with acting, she spends her time advocating for LGBTQ rights, volunteering as a personality for the United Nations and and a leading voice for Syrian refuges, AIDS research and clean water. Graham spoke about the importance of acceptance and tolerance and how fortunate she is to work in such a diverse, accepting environment. She said to us, “I have no doubt looking our at you that the world is going to change.” I know we’re empowered to be the leaders she sees in us.

One of the most heartwarming parts was at the end of the plenary, when Holocaust Survivor Trudy Album took the stage. She spoke about how she sees us, BBYO members, as a blessing and that we bring pride and inspire the whole world with what we do every day. Hearing that from someone who experienced the most trying time in Jewish history left us uplifted and ready to take on the world.

- Rebecca Newman, Westchester Region, IC 2015 Press Corps​


BBYO IC 2015 Officially Opens with a Bang

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 11:00 AM


Over 2,200 teens came together Thursday night to welcome BBYO teens from all over the world to immerse themselves in BBYO's largest event of the year, and the biggest International Convention to date! The evening opened with the various songs from the IC Teen Band in collaboration with the IC 2015 song leaders and a local gospel choir who were backed by the Atlanta Hawks cheerleaders. These performances gave the teens a taste of stardom and an opportunity to collaborate with teens they hadn’t met before.


Following the teen band was an inspiring speaker series, kicked off by personal remarks from Former President of Israel, Shimon Peres via video. Peres reminded the IC body of the importance of being innovative “like the internet” but to never forget our roots and values. The speaker series that followed featured the 90th and 70th International Boards, past alumni like the Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz and Chair of the Board of Directors of BBYO Walter Solomon, CEO of BBYO Matt Grossman, renowned Rabbi and scholar of Judaism, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, and the presidents of the other four Jewish youth movements: NCSY, NFTY, USY and Young Judaea. The speakers discussed the importance of our unwavering commitment to the Jewish future and Israel, and the accomplishments of BBYO's past and what we look forward to in the future.

After the roll call of every region in North America, the international delegations were announced.  The roll call concluded with a “welcoming of our brothers and sisters from our homeland, the land where our hearts are always, Israel.” The entire IC 2015 body stood, embraced, joined voices and sang Hatikvah.


Opening Ceremonies concluded with a surprise concert by Jewish hip-hop artist Hoodie Allen to close the night. The teens, volunteers, community partners, and stakeholders alike were all moved and inspired by the words of the leaders our Movement and are looking forward to the future of BBYO and the Jewish People. Our Grand Aleph S’gan, Skylar Morey, paid homage to our founders by offering an important reminder: “As Sam Beber & Anita Perlman instilled in us generations ago: 'We are never too many. Never too strong.’"

If you missed the live stream of Opening Ceremonies, you can catch it here!

- Haruka Gerald, Lonestar Region, BBYO 2015 Press Corps


Jewish Enrichment Institute: Music Inspiring Us

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 10:54 AM

The day before BBYO IC 2015 Alephs and B'nai B'rith Girls had the opportunity to attend the pre-IC summit Enrichment Institute and Song leading Workshop (JEI). JEI gave participants the opportunity to explore their Jewish identities and enhance their songleading skills. JEI brought happiness, inspiration, friendships, and new identities to B'nai B'rith Girls and Alephs during their time at JEI. A member of the 2015 IC Press Corps caught up with some delegates to talk about their experiences at JEI.

Press Corps: What was your favorite part about JEI?
Maxximillian Winter: The song at the end was my favorite part. It brought everyone together united as one big Jewish family!

PC: What impacted you the most about JEI?
MW: The entire Pre-Summit impacted me in a great way. But most of all, it made me feel proud to be Jewish.

PC: Have you learned anything about yourself during IC yet? In JEI?
MW: Yes, music brings happiness in the young Jewish soul.

PC: Describe JEI in one sentence.
MW: JEI equals happiness.

Maxximillian Winter is a member of Gold Coast Region #51.

Press Corps: What was your favorite part about JEI?
Zoe Shir: Being able to truly draw out my Jewish identity.

PC: What impacted you the most in JEI?
ZS: Having a new community with people all striving towards the same goals I am.

PC: Have you learned anything about yourself during IC yet? In JEI?
ZS: I have been able to find myself in a new way and reflect on my life as a Jew and where I fit in to the Jewish community.

PC: Describe JEI in one sentence.
ZS: JEI will help you find your voice to find your identity, harmonize with those around you, and improve the world.

Zoe Shir is a member of Gold Coast Region #51.

Press Corps: What was your favorite part about JEI?
Julia Sabra: My favorite part of JEI was the fact that I was able to choose what I wanted to focus on, which made JEI a very meaningful and personal experience!

PC: What impacted you the most in JEI?
JS: The experience of standing in a circle with my arms around my friends as we sang. It will be a memory that will stay with me for a very long time!

PC: Have you learned anything about yourself during IC yet? In JEI?
JS: I learned that my voice is important and that I can make a difference by using my voice.

PC: Describe JEI in one sentence.
JS: JEI allowed us to make a very personalized path in which we were able to explore our own religious identities while at the same time discovering how to facilitate, lead, and help others find their own connection to Judaism.

Julia Sabra is a member of Gold Coast Region #51.

- Julia Flum, Gold Coast Region #51, IC 2015 Press Corps


A Look into the Summit on Jewish Teens

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 10:13 AM

The Summit on Jewish Teens took place Thursday, February 12, and consisted of Jewish teens and intellectuals who discussed topics ranging from philanthropy and leadership to Jewish identity. Jen Rosen, a BBYO alumni, attended the summit.

Press Corps: Where are you from?
Jen Rosen: I am from Brooke, Virginia, but now I live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

PC: Were you international N'siah in Virginia?
JR: I was in NoVa Council. I was part of Northern Region East in 2001. I was Council N'siah and International MIT MOM.

PC: What got you interested in BBYO?
JR: I grew up in Virginia, and there weren't many Jews in my community. My parents made me really proud to have a Jewish home, and I was proud to be part of a community that was very involved. I also had some friends who were involved in BBYO. I was very excited to connect with the other Jews in the area, so I joined and I got more and more involved in my chapter and my council. I went to CLTC which changed my life. It was the first time that I went in with confidence and considered myself a leader instead of just a participant.

PC: Why did you attend IC this year?
JR: I have the privilege of working in the Jewish community for an organization called Moishe House.  There, we do Jewish community building for young adults in their twenties, after they are out of college but before they have families of their own. We help them to connect with each other in the Jewish community, so it's similar to BBYO in a lot of ways. We are a partner of BBYO, and we've learned a lot. We're a new organization. All of our original staff members were in BBYO, so we are sort of using our skills that we learned in BBYO to be a part of this, which is awesome. Also, we know that one day these teens will be a part of Moishe House, and we're excited to learn more about them. The experiences that have been instrumental in their lives will only make our jobs better, so we help ensure that they are excited to be a part of Moishe House.

PC: Why did you attend the Summit on Jewish Teens specifically?
JR: Moishe House was invited to participate as a partner so that we could experience IC by being part of opening ceremonies, but also have some space where we we could work on Jewish continuity and Jewish community building. We want to learn more from the teens about who they are, what they are looking for, and what resonates with them. It felt like a really great experience.

PC: Was hearing from the teens your favorite part?
JR: Yeah, so far. I'm excited about that; it's nice to hear from the teens and from some of the experts who work in teen engagement. It's enlightening to hear their conversations with teens.

PC: If the teens who attend IC can only retain one message, what should it be?
JR: I hope that they feel really proud to be part of this global Jewish movement and Jewish community. I hope they know that this is a start to what can be an awesome adventure. I also want to emphasize that throughout their entire lives they're going to come across other folks who were a part of this movement too and that this is an exciting starting point.

PC: To you, what is the most important reason why teens should explore their Jewish identity?
JR: Judiasm is our heritage— it's our people, it's our religion, and it's a gift. It brings many wonderful assets with it: culture, family, food, and tradition. To experience that and decide what resonates with each teen and bring that into his/her own future home or family one day is very important. It's a way to identify and connect.

PC: Did you learn anything about yourself in the summit?
JR: I'm learning that even though I consider myself young, I'm not as young as I think I am. I have a lot to learn about today's teens. Just because I'm a proud former BBYO member, doesn't mean that I'm in touch with what teens are like today. It's a good reminder.

PC: How are teens today different than teens when you were in BBYO?
JR: They are certainly more connected to technology and the world around us. I didn't even have a cell phone when I was in BBYO, so it's pretty crazy. I think they are also more aware of the world around them and what opportunities lay ahead of them.

- IC 2015 Press Corps


A Look Into the Global Partners Summit

Posted on 02/13/2015 @ 09:27 AM


Alex Myers, Northern Region East: DC Council and GPS Delegate

The Global Partners Summit (GPS) was a pre-IC summit that invited Jewish teens from around the world to participate in exciting dialogue and collaboration.  GPS is a unique opportunity for teens to engage with international Jewish peers and discuss issues facing our global community. GPS was a meeting of international minds and will allow opportunity to maximize the AZA, BBG and BBYO experience and thereby, Jewish life, around the world. A member of the IC 2015 Press Corps caught up with a delegate from Northern Region East: DC Council to discuss his time at GPS.

IC Press Corps: What are the main takeaways for you at the GPS?
Alex Myers: We build a community together around the GNC and the kids from international delegations. We met one on one with kids from other countries that we would never usually get to meet because they live so far away which was an awesome experience. And we definitely got inspired.

PC: How can you further communications with the teens you met at the Summit to continue to global conversation?
AM: The biggest thing is getting involved and contacting them via skype or video chat. We have to continue the effort beyond IC. It's up to the teens to keep up the global conversation.

PC: How can you bring back the strategies you learned to your own region?
AM: I learned a lot of different communication skills as well as how BBYO is run in different countries that I can bring back to my own region. Looking at the fun side of programming; I learned a lot of ideas from different countries such as Uruguay, Argentina, and UK & Ireland that I can definitely bring back to a big council like DC.

PC: What was the most interesting lesson you learned from a teen from another country?
AM: The biggest lesson I learned is that no matter where you're from, you're connected through Judaism, you're all part of the same youth group, and you all believe in the same things to a certain extent. As I'm getting to know these people, I probably would have never met them if it weren't for BBYO. It's awesome to take this opportunity and this chance in BBYO because who knows where it will bring you, you might even meet you're best friend.

PC: How can we work together with teens from other countries to expand BBYO?
AM: I think that you need to find certain point people with courage to develop chapters in other countries to be Moreh and MIT mom to reach membership goals on the international scale. Also, we can pair them up with counterparts around the world to help regions. Regions like NSR can talk to chapters in countries like Turkey, and encourage them to recruit like they do. By pairing up and inspiring countries with these regions, it would definitely bring more members worldwide.

- Meredith Harris, GJHRR: Northern Council, IC 2015 Press Corps


Relationship Driven Recruitment Summit

Posted on 02/12/2015 @ 07:04 PM


Matt Mattson, Phired Up! Productions, helps RDR teens amplify their recruitment strategies.

As more than two thousand Jewish teens awaited February 12th for BBYO International Convention 2015, a special group of participants had the opportunity attend Pre-IC Summits and spend some extra time in Atlanta. One option was the Relationship Driven Recruitment Summit (RDR). With inspirational speakers from Phired Up! Productions, 35 teens had the chance to strengthen their membership tactics alongside the organization's strongest recruitment professionals. The group began with casual conversation and gradually worked our way toward more intimate topics. The delegates gained new and important membership tools, such as the four pillars and BBYO's own "MRIHA" (Meet, Request, Invite, Host, Ask) model. All participants left with innovative membership strategies as well as international and regional connections.

- Amanda Iserson, Gold Coast Region, IC 2015 Press Corps


The Coalition of Jewish Teens

Posted on 02/12/2015 @ 06:26 PM


#CJTeens collaborating because we are #StrongerTogether. Each group has at least one delegate from all 5 movements!

The Coalition of Jewish Teens gathered here at BBYO IC 215 with members from five different Jewish youth movements: Young Judaea, NCSY, NFTY, USY, and BBYO. Each movement brings unique talents and ideas to the table that include a focus on Zionism and the unification behind the concept of Tikkun Olam. This is the first time the Coalition has met in 4 years and brought together an amazing group of inspired teen leaders.

On Thursday the delegates met to discuss the future for teens across North America and overseas. They focused on what topics the Coalition can emphasis to unite the thousands of involved teens. Some major unifying topics that were decided on were the support of Israel and Tikkun Olam. Jews from all places and backgrounds can relate and connect with these topics, and were a strong common denominator between all the movements.

The Summit was led by teen leaders and staff from all movements, including two BBYO Professional staff, Rachel Hillman and Andrew Paull. They challenged the members to think outside the box and broaden their minds to how other movements operate.

This collaboration with other movements shows all members how diverse Jewish teens are around the world. The Coalition teaches that no matter the size or ideologies of certain movements, we all come from the same roots and that to make the biggest impact, we have to work together.

The CJT is the largest collection of Jewish teen delegates from the different movements to gather as a group. Together, the Coalition is developing a new mission statement for providing and enriching the future for Jewish teens for many years to come. The Coalition for Jewish teens was a huge success, showing we truly are “Stronger Together.”

-Josh Lang, Northern Region East: DC Council, BBYO IC 2015 Press Corps


International Teen Leaders Come Together at Pre-IC Summit

Posted on 02/12/2015 @ 05:52 PM


The Execs body heard inspiring words from Jonathan Greenblatt, Former Special Assistant to the President of the United States and National Director Designate of the Anti-Defamation League.

For the past 24 hours, the council, regional, and international leaders of the order have gathered at AZA BBG February Executive Conference (Execs).  The Execs body meets twice a year – once in August, and again before IC – to reaffirm their commitment to our movement priorities and to brainstorm and plan for the future.

Execs began with breakout sessions to brainstorm ways to implement our movement’s spring initiatives.  Over the next few months, BBYO communities around the globe will host events such as Marathon Madness, J-Serve, and Founder’s Day celebrations.

Marathon Madness, BBYO’s newest initiative was inspired by a BBG from Connecticut Valley Region, Zoe Butchen.  This event will bring Jewish teens from around the world to support causes they care about and have a lot of fun dancing!  For more information and to see if a Marathon Madness event is happening in your community visit

In addition to planning and brainstorming, the Execs body practiced BBYO’s democratic processes during a business meeting.  Prior to the meeting, teens were able to draft motions and resolutions for the Execs body to vote on. The following resolutions/motions were passed at Execs:

Resolution, Membership Planning
To continue to utilize BBYO’s Relationship Driven Recruitment strategy, and to incentive chapters, councils, regions, and countries to hold membership focused programming this spring.

Resolution, Expressing Our Solidarity with France, Ukraine, and Israel
Too reaffirm that BBYO supports the global Jewish community and stands up to Anti-Semitism worldwide.

Resolution, Redefining How BBYO Addresses Globalization
To launch BBYO’s new definition of globalization, and encourage chapters, councils, regions, and countries to hold globalization programming throughout the year.              

Resolution, Welcome Home Alan Gross
To welcome home Alan Gross to the United States of America, as well as the brotherhood of the Aleph Zadik Aleph.

Motion, Recognizing the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz
To encourage all chapters, councils, regions, and countries to take time to remember the millions of people, Jewish and non-Jewish that perished through the Holocaust and all Nazi atrocities.

Motion, BBYO Stands UP Against Hunger
To educate all Alephs and BBGs about world hunger, and to discourage all chapters, councils, regions, and countries to stop wasting food during programs.

Motion, Change AZAA BBGG at IC
To change the schedule of AZA BBG IC 2016 so that Alephs and BBGs can take part in both international elections and AZAA/BBGG sporting events.

The Execs body had two inspiring days of working together and is ready for BBYO IC 2015 to begin! They will be introduced during BBYO Celebrates: Opening Ceremonies tonight, and will lead their councils, regions, and countries to vie for the Anita Perlman Spirit Cup and Max F. Baer Spirit Gavel.

Keep following us on Twitter, reading the blog, and watching the IC Live Stream for more reports from the IC 2015 Press Corps!

-Nolan Hausler, Greater Jersey Hudson River Region: Central Council, IC 2015 Press Corps


International Order Gathers for Three Pre-IC Summits

Posted on 02/11/2015 @ 09:42 PM


Members of the 2014-15 AZA and BBG International Boards lead the Execs delegates in discussion on Marathon Madness.

Teens from across the International Order gathered in Atlanta today for three Pre-IC Summits: AZA BGG February Executives Conference (Execs), Jewish Enrichment Institute and Songleading Workshop (JEI) and Relationship Driven Recruitment Summit (RDR).

Delegates at Execs came together to reaffirm their commitment to our Movement priorities and to utilize their collective energy to brainstorm and plan for an exciting future. From now through the end of Execs, the participants will focus on furthering the depth of chapter and community programming by focusing on Movement wide spring 2015 initiatives and expanding our movement’s reach through membership growth strategies. The Execs body will hear about the importance of advocacy and strong relationships with government officials from Jonathan Greenblatt, Former Special Assistant to the President of the United States and National Director Designate of the Anti-Defamation League. Execs kicked off with a fun icebreaker and mixer inspired by our Spring Initiative, Marathon Madness.

Greenblatt’s address will also be heard by the participants of the RDR Summit. These teens will engage with each other, the International teen leaders, and community partners to build strategies and develop skills to achieve a strong recruitment campaign. The RDR delegates are focusing on strengthening their skills of human connection by working with Matt Mattson, Founder and CEO of Phired Up Productions to hone their organizational growth skills. This summit began with an engaging session with Matt Mattson and Tina VanSteenbergen from Phired Up, and two alumni from Zeta Beta Tau, a Jewish fraternity, to get them ready for their time here at IC and as BBYO leaders.

Delegates at our Jewish Enrichment Institute and Songleading Workshop are split into three tracts: BBYO Harmonized, BBYO Amplified and BBYOrganized. BBYO Harmonized teens will work on amplifying their Jewish programming in their chapters, councils, regions and countries. BBYO Amplified delegates will work with BBYO song leaders, Eric Hunker and Happie Hoffman to enhance their songleading skills. BBYOrganized participants will embrace aspects of advocacy and issue awareness that will result in tangible change in their communities. All three tracts kicked off their summit with a meeting of minds with BBYO Jewish Enrichment professionals, song leaders, and the six inspired JEI teen coordinators. “We’re the dream teen of coordinators, an amazing group of visionaries,” explained JEI Coordinator, Yishai Barth. “This is a nucleus of Jewish leadership in BBYO and we’re going to elevate this Order with the work we do here in these short 18 hours.”

All three Pre-IC summits will conclude tomorrow and the delegates will join the rest of the International Order for the rest of IC 2015. Tomorrow, two other Pre-IC Summits begin will also take place: the Global Partners Summit and the Coalition of Jewish Teens. Stay tuned!


Staff Arrival

Posted on 02/10/2015 @ 03:14 PM


Preparations are under way in Atlanta.

Three hundred professional staff and 250 volunteers are arriving in Atlanta and are getting excited for BBYO International Convention 2015! The staff team has had tours of the hotel, meetings with their program and operations teams and are getting the hotel ready for BBYO IC 2015. The hotel is in set up mode with banners, posters, signs and much more going up to make Atlanta our home for the next six days. The staff and volunteers are here for you! If you need assistance once at IC 2015, find a staff person in a royal blue vest, or a volunteer in a red vest. We are looking forward welcome you all to Atlanta for IC 2015!


Have a question at IC 2015? Ask a staff person in a blue vest.


2015-2016 International Board Candidates

Posted on 02/06/2015 @ 09:00 AM

Candidates for the 91st Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph

Read Your Candidates' Vision Statements!

91st Grand Aleph Godol Candidates:

91st Grand Aleph Godol: Andrew Eckstein

91st Grand Aleph Godol: Alan Lang

91st Grand Aleph Godol: Colin Silverman

91st Grand Aleph Godol: Yosi Vogel

91st Grand Aleph Godol: Joseph Warren

91st Grand Aleph S'gan Candidates:

91st Grand Aleph S'gan: Seth Betman

91st Grand Aleph S'gan: Hunter Cohn

91st Grand Aleph S'gan: Cole Pergament

24th Grand Aleph Moreh Candidates:

24th Grand Aleph Moreh: Jake Davis

91st Grand Aleph Mazkir Candidates:

91st Grand Aleph Mazkir: Joseph Mabry

91st Grand Aleph Mazkir: Alex Myers

91st Grand Aleph Mazkir: Matthew Rabinowitz

91st Grand Aleph Mazkir: Sam Scribner

27th Grand Aleph Shaliach Candidates:

27th Grand Aleph Shaliach: Elliott Davis

27th Grand Aleph Shaliach: Josh Schreck

Candidates for the 71st International Board of the B'nai Brith Girls

Read your Candidates' Vision Statements!

71st International N'siah Candidates:

71st International N'siah: Leah Kay

71st International N'siah: Lauren Keats

71st International N'siah: Amanda Sefton

71st International N'siah: Alyse Weinstein

71st International S'ganit Candidates:

71st International S'ganit: Ellie Bodker

71st International S'ganit: Emily Messana

71st International S'ganit: Rachel Nevett

71st International S'ganit: Melanie Ourhaan

24th International Aym HaChaverot Candidates:

24th International Aym HaChaverot: Lea Davis

24th International Aym HaChaverot: Leah Fishman

24th International Aym HaChaverot: Stephanie Hausman

71st International Mazkirah Candidates:

71st International Mazkirah: Amanda Iserson

71st International Mazkirah: Florencia Laber

27th International Sh’licha Candidates:

27th International Sh'licha: Morgan Johnson

27th International Sh'licha: Deena Notowich

27th International Sh'licha: Maya Shapira