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