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Shabbat at IC Recap

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(Jess Baar, right)

by Jessica Baar, Central Region East

Hello all! And welcome to the BIGGEST International BBYO Shabbat in history! That’s right, with over 1,100 staff and teens all congregated here in Atlanta, that makes this the largest Shabbat gathering BBYO has ever had!!! We kicked off Friday night Shabbat by giving the teens four different service options. Choices included BBG and AZA separate services and one lead with guitars by BBYO’s song bringers Zach Singer and Eric Hunker. Following services we had a rockin’ music session with the song bringers. Everyone had a lot of fun singing their favorite camp and Jewish rock songs at the top of their lungs.

The next morning we all gathered for Saturday morning services. The BBG service was my selection and I'm so happy I was able to attend. It was all about women empowerment, and the service leaders performed skits from the cartoon version of The Prince of Egypt tying in scenes from the movie into the theme. Other options were another AZA service, and a co-ed learners service that taught about the prayers for those who don’t know them that well or just wanted to learn more about them. Next we heard from Avraham Infeld, a renowned Jewish educator, on why it is important to be Jewish. He brought up several stories about how it is OK to question Judaism and develop your own identity, but ultimately we are all part of the same family.

After services and the plenary, we listened to our overseas delegates talk about what their life is like back in their home countries. It was an amazing privilege to listen to Beni from Turkey talk about BBYO and Jewish hardships he faces in his mainly Islamic Country. It made me realize just how lucky we North Americans are to be allowed to freely and openly celebrate our religion.

Following our Global BBYO talks, the teens got to pick and go to their Shabbat Electives. There were so many great options and I had trouble selecting the two I would attend. After much debate, I decided on "(IC)apella" focused on Shabbat songs, lead by Eric Hunker. My group got to learn the song “Salaam” in the 4 vocal group parts, Soprano, Bass, etc. After just 15 minutes we sounded like pros that’ve been practicing for weeks. We can’t wait to perform it for all of IC later! My second rotation I went to the Alumni Panel. There we got to ask a small group of BBYO Alumni any questions we wanted. Some questions that came up were about the panel’s BBYO experience when they were in it, advice and opinions about how to better any issues we have back home, and the panel even talked to us about what it’s like to be a teen leader and all the important skills and lessons BBYO gives us whether we’re aware of it or not.

This has been one of the most memorable Shabbats I have ever experienced. I am so lucky that I got to be part of BBYO’s largest Shabbat, and experience all the great services and programs. Shabbat Shalom everyone! Thank you for reading.

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