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Day Two Legislation

Posted on 08/17/2012 @ 01:00 PM

Tags: augustexecs2012

Today in split business meetings, two cool motions were passed!

Check them out!

Motion to Accept Updated BBG Constitution

Recommendation for a Strategic AZA Membership Committee

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AZA and BBG Pass Resolution to Support U.S. Congressional Legislation Recognizing Jewish Refugees

Posted on 08/17/2012 @ 01:00 PM

Tags: augustexecs2012

Today concluding our Stand UP program, AZA and BBG passed a motion pertaining to standing up for supporting Jewish refugees around the world. Check out the motion below!

Maker(s): 88th Grand Board, Aleph Zadik Aleph; 68th International Board, B’nai B’rith Girls

Second(s): Ilana Ladis (Miami); Brianna Dines (Michigan); Alexa Vecchio (South Jersey); Jonathan Schuster (Southern: Atlanta); Justin Zimmerman (Gold Coast)

Background WASHINGTON (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

  • A bipartisan group of six Congress members is sponsoring a bill that would ensure recognition of the plight of 850,000 Jewish refugees displaced from Arab countries since Israel's War of Independence in 1948. (Jerrod Nadler (D-NY); Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Howard Berman (D-CA); Ted Poe (R-TX); Joe Crowley (D-NY); Bob Turner (R-NY))
  • Their bill in the U.S. House of Representatives also would recognize other displaced populations, including Christians from countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf.
  • The legislation specifically calls on the Obama administration to pair any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees with a similar reference to Jewish or other refugee populations.
  • Both B’nai B’rith International and the World Jewish Congress were among those who applauded the proposed legislation.
  • Justice for Jews from Arab Countries has been pushing the issue for many years and was instrumental in obtaining a House resolution on the matter in 2008. The resolution noted that for any “comprehensive Middle East peace agreement to be credible and enduring, the agreement must address and resolve all outstanding issues relating to the legitimate rights of all refugees, including Jews, Christians and other populations displaced from countries in the Middle East.”
  • The U.S. Senate is considering a similar resolution.

Nadler

  • “The suffering and terrible injustices visited upon Jewish refugees in the Middle East needs to be acknowledged,” said U.S. Rep. Jerrod Nadler (D-N.Y.), the lead sponsor of the measure. “It is simply wrong to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees without recognizing the rights of nearly 1 million Jewish refugees who suffered terrible outrages at the hands of their former compatriots.”

Ros-Lehtinen

  • “Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Arab countries and Iran endured unimaginable hardships,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a news release sent to JTA. “Their plight has been ignored by the United Nations, other international bodies and many responsible nations. Any comprehensive Middle East peace agreement can only be credible and enduring if it resolves all issues related to the rights of all refugees in the Arab world and Iran, including Jews, Christians and others.”

Whereas, AZA and BBG are committed to ensuring the safety, recognition and rights of the Jewish People – and all other people – regardless of location, criteria or borders; and

Whereas, AZA and BBG are committed to ‘Standing UP’ and ‘Speaking UP’ for all those within and beyond our community in need of advocacy, support and protection; and

Whereas, BBYO has been a vital communal component of the Jewish community’s framework since our founding, notably in the aftermath of the Shoah (Holocaust) by aiding Jewish refugees, by supporting the Yishuv in the establishment of the Jewish State, by advocating for the safe migration of Syria’s Jewish population in 1972 and the years-long efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry;

Be it hereby resolved that the 2012-2013 Executive Body, on behalf of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the B’nai B’rith Girls, declares our support for this Congressional bill; and

Be it moved that the 2012-2013 Executive Body (utilizing volunteer authors on site during this conference) send a letter to the sponsoring representatives, and other key Congressional leaders and partner organizations expressing our support for this bill’s passage.

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Kicking Off August Execs!

Posted on 08/16/2012 @ 11:00 PM

Tags: augustexecs2012

Since welcoming over eighty of BBYO’s International Executives to Capital Camps and Retreat Center last night, August Execs has been in full swing. The evening got off to a great start as we welcomed family, friends, and BBYO special guests to the Inaugural Address of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and B’nai B’rith Girls, given by Sarah Minion, the 66th International N’siah, and Logan Miller, the 88th Grand Aleph Godol. Their remarks were both inspirational and informative as they introduced the 2012-2013 teen priorities.

Soon after the inaugural addresses were delivered, the 88th Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the 68th International Board of the B’nai B’rith Girls were installed. It was the beginning of many milestones to come from these teens, as they are the first board to hail from three different countries.

Following the ceremony, the teens were engaged for the rest of the evening in programs that centered on furthering current democratic practices of the organization. Teens searched for innovative solutions to old challenges, brainstormed how to prioritize chapters in innovative, bold ways, and made significant strides in owning the movement as their own.

Keep looking back for more information on the happenings at Execs!

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Getting Pumped for Execs

Posted on 08/15/2012 @ 09:00 PM

Tags: augustexecs2012

Today the International Boards and the rest of the August Execs team headed up to Capital Camps to set up for the big weekend ahead. Execs and guests will be staying at the newly finished Nesiya Retreat Center at Capital Camps in Waynesboro, PA. As the first group to stay at the building, participants can expect spacious meeting rooms, as well as comfortable living spaces.

Some things to look forward to this weekend include: the Inaugural Address from our 88th Grand Aleph Godol, Logan Miller, and 68th International N'siah, Sarah Minion, increased opportunities to participate in BBYO's pluralistic atmosphere through three optional services daily, the making of AZA/BBG history during business meetings, interactive, teen-led programming centered on the Five Priorities, and a unique opportunity to interact with members of BBYO's Board of Directors.

A new, fun element of Execs this year is our very own Execs Shuk, featuring BBYO apparel and accessories at sale prices. We are also running a silent auction for two lucky execs to come home with their very own AZA or BBG banner! All proceeds from the shuk will go towards the International Service Fund (ISF). Other fun aspects include a "co spirit" competition and opportunities to be featured in upcoming promotional videos for BBYO.

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Items ready to be sold at the Execs Shuk

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Banners will be auctioned as a fundraiser for ISF

Throughout the weekend, be sure to follow the action on this blog and using the official Twitter hashtag: #AZABBGExecs. Have something you want to see on the blog? Be sure to comment below!

We can't wait to see you all tomorrow as we celebrate the beginning of yet another momentous year of our movement!

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International Sh'lichim, Benji Fages and Andi Djamal discuss Stand UP programming for the weekend

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International S'ganim, Ryan Ladd and Hilit Jacobson prepare for an exciting way to kickoff the weekend

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August Execs 2011 Resources

Posted on 08/16/2011 @ 12:00 AM

August Execs 2011 has come to a close, but we are excited to share the resources provided with the entire AZA & BBG Community.

Click below to get the resources:

Friday, August 12th / 12 Av

Program: ALL FOR ONE Launch

Resource: Promotional Flyer for Summit

Program: International AZA/BBG Joint Business Meeting

Resource: Legislation Guide

Saturday, August 13th / 13 Av

Program: BBYO’s Core Values

Resource: Final 2011 and 87/67 BBYO Core Values

Program: TEEN PRIORITY: Total Involvement and Growth

Resource: The Puzzle Pieces of Movement Building

Resource: Building our Membership and Strengthening AZA/BBG

Resource: Regional Membership Strategies to Build BBYO

Resource: Top Ten Movement Building Techniques

Resource:Teen Priorities Handout

Program: TEEN PRIORITY: BBYO Connect

Resource: "How Connected is Your BBYO Connect” Quiz

Program: Teen Priority: Program Standards and Quality

Resource: The Elements of a Successful BBYO Chapter

Sunday, August 14th / 14 Av

Program: Social Media Guidelines Program

Resource AZA and BBG Social Media Guidelines

General:

Movement Map

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Registration Opening Soon: International Convention 2012: Atlanta, GA

Posted on 08/14/2011 @ 12:00 PM

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International Convention 2012 in Atlanta, GA will be unlike any other. August Execs participants had fun at an IC Recruitment Launch Party to build strategies to ensure the most teen possible can experience the incredible programming of IC. Registration opens October 4 at 12 AM Eastern time. Mark your calendars!

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Social Media Guidelines for AZA/BBG Teen Leaders

Posted on 08/14/2011 @ 10:00 AM

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There is an exciting last morning planned for August Execs starting with a Social Media discussion with Carly Lundy Shacknies from BBYO's Marketing Department! First, participants watched the video below setting the stage for the importance of social media in the world today:

Carly then guided participants through a discussion on how social media gives us unparalleled opportunities to connect but also represents a responsibility to behave appropriately online. Helpful hints were shared with the teens leaders to ensure that social media remains a powerful tool for BBYO while keeping teens accountable for content they put online. Hints included thoughts such as:

  • Think twice before publishing
  • Do your research
  • Imitation is the best form of flattery unless it is plagiarism
  • Write right

Overall, the teens recognized that it is important to keep in mind that there are consequences to actions on Facebook, Twitter and other social media; they are leaders offline, and should be online. The final point teen leaders walked away with is that when used appropriately, social media is their friend. Ultimately, if used wisely, it has the potential to increase membership, strengthen program quality, and allow connection with members around the world.

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Execs at the Lincoln Memorial

Posted on 08/14/2011 @ 12:00 AM

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We know the picture is hard to see, but it was an incredibly beautiful night for August Execs at the Lincoln Memorial. After a weekend filled with important discussions on inclusion, globalization and participatory democracy, what an appropriate way to spend the evening!

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Motion Passes: BBG Games

Posted on 08/13/2011 @ 10:00 PM

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It is extremely exciting to announce that at today's BBG meeting, a motion was passed to enhance the presence of athletics in BBG through a program called B'nai B'rith Girls Games (BBGG). Below is the official language of the motion which passed:

B’nai B’rith Girls Games Initiative

Maker: 67th International Board of the B’nai B’rith Girls Second: Rebecca Lichtenstein (Gold Coast), Dani Kahn (Big Apple), Erica Abrams (Kentucky Indiana Ohio), Rebecca Slatkin (NRE: Northern Virginia)

Background:

In 1994, BBYO International launched two different program thrusts: AZAA (AZA Athletics) and MBA (Mind, Body, Attitude) which were intended to strengthen the character building, recreational, team building and morale elements of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and B’nai B’rith Girls experience. Since that time, AZAA has served as an integral component of the Aleph Zadik Aleph that engages both Alephs and non-members, excites young members and sustains older member involvement, and develops community partnerships often filling a communal need that doesn’t already exist. MBA has been embraced as part of BBG programming standards and enriched the B’nai B’rith Girl experience for existing Sisters.

Yet, while acknowledging MBA’s significance to the BBG community, MBA has never manifested as AZAA’s equal counterpart. Athletics is an under utilized outlet for character development, recreation, team building and self esteem that we, as B’nai B’rith Girls, could benefit from in limitless ways. Young women participate in sports and athletics through school teams, community leagues and competitive channels all of the time and the drive to participate is consistently growing with popularity. Moreover, creating a space where skill level is a non-factor, and the emphasis is on teamwork, healthy living, affordability and fun aligns with BBG’s overarching goals.

This motion’s intention is to enhance the ‘B’ in MBA to stand for Body, inclusive of B’nai B’rith Girls Games. B2G2 will bring athletics to BBG and set-up a system for Chapters, Councils and Regions to participate in an athletic league parallel to AZAA – a program initiative our Brother Alephs are planning on strengthening intensively throughout the next year.

Whereas there are countless Sister B’nai B’rith Girls and young Jewish women not yet involved in BBG that would meaningfully enjoy athletic and recreational programming; and

Whereas BBG champions equality, modernity, self-esteem, and the advancement of young Jewish women in all sectors of Jewish and secular life; and

Whereas intra and inter regional sports leagues would offer valuable networking opportunities throughout our continental and global BBG communities;

Be it proclaimed that BBGG (the B’nai B’rith Girls Games) be established as BBG’s athletics and recreational league. BBGG will have intra and inter regional/council games and inter-hub tournaments (eventually) that coincide with the globalization of AZAA. BBGG will be part of International Convention 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia and will be encouraged to be an integral part of BBG Shabbat, Regional/Council/Chapter separates, and Sisterhood Weekends. BBGG will motivate girls who are committed to recreation or would view positively upon this new outlet to connect to other Jewish teen girls to get involved in our Order. Ultimately our Order will be stronger and our BBG experience richer as a result.

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Joyful Shabbat at August Execs

Posted on 08/13/2011 @ 09:00 PM

We hope that everyone had a restful and meaningful Shabbat! The Execs body enjoyed our time together in this special community and we are looking forward to closing out the program with as much enthusism as it started with!

Yesterday, after wrapping up a lot of AZA and BBG business, the Execs body prepared for Shabbat with a little Chofesh (free time) followed by Shabbat dinner and Kabbalat Shabbat services. After services, teens participated in a discussion on the important tradition of democracy in Judaism. As a full group, teens discussed four Judaic texts and grappled with how to interpret them in the modern world and as they relate to their roles as leaders.

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Here are the four texts:

It was clear that participants had strong feelings on these texts bringing up issues such how to define a "worthy person" and is it only "people of learning" who have responsibility to create change? Looking at all four texts together, a clear theme emerged that participatory democracy is encouraged in Judaism and the BBYO leaders have the ability to create real and lasting change around their issues of choice.

After the discussion, participants had a choice of a song session with musician Eric Hunker or a tish filled with singing and story telling with past Grand Aleph Godol, Jason Benkendorf.

Saturday was filled with services and additional business items such as launching BBYO Connect (BBYO's new, enhanced program for middle school students), developing additional program standards for chapters and passing a motion that amends the chapter charter system. All business items will be shared with the entire Order shortly.

As we speak, we are preparing to head to the National Mall for special AZA and BBG separates and a snack at the Lincoln Memorial. Stay tuned!

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August Execs from an Advisor Perspective

Posted on 08/13/2011 @ 08:00 PM

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Central Region West Advisor Noah Zaves shares his perspective on staffing August Execs:

It’s a new experience for me to watch my teens rise to international prominence. My former chapter Gadol has now become the CRW regional Gadol, and I’m watching him shine this weekend at BBYO’s international August Executives conference. Alex Finkelstein, growing from his roots in Oakland’s Dreidel AZA #2525, stood up yesterday in front of the entire Executives body with a candle representing Albania, in a program celebrating BBYO’s increasing global presence. Later, he presented and defended a successful resolution establishing a week for Stand Up, BBYO’s teen activism initiative.

For an advisor who’s been watching Alex preside over chapter meetings and coach our chapter executives, it’s a significant shock (though not a surprise) to see him stand out on the international stage. It’s even more of a shock to see the Grand Aleph Gadol and Grand Aleph Moreh, both from Central Region West, step into their new roles as leaders of the international movement.

The coolest part for me is to watch Alex build on the skills he developed in the chapter, as he takes an active role in the international business meetings, and to watch him gain new skills that he’ll bring back to the region after this conference. The international boards are presenting programming in a variety of styles, designed to inspire the regional presidents to expand their “tool box,” and critically examining the new international priorities. After Execs, I’m excited for CRW (and all of the regions) to diversify their regional programming.

I also got to share some of my own programming with the group. Yesterday, as the teens attended rotations with the leaders of several prominent Jewish organizations, I ran a session highlighting the difficult choices faced by Southern Jews during the civil rights movement. Based on the Jewish Women’s Archive’s new curriculum “Living the Legacy,” the program simulated a board meeting at a Jewish synagogue in 1964 Mississippi, as they decided whether to provide housing and assistance to a group of Jewish Freedom Riders. I was impressed by the caliber of the teens’ participation, and they surprised me with a few perspectives that I hadn’t before heard!

Most of all, as the only chapter advisor here, it’s been fun to experience the dynamics of international business. August Execs is the place where international policy is created and updated, and where the new I-Board trains the regional presidents to follow their vision for the year. The rest of the staff is regional Program Directors or international staff, who have regular interaction with the central office, but it’s been a real treat for me to see this side of the BBYO organization, and I’ve been inspired to continue volunteering for both regional and international programs.

Noah Zaves is the advisor of Dreidel AZA #2525 in Oakland, CA. By day, he is the director of the Institute for Modern Judaism, where he creates original, engaging lesson plans for a variety of Jewish settings, and runs programs about Jewish identity and American Jewish culture. Noah also consults with schools and organizations across the country to help make their programs more engaging and interactive.

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Teen Priority: BBYO Stands with Israel

Posted on 08/12/2011 @ 03:51 PM

The next item of business at August Execs was to focus on the teen priority of building a stronger commitment to Israel.

"During this seesion, AZA & BBG committed to rallying the world around supporting Israel and made it clear that wherever the organization stands, it stands with Israel," said Oz Fishman, Grand Aleph Godol. " Will be launching a signature campaign to gain first 5,000, then 10,000 then 18,000 signatures from people around the world and then take it to local representatives that our communities to show that teens care about Israel."

Read the official motion that just passed below:

Israel Advocacy Platform and Plan for 2011-2012

Maker: 87th Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph & 67th International Board of the B’nai B’rith Girls Second: Jacob Levy (Eastern: Virginia), Kelly Szteinbaum (Central Region West), Emma Paikowsky , (Mountain), Zach Rosen (Wisconsin)

Whereas BBYO is the world’s leading pluralistic, Jewish youth movement; and

Whereas at all levels of our movement, BBYO has a commitment to supporting Israel and the global Jewish community’s relationship with Israel; and

Whereas BBYO saw a surge in popularity and implementation of the global pro-Israel advocacy campaign ‘Speak Up! for Israel’ in its inaugural program year (2010-2011); and

Whereas ‘Speak Up! for Israel’ will continue to grow in participation and significant impact as the program year begins; and

Whereas BBYO has had historic successes in supporting the State of Israel and the U.S./Canada-Israel relationship through advocacy efforts, fundraising campaigns and lobbying efforts including a 10,000+ signature petition delivered to the White House in 2006 requesting sanctions against Iran’s nuclear proliferation program; and

Whereas AZA’s and BBG’s Orders have matured significantly over the last five years allowing for an opportunity to further our advocacy efforts on behalf of the State of Israel;

Whereas Jewish teens – both those involved with BBYO as well as those involved across the entire community – have a voice;

Be it resolved that AZA and BBG are in support of the State of Israel:

Target Audiences

  1. As many teens (and those that support teen-led pro-Israel advocacy efforts) as possible with benchmark goals of 5,000, 10,000, and 18,000 signatures through online and in-person collection by January 1st, 2012.
  2. A minimum of 36 high school (public, private or Jewish) student body presidents displaying support for the U.S./Canada-Israel relationship.
  3. The petition will be organized by residential location of each signature and editions will be sent to elected representatives correlating with impressive digests expressing support for this key issue and will be submitted for print in community newspapers/news outlets.

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Teen Priority: Globalize the Movement

Posted on 08/12/2011 @ 03:49 PM

One of the teen priorities for the 2011 - 2012 year is to continue the globalization of BBYO, bringing Jewish teens from around the world closer together. With BBYO on an exciting path for expansion, this past International Convention saw teens from more than 11 countries from as far as Argentina, Serbia, Ireland, England, Bulgaria, and Israel. Additionally, through a partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), BBYO has placed four alumni in positions around the world as JDC Service Corps Fellows who work to bring a BBYO experience to local communities.

Watch a video on the current four JDC Service Corp Fellowship below:

Before passing the motion below to expand BBYO's global reach to Ukraine and Latvia, BBYO skyped in an Albanian teen named Besos, who participates in the BBYO programs in Bulgaria and Serbia. Teens asked questions live and we videotaped Besos discussing what being Jewish means to him which you can watch below:

Then, August Execs participants passed the official motion below. Stay tuned throughout the weekend as we'll continue to pass official business as it finishes.

BBYO/JDC Overseas Partnership Expansion Recognition Act: Ukraine and Latvia

Maker: 87th Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph & 67th International Board of the B’nai B’rith Girls Second: Austin Goodman (Michigan), Sarah Minion (South Jersey), Harper Weissburg (Eastern: North Carolina), Yitzi Peetluk (Cotton States)

Whereas BBYO is the leading global Jewish pluralistic youth movement; and

Whereas BBYO has affiliates and membership communities around the world; and

Whereas relationships amidst leaders, initiative collaboration and meaningful communication are increasingly frequent, productive, unifying, and effective; and

Whereas the presence of BBYO teens from beyond the United States and Canada are increasingly active participants at BBYO international programs and summer experiences; and

Whereas the world is increasingly ‘smaller’, the current membership is a more global-centric generation than ever before, and more Jewish communities abroad are seeking affiliation with BBYO; and

Whereas there is a long standing history of decades of depth-oriented relationships, shared experiences, international atmosphere at summer programs; and

Whereas the international aspect of BBYO has always been and remains to be one of the most unique attributes of our organization; and

Whereas the JDC is a powerful force for maintaining and building Jewish communities around the world; and

Whereas, our modern day relationship with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has progressed since 2006 and BBYO has become a central teen partner agency for the JDC;

Be it hereby proclaimed that based on the organizational partnership developed and formalized by the JDC and BBYO, we celebrate the four existing BBYO communities that will participate in the JDC/BBYO fellowship program (Israel, Turkey, Serbia, and Argentina); and

Be it further recommended that we proudly welcome Latvia and Ukraine into the BBYO family as official global affiliate countries as a result of the JDC/BBYO partnership; and

Be it further recommended that the 2011-2012 Global Ambassadors Network add two ambassadors to help grow and support the Jewish teen experience and BBYO affiliates in Ukraine and Latvia.

We're very excited for this exciting expansion of the BBYO community!

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One for All Issue Summit is Coming

Posted on 08/12/2011 @ 03:47 PM

August Execs participants were the first to hear about BBYO's newest Issue Summit, One for All.

On November 13 - 15, 2011, teens from across the United States are invited to Boston, Massachusetts, to take part in an extraordinary experience – One for All: A Jewish Teen Issue Summit on Equality.

Participants will spend 3 tackling issues surrounding equality: race, religion, ability, class, and gender & sexuality.

For three days in Boston, a diverse group of Jewish teens will come together to learn about issues facing society and equality.

They will hear from activists, meet with speakers, and most importantly, they will walk away from this Jewish Teen Issue Summit with increased knowledge about civil rights and equality, enhanced skills as a community leader, and a greater understanding of their own civic responsibility.

Click here to learn more about the One for All Issue Summit.

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Teen Priority: Stand UP Within and Beyond BBYO

Posted on 08/12/2011 @ 03:00 PM

Three years ago, BBYO launched its Stand UP Campaign bringing premiere service and advocacy to the AZA and BBG movement. Through Stand UP, BBYO communities choose issues that are most relevant to them and spend the academic year educating others, advocating and raising money for those causes.

BBYO is excited to announce a Stand UP website -- coming soon! Below is a picture of Jake Sorrells, Grand Aleph Shaliach, presenting the website to the Execs body and a sneak peek at what the website looks like!

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Focusing on Community Partnerships and Engagement

Posted on 08/12/2011 @ 11:08 AM

Boker tov from August Execs! We have had an exciting morning filled with interactive small-group discussions with some of BBYO's most inspiring partner organizations such as:

  • Keshet
  • AIPAC
  • Rock the Vote
  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)
  • iCenter
  • American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
  • Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation
  • Jewish Student Union
  • Jewish Women's Archive
  • Israel Campus Coalition

The goal of the session was to encourage participants to become more aware of opportunities to build a stronger, interconnected Jewish community. Because of BBYO's global network with tens of thousands of teens, partner organizations are excited to work with BBYO to continue using teens to mobilize for some of the most important issues facing the Jewish community today.

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Sam and Oz Present Teen Priorities for 2011- 2012

Posted on 08/11/2011 @ 11:08 PM

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After installing the 87th and 67th Grand and International Boards, Oz Fishman and Samantha Levinson guided the Execs body through a presentation of the AZA and BBG Teen Priorities for 2011 - 2012. They are pictured here: Which teen priority are you the most excited about? How are you planning to work on this priority?

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"We have serious momentum..."

Posted on 08/11/2011 @ 11:00 PM

Teen Presidents Address Execs Body with Speech Focused on Maintaining our Momentum

BBYO International Teen Presidents, Oz Fishman and Samantha Levinson, addressed the BBYO Execs Body with an inspiring speech focused on the importance of "momentum" and using it to keep BBYO in "an upswing."

Above is a video of the first half of their address, and you can click here to watch the second half of their address.

It should be no surprise that throughout history teens have played an important role in making an impact on the world. Below are two powerful excerpts from their speeches:

Excerpt 1:

"To most people, it might appear as if the Jewish community's proverbial swing is lacking serious height.

We beg to differ. It's clearer than ever that AZA and BBG have some amazing energy lifting our community's future in magnificent ways.

You all know what we’re talking about. There’s some force that exists out there in the universe, both tangible and intangible, that’s in constant motion. It pushes and pulls at the very fabric of our existence and keeps the world turning. It pushes water over its boiling point, turns the flap of a wing into a windstorm, the splash of a pebble into a tsunami.

It’s the energy built up inside you when you hear a profound speaker at a program that inspires you to launch an initiative in your community.

It’s the energy built up inside you when you find yourself connected to countless brothers and sisters that share your values, dreams and hopes.

It’s the energy built up inside you after you execute that perfect program, deliver that poignant speech or see the results of your community service work.

It’s the energy built up when you meet other Jewish teens anywhere in the world and feel commonalities, a rapport and a responsibility for one another.

This force is what grew us from fourteen boys establishing a Jewish fraternity in the heartland of America all those years ago into the worldwide movement that touches and brings meaning into new lives each and every day.

And its this force that has been with us since that point in time that we’ve put into action over and over to build community, enhance community, and protect community.

As this wave of passion and commitment has spread ‘round the globe, our Order has grown stronger and faster in both direction and magnitude. It’s obvious. We have serious Momentum."

Excerpt 2:

"As the Jewish community grapples with a rapidly expanding plurality of opinions, practices and perspectives, our community is changing in ways that are new and unknown to our people. BBYO is a beacon of pluralism, welcoming and inclusive of all practices and views, thus establishing a strong mosaic of the Jewish community’s future.

These goals are high, but not unrealistic. The precedent is there. Teens rallied together for the annual Canadian National Convention.

Teens were interconnected, interdependent across dozens of countries.

Teens met with administration officials at the White House, and were exchanging letters with the President of the United States.

Teens contributed to Israel’s establishment.

Teens championed civil rights in communities where the cause was ahead of its time.

Teens led the charge for the freedom of Soviet Jews.

Teens mobilized communities to lobby against Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. And teens did it all through AZA and BBG, by building Momentum behind each issue and leaping from one success to another.

There’s a secret to Momentum, though - you have to use it or it fades. So we must and we will embrace it in a real and big way.

By making moves, by building our Movement, we’ll gain Momentum."

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Executive Director Addresses Execs Body

Posted on 08/11/2011 @ 10:08 PM

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BBYO's Executive Director, Matthew Grossman, and BBYO Board Chair, Estee Portnoy, kicked off August Execs with the installations of the 87th Grand Aleph Godol, Oz Fishman, and 67th International N'siah, Samantha Levinson. Matt is pictured here addressing the Execs body with the entire International Boards listening closely.

Do you have any questions for Matt? Post them here and he will respond to your post!

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87th and 67th Grand and International Board Installations

Posted on 08/11/2011 @ 10:03 PM

The 87th and 67th Grand and International Boards of AZA and BBG were installed tonight by the BBYO Teen Presidents, Oz Fishman and Samantha Levinson. Watch the videos and let us know what you think! Do you remember these traditions with the gavels?

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