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Global Jewry - France

Posted on 08/05/2013 @ 07:00 AM

Tags: kallah

As Kallah wraps up, we reflect upon the great memories that we had. One of the awesome experiences that Kallah affords us is the opportunity to meet Jewish teens from around the world, and so I'd like to share a blog written by participants Alex Danoff and Idan Hovav about Jewry in France.

This year at BBYO's International Kallah, teens from eight different countries are in attendance, including France, Serbia, Canada, Bulgaria, and others. By welcoming all these young Jews from outside the United States, BBYO works to encourage global Jewry, especially in countries with developing Jewish populations.

Although France has approximately 540,000 Jews within its border, less than 97,000 are teenagers. Of these, just 150 are in BBYO there. In France, BBYO is active in 11 cities in three parts of the country.

Ivan Touati, a teen from France is here at Kallah, and he has a lot to say about issues back home. When asked about being a Jew in France, he describes it as “Frustrating. Most of the Jews in France stay very close together and don’t mix with other people. It creates anti-Semitism.” Even so, he likes being Jewish and going to synagogue. He attends a liberal synagogue, which is the France equivalent to reform. According to him, they can get up to 400 attendees at services for Yom Kippur, an impressive showing considering the relatively small Jewish community. Ivan also teaches Talmud and Torah to 8 and 9 year olds once a week.

Not only does having a teen from France here expose other participants to new languages, cultures, and people, it's also living proof that BBYO is a globally active organization with members everywhere in the world.

In France, BBYO competes for members with a Zionist youth group called Hashomer Hatzair. This organization recruits strongly in France and other European countries. Although many members of this organization do not join BBYO, both youth groups work toward the same goal: providing Jewish teens with a better Jewish experience.

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Recap of the Week

Posted on 08/03/2013 @ 10:00 PM

Tags: kallah

As the final Shabbat of Kallah winds down, we reflect on the eventful week that has passed by.

We began the week off right on Sunday night when Dan Nichols came to perform for our camp, in addition to two guest camps. The teens loved hearing some of their favorite Kallah songs being sung by the man who actually wrote them. Another highlight was that a group of our musically talented kids got to go up on the stage and perform several songs along with Dan.

Tuesday was another unforgettable night as we had another exchange with Camp Morasha. At the beginning of Kallah, we went to visit them, and on Tuesday they returned the favor and came to visit us. The boys and girls had separate programming, and then everyone camp together for some rikkudim (Israeli dancing) and a camp fire. Seeing a group of Jewish teens from such a variety of backgrounds all standing with their arms wrapped around one another singing together is not an image I will soon forget.

Wednesday night was special as we got to experience Israel through a different lens. Our program was Israel 360, in which different aspects of Israel are analyzed thoroughly (from all 360 degrees). Teens got to explore various views of issues surrounding the Dead Sea, the four quarters of Jerusalem, and serving in the IDF.

Thursday was the famous color war! Teens got split up into 4 teams (green, blue, yellow, and red), and ferociously competed against each other in matches of ultimate frisbee, basketball, soccer, gaga ball, a tug-of-war, relay races in the pool, a skit, song, and banner. All of the teams had plenty of spirit and put in a valiant effort, but in the end the yellow team came out victorious.

Finally, last night we began our last Shabbat, which was special and unique like all Perlman Shabbats are. We had our last Shabbat Shira (song session) and Shabbat services of the summer, and tomorrow night we'll be finishing camp off right with our annual talent show - Cafe Kallah.

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CLTC 7 Update: B'nai Mitzvot and Inductions

Posted on 08/02/2013 @ 12:42 AM

Tags: cltc7

Today at CLTC 7 two teens celebrated their B’nai Mitzvot, and here is what they had to say about their experience!

"Today I was Bar Mitzvah'd. I feel like a man. I am very happy I was able to do it with this CLTC community." - Evan Bowles, Southern - ATL

"Having the opportunity to become a Bat Mitzvah at CLTC was an unforgettable experience. I am so happy I got the chance to share this special day with everyone.” - Alana Horwitz, RMR

Then later tonight all the teens were inducted into the International Order, and here is what they had to say about their inductions!

"Separates was my favorite part of CLTC so far because I could to celebrate and cheer with my brother Alephs from around the international Order." -Jacob Snyder, NRE - DC

"Tonight was one of the best nights of my life." - Corey Nadelbach, NRE -DC

“No matter how many times people say it, it will forever be true. CLTC was the best 12 days I have ever experienced in my life. In a split second, my life changed. Being inducted into the International Order of B’nai B’rith Girls was a life changing moment and I will forever keep this stored in my heart.” - Lora Lee Ashkenazy, GCR

“10 months ago when I joined BBYO, I never would have expected to end up at CLTC. Now that I am here, I cannot have imagined spending the second part of my summer any other way. I always felt a part of BBG, but after being inducted into the B’nai B’rith Girls International Order tonight, made it all surreal to me. I am officially a member of Bnai Brith Girls and will forever remember this moment.” - Michelle Biesman, CSR

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CLTC 7 Update: Texas Hoedown

Posted on 07/31/2013 @ 11:53 PM

Tags: cltc7

Tonight at CLTC we had a Texas Hoedown to get everyone excited for International Convention 2014 in Dallas! It was a fun night complete with dancing and a hayride around the camp. Here is what the teens had to say about the experience!

“CLTC has been one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I've created more than friends for life. I've found brothers and sisters for life and memories that will never die.”- Justin Asarch, PWR

“The Texas hoedown was a ball, had a great time, eh? Being from the Canada, experiencing Texas was fun. Getting excited for IC 2014!” - Zach Freedman, LOR

“I'm having a ton of fun at the hoedown! I actually can't wait for IC!” - Lindsey Lozoskie, NRE – No. VA

“The hoedown was so fun and it got me so psyched for IC in Texas! I'm counting down the days.” - Alana Horwitz, RMR

“This was a real bonding experience.” - Becca Ascherman, Miami

“The hoedown tonight was such a blast! I can't wait to continue the fun at IC in Dallas!” - Hannah Paley, Wisconsin

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CLTC 7 Update: July 30th

Posted on 07/30/2013 @ 11:53 PM

Tags: cltc7

Here are some thoughts from the teens about CLTC 7!

“CLTC is life changing! I learned about my Jewish identity and explored causes that impact me!” - Michael Cohen, Southern - Atlanta  

“I learned that every chapter is a community and it’s important to work to keep it together.” - Rachel Ockner, Michigan

“CLTC has not only taught me how to be the best leader I can be in my chapter, but also life in general. I've gained tools that I know I'm going to carry with me for the rest of my life.” - Emily Hamburger, NRE-DC

“CLTC has been really educational. It's been one of the best experiences of my life.” - Jamie Schwartz, Southern - Atlanta

A haiku about CLTC by Evan Bowles, Southern - Atlanta 
“We have made some friends
Both Alephs and BBGs
Thanks CLTC!” 

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CLTC 7 Update: July 29th, 2013

Posted on 07/29/2013 @ 11:23 PM

Tags: cltc7

Tonight at CLTC the teens did a program where they learned all about March of the Living. Here are their thoughts on both the program and their experiences at CLTC.

“Never been more touched in my life. It's amazing to think generations after generations with numbers growing and shrinking we are still together bonded stronger than ever.” - Dovey Hochberg, NTO

“CLTC has made me realize how proud I am of my Judaism and gave me incredible leadership skills that I will carry with me forever.” - Lily Maslia, Southern - Atlanta

“Noticing how many Jewish teens stand up for their religion, faith, and heritage is so astonishing for anyone to see. I know my personal perspective of Judaism has changed drastically after being on CLTC and learning about March of the Living.” - Sam Eigen, SJR

“Going to CLTC I didn't know what to expect. Of course everyone in my region has told me how amazing it is and it's "the best 12 days of your life". So I decided to try it out, and so far my experience is indescribable.” - Leah Kay, Liberty

“Once I went on this trip my perspective of everything in BBYO was changed and I was already incredibly involved and this trip only pushed me to do more.” - Corey Davidson, LOR

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Review of July 20th's Program Pt. 2

Posted on 07/29/2013 @ 07:00 AM

Tags: kallah

The roots of our K'far continued to blossom as we delved into our second program of the evening.

"Welcome to IDF high command," shouted the program leaders. We then presented with the case of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by militants and held hostage for years. Our commanders relayed to us an offer from his captors for his return. The request called for the release of 2000 Palestinian terrorists and a lift of the naval blockade on Gaza. Then, in small groups, we discussed either an acceptance or a counter offer. Final responses varied but the discussion that fostered them was an unparalleled insight into our brothers' opinions and the complex intricacies of this real-life dilemma .

For our final program of the evening, the shocking reality that the State of Israel has no constitution. Each group was presented with a question that deeply proves at Israel's role in the world and her relation to he Jewish people worldwide. For example, "Does Israel need to be the epicenter of the Jewish people?" Groups discussed and answered the questions after serious debate, the answers forming the constitution we crafted as a group.

This first evening of K'far programming was stupendously formative for our group unity, planting the seeds of fraternity in the Kallah 2013 garden.

Thanks for reading. B'Shalom,

Eli Shankman and Josh Kaplan

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Review of July 20th's Program Pt. 1

Posted on 07/29/2013 @ 02:00 AM

Tags: kallah

Eli Shankman and Josh Kaplan here!

You can't spell "fraternity" without the "nity" in "unity", and here at K'far AZA that's what we're all about. But what is K'far AZA you ask? Well, let me tell you! K'far means village in Hebrew, and much like the shtetls and village communities of yore, we take the value of K'far AZA to develop a tightly knit gaggle of young Jewish leaders here at Perlman. Every Saturday night, the Alephs of Kallah 2013 are graced with a unique opportunity to participate in programming specifically targeting the formation of bonds in our K'far this year!

About a week ago, on the night of July 20th we experienced our very first K'far program. The program was centered around three activities, each focusing on a different element of defending and fashioning our own Jewish identities. As the night started we gathered around a small amphitheater and were instructed to divide into small groups. Each group had its own leader who served as a tour guide and these groups lined up in a queue outside of a small building dubbed "The Museum of Jewish History". As participants entered the museum their eyes were immediately drawn to tables that lined the walls and in a logical counterclockwise progression. The tables were covered in different Jewish ritual items, everything from menorahs to kiddish cups, tefillin to siddurim. Participants approached the first table and the tour guide began his spiel. Every item he picked up was accompanied by a short explanation of its use or purpose, all pointing to the fact that Jews were devil worshipers and Christian killers, and these were the instruments of their demonic agenda. Alephs in the room looked on in disgust and confusion as these blasphemously inaccurate reports went on and on. Then we came to the "Wall of Heroes". Glorifying pictures and biographies of historically infamous anti-Semites dressed the wall. After that participants were directed to view the educational video (a parody of Hey Jude by the Westborough Baptist Church). This video explained all the sins that the Jews have committed, including many shots of young children singing along. Finally we departed the museum and debriefed the experience in another classroom. It was revealed that the museum reflected a Nazi dream of creating a museum of Jewish reflects once the final solution was complete. People shared feelings of anger and sickness but finally agreed on the uplifting sentiment that no people had ever succeeded in exterminating all Jews and that we would stay strong to make sure nothing like that could be a reality in our lifetime or generations to come.

Two more activities came to follow this already unbelievable experience both enhancing our outlook upon Israel and our own morals. These discussions gave us an insight into our brothers' perspectives developing the roots of a true K'far.

Stay tuned for Part 2 describing the rest of the evening.

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CLTC 7 Update: July 28th, 2013

Posted on 07/29/2013 @ 12:01 AM

Tags: cltc7

Tonight at CLTC we did a program where the teens learned all about Israel! Here are their thoughts on their experience.

"We learned a lot about Israel and it really made me want to go more." - Max Scherer, NRE - DC

"It was awesome adventuring different parts of Israel and I can't wait to go someday!" - Julia Margulies, ONR

"It was eye-opening to how great Israel is!"- Stacey Aranowitz, Liberty

"The program we did was very powerful to say the least. It taught us all about how Israel works and some of the history behind why it's our homeland.” - Jordan Kochman, NRE - DC

"This program shed new light onto my view of Israel."- Max Perlmuter, Michigan

"I really liked learning the Hebrew words, the red string. Everyone lives differently in Israel based on their religion!" - Hannah Kostuchenko, Eastern

"It was a really interesting session that made me feel closer to Israel." - Josh Blank, NRE - DC

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CLTC 7 Update: July 27th, 2013

Posted on 07/28/2013 @ 12:01 AM

Tags: cltc7

Here are some thoughts from the teens about CLTC!

"Our chapter's favorite times have really been whenever we’re together just getting to know each other. I couldn't ask for a better group of guys to have in my chapter."- Sandy Leach, Southern - Atlanta

"Our chapter's favorite part of Shabbat was holding a successful Shabbat program." - Jakob Allen, KIO

"Every moment of CLTC has been so wonderful, I've really enjoyed everything." - Rachel Ockner, Michigan

"For being at CLTC only four and a half days, we have grown incredibly, and Havdallah brought everyone closer" - Alyssa Wachs, SJR

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CLTC 6 Matthew Baker

Posted on 07/26/2013 @ 11:30 PM

Tags: cltc6

Hi! My name is Matt Baker from Lonestar.

Grant Braden Hansell planned the most amazing Inductions last night. This whole experience was life changing and eye opening, and as I return to my chapter as Shapiro AZA’s Gizbor I know what it takes to plan a successful fundraiser. All thanks to the amazing staff, my advisor Drew and, my 43 brothers. I love these people, I love this place, and I will miss them all dearly.

Fraternally submitted with undying love for

all my brothers, Drew, and Grant

I forever remain

Aleph Matthew Roy Baker

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CLTC 6 Jay Seline

Posted on 07/26/2013 @ 11:30 PM

Tags: cltc6

Whats up! My name is Jay Seline from NRE-D.C. Council

The Inductions we had last night were the most emotional and special inductions I’ve ever seen or been in. It reminded me of how brotherhood stays strong when you bring 43 of the greatest alephs you could ever be with in the 12 days we have together. The special part of the whole induction process was writing down my past regrets, tearing them, and getting them off my back.

There were mixed emotions in the circle. Ever more special is how close we all came together as one big family within the 12 days.

Fraternally submitted with undying love for

Simon Atlas AZA #126, Northern Region East, The International Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph, Brotherhood, CLTC 6,

I forever remain,

Aleph Jay Seline

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CLTC 6 Ashlyn Champ

Posted on 07/26/2013 @ 11:30 PM

Tags: cltc6

Hi! My name is Ashlyn Champ from NRE-No.Va Council.

There are no words to describe what an amazing and incredible experience being internationally inducted was. Hands down, it was the best inductions ever! It changed me as a person and I would like to thank Judith Cohen for that.

Submitted, with undying love for

CLTC 6, spooey, my sister b’nai b’rith girls, my brother alephs, and the international order of BBYO and BBG,

I forever remain,

Ashlyn Victoria Champ.

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CLTC 6 Sarah Levinson

Posted on 07/26/2013 @ 11:30 PM

Tags: cltc6

Hi! My name is Sarah Levinson from Lonestar!

Last night I became a part of the International Order of the B’nai Brith Girls.

The experience was amazing, and as memorable as could be. Judith did a wonderful job, and I would like to thank her for all the time and effort she put into the inductions. I know that I will walk away from CLTC with the memory of the best International Inductions that have ever been held.

Respectfully submitted, with undying love for

all of my BBG sisters, CLTC 6 2013, spooey, late night heart to hearts, and the international order of the B’nai Brith Girls,

I forever remain,

Sarah Lisa Levinson.

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CLTC 6 Seth Betman

Posted on 07/26/2013 @ 11:30 PM

Tags: cltc6

Inductions were the most emotional night of my life. As you are standing in the circle around your brother alephs who have put so much to this organization, many emotions come over you. You realize that this organization of Jewish teens is much bigger than you. So many Jewish teens around the world have shared the same experience of being inducted, and knowing that just amazes me.

As I look at my aleph pin that I received last night, I think of the future of this organization. Standing in a circle with 44 alephs that have showed me brotherhood at its peak, I know we can be the change we wish to see in this order.

Fraternally submitted with undying love for

Max Fisher AZA #337, Michigan Region GLC, the International Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph, and the Alephs of CLTC 6 who show Achari,

I forever remain

Aleph Seth Franklin Betman.

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CLTC 7 Update: Stand Up!

Posted on 07/25/2013 @ 11:46 PM

Tags: cltc7

Today at CLTC the teens did a program on Stand Up and each chapter chose a cause they would be raising money for together. Here is what the teens had to say about their experiences!

"Stand Up is service and service is one of the five folds of AZA, so it goes hand in hand." - Dan Nelson, PWR

"Doing Stand Up activities or community service can help your chapter find a common bond over a cause you care about." - Adam Levengard, NRE - DC

"BBYO is all about impacting others in the community. It shows that we're here and we want to make a difference." - Corey Nadelbach, NRE - DC

"In BBYO were given so many experiences and opportunities and this is our chance to give back to the community." - Hadleigh Swarts, RMR

"Everybody has their own cause they stand up for, everybody is different, everyone has their own passion." - Scott Lacritz, NTO

"Some of the people I look up to the most and the greatest leaders are all around me." - Jacob Borowsky, SJR

"I learned that a group of people could get so close in such a short amount of time." - Sylvie Siegel, KIO

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Review of the Morasha Exchange

Posted on 07/25/2013 @ 02:08 AM

Tags: kallah

Rebecca Lewis and Maeghan Jakubovitz here!

On Thursday July 18th, 2013, we went to camp Morasha, an orthodox camp, and had an exchange with them along with two other orthodox camps. Prior to going to the camp the boys and girls dressed in traditionally modest clothing with covered knees and shoulders.

While we were there we split into groups with a few teens from each camp, including some of the leaders. We got to talk to one another about our beliefs and what we like to do. The conversations ranged from favorite movies to our Jewish identities and belief in G-d. It was eye-opening to see how similar we are even though we have different customs and interesting to learn about our differences as well.

After that, we had an awesome dance where the boys and girls were separated by a michzah. We learned how they traditionally danced and listened to some of their favorite songs. Here we got to talk to some of the teens on a more personal level where they were very open about some of the struggles they face along with their favorite aspects of the lives they lead as orthodox teens.

This was such an awesome experience for all of us. Kallah is very excited for them to come visit our camp on July 30th and to find out more about their traditions, and for them to see ours.

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CLTC 7 Update: July 24th, 2013

Posted on 07/24/2013 @ 11:34 PM

Tags: cltc7

Here are some thoughts from the teens about their experiences at CLTC 7 so far!

"We learned about the history of AZA tonight. We really bonded as brothers while repeating the AZA heartbeat.” - Sam Halpern, Michigan

"I'm excited to use the skills I will learn in my mock chapter and apply them to my real chapter.” - Omer Lavian, PWR

"I made a new best friend at CLTC who is originally from Australia. It's really cool to meet Jewish teens from all different places." - Morgan Neff, Liberty

"I'm excited to learn how to become a leader and step outside my comfort zone." - Leah Taub, Michigan

"I'm excited to leave with over 100 new friends and to become a better leader." Cassidy Aronin, Southern - Atlanta

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Last Day at Impact DC

Posted on 07/24/2013 @ 10:35 PM

Tags: impactdc

Well, we made it- The last day of Impact DC 2013. Throughout this program, we have learned valuable lessons and got a glimpse at the very real poverty situation that is currently gripping our nation. I truly believe that every one of us has made strides here in DC and friendships that will last a lifetime.

At our final day at Bright Beginnings, the cool weather allowed us to take our classes to the library and the awesome playground outside the school. The kids were cute as ever and jumped for joy upon our arrival. The entire Bright Beginnings service group love all our kids and were genuinely sorry to end our time volunteering at their amazing school and in DC as well.

As our time on Impact draws to a close, we can reflect on everything we have learned since we left 11 days ago. Over the past 11 days, we have volunteered at service sites, conversed with the homeless, lobbied to our state Senators and representatives, made an impact on Washington DC, and learned valuable lessons along the way. As it turns out, it’s not so easy to take life for granted once you realize how precious it is.

We want to thank the staff for an amazing experience in DC and special thanks to Ethan and Ariane for being the best teen coordinators ever!

Hannah Sessler

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Kallah Day 6 and 7

Posted on 07/24/2013 @ 02:00 AM

Tags: kallah

Now that we're a week into Kallah, we've settled into a pattern. Mornings are spent with Judaic educators. Then, afternoons are spent in electives, such as chugim and specialist series, in which teens do activities ranging from acapella to making murals for camp. Finally, everyday ends with an evening program and perhaps rikkudim (Israeli dancing).

Yesterday's evening program was an Israeli narrative program, in which we explored our connection to Israel, whether it's from the classroom, from a visit, or because we've spent our whole life in Israel - like our shlichot (Israeli representatives) Nitzan and Orna!

Today's evening program was about 21st Century Judaism. We split up into 7 groups and created solutions to contemporary Jewish issues such as connecting Israelis with North American Jews, supporting stigmatized Jewish communities, and encouraging Jewish art.

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